- Stereo stage width was impressive (for example, the drums sounded as if they were coming from 2-3 feet left of the Z-Base).
- Treble wasn’t as smooth as one would like from a dedicated stereo system.
- Bass was clear and pleasing, but not deep (at least not in comparison to what the subwoofers included with some of today’s better HTiB rigs can do).
The ZVOX Z-Base 550 makes a big improvement on standard TV sound. Movies, in particular, become much more engrossing with the Z-Base 550 in play because dialog is clear and sounds more like it is happening in a real environment. The Z-Base is also pleasantly simple to install and use.
Ultimately, you have to be the judge of value, but in a world of $1,000 and $1,500 TVs, the Z-Base, at $500, is a sizable investment. It makes a sizable improvement in sound, and one that will be more noticeable to some consumers than an extra few hundred dollars spent on fancy video features. At the same time, however, you can beat built-in TV audio for less money (for example, by choosing the smaller—but still quite capable—ZVOX 325 single-box system, priced at $300).
SPECS & PRICING
ZVOX Z-Base 550 One Box Surround Sound System
Driver complement: Five 2” mid/treble drivers; one 5.25” woofer
Inputs/outputs: Two stereo analog audio inputs via RCA jacks (note these inputs are “mixed,” so if both sources are playing you’ll hear both), one analog audio output for optional separate powered subwoofer.
Amplifier Power: 60 watts total
Dimensions (H x W x D): 3.6” x 28” x 14.5”
Weight: 20 lb.
Warranty: 1 year limited parts and labor