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ZVOX: SoundBase

By Jason Naughton and Daniela Porcelli, staff writer

Members with moderate hearing loss or those who are looking for a high-fidelity may wish to investigate into ZVOX’s line of single-cabinet home theater systems, called SoundBase.

The SoundBase systems are designed to carry sound completely throughout a room. As opposed to standard television speakers, ZVOX cabinets are made of medium density fiberboard, or MDF. MDF doesn’t vibrate like plastic, so there’s less muddiness to the sound.

Likewise, the SoundBase systems are equipped with ZVOX’s PhaseCue II™ system, which, according to the company’s website, “uses an all-channel speaker in the center of the cabinet to ‘anchor’ the sound, creating clear audio that is easy to hear.” ZVOX adds that this design is “particularly effective in reproducing human voices,” such as “announcers, actors, [and] interview subjects.”

Users can adjust the Dialog Emphasis function—the “DE” button on the remote—for Dialog Enhancement sound processing. According to ZVOX, the Dialog Enhancement function uses “hearing aid technology to make voices…clear and easy to understand.”

These features allow users with moderate hearing loss to listen to television programming in full fidelity, without disrupting the company of others. As ZVOX states, such users: “can hear audio—especially the spoken word—more clearly, without having to turn up TV volume.”

The aesthetic design of the systems is starkly minimalistic. Users may be taken back at the SoundBase systems’ frank, box-like appearance. Marked by only dials and black matte, users would quickly forget it’s there; with a number of the SoundBase products measuring under 30” x 15” x 4”, and lacking stylistic frill, users may even mistake the devices for a book left idly by the television.

But make no mistake: the distinction is in sound rather than sight.

In fact, because of its reductive design it is extremely easy to set up and use. This allows users a quick and simple transition into high fidelity sound without worrying about the hassle of setup and accommodations.

Although SoundBase does not support any form of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi streaming, it does support iPod plugins and the like through a small jack. Purchasing external products such as a Bluetooth receiver is simple as all ZVOX systems have various inputs: check Amazon for under $20 deals.

SoundBase products range from $199 to $499 and accommodate for an array of television dimensions and specifications. (Take a look at this site for a price breakdown based on different TV dimensions: www.zvoxaudio.com/cms/products/Products/1.html.) SoundBase recently announced a price drop with most of their systems ranging from $199.99 to $399.99, a great deal for quality products. While $199 may seem like a lot to spend on what would otherwise be considered an auxiliary appliance, many user reviews suggest that, for those in the market, the price is worth its weight.



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