I viewed Bad Boys to check out the Z-Base 550’s performance on sounds recorded both inside and outside. The film serves as a useful test, with lots of dialog and action from real and familiar things (cars in this case) and from real but unfamiliar things (exploding ether and propane tanks). Here are some of my observations:
I also tried CDs from Cat Power and Jefferson Airplane to check delicate jazzy sounds and power rock, with the following findings:
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).
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