ZVOX: The Best Soundbase Audio System
What Is A SoundBase? And Which Is The Best SoundBase For Me?
A SoundBase is a complete home theater sound system installed inside a cabinet that is both wide and deep, but not very tall. Most people place a SoundBase on a piece of furniture – and then place their TV on top of the SoundBase. The SoundBase design provides an elegant alternative to wall-mounting one’s TV and sound system. Because the typical SoundBase is quite wide (24” – 42”) and quite deep (11.5” – 16.5”) they have a lot of internal space – so there is room for larger speakers than in the typical soundbar.
ZVOX invented the concept of the SoundBase in 2008. And ZVOX holds the registered trademark for SoundBase in the U.S. and many other countries.
Does One SoundBase Size Fit All? Probably Not
There are a number of brands offering SoundBase style home theater systems, but virtually all of them (except ZVOX) offers only one size – usually about 27” wide x 14” deep x 3-4” tall. These units are fine for most 32” – 40” TVs, but they’re often too small for larger sets. ZVOX offers SoundBase systems in widths of 24”, 28”, 30”, 36” and 42”.
Does Your TV Have A Pedestal or Feet?
TVs with a center pedestal-style stand almost always work well with SoundBase home theaters. But in the last few years a number of TVs come equipped with a pair of V-shaped feet located at both ends of the TV. These V-shaped feet are often very far apart – so be sure you measure the width of the feet and compare it to the width of the SoundBase system. You want the SoundBase system to be at least 1” wider than the width of the feet.
Features - Which Ones Are Important?
Virtual surround sound. Some SoundBases are simply stereo speaker systems, while others include technology allowing them to replicate surround sound effects, without external speakers. A good virtual surround system creates enveloping three-dimensional sound.
Dialogue enhancement. New Hollywood mixing techniques.often result in dialogue that is very difficult to understand. And many people with minor hearing impairment have difficulty understanding voices on TV. The AccuVoice system developed by ZVOX uses hearing aid technology to make dialogue clear, even at low volumes.
Center speaker or no center speaker. Most SoundBases don't have a center speaker -- crucial to balanced sound and dialogue clarity.
Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth lets you stream music from your phone or tablet to your SoundBase. Bluetooth was was considered a crucial feature, but more and more TVs and media players (like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast) provide access to music streaming services, making Bluetooth a less important feature.
Wifi audio streaming. A number of SoundBase systems include wifi streaming functionality that lets you stream high fidelity music. This functionality allows a SoundBase to integrate with a multi-zone wifi sound system. There are two drawbacks to built-in wifi streaming. 1. You become committed to one technology choice. If you want to switch to another kind of wifi system later on, you need to buy a whole new SoundBase system. 2. Technology changes fast. If a new kind of system comes out, you may want to switch to it -- which means you need to buy a new SoundBase system. ZVOX systems simply offer multiple inputs that allow you to connect a small external wifi connector. Our current favorite is the Google Chromecast Audio dongle ($30). Connect it to any ZVOX SoundBase and you've got a "smart" sound system.
The most important feature - sound quality.
Unfortunately, many base-style home theaters on the market are not high fidelity sound systems. They are designed to hit low price points and deliver "hot button feaures." All sizzle. No steak. So we recommend you read reviews, stick with known brand names, and be sure to get return privileges so you can test it in your own home.(And yes, the SoundBase 670, one of our best selling systems, was named "Top Pick" by Sound & Vision magazine.)
ZVOX Is The Leader In SoundBase Home Theaters.
We invented the base-style home theater system in 2008. We still build the best SoundBases, and we have more models in more sizes than any other brand. Click here to see all ZVOX SoundBase systems.