ZVOX Z-Base 550: big sound, small package
November 26, 2008 Running with the theory that bigger isn't always better, ZVOX has crammed a complete home theater sound system into a compact cabinet measuring 28" wide x 14.5” deep x 3 3/8” high that doubles as a minimalist base platform for stand-mounted flat panel TVs. Within this small footprint the Z-Base 550 incorporates five 2" full-range speakers, a 5.25" powered subwoofer, 60W amplifier and virtual surround circuitry with only one connection required to the TV for a simple set-up.
The unit is made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) and finished in hand-lacquered high-gloss black with a scratch-resistant black vinyl top to accommodate TVs weighing up to 90 pounds.
The system is magnetically shielded so it can be used near a TV or monitor and uses the PhaseCue virtual surround system which, although not quite a match for high-end 5.1 systems, cleverly mimics the effect of "listening to speakers eight feet apart from each other" according to ZVOX.
Two “mixing” inputs are included at the rear of the unit (i.e. if two devices are connected and playing, you will hear both devices) along with one front-panel mini-jack input (3.5mm) for use with portable audio devices and a subwoofer output jack on the rear for those who want to gain some extra grunt by adding a separate powered subwoofer.
“As the prices of flat-panel TV’s have come down, more and more people are buying them, however fewer and fewer mount them on walls,” explained ZVOX founder Tom Hannaher. “The Z-Base 550 has been designed specifically to address this trend in the marketplace—our extensive research indicates that the Z-Base 550 will accommodate almost all of the top-selling flat-panel TV’s between 32" and 47" in diagonal measurement,” Hannaher stated.
The ZVOX Z-Base 550 has an MSRP of USD$499.99.