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First Look: Zvox Z-Base 550

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First Look: Zvox Z-Base 550

2:00 /

In addition to delivering solid sonics, the Zvox Z-Base 550 sets itself apart from competing single-speaker units with the unique capability to double as a stand for your TV.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> I'm John Falcone from CNET.com and we're taking an in-depth look at the Zvox Z-Base 550. This unit is a single speaker home theater speaker that doubles as a bass for your TV. From the front it looks like just another sound bar, but viewed from the side you can see that it's almost 15-inches deep. That extra depth and the built-in 5.5-inch subwoofer allow the Z-Base 550 to produce a fuller bass-rich sound that delivers a lot more bass than all the other sound bar speakers we've seen to date. Yes, you can hook up a powered sub, but because the bass is so good you don't have to. In keeping with Zvox's keep-it-simple mantra the Z-Base 550 doesn't have any buttons or control at all on its rear or front panels. You access volume and other controls via a small credit card-style remote. Connectivity covers just the bare basics: Two stereo RCA analog inputs and a subwoofer output. We wish Zvox had included at least one digital input that would have fill things out a little better. The emphasis here is on clarity versus fancy surround effects. We find the dialogue to be impressively natural and clear, but the PhaseCue control allows you to increase the fullness of the sound. Treble in subwoofer volume are also adjustable. On the downside, the Z-Base 550 can only handle a TV that weighs 90 pounds, so jumbo screen models need not apply. Also, the unit has no built-in controls, so you'll need to make sure you don't lose that remote. On and off however the $500 Zvox Z-Base 550 is a good choice for anyone who doesn't like the underpowered speakers on their flat screen TV just to make sure that TV weighs less than 90 pounds before you buy this unit. I'm John Falcone for CNET and this is the Zvox Z-Base 550.

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