The Good Zvox's biggest ever single-speaker audio system; five 3-inch drivers; two 4-inch subwoofers deliver enough bass to forgo a standalone subwoofer; super simple setup and operation.
The Bad Only three stereo-only audio inputs; no digital inputs, surround decoding, or video switching; lacks the dynamic oomph of an equivalently priced 5.1-channel speaker system.
The Bottom Line The single-speaker Zvox 425 TV speaker system delivers excellent overall sound on movies and music and pumps out ample bass from its built-in twin subwoofers--but at this price, we'd like to see more inputs and some digital connections as well.
Editors' note: The rating of the Zvox 425 has been changed since publication to better reflect its value compared to competing home theater systems.
Zvox makes nothing but TV speakers, and the advantages of specialization are amply evident in the newest model, the 425. At 37 inches wide, it's the biggest ever Zvox--and perfectly suited for pairing with a large, flat-screen display or rear-projection TV. Like its smaller brothers, the ultimate Zvox doesn't come loaded with useless features and gizmos and retains the company's focus on producing great-sounding single-speaker units that are easy to hook up and use. How easy is it? The "owner's manual" is a single sheet of paper! The Zvox 425 uses five 3.25-inch drivers to create an immersive, room-filling sound and two 4-inch woofers that provide enough bass that most buyers likely won't feel the need to add a separate subwoofer. The big speaker sounds equally impressive on movies and music, without a hint of the artificially processed sound we've heard from so many virtual-surround speakers. So what's not to like? The 425's focus on simplicity means it offers only three stereo-only audio inputs while it eschews digital connectivity and surround processing altogether. In other words, anyone with a more sophisticated home theater system (those with four or more AV sources) will still want an AV receiver--or a well endowed TV--to handle switching duties. The Zvox 425 retails for $700 and is available at Zvox's Web site (Zvoxaudio.com).