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Zvox Accuvoice AV200 TV Speaker review: Can't hear the words on TV? Try this Zvox speaker

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The Good The Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker makes dialogue definitely louder and more intelligible than standard TV speakers. The metal cabinet feels sturdy, and the large display is easy to read.

The Bad It sounds like a small speaker, and it's not recommended for music replay. There's no Bluetooth capability.

The Bottom Line The Zvox AccuVoice is great for folks who have trouble hearing the TV, but doesn't sound as good as the competition.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 8

If regular soundbars aren't discreet enough for you, maybe you want a "mini" soundbar. Zvox, JBL and Polk have all released feet long speakers this year, designed to improve your TV's audio. Think of them as the missing link between Bluetooth speakers and full-strength sound bars.

The Accuvoice tries to separate itself by targeting people with hearing loss. The result is sound that's less well-rounded than its competitors, especially for music listening. The Accuvoice focuses primarily on the human voice, and does it well.

If you're frustrated by trying to hear the tinny voices coming out of your television, a speaker like this might be just what you're looking for. If you crave excitement from your small sound bar, however, better choices are available.

Design

zvox-av200-accuvoice-tv-speaker-08.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

To use a "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" analogy, if the Zvox SB500 is Mike Teevee at the start of the movie, then the Zvox Accuvoice is what he becomes at the end -- the same cowboy, just shrunk to an almost impossibly small size (oops, spoiler).

The 17-inch-wide Accuvoice TV looks almost identical to its larger self, with an understated but attractive brushed aluminum chassis and a black steel grille. The large orange LED display is the same, and the right side still houses rubberized controls and a bass port. In a world of plastic competitors, the Zvox's build quality is second to none.

The remote control is the same that ships with other Zvox speakers, a little credit card that isn't especially ergonomic. Most people will just use it for setup however, then use the TV remote to control volume, so it doesn't really matter.

Features

zvox-av200-accuvoice-tv-speaker-09.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The AccuVoice uses the same "hearing aid technology" found in larger Zvox speakers, which "mimics the function of a hearing aid by isolating voice frequencies and lifting them out of background sounds."

The Accuvoice comes with a number of sound modes apart from the eponymous dialogue-boosting feature, including virtual surround. If you want more bass than the small unit can generate the speaker comes with a combined headphone/subwoofer output.

zvox-av200-accuvoice-tv-speaker-07.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

Unlike competitors, the speaker lacks Bluetooth capability, but it does come with two other inputs, a 3.5mm analog minijack/optical combo and a full-sized optical port. The latter is the one most likely to be connected to your TV.

Hear, here!

Switching the AccuVoice processing on and off, we certainly heard a difference. Dialogue in the middle of the battle scenes on the "American Sniper" Blu-ray, for example, was easier to follow. Voices were louder and crisper, but on the other hand sounded distinctly less natural. So if you have a hard time following dialogue, turn AccuVoice on, otherwise leave it off.

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