In history it is rarely the inventors of something who perfect it. Just look at England, the country that invented the modern game of soccer but has only won the World Cup once in its 85-year history.
Zvox invented the sound base concept -- a squat, platform-based speaker that your TV sits on -- way back in 2003, but it has been eclipsed by companies like Pioneer and Sony.
That isn't to say that the Soundbase 350 is a bad product because it's not. This budget performer is easy to use and sounds decent. It also includes Bluetooth streaming for added convenience, and it will beat the pants off any portable speaker in its $249 price range.
While the Pioneers and Sonys of the world are flashier and better performers, the Zvox will still appeal to budget-conscious buyers who need a little help deciphering TV dialogue.
The Soundbase 350 is fairly small as sound bases go, measuring only two feet across. It can support TVs no larger than 42 inches and weighing as much as 50 pounds.
The design is the same as the company has used since the dawn of the decade. It's a black, rectangular box with a little tab on the bottom right-hand side. This tab contains the minimalist controls -- power, volume +/- and input -- above which sits an orange four-character display that activates only when the remote is in use.
The remote itself is a credit-card-style model that includes all of the necessary keys, including buttons for the Accuvoice and Output Leveling mode. It tries to give a nod toward ergonomics with a beveled back, not to mention a mute and volume control on the bottom.
For an entry-level sound base, the Zvox offers a goodly assortment of capabilities, including the all-important Bluetooth wireless connectivity,.
The Zvox SoundBase 350 is a 3.1-channel system that includes drivers for left, right and center, plus a "subwoofer" hidden underneath.