PROS / PhaseCue II technology offers good simulated surround sound.
CONS / At 45 watts, the ZVOX 420 possesses subpar power output.
VERDICT / The ZVOX 420 generates convincing surround sound, but it doesn't produce the "big" sound that its competitors do.
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ZVOX speakers have not always been synonymous with sleek, appealing design. The ZVOX 420, however, is an attractive and streamlined 3D sound bar that offers an affordable alternative to a more-expensive and space-consuming multi-speaker surround sound set up.
When we compare it with other 3D sound bars, the ZVOX 420 has a power output of 45 watts and lacks the amplification of many of its competitors. While this lack of power may, on the surface, seem troubling, it doesn't necessarily mean that the ZVOX 420 won't be loud enough for your needs. For example, if you live in a small apartment or dorm room, the speaker bar should provide sufficient and pleasing volume. However, in most settings, the volume of sound produced from the ZVOX will be a bit thin and underwhelming.
In an effort to create the sensation of surround sound, ZVOX employs the use of its proprietary PhaseCue II virtual surround system. PhaseCue II produces a wide sound stage, creating the illusion that you are receiving sound from both the side and behind you. This technology is actually quite effective, especially considering the fact it is not capable of generating true 5.1 channel surround sound.
Two of the more interesting and beneficial features incorporated into the ZVOX 420 sound bar are Dialog Emphasis and Loud Commercial Control. Dialog Emphasis utilizes hearing aid technology that produces crisp voices for movies as well as music, while Loud Commercial Control instantly lowers commercial volume.
To control the ZVOX 420 remotely, you must program your own remote control, such as a TV remote, cable remote, satellite receiver remote and so forth. The programming is simple and takes less than a minute.
The ZVOX 420 allows for multiple connectivity options, including a front-panel 3.5mm input for connecting MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices. Also included are two RCA inputs – one optical input and one coaxial input. You have the ability to select the input via the remote control or using controls located on the bottom portion of the sound bar.
You can contact help and support via telephone or email with your questions, comments or concerns. The ZVOX website also features helpful FAQs that address a host of product questions. A one-year warranty is included with the purchase of your ZVOX sound bar.
While the ZVOX 420 offers convincing simulated surround sound and an assortment of connectivity options, of its limited power output will be a concern for many. If you are seeking a sound bar capable of producing big sound, you may want to read other 3D sound bar reviews and find one with more wattage.