ZVOX SoundBase 670 Home Theater Sound System
Sound bars have become popular alternatives to multiple speakers not because of what they do (i.e., create sound) but because of what they don’t do — require speakers connected by wires to an amplifier and take up a lot of room. But sound bars have their own problems in that there has to be room in front of the TV if it’s on a cabinet, has to match the size of the TV in order to look “right” and often blocks the IR receiver panel the TV’s remote needs to connect to. But what’s the alternative?
The alternative is the ZVOX SoundBase 670 Home Theater Sound System. Physically it’s less a bar and more a box, since the shape is rectangular and made such that it can be placed beneath a TV (50″ to 65″ being ideal as I see it) flat panel’s lightness being a defacto factor these days). By doing so it removes all the issues of blocking the TV’s IR, as well as negating its own silouhette taking precedence over the picture. Continuing with the physical, there’s but few connections on its back — these are primarily for adding other devices’ audio outputs (as in 2 optical and a coaxial and RCA). But as far as the main input goes, the output of the TV goes into the 670 though a single connection. This takes very little time to set up; the main issue being whether the output has to be activated from the TV’s menus or not (which also deactivates the TV speakers in most cases).
Continuing the physical, the inside of the 670 consists of electronic circuitry that can play as standard stereo or activate a virtual surround sound field. Also active is Bluetooth reception for streaming from a mobile device and the ability to level out loud commercials. All of this plays into a group of speakers — 3 for left, right and center — plus 3 subwoofer drivers. That both eliminates the need for a separate sub as well as providing the low frequencies that work to enhance the overall sound quality. And since the 670’s cabinet is spacious, it has the room to accommodate the above-mentioned speakers, along with a 105 watt amplifier.
The final physical comment is the cabinet itself. As noted above it is large enough to contain the 5 main and 3 sub speakers, which are of reasonable size. But it’s also worth noting that it is made of real wood (MDF), which also helps to improve upon the sound in a way that plastic enclosures can’t do.
The next thing to report on is how the 670 sounds — which is of course its sole purpose and the sole reason to get it. We’ll pass over the Bluetooth streaming since that involves the variable of low-resolution audio files and get right down to watching TV and movies. TV first.
IT’S THE AUDIO
Most TV broadcasts lean heavily on voice — the people talking, the dialogue. Compared to most flat panel speakers, the 670 stands far above in rendering these frequencies cleanly and clearly. A fancy way of saying it sounds good, yes, but the addition of the bass melds in well with the higher frequencies that the cabinet puts out. The overall result is that you can hear what is being said over background music and ambient noises both on set and in the room the 670 is inhabiting. And that doesn’t require pushing up the volume either. As to movies, I played Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray of “Horrible Bosses 2” (sending the sound directly from the player to the 670) and had no complaints. The overall sound field was stable in that the voices rose above the music easily and competently (i.e., no straining to hear what the actors were saying) and those sound effects and such requiring sufficient bass to make their presence known was taken care of in spade. And while not a fan of pseudo surround effects, the enhanced ambience that was created had a pleasant and realistic “feel” to it, thanks in part to the speakers themselves and also to the construction of the cabinet.
IT’S THE OVERALL QUALITY
The ZVOX SoundBase 670 Home Theater Sound System provides a quality sound that makes it a valid choice for use with a TV — especially a big one that demands a sound system equally as “large” in its ability to drive audio. The retail price of $499 is conservative and well worth paying for as the means for creating the audio portion of one’s home theater.