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ZVOX Adds 4th TV-Audio System

5/07/2007 01:32:00 PM Eastern

Swampscott, Mass. — The fourth in ZVOX’s series of single-box TV-audio systems is the company’s first wall-mountable system intended for use with flat-panel TVs.

The ZVOX 425 is due on the second or third quarter at a suggested $599 direct from ZVOXaudio.com and through specialty retailers, who can buy direct or through distributors.

It joins the TV-top $199-suggested 315, the $349 325, and the $199 Mini. All incorporate amplification and multiple speakers in a single cabinet with one-wire connection to a TV’s audio output. Built-in PhaseCue technology widens the sound stage and delivers a virtual surround-sound effect from Dolby Surround-encoded TV, VHS or DVD soundtracks. The devices, however, aren’t designed to deliver a full 5.1-channel effect because they don’t incorporate a 5.1-channel surround decoder.

Although other single-cabinet surround systems are on the market, ZVOX claims its model is the only one that doesn’t need a separate subwoofer to deliver deep bass. The 7-inch by 37-inch by 5-inch cabinet, made of medium density fiberboard (MDF), incorporates two long-excursion 4-inch side-firing subwoofers to deliver bass down to 35Hz.

The system’s other drivers consist of three 3.25-inch full-range mono speakers, driven by a dedicated amplifier, and two 3.25-inch full-range speakers, which use PhaseCue technology to widen the sound stage to approximately that of separate speakers 10 feet apart, the company said. A signal-sensing auto on/off circuit automatically turns the unit on when a TV connected by minijack cable or RCA cables is turned on. A small remote controls volume, on/off, mute and PhaseCue effects. A front-panel input connects to iPods, portable CD players, and other sources with a headphone jack.

Grilles are available in black or silver.

PhaseCue widens the sound stage by feeding right-channel information plus out-of-phase left-channel information to the right driver, while the left driver gets left-channel information and out-of-phase right-channel information. Users can vary the amount of out-of-phase material supplied to the left-right drivers.

When Dolby Surround-encoded TV, VHS or DVD soundtracks are reproduced by the systems, listeners will be able to hear surround effects, the company said. Surround effects will sound more enveloping, he added, when connected to TVs featuring built-in Virtual Dolby Surround.

All products are designed by Winslow Burhoe, noted speaker designer for Acoustic Research and KLH when they were leaders in high-performance speakers. He also founded speaker maker EPI.

The 315X and Mini are targeted to owners of home theater systems who want improved TV-sound in bedrooms, kitchens, and other small rooms without adding large boxes or wiring up lots of speakers. They’re also touted as a way to enhance the sound of game systems and PCs and deliver quality sound from an un-amplified satellite radio tuner or personal headphone stereo.

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