Zvox AV357 review: Premium soundbar improves your TV’s voices

Are you putting up with indecipherable dialogue on your Television? There are numerous answers to countering weak audio, but shopping for a new soundbar is a superior place to start out. Massachusetts-based organization Zvox nearly invented the soundbar, and it can be been refining its types in the almost 20 many years due to the fact. After a detour into listening to aids, the organization has been making use of what it uncovered to develop its line of AccuVoice speakers, which incorporates anything from the entry-amount ZV100 ($a hundred) to this new flagship AV357 soundbar — which lists for $350 but is on sale right now at $three hundred. 


  • Lots of voice modes and EQ customizations
  • Voices audio normal and additional easy to understand
  • Convincing amounts of bass for songs

Really don’t Like

  • Paying a quality for wooden about aluminum
  • Significantly less attributes than the phase-down
  • Minimal inputs
  • Costly

With its MDF development (that’s engineered wooden for individuals unfamiliar with the acronym), the AV357 is both greater and additional appealing than phase-down versions. Options are pretty sparse — there isn’t Bluetooth streaming — but its efficiency is over and further than what you would assume from the sizing.

That mentioned, as opposed to other soundbars at this rate point, the Zvox lacks a great deal of attributes. Rivals conquer it handsomely for will have to-haves like superior connectivity and usability — as does the Zvox AV257, which is at the moment out of stock. But at the end of the working day, the AV357 is effectively-constructed and makes Television dialogue and songs audio superior than any tv by yourself.

What is it?


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The Zvox AV357 is a one, 24-inch soundbar made to make improvements to dialogue from your Television. It isn’t going to offer you Bluetooth, HDMI or other standard fripperies but it does have 12 levels of voice enhancement. Some soundbars have a one dialogue manner, if they’re lucky, so this implies the AV357 is very configurable in comparison.

The device offers six levels of AccuVoice boost, furthermore an additional six levels of SuperVoice accessed by using the remote’s AccuVoice button. SuperVoice is made to lessen history sounds and boost dialogue even even further. Other audio modes contain a volume leveling manner (for loud commercials), PhaseCue virtual encompass and bass and treble controls.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Zvox has just two inputs: an analog and an optical digital. The analog input permits consumers to link a Television or an Amazon Echo for automatic muting when issuing commands. The bar alone is coated in a comparatively appealing black ash veneer and actions 23.seventy five inches vast, four.19 inches deep and 2.seventy five inches superior. I was making use of a pretty very low-slung Westinghouse Television through my testing and uncovered that the soundbar did block its IR port. If that’s a issue for you, there sadly is not a wall-mounting possibility (even though you could possibly discover a 3rd-celebration solution).


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

You can method your TV’s distant to command the speaker’s volume levels or use the included distant, which has a quality really feel to it and substantial buttons to aid folks with very low eyesight. (It permits you to accessibility the speaker’s additional attributes, even though it would have been wonderful to increase a SuperVoice button due to the fact this is not clear without consulting the manual.) Alas, not like other Zvox speakers I have tested, the AV357 isn’t going to have controls on the device. This could be an issue if, like me, you misplace the distant and will need to change down the audio in a hurry.

The soundbar is powered by a 24-watt Class D digital amplifier — just like the AV257 — and a enhance of 3-inch, entire-assortment speakers. If you want additional bass oomph, there is a blended headphone and subwoofer output.

Personally, I like the attributes of the AV257 to the AV357 as it offers both the excess optical-analog input and has controls on the device. It can be also $eighty much less expensive. While I haven’t listened to the AV257, the other key differences are the AV357 is a great deal wider and it attributes wooden development. The improved physical volume most probably contributes to the bass excess weight that I listened to. But could I inform the soundbar was wooden and not aluminum by on the lookout at it? Not seriously. It was a black blob in front of the Television. I essentially like the exclusive, brushed look of Zvox’s aluminum soundbars to the AV357’s rather pedestrian black ash.

How does it conduct?

When setting up the AV357, I desired to tweak the audio to get it just how I needed. It was not quite prepared to go out of the box — possibly due to it making use of an analog Television resource as an alternative of digital. For occasion, I desired to lessen “Lo” by 2, or bass drums sounded free and floppy. Also, AccuVoice settings 2 and over ended up loud and far too ahead and bright — not superior for songs. Last but not least, when established in SD 3 (Surround 3) manner, the soundbar was able of a vast more than enough soundstage and bass for songs. 

In my earlier experiences with Zvox soundbars, one particular of the company’s consistent strengths — in addition to wonderful dialogue — has been the amount of money of bass the model can squeeze out of a compact cabinet. Of training course, this implies a great deal of driving-the-scenes sign processing, and I uncovered this could direct to some weird conduct. Bass-heavy songs could pulse in and out to the conquer, for instance. 

Luckily, this was significantly less of an issue with the AV357. While I did see delicate fading results on the sparse spoken-phrase interlude of Fucked Up’s Yr of the Horse Act 1, I only listened to it after through my week with the speaker. Even Alt-J’s notoriously speaker-destroying 3WW did not overload the cabinet with its deep bass bed — at the very least, not following pulling back again the bass command beforehand.

With even further songs listening I uncovered Foals’ What Went Down was specifically fulfilling. It can be a cliche, but I seriously did test to see if the Vizio V21 was on as the bass seemed far too deep, far too tuneful to be from the Zvox’s small enclosure.

As you would assume, given the company’s key pitch, the Zvox was superior with voices than the Vizio V21 (our present-day spending plan most loved). The AV357 supplied enhanced detail, reminding me of audiophile-quality loudspeakers, and it was specifically able of deciphering gritty British cop shows like Line of Obligation. 

The AV357 offers so a lot of tailored options that it encourages tweaking, but individuals can be taken far too considerably. Based on the manner, you may perhaps discover that midrange heavy sounds become unnatural (e.g., Supermode 2 and 3 accentuated turning bedsheets in John Wick), creating them audio like they’d been sitting down out in the frost right away. Also, at AccuVoice’s best levels the brighter audio could be uncomfortable for household users who you should not will need a great deal guidance with listening to voices.

As you would assume, the Vizio ran rings all-around the Zvox for household theater pleasure. All through Avatar’s thanator chase scene, the thump of the Vizio’s wi-fi sub enhanced the drama. Meanwhile, the Zvox came off a tiny skinny crystal clear, but skinny. What I did not assume was the Zvox’s dynamics. It may perhaps not be in a position to pump out bass, but if you you should not use the volume leveling element, the AV357 handles dynamic shifts effectively — like the quiet jungle sounds of Pandora damaged by gunfire.

Need to you acquire it?

Zvox is not the only organization creating dialogue-bettering soundbars: Polk, Samsung and Vizio all offer you versions with voice enhancement, even though they offer you tiny in the way of tailor made configuration. The Zvox AV357’s six levels of voice command are one thing no other soundbar organization can offer you. But if you seriously will need AccuVoice, there are much less expensive Zvox soundbars that also contain it, including the $a hundred AV100. 

The additional costly SB500 and SB700 also contain AccuVoice in addition to Bluetooth, and the SB500 is a great deal greater (creating it well worth the excess $eighty). It also has a range of onboard controls if you cannot discover the distant. 

Options and development aside, the AV357’s key attraction is its audio efficiency: It can be one particular of the clearest, most dynamic soundbars you are going to discover in a small enclosure. Its efficiency belies its sizing, as it is able of excellent clarity and a deceptively deep bass. It can be also shockingly superior with songs. Getting produced of wooden is one particular of its the very least fascinating traits.