The home theater paradox is a relatively new fad when compared to the impressive lifespan of the cinema theater, or drive-in theater. As VHS broke down the barriers of where you view your films, quality of both picture and sound were still lagging far behind. With the advent of DVD’s we saw a significant boom within the Audio/Video section of our local electronics peddler. Folks could now have paralleled film quality, and sound– yet their setups were reluctant to change as the built-in TV speakers of yesteryear hung on for dear life.

Enter the hazardous world of speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, and assorted paraphernalia. Seemingly impossible to differentiate to the layman who simply wants to feel like they’re at the theater. The ZVOX Z-Base 550 has provided this simplistic, quality option to those less inclined to obsess over minor faults of tweeters and the like.

The 550 can replicate the sounds of a 5.1 set up with apparent ease, flooding the room with a pure, tonal sound that is impressive for a bar sitting under the television display. This sound bar is the perfect entry into a developing home theater, the inputs are all designed for direct connection to a television and lack HDMI input.

The cabinet contains five 2-inch full range speakers along with a high-output 5&1/4 inch subwoofer. The use of ZVOX’s own PhaseCue virtual surround system to craft a broad soundstage that mimics true surround so well is applaudable.

The Z-Base 550 is a valid alternative. The perfect choice for a small apartment, and an option that won’t get snickers from your audio-inclined pals. Enjoy as they stand 90 degrees from the 550 and continue to look behind themselves. No, really dude, there’s nothing behind you.

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