Zvox AccuVoice AV157 review: A hearing aid you plug your TV into

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Zvox Audio would favor you name its new AccuVoice AV157 soundbar a “listening to” product relatively than a “dwelling theater” or “audio” part. Just about anybody will discover that it sounds considerably higher than the utilitarian audio system constructed into the common tv, however the audience is individuals with impaired listening to. Of us who stress out when watching TV. Who pressure to listen to voices over the background music and sound results in films and TV reveals. Who frequently drive different relations (and generally neighbors) nuts by cranking the quantity to “eleven,” but nonetheless asking “What did he simply say?”

I’ve taken care to protect my very own listening to, hardly ever cranking headphones past 90dB, and hanging out behind golf equipment. However it’s all however unattainable to keep away from dropping some listening to acuity as we age. And I think that’s why I generally have hassle selecting out the dialogue in motion flicks when there’s a significantly revved up musical rating and sound results competing for consideration. Or once I watch reveals populated by significantly accented Brits. For those who’re considering “I do know what that’s like,” you’ll discover this 2.8-pound, 17 x 3⅜ x 2⅞-inch (WxDxH) soundbar to be a stress reliever—perhaps even a wedding saver—that’s simply value a $300 funding.

This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of one of the best soundbars, the place you’ll discover critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to contemplate when looking for one of these product.

zvox av157 with box and remote Jonathan Takiff / IDG

The packaging tells you precisely what the Zvox AccuVoice AV157 is all about.

After I plugged the AccuVoice AV157 into my TV and sat down to observe the 4K Blu-ray version of High Gun, I didn’t miss a phrase of dialogue regardless of the frequent roar of fighter-jet engines. Nor have I missed any of the sly, under-the-breath jokes working rampant within the Netflix comedy/travelogue collection Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father, or HBO’s fast-talking Final Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Equally telling has been testing simply how low I may set the quantity (notch 4 out of 30) and nonetheless suss out dialogue on my bed room TV. That’s a helpful enhancement for anybody’s late-night viewing, since sensory overload can disturb your subsequent sleep, to not point out that of the numerous different sharing your mattress chamber.

Whereas not geared up for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi streaming, the AccuVoice AV157 is the primary Zvox soundbar to be “Alexa Prepared.” You may join any Amazon Echo sensible speaker or show with a 3.5mm analog-audio output to this speaker and use it both in tandem with a TV supply or as an alternate content material supplier. Ask Alexa for sport outcomes, a climate forecast, or to play some music and the AV157 will quickly squash the TV’s sound till Alexa has accomplished its process.

accuvoice rearpanelZvox

The AccuVoice AV157’s rear panel gives two inputs—Toslink optical and three.5mm analog—and one 3.5mm analog output to attach both headphones or a subwoofer.

I’ve additionally had enjoyable enjoying with Zvox’s PhaseCue digital {surround} processing, which creates surprisingly dramatic, room-filling results from this diminutive field using onboard Dolby Digital decoding, a 24-watt (12 watts per facet) Class D amplifier, and three 2 x 3-inch full-range drivers. Scary stuff was flying throughout me whereas taking in Physician Sleep and Alita: Battle Angel. How is that this magic carried out? When one in every of three ranges of {surround} processing (labeled “Sd 1-3”) is activated, out-of-phase left-channel data is distributed to the appropriate speaker, whereas out-of-phase right-channel data is fed to the left speaker, and the summed left + proper channels play by the middle speaker.

The AV157 is definitely the fifth soundbar-style speaker within the Zvox line to use a patented expertise known as AccuVoice that pushes voices ahead within the combine and more and more sharpens their edges as you crank up the labeled “AC” setting from 1 to six.

The brand new mannequin takes this processing six steps additional with a “section two” algorithm known as SuperVoice (recognized on the show as “SUP”), which super-serves the person experiencing extra critical listening to loss. The best degree of AC, and most SUP ranges, are way more shrill/shrieky than I can tolerate, frankly. But when I reside lengthy sufficient, I’d come to understand what’s occurring right here. Tellingly, the circuitry and sound-shaping for this product has been guided by Tom Powers, former chief audiologist at Siemens for 30 years. For those who’ve purchased into his expertise in a pair of Siemens listening to aids, it in all probability set you again $3,000 to $4,000. (Powers is also engaged in Zvox’s $399-a-pair listening to aids and noise-reducing headphone merchandise.)

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