Editors' note: The rating of the Zvox 325 has been changed since publication to better reflect its value compared to competing home theater systems.
Over the past few years, the market for single-speaker music and home-theater systems has grown by leaps and bounds, and it now includes offerings from Yamaha, Cambridge SoundWorks, and Polk. One of the first speakers to catch our fancy, the Zvox 315, is still available and priced at $199, which makes it a remarkable value. The Zvox 325 reviewed here is similar but offers more power, a bigger internal subwoofer, and a remote control--which makes it a little easier to hook up and use. It retails for $350.
The Zvox 325 measures 5 inches high and 17 inches wide and deep, which is about the size of a typical five-disc carousel-style DVD changer. The solidly constructed medium-density fiberboard cabinet feels strong enough to easily support the weight of a modest-size flat screen or direct view TV--although we'd probably recommend against it. The 325 comes in suedelike black or silver finishes. Peering through its curved, perforated metal grille, we spotted three 3.25-inch full-range drivers, and inside the cabinet is a 4-by-6-inch subwoofer.
The 325 was designed to hook up to the headphone jack on, say, an iPod, or the stereo audio outputs of your TV, PC, radio, CD player, and so on. There are three total inputs; the rear panel houses two minijacks, including one dedicated input and one that can either be used as an input or an output to a powered subwoofer (Zvox includes all of the necessary cables to hook up standard red-and-white audio outputs to its minijacks). A third minijack input on the front is available for quick hookup to an iPod, an MP3 player, or a game console. The front panel input, when active, automatically mutes the rear panel inputs, so it doesn't lend itself to keeping components permanently connected.
The little 3.4-by-1.6-inch remote has just three buttons: volume up, volume down, and mute. It ramps the volume up and down a little too quickly for us, but we eventually got the hang of it. The previous Zvox model, the 315, didn't come with a remote, so it's nice to be able to make adjustments from the couch--especially the emergency mute. Other controls on the unit itself include a master power switch and a woofer volume control for the internal woofer. The large wall-wart power supply looks like it means business.