The ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker Makes Voices and Dialog Clear

The ZVOX Audio AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker reviewed

Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker Placement Example
Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker Placement Example. Image provided by Amazon.com

Despite all the advances in home entertainment audio, one recurring annoyance is the inability for many to get a clear sounding vocal dialog when watching TV, Blu-ray, DVD, or streaming content. Although there are ways you can improve the situation using a home theater receiver, ZVOX Audio has come up with a simpler, more affordable solution for those that just want to enjoy a comfortable evening watching TV without fussing with a home theater system.

Building on their experience as a pioneer in sound bar audio, ZVOX is offering up another product variation, the AV200 AccuVoice TV speaker.

Although similar to a sound bar in physical design, it is much more compact and easily fits in front of most TVs without blocking the bottom portion of the screen. Also, if the TV is wall mounted, the AV200 can be wall mounted, either above or below the TV.

What makes the AccuVoice TV different, besides its small size, is that it has a dedicated purpose - to make voices clear. Although primarily designed to be used with a TV (as illustrated in the above photo), you can also access audio from other devices, such as Blu-ray and DVD players, and, for music-only listening, you can even connect a CD player.

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The ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker Package

Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Package Contents
Photo by Robert Silva for Lifewire

The ZVOX AccuVoice AV200 TV Speaker comes with everything you need to get started.

In addition to the TV speaker, as shown in the above photo, the package also comes with a detachable power cord, wireless, remote control, 1 digital optical cable, 1 stereo mini-to-mini (3.5mm) cable, 1 stereo mini-to-RCA cable, quick start guide, user manual, and warranty card.

The core features of the AV200 include:

  • Physical Design: Aluminum cabinet with left, center, and right channel 2 x 3-inch full range speakers.
  • Dialog clarity using hearing aid technology (ACCUVOICE): This feature emphasizes human vocals and dialog sound clearer against other sounds. When audio frequencies associated with the human voice are detected, they are automatically boosted so that they sound clearer to the TV viewer/listener.
  • Phase Cue virtual surround processing (SURROUND) - provides a wider surround sound listening experience for movies - but disables the AccuVoice function. However, there are three surround sound level settings that provide varying emphasis on dialog presence - just not as pronounced as the AccuVoice setting.
  • Output Leveling (OL): Enhances the listening experience by evening out volume spikes (such as the difference between commercials and regular programming), as well as making the voice/dialog levels more even with the rest of the sounds that may be present.
  • Audio Input Options: 1 digital optical, 1 3.5mm analog stereo (also doubles as a second digital audio input for devices that use the mini-jack connector instead of a digital optical connector).
  • Audio Output Options: One Subwoofer/Headphone line output (3.5mmm connection) - Tips for using a subwoofer in the Audio Performance section of this article.
  • Control Options Both onboard and wireless remote control options provided. Also compatible with many universal remotes and some TV remotes access to basic functions (Volume, Mute, and Power).
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How To Set Up The Zvox AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker

Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Connections Close-up
Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Connections Close-up. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire,

Setting up the ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker is very easy.

First, it is very compact (17 x 2.9 x 3.1 inches) and light (3.1 lbs). It can be placed below the bottom edge in the front of most TVs, or it can be wall mounted (pads are provided for shelf placement and screw holes are provided for wall mounting).

However, before you place the AccuVoice TV speaker in its final location, you need to connect your TV, or audio sources to the unit.

Fortunately, the audio inputs and outputs are recessed so that both shelf and wall mounting is practical. If you are using the AV200 just with your TV, you have two connection options (digital optical - preferred) or RCA-to-3.5mm mini-Jack (OK too). In both cases (as mentioned previously) both cables are provided.

Also, if you have a Cable Box, Blu-ray Disc, or DVD player, you can also opt to connect the video source from those devices directly to your TV and use either digital optical or RCA-to-3.5mm mini-jack options to send audio only directly to the AV200.

Whether you want to connect everything directly to the TV, and use the TV to send audio to the AccuVoice TV Speaker, or split your audio and video connectivity from your source devices to between the TV and AV200 is your choice - do what is most convenient for you.

Also, in addition to its audio input options, the AV200 also provides an interesting audio output connection that can accommodate either a set of headphones or a subwoofer.

Obviously, the headphone connection provides a convenient listening experience when you don't want to disturb others, but the subwoofer output option provides you the opportunity to add a little more "oomph" to that movie viewing experience.

The only problem is that if you want to use a subwoofer, you have to unplug the headphones or vice-versa, which means that you have to reach behind the AV200, not too convenient if it is wall mounted.

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Audio Performance

Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Remote
Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Remote.

Photo by Robert Silva 

For audio testing, AV200 was used in conjunction with a Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV and OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Disc player.

For TV-only listening, the digital optical output of the TV was connecdted to the AV200. For Blu-ray Disc listening, we opted to split the video and audio output signals from the Blu-ray Disc player (HDMI to TV - Digital Optical to AV200).

In terms of audio output, we had no problem hearing clear sound in a 15x20 room at a seating distance of about 6-8 feet. ZVOX states the power output for the AV200 as 24 watts (no test parameters given) for the total system. The power output supplied seemed more than adequate - especially since AV200 was not called upon to output extreme low frequencies.

Using the audio tests provided on the Digital Video Essentials Test Disc, we observed a listenable low point at about 60Hz to a high point of at least 15kHz (my high-frequency sensitivity drops off at about that point). However, there is audible low-frequency sound as low as 45-50Hz. Bass output is strongest at just below 70Hz

ZVOX rates AccuVoice TV Speaker as having a 68Hz - 20kHz frequency response, so my real world listening test results were not that far off.

We found the AccuVoice feature used in the AV200 was quite effective bringing out vocal presence. However, it can also add some brittleness on the higher frequencies, depending on the content.

For those that may have some hearing loss, the AccuVoice feature performs its function very well - Vocals and Dialog are definitely brought forward and are very distinct from other sounds that are present. If you don't mind sacrificing lower frequencies (this is where adding an inexpensive subwoofer would help), AccuVoice appears to be a great solution for those that have trouble hearing voice tracks on TV programs.

Turning off the AccVoice feature, the rest of AV200's audio capabilities worked well, and other than the much smaller form factor, just they do on ZVOX's other sound bar and sound base products.

Using the surround modes, there are varying degrees of voice emphasis, but the overall voice emphasis is not as pronounced as it is when AccuVoice is engaged. In other words, there is a tradeoff - when using AccuVoice, you can get extreme vocal emphasis, which may be desirable for those that need it or prefer it, but when you engage the surround sound modes, you get a fuller overall soundfield, but the voice emphasis is not as pronounced.

Also, the Output Leveling feature does a good job of evening the sound levels between normally loud and soft elements. Home Theater purists actually frown on this type of feature because it compresses the dynamic range of what the program or filmmaker intended, but the AV200 is not targeted to that customer base - so for those that just want to hear everything without turning the volume up and down periodically, the Output Leveling feature does the job.

With regards to audio decoding and processing, it is important to point out that although the AV200 does accept a Dolby Digital signal, it does not accept incoming native DTS-encoded content.

In a case where you are playing a DTS-only audio source (some DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and DTS-encoded CDs), you should set the digital audio output of the player to PCM if that setting is available - another alternative would be to connect the player to the using analog stereo output option.

On the other hand, for Dolby Digital sources, you can simply switch the player's audio output settings back to bitstream if you are using digital audio connections between the player and the AccuVoice TV speaker - whichever you prefer.

Using an External Subwoofer

One additional option is using a subwoofer with the AccuVoice TV Speaker. The most appropriate subwoofer we had on hand was the Polk Audio PSW10. As a result of this experience, consider the following:

  • First, go with an inexpensive subwoofer of compact size and modest output.
  • Second, do not set the subwoofer output level too high, as it will overwhelm the modest power output of the AccuVoice TV speaker (once set up, the volume control of the AccuVoice TV speaker will change the volume of t both the subwoofer and TV speaker output while keeping the relationship between the two the same.
  • Third, set the subwoofer crossover between 80-to-100Hz to provide a smooth transition between the frequency range of the subwoofer and the AccuVoice TV speaker (you may have to experiment).
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The Bottom Line

ZVOX AV200 Accuvoice TV Speaker
Image provided by ZVOX Audio

Here is the final rundown on the ZVOX AV200.

Pros

  • Compact and easy to install and set up - Excellent User Guide.
  • The AccuVoice feature provides excellent vocal and dialog presence.
  • Very good overall sound quality for form factor and price.
  • Wider soundstage when PhaseCue surround processing is engaged.
  • Large, easy-to-read front panel status display
  • Accepts Dolby Digital encoded audio signals.

Cons

  • Activating Phase Cue virtual surround sound deactivates the AccuVoice feature.
  • Narrow form factor limits effectiveness of Phase Cue surround sound feature.
  • Does not accept DTS-encoded audio signals.
  • No built-in Bluetooth capability, but you can connect a Chromecast Audio device into the analog audio input and stream music from a compatible smartphone or tablet.
  • No HDMI pass-through connections.

The ZVOX AccuVoice TV Speaker definitely delivers what it promises - Clear voice reproduction is a godsend not only for those that may have varying degrees of hearing impairment, but those that are just simply bugged by TV, DVD, and Blu-ray discs that have vocal tracks that are just too subdued.

Just incorporate AccuVoice TV Speaker into your setup, turn on the AccuVoice feature, set your volume control once to your liking, then just sit back and enjoy.

On a star rating scale from 1-to-5,  give the ZVOX Audio AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker 4.5 stars.

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