Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of an overkill for my computer room., February 27, 2010
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This review is from: ZVOX 525 Low-Profile Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Note that speaker selection is highly personal and subjective, and one should audition a speaker system before buying, if possible (meaning, don't solely rely on someone's opinion, especially mine). And let's face it, one-box audio solutions aren't for the vast majority of people. Fortunately, Zvox allows a 30-day audition period. If you don't like it, send it back on their dime. When one thinks about it, listening to a system at your convenience and in your own home environment is much better (and obviously a more accurate and complete test) than listening to a system for an hour at a high-traffic retail store (although you have to pay for the system and wait to get your money refunded should it not meet your expectations). Also remember that Zvox systems are 2.1 stereo systems, not 5.1 surround sound systems.

I looked at several very promising computer speaker systems before I opted for this Zvox (M-Audio, Audioengine, Razer and Logitech). I was replacing a pretty decent Monsoon 2.1 system that had gotten long in the tooth (it's now supplying sound to my older computer). My decision was made because I knew exactly what to expect from Zvox, while the other systems were unknowns (although all received generally very good to excellent professional and amateur reviews, and all seem like they would do a good job -- matter-of-fact, I probably would have been satisfied with any of them). And while the Zvox was a bit more expensive than most of the others I was considering, I wanted to stay within what I already knew. I also like how the 525 looks and fits on my desktop. It's a sleek looking unit.

This is the second Zvox sound system I have purchased. The other model is the 550 and I use that with my HDTV in the family room. Since both Zvox models use identical speakers and the same 60 watt amplifier, and both have the same quality MDF construction (no plastic), they would naturally sound very similar (although the 550 is a bit more robust because of its larger enclosure size -- over 300 cubic inches larger). One can look at my review of the 550 for details and understand how the 525 system performs. This model has all the positives and negatives of the 550, except I don't have to mess with a direct line-of-sight, credit-card-sized remote. Zvox changed these remotes since I purchased my 550 (although the new remote isn't exactly what I consider a great improvement, other than it is not as restrictive in its line-of-sight).

I find it a bit disconcerting that Zvox doesn't publish the frequency response of this system, but I suspect it can go down to around 50 Hz ... Note: I just emailed their customer service and they stated it goes down to 48 Hz (the 550 is rated down to 45 Hz). Because the room it is in is smaller (about 800 cubic feet vs 1800 cubic feet where I have the 550), it can be overpowering at times. And since my iMac sets on top of this magnetically shielded speaker system, I'm in much closer proximity than I am with my 550, which leads to some unexpected results.

Of interest is my PhaseCue setting. I had to turn this down drastically. The expanded sound stage seemed completely false due to the fact one expects a certain amount of separation when in close proximity to a computer's stereo speakers (hearing sounds far off to my left and right were a bit troublesome to me). Of course, if I were sitting 6 to 8 feet away, a larger PhaseCue setting might be in order.

I rate this system the same as my 550, a solid 7 out of 10, or a 4-star rating (actually, a bit better than 3-1/2 stars), even though my 550 has a deeper bass response (but I like that the 525 is smaller, which was an advantage to me in this particular situation). I'd rate these systems a bit higher if Zvox ever puts out a good remote with a better layout, and allows the user to select the treble, bass and PhaseCue with something other than blinking LED lights as a guide (I'm not holding my breath). Make no mistake, sound-wise, these are very good and accurate systems that pack some surprising punch, and are rated highly by professional reviewers. Plus, these are a breeze to set up (I'm talking minutes). And while I am using this for my computer room (admittedly an overkill), I feel it would be better served in a family room environment, as long as the room is not too large.

Note: If you are looking for a more robust deeper end, these systems are a snap to add any powered subwoofer you may choose (it takes one RCA cable to hook up your sub ... although it does take time and experimenting to set the sub location and crossover point).
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 22, 2011 5:19:15 AM PDT
"And let's face it, one-box audio solutions aren't for the vast majority of people."
I would say the opposite. Most people would rather not deal with multiple pieces of equipment and having to hide cables all over the room. I'm guessing you meant a vast majority of audiophiles?
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