Connecting to Portable Audio Devices

How Bluetooth, iPods, iPads, iPhones and Androids Work with ZVOX Systems.


There are literally hundreds of iPod®/iPhone®/iPad®, Android® and Bluetooth sound systems on the market. Many of them are very small, stylish and affordable. But stylish as they may be, most of them don't sound very good -- and many are dreadful.

ZVOX systems, on the other hand, sound very good (see review quotes below). And you can connect a ZVOX system to your iPod and your TV, so you get great sound from both devices.


Why we don't build Bluetooth into our systems.

Bluetooth technology was originally created to provide a wireless connection for an earpiece/microphone to a cell phone. As a result, most current Bluetooth systems offer limited sound quality and – unfortunately – spotty connectivity. We have yet to test any Bluetooth system that reliably sounded good without annoying music interruptions.

But because Bluetooth is built into most iPods and smart phones, it’s a really convenient way to connect to an audio system. And Bluetooth systems are getting better all the time. So if you want wireless audio connectivity, we suggest connecting a small Bluetooth receiver to one of the inputs on your ZVOX system. You can buy a decent one for between $23 and $60. Then, if a new-improved model comes out, you can replace it – without having to throw out the entire sound system.


Why we don't build iPod docks into our systems.

We like the convenience of iPod docks. But the connectors can be sensitive and sometimes break. That's why we recommend external docks --it's a lot simpler to replace a $50 dock than to throw away an expensive sound system. We highly recommend Apple's® iPod dock. At $59.99 (plus power supply) it does pretty much everything you need.





How ZVOX is different from those cute little Bluetooth and iPod systems.

We've heard some decent-sounding dedicated iPod and Bluetooth speaker systems...and a bunch of awful ones. Most of them are designed for great looks, not great audio. Here's how ZVOX does it differently:

  • Wood, not plastic. Most iPod audio systems are made of plastic. ZVOX systems are made of wood -- medium density fiberboard. The same material most audiophile-quality loudspeakers are made of.
  • Great bass. All ZVOX systems use high-quality built-in powered subwoofers. But we don't just make bass – we make deep, musically-accurate bass. Our designer, Winslow Burhoe, is one of the industry's leading experts on bass performance and subwoofers. When you listen to a ZVOX system you'll hear the result of over 50 years of designing high-quality speakers.
  • Small box...big sound. Our PhaseCue virtual surround technology makes your music sound like it's coming from a big component audio system. We don't know of any small system that sounds as big as a ZVOX. Plus if you watch videos on your iPod, ZVOX will deliver virtual surround sound.
  • Musical accuracy. Making a realistic, high-fidelity audio system is part science, part art. To do it right takes a lot of experience and a lot of fussing, fussing and fussing. Each ZVOX system is the result of thousands of hours of research, development, experimentation and....fussing. You really have to hear it to believe it. ZVOX systems make music sound like music.


What The Critics Say About ZVOX and iPod:

"The ZVOX speaks for iPod Nation in a single voice. Plug in the iPod and get the party started…it plays amazingly loud. It has a particularly pleasing tonal balance too. Music sounds like music."
- Chicago Tribune

"The system from ZVOX Audio has at least one advantage over most standard iPod speaker sets: it creates virtual surround sound and accepts audio inputs from just about anything, including televisions and game consoles. The ZVOX is notable for its speaker technology, called PhaseCue. The device has three speaker drivers and one subwoofer inside, and can digitally mix the signals from each speaker to create a sort of sonic dance that makes the audio sound bigger, as opposed to just louder, as the volume is increased. The result is like listening to speakers placed eight feet away from each other - a sound that may even entice iPod listeners to forgo those space-age speaker sets sold in the Apple store."
- The New York Times.

"ZVOX provides more treble detail as well as slightly better imaging and a much wider overall soundstage — more than any other one-piece system mentioned here."

"Give your iPod a sonic boost! If you are looking for a high-performance audio system for your iPod, the ZVOX is a must-have! I tested the ZVOX by playing music from my iPod. The ZVOX is amazing in its performance, simplicity, and price. Once you try it, you'll be amazed and wonder how you managed without it!"

"Of items that take advantage of iPods, the best I've heard come from a company called ZVOX. If you want to hear what your iPod really sounds like, I highly recommend ZVOX. They sound amazing."
- Gary Krakow, MSNBC

"The ZVOX sounds great. I was stunned by the sound put out by this little box. The treble detail and midrange are both excellent, revealing the most delicate details without sounding tinny or harsh, and reproducing female voices as well as any portable system we've seen. Its bass response is also surprisingly good. In fact, "balanced" is perhaps the best way to describe the ZVOX. lt provides a relatively flat frequency response and sounds excellent with pretty much any type of music. In fact, I haven't heard a speaker system for the iPod that sounds this good for this price.

The ZVOX also outclasses every other one-piece system we've heard in terms of soundstage and imaging. ZVOX's PhaseCue technology is designed to simulate the ambience and sense of space you'd get by listening to a live performance (or at least a system with separate left/right speakers), and it works exceptionally well. In fact, when I had the ZVOX set up in my listening room—in between my home stereo speakers, which are placed on stands approximately 8 feet apart—a number of people mistakenly thought the ZVOX's music was being produced by the left and right speakers. At the same time, individual instruments—for example, a saxophone in a jazz ensemble—remain distinctly placed in space, so you don't get the sort of fake "surround sound" produced by less effective processing.

The ZVOX is highly recommended. Unmatched sound quality for the price; excellent build quality; easy setup; relatively small size."
- Macworld

"The iPod will sound best when connected to the ZVOX."
- Men's Journal

"An audiophile-quality system...just add iPod."
- Michael Fremer, Stereophile

"You can plug the all-in-one box ZVOX into your iPod with a single cable. The sound was balanced and clear."
- Boston Globe

"The ZVOX outclasses pricier iPod speakers we've heard....The ZVOX spread the sound of the phantom left and right "speakers" two to three feet to the sides. The believability of the illusion was superior to those of most single-speaker virtual surround systems we've tested. Dialogue was natural sounding, without the hollow processing effects we sometimes experience with other virtual surround speakers. And the bass? As far as single-speaker systems go, it's bigger and all around more powerful than any of the other systems we've heard, including the far more expensive Yamaha YSP-series speakers."

"There are a ton of small speaker systems developed for iPod on the market now. Unlike most of the iPod clan of speakers, the ZVOX isn't made of plastic. It's constructed of MDF (medium density fiberboard), which is better acoustically than plastic. The Phase trick involves mixing both in-phase and out-of-phase signals, the result creating the illusion of listening to several larger speakers rather than just one small one. The digital music sounded surprisingly powerful."
– E-Gear

® Apple and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.


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