In the soundbar world, plenty of companies offer dialog enhancement modes aimed at making speech easier to understand, but few companies are as laser-focused on this aspect of TV audio as Zvox.
Its latest product, the $300 Zvox AccuVoice AV157 TV speaker, takes the company’s existing AccuVoice “hearing aid” technology and then levels-up the dialog enhancement with its new SuperVoice technology.
If AccuVoice is all about making it easier to understand on-screen actors by making their voices easier to hear, SuperVoice, Zvox claims, performs the exact opposite function on the background noise of a given scene, forcing it further into the background where it competes less with the dialog.
Between these two technologies, you get 12 levels of dialog enhancement — six levels for each — which is six more than Zvox’s previous best speaker, the AV155.
AccuVoice may sound like marketing-speak, but it’s the real deal — Zvox uses the same technology in its line of Food and Drug Administration-approved hearing aids.
In keeping with Zvox’s previous TV speaker models, the AV157 isn’t geared toward typical soundbar features like HDMI ARC connections or Dolby Atmos. Instead, it keeps things relatively simple, with an optical connection, a 3.5mm line-in jack for audio sources like phones or iPods, and 3.5mm output that can be used for headphones or a subwoofer connection.
But just in case you’re concerned that it might lack the ability to deliver on big sound, Zvox assures us that the AV157’s three full-range drivers and PhaseCue virtual surround technology can deliver “room-filling 3D sound from one small cabinet.”
Cleverly, the AV157 brings voice enhancement to more than your TV. If you own an Amazon Echo speaker like the Echo Dot, you can connect it to the AV157’s line-in jack, and when Alexa responds to your voice commands, the Zvox speaker will automatically lower its own volume so you can better hear what Alexa says when she responds.
The AV157 comes with its own slender remote control and has a large, easy-to-read LED display that hides behind the speaker grille. It lights up when you make changes to the settings via the remote.
We’ve covered Zvox’s technologies in the past and the company’s AV200 currently sits as our pick for the best soundbar for dialog, but as soon as we get a chance to review the AV157, we may decide to update that recommendation.