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ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

Powered single-speaker sound system and platform for flat-panel TVs

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  • ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

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  • ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

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  • ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

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Item #: 729ZB550HD
 

Review Summary

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Original price $349.99
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Our take on the ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

by Kristen Schaub
ZVOX

Sound bar speakers: room-filling sound with less clutter

Add big sound to your TV without a roomful of speakers. Sound bars require minimal space and wiring, and their sleek designs complement today's flat-panel TVs. Most sound bars have their own built-in amplification, so you won't need to use a home theater receiver. Some models use advanced surround processing and carefully aimed speaker drivers to simulate the effects of a full home theater audio system.

Here's a foolproof way to upgrade your TV sound. Building off the success of their earlier ZVOX Z-Base models, ZVOX takes your listening to a new level with the Z-Base 550 HSD. This compact, pedestal-shaped speaker features two digital audio inputs, enabling it to receive 5.1-channel surround signals from select over-the-air broadcasts or from your Blu-ray or DVD discs. You'll enjoy clean sound that's surprisingly robust for such a compact, low-profile speaker.

Everything you need in one box
This one-piece system houses five full-range speakers, a high-output woofer, and built-in amplification — there's no need to use a separate receiver or run wires to any external speakers. The 550 HSD is designed to serve as a base for most flat-panel TVs with screen sizes from 26" to 50". Place it directly underneath your TV and you won't have to worry about making room for it on your entertainment stand. Control the Z-Base from your favorite chair with the included remote. Signal-sensing circuitry powers the system on and off along with your TV.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • video-shielded
  • serves as a platform for most flat-panel TVs from 26"-50"
  • TV base should not exceed 27"W or 13"D, and TV should not exceed 90 lbs.
  • PhaseCue virtual surround sound
  • frequency response 45-20,000 Hz
  • built-in 60-watt (peak power) amplifier
  • five 2" full-range speakers
  • 5-1/4" woofer
  • 1 optical digital and 1 coaxial digital audio input
  • 1 stereo RCA input
  • RCA output for connecting an optional powered subwoofer
  • auto on/off
  • remote control
  • rigid MDF (medium density fiberboard) cabinet
  • 28-1/16"W x 3-3/8"H x 15-13/16"D
  • weight: 20 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Enclosure
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Bass Reflex
Pieces in System
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1
Color
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Black
Tweeter
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2" Cone (x5)
Midrange
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---
Woofer
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5.25" Cone (x1)
Separate Subwoofer
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No
Subwoofer Driver
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Not Given
Bluetooth Connectivity
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---
Wall-mountable
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No
Mounting Bracket Included
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No
Surface Mount Stand Included
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No
Speaker Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Speaker Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Amplifier Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Amplifier Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Specifications
System Frequency Response
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45-20k Hz
Powered System
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Yes
Sound Bar RMS Power
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---
Subwoofer RMS Power
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---
Audio Inputs
Mini Stereo Audio Inputs
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None
RCA Stereo Audio Inputs
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1
Optical Digital Audio Inputs
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1
Coaxial Digital Audio Inputs
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1
HDMI Audio Video Connections
HDMI Inputs
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None
HDMI Outputs
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None
Dimensions
Sound Bar (inches)
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3-3/8H x 28-1/16W x 15-13/16D
Sound Bar Weight
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20 lbs
Subwoofer (inches)
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---
Subwoofer Weight
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Not Given
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • ZVOX Single cabinet surround system
  • Wireless remote control
  • 2 AAA Batteries
  • AC adapter with attached 6' DC output cord (19 volts DC/3.15 amps)
  • 5' AC power cord
  • 6.5' Audio cable (Stereo RCA plugs on both ends)
  • Instructions

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The ZVOX Z-Base550 HSD is a single-cabinet audio system for use with TVs, iPods and other MP3 players, and PCs. It combines high-quality speakers, a built-in amplifier, a built-in subwoofer, and ZVOX PhaseCue virtual surround sound processing to give you an easy surround sound solution. Since there are no speaker wires to deal with, you just need to connect the power and audio cables to get started.

Placement: Most 32"-50" flat panel TVs can be placed directly on the Z-Base550 HSD. The TV should be 90 pounds or less and the base should not exceed 26" wide x 14" deep.

PhaseCue: The proprietary PhaseCue virtual surround sound system manipulates the phase of the separate channels to fool the ear into believing that sound is coming from a variety of sources throughout the room. You can control the size of the sound stage and the amount of virtual surround effect using the included remote control. Dynamic soundtracks from movies and live recorded music programs provide a rich, 3-dimensional sound, while the surround effect is somewhat less with TV programs and newscasts. Note: While the surround experience isn't the same as a high-quality 5.1-channel system, the performance is much better than the speakers built-in to most TV's.

Speaker Configuration: The ZVOX Z-Base550 HSD uses five Ferrofluid cooled 2" main speaker drivers with neodymium magnets. The drivers use the Infinite Compliance system, which connects the outer two speakers with an acoustic tube, to create a big sound from a small cabinet. The speakers are magnetically shielded, allowing the unit to be placed near a CRT TV or monitor.

Subwoofer: In addition to the five main speakers, the Z-Base550 HSD has a down firing high-mass, long-throw 5-1/4" subwoofer in a ported enclosure. An optional powered subwoofer can be connected via the single rear-panel RCA output. The subwoofer output is full range.

Power Output: The ZVOX Z-Base550 HSD has a built in 60 watt amplifier that drives all of the speakers.

Cabinet: The ZVOX Z-Base550 HSD has an MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) wood cabinet.

Auto Power: The Z-Base550 HSD has an auto power on/off circuit. The power automatically turns on when an audio signal is sensed (the power LED changes from green to blue). When you turn off the audio source, the Z-Base550 HSD's power will automatically turn off after approximately three minutes with no signal. There is also a power button on the remote to override the auto power circuit and a master power switch on the back panel.

Inputs/Outputs: The ZVOX Z-Base550 HSD has three inputs on the rear panel; stereo RCAs, coaxial digital (single RCA), and optical digital (Toslink). The digital inputs will accept either 2-channel PCM or Dolby Digital bitstream signals. A single RCA output allows you to connect an optional powered subwoofer.

Remote: The included remote has controls for power, mute, volume, PhaseCue effect level, subwoofer output, and treble level.

 
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ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD Reviews

Average Customer Review:

21 people say:

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Filter by rating:
5 out of 5

Sounds great and easy to use!

Written By Neil, Chicago, IL on Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I rent an apartment and really couldn't use a traditional multi-speaker surround sound system, but when the speaker on my TV started to die I had to find something. And what I found was perfect for my needs. It was so easy to set up, and is just as easy to use. There are multiple settings for the different kinds of shows (i.e., music, live sports, "regular TV," movies), so everything sounds great.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

Written By Jim, Maryland on Monday, May 16, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great upgrade over the internal TV speakers. Simple set up. Very nice sound
overall. Only negative is having to use a separate remote to adjust volume. It's not
a surround system so don't expect it to act like one.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

One Box and No Mess

Written By Duffer, Vienna, WV on Thursday, May 05, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is not a hi-fidelity replacement for a media room system. It is an excellent
choice for a simple to install sound solution for a small room. I installed the
ZVOX in my master bedroom under the 32" flat panel. It fit inside the cabinet so
we can close the doors, yet provides excellent sound in the small space.
Connections could not be any simpler. One thing to note: The volume of the
ZVOX is adjustable through your TV remote if you connect to your TV output via
RCA connections. If you connect with an optical cable you will need to adjust
volume using the ZVOX remote. Considering the quality of the product, the
tradeoff is negligable.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Not bad for what it is

Written By Kmars, Chicago, IL on Monday, April 11, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Purchased this for use in my bedroom along with a new 50" panasonic
plasma. To put my review in perspective, my other TV is in a family room with a
much more expensive sound system. I realize I cant compare this zvox to that
but those are the two tv's that I have. First off, the tv speakers are absolute
junk, so I was very happy that I had the zvox at the same time otherwise my new
tv excitement would have been a bust! The zvox gives a much fuller sound and
directs the sound towards the viewer vs stock speakers that fire downward.
The bass is ok but remember, you should only expect so much from that size
box; cant change physics. Nice feature is you can easily use the remote to
change the bass level which is great if kids are sleeping. Sound is nowhere
near what a full system provides but is good provided you keep things in
perspective. The zvox doesnt take much room, is simple to install, gives much
better sound quality than the stock tv speakers and has a nice feature of
altering bass output with the remote. Given the size and use in a bedroom, I'd
definitely recommend this unit!
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

ZVOX Z-Base HSD50

Written By SherryW, Las Cruces, NM on Monday, March 07, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased this soundbar to go with my first LCD television (a 32 in. Sony Bravia).
I'm a minimalist regarding television and not into home theater, but I do want quality
sound for music if it's being broadcast through the television (PBS concerts, etc.).
The ZVOX fits the bill perfectly - it sounds like you have multiple speakers - a very
rich and full sound - but with the tidiness of just one piece. When I connected my
iPod Touch to the TV and streamed a movie, I noticed that the PhaseCue setting
with the ZVOX soundbar really does a great job of simulating surround sound. The
music I've listened to sounds rich, full, and with a lot of nuance to the the ear. If the
music is softer, there is no degradation in the sound with the ZVOX - something that
can be difficult to achieve with soundbars.

I have the soundbar running with an Audioquest optical cable connected to the TV. I
have my iPod Touch plugged into a small Gefen analog to digital adapter that is
plugged into the ZVOX's digital coaxial input in case I want just music from my iPod
or to use its' "sleep pod" function.

I highly recommend the ZVOX HSD50 if you want quality sound but don't want all the
drama, clutter, and expense of a home theater set up. Crutchfield, as always, carries
quality products from a variety of vendors and their service is unmatched.
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1 out of 5

Multiple Remotes Required

Written By JimmyMac, Atlanta on Monday, March 07, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This unit did improve the quality of the sound compared to our Panasonic's speakers; but considering the price, it wasn't really worth it in my opinion. A big problem was that neither Crutchfield, the Dish Network, nor the ZVOX technical reps could figure out how I could control the volume from my Dish remote. Also, the volume changes dramatically between HD and regular digital chanels - it literally drives you out of the room when switching from a HD to a non HD channel. Very disappointed :(
2 out of 4 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

Written By Ed, Chula Vista, Ca. on Thursday, February 24, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Well worth the money, it's not 5.1 sound but close and there are no wires.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Fast and Easy Upgrade

Written By JT, Canon City, CO on Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this unit for two reasons. First, since our Samsung 42" LED flat screen TV is not wall
mounted, we needed a sound bar under the TV without interfering with its remote signal.
Second, we wanted enhanced sound without a large multi-piece surround sound system. The
Z-Base 550 SHD is a perfect fit for our needs. The platform supports our TV without any strain
and elevates it about 3 inches. Set up was a snap using the optical digital cable. For us the
phasecue is a real plus, allowing us to enhance the dialogue often lost in movies. At times, I
need to use my Sony wireless headphones; I was concerned that connecting optical digital
cable might cancel the audio-out port on the TV. However, both can be used at the same time
without any sound loss. This is a good replacement for the tiny built-in speakers on a flat
screen television. Unit arrived on time and securely packaged. If you can live without the wall-
cracking bass of a surround sound system, you should be happy with this unit.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

Written By DougJ, Jacksonville, N.C. on Saturday, February 12, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very satisfied. The cabinet design is great. It is a great addition to the 42" Panasonic
(plasma) that I recently purchased. EZ set up. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Delivers What It Promises

Written By Mitchell, Amelia, OH on Sunday, January 30, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was looking for better sound than the television's built in speakers could provide, and that's exactly what I got. While you won't mistake it for surround sound, this product provides good sound performance and is very simple to set up.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

ZVOX HSD 500

Written By walkman666, New York, NY on Friday, November 26, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
In use with my new 42" LCD. The convenience factor is huge. It's also true
plug and play. It is a strong niche product - neat install, attractive,
discrete, and strong build. The remote is solid. It is clean sound that
reminds me of a good mini-system (but not as good as my Audioengine A2s). Audio
for TV and movies is much richer, cleaner, and has more soundstage via the
phasecue settings, vs the TV's speakers. Should have visual indicators for
subwoofer, treble, volume and phase settings. Good service.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A Great Little Box!

Written By Larry B, New Bern, NC on Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Because of mixed reviews and my poor experience with an earlier version of htib, I was not
expecting the great sound this box delivers. Mine sits on a wooden shelf anchored at 6
points so the downward pointing sub creates deep bass resonating throughout the room.
The other ranges are simply amazing given the size of the box. This is much, much better
than the sound from my stock Samsung TV. I like that I can enhance music channels while
toning everything down for simple dialog. The setup of my DTV and Harmony remotes
was easy. This is a nice piece of equipment and well worth the dollars.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Much better sound

Written By JohnW, Clarksville, TN on Saturday, October 23, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Better than I anticipated for the money. I'm reviewing to post some info for DirecTV users.

I'm using the optical out on my 32" Samsung to the ZVOX 550HSD and setting my tv speakers to external and I'm assuming you already have your tv set up on the remote.

To use the volume control on your DirecTV RC23 remote to control the ZVOX 550HSD:
* Press MENU on remote.
* Select "Parental, Favs and Setup"
* Select "System Setup"
* Select "Remote"
* Select "Program Remote"

Select AV1 and Audio Equipment, choose any brand but use the following code: 10030
(I found this code under the Candle TV codes after reading a forum post that this ZVOX might respond to Candle codes)

You can then make this device the default for the volume control when the slider is on DirecTV by MUTE+SELECT until the light flashes twice and enter 993, Select.

Slide the remote to DirecTV and it should still power on/off your tv and the volume controls the ZVOX.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Better than TV speakers but not strong

Written By ET, Memphis, TN on Saturday, October 09, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I wansn't expecting a true surround sound but was still expecting more than what this soundbar offers. This system is definately better than listening to your TV through it's own speakers; however, a surround experience with adequate bass it is not. I would say this is an average soundbar but the reason for considering would be other reasons such as size and the ability to use the box as a TV stand.
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5 out of 5

Exactly as Advertised

Written By Anonymous, New York, New York on Saturday, September 25, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Perfect. This device looks and acts exactly as advertised, and the sound is great.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Exceeded expectations!

Written By DHC, Overland Park, KS. on Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First of all there is no such thing as a "single-cabinet surround sound system" as the
the box for the Zvox 550 HSD proclaims. With that said I must admit that it surpassed my
expectations. I connected the 550 HSD to my 42" Sharp Aqous using the digital optical
input and after figuring out the Variable audio option on my TV it was setup. The sound
field can be adjusted using the phase cue feature and it does give you a sense of
sounds coming from the sides. However at no time did I mistake it with a true 5.1
surround system. The 550 does a great job with the mid and high frequencies without
distorting at higher volumes. The built in subwoofer does produce clean tight bass but
don't expect a 5.5 inch woofer to shake the house. After a few days I added my 12"
yahama subwoofer to the 550 HSD and the sound is now phenominal. I now have a
great sound system without having to run wires and mount speakers throughout the
room. I am very pleased with the purchase.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD

Written By SmithSW, Red Lion, PA on Wednesday, August 04, 2010
 
Connecting to a flat screen led television took less than 5 minutes. The sound coming from my led television was "tinny", and I could just not get the right sound out of the tv speakers. After connecting the ZVOX and making adjustments to the treble & subwoofer, the sound is now more "rich & deep" coming from the television. I am very pleased with this purchase.
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5 out of 5

Great Sound, Great Look

Written By Anonymous, Washington, DC on Thursday, June 10, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
For a small space, you can't beat this system. Great sound without all the wires and satellite speakers. And, it looks great.
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3 out of 5

It is just okay

Written By Randy, Chatham, NY on Saturday, March 27, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
It isn't bad...just not impressive. For example, using the remote is crazy making...no indication of what is being accomplished. The LED on the front worked for 5 minutes. Now neither green or blue appears on the front. The subwoofer is a joke. The sound is better than the TV speakers...but not much better. The ad information is misleading. The only product I have purchased from Crutchfield that I am unhappy with...after more than nearly 20 years as a customer. Oh well...live and learn.
8 out of 9 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

MK Carlson

Written By MK Carlson, Naperville, IL on Thursday, March 11, 2010
 
Excellent complimentary audio product for our 1080p T260 26" Samsung in the
bedroom armoire.

Using the Optical connection brings the sound quality up to the level of the HD picture.

Knowledgable service and speedy delivery from Crutchfield is impressive as well.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Very good product!

Written By ripkor, Grand Rapids, MI on Saturday, February 20, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Easy to set up and looks great. Remote is ok but recommend a universal. Sound is good but not as loud as most surround systems. So far I am very happy with my purchase.
3 out of 5 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the ZVOX Z-Base 550 HSD, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_729ZB550HD/ZVOX-Z-Base-550-HSD.html ).