By Don Lindich
Week 43, 2021
Q. I bought a ZVOX AV357 TV Speaker based on your recommendation and the special promotion. It is hooked up to the 40-inch TV in the basement where I exercise, and it is working great!
I am considering adding a subwoofer and trying to stay under $100 if I can. I emailed ZVOX and they recommended the $66.95 Monoprice 8-inch powered subwoofer and $149.99 Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch powered subwoofer.
Do you think adding a subwoofer is a good idea? Are these choices or would you recommend anything else? What wire will I need to connect the subwoofer to the ZVOX AV357?
-B.F., Waterville Valley, NH
A. Adding a subwoofer would certainly enhance the sound of movies and TV shows with action. If you are watching news programs or talking heads on TV, a subwoofer is unlikely to be of much benefit. Room size is also a factor in the decision, and helps determine how big of a subwoofer you will need. Generally speaking, more bass is a good thing as long as it is well-controlled and accurate bass. In fact, when you go up a speaker model line the main difference is the amount of bass response and how loudly the speakers can play without distortion. For example, readers are familiar with the Polk Legend L100 speakers I have written about so frequently and praised so effusively. (The L100 is a spectacular deal right now at $799, by the way.) As you go up the Legend series to the bigger L200 and L600 speakers the sound is almost identical to the L100 except for the amount of bass and maximum clean output. In fact, I was told by Polk that the L100 was developed first and the bigger speakers in the Legend line were derived from it afterwards.
Both of the subwoofer recommendations provided by ZVOX are solid choices and I would not hesitate to purchase either one of them. You are going to be adding bass either way so if you want to stay under $100 the Monoprice unit should be fine. If your room is very large or you want to really feel the bass when watching action movies, then the PSW100 is worth the extra money.
Both subwoofers have stereo RCA inputs and the AV357 has a 3.5mm miniplug subwoofer output, so you will need an RCA-to-3.5mm cable to connect them. The cables are readily available online and should not cost you more than $20.
Since you mentioned the AV357 TV Speaker, this is a good time to tell everyone this is the last call for the special promotion. ZVOX extended it one more week given the logistics problem that briefly caused them to sell out. Regularly $349, the speakers is on sale for $299 and the code SAVE357 reduces the price by $100 to $199, with free shipping.
Q. We bought the HOTT CD903TF CD player and are now looking to buy a nice sounding, small Bluetooth speaker for it. The room is 12×15 feet and we would like to stay under $200. What do you recommend?
-W.B., Milwaukee, WI
A. I thought long and hard about this and if it was my 12×15 foot room and my $200, I would buy a pair of Soundcore Flare+ speakers and pair them in stereo mode to the CD player. This gives you separate left-right stereo speakers and will fill the room with lovely sound just short of a component stereo system. Thank you for this question that led to a simple and cost-effective wireless system recommendation!