Surround sound from soundbar systems, charging rates for devices via different USB connections (Week 41, 2022)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 41, 2022

Q. I bought the ZVOX AV355 and it is doing very well improving dialogue while providing high overall sound quality. Regarding your report on the Rocketfish Wireless Rear Speaker Kit, can I use it to connect surround speakers to the AV355? What is your advice on the best way to do this while minimizing the clutter of a remote amplifier and two extra speakers?

-K.A., Minneapolis, MN

A. The Rocketfish Wireless Rear Speaker Kit is not intended to be used with a powered soundbar system. If you are looking for full surround sound your best bet is to move the ZVOX to another television in your home and get a soundbar with dedicated wireless surround speakers. It will have the least clutter and setup hassle, and the best sound quality and surround effects as well.

I suggest you check out the new Polk Audio MagniFi MAX AX SR soundbar system. It sells for $899 including wireless rear surround speakers. I have not tested it yet but Polk has always produced excellent-sounding soundbars, and the combination of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround with Polk’s patented SDA technology promise to make it one of the most immersive, sonically enveloping soundbar systems you can buy. It also supports music playback via Wi-Fi for superior sound quality.

Q. We recently purchased a Hanasco Sonic toothbrush. It came with a charging cable with one end to plug into the toothbrush and the other having a standard USB connector. The stated voltage of the brush is 3.7 volts and most cell phone chargers are 5 volts. Will charging a device rated at 3.7 volts from a source of 5 volts damage the toothbrush or overheat the lithium batteries?

-G.K., Bay Area, CA

A. With USB charging the device determines the charging rate, not the charger. The device will only draw what it can use, so you can go ahead and use that 5-volt charger. The toothbrush will charge at its fastest possible rate and stop when the battery is fully charged.

This scenario is pretty common with charging sources and devices that use a similar connection but with different charging capabilities, including plug-in electric vehicles (something many in the public is unaware of.)

An excellent beverage cooler for your mancave: I recently went shopping for a beverage cooler for my home theater. It had to be quiet, attractive, and ideally support the needs of my girlfriend, who is an oenophile, and myself, someone who drinks a lot of canned diet drinks but doesn’t touch alcohol at all.

I ended up with a Vinerie 24-inch Smart Beverage Cooler with two doors and two separate cooling zones, and we are both very pleased with it. It has multiple slide-out wine racks for the girlfriend and the ability to hold lots of diet cola cans for myself, stored horizontally and vertically. For placement in a home theater it is perfect because it is whisper-quiet (it usually cannot be heard at all) and the soft glow from the interior lights can be adjusted or switched off. I checked temperature regulation with a separate thermometer and it is very accurate, and the look and feel of the product itself is pure class. At $999 the pricing was very reasonable for a product of this type, and I have seen it on sale as well. Smaller models starting at $559 are available if you don’t need one quite as big as mine. Vinerie products are sold on Amazon, where they have racked up lots of positive reviews, and you can learn more at