Q: We purchased the ZVOX AccuVoice TV speaker and are very happy with the clear dialogue it produces. However, I know it is optimized for dialogue over music and home theater performance. Which soundbars have clear-sounding dialogue as well as top-quality music and home theater sound, preferably for under $600?
A: The ZVOX home theater soundbars SB380, SB400 and SB500 (zvox.com) all fit the bill. Other good choices are the Polk MagniFi Mini, which has a very small profile yet still makes a big sound, and the Polk CommandBar (polkaudio.com), which has built-in Amazon Alexa.
Speaking of ZVOX, I will use this as an opportunity for an update on the company's VB20 VoiceBuds. Introduced several months ago, they are referred to as "hearing amplifiers" that feature much of the same technology as expensive hearing aids but at a fraction of the price ($299.99 each). There are a lot of people who could use a little help with their hearing but don't need that expensive hearing aid just yet. The idea was to provide these individuals a way to get a device that markedly improves their hearing, but without the doctor visits and high expense.
Because I don't have a frame of reference for judging the VoiceBuds, I asked for reader feedback. The consensus is that they perform as advertised, and most everyone was satisfied, especially given the price and ease of acquiring them. One satisfied reader e-mailed, "It is well engineered so it is very comfortable, easy to use and quite effective. I like it so well that tomorrow I am going to order one for my other ear."
The VoiceBud VB20 is now registered as an FDA Class One Hearing Aid. Nonetheless, readers who had severe hearing loss said the VoiceBuds were not enough to replace their prescription hearing aids. But they did praise the company for the ease with which they were able to return the product and get a refund. "I would not hesitate doing business with them in the future," one such reader said.
The VoiceBuds are on sale through March 31, reduced to $249.99. They are backed by a 60-day home trial.
Another deal worth mentioning: The Sbode Sport Bluetooth Earphones have proved quite popular with readers, and Sbode makes some nice, small Bluetooth speakers, too. To celebrate the launch of the company's new website, Sbode's SB350 speaker is on sale for $27.99. More than just a Bluetooth speaker, it has FM radio with auto-tuning and can play music from a TF (MicroSD) card. You also can pair two of them as separate left-right channels for true stereo sound. (sbodeaudio.com)
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.