Product review: Roth Sub Zero III

315052 copyFounded in 2007, Roth has quickly become a known force in the British AV industry. As its name might suggest, the Sub Zero III is the 3rd generation of a hugely popular line of soundbars…

Known for their exceptional build quality and extremely good value for money, Roth products always aim to give as much bang for your buck without sacrificing usability and style. With very favourable reviews from BBC Music Magazine, Trusted Reviews and MacFormat, they’re certainly a brand that makes you take notice.

Packed with plenty of connectivity the Sub Zero III lets you stream music via Bluetooth.

Packed with plenty of connectivity the Sub Zero III lets you stream music via Bluetooth.

The first you notice about the new Sub Zero III is that it’s packed with features. 2x HDMI (a new addition to the range), optical, analogue and Aptx Bluetooth are all on offer on the rear of the unit as well as the HDMI output being Audio Return Channel compatible.

The unit features a small LED display at the front showing the input, volume or sound mode and comes with a remote control – although there are buttons on the front of the unit too. Wall mounting is a nice option with two holes on the rear to affix to screws in the wall, but the unit is perfectly stable when sat on flat surface too. The internal speakers are 4″ x 2.75″ ferrite drivers that are driven by class D amplifiers achieving a peak of 90watts and there are also two passive radiator bass drivers to help things along.

Connecting things up is an easy process and in less than a minute we’re testing out the disc wars scene from Tron: Legacy. What’s immediately apparent is the weighty amount of sound that we’re getting from such a relatively inexpensive unit. The improvement has increased the bar’s output by 50% over the previous model. The soundtrack by Daft Punk thumps along as the discs zip around and cut through cleanly. The Movie sound mode may seem to be the obvious choice for this type of scene but it genuinely seems to best balance generally when using the bar with TV or films.

Switch to Bluetooth and the results are more than adequate for general listening, with the benefit of AptX meaning that you’re likely to get a better sound out of this than some of the docks that are on offer. Separation is pretty reasonable considering that the drivers are much closer together than you would normally find when using separate speakers.

There may be a few occasions when the sound might be a bit too bassy and unfortunately the unit doesn’t have separate bass or treble controls. Admittedly, this isn’t too much of a problem as you’ll just switch between the different sound modes instead. The main issue though when comparing to similarly priced soundbars or soundbases is that there isn’t a learning facility in order to program your TV’s remote to control the volume of the soundbar. This is something that is has become more commonplace over the years so it’s a shame that it’s not available on the Roth. However, using the headphone output of the TV into the analogue input on the bar is a useful way around this and doesn’t affect the sound in any great measure.

All things considered, the Sub Zero III is a healthy improvement on its predecessor and represents good value for money, definitely one to consider when testing them out in store!

Pop into your local Richer Sounds store or give our friendly Telesales team a call on 0333 900 093 for more information about any of our products.

To find out more about the Sub Zero III, click here.

Author – Steve, Bristol store

This article has 3 comments

  1. If you connect it via HDMI ARC to a compatible TV I assume the volume is driven the the TV and therefore the TV remote ?

  2. Answering my own question here – found something on an Amazon Q&A where someone had replied that HDMI ARC didn’t remotely control the volume… not a great implementation of ARC but it is a lot cheaper than other devices that do this

    • Ah Tony, you beat us to it!
      You are right, however. The Roth Sub Zero III does indeed represent incredible value for money.

      Kind regards,
      Ian, Richer Sounds