OK, I finally got time to tear down my gear, clean up all the d*** dust that accumulates on things, and hook up the 415 and 325 so I could do some A/B listening tests. Whew! So hear are my findings so far...
First off, most, if not all, of what I've said about the 325 heretofore applies to the 415 as well. Their sound is very similar. So go back and read posts #21 and #44 and all the stuff about accurate audio and so on applies equally to the 415. So I am not going to repeat all of that here. I did A/B tests using music CD's and TV broadcasts of Spider Man 2, Austin City Limits, and Soundstage, as well as the Terminator 2 Extreme DVD, and other content. I tried to match the sub-woofer and PhaseCue settings and volume levels as much as possible for part of the tests, and then tried to find range differences during other parts of the tests. I'm not going to go into as much detail as some of the earlier reviews since it would be repetitious and probably not that helpful.
Since music is important to me and since I find it a good way to test overall audio fidelity and sound, I started there. I'll focus on one particular CD out of the several I used, since it is very representative of the results. That CD was Lyle Lovett's "Pontiac" - a very well recorded and produced CD with a big sound and a wide variety of instrumentation. From cellos and violins, to saxophones, pianos, brass, drums, pedal steel, electric and acoustic guitars as well as Lyle's signature vocals. It also features big transients, sudden bursts of sound and other nice effects from very soft to very loud passages, from a lone guitar and voice to lots of brass. A good test for any system.
And this CD sounded fantastic on both systems. Everything was clean, clear, and distinct with that "live" feeling sound I've mentioned in earlier reviews. The 415 and 325 both liked this material and I had a great time as I listened for these tests. In the A/B comparisons, I could almost get these two to sound identical, but not quite. They were so close in many ways that I think I can safely say that you could go for either one and be perfectly happy. I think they are very close (sound-wise) and would meet the same basic needs. There were some differences, though. I found the 415 to have a bigger sound, a bigger soundstage, and a broader low end. In my notes, I said 'smoother' but that's not exactly right. It's a fuller sound across the frequency range, more of a balanced response, I think. Not quite sure how to put it. The 325 sounded a little punchier in the treble range and in a few sections of the low bass range, and certainly sounded great. But I liked the 415's sound just a little bit better (to my ears, anyway) overall.
However, I was really impressed with how the 325 held its own against the 415 which is significantly more expensive ($400 vs $300). In pure audio terms they were very close, but the 415's broader low end and noticeably bigger soundstage gave it the edge. Still, I could be happy with either one. Positioned appropriately and well tweaked, if you walked from one room listening to the 415 and went to another and listened to the 325, I don't think you would notice much of a difference. The 325 has a little boxier sound, the 415 more transparent.
As far as volume, the 415 might be a bit louder, but not really a significant difference, in my opinion. The 415 has more power, but the perceived "loudness" is not much more than the 325 (to me anyway). Interesting. Both are loud enough for a large room.
On the DVD and broadcast TV tests, again, I really did not find any huge differences. Both sounded good. Again, the 415 had a bigger, fuller sound overall, but both were very good and very similar in their overall sound. Again I was surprised at how well the 325 stood toe-to-toe with the 415. Again, I preferred the 415 but it was close. Most people's decision will probably come down to the cabinet shapes, sizes and style.
The 415 is very different from the 325 is many ways. For one, it's more the soundbar style with a wide compact cabinet vs. the 325's narrower, deeper cabinet. The 415 and 325 both have 3 3.25" drivers, but the 415 has a 4" sub plus a passive 4" radiator vs. a 5.25" sub in the 325. This, and the bigger cabinet size, may be why the 325 had a punchier bass on some sounds, though the 415 had an overall better low-end, I thought.
The 415 has no front input (the 325 has one front input) both have 2 rear "mixing" inputs. One of these can act as a full-range output to a sub on the 325, the 415 has a separate sub-out. The 415 has all of its controls on the remote. These include mute, power, auto on/off, volume, phasecue, subwoofer (level), and treble. The 325 remote has only volume and mute. The 415 has no controls on the unit, the 325 had volume, phasecue, and subwoofer (level) on the unit. The 415 use std. RCA style analog inputs/outputs, the 325 uses std 3.5mm jacks.
The 415 has no display other than a red and blue LED light (which are behind the black,metal grill). The red (orange? amber?) LED indicates the unit is in standby mode. The blue LED indicates it is active. When you press a remote function, the blue LED flashes. When you reach the max or min setting, the LED stops flashing. You can count the flashes to know what setting you are on. Crude but it works. As I mentioned elsewhere, a display would be nice, but again the ZVOX approach is simple is better. I guess they intend for you to 'tune by ear' most of the time. And that does make some sense for an audio system.
Both have a black metal grill on front and both look nice, IMHO, the 415 is the more 'soundbar' styled unit and has threaded holes on bottom and back for mounting. There are also 4 rubber feet on the bottom. Both feel solid and well constructed, I never noticed any rattling at any time from either unit.
I do find the front input on the 325 to be handy. You can plug in an MP3 player, CD player, or other gear, for example. But that won't matter to a lot of you.
The quick summary would be that both of these units sound good and their sound is quite similar. Your choice will probably come down to cabinet style and controls preferences. The 415's remote makes it easier to tweak the unit from your listening position. But once you are in normal listening mode, that won't matter as much. The 325 will fit a shelf nicely. The 415 can be hung on a wall. Yada yada yada,