Soundbars are made not with the intention of competing with 5.1 surround sound systems but rather to give your thin TVs an audio boost. We are accustomed to seeing soundbars in two different categories these days, one type is the standalone soundbar and the other is a soundbar with a subwoofer that comes as a separate unit. What the ZVOX Z-Base 580 soundbar brings to the market is something new, a single unit that houses both speakers on the front and two down firing subwoofers. Since they are both covered in one unit, you won’t have trouble with wiring too. So are the specs as equally refreshing as the design? Let’s find out.
This beast of a soundbar measures 36 inches wide by 16.5 inches deep by five inches high and tips the scales at a whopping 33 pounds. The ZVOX Z-Base 580 is definitely no ordinary soundbar as it’s pretty large when compared to soundbars out there. It’s so big and strong that you can actually place your TV on it. To give it a much more polished look, the ZVOX Z-Base 580 Soundbar is made of medium density fiberboard (MDF) as opposed to the usual molded plastic design. The soundbar houses five three and a quarter inch high performance speakers and the tow six and a half inch powered subwoofers. The class D amplifier onboard is rated at 120 Watts meaning it is pretty efficient meaning it will make the environmentalists smile. Since the subwoofers are also found in that box, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of finding a location for them.
This soundbar also ships with a remote control that is quite small but covers all the usual things you are going to need. The most important buttons like volume and mute buttons have been made larger so you can use them even without needing to look at the remote. However, other buttons are not given equal emphasis and can be a little hard to find just by touch. If you lose your remote under any unfortunate circumstance, don’t worry, there are front panel buttons on the right edge which also come with a four-digit disappearing display behind the speaker screen.
Let’s first talk about two unique buttons we found on the remote control. The first one is the dialogue emphasis (DE) button, and as the name suggests, it brings out the dialogues when you feel like its being drowned out. Another interesting feature is the output-leveling (OL) button that activates a compression system. This compression system then reduces the audio highs and increases the audio lows so that your listening experience is a much more balanced one. ZVOX Z-Base 580 also has three surround levels namely Sd1, Sd2 and Sd 3. Sd1 would be suited for a low visual surround effect while S2 for moderate virtual surround sound effect and finally Sd3 for a strong virtual surround effect.
The soundbar has a pretty good offering in terms of connections. There are two analog inputs on the ZVOX Z-Base soundbar. Apart from that, you also get one optical digital input as well as one coaxial digital input. It also comes with the 3.5mm stereo input for you to connect your MP3 players or your iPod directly to the soundbar. We also find a subwoofer output jack made available on the ZVOX Z-Base 580 just in case you would like another subwoofer for added bass. Sadly though, it is still not compatible with DTS while using digital inputs.
Setting up the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 25 Home Theater Soundbar
Once you have the ZVOX Z-Base 580 placed where you like, then you are pretty much good to go. All that’s left is to connect your power cord as well as your optical cable. From then on, you are ready to enjoy the performance the soundbar is ready to offer. Although there is a dedicated remote for the soundbar, you can choose not to use it. If you are one careless person who is bound to lose things, then maybe having one remote less is a good idea. Thanks to the soundbar being able to learn the TV’s volume controls, you now have that luxury.
We were impressed with what the ZVOX Z-Base 580 soundbar had to offer. You can hear voice clearly that you will not miss a single word. If you are using the Dialogue Enhance mode, then rest assured that you will be able to make out even the softer sounding words. Meanwhile, the surround settings will give you a wide surround effect to make your experience that much better. ZVOX’s very own technology the PhaseCue II is the one to thank for the surround sound quality as it does a great job in creating the virtual surround sound processing to make the surround sound almost 3D-like. The 3.25 inches long throw drives was able to produce audio that was crisp to the ear. The soundbar is also capable of tackling really loud volumes without any distortion too.
Pros and Cons
The ZVOX Z-Base 580 soundbar has a unique design that was quite nice as we have an all the components in one box. Setting up the soundbar was also very easy and was hassle free. For the money you would fork out for this projector, you really get some amazing sound quality too. As we mentioned earlier, using the class D amplifiers has made this soundbar both quiet as well as energy efficient. We also love ZVOX’s PhaseCue II as it works like it should be by giving some 3D-like sound.
You will have to be careful when placing the soundbar under your TV as your viewing height will change. Also, if you place it under a TV without any room at the bottom of the soundbar, you might have issues with the down firing subwoofers.
Right from the start, we knew that the ZVOX Z-Base 580 soundbar was destined to be different from the pack. We are glad that its uniqueness brings more positives than negatives. Great audio quality for a great price, this is as good as it gets with soundbars.