Surround systems in the market today are packed with high tech stereo technology and their own specific feature sets in order to stand out from the rest in the market place. However, very few, if any at all, take the time and hand craftsmanship to pack all of those qualities into an elegant non-obtrusive looking form factor to seamlessly merge with your current entertainment system. ZVOX audio has combined both a functional design with a bevy of features to make the SoundBase 580 one of the more compelling options on the market today.
From the start, ZVOX tries to keep the SoundBase 580 on par with the much more expensive options in the market by including five high-performance speakers and dual 6.5″ powered subwoofers for window-rattling bass. ZVOX also packs in an in house PhaseCue II virtual surround sound system that creates three-dimensional sound without the need for multiple speakers throughout the room. In real practice, this feature works beautifully. As soon as I turned the unit on I was wondering where the sounds from both spectrums of my ears were coming from. The front facing panel speakers don’t just blast towards you. It truly is a surround sound “like” experience.
I’m a sucker for functional design and ZVOX has wet my palate with using it on the SoundBase 580 as a way to improve the quality of sound outputted by the device. Unlike other manufacturers ZVOX uses all-wood (MDF) cabinets – not plastic. They’re more expensive, but they sound better and kudos to ZVOX for implementing it in this unit. Because of the compact and sleek design of the device, it allows it to double as a TV stand. This goes back to my previous point of it seamlessly disappearing in the background of your entertainment system. Once put together, you and others won’t even realize a speaker is present. All the connection ports are located on the rear of the unit so those won’t be seeable as well. This was done purposely by ZVOX as it turned out the way it was meant to be showcased.
The 580 uses a highly-efficient Class D digital amplifier. Even playing at quite loud volumes, it usually uses less than 10 watts of total power. And standby power usage tends to hover around 0.1 watts – making it one of the “greenest” audio systems ever made. The stereo system does come with a remote control to change the bass, treble, and input levels. This coincides with the hidden LED lit display located on the front right of the device. When the unit is powered off, you can barely even notice it’s there, which adds to the hidden element of being a TV stand.
The 580 has two analog audio inputs, one optical (Toslink) digital input, one coaxial digital input – plus a front panel 3.5mm analog stereo input for convenient connection of your iPod or other portable audio device. Any specific input can be selected using either the remote control or the slim-line module below the speaker grille. The two digital inputs work with a built-in Dolby Digital decoder, which can improve virtual surround performance and allow for simplified connections to a wide variety of TVs, cable boxes and disc players. ZVOX provides all the necessary ports to connect to any system you may have, on top of extending use to mobile devices.
ZVOX makes it clear that even though the SoundBase 580 is packing top tiered specs that compete with the best of them in the market today, they aren’t going to represent that in the price. It’s rare to find these combinations of great quality, design, and price in the surround system category. For $399 you can purchase the ZVOX SoundBase 580 for your listening pleasure.
- Real wood cabinet (MDF) helps movies come to life with vibrant, realistic, high-impact sound
- Vocals on TV shows come through with incredible clarity yet commercial volumes are limited
- Five 3.25″ full-range drivers plus dual 6.5″ powered subwoofers
- PhaseCue® virtual surround delivers 3D theater-style sound from one cabinet.
- Both digital and analog inputs on the rear; front-facing analog inputs for iPod/mobile phones