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ZVOX IncrediBase 580 Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System - Review

Combining great sound with a place to set your TV on

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Front View

ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Front View

Photo (c) Robert Silva Licensed to About.com
The ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System is a sound bar product that provides consumers with an alternative to listening to cheap built-in TV speakers, without the hassle of setting up and using a multi-speaker home theater system. The ZVOX IncrediBase 580 is an easy-to-use system that delivers great sound for both movies and music. Although the ZVOX 580 is larger than most sound bars, there is a practical reason, you can also use it as a platform to set your TV on. Keep reading to find out more. Also, after reading this review, be sure to check out some supplementary product photos.

Product Overview

The features of the ZVOX IncrediBase 580 include:

General Description: Compact one-piece surround system - (36-inches Wide x 16.5-inches Deep x 5-inches High).

Speakers: Five 3.25 mid-range/tweeters (bi-amplified) and two down-firing 6.5-inch Subwoofers boosted by by rear port.

Frequency Response: 34Hz - 20Khz.

Amplifier Power: 120 Total Watts.

Audio Processing: Proprietary PhaseCue II virtual surround sound processing. PhaseCue and Infinite Compliance technologies provide a virtual surround soundfield. The degree of surround is user adjustable.

Rear inputs: (2) analog stereo inputs, (1) digital optical (Toslink) input, (1) coaxial digital input.

Front input: (1) 3.5mm stereo front panel input.

Device Compatibility: iPods, PCs, satellite radios, portable CD players, game consoles, and DVD or Blu-ray players (when using stereo analog or digital optical/coaxial audio connection option).

Output: A subwoofer output jack on the rear allows owners to connect a separate external powered subwoofer (optional).

Included Accessories: Wireless remote control, 2-meter RCA analog stereo cable, user manual, Quick Setup Guide, and detachable power cord.

Product Weight: 33 pounds.

Warranty: The ZVOX 580 is backed by a one year limited parts and labor warranty.

The ZVOX 580 can also serve as a platform for TVs with stands up to 35-inches wide, 15-inches deep, and weighing 160 pounds or less.

The price for the ZVOX IncrediBase 580 is listed at $599.99 - Compare Prices.

Setting up the ZVOX 580

ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Connections

ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Connections

Photo (c) Robert Silva Licensed to About.com
All you have to do to get going with the ZVOX IncrediBase 580 is unbox it, plug in the power, connect one or more audio sources, set your TV on top of it, and then turn it on.

The ZVOX IncrediBase 580 has several audio input options, including three sets of analog stereo inputs (including a convenient 3.5mm front input option) as well as both digital optical and digital coaxial audio inputs. However, it must be noted that the digital audio inputs, although compatible with Dolby Digital and 2-channel PCM audio signals, they are not compatible with DTS signals. This means that if you have a DVD that only has DTS soundtracks you are out of luck. However, since most DVDs also have Dolby Digital soundtracks, just select that option in the DVD menu and you should be fine, or you can use the DVD (or Blu-ray Disc) player's analog audio outputs.

The way ZVOX's surround system works is that all compatible incoming audio signals are processed by its PhaseCue technology (incoming Dolby Digital signals are first decoded before PhaseCue processing is employed) which produces a user selectable "virtual surround sound" image from speakers enclosed in a single cabinet, rather than placing separate speakers around the room for each channel.

There are minimal controls provided on the front panel of the ZVOX IncrediBase 580 (Power, Volume, Input Select). Power, Volume, and Input Select are also found on the remote control, but there additional audio adjustment controls that are found on the remote control, so don't lose it! When using the remote control functions, the settings will be displayed on the ZVOX 580's front panel LED display.

The additional audio adjustment controls not accessible via the front panel, but provided on the remote control include:

Bass and Treble: Displayed as Lo or HI, setting range from -4 to 4.

Surround Setting: This allows users to customize the amount of the Virtual Surround Sound effect to be engaged. The available settings are: Sd 1 (minimal surround), Sd 2 (moderate surround), and Sd 3 (maximum available surround effect).

Output Leveling: This setting provides a way to compensate for excessive variations in volume (such as loud commercials, or loud explosions and sound effects overwhelming dialog). If Output Leveling is active, you will see "OL" displayed on front panel LED display.

Dialog Emphasis: This setting helps to bring out the audio frequencies associated with dialog. When you active this setting a dE will show on the 580's LED display. However, when Dialog Emphasis is active, it overrides both the Surround and Output Leveling settings. When deactivated, the previous Surround and Output Leveling settings are restored.

Hardware Used for Sources and Comparison

ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Front Controls

ZVOX Audio IncrediBase 580 Single Cabinet Surround Sound System - Front Controls

Home Theater Receiver (used with comparison speaker system): Onkyo TX-SR705.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System Used for Comparison: Klipsch Quintet III in combination with Polk PSW10 Subwoofer.

Source Components: OPPO BDP-93 used to play Blu-ray, DVD, CD, and streaming movie content, OPPO DV-980HD Upscaling DVD player, and a Samsung DTB-H260F HDTV Tuner.

TV/Monitor: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor

Software Used

Blu-ray Discs: Across The Universe, Avatar, Battle: Los Angeles, Hairspray, Inception, Iron Man 1&2, Megamind, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, Sherlock Holmes, The Expendables, The Dark Knight, The Incredibles and Tron: Legacy.

Standard DVDs used included scenes from the following: Hero, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Moulin Rouge, and U571.

Streaming Movie Content: Netflix - Toy Story 3

CDs: Al Stewart - Sparks of Ancient Light, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

Proceed to Page 2: Performance - Pros - Cons - Final Take

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