ZVOX 555 & 580 (new models June '11) -anyone evaluate them yet? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 07-28-2011, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I noticed that ZVOX introduced 2 new models in June: Z-Base 555 and Z-Base 580. They say these units include, among other new features, Dialog Emphasis (DE) which engages "a circuit that mimics the functions of a hearing aid. The frequencies used by human voices are dynamically emphasized, while other frequencies are minimized."

It could be quite a good feature if it works well. Has anyone heard these models yet...and the DE?

Cheers
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post #2 of 48 Old 08-09-2011, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadcu View Post

I noticed that ZVOX introduced 2 new models in June: Z-Base 555 and Z-Base 580. They say these units include, among other new features, Dialog Emphasis (DE) which engages "a circuit that mimics the functions of a hearing aid. The frequencies used by human voices are dynamically emphasized, while other frequencies are minimized."

It could be quite a good feature if it works well. Has anyone heard these models yet...and the DE?

Cheers

I would be interested in some feedback as well, that's a big issue for me with sound bars, dialog sucks on most, especially when there is a lot of back ground sound. I currently have the Polk 6000 and during baseball and I'm sure football, the crowd noise drowns out the dialog.

As far as Sony goes, I prefer a wireless sub so that's not for me.
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post #3 of 48 Old 08-10-2011, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadcu View Post

I noticed that ZVOX introduced 2 new models in June: Z-Base 555 and Z-Base 580. They say these units include, among other new features, Dialog Emphasis (DE) which engages "a circuit that mimics the functions of a hearing aid. The frequencies used by human voices are dynamically emphasized, while other frequencies are minimized."

It could be quite a good feature if it works well. Has anyone heard these models yet...and the DE?

Cheers

Uh... yeah....

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1351764

Not a professional review, mind you...

Edit: Since I only touched on the DE feature in my ragged review, I would like to elaborate. DE works quite well and when it is on; I have absolutely no problem hearing/understanding vocals when it is engaged. That being said, I don't use it because I don't have a problem hearing voices anyway (the Z-Base 555 has nice clarity IMO). DE boosts certain frequencies (high mids?) at the cost of other frequencies and possibly surround-sound. It would be great for a newscast or posibbly a sporting event where the vocals get lost, but I wouldn't use it for a movie, personally. The feature does what it intends well for the Z-Base 555.
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post #4 of 48 Old 08-11-2011, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, kilgore777, for noticing my thread from a couple of weeks ago and Zuk109's further question. Your additonal comments about the DE feature are helpful.
Cheers.
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post #5 of 48 Old 11-14-2011, 04:59 PM
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Has anyone compared the 555 vs 580? the difference in price is $100.-i am concerned only with the dialogue and whether the 580 will provide clearer dialogue? does anyone know if the 580 will be better in this regard? thanks.
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post #6 of 48 Old 11-15-2011, 10:39 AM
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It is a shame these seem to not be great soundbars, as their form is exactly what I am looking for since my tv is on a stand and has a small bezel and stand, making it nearly impossible to place a soundbar in front of the tv. I may give one a whirl anyway just to see for myself...
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post #7 of 48 Old 11-15-2011, 10:46 PM
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not sure I understand the value of the zvox when it doesnt even have HDMI in or out?
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post #8 of 48 Old 11-16-2011, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzook View Post

not sure I understand the value of the zvox when it doesnt even have HDMI in or out?

not sure why you would want to HDMI to go through the sound bar? plug all the HDMI's into the TV and use the digital out to the soundbar
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post #9 of 48 Old 11-17-2011, 12:36 PM
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^^

A lot of TVs don't support a return channel for audio over HDMI and in many cases the digital outs are only 2.0 stereo. Plus you can forget about being able to enjoy the lossless audio tacks on Blu-ray. Check your TV specs to be sure.
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post #10 of 48 Old 11-18-2011, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzook View Post

not sure I understand the value of the zvox when it doesnt even have HDMI in or out?

Is HDMI really that much better than Optical? It seems like the difference is overblown, IMO. From what I have read, it may be better in certain instances, but would it matter in a soundbar like the 555? I am confused about the benefits of HDMI in some cases....

The only drawback I have read about is a lack of HD audio codecs. This might come into play with Blu-Ray(?).... but not much else. It certainly wouldn't make a difference with TV audio.... right?

Some linkies:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/speak...-soundbar.html

A quote from the following link:
"I'd advise you to get the best quality system you can afford. Even with my 3K speaker and receiver setup the difference between HD Audio and lossy ones like DTS and Dolby Digital is quite subtle. It all sounds great, DVD's, Blu-rays, etc... and the reason it sounds great is because of the quality of the speakers and the amp, not the fact that I'm using HDMI cables. HDMI is certainly handy for reducing wire clutter but sound quality is more important in my opinion."



http://forums.cnet.com/7723-7596_102...undbar-basics/
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post #11 of 48 Old 11-21-2011, 09:10 AM
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the value in HDMI connection is the concept of ARC control. Soundbar powers on / off with TV and volume is the TVs volume. You don't get that functionality with optical connection.
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post #12 of 48 Old 11-22-2011, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_a_g View Post

the value in HDMI connection is the concept of ARC control. Soundbar powers on / off with TV and volume is the TVs volume. You don't get that functionality with optical connection.


Oh, OK, thanks for the clarification.

One of the nice things about the new ZVOX models is that you can program your remote to control the volume (althought I had some issues with my DirectTV remote... only found the solution through Google). Also, the units powers on and off with your TV. So..... lacking HDMI in this case might not be a big deal if sound quality is not a factor.
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post #13 of 48 Old 11-22-2011, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_a_g View Post

the value in HDMI connection is the concept of ARC control. Soundbar powers on / off with TV and volume is the TVs volume. You don't get that functionality with optical connection.

The new Z-Base system can be programmed to respond to your remote control. The illuminated display walks you through a less-than-a-minute programming cycle. Then your TV remote...or cable box remote...or satellite receiver remote...or ANY remote...can control volume, mute, power and input functions of the ZVOX system.
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post #14 of 48 Old 11-23-2011, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaCoker View Post

The new Z-Base system can be programmed to respond to your remote control. The illuminated display walks you through a less-than-a-minute programming cycle. Then your TV remote...or cable box remote...or satellite receiver remote...or ANY remote...can control volume, mute, power and input functions of the ZVOX system.

One nice thing about using optical vs HDMI is that if you like you can have your TV speakers on at the same time as your soundbar. I run mine that way and the TV speakers produce some highs that aren't present with my Z-Base 555. It gives it a fuller sound but the downside is that once you reprogram your remote, the TV volume is no longer controlled by your primary remote (you have to use the TV remote). But it is worth it IMO.
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post #15 of 48 Old 11-29-2011, 01:05 AM
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thanx a lot for that tip! i have had my tv speakers turned off all this time, but turned on adds an additional layer of sound that blends well with my zvox base.
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post #16 of 48 Old 11-29-2011, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilgore777 View Post

One nice thing about using optical vs HDMI is that if you like you can have your TV speakers on at the same time as your soundbar. I run mine that way and the TV speakers produce some highs that aren't present with my Z-Base 555. It gives it a fuller sound but the downside is that once you reprogram your remote, the TV volume is no longer controlled by your primary remote (you have to use the TV remote). But it is worth it IMO.

I have a zvox 555 arriving today and would like to try it with the rv speakers on. My question is how do you get the volume level from both to be equal. That is, how do you keep one from overpowering the other by their volume?

Tks much,

Steve
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post #17 of 48 Old 11-29-2011, 08:46 PM
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well, for me --- and i'm just starting to experiment with this--- i am turning up the tv speaker's volume just enough to detect their sound, with the zvox providing the main audio... the zvox audio sound is deeper and richer.

with 6 speakers in the zvox, adding your 2 tv speakers gives your setup 8-- real horse-power!

and as kilgore says, some of the higher-note sounds get some added emphasis.


so far i'm liking it!
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post #18 of 48 Old 11-30-2011, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcco111 View Post

well, for me --- and i'm just starting to experiment with this--- i am turning up the tv speaker's volume just enough to detect their sound, with the zvox providing the main audio... the zvox audio sound is deeper and richer.

with 6 speakers in the zvox, adding your 2 tv speakers gives your setup 8-- real horse-power!

and as kilgore says, some of the higher-note sounds get some added emphasis.


so far i'm liking it!

Thank you! I will give it a try.
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post #19 of 48 Old 11-30-2011, 03:17 PM
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Installed and enjoying my new 555. Do have a question. On occasion, I have noticed the unit flash "Off" one time and then not do it again. This was after the unit had been off overnight. Has anyone else noticed this behavior? Noticed this twice in about a 12 hour period.

Other than this action surprising me, I really like the sound I am getting from the 555 and think it is a definite keeper.

Thanks for any insights.

EDIT: Never mind. I figured out it was another tv and its remote that was causing this. In the same room so the 555 was catching the unintended signal now and then. Sure feel stupid for not catching this earlier.
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post #20 of 48 Old 12-01-2011, 11:53 AM
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I've finally had a chance to experience both for 2hrs when deciding which to buy (had saved for the 580 so the money differences are NOT a factor in this review):

- The sound (other than base (more later)) is almost identical to my and others' ears who were trying out both the 555 and 580. Both are A HUGE improvement over TV speakers. As others have stated - you aren't replacing a home theater 5.1 ro 7.1 system with the 555 or 580. But a wicked good improvement on even good-to-great TV speakers with both the 555 and 580.

- With 2 base speakers (and they are both larger) -- the 580's lows are what you are paying a premium for (not just money, but a costly size premium as well) as the other sound is about identical to the 555. The 580's base lows sound fantastic if that is what you are into. However, for me I honestly feel that if you are primarily watching movies and TV -> the 555 is the better choice. The base of the 580 is a little overwhelming for the other speakers in the 580 and I was unable to find a setting I liked without manually lowering the base settings (negating the need for the 580 in the first place.

- That said --- if you have a very large room, primarily use the Zvox for music, or like the base to be a bit more prominant than the other sound during TV/Movies --- then the 580 is for you.

CONCLUSIONS:
TV/Movies your primary use for Zvox? Go with 555
Music your primary use? Go with 580
Very large room? Go with 580
Love da base in movies/TV? Go with 580 but if you are BIG into base you'd most likely want to go with a seperate sub anyway.

What did I buy after spending 2 hours with each? Why?
Got the 555. It is much smaller/sleeker/sexier. It is BETTER in my opinion than the 580 for TV/Movies unless you neuter down the base in settings which negates the biggest part of the upgrade from 555->580.

Thanks! Hope this helps someone else in their decision.
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post #21 of 48 Old 12-02-2011, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks! Hope this helps someone else in their decision.

Thanks a bunch velcrow.....you help made my christmas present from my wife settled. Can't wait to get the Zvox 580
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post #22 of 48 Old 12-07-2011, 04:36 PM
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I've been trying to decide between the Zvox 555 and maybe a soundbar system with rear speakers and a connected wireless sub. Coming from a Bose acoustimass 5.1 system, and a Sherwood receiver, I need to please the wife re one remote and "no more wires"! The 555 seems to be the cats meow esp with regard to the port out to an aux subwoofer. Has anyone added or heard the 555 with an external sub to this system ? I have been searching for forums like this and am glad to come across this one.
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post #23 of 48 Old 12-07-2011, 04:43 PM
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Sorry but I have another question.(probably have more as I find out more info on the 555)
I have a Samsung HD flat screen tv. If I program my Time Warner remote to work with the 555, would I first have to turn the tv audio up pretty high and then turn off the tv speakers and then program the TW remote to the 555? Again thanks for any info.
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post #24 of 48 Old 12-08-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gened45 View Post

I've been trying to decide between the Zvox 555 and maybe a soundbar system with rear speakers and a connected wireless sub. Coming from a Bose acoustimass 5.1 system, and a Sherwood receiver, I need to please the wife re one remote and "no more wires"! The 555 seems to be the cats meow esp with regard to the port out to an aux subwoofer. Has anyone added or heard the 555 with an external sub to this system ? I have been searching for forums like this and am glad to come across this one.

Hi Gened45,

As much as I like my ZVOX, I have to be totally honest..... you are going to take a hit sound quality-wise when moving from the Bose. The ZVOX is a definite upgrade from your TVs speakers, but it isn't going to compete with that system, so don't expect miracles.

However, if cleaning up the room really matters that much to you, definietly go for it... it is almost invisible to me. I haven't heard one with a sub. If you are really interested, get one and give it a listen, then decide if a sub is warranted. If you are into really deep lows, you will probably want one. The 580 is another option (with 2 subs), but consider the size (5 inches tall!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gened45 View Post

Sorry but I have another question.(probably have more as I find out more info on the 555)
I have a Samsung HD flat screen tv. If I program my Time Warner remote to work with the 555, would I first have to turn the tv audio up pretty high and then turn off the tv speakers and then program the TW remote to the 555? Again thanks for any info.

I turned off my TV speakers and programmed the remote. You will then be able to control the volume from that remote. I see no need to turn the tv audio up as it won't have any baring on the VZOX. (I hope that answered your question....)
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post #25 of 48 Old 12-08-2011, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Gened45 View Post

Sorry but I have another question.(probably have more as I find out more info on the 555)
I have a Samsung HD flat screen tv. If I program my Time Warner remote to work with the 555, would I first have to turn the tv audio up pretty high and then turn off the tv speakers and then program the TW remote to the 555? Again thanks for any info.

The volume level on the TV prior to programming another remote control should be irrelevant because you will be disabling the TV's internal speakers and setting it to External Speaker.

I recently programmed my gf's TW remote to control her new 555. At the end of the programming steps I kept getting an error message on the 555 indicating that the programming did not take, but it actually did work...strange.

An extremely annoying thing about disabling Samsung TV's internal speakers is that every time you hit the volume button on the (Samsung or TW) remote control a 5 second message displays on the TV screen that says: "! Not Available." I talked to Samsung tech about this and was told that is the way Samsung TVs are designed when the internal speakers are turned off and using a non-Samsung sound bar. I think that is very poorly designed, not consumer friendly, and unforgivable. Samsung could fix it (not display the Not Available message) through a firmware update but they will not. If anyone knows a user fix for this I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.
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post #26 of 48 Old 12-08-2011, 02:50 PM
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Thanks kilgore and Spleen,
That 5 sec. message is a real bummer. Maybe I could just leave the tv speakers on. Hummm. Is that even a possibility? I am leaning toward a Visio VHT 510 as I believe it has the ability to have rear speakers wired to a wireless sub. Are there any other soundbars that have wireless rear speaker ability? Only problem is - two remotes unless I get a Harmony universal remote. (I bet old wifey would freak!) Anyway I need to do more research. The 555 seems to be the problem solver I'm just not sure I would be satisfied with it. I should probably add in here that I only have a TW cable box and a DVD player hooked into the Samsung so I would only need an optical line out to the soundbar. Nothing fancy here just bare bones.
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post #27 of 48 Old 12-08-2011, 08:02 PM
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Gened45,

One thing I am not not sure you are aware of.... the ZVox does have a 30 day money back gaurantee, so you could try one out and send it back if you don't like it. It would be a bit of a hassle, but you it would be the only real way of knowing if you like it.

The Visio you are looking at has a pretty good rep if I am not mistaken. Read up on it and learn the ups and downs.

Marco111.... I am glad you liked my idea of having using the TV speakers with the ZVOX. It really helps filll in the gaps to me. Only down side for me is that I don't have a universal remote, so I have to use 2 remotes... but I usually just leave the TV speakers at the same level anyway.
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post #28 of 48 Old 12-09-2011, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spleen View Post

An extremely annoying thing about disabling Samsung TV's internal speakers is that every time you hit the volume button on the (Samsung or TW) remote control a 5 second message displays on the TV screen that says: "! Not Available." I talked to Samsung tech about this and was told that is the way Samsung TVs are designed when the internal speakers are turned off and using a non-Samsung sound bar. I think that is very poorly designed, not consumer friendly, and unforgivable. Samsung could fix it (not display the Not Available message) through a firmware update but they will not. If anyone knows a user fix for this I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

Apparently, there is a workaround to this. The TW remote control can have its volume buttons unlocked and programmed to a different brand TV (e.g., Sony, LG, etc.) and then the ZVOX 555 can be programmed to that other TV brand's code. This way, the TW remote's volume buttons do not send a signal to the Samsung's volume (thus no annoying "! Not Available" message) but it does send a signal to the 555 and changes its volume level.

I have not tried this yet but have been told by a reliable source that it works.
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post #29 of 48 Old 01-20-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spleen View Post

An extremely annoying thing about disabling Samsung TV's internal speakers is that every time you hit the volume button on the (Samsung or TW) remote control a 5 second message displays on the TV screen that says: "! Not Available." I talked to Samsung tech about this and was told that is the way Samsung TVs are designed when the internal speakers are turned off and using a non-Samsung sound bar. I think that is very poorly designed, not consumer friendly, and unforgivable. Samsung could fix it (not display the Not Available message) through a firmware update but they will not. If anyone knows a user fix for this I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

I agree this is extremely annoying, but from poking around on the internet it seems as though it happens even with Samsung soundbars, believe it or not.

After reading this thread I think I am going to try turning on the tv speakers as a workaround.

I have been happy with our 555-- I even find myself listening to pandora through the tv/zvox occasionally now, which would have seemed ridiculous to me before.
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post #30 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 06:15 AM
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I got my wife a 555 yesterday for her birthday. She has wanted a sound bar for our family room for two years. I have to say that I was very skeptical about the sound quality but I am pretty impressed. Of course it doesn't compare to my Dynaudio/Naim set up in the media room but for everyday tv and occasional movies it's a good value. And from my perspective the optical connection is not a downgrade in sound at all.
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