$500 soundbar... ZVOX? Optical okay? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-19-2014, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I have a HTPC that feeds 100% of content to my LG LED TV. I am 100% fed up by the TV sound. its shallow, i have trouble hearing dialogue...UGH

So I have a $500 budget: I like pedestals better but sound quality is more important.

I have it narrowed down to:

SpeakerCraft CS3 Center Stage
ZVOX 580
ZVOX 555


What do you all think? I'm worried that the 580 might be too strong for the bedroom that this is going to go in.


My worries:

1) Sound quality
2) Virtual Surround (does it work well? never experienced before)
3) Connection: Optical from PC vs Optical through TV vs HDMI audio return channel vs HDMI pass through. Which is best?
4) Format: PCM vs Dobly...gotta make sure the speakers support it.



So: which of those 3 speakers? Or do you have a 4th for me to think about?

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-19-2014, 12:38 PM
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Don't know that I can answer your questions, but here is what I know. I have a Samsung 47D8000 in our Master bedroom (17X14). I have a Scientific Atlanta DVR HD cable box. The sound from the TV speakers left a lot to be desired. I researched a lot and bought a ZVOX 555. The cable box has a setting for DD or other. I have it set to DD. The TV when using the TV speakers has a setting for PCM or DD. When I selected external speakers, the TV defaults to PCM. DD is greyed out so not selectable. The ZVOX is connected to the TV with a toslink optical cable. The cable box and Sony BR 5100 player are connected with HDMI cables. To me the ZVOX is a tremendous improvement over the TV speakers. It has a much fuller sound. I put a Lord of the Rings BR disk in when I set it up and the sounds were really cool. As I switched through the 3 surround modes, I could tell a difference. Stuff like water dripping in the background, wind blowing, etc. Regular TV programming and football/basketball games sound great to me in respect to announcers, crowd sounds, referees speaking, etc. I am very pleased with the results overall. Now with this being said, I also fully realize that it is a soundbase. The speakers are in a 28 inch line under the TV stand. I don't expect to hear sound coming from the sides of the room and from the back of the room. It is simply NOT a 5.1 surround system. I find it strange that people hook up a bar at the TV and expect all this sound coming from all directions thing. It just ain't gonna happen.

Like I said..............it is what it is, and I am very happy with the ZVOX 555.

BTW, I have the full 5.1 system in the great room. (actually it's a Denon AVR 2112Ci 7.1 system that has everything in place except I don't have two of the back four speakers hooked up. Wires are there, but no speakers. 5.1 sounds awesome enough).

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-19-2014, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderego View Post

Hey guys,

I have a HTPC that feeds 100% of content to my LG LED TV. I am 100% fed up by the TV sound. its shallow, i have trouble hearing dialogue...UGH

So I have a $500 budget: I like pedestals better but sound quality is more important.

I have it narrowed down to:

SpeakerCraft CS3 Center Stage
ZVOX 580
ZVOX 555


What do you all think? I'm worried that the 580 might be too strong for the bedroom that this is going to go in.


My worries:

1) Sound quality
2) Virtual Surround (does it work well? never experienced before)
3) Connection: Optical from PC vs Optical through TV vs HDMI audio return channel vs HDMI pass through. Which is best?
4) Format: PCM vs Dobly...gotta make sure the speakers support it.



So: which of those 3 speakers? Or do you have a 4th for me to think about?

Thanks so much!

I just purchased the Zvox 555 for my bedroom. It sounds great paired with my Samsung 55". I knew the dimensions when I purchased it, but good grief- it is BIG! Especially for a bedroom. Good thing, my wife doesn't care and approves of this hobby! The quality of sound increased dramatically when I connected the Zvox. Have mine connected via optical directly to Samsung. Hope this helps. The 580 IMO, would be too much for BR. BTW, Zvox CS is very good! Very attentive to emails, questions and such.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-19-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! anyone have speakercraft experience?
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-21-2014, 10:13 AM
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I bought a 555 for my bedroom last month as my wife didn't want big speakers and a sub in the bedroom. I can tell you it sounds fantastic with very deep bass. I have a nice 5.1 system in the man cave but I'm happy to crank the 555 also!!
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-23-2014, 11:01 AM
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I would LOVE to buy the ZVOX 555, especially because the PC Richard down the street is selling it for only $258!!!! The website says $349, but in the store, they have a special sale. Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough room for both the zvox and a TV in the space I have (a wall unit in my bedroom). I bought the Bose Solo instead because it's 1/2" shorter in height, which makes it fit.

My problem is that I don't like the Vizio 47" M series, and I'm thinking of returning it to Costco and picking up the Samsung 43" plasma instead. Then the Bose won't fit, but I just discovered the LG LAP345C SoundPlate, which is less than an inch and a half tall. I'm sure it doesn't sound as good as the zvox (or the Bose), but I bet it's still a significant upgrade over the TV's speakers.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-29-2014, 12:41 PM
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Bestbuy here in Arlington, Tx has a 580 open box for $292.99.
I have a Sony 40 HX800 in an entertainment unit with cable box.....have 37 inch width available.
The 580 is 36 in. wide...a very tight fit.

I may have to go w/555, since it's a bit smaller, but that ob price of $292.99 is hard to pass.
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