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Soundbar type solution w/o bouncing sound? - Page 5

post #121 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by feisty1 View Post

Nice writeup. I pulled the trigger on the 550 on Friday. Not sure when it will arrive. Bought from ZVOX via E-Bay. Nobody matched my rock bottom bid.

Interested in your positive review on the remote. Others have been critical of its performance. Would appreciate your comments on how easy/hard to set sound stage since apparently the only feedback from the unit is a blinking light when the remote is used. This is another item which others have been critical of. Apparently you have to count the number of pushes on the remote you used to know your setting. Is this correct?

Just for info, my 550 will be used with a 32" Insignia Plasma from BB ($400 on clearance). I called my cable company-Verizon FIOS-and they walked me through the process of getting the cable box remote to control the Plasma by trying different codes. Give your cable company a call-it should be much easier to get the code for a Panasonic!

Looking forward to hearing more of your experience with the 550. When I get mine I will also share my experience with the forum.

For anybody interested in obtaining a unit go to e-bay and bid the low price for an open box unit. Does not appear to be much activity for any of the units listed. Probably the economy!!!

Congratulations on your 550! Will be looking forward to your feedback on it.

I have the 415 hooked up now and I assume the 550 remote is similar as the 415 uses the "blinking light" approach as well. In my opinion, it is not the best method. I would far prefer an LED readout or some method which showed you your current setting. As it is, you must indeed count the flashes from the min or max setting to know where you are. I can live with it, but it could be better. I also find the 415 remote fairly directional, but that's not too unusual for this kind of gear.

Good luck with your 550!
post #122 of 585
...go the the AVS plasma flat panel discussion, and then find the "Panasonic PX80 Owners" thread. On the first page of that thread is a post that has a nice summary with links of all sorts of "how to" posts on this TV. For the most part, I would recommend watching everything in the Cinema mode for the first 100 hours, with the picture setting turned down to around 50. I think the poster with the most technical info on this particular model is LarryinRI. He has a nice discussion for first-time PX80 owners and how to "condition" their plasma TVs.

I don't have much time to post tonight, so sorry for no links.
post #123 of 585
Thread Starter 
OK, I finally got time to tear down my gear, clean up all the d*** dust that accumulates on things, and hook up the 415 and 325 so I could do some A/B listening tests. Whew! So hear are my findings so far...

First off, most, if not all, of what I've said about the 325 heretofore applies to the 415 as well. Their sound is very similar. So go back and read posts #21 and #44 and all the stuff about accurate audio and so on applies equally to the 415. So I am not going to repeat all of that here. I did A/B tests using music CD's and TV broadcasts of Spider Man 2, Austin City Limits, and Soundstage, as well as the Terminator 2 Extreme DVD, and other content. I tried to match the sub-woofer and PhaseCue settings and volume levels as much as possible for part of the tests, and then tried to find range differences during other parts of the tests. I'm not going to go into as much detail as some of the earlier reviews since it would be repetitious and probably not that helpful.

Since music is important to me and since I find it a good way to test overall audio fidelity and sound, I started there. I'll focus on one particular CD out of the several I used, since it is very representative of the results. That CD was Lyle Lovett's "Pontiac" - a very well recorded and produced CD with a big sound and a wide variety of instrumentation. From cellos and violins, to saxophones, pianos, brass, drums, pedal steel, electric and acoustic guitars as well as Lyle's signature vocals. It also features big transients, sudden bursts of sound and other nice effects from very soft to very loud passages, from a lone guitar and voice to lots of brass. A good test for any system.

And this CD sounded fantastic on both systems. Everything was clean, clear, and distinct with that "live" feeling sound I've mentioned in earlier reviews. The 415 and 325 both liked this material and I had a great time as I listened for these tests. In the A/B comparisons, I could almost get these two to sound identical, but not quite. They were so close in many ways that I think I can safely say that you could go for either one and be perfectly happy. I think they are very close (sound-wise) and would meet the same basic needs. There were some differences, though. I found the 415 to have a bigger sound, a bigger soundstage, and a broader low end. In my notes, I said 'smoother' but that's not exactly right. It's a fuller sound across the frequency range, more of a balanced response, I think. Not quite sure how to put it. The 325 sounded a little punchier in the treble range and in a few sections of the low bass range, and certainly sounded great. But I liked the 415's sound just a little bit better (to my ears, anyway) overall.

However, I was really impressed with how the 325 held its own against the 415 which is significantly more expensive ($400 vs $300). In pure audio terms they were very close, but the 415's broader low end and noticeably bigger soundstage gave it the edge. Still, I could be happy with either one. Positioned appropriately and well tweaked, if you walked from one room listening to the 415 and went to another and listened to the 325, I don't think you would notice much of a difference. The 325 has a little boxier sound, the 415 more transparent.

As far as volume, the 415 might be a bit louder, but not really a significant difference, in my opinion. The 415 has more power, but the perceived "loudness" is not much more than the 325 (to me anyway). Interesting. Both are loud enough for a large room.

On the DVD and broadcast TV tests, again, I really did not find any huge differences. Both sounded good. Again, the 415 had a bigger, fuller sound overall, but both were very good and very similar in their overall sound. Again I was surprised at how well the 325 stood toe-to-toe with the 415. Again, I preferred the 415 but it was close. Most people's decision will probably come down to the cabinet shapes, sizes and style.

The 415 is very different from the 325 is many ways. For one, it's more the soundbar style with a wide compact cabinet vs. the 325's narrower, deeper cabinet. The 415 and 325 both have 3 3.25" drivers, but the 415 has a 4" sub plus a passive 4" radiator vs. a 5.25" sub in the 325. This, and the bigger cabinet size, may be why the 325 had a punchier bass on some sounds, though the 415 had an overall better low-end, I thought.

The 415 has no front input (the 325 has one front input) both have 2 rear "mixing" inputs. One of these can act as a full-range output to a sub on the 325, the 415 has a separate sub-out. The 415 has all of its controls on the remote. These include mute, power, auto on/off, volume, phasecue, subwoofer (level), and treble. The 325 remote has only volume and mute. The 415 has no controls on the unit, the 325 had volume, phasecue, and subwoofer (level) on the unit. The 415 use std. RCA style analog inputs/outputs, the 325 uses std 3.5mm jacks.

The 415 has no display other than a red and blue LED light (which are behind the black,metal grill). The red (orange? amber?) LED indicates the unit is in standby mode. The blue LED indicates it is active. When you press a remote function, the blue LED flashes. When you reach the max or min setting, the LED stops flashing. You can count the flashes to know what setting you are on. Crude but it works. As I mentioned elsewhere, a display would be nice, but again the ZVOX approach is simple is better. I guess they intend for you to 'tune by ear' most of the time. And that does make some sense for an audio system.

Both have a black metal grill on front and both look nice, IMHO, the 415 is the more 'soundbar' styled unit and has threaded holes on bottom and back for mounting. There are also 4 rubber feet on the bottom. Both feel solid and well constructed, I never noticed any rattling at any time from either unit.

I do find the front input on the 325 to be handy. You can plug in an MP3 player, CD player, or other gear, for example. But that won't matter to a lot of you.

The quick summary would be that both of these units sound good and their sound is quite similar. Your choice will probably come down to cabinet style and controls preferences. The 415's remote makes it easier to tweak the unit from your listening position. But once you are in normal listening mode, that won't matter as much. The 325 will fit a shelf nicely. The 415 can be hung on a wall. Yada yada yada,
post #124 of 585
Thread Starter 
5.1 surround or no?

As ZVOX freely admits, the ZVOX units do *NOT* produce 5.1 surround sound or anything like it, really. They *DO* produce a soundstage with width and depth and an overall very good sound. But they do not, for example, "place" sounds in the soundstage according to their 5.1 encoded positioning. The soundstage is really just a stereo field enhanced via the phasecue circuitry to give spatial cues to your ears. You will hear things positioned off to the sides and closer and farther (apparently) and so on. Sometimes you will feel like you are in a dome of sound. But you are not going to hear true surround sound.

But you will hear "big" sound. And it will help give you that "at the movies" kind of experience when listening. And it will be a world apart from what you are hearing from your TV speakers.

Add to that the simple set up and convenience of one box and you have the ZVOX idea in a nutshell. It won't be the solution for everyone, it will be for many.
post #125 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by awellusedwallet View Post

...go the the AVS plasma flat panel discussion, and then find the "Panasonic PX80 Owners" thread. On the first page of that thread is a post that has a nice summary with links of all sorts of "how to" posts on this TV. For the most part, I would recommend watching everything in the Cinema mode for the first 100 hours, with the picture setting turned down to around 50. I think the poster with the most technical info on this particular model is LarryinRI. He has a nice discussion for first-time PX80 owners and how to "condition" their plasma TVs.

I don't have much time to post tonight, so sorry for no links.

Thanks! Will do. I can find the thread easily enough, so no worries on the links. And I will do the break-in! I'm really looking forward to hooking this baby up!

Hard to believe that plasma is losing out to LCD's, isn't it? Every time I've done eyeball tests, the plasma sets always win. Every single time over several years. And the viewing angles! And the black levels, and all the other things I know you know. Go figure?

The LCD manufacturers' really exploited all that 'burn in' paranoia to the max, I guess. Oh well. We got ours.
post #126 of 585
Thread Starter 
Watching a John Fogerty concert (Soundstage series) does that dude love playing music or what!

I've always liked him, though never a huge fan, but boy does the man love what he's doing. I love seeing performers like that. And a good song writer to boot.

The Soundstage series is superb - if you love music (and who doesn't?) - don't miss it!
post #127 of 585
Cambridge Surroundworks 200 has been clearanced so provides a good solution if you can find one. It uses
Binaura Audio Surround Processing to do 5.1 and works pretty well. I modded a cable to hook it up to my htpc, but it is designed to work with a receiver.

You could also try finding Binaura's system as well.
post #128 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dblank View Post

Cambridge Surroundworks 200 has been clearanced so provides a good solution if you can find one. It uses
Binaura Audio Surround Processing to do 5.1 and works pretty well. I modded a cable to hook it up to my htpc, but it is designed to work with a receiver.

You could also try finding Binaura's system as well.

Thanks, Dblank! Always happy to have feedback on other choices!
post #129 of 585
Thread Starter 
Got a 425 in today! Hope to be able to do some testing and a review this weekend. It's got basically twice the power of the 415, so it should be interesting (and fun!).

Watching some more DVD's with the 415 tonight and rest of this week. So far, I continue to be very pleased with the 415. It's my pick so far with the 325 a close second.

Still using the Mini as a personal music sound system with my internet radio and MP3 player and loving it for that use. Also use it with my portable DVD player - great for that as well. Got the ZVOX shoulder bag for the Mini as well and it's very nice. Well made and you can carry everything easily.

I'm hoping Nautiduck will return and give us more on his take on the 325 and also awellusedwallet on the 550. Good to get a variety of views, if possibile.
post #130 of 585
1. Zvox Remote - My ending comment was that it works fine; and it does work--fine for me. Now, I admit I am pretty much old school when it comes to audio equipment (and video for that matter). I remember the mid-1970s when my brother and I first became interested in stereo equipment. Back then, if you had more dials/knobs/sliding controls to adjust more than the tremble, mid-range and bass, you had a higher end receiver. Digital readout was pretty rare in home consumer stereo equipment, unless it was ultra-high end. So, the Zvox remote that has 9 steps and blinks to let you know the step is fine with me. Besides, I am finding out that, if there is a control device that has the ability to show a digital readout range from 0 to 100, I am not finding too much difference if I set it at 48 or 58 (or what that difference really means), so I might just as well have limited choices.

2. Cable remote volume control - It is my understanding that Panasonic stopped manufacturing TVs in 2004 with the ability to have variable audio out (I have a Panasonic plasma 42PX80U TV). Supposedly, some Samsung TVs also no longer have this ability. The users manual for the 550 states that you need to set your TV's audio output to variable to control the volume with the TV remote. Alternatively, the manual states a programmable remote may be able to be programmed to control the volume. Since variable audio is not an option for me, I downloaded the instructions for my Comcast cable programmable remote from their web site. So far, all of the potential programming options for audio control listed in the instructions have not resulted in success (using the codes recommended by Zvox as well as those listed under amplifiers on the Comcast instructions) - even attempting to have the remote search for a code did not work. I sent an e-mail to Zvox's customer support, so hopefully they can offer some suggestions. For now, it really is not a big deal for me to use the Zvox remote for volume control. Again, it's that old school thing.

***Update - Heard Back From Zvox***


Zvox informed me that the remotes that Comcast and DirectTV use apparently are very difficult to be programmed to operate Zvox products. They did say that the Harmony universal remotes work with their products - but I don't really think I want to go that route at the moment. So, it looks like I will be using the "fine for me" Zvox remote.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to rustle up a mastodon for tomorrow's dinner
post #131 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by awellusedwallet View Post

1. Zvox Remote - My ending comment was that it works fine; and it does work--fine for me. Now, I admit I am pretty much old school when it comes to audio equipment (and video for that matter). I remember the mid-1970s whe...
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to rustle up a mastodon for tomorrow's dinner

Hey! Thanks for the update!

You know, I'm a bit of a caveman myself and remember the days you refer to well. The good old days. But, I will say, I used a nice universal learning remote for years (like the MX-500) and then finally tried a Harmony when I got a cheap one for about $50 (the 550). Now my big deal is that I like programming the key layouts myself on my remotes. I'm very picky and it has to be right, 'cause I have a lot of devices to control. I stuck with my MX-500 for several years. But after I got my Harmony 550 and spent a few weeks fooling around with it, I was like, why did I wait so long?

It truly is a very nice remote and the codes database is very complete. Since you do the programming on your computer via the web and their site (this is actually what put me off for a long time - I did not like the dependency) it is much easier to program than most other remotes. And their "Activities" model works pretty well after you figure out how to use it correctly with the customized buttons and other features.

I can tell you, I would not want to go back. (Now I do spend a fair amount of time tweaking it - almost every couple of weeks I'm adding or changing something, but that's mainly because I now can have it just about perfect!)

So I highly recommend the Harmony system. Just be prepared to spend some time learning how to set it up effectively.

By the way, do either of the remotes you are using having "learning" capability? If so, there are only a few codes to learn, so that would be an easy route to take.

Thanks and let us know how the 550 holds up under your continued listening and use!
post #132 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by bron View Post

Got a 425 in today! Hope to be able to do some testing and a review this weekend. It's got basically twice the power of the 415, so it should be interesting (and fun!).

Watching some more DVD's with the 415 tonight and rest of this week. So far, I continue to be very pleased with the 415. It's my pick so far with the 325 a close second.

Still using the Mini as a personal music sound system with my internet radio and MP3 player and loving it for that use. Also use it with my portable DVD player - great for that as well. Got the ZVOX shoulder bag for the Mini as well and it's very nice. Well made and you can carry everything easily.

I'm hoping Nautiduck will return and give us more on his take on the 325 and also awellusedwallet on the 550. Good to get a variety of views, if possibile.

I can't wait to hear your review as I am thinking about pulling the trigger on the 425 (especially before the sale goes off!). Let me know what you do about the clearance situation on the speaker. I went to Home Depot this weekend and found a nice piece of wood that I could stain or paint to match the Pioneer Plasma I have so that would be an option.
post #133 of 585
Is the 315 the same on the inside as the 325, just without a remote and a cloth grill vs metal? Or does the 325 have upgraded speakers and electronics. Thanks.

Jon
post #134 of 585
This thread is looking like a definitive site for Zvox reviews!

Here's one on the 315:

http://www0.epinions.com/review/ZVOX...t_435918114436
post #135 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by YOTR View Post

I can't wait to hear your review as I am thinking about pulling the trigger on the 425 (especially before the sale goes off!). Let me know what you do about the clearance situation on the speaker. I went to Home Depot this weekend and found a nice piece of wood that I could stain or paint to match the Pioneer Plasma I have so that would be an option.

Well, I hope I'll have time this weekend. We'll see. I have not unpacked it yet, but the 425 looks massive compared to the 415. The 415 is a very nice size.

Yea, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to work something out, but for the tests this weekend, I'll just make do.

Congrats on the Pioneer Plasma! They're among if not the best by all accounts. Can't believe Pioneer is getting out of the biz. You've got a collector's item now.

Hopefully, ZVOX will keep their sale going. The 425 is pretty expensive even so. Really can't wait to try it, myself. If things weren't so crazy at work, I would have taken a day off just to do so. But can't do that now.
post #136 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCr View Post

Is the 315 the same on the inside as the 325, just without a remote and a cloth grill vs metal? Or does the 325 have upgraded speakers and electronics. Thanks.

Jon

No, not the same. The 315 is the product that started it all for ZVOX. It is very similar to the 325, but the 325 is the "new and improved" model. Here's some info on the improvements the 325 has (from the ZVOX web site):

* More sophisticated amplifier. The amplifier of the 325 has been meticulously fine-tuned, with precise electronic contouring of the system's frequency response to create a very natural, realistic tonal balance.
* More power. The amount of power available to the key center speaker in our PhaseCue array has been doubled, compared to that of the 315.
* Improved subwoofer. The 325 uses a high-mass, long-throw 4x6 subwoofer in a bandpass cabinet that was precisely designed using proprietary software. The subwoofer cabinet is slightly larger than that of the 315.
* Stylish front panel. The 325 uses the new curved metal grille and front panel controls introduced with the ZVOX Mini. The front panel also features a separate input for use with an iPod, PC or other portable device. When used, the front panel input automatically mutes anything connected to the rear panel inputs.
* Remote control. The 325 has a credit-card-sized remote control for volume and mute functions.

So, the 315 is the "little brother" to the 325. I need to hook mine up so I can give you a comparison, just have not had time, but I will. I will say this. I got a 315 off of eBay for $129 from the ZVOX outlet and at that price, it's hard to resist. The main issues will be the power and lack of remote. If your TV has variable audio out, then you can use the TV remote to control volume. If your room isn't huge, the power may not be an issue for you. It might make a good choice for a bedroom, for example.

I'm hoping it handles music as well as the other ZVOX units, as that will likely be one of my main uses for it. Together with PC/laptop videos and DVD's. Another good use for it might be PC gaming. We'll see.

Can't say for sure about sound quality until I test it out, but I'm sure it will be in line with the rest. Reviews on the net have been favorable.
post #137 of 585
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saturation View Post

This thread is looking like a definitive site for Zvox reviews!

Here's one on the 315:

http://www0.epinions.com/review/ZVOX...t_435918114436

Thanks, Saturation! Yea, we have a good thread going.

Thanks for the link to the 315 review!
post #138 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by da1writer View Post

..Reason I don't own one... well, I've jumped into the HD age (PS3= Bluray Player), the CT100 is the only soundbar on the market that allows a 5.1/7.1 LPCM Uncompressed surround sound signal through it (HD audio Tracks via PCM).

Can you re-phrase this? Because I have a difficult time deciding between the CT-100 and the Yamaha YSP soundbars.
post #139 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by da1writer View Post

Reason I don't own one... well, I've jumped into the HD age (PS3= Bluray Player), the CT100 is the only soundbar on the market that allows a 5.1/7.1 LPCM Uncompressed surround sound signal through it (HD audio Tracks via PCM).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntrisKKT View Post

Can you re-phrase this? Because I have a difficult time deciding between the CT-100 and the Yamaha YSP soundbars.

He gets a little over excited about the value of HD audio on soundbars and I really really wouldn't make that the deciding factor when considering soundbars. Put it into perspective; the CT-100 has three teeny-tiny 1.5x2.75 woofers in front and a little 6.5 woofer in the sub unit (and those specs are annoyingly difficult to find because they are well obfuscated by Sony). It makes a very small impact and all the uncompressed audio in the universe won't make any difference with this little unit.

There are reports everywhere that many have a hard time deciphering a significant (usually subtle) difference between TrueHD and Dolby Digital, even on a very high end system in a controlled environment - so how in the world could a cheap Sony soundbar be any better?

Go listen to the Yamaha and Sony soundbar and make a decision on your own. Don't let some overzealous person sway your decision either way.
post #140 of 585
Thank you everyone for a great thread! This info is just what i was looking for. I am serious about buying a Zvox speaker system and the information here is great to read. I am probably looking for a soundbar type design but the 325 sounds pretty good. I saw the 425 on a video from C-net and that soundbar is big! Probably aiming my interests tword the 415 but I have not made a decision yet. I also am a big fan of simple good sound. I have 1 question to all interested. If I use a HDMI connection from my cablebox/DVR to my television. (have not gotten that yet but I am looking at 46" lcd ) and I use the RCA sound out from the television to the zvox unit will the sound be synchronized?? I read a post about someone that had problems syncing sound with video. Thanks for any replies Mark
post #141 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by bron View Post

Well, I hope I'll have time this weekend. We'll see. I have not unpacked it yet, but the 425 looks massive compared to the 415. The 415 is a very nice size.

Yea, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to work something out, but for the tests this weekend, I'll just make do.

Congrats on the Pioneer Plasma! They're among if not the best by all accounts. Can't believe Pioneer is getting out of the biz. You've got a collector's item now.

Hopefully, ZVOX will keep their sale going. The 425 is pretty expensive even so. Really can't wait to try it, myself. If things weren't so crazy at work, I would have taken a day off just to do so. But can't do that now.

I have been a big supporter of Pioneer Plasma's for a few years now (had a 4280 and 5080) so when I heard this was the last one being made, I decided to upgrade . I play games alot so the orbitor technology really helps with image retention. I will be checking the thread this weekend in hopes of some impressions. If you like it, I might pull the trigger and order it this weekend.
post #142 of 585
Thanks B, I own the 315, so I can say the review on epinions is spot on. Would be looking to see others who concur as I am in line for upgrading it. I've bolded the key issues I find with it on your post, and just add that 315 does distort in some musical peaks. I have SACD disks and older 'audiophile' disks with such transients that cause annoying braps to occur that don't happen on my regular speakers or headphones. Other than that, the sound is fine as a TV 'sound stage', but it is underpowered.

If I upgrade, the 315 is more than perfect to adding omp to a PC sound system and putting the upgrade on the TV.

I am in the market for any higher model Zvox but I can't decide between the models.

I was focused on the Model 408, but its been pulled and I haven't seen it back in their inventory since mid-2008.





Quote:
Originally Posted by bron View Post

No, not the same. The 315 is the product that started it all for ZVOX. It is very similar to the 325, but the 325 is the "new and improved" model. Here's some info on the improvements the 325 has (from the ZVOX web site):

* More sophisticated amplifier. The amplifier of the 325 has been meticulously fine-tuned, with precise electronic contouring of the system's frequency response to create a very natural, realistic tonal balance.
* More power. The amount of power available to the key center speaker in our PhaseCue array has been doubled, compared to that of the 315.
* Improved subwoofer. The 325 uses a high-mass, long-throw 4x6 subwoofer in a bandpass cabinet that was precisely designed using proprietary software. The subwoofer cabinet is slightly larger than that of the 315.
* Stylish front panel. The 325 uses the new curved metal grille and front panel controls introduced with the ZVOX Mini. The front panel also features a separate input for use with an iPod, PC or other portable device. When used, the front panel input automatically mutes anything connected to the rear panel inputs.
* Remote control. The 325 has a credit-card-sized remote control for volume and mute functions.

So, the 315 is the "little brother" to the 325. I need to hook mine up so I can give you a comparison, just have not had time, but I will. I will say this. I got a 315 off of eBay for $129 from the ZVOX outlet and at that price, it's hard to resist. The main issues will be the power and lack of remote. If your TV has variable audio out, then you can use the TV remote to control volume. If your room isn't huge, the power may not be an issue for you. It might make a good choice for a bedroom, for example.

I'm hoping it handles music as well as the other ZVOX units, as that will likely be one of my main uses for it. Together with PC/laptop videos and DVD's. Another good use for it might be PC gaming. We'll see.

Can't say for sure about sound quality until I test it out, but I'm sure it will be in line with the rest. Reviews on the net have been favorable.
post #143 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by eighttrack View Post

Thank you everyone for a great thread! This info is just what i was looking for. I am serious about buying a Zvox speaker system and the information here is great to read. I am probably looking for a soundbar type design but the 325 sounds pretty good. I saw the 425 on a video from C-net and that soundbar is big! Probably aiming my interests tword the 415 but I have not made a decision yet. I also am a big fan of simple good sound. I have 1 question to all interested. If I use a HDMI connection from my cablebox/DVR to my television. (have not gotten that yet but I am looking at 46" lcd ) and I use the RCA sound out from the television to the zvox unit will the sound be synchronized?? I read a post about someone that had problems syncing sound with video. Thanks for any replies Mark

I have that connection exactly with a ZVOX 550. Perfect synchronization! Cable box is Motorola (FIOS) and TV is el cheapo (but damn good!) Insignia 32" Plasma.
post #144 of 585
I've had the ZVOX 550 for a little over a week now. My initial reactions are as follows:

PROs

1. Unit looks good and blends well. Perfect fit for the typical assemble-it-yourself-stands for 30" CRTs from manufacturer's like Busch. 2+" in height-very in obtrusive. Length and depth are essentially the same. In other words,my wife doesn't even know it's there! VERY IMPORTANT!!!

2. I am able to control volume with cable box remote-same as before. Again very important-nothing has changed for my technophobe wife! She still does not know ithe ZVOX is there.

3. Sound is very clear and the sub woofer adds a very nice dimension to the sound, in comparison with the sound of the TV alone.

4. I'll be damned if the phasecue doesn't work! Was not expecting much in this regard! No, there is no sound from behind-however, the front sound is very much widened so that you do hear sound from way beyond the width of the TV. Very nice!

CONS

1. No means of knowing what your settings are beyond counting the number of pushes on the remote. From my perspective a severe deficiency!

2. According to the instructions, there are nine levels for the sub woofer and treble. I have only been able to find seven (I think since there is no way of knowing). Depressing/activating the remote is very tricky. If the remote is not aimed correctly, there is no blinking light-or the remote may be aimed correctly and you may be at the limit. If the remote button is depressed too long i believe the main unit keeps changing levels. But you will never know! You have to keep on trying and get a sound that sounds good to you. Unfortunately, your setting is then dependent upon what source is being used for adjusting the sound. And the ZVOX does sound differently for different sources material. You may well change settings depending upon the source material and have a hell of a time reversing the change.

3. This design sucks!!! Come on ZVOX-come up with design that provides a visual (not audio) indication to the user!
post #145 of 585
Nice review!

Can you tell if objects or sounds are towards the right, left or middle of the soundstage? The bass omps without distorting?

In some movies, like the opening battle scene of Gladiator, the catapults have sounds going from left to right and vice versa, can you tell, or have the same in any similar movie?



Quote:
Originally Posted by feisty1 View Post

I've had the ZVOX 550 for a little over a week now. My initial reactions are as follows:

PROs

1. Unit looks good and blends well. Perfect fit for the typical assemble-it-yourself-stands for 30" CRTs from manufacturer's like Busch. 2+" in height-very in obtrusive. Length and depth are essentially the same. In other words,my wife doesn't even know it's there! VERY IMPORTANT!!!

2. I am able to control volume with cable box remote-same as before. Again very important-nothing has changed for my technophobe wife! She still does not know ithe ZVOX is there.

3. Sound is very clear and the sub woofer adds a very nice dimension to the sound, in comparison with the sound of the TV alone.

4. I'll be damned if the phasecue doesn't work! Was not expecting much in this regard! No, there is no sound from behind-however, the front sound is very much widened so that you do hear sound from way beyond the width of the TV. Very nice!

CONS

1. No means of knowing what your settings are beyond counting the number of pushes on the remote. From my perspective a severe deficiency!

2. According to the instructions, there are nine levels for the sub woofer and treble. I have only been able to find seven (I think since there is no way of knowing). Depressing/activating the remote is very tricky. If the remote is not aimed correctly, there is no blinking light-or the remote may be aimed correctly and you may be at the limit. If the remote button is depressed too long i believe the main unit keeps changing levels. But you will never know! You have to keep on trying and get a sound that sounds good to you. Unfortunately, your setting is then dependent upon what source is being used for adjusting the sound. And the ZVOX does sound differently for different sources material. You may well change settings depending upon the source material and have a hell of a time reversing the change.

3. This design sucks!!! Come on ZVOX-come up with design that provides a visual (not audio) indication to the user!
post #146 of 585
I noticed Zvox released a new cosmetically different 425. Here is the description on their website: "The ZVOX 425xs is identical to our original ZVOX 425 system -- except it has no front controls or inputs. The front panel is finished in high-gloss hand-finished black lacquer".


I wonder why they did that? Did they get complaints about it not looking stream lined in the front? Interesting............
post #147 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by YOTR View Post

I noticed Zvox released a new cosmetically different 425. Here is the description on their website: "The ZVOX 425xs is identical to our original ZVOX 425 system -- except it has no front controls or inputs. The front panel is finished in high-gloss hand-finished black lacquer".


I wonder why they did that? Did they get complaints about it not looking stream lined in the front? Interesting............

They're catering to a market for items that 'look' good. Its sometimes assumed that buyers who buy for look tend to be gadgetphobic, and so prefer not to have knobs, jacks and dials anywhere.

I am a little miffed by those things.

The cons mentioned in feisty1 550 review is such an example, a great machine, but it suffers in basic engineering design, you can't figure out where the setting is because there is no feedback. Those engineering items are sacrificed for the 'look' and form factor.

A device must do what it is supposed to do, make good sound, then decor comes afterward, but not vice versa. If you cannot set the sound setting properly because it was removed for designs sake, then there is a problem, you can't get 'good sound'. It becomes very awkward to adjust what was meant to be adjusted.

In Zvox, the PhaseCue does not have to be fixed permanently for a given room. It does make a difference to adjust it for every type of program you play, to improve the sound a bit more.

The do give Oscar awards for 'best sound' each year because its not all made the same by the sound engineers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Sound

Therefore, you cannot have one setting on your sound system that its best for all, its generally a setting that is a 'best fit' but with good controls you can get the best output for every different program. it varies by how the movie or system will playback, and then it will be affected by the inherent characteristics of the amplifier, your room acoustics, and finally the viewers ears. Sometimes in an effort to get good effects, a movie will sound imbalanced: when played back in one setting the center channel in home systems suffers, and you have to cut down the PhaseCue more, sometimes its not, then you can 'expand' the room more.

I would be cautious about items that advertise look first, often things are taken out to make it so.

The Zvox 315 is an example of taking minimalism a bit too far, while it can be adusted, the controls are at the back, so its very awkward to adjust it per program, and I have to settle for a 'best fit' and deal only with volume controls.

The 325 is the best minimum Zvox, IMHO. There was also a model 408 which had more controls, but they took it off the market fast.
post #148 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by saturation View Post

They're catering to a market for items that 'look' good. Its sometimes assumed that buyers who buy for look tend to be gadgetphobic, and so prefer not to have knobs, jacks and dials anywhere.

I am a little miffed by those things.

The cons mentioned in feisty1 550 review is such an example, a great machine, but it suffers in basic engineering design, you can't figure out where the setting is because there is no feedback. Those engineering items are sacrificed for the 'look' and form factor.

A device must do what it is supposed to do, make good sound, then decor comes afterward, but not vice versa. If you cannot set the sound setting properly because it was removed for designs sake, then there is a problem, you can't get 'good sound'. It becomes very awkward to adjust what was meant to be adjusted.

In Zvox, the PhaseCue does not have to be fixed permanently for a given room. It does make a difference to adjust it for every type of program you play, to improve the sound a bit more.

The do give Oscar awards for 'best sound' each year because its not all made the same by the sound engineers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Sound

Therefore, you cannot have one setting on your sound system that its best for all, its generally a setting that is a 'best fit' but with good controls you can get the best output for every different program. it varies by how the movie or system will playback, and then it will be affected by the inherent characteristics of the amplifier, your room acoustics, and finally the viewers ears. Sometimes in an effort to get good effects, a movie will sound imbalanced: when played back in one setting the center channel in home systems suffers, and you have to cut down the PhaseCue more, sometimes its not, then you can 'expand' the room more.

I would be cautious about items that advertise look first, often things are taken out to make it so.

The Zvox 315 is an example of taking minimalism a bit too far, while it can be adusted, the controls are at the back, so its very awkward to adjust it per program, and I have to settle for a 'best fit' and deal only with volume controls.

The 325 is the best minimum Zvox, IMHO. There was also a model 408 which had more controls, but they took it off the market fast.



Yeah I actually like the model with the controls on the front. Hoping for Bron's review this weekend on the 425 (hint hint Bron) .
post #149 of 585
Bron,

One question I had was how you liked the 325 with a subwoofer? I read your review earlier but was wondering if you could expand on it? Sounds good with movies/music? I am looking hard at the 425 but I do have a a shelf open under my tv on my entertainment center that could hold the 325. I am pretty sure I would need more bass than what it delivers so I could always buy a little sub (polk has a great one for about $100 bucks) to help. It sounds like it is good by itself but I bet a sub would fill in any holes it might have. Can you do a comparison of the 325 with a sub versus the 425? It's just another option I though about in case I don't want to get a riser for the tv for the 425. It would look cleaner to. Thank in advance!
post #150 of 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by YOTR View Post

I noticed Zvox released a new cosmetically different 425. Here is the description on their website: "The ZVOX 425xs is identical to our original ZVOX 425 system -- except it has no front controls or inputs. The front panel is finished in high-gloss hand-finished black lacquer".


I wonder why they did that? Did they get complaints about it not looking stream lined in the front? Interesting............

I can imagine if you used it for commercial purposes as part of a display for example that it would make a lot of sense. Not only would it look good but you wouldn't have to worry about some kid walking up and messing with the settings or connecting his iPod to it and playing Korn at blazing levels.

Also, there is the aesthetic appeal mentioned before. I still don't see why people would want to lose the ability to plug in their iPod at home to this thing. Seems like losing serious functionality for the same price.

--The Dan
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