The Zvox Z-Base 580 serves as a stand for your HDTV and although the form factor isn't for everyone, its wider profile lets it deliver much better integrated bass effects than most sound bars. The overall audio experience is clear and impressive, and the Z-Base 580 includes a host of features.
Great sound on an expansive stage. The Zvox Z-Base 580 delivers incredibly rich and clear audio, reviewers report, especially on the dialog front. Although the subwoofer is integrated rather than discrete, reviewers still say it packs a very respectable punch. Experts say the PhaseCue II simulated surround-sound effects are fairly enveloping at the second of three settings, but Sound & Vision's reviewer notes that the first setting is basically stereo sound while the third setting creates too large of a sound stage and sounds "disembodied" as a result. Nevertheless, critics fall over themselves to praise the balanced audio of the Zvox Z-Base 580.
It's all about the platform. If you don't mind using a sound bar as a stand for your TV, this single bar solution is easy to set up and operate. However, if you don't like the idea of raising your TV's viewing angles, the Z-Base 580 may not be for you. It's also not very suitable for pairing with a wall-mounted set. The lack of an HDMI connection may be another deal breaker, but the sound bar includes plenty of other ports of both the analog and digital variety.
Features flesh out the versatility. The Zvox Z-Base 580 includes a lot of little extras. There's input switching, an auto on-off function, onboard PCM and Dolby Digital (but not DTS) decoders, a front 3.5mm input for smartphones and iPods, and a front display.
An excellent price for a high-quality sound bar. It's hard to call any $500 sound bar a value, but for all that you get -- top-notch design, above-average features and high-quality audio with a decent simulated surround sound -- the Zvox Z-Base 580 is competitively priced.
The Zvox Z-Base may cost as much as a low- to mid-range 5.1-channel home-theater setup. However, it is the cream of the crop for people who want to skip the wiring woes of a traditional surround-sound system but don't want to completely break the bank on a premium sound bar like the Yamaha YSP-4100 (*Est. $1,700). The simple setup and value-adding features are just icing on the cake.
1. Sound & Vision Magazine
The Zvox Z-Base 580 wins a Certified and Recommended award from Sound & Vision magazine. The review is full of highly informed hands-on impressions alongside a battery of highly technical benchmark testing data with clearly defined methodology.
Review: Test Report: Zvox Audio Z-Base 580 TV Sound System, Brent Butterworth, Jan. 30, 2012
2. Home Theater Magazine
Home Theater magazine is another valuable review source for audiophiles and the Zvox Z-Base 580 earns a Top Pick award here. Two pages of discussion cover every aspect of the sound bar, while a final page displays a graph of audio benchmarks. "If you're looking for a single-box home-theater audio solution to accompany up to a 70-inch flat-panel and will be placing the TV on a stand (as opposed to wall-mounting it), I can unhesitatingly recommend that you visit the Zvox Audio website and order one today," Lawrence Ullman writes.
Review: Zvox Audio Z-Base 580 Soundbar, Lawrence E. Ullman, Feb. 24, 2012
CNET's audio reviewers subject the Zvox Z-Base 580 to thorough, clearly defined testing, though no formal benchmarks are involved. They love the sound bar's features, design and clear, rich audio, but the high price tag and lack of a discrete subwoofer are two drawbacks.
Review: Zvox Z-Base 580 Review, Matthew Moskovciak and Steve Guttenberg, Aug. 31, 2011
HomeTheaterReview.com's coverage of the Zvox Z-Base 580 consists of two long pages chock full of discussion as well as separate ratings for performance, value and an overall score -- all of which receive a 4-star (out of 5) rating. Several high points and low points are called out, and Alex Lezcano compares the Z-Base 580 against its competitors in one section. "The Zvox 580 is perfect if you want a no-hassle HDTV or home theater upgrade," he writes.
Review: Zvox Z-Base 580 Reviewed, Alex Lezcano, Nov. 14, 2011
Although Robert Silva gets the name of this Z-Base 580 wrong in his title, the rest of his review is incredibly thorough, clearly listing the specifications of the sound bar and all materials used in its testing. Silva says the sturdily constructed sound bar delivers a great listening experience and gives it a 4-star (out of 5) rating. He is the only major reviewer to like the sound bar's musical output, as well. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Zvox IncrediBase 580 Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System - Review, Robert Silva, Not Dated
The Zvox Z-Base 580 carries a very high overall rating at Amazon.com and the number of 5-star reviews is far more than the number of reviews with lower ratings combined. The lower-rated reviews tend to come from people who expected better audio out of a sound bar.
Review: Zvox 580 Low-Profile Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System with Optical and Coaxial Digital Inputs, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012
Crutchfield.com has almost as many user reviews of the Z-Base 580 as Amazon.com, and its users are just as happy with the sound bar, which has an even higher overall average here. The sub output's inability to run high-powered subwoofers is cited as a concern by a couple of users.
Review: Zvox Z-Base 580, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of September 2012