The Zvox Z-Base 580 is an incredibly well-designed, aesthetically pleasing sound bar. Despite its significant length, the system has a very minimal, simplistic look to it. This is the first of the Zvox sound bars to implement input toggling between five distinct digital and audio inputs.
The two built-in subwoofers enable high volume ideal for large rooms. It is an overall great sound system, but is lacking a bit in sound quality. This system would not be a great selection for a person wanting to enjoy high-quality music or special effects sounds.
The design of the Zvox Z-Base 580 is without a doubt the best feature of the sound bar. This sound system is designed to sit underneath the TV monitor, more closely resembling a piece of furniture than audio equipment. It can support the weight of TVs from 37 to 72 inches, and no more than 160 pounds. This placement is also great because it stays out of the way of any remote signals trying to reach the screen.
The system comes with a simple remote control with some pretty basic audio controls. In case the control goes missing between the couch cushions, even more basic control buttons are located on the front panel of the sound box. These essential buttons include mute, volume controls and input adjustment.
One aspect that has been missing from previous Zvox sound bars is a display screen. The company listened to their customer feedback, and included a small display screen in this latest version. When idle, the Zvox Z-Base 580 is a solid black sound bar, but a small display screen lights up from behind the speakers when used. This way, users can see what volume or input setting they're using.
There is only one input located on the front panel of the sound bar. It is a minijack input for quickly connecting an iPod or similar device. On the back of the Zvox Z-Base 580 are two digital inputs as well as two analog inputs. This system also allows true input switching, which has been missing from the previous Zvox audio equipment.
It can be hooked up to five separate devices, including the front input. One feature that is missing is HDMI compatibility. This shouldn't take away much from the sound experience, users can connect their HDMI components directly to their HDTV and connect the sound bar to the TV's audio output.
The sound quality of the Zvox Z-Base 580 leaves something to be desired. Although the large size of this sound bar and the additional subwoofer at the bottom does allow louder volume than other similar sound systems, the sound quality suffers a bit. It works well for a basic audio system, but at the $600 price tag, it falls short of the expected sound quality.
For the average person, the sound quality may be good enough, but audio buffs with a critical ear will likely be unsatisfied with the sound performance of this sound bar. Audiophiles will do well to invest in the Harman Kardon SB 16 at the same price for much better audio quality.