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Today’s Show:

ZVOX 575 Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System (More Info)

We understand that many of our listeners don’t have the space for a full blown home theater system. However, those same listeners don’t necessarily want to listen to their movies through the TVs tiny speakers. For them a single unit solution is what the doctor ordered. The ZVOX 575 (Buy Now $699) is such a system that takes all of 10 minutes to un-box and start enjoying fuller richer sound from your home theater.

Features

  • Dual powered subs and a 133 watt amp deliver stunning sound and bass to 35Hz!
  • Requires only one connecting cord.
  • PhaseCue virtual surround system to give you rich, three-dimensional sound with movies or music.
  • MDF (medium density fiberboard) speaker cabinet, the same material uses in most high-end loudspeakers.

Setup
Simply open the box and place the unit on your TV stand, connect power, and connect the analog audio from the source to one of the two audio inputs, and power on. That’s it! OK, so the simplicity of setup is also a weakness of the unit. It does not take digital audio but that doesn’t matter. We’ll talk more about that when we talk about performance. The 575 has a nice aesthetic feature as well. Its designed to be used as a stand to place your TV on top of. The Z-Base 575 is 36 ” wide by 16.5 ” deep by 5 ” high and supports up to 146 pounds (66.2 Kgs). This is a great space saving feature and when you place your TV on the unit it just looks like it belongs there.

There is no calibration of the 575. Instead the remote control is used to adjust the Subwoofer, Treble, and Volume. There is also a PhaseCue function that adjusts the virtual surround. Logitech has all the IR codes for the 575 so we were able to setup our Harmony remote to control the system.

Performance
As far as surround goes don’t expect the 575 to perform like your dedicated home theater system. After all, it does not have digital inputs. All that aside we were quite pleased with how the unit sounded. Dialog was clear and and had texture. Music was wide and full. Sporting events seemed to be live. The 575 has a built in subwoofer which gave punch to whatever we watched. The subwoofer is what seals the deal on this unit.

There is some surround imaging that you get out of the 575 and your mileage will vary based on the room you put the unit in. We had mixed results depending on what we were watching. The remote has two buttons to adjust the level of surround, Phasecue+ and Phascue-. There are 8 levels of virtual surround. What we found is for listening to music setting it to the max gave you a wide sound image. The max setting for movies drowned out the dialog when there was affects of music. We found that for most movies a setting of 5 or 6 produced the best compromise. Not once did we feel that there were sounds coming from behind us. It was more about the front and how wide it sounded.

Don’t get us wrong. We felt there was a big improvement over the speakers on the TV. The subwoofer helped add an additional dimension to the sound. When watching movies on the TV’s speakers the big boom effects are lost. They were loud and clear on the 575.

Conclusion
The ZVOX 575 is a good solution for those who want more than a TV’s speaker for watching movies and listening to music. Its a perfect device for an apartment dweller, den, or a bedroom because its so dead simple to setup. If you don’t need the power of the 575 you can step down to the ZVOX 550 and save yourself $300.

Download ZVOX 575 Video

Download Episode #417


Posted by The HT Guys, March 18, 2010 10:21 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.