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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    ZVOX ZBase 555 - Initial thoughts

    So after a bunch of research and internal debate, with myself and my wife, I purchased a ZVox 555 for enhanced sound from our bedroom Samsung Smart TV. I looked into all the other similar units, Bose, Dennon, and whatever else popped up. My wife really did not want another full blown stereo system in the bedroom along with speakers on her furniture. I already have 5 systems so did not need another one due to near future downsizing.

    The packaging was less than good and the box was pretty beat up when UPS delivered it. Nothing was damaged but I expected 2x boxing.
    Setup was a snap using a Mini to RCA cable and the supplied el-cheapo Optic cable. The sound is better from the RCAs.
    The Unit easily learns your TV remote functions for On-Off-Volume-Mute in seconds.
    I also hooked up an older DVD player to test physical CD and DVDs. Still testing whether going thru the TV and back to the ZVox is any better than direct from DVD to ZVox.

    Regular TV sound is much improved. There are a few Surround Modes and a Emphasis for voice along with Bass and Treble adjustments.
    I streamed some Pandora and some FLAC files from USB which was decent but tinny. The 555 has a 5.25 woofer out the bottom and 6 2" speakers out the front. It does have a Sub-Out which I will test at a later time.

    I put the Return of the King DVD on and found a good Orc Stomping scene. Overall it was pretty good for what it is and will make movies and concerts watchable in the bedroom.

    I also played my Carl Filipiak Electric Thoughts CD which sounded ok but real trebly and of course, lacked bass. But it sounded decent enough.

    So is it Audiophile Quality? Nope! But is is many times better than the TV speakers. Since they are having an Anniversary Sale, all units were $50 off regular so the 555 was $349 shipped.

    I guess I would recommend this unit to anyone looking for a simple solution to crappy TV sound in a limited space, or like me just not needing another full blown 2CH setup.

    I will follow back up with more impressions as I get a few hours on this box but so far it seems to be a keeper.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    The ZVOX get consistent rave reviews and their competition would be other sound bars, I expected you would maybe find one more impressive. But it wouldn't be the first time a product didn't live up to the hype.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I have used it a bit more and like what it does for the sound watching tv at low volume. I can hear the dialog.

    Last night I played the Zappa Plays Zappa DVD straight from a DVD player into the Zvox using Tara Labs Quantum CX ICs(Overkill) and the sound was quite good. I had plenty of bass and backed the treble down a notch and it played loud and clear.

    I knew what I was getting when I ordered it. All the reviews said not to expect Audiophile quality sound. It fits nicely where it is and was a good buy with the sale price. I am betting the speakers get a little better with 50 hours of play time, the woofer mainly.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I recently looked at several sound bars and boxes when I bought my Samsung 55" TV. The Sonos sound bar sounded the best but it was $700. I ended up with a pair of Def Tech monitors and an old pioneer receiver.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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