Most helpful positive review
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Intense, pleasing sound
on December 29, 2010
Edit, Jan. 28,2011: I've used this amp for several weeks now with lots of audio sources, and I am more and more pleased with its sound. It's taken me this much time to learn the amp's characteristics, and now I'm just learning to relax and enjoy what it does. It's really an excellent sound source. Years ago when I was getting my first really good system for CDs I was told that "you have to run a lot of music through it before you really know it." That was true, and it's true with the 575. People call it a "break in period," but I'm not yet sure if the "break in" is with the gear or with the ears.
Pros: full, intense sound with great separation, staging, and depth; sharp but pleasing peaks, and a strong, rich bass, all expertly blended by designers with great ears for the limits of the gear, and it's an elegant looking unit that in no way makes the TV perched on top of it to look too far above the furniture it all sits on. It all looks and sounds "just right" to me.
Cons: it's pricy, relies on its own remote, (at least on my setup), is nowhere near "surround sound," (Zvox makes that clear, though), it doesn't have the bass that a big subwoofer makes, and in my TV room, doesn't throw sound far to each side without cranking up "phase cue" and washing out the essential audio impact.
However, I'm learning that the Zvox's sound in my room's environment, as I learn to adjust settings, is full, satisfying, and 3D within a stage that extends just a bit beyond the TV's size. I really do like it. And I'm an audiophile and bass-oholic. My audio system in another room has 325+ quality watts per channel and two 400 watt powered subwoofers. I don't play it loud, I play my music for depth.
My Zvox sat on the floor for three weeks while I awaited delivery of my 50" plasma and my Oppo Blu-Ray. Its performance during that time was all that could be expected of any rectangular black box. But I was optimistic. Now that I've run some TV and music through it, I know I have a fine product.
Setup is definitely easy. All I had to do was attach the optical cable from my Samsung plasma and plug it in. There were adjustments to be made after that, but the Zvox was cooperative, and still is, as I fine-tune the system to my particular ears.
A few little annoyances: I'd hoped to be able to control volume through the TV's remote, but I think that won't be happening. I've read reviews that suggest plugging in a 3.5mm device just to shut down the TV's speaker output, but Samsung's 3.5 doesn't override its speakers. And it was suggested to set the speakers to "external," but that also leaves Samsung's speakers on. Other TVs are obviously different. Plus I think there's no way to adjust to having the TV's speakers on while the Zvox is on. The resulting sound is just an annoying out-of-phase mixture of noise.
So we're going to live with two remotes because of the volume control: the TV's, and the Zvox's. That's not so bad. The Zvox remote is precise despite the lack of a volume bar on screen. If the sound's too loud or soft, just point the remote at the Zvox's blue light and press, and a quick flicker of the blue light seems to correspond to the desired increase or decrease of volume. I don't find myself readjusting the volume after one try ... the Zvox's adjustment with a typical button press seems always to be just right.
After only a week's ownership, I know I have more to learn about the system's performance, but today I reached the point where I feel I know enough to describe its characteristics, and I'm really, really pleased and looking forward to more neat music DVDs and Blu-rays and well produced movies.