ZVOX SB380 Soundbar Review

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ZVOX SB380 Soundbar Review


I always say, if you don’t have the space for a traditional 5.1 system but still crave that same quality sound & experience that one gives, the right soundbar can be a pretty solid replacement.

Though with so many options out there as of late, it can be pretty difficult actually choosing one; especially when you consider the different features that each provides.

So that being said, in this ZVOX SB380 soundbar review we take a look at a device that could very well be the solution to this issue based on what it has to offer.

But is it the one you’ve inadvertently been looking for?

Let’s find out.

 

 

Appearance

 

Features & Specs

 

Setup

 

How’s The Sound?

 

Likes

 

Dislikes

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

 

Appearance


When it comes to appearance, it’s honestly pretty low key; meaning you’ll have no problems working it into the aesthetics of your current space.

There’s a black metal grille on the front and sides, with a small metallic logo towards the center. On the right side you have a few buttons that control the device, and on the back you have the inputs for setup.

That’s pretty much it honestly. As I’ve mentioned before, the point of a soundbar isn’t really to stand out or to be ostentatious in a sense; more so to blend in with the decorum while providing you with good sound.

So I like the way this device looks, but given what it actually is, it’s pretty hard dislike honestly. What I do like in particular about this unit though is the disappearing display behind the speaker grille that gives you visual information whenever you interact with the controls. I think that’s really cool and wish more did that to be honest.

But as far as looks go, it gets a thumbs up from me.

 

 

Features & Specs


The features actually on offer here are another good reason to consider this as your next system too.

For example it has a built in subwoofer to handle the bass so there’s no need for placing anything else external.

Everything is situated inside a single bar which can definitely prove useful for the people out there with limited space, or those that prefer something that takes up little space. Either way, you’re covered here.

Another thing that is taken seriously here is the sound quality. It makes use of a digitally controlled amplifier which uses a series of complex algorithms to deliver the sound. This allows it to not only sound incredible, but actually be accurate as well.

ZVOX also uses what they call their AccuVoice technology; and what this basically does is identify the voices in the soundtrack and modify them to make them more distinct & audible using hearing aid technology.

That means that even during the worst mixed programming, you still won’t have any issues with hearing the dialogue.

If your main reason for actually looking for a soundbar is due to the fact you’re having issues hearing what people are saying and you’re fed up with it, then this single feature alone essentially makes it worth it.

Then there’s the OL (output leveling) feature that with the single press of a button, is able to make the softer sounds in a soundtrack louder, and the louder sounds quieter.

This is especially helpful for those moments where there’s a sudden change in volume — say during an extremely loud commercial, or even just when you’re switching channels and just so happen to land on an action flick (which can be pretty jarring admittedly)

So with this, that issue is pretty much mitigated. But what’s interesting is that this feature also helps by boosting the volume levels on Blurays and DVDS that aren’t loud enough, so that way you’ll actually be able to hear them without having to turn it all the way to the max setting.

Again this is another feature I wish all of them had, but I’m glad to at least see it here.

Yet another proprietary technology on display here is ZVOX’S PhaseCue Virtual Surround Sound which makes the promise of providing you with a rich 3D sound all through out the room; making it seem as though it was actually coming from all around.

That basically means you’ll still get the full surround sound experience without actually having to use dedicated speakers which is really cool.

It also has hangar slots on its back panel allowing it to be wall mounted and due to its design, it can be placed upright or laid flat underneath a TV.

In terms of the actual size of it, this isn’t a burly soundbar by any means making it pretty manageable. It comes in at around 9.8 pounds though the actual shipping weight is listed at about 14.5 pounds.

It measures 35.5 x 3.3 x 5.7 inches.

It has 3 full range speakers with one 4 inch subwoofer also included inside.

There’s a 45 watt high efficiency class D amplifier; and in terms of inputs, there’s one Toslink digital input as well as an Analog RCA jack input.

There’s also a one year limited warranty.

 

 

Setup


Setup for this system is really simple as well. Besides plugging in the power cord, all that’s necessary is plugging in a single optical cable from the TV to the back of the device and that’s it.

There is also the option of connecting via analog, but that’s only applicable in really niche situations.

So if there were any worries about the process being complex, you’ll be happy to note that this certainly isn’t the case.

A single cord in the optical port and you’re good to go.

 

 

How’s The Sound?


What about the sound, does it actually sound good?

In a word, Yes!

Surprisingly this is actually one of the best soundbars I’ve ever listened to in terms of clarity. During normal television, I immediately noticed how pronounced and crisp voices were even when the volume wasn’t turned up incredibly high.

Even when it was turned up, it remained crystal clear and didn’t have any distortion or anything like that. This is certainly a plus because not everyone wants to have to crank things up to 11 just to hear what’s going on, and the fact that it isn’t necessary to do so here is definitely welcomed.

During movies I noticed the same level of clarity and what surprised me the most was the virtual surround sound feature. It’s probably one of the best implementations of it I’ve heard to date since it did provide a level of immersion I honestly wasn’t expecting it to.

Sound effects actually felt like they were coming from all around, and I just felt like I was a part of the action which is awesome.

The bass was pretty good too, though I will say I was hoping it could go just a little deeper during more dramatic scenes in movies. It definitely had a decent thump, it’s just that during certain bass drops it kind of stopped before digging super deep so figured that was at least worth mentioning.

But by no means is it bad or anything like that.

In fact you’ll be more than pleased with it, especially during music. Music is something this device does really well too because of its innate ability to really separate the details when it comes to content.

It’s older brother in the line, the ZVOX SB500 does have bluetooth along with a larger subwoofer, so this is something to consider as well.

But besides that, the actual sound quality itself is more than adequate and is leagues above the average television speaker for sure.

So if that’s what you’re coming from, it’ll honestly be a world of difference in terms of the experience.

Make no mistakes about it, the sound quality here is superb, and it’ll allow you to hear the smallest of details that you likely couldn’t hear before.

This is especially true due to the built in hearing aid technology making it perfect for those that are hard of hearing, or even for those who are just tired of having to turn the TV all the way up just to hear the dialogue.

With this, you won’t have that issue whatsoever and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it for that very reason. If you’re just looking for something to watch TV and the occasional movie with, then this is the one to go with.

 

 

Likes


  • Built in hearing aid technology allows for crystal clear voice quality even at low volumes
  • Built in subwoofer
  • Virtual surround sound works really well
  • Adjustable bass and treble
  • Output Leveling feature prevents dramatic volume jumps between programs
  • Superb sound quality
  • Doesn’t take up a lot of space at only 35 inches long
  • Really simple to setup
  • Can be wall mounted as well as placed upright or laid flat
  • Disappearing digital display is awesome

 

 

Dislikes


  • Additional sound modes would have been nice
  • No Bluetooth
  • Bass could go deeper
  • No HDMI slot

 

 

Final Thoughts


Overall, the ZVOX SB380 is a solid soundbar that I have no issues with recommending. It sounds great & works really well for a majority of content.

Plus the virtual surround sound feature actually makes you feel like a part of the content which is pretty amazing.

Hopefully this review helped to clear a few things up for you, but if you still have any questions, then feel free to reach out.

Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple.

 

ZVOX SB380 Soundbar

 

 

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