ZVOX SB380 soundbar review

ZVOX SB380 review

MSRP: $349

Sound Advice Speakers Product Points Review ™ By Don Lindich

Manufacturer website: zvoxaudio.com

  • Essentially the same soundbar as the critically-acclaimed ZVOX SB400, except the ZVOX SB380 does not have Bluetooth, and is said to have slightly less bass.  Latest editions of the SB380 have an updated AccuVoice implementation that comes close to the dialogue-optimized ZVOX AV200 Television Speaker while providing more full-range, higher fidelity sound.
  • Beautifully designed and finished, with high-quality aluminum cabinet capped with soft rubber on each end.  One end has the port for the built-in subwoofer, the other has soft-touch controls.
  • Easy setup, best results obtained with a single optical cable from the television.
  • Overall sound quality is excellent, providing crisp, clear sound that has a very slight touch of lushness to it and excellent tonal balance.
  • Able to play loud and deep enough to provide a theatrical effect in a small room.
  • Despite the claims of slightly less bass response compared to the SB400, I had trouble telling the difference between the two in normal playback modes.  It could be that a bump up in the volume is enough to compensate for the difference.
  • AccuVoice implementation is clearly better than the SB400, the SB380 does a better job lifting out the voices so they are easier to hear and understand.
  • Remote buttons are a bit small and the correct buttons may be hard to find by feel in a dark room.
  • Display on front is hidden under the grille and text and numerals light up when changes are made.  Easy to see where you are in relation to maximum volume.
  • Excellent support from ZVOX, a company that has shown they are big enough to deliver class-leading products to the masses, yet no so big that service becomes impersonal at best and difficult, at worst.  Besides my own experience, many readers of my newspaper column have attested to this.
  • 30 day home trial ensures customer satisfaction.
  • A decent value at $349, it goes on sale from time to time for $299.  Keep your eye out for sales!

Conclusion

This is an excellent soundbar and if you don’t need Bluetooth, I would say the SB380 is a better value than the SB400.  The soundbar market is getting competitive though and the SB380 faces competition at price points that are both slightly higher and slightly lower.  For $349  it is a still a good value given it is a well made, good sounding and extremely well supported product from an audio speciality manufacturer.  (Products like this are all that ZVOX does.) I’d love to see the regular price at $299 someday!

Overall: 4/5

Performance 4/5

Value 4/5

Questions? Send to donlindich@gmail.com.  Please include your city and state in your email.

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