Vizio V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar Review

(CNN) –

At just $ 249.99, Vizio’s new V-Series 5.1 home theater soundbar is a real head-turner.

It is part of the 2021 series, which aims to optimize the offer and align Vizio’s home audio department with the TV lines. For example, you could pair this soundbar, two speakers, and a subwoofer system with a V-Series TV for the best experience. All you have to do to set up is power the soundbar and connect it to your TV via HDMI. Your TV will recognize the external source and the soundbar will wirelessly connect to the rest of the hardware.

We’ve tested this home theater solution on a number of TVs over the past few weeks and found it to be an affordable setup that beats our highly rated Roku smart speaker setup (two speakers, a woofer, and a soundbar) . It’s ridiculously easy to get it working on your TV and it delivers clear, room-filling sound.

Everything you need to know about the V Series 5.1 Home Theater Soundbar System is here.

The V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Soundbar System features a 36-inch long soundbar, a modest-sized subwoofer (weighing just 5 pounds), left and right speakers. You also get plenty of speaker cords as you need to plug the speakers into the included woofer.

These cables are the main slowdowns. Depending on your setup, you may need to move furniture or run cables under it. Ideally, place the middle of the soundbar under the television and the woofer on the left or right. The left and right speakers act as traditional satellites, located in the back of the setup, facing the action on the television. If you have space constraints, you can set them up in the front, with either left or right on either side of the TV. With this setup, the sound is less surround and more forward – more like a wall than an oval of sounds.

In both cases, run a cable to connect the left and right speakers to the woofer. You just have to decide how much cable you want to run. And for $ 250, it’s important to note that aspects of it are wireless, but a lot of it still relies on cables to connect hardware.

Once you’ve set up the left and right speakers, preferably near your seat (we’ll put ours on the left and right sides of the couch facing the TV), you’re ready to take part in the races. You can of course not leave it connected and only use the soundbar with the woofer.

Either way, make sure the speakers are connected to the subwoofer and have power. As with previous Vizio sound systems, the subwoofer is wirelessly coupled to the soundbar. It’s convenient and saves us from having to manage another cable.

Be warned, however, that as soon as you plug the soundbar on, it will speak to you immediately, which will get old very quickly. It will keep looking for input and reminding you by letting you know that it is searching. But what’s nice is that once it’s plugged into the TV and it detects it, you’re set. Just act quickly and use the included HDMI cable to connect the soundbar to your TV.

As for the design, it’s modest. All of the included hardware has a soft, matte black finish and fabric that covers the speakers so the sound comes out easily. The soundbar collects dust, so have a duster handy.

Once connected via optical or HDMI, content is ready to rock.

Your TV should recognize that HDMI ARC support allows audio to be pumped through an external source. Essentially, ARC allows signals to be transmitted in both directions over HDMI, i.e. one controller for the entire setup: TV and audio. In addition to the ARC-capable HDMI connection, you get an optical connection, two audio jacks, a USB-A connection and a power connection. We also had no problems pairing the soundbar with the woofer.

What does a $ 249.99 sound system sound like? Well, it does better sound than what your TV can produce by itself by putting down a room, but it doesn’t quite reach IMAX surround sound levels.

We added a range of content to V-Series 5.1: live music, superhero movies (“Avengers: Endgame”, “Captain Marvel”, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”), “Hamilton” via Disney + and Reality -TV. It’s a wide sound stage where you can hear the action play around you. Thanks to the woofer, there is some floor noise and the 3D audio sensation is quickly felt. For example, when you replay the launch of Space X, the ignition noises and a heating engine quickly fill the room. It’s not the most detailed, but we didn’t notice any artifacts or crackling.

Left and right sounded robust thanks to the speakers. It provides direct channels for these sounds. We strongly recommend using the left and right speakers as this will have a noticeable impact on the sound.

The soundbar itself has three speakers. When viewing a dialogue-intensive scene with louder background noise, it was easy for the characters’ voices to get a little washed out. Vocals are generally the focus of the mix, while the left and right speakers handle background or ambient noise. This caused the audio to be a little dull. It doesn’t cripple the overall experience and for the price we don’t think you will be disappointed with the quality.

The woofer surprisingly offers a punch and has deep bass that you will feel on the floor. Like the rest of the design, it blends in with your surroundings, but you might be surprised if a deep sound needs to be sent. And when all the hardware is running, Vizio offers support for Dolby Audio 5.1. We’ve found that when you hear “Hamilton” with sharpness and more movement within tracks and speech, you can tell the difference.

At just $ 249.99, the value of Vizio’s entry-level sound system is easy to see. It offers a hit with consistent quality across a wide variety of genres. Routing cable wires is nobody’s favorite thing to do, but the ability to use them in a front or back setup should help solve bigger problems.

It sounds great and is a great way to enhance the sound of your TV with a relatively simple installation and setup.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s price quoted at the time of publication.

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