Image for article titled This Soundbar Proves You Can Set Up a Solid Home Theater for Cheap

Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

If you happen to’re not an audiophile, navigating the world of audio system and residential leisure may be unbearable. Everybody’s obtained an opinion, and it’s simple to get rotated by buzzwords like “simulated top” or “360-degree immersive sound.” What if all you need is a system that does its job, received’t look hideous in your house, and received’t blow a gaping gap in your pockets? That’s Vizio’s V-Sequence V51x-J6 in a nutshell.

For $200, the V51x-J6 is a 5.1 channel system. Along with the soundbar, you get a wi-fi subwoofer and two satellite tv for pc audio system. Like with most programs, you get the flexibility to decide on between numerous preset sound profiles. The soundbar, satellites, and subwoofer are additionally pretty compact, making this possibility for condominium dwellers or anybody who doesn’t need their house theater system to face out. However to get that inexpensive value, you will should sacrifice options like help for eARC, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X, in addition to fancier upgrades like automated room changes and built-in voice assistant help. Whether or not or not these omissions matter relies upon solely on how you propose to make use of this method.

A Primary Soundbar for Easy Wants

If you happen to’ve seen one soundbar, you realize what the V51x-J6 appears like. Spoiler: It’s an extended black field with controls on high. The subwoofer is a much bigger black field, and the satellites are small black bins. They’re largely product of textured plastic with material masking the entrance.

The soundbar itself measures 36 by 2.2 by 3.2 inches (WHD), and will simply match on most TV stands. It’s additionally not too tall, so that you don’t have to fret about it blocking your display screen except you’ve gotten a kind of extraordinarily low-profile TVs. In the meantime, the subwoofer is way smaller than most others I’ve examined at 7.7 by 8.5 by 7.7 inches (WHD). Except you’ve gotten a very cramped room, you must simply be capable to discover a place to stay this factor. Likewise, the satellites are teeny weeny, at simply 4.Eight by 2.2 by 3.2 inches (WHD). I used to be capable of put them on our nightstands they usually have been discreet sufficient that they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. You do have the choice to wall mount, however I can’t say how simple that course of is as my landlord would have my head.

The subwoofer is small and compact.

The subwoofer is small and compact.
Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

Setup is ridiculously simple. There aren’t too many ports within the again, so all it’s a must to do is plug it in, and hook it as much as one in all your TV’s HDMI ports. The subwoofer is wi-fi, so that you don’t should do something however plug it in. As for the satellites, they’re color-coded so that you simply plug the suitable cable into the matching port on the again of the subwoofer. Essentially the most sophisticated factor about this entire course of is hiding the wires.

The dearth of fancy options helps hold issues easy. You don’t should wave your iPhone round your room to calibrate appears like with the Sonos Arc, and your restricted port choices at the back of the soundbar imply you’ll be able to’t get too sophisticated along with your setup. All you’ve gotten is an optical audio in, 3.5mm aux port, HDMI ARC port, and USB-A port—that’s it. There’s no possibility for ethernet, neither is there a Full HDMI In port. That solely actually issues if you wish to use this as a hub for a number of gadgets or for 4K or HDR10 passthrough. You can technically plug in a wise speaker and use the soundbar to amplify, however that’s not fairly the identical factor as having Alexa or Google Assistant constructed in. Additionally, don’t anticipate to make use of wifi, AirPlay 2, or Chromecast. This child is Bluetooth solely.

The satellite speakers are also compact and unobtrusive.

The satellite tv for pc audio system are additionally compact and unobtrusive.
Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

One other observe: You possibly can’t play Dolby Atmos or DTS: X content material on the V51x-J6. That will or might not imply a lot to you! There’s numerous hullabaloo over Dolby Atmos and spatial sound correct now. Nevertheless, except you’ve gotten a tool or app that may deal with the format or content material that’s optimized for it, it doesn’t actually matter. This soundbar helps Dolby Digital, which is the commonest type of encompass sound. Will or not it’s as immersive or spectacular? No, and it’s not precisely future-proof both. Nevertheless, it’ll get the job executed and it’s the only possibility for, say, a dad or mum whose eyes glaze over whenever you attempt to clarify what Dolby Atmos is within the first place.

For $200, It Sounds Fairly Dang Good

This may not be the soundbar you’d trot out to impress your mates, however that doesn’t imply the sound high quality is unhealthy. Quite the opposite—it’s truly respectable.

So far as sound profile goes, the V51x-J6 retains issues impartial with a bit additional bass. That makes it suited to deal with a wide range of content material, and there are additionally a number of presets to reinforce music, dialogue, video games, bass—you identify it. If all you need is clearer audio in your TV exhibits, this can be a particular step up from the common TV’s native audio system. Voices sound clear, so it’s good in case you watch numerous documentaries or dramas heavy on dialogue. I have a tendency to look at exhibits with captions on as a result of accents may be exhausting to parse on my TV’s crappy audio system, however the dialogue EQ made a noticeable distinction. I watched a number of episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Elements Unknown and Ted Lasso, and the whole lot from Bourdain’s mumbling to Ted’s quirky twang sounded a lot clearer.

The Vizio remote isn’t anything special, but makes controlling presets easy.

The Vizio distant isn’t something particular, however makes controlling presets simple.
Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

It’s not fairly nearly as good for extra cinematic content material, however it nonetheless does an alright job. On a standard quantity, you received’t get any distortion in explosions and also you get a hefty rumble from the subwoofer (although it’s not as spectacular as another programs I’ve examined). You run into some distortion at greater volumes, however that’s not exceptional with audio system. You additionally received’t must crank up the quantity except you propose on sticking this in a big room. I had this arrange in my bed room, which is medium-sized, and by no means wanted to go too loud to listen to issues clearly.

The soundstage can be good. Is it fairly as detailed as what you’d get with a 7.1 or Dolby Atmos system? No, however I think many budget-minded people received’t care. I watched a number of area and lightsaber battles from numerous Star Wars movies and you may inform if laser pew pews are coming from left rear. Lightsabers hum. Within the cave scene on Ahch-to in The Final Jedi, you’ll be able to hear the Rey clones snapping in sequence. General, motion scenes emphasize the bass a bit an excessive amount of for me, to the purpose the place it might probably sound muddled. This can be a quibble although, and it’s not so unhealthy as to distract you from what you’re watching.

The top of the soundbar features physical controls.

The highest of the soundbar options bodily controls.
Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

The V51x-J6 handles music effectively too, although once more, the muddy bass situation typically rears its head. It’s not too noticeable on poppier songs—like Exo’s “The Eve”—however it undoubtedly exhibits up on bassier tracks like Joji’s “Gradual Dancing. within the Darkish.” The one option to take heed to music is through Bluetooth, nevertheless, and whereas it’s simple to pair to your telephone I had just a few connection points. Every time I’d swap to a distinct app, there’d be a hiccup within the music. Once more, not a dealbreaker, however one thing to notice provided that many Bluetooth audio system and soundbars now help wifi and protocols like Apple’s AirPlay 2.

Straightforward, Handy, and Inexpensive—however Not Futureproof

That is the soundbar I’d purchase my mother, who completely doesn’t need a soundbar as a result of it’s “too techy” however complains about not with the ability to hear any audio on the Samsung TV she’s had for 10 years. It’s additionally the one I’d suggest to my pal who’d like higher sound than her tinny TV, however lives in a tiny, cramped studio condominium. Principally, this can be a good possibility for folk who don’t need to spend so much, don’t need numerous fuss, and don’t have numerous area.

I’d additionally suggest it to anybody who’s simply dabbling within the thought of a house theater, however is intimidated by the outrageous value tags you discover on some soundbars today. You possibly can’t construct it out over time, like you’ll be able to with the equally inexpensive Roku 5.1 Encompass Sound System, however the ease of setup and compact subwoofer/satellites is an effective tradeoff. It’s additionally an honest possibility if you’d like one thing low-cost to make use of with an older TV that for no matter motive, you’re holding off on upgrading.

Image for article titled This Soundbar Proves You Can Set Up a Solid Home Theater for Cheap

Photograph: Victoria Music/Gizmodo

It’s not value it, nevertheless, in case you’re somebody who needs to hook up your gaming PC to your TV and play Halo in Dolby Atmos. (Cough, my husband, cough.) Anybody who needs high-quality passthrough may even be upset, as this isn’t able to dealing with that. If you happen to simply purchased a shiny new TV with eARC ports, that is additionally not the very best use of your moolah.

Dolby Atmos-compatible programs are getting cheaper and extra plentiful by the yr. Firms are more and more experimenting with Atmos content material. Relying on what you’re searching for, there are a number of different choices for underneath $1,000 that may fit your wants. As an illustration, there’s the $300 Panasonic SoundSlayer for players, the $800 Sonos Arc for individuals who may wish to construct out a multi-room system, and Sony’s $600 HT-G700 for folk who need one thing that sounds nice however doesn’t take up numerous area. However truthfully, the very best price range possibility akin to the V51x-J6 might be Vizio’s barely dearer M-Sequence M51a-H6. It’s almost similar, however helps Dolby Atmos, has extra drivers, and a barely bigger subwoofer. It’s obtained a recommended retail value of $350, however yow will discover it cheaper in case you hunt round.

In any case, you’ve gotten choices, however $200 for respectable 5.1 encompass sound is difficult to beat. If what you actually worth is financial savings and ease, you possibly can do far worse than the V51x-J6.

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