Vizio V-series 2.1 Channel Soundbar

“The V-Collection 2.1 offers your TV a enjoyable and inexpensive dwelling theater improve.”

Very inexpensive

Comes with every thing

Plenty of EQ changes

Superb sound high quality

HDMI ARC

No Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, or Chromecast

Some definition lacking within the midranges

No HDMI enter

In case you try our earlier Vizio soundbar opinions, you’ll discover a widespread thread: Worth. Whether or not it’s a 5.1.four Dolby Atmos mannequin or a 2.1 system, or one thing in-between, Vizio retains delivering soundbars that punch properly above their value.

The corporate’s newest 2.1 system, the $180 V-Collection 2.1 Channel Soundbar (V21-H8) is not any exception.

What are you able to count on from this ultra-affordable TV speaker? Let’s have a look.

What’s within the field?

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Vizio’s repute for worth goes past the bodily capabilities of its merchandise. Contained in the field, you’ll discover actually every thing it’s essential arrange the V21. Along with the soundbar and wi-fi subwoofer, you get 4 connection cables: An HDMI cable and an optical cable for digital sound. There’s a twin analog miniplug cable for connecting a headphone jack-based music supply (or a wise speaker), a stereo RCA patch twine for connecting different analog units, and even a set of wall mount brackets.

A fast begin information, full consumer guide, distant management, and a paper template for wall mount brackets spherical out the image. You’ll must discard the styrofoam bumpers if they will’t be recycled regionally, however the cardboard field shouldn’t be a problem.

Design

Vizio used to adorn its soundbars with silver-toned caps at both finish. It gave the audio system a contact of sophistication, however in addition they drew consideration to themselves. I are inclined to assume that soundbars ought to be as discrete as attainable — except they’re making an attempt to be dialog items — and Vizio’s good-looking new all-matte-black design language is a giant step in the best path.

As an alternative of finish caps, the soundbar’s material grille wraps across the edges creating seamless entrance corners that remind me of the Sonos Beam. A set of 4 discrete bodily buttons sit atop the textured plastic floor. Across the again, you’ll discover a plethora of ports: HDMI ARC, optical, USB (for hard-drive-based music), an auxiliary analog enter, and a devoted analog enter for sensible audio system.

For lower than $200 the V21 will give any TV a large raise in sound high quality.

At 36 inches broad and a pair of.25 inches tall, it’s completely proportioned for TV display sizes of 48 inches or bigger. It’s brief sufficient that it in all probability gained’t obscure the underside of the display except your TV has very small legs.

An even bigger change is the subwoofer. Vizio used to incorporate a slimline wi-fi subwoofer that might match beneath a sofa, however the V21 ships with a extra conventional down-firing dice. Whereas not fairly as versatile by way of placement, it’s nonetheless one of many smallest subs yow will discover.

Setup and connections

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Establishing the V21 is a snap. Join the soundbar to your TV through your choose of digital or analog cables, plug the soundbar and sub into energy, and also you’re performed. We had been stunned that the V21’s predecessor, the horribly named SB3621n-G8, didn’t include HDMI ARC as a connection possibility, however the V21 fixes that omission.

Not that it’s truly wanted — HDMI ARC is most helpful on soundbars that help superior audio codecs like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, which might’t be transmitted over optical connections. The V21 doesn’t help them, so from an audio standpoint, there’s no profit to utilizing HDMI.

Utilizing HDMI ARC lets your TV distant management the V21’s quantity and mute, however even this may be completed with an optical connection in case you practice the soundbar to acknowledge your TV’s distant IR indicators.

My recommendation: Use the optical connection. Why hand over a treasured HDMI port in your TV when there’s no actual profit to doing so, and the V21 doesn’t have an HDMI enter to compensate for the port it requires in your TV?

The V21 has a USB port for music playback from a tough drive or USB reminiscence stick. It solely acknowledges WAV and MP3 recordsdata.

If you wish to take heed to music from a non-TV supply, your greatest guess is Bluetooth. Pairing your cellphone to the soundbar is as simple as switching the enter to Bluetooth and searching for the V21 in your out there Bluetooth units checklist. A Wi-Fi connection would provide increased high quality audio, however in case you’re merely seeking to energy a celebration with a Spotify playlist, Bluetooth is greater than adequate.

Sadly, Bluetooth stability is a bit hit or miss. Over the course of a number of days, I had some periods that had been rock-solid, whereas others suffered from frequent dropouts. Breaking after which re-establishing the Bluetooth connection typically fastened it, however not each time.

Ease of use

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Vizio despatched us the V21-H8 mannequin to evaluate. The included distant management is properly designed, with a snug really feel and good, clicky buttons, nevertheless it’s not backlit, and there’s no built-in display so you may simply see the completely different modes and ranges displayed.

Unusually, the V21-H8R — which Vizio lists on its web site for a similar value because the H8 — comes with the upgraded show distant. If in case you have the selection, get the H8R.

In case you get the H8, you’ll have to study to decipher the morse-code like LED dots on the left facet of the soundbar which provide you with visible suggestions after each click on. Except for quantity degree, which is pretty intuitive, most of the different indicators require a legend to decipher. A while spent with the guide will go a great distance in avoiding frustration, particularly with deeper settings like DTS Digital:X.

To be truthful, Vizio has made an effort to demystify a number of the LED meanings: A useful voice tells you which ones enter or EQ mode you’ve simply switched to, and allows you to know once you’ve efficiently activated Bluetooth pairing. It might turn into a nuisance over time, so fortunately a long-press on the mute button will disable it.

Fireplace up your favourite film and also you’ll immediately hear what your TV’s built-in audio system have been protecting from you.

The V21 features a devoted port for plugging in a wise speaker like an Amazon Echo Dot (or you may pair it through Bluetooth). Both means, the V21 is designed to robotically decrease the quantity degree of your film, TV present, or music so that you could hear Alexa (or Google Assistant) reply to your voice instructions. If the response is 10 seconds or shorter, the background audio will dip, but when your assistant retains talking, the V21 will mute the present or film utterly till the response is completed. Not solely is that this a useful characteristic for coping with the issue of not having the ability to hear your assistant, nevertheless it’s additionally a super-easy strategy to stream music companies to the soundbar with no need to make use of your cellphone.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

For its value, the V21 sounds superb. You get wonderful stereo separation and that tiny 5-inch wi-fi subwoofer kicks out a shocking quantity of low-end increase that provides your complete system that movie show really feel.

Fireplace up your favourite Marvel, DC, or Star Wars film and also you’ll immediately hear what your TV’s built-in audio system have been protecting from you.

As you may count on, it may possibly’t probably compete with dearer soundbars — there’s a definite lack of element by way of the midrange, as an illustration — however for lower than $200 the V21 will give any TV a large raise in sound high quality, which is precisely the purpose.

Prefer it loud? There’s greater than sufficient energy on faucet to get up everybody in your own home if that’s the way you roll.

The DTS Digital:X characteristic doesn’t dwell as much as its billing as a means of manufacturing overhead sounds, like the sort you’d get from devoted up-firing top audio system, nevertheless it does considerably enhance the sense of width and depth. I like to recommend protecting it turned on for any listening the place you may sit entrance and middle.

What I actually admire about Vizio’s strategy to its soundbars — even its most cost-effective ones — is that you just get an enormous quantity of management over issues like bass, treble, and even the subwoofer degree. I’ve tried out $1,000 soundbars that don’t provide you with this type of skill to tweak EQ.

Talking of EQ, the EQ presets (film, music, dialogue, and recreation) are wonderful shortcuts for adapting the V21’s sound signature. Although as soon as once more, you’ll must deal with the deep male voice asserting the mode modifications.  Dialogue mode is particularly spectacular provided that there’s no middle channel — the standard nexus for speech enhancement.

Prefer it loud? There’s greater than sufficient energy on faucet to get up everybody in your own home if that’s the way you roll.

Listening to music on the V21 can be fulfilling, however that is the place you’ll seemingly discover the soundbar’s limitations. Even supposing the left and proper entrance channels do job with the stereo separation, music nonetheless tends to really feel boxed in. Vocals and better frequencies are impressively clear, however there’s a vaguely hole feeling that I attribute to that very same midrange weak spot I described above.

Don’t let this cease you: To get significantly better music constancy, you’re spending greater than double the worth, for a soundbar just like the Bose Sensible Soundbar 300, which doesn’t include a subwoofer.

Our take

Vizio does it once more. The V-Collection V21 soundbar is an superior and inexpensive sound improve for any TV.

Is there a greater various?

For a 2-channel soundbar with a wi-fi sub, the V21 is in a category by itself, particularly when you think about its value. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t level out that for less than $70 extra, you should purchase the step-up Vizio V-Collection V51, which provides a middle channel and two encompass audio system for a full 5.1 sound system.

How lengthy will it final?

The Vizio V-Collection V21 comes with a one-year guarantee, however I think you’ll get many, a few years of use. Audio system are among the many most dependable tech merchandise, and Vizio has a repute for making merchandise that final.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. The value alone makes the V21 a no brainer, however its sound high quality and additional options imply you get a complete lotta bang for the buck.

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