Vizio M21D-H8 soundbar review: Huge sound, no subwoofer required

In my critiques, soundbars that include subwoofers frequently seem greater than standalone soundbars with no

In my critiques, soundbars that include subwoofers frequently seem greater than standalone soundbars with no subs, for one apparent reason: much more bass. The subwoofer adds heaps of small-conclusion influence and makes a fuller seem, but all those huge bass bins get up heaps of room. What if you want a speaker that generates a huge soundfield and excellent bass, but only utilizes the area in entrance of your Television set? The Vizio M21D-H8 tends to make a good circumstance for the one speaker program — it seems substantial however continues to be somewhat compact. 

Like

  • Remarkable seem from a one unit
  • Excellent for Television set shows and new music, much too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS Digital:X

Do not Like

  • Prices practically as substantially as the greater sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to speak of

The Vizio’s seem high-quality is a substantial action above a television’s, which you would count on, and established my toes tapping. It seems excellent with most flicks and new music and is somewhat effortless to established up. Unlike practically any other one bar around this price the Vizio M21 involves two HDMI ports, which seriously boosts its adaptability. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your new music as nicely.

At $one hundred fifty the M21 is somewhat inexpensive, although it doesn’t deliver the visceral bass of as subwoofer-geared up models about this price, this sort of as the Resourceful Phase V2 or Vizio’s have V21. If you’re wanting to ditch the subwoofer, however, you can find very little in this price selection that can problem the Vizio M21 for compact dimensions, superb functions and total seem. 

Heading to a one bar

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars are not usually recognised for their sleekness but I identified the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal structure quite placing. Simply call it a Toblerone if you like, I undoubtedly do, but Vizio plainly doesn’t care. Although it appears to be identical to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the structure has been simplified — the minimal triangles on one facet are now changed by a one Vizio brand, for case in point. On the other conclusion are buttons for volume, supply range and Bluetooth.

This seem bar is 36 inches lengthy and is intended to sit in entrance of your Television set — furnished you have ample clearance for its 2-inch top — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to place outward into your room. It involves six drivers comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of 3-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, however, so you are not able to increase a different sub later.

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The M21 functions a series of white LEDs denoting volume and EQ


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The entrance of the cloth-protected cabinet involves a colored LED to denote the input as nicely as a series of white LEDs for volume. It really is a lot greater than the previous program, which was just about incomprehensible, but continue to not as very clear as an genuine alphanumeric screen, for case in point.

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out area for the inputs together with two keyholes for wall-mounting. The biggest improve on the authentic, and most likely the reason guiding the $thirty price bump, is the addition of two HDMI ports: HDMI in and HDMI ARC. Although some persons use their TVs as a switch, the added HDMI is practical if, say, you use your wise Television set for streaming and want to increase a second gadget, like a gaming console. The soundbar also involves optical audio for hooking up your Television set, two 3.5mm analog ports with one for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for enjoying MP3s and WAVs from a thumb generate. 

The Vizio has each Dolby and DTS decoding, which is impressive for a seem bar at any price, moreover it has DTS Digital:X, which is intended to simulate seem coming from about and above you, and that is effective in particular nicely.

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The distant presents impressive concentrations of manage for a inexpensive soundbar, with volume moreover two bands of EQ and an input selector. The back of the distant helpfully involves a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it seem?

The M21’s audio high-quality was very excellent total, although is lack of bass in contrast to subwoofer-geared up models arrived as a result of in my comparisons. 

As I’ve identified with prior soundbars featuring DTS Digital:X, this know-how seriously can help fill a room with lifelike seem. Head to head against a soundbar that doesn’t have it, like the Resourceful Phase V2, the distinctions are apparent. The Vizio was effortless to shed physically whilst seeing blockbuster flicks, whilst the Creative’s seem generally appeared like it was coming from the cabinet.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was instantly apparent through the lobby scene in The Matrix. Immediately after Neo (Keanu Reeves) visits the metallic detector and decorates the marble-walled room with garlands of direct, a one soldier shouts “Freeze” (one.42:09)  The shout and its slow decay crammed the room in a way the Resourceful could not. Yet the Resourceful was in a position to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-significantly less Vizio missed.

In contrast against the Vizio V21, one more unit with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative lack of bass ended up the moment once again apparent. The M21 sounded much more vivid through the lobby scene, even if it could not match the V21 for influence. That deep bassline popped up now and once again on the one bar when there was not anything else going on, but I read it total throttle with the V21. 

1 point you do not frequently get from a finances soundbar, even one with Bluetooth, is affinity with new music, however the Vizio held its have with a range of different genres. It was in a position to existing vocals with convincing articulation, and make the instrumentation coalesce as one unit. 

With the chill anthem Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Corporation, for case in point, the Vizio sounded clean as a result of the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a different sub. On the Resourceful Phase V2 new music was restricted and a bit much more thrilling, although it demonstrated one of the possible weaknesses of these form of systems — the reduced mids appeared to be lacking. As a consequence the track arrived across as a minimal skinny sounding.

Must you acquire it?

The Vizio M21 is an superb one-bar program with plenty of connectivity and a complex, subtle structure. I know of no other one bar that expenses significantly less than $200 that presents as substantially. 

That mentioned, it can be cannibalized by the existence of the firm’s have M21: at $one hundred fifty the V21 is comparatively much too substantially. Although it can be routinely on sale for $120, and is $116.22 at Amazon ideal now, a lot of locations offer it for total price. For the exact same $one hundred fifty you can acquire the V21, and it arrives with a wi-fi subwoofer, so if it can be a option amongst the two get the V21 alternatively. Likewise the $109 Resourceful Phase V2 presents a different sub which also lifts its effectiveness, and discount hunters wanting to extract the optimize effectiveness for the littlest total of dollars should get (the) Resourceful.