Vizio soundbars have come a long way since their first production years ago. The Vizio 5.1.4 channel soundbar is yet another one of their proud products released recently that testifies their success. The soundbar is categorised as a high-end model from Vizio, and was first released in 2018. Not only does it support Atmos, it also comes with two additional up-firing speakers that increases its audio power when compared to the shorter 36-inch SB36512-F6 soundbar.
The soundbar looks promising from many aspects, and has a selling price of $799.99, which is considered as one of the cheaper options if looked at from a high-end perspective. However, does it really live up to its name? Let’s find out.
|Product Dimensions||46 x 2.53 x 3.33 inches (Soundbar) |
14 x 14 x 15 inches (Subwoofer)
|Weight||7.2 pounds (Soundbar) |
32 pounds (Subwoofer)
|Wireless Audio Protocol||Bluetooth|
|Audio Decoding Codecs||Dolby Digital Plus |
Dolby Digital Plus
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI In |
1 x Optical TOSLINK – Audio
1 x HDMI Out
1 x micro USB
1 x 3.5mm audio
1 x RCA
1 X Coaxial Digital Audio
- Nice and well built design
- Excellent stereo performance
- Supports Atmos
- Compression occurs at max volume
- Lack of support for different audio codecs
What’s in the Box
- XRS321 Remote
- Stereo RCA to 3.5mm Audio Cable
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Cable
- HDMI Cable
- Digital Optical Cable
- 2x Satellite Speaker Audio Cables
- 2x Power Cables
- 4x Wall Mount Screws
- Wall Mount Template
- 2x Wall Mount Brackets (Satellite Speakers)
- 2x Wall Mount Brackets (Sound Bar)
- 4 x Cable Ties
Design and Build
The design of the Vizio 5.1.4 is mostly covered by a metal grille, while its back is made from plastic. It has two metal plates on the side. It does not come covered in cheap fabric like previous models, which is a plus. As for sizing, the soundbar is still on the larger side which most probably can’t fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV. Even being bulky, it is not very tall, which saves you the time of positioning it to prevent it blocking the bottom part of the screen.
It also comes with a subwoofer in the package, and a rather huge one at that. It is one the biggest subwoofers of the series. The subwoofer is also covered by a metal grille and is made out of plastic. The subwoofer of this soundbar setup is bigger than most of those we’ve reviewed so far. It’s a large cube and is bigger than a standard desktop PC, which is why you should consider your spacing options because this accessory will take up a lot of space.
Also included are satellite speakers, which follows the same overall design as the rest of the setup. Fortunately, they don’t take up too much space, so it shouldn’t be a problem when accommodating them. However, the satellites need to be connected through wires, so it becomes a problem if you do not have enough space for both the subwoofer as well as the satellite speakers.
On the back of the soundbar are two openings that house the input and power ports. Mounting it onto a wall is also an option with the universal mounting holes located at the back. As for the subwoofer, the ports are all situated at the back, allowing you to connect the power cable and the two satellites.
Overall, the build quality of the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar is a cut above the previous version with some improvements here and there. The lack of the cheap-feeling fabric is a significant upgrade, in replacement of a metal grille and two side metal plates.
Even as a high-end product, the interface of this soundbar is not touch sensitive and has no display screen. It only consists of small LED lights on its side that flashes and change colors according to the current functions and settings.
Designed like most of the soundbars, the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar has physical buttons on top of the bar to control the input, adjust the volume, activate Bluetooth pairing, and toggle the power on/off.
The soundbar comes with a remote that is fairly small and can control the essential functions of the bar. It is not a universal remote, so you can only use it on supported Vizio sound bar models like all the other remotes they produce. The lack of a screen backlight also depletes its user friendliness.
If you are not into buttons, chances are you will like the Vizio SmartCast app instead, as it completely replaces the remote and can control additional functions. The app is available on both IOS and Android, so it shouldn’t be a problem for different UI users.
It even comes with an eco-mode that you can enable or disable, which will turn the soundbar off after being idle for a while. With HDMI CEC support, you can make use of TV remotes you have at home to control some basic functions of the soundbar as well.
The Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar is filled with physical connectivity options. Chances are no matter what device you have at home, it can be connected. The soundbar supports optical audio in, HDMI ARC, HDMI Out, Full HDMI In, 3.5 mm Audio, Ethernet, and also USB for updates.
It even has great sound format support via its ARC port. The audio formats such as Dolby Digital and DTS are supported, which gives you an immense experience if you are watching movies or streaming different types of content. With support for Dolby Atmos as well, it provides users with a different and unique listening experience that cannot be found on normal soundbars.
If you are not into cables, you can make use of its excellent wireless playback capacities. Your devices can connect easily to the soundbar using Bluetooth or WiFi, so you can stream endless content from wherever you are. With built-in Chromecast, you don’t even have to leave your device within range, as everything can be done through Chromecast while you stream content from afar.
The performance part is where the soundbar really shines throughout the process. Although the soundstage isn’t as wide as actual home theatre tower speakers, it has just the right amount of width considering the actual size. The sound comes from a focused and accurate pinpoint location instead of a general area, which can get messy as you won’t locate where the sound comes from.
The Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar can reach fairly high volumes, which makes it suitable to be utilised in a crowded environment or a really loud place. But, at max volume, the sound can experience minor compression and pumping which degrades the quality a little.
The THD performance is above average as well, as the levels remain within acceptable limits when listening at normal volumes. There are still signs of jumps when the limits are challenged, especially in the high-mid range.
With a 5.1.4 speaker configuration, the soundbar’s dedicated centre speakers produce excellent center channel performance. This feature is most obvious when watching TV shows or movies, because it helps to capture more accurate and clearer dialogue and texts.
The Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar also has dedicated speakers that elevates the surround performance. The sound profiles are more accurate, with a capability to reach a higher volume, compared to the SB36512-F6 model. The sound profiles might still be fairly bass-heavy, so for users who are not interested in bass, this might be a potential problem. The localization of the speakers enable an illusion that the sound is coming from your surroundings, instead of directly from the front like normal stereo systems.
The Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar has moderate sound enhancement features. It does not come with a room correction feature, so the sound might not be as consistent as it seems. Different rooms produce different types of sound, and it is not customisable. The soundbar also lacks a dialogue enhancement feature to clear up the voices, but at least there’s a night-mode that helps to level out all content’s volume. If you are unsatisfied with the initial settings, you can make use of the EQ presets and other adjustments to tune to your preferred volume and settings.
Generally, the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar is good, but the sudden rise in price from the previous model might stop consumers in their tracks. Even with the additional up-firing speakers, the performance on Atmos really doesn’t improve that much. Compared to other high-end products, the price might still be one of the downsides to the product, but let’s see how it fairs with other competitors.
Compared to its predecessor, the Vizio 36-inch 5.1.2 F6 soundbar, the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar really isn’t that much of a difference. With similar performance models, the only significant difference is the additional up-firing speakers. Although the 5.1.4 has better sound performance, it comes with a little more compression, and most people would prefer the value of the F6 model over this one.
In comparison to the Vizio Elevate, the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar has slight advantages. With better performance on height channels and a balanced sound profile, the 5.1.4 shows more quality for users who have the budget. However, the Elevate has a better soundstage performance, and it comes with a dialogue enhancement feature. The Elevate also supports DTS:X content, which some listeners may prefer.
Click to buy VIZIO – Elevate™ 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Rotating Speakers for Dolby Atmos / DTS:X – Charcoal Gray from Bestbuy.com now!
In conclusion, the Vizio 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar is great for mixed content. With Atmos support and a 5.1.4 speaker configuration, it can produce quite the listening experience for Atmos movies and audio content. Even with pumping and compression at max volume, it does not affect much as it is not very noticeable for most people. Overall, the soundbar is very versatile with various connectivity options that can connect to most devices. The only thing worth mentioning is that the satellite speakers are wired setups and require to be around the subwoofer.