Vizio Sound Bar Review: The Ultimate Audio Solution for Your Home!

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Vizio Sound Bar Review: The Ultimate Audio Solution for Your Home!

Vizio has shown over and over that it is the only company that can make soundbars that are so good and cost so little. This is carried on by the company’s new $180 M-Series All-in-One speaker, which has the model number M213AD-K8. There may not be a better all-in-one TV sound option on the market. It has strong bass, clear dialogue, and a surprising wide soundstage.

Out of The Box

The soundbar comes in a bright red box with a newly designed remote control, two AAA batteries for the remote, an HDMI cable, a power cord, and basic directions. This soundbar doesn’t come with a digital optical wire, even though it can be connected that way.

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The soundbar also doesn’t come with any analog cords for connecting smart speakers or personal audio devices, even though it has two 3.5mm analog connections for just that purpose—one of which is even labeled “smart speaker.”

Built-In Speakers

The M-Series AiO soundbar features six active speakers and two passive radiators. Depending on the soundbar’s orientation, the speakers will fire into the room in one of two different directions.

With the soundbar set on a media stand in front of the TV, two tweeters and two midrange drivers fire directly out at the listener — two subwoofers and two passive bass radiators fire upward from the top of the trapezoidal soundbar.

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If the soundbar is mounted to the wall, the two subs and bass radiators will fire directly at the listener while the two tweeters and two midrange drivers fire at a slight up-angle. Vizio uses a built-in gyroscope and custom digital signal processing (DSP) to alter the output of the speakers so that no matter the orientation — on the wall is 90 degrees different than on a stand — the sound seems to come directly at the listener from the soundbar.

It’s worth noting that the Vizio M-Series AiO soundbar does not have up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers — although pictures of the soundbar’s subwoofers may lead onlookers to believe it does. In fact, Dolby Atmos sound effects are created virtually. In truth, this is a stereo soundbar.

Connections

The Vizio M-series AiO soundbar offers one HDMI input and one HDMI eARC port, which can send video and audio signals from the bar’s HDMI input along to a TV, as well as accept downstream audio from a TV’s ARC or eARC port. Because the soundbar supports eARC and claims to support Dolby Atmos, having a TV with an eARC port is preferred, but not required.

Due to its low latency, eARC connections virtually eliminate lip-sync problems, and in some cases, eARC is capable of sending a higher-quality audio signal from eARC-enabled TVs.

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With that said, the soundbar will work just fine using the long-standing ARC format found on most TVs from the past five years. If HDMI ARC is not an option, a digital optical or analog audio connection is also available, though using either of those connections negates most of the advantages afforded by this new model.

Setting up the Vizio AiO soundbar itself is a breeze.

The soundbar also supports Bluetooth wireless connections, for streaming audio directly from a smartphone, tablet, or computer, but does not support a Wi-Fi connection or built-in apps like Spotify Connect for streaming music.

The soundbar is also not “smart” in that it doesn’t directly support Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon’s Alexa. However, smart speakers supporting those digital assistants can be connected to the soundbar via the aforementioned “smart speaker” port.

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Setup

Setting up the Vizio AiO soundbar itself is a breeze. One HDMI, optical, or analog cable is all that’s needed on the soundbar side. However, users will want to ensure that HDMI CEC and HDMI ARC or eARC are enabled in their TV’s audio menus. If an option for turning Dolby Atmos on or off is available, it should be turned on.

habpgfuf5zg9kpraxrsnfq-4540449To be clear, however, not all TVs support Dolby Atmos output through their HDMI ARC or eARC ports. Furthermore, not all TVs support Dolby Atmos through their built-in streaming apps. Check your TV’s manual for clarification on these points.

Sound Quality

Before I get to my impressions of the Vizio M-Series AiO Soundbar, I wanted to explain what I listen for in a soundbar like this.

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With the Dolby Atmos logo printed on the box, I’m naturally curious about how well the soundbar pulls off Dolby Atmos surround sound effects. But before I get there, I listen for general fidelity. Soundbars at this sub-$200 price level often offer poor overall sound quality.

So if the soundbar comes off sounding good in general, that’s a great start. From there, I listen for dialogue clarity, because if you can’t hear the dialogue clearly, then you have failed as a soundbar. From there, I’ll scrutinize the bass output, because while this is a small soundbar, I expect some measure of “oomph” — otherwise I might be tempted to offer a soundbar with a subwoofer, cheap as it may be.