May 16, 2021

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

In my evaluations, soundbars that incorporate subwoofers typically audio better than standalone soundbars with no subs, for one evident purpose: additional bass. The subwoofer adds tons of very low-end effects and makes a fuller audio, but all those huge bass packing containers just take up tons of room. What if you want a speaker that generates a huge soundfield and great bass, but only utilizes the area in entrance of your Television set? The Vizio M21D-H8 helps make a wonderful circumstance for the solitary speaker system — it seems substantial nevertheless remains relatively compact. 

Like

  • Extraordinary audio from a solitary unit
  • Wonderful for Television set exhibits and new music, far too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS Digital:X

You should not Like

  • Costs almost as substantially as the better sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to discuss of

The Vizio’s audio high quality is a substantial step earlier mentioned a television’s, which you would anticipate, and set my toes tapping. It seems great with most movies and new music and is relatively straightforward to set up. In contrast to almost any other solitary bar near this rate the Vizio M21 features two HDMI ports, which genuinely boosts its overall flexibility. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your new music as nicely.

At $one hundred fifty the M21 is relatively very affordable, even though it will not produce the visceral bass of as subwoofer-geared up models around this rate, this sort of as the Inventive Stage V2 or Vizio’s possess V21. If you happen to be searching to ditch the subwoofer, nonetheless, you will find absolutely nothing in this rate range that can obstacle the Vizio M21 for compact dimension, superb features and full audio. 

Going to a solitary bar


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars are not normally recognized for their sleekness but I identified the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal style rather striking. Simply call it a Toblerone if you like, I definitely do, but Vizio obviously will not treatment. Although it seems similar to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the style has been simplified — the small triangles on one aspect are now changed by a solitary Vizio logo, for illustration. On the other end are buttons for quantity, resource choice and Bluetooth.

This audio bar is 36 inches prolonged and is designed to sit in entrance of your Television set — offered you have sufficient clearance for its 2-inch top — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to position outward into your room. It features six motorists comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of three-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, nonetheless, so you are not able to add a different sub afterwards.

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The M21 features a sequence of white LEDs denoting quantity and EQ


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The entrance of the fabric-included cupboard features a colored LED to denote the input as nicely as a sequence of white LEDs for quantity. It really is a large amount better than the aged system, which was almost incomprehensible, but even now not as clear as an genuine alphanumeric screen, for illustration.

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out part for the inputs alongside two keyholes for wall-mounting. The greatest update on the authentic, and most likely the purpose driving the $thirty rate bump, is the addition of two HDMI ports: HDMI in and HDMI ARC. Although some people today use their TVs as a change, the added HDMI is valuable if, say, you use your smart Television set for streaming and want to add a 2nd machine, like a gaming console. The soundbar also features optical audio for hooking up your Television set, two three.5mm analog ports with one for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for actively playing MP3s and WAVs from a thumb push. 

The Vizio has both of those Dolby and DTS decoding, which is extraordinary for a audio bar at any rate, additionally it has DTS Digital:X, which is designed to simulate audio coming from around and earlier mentioned you, and that works specially nicely.

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The distant delivers effective degrees of manage for a cheap soundbar, with quantity additionally two bands of EQ and an input selector. The back of the distant helpfully features a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it audio?

The M21’s audio high quality was incredibly great total, even though is deficiency of bass in contrast to subwoofer-geared up models arrived by means of in my comparisons. 

As I’ve identified with prior soundbars that includes DTS Digital:X, this know-how genuinely helps fill a room with lifelike audio. Head to head versus a soundbar that will not have it, like the Inventive Stage V2, the differences are evident. The Vizio was straightforward to drop physically although observing blockbuster movies, although the Creative’s audio generally seemed like it was coming from the cupboard.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was quickly evident all through the lobby scene in The Matrix. Just after Neo (Keanu Reeves) trips the metal detector and decorates the marble-walled room with garlands of lead, a solitary soldier shouts “Freeze” (one.forty two:09)  The shout and its gradual decay crammed the room in a way the Inventive couldn’t. But the Inventive was ready to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-much less Vizio skipped.

When compared versus the Vizio V21, a different unit with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative deficiency of bass have been at the time all over again clear. The M21 sounded additional vibrant all through the lobby scene, even if it couldn’t match the V21 for effects. That deep bassline popped up now and all over again on the solitary bar when there wasn’t everything else happening, but I read it full throttle with the V21. 

One particular matter you don’t typically get from a finances soundbar, even one with Bluetooth, is affinity with new music, nevertheless the Vizio held its possess with a variety of unique genres. It was ready to present vocals with convincing articulation, and make the instrumentation coalesce as one unit. 

With the chill anthem Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Company, for illustration, the Vizio sounded sleek by means of the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a different sub. On the Inventive Stage V2 new music was restricted and a bit additional thrilling, even though it shown one of the likely weaknesses of these variety of programs — the lessen mids seemed to be missing. As a end result the song arrived throughout as a small slender sounding.

Should really you buy it?

The Vizio M21 is an superb solitary-bar system with loads of connectivity and a sophisticated, subtle style. I know of no other solitary bar that charges much less than $two hundred that delivers as substantially. 

That claimed, it really is cannibalized by the existence of the firm’s possess M21: at $one hundred fifty the V21 is comparatively far too substantially. Although it really is consistently on sale for $one hundred twenty, and is $116.22 at Amazon proper now, a large amount of areas market it for full rate. For the similar $one hundred fifty you can buy the V21, and it arrives with a wi-fi subwoofer, so if it really is a selection among the two get the V21 in its place. Likewise the $109 Inventive Stage V2 delivers a different sub which also lifts its efficiency, and cut price hunters searching to extract the improve efficiency for the littlest total of revenue need to get (the) Inventive.