For years, I have he said that there is very little reason to spend a lot of money on a TV. Most screens are so good and so cheap that you don’t just need to spend more than $ 1,000 to have an excellent viewing experience.
Vizio’s latest $ 500 Dolby Atmos soundbar system does the same with surround sound. The M-Series 5.1.2 does everything I want, from bouncing my seat from John Wick’s pistol shots to blown engines behind my head during Formula 1 races, but it costs a lot less than most the competitors.
If you’re dreaming of a home theater experience, but you’re nervous about the room it will occupy and the holiday fund going bankrupt, it’s an excellent solution. Unless you spend nights and weekends browsing the subreddit r / hometheater or including 4K Blu-ray discs, this $ 500 system is probably all you need.
Atmos Abn Abonda
Don’t get me wrong: I like immersive audio technology, based on Dolby objects as much as the next audio nerd. But finding mixed shows in Atmos or DTS: X is harder than you might think. Except for home-made shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, poor content is mixed using the height channels available for streaming on most Atmos systems, which extend the listening range from horizontal to vertical for sound effects such as rain or wind.
However, most surround sound comes in the 5.1 format, which is why a compact Atmos 5.1.2 configuration is ideal for the vast majority of us. The main bar has the traditional center, right and left channels, but Vizio has packed in a couple of up-tiring speakers when the Atmos content is in play. Because the height channels come from the front, the rear edges can be lighter and smaller, making them easier to place. I really like this hybrid configuration. You can hear Atmos content when it’s available, but it’s not the center of the installation concept.
Speaking of central pieces, there’s a reason why I haven’t mentioned aesthetics so far. The bar is a black, fabric-wrapped rectangle that fits snugly under Vizio’s new 55-inch M-Series model (shocking!), And the rear edges are just as indescribable. The only special design element is that they stand on their sides, in hot-dog style, on the rear speakers.
The connected subwoofer is a small cube that you can put anywhere, but which I found the most effective placed next to my couch to order by mail. It functions as a hub for the rear speakers, which receive their signal from the woofer via a pair of proprietary audio cables. The thin black cables won’t be long enough for the larger living rooms, but they work well in my medium-sized test room, and I like that they’re slim enough to fit under carpets. You won’t have to spend a ton of time finding an easy way to hide them if you hate cables.
Job at a Distance
The top of the bar has five raised buttons that allow you to turn on the thing, change the input, connect to Bluetooth, and adjust the volume. It has two HDMI inputs, though only one eARC port to connect to your TV.
This is where I normally start talking about how to configure the remote control or adapt it. But if I’m honest, I’ll never touch the thing. The eARC connection allows me to use the TV remote control to adjust the volume and mute the bar, and otherwise I just use the bar buttons. I didn’t even unlock the remote. It’s still sitting, battery-free, in the box.