Welcome to T3’s Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar review. Vizio is a significant player in terms of audio and video merchandise, in truth it’s the second one largest producer of TVs in the USA, and the most important maker of soundbars, regardless that it is only just lately making a large have an effect on in different markets.
The arrival of the brand new Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar (AKA the SB36512-F6) right away piqued our pastime, as a result of it is the type of complete package deal you get from high-end soundbars, however for round part the cost of a equivalent arrange in the most efficient soundbars from LG or Sony.
Vizio additionally refers to it because the 36-inch five.1.2 Soundbar and, because the identify suggests, it’s 36 inches vast and boasts a five.1.2-channel device with a separate subwoofer and rear audio system. The latter provides this compact multi-channel device the power to fully immerse you within the whizz-bang motion of contemporary film soundtracks.
Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar review: value & options
The Vizio SB36512 delivers some severe sonic value-for-money, cramming in various state of the art tech for a £599/$499 beneficial price ticket. Unlike lots of the pageant, this soundbar delivers a Dolby Atmos revel in the use of precise audio system, reasonably than psychoacoustic trickery. The result’s a efficiency that’s no longer simplest extra enticing, but in addition significantly extra immersive.
The soundbar itself has 3 forward-firing drivers for the entrance left, proper and centre channels, together with two upward-firing drivers for the overhead channels. These drivers actually jump sounds off the ceiling, developing the appearance of audio system above you. There’s additionally a couple of passive radiators constructed into the soundbar to provide it an added bass kick.
The separate lively subwoofer makes use of a 6-inch driving force to provide low frequencies right down to 40Hz, and connects wirelessly with the soundbar. There’s a couple of stressed out rear audio system that bodily connect with the subwoofer, which handles the amplification, and having those in the back of the room produces a correct encompass revel in, making a large distinction.
The SB36512-F6 can decode Dolby Atmos object-based audio, however too can take care of much less immersive codecs like Dolby Digital and DTS. In reality the one layout it doesn’t make stronger is DTS:X, which is a disgrace as it indubitably has enough audio system to successfully ship this selection to Atmos. It’s no longer a dealbreaker, as a result of except some Blu-ray discs it isn’t particularly extensively supported – but it surely does imply the soundbar misses out on being future-proofed must it develop into extra widely used.
Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar review: sound high quality
The soundbar impresses proper out of gate, with an expansive entrance presence that sounds significantly larger than the primary unit’s 36-inch width. The devoted centre speaker guarantees discussion stays transparent, and the rear audio system supply various encompass process in the back of you. The subwoofer additionally performs its phase, laying down a basis of bass that underpins the whole lot.
The effectiveness of the upward-firing drivers will in large part rely on your ceiling, and the decrease and extra reflective it’s, the simpler. Vizio recommends a flat ceiling with a height of between 2.2 and three.6m for the most efficient overhead results. When you mix some of these components the result’s an enjoyably immersive sonic revel in, specifically with Dolby Atmos.
The Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar is professional at putting results in 3-dimensional area, making a sphere of sound that extends to the edges, in the back of and above you. This is essentially because of the inclusion of rear audio system, one thing the Vizio’s pageant at this value are lacking, and the result’s authentic immersion. There’s additionally various precision as sounds are seamlessly advised from speaker to speaker.
The general presentation keeps very good tonal brotherly love, making sure results sound the similar as they transfer from one channel to the following. You too can wonderful track the efficiency the use of the remote app, surroundings each and every channel in my opinion in order that the sound box stays balanced. This guarantees nobody channel dominates, and in addition makes certain the sub doesn’t swamp the device with bass.
This soundbar would possibly fight in a bigger room but it surely’s superb for the common residing area, with a muscular supply that lends itself to motion films. Explosions hit with seismic power because of the well-integrated subwoofer, and bullets ricochet from speaker to speaker with detailed precision. However, regardless of how cacophonous the soundtrack, discussion stays transparent and targeted.
The height results are steadily a pride, with thunder rolling overhead or plane roaring above you. These results have a tendency to be extra targeted on the entrance of the room as a result of there aren’t any rear height channels, but it surely stays an interesting revel in with the rear audio system serving to to fill the gap in the back of you. Overall the SB36512-F6 delivers an original Atmos revel in that’s certain to delight.
It’s no slouch with tune both, and the entrance audio system ship very good stereo imaging mixed with spectacular readability and element retrieval. The sub provides a well-timed low-end kick to drums, and the position of tools is enjoyably exact. The mid-range is forged because of the integrated passive radiators, and the upper frequencies by no means sound sharp or strained.
Vizio five.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar review: design & usability
The Vizio SB36512-F6 isn’t going to win any design awards, it’s boxy and rather uninteresting with wrap-around black material and metal gray finish plates. The use of screws within the corners of those finish plates provides the cultured a rather commercial glance, however no less than the subwoofer and rear audio system fit the soundbar. At 36 inches vast this soundbar is perfect for 55-inch TVs and smaller.
The overall build quality is reasonable considering the price, and along the top of the soundbar you’ll find controls for power, input, Bluetooth and volume up/down. At the front, down the left-hand side, are a series of LED indicators, and although the manual contains detailed explanations for the different combinations, unless you’re a Bletchley Park codebreaker you won’t remember.
The connections are all located in a pair of recesses at the rear of the soundbar, and these include HDMI, optical digital and 3.5mm analogue inputs. There’s also an HDMI output with ARC, which allows you to send audio back from a compatible TV (including Dolby Atmos from supporting apps). There’s also a USB (MP3 and WAV), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless streaming.
The soundbar comes with a well-designed remote control that includes a small LED screen at the top, allowing you to scroll through the settings in the menu system. However the best approach is to use Vizio’s SmartCast Mobile App (iOS and Android), which not only turns your smart device into a controller but also makes setup more intuitive thanks to a clearly laid-out interface.
Vizio has helpfully included everything you need in the box, so you get a choice of three cables: HDMI, optical digital, and 3.5mm to stereo phono. There are also cable ties, a wall mounting template and brackets for the soundbar and rear speakers. The latter come with colour-coded 8m long cables, and should be installed just behind the main listening position at roughly ear height.
The fact the rear speakers are wired might be slightly off-putting, after all no-one likes running cables around their living room, and it also limits the distance from the subwoofer to the rear speakers.
However, having them wired to the sub (rather than the soundbar) and then giving the sub a wireless connection to the bar means you don’t have to put the sub at the front of the room, so you’ve got a good amount of flexibility overall. And the wired connections won’t suffer from drop-outs, which often happens with wireless surrounds.
Vizio 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar review: verdict
The Vizio SB36512-F6 is an excellent Dolby Atmos soundbar that delivers a genuinely immersive soundstage from a compact and well-engineered package. The looks might be boring, but the sound is anything but, with an entertaining delivery that creates an engaging three-dimensional experience. Whether its a TV show, movie or music this multi-channel combo is sure to please.
The features will also put a smile on your face, with extensive connections, handy controller, and intuitive remote app, plus everything you need to quickly and easily setup the system is included in the box.
It’s not perfect of course,– the lack of DTS:X is a disappointing omission, wired rears might put some off and the front LED display requires a PhD – but in all other respects the Vizio 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar offers superb value for money.