Vizio Elevate soundbar review: This Dolby Atmos speaker could start a revolution

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars capable of reproducing the atmospheric consequences of Dolby Atmos soundtracks have been about considering that 2016, but right until now they haven’t been really ground breaking. To function well, Atmos products require additional speakers to reproduce individuals height consequences, and usually they are modest, static motorists aimed at the ceiling. The Vizio Elevate fees a bundle but it attempts anything radically new: motorized speakers that increase up and revolve according to regardless of whether you happen to be listening to songs or a appropriate film. The craziest element is, it truly operates!


  • Motorized speakers function well.
  • Great sound for motion pictures and songs.
  • Plenty of connections
  • Features rears and wi-fi sub.

Will not Like

  • Not as effortless to use as Sonos Arc
  • No Apple AirPlay aid
  • To some degree quick surround cables

The Vizio Elevate is high-priced for a soundbar, but Atmos bars in basic have often tended toward the superior close. The Samsung HW-Q950T comes shut in phrases of specification but that system is also $one,seven-hundred. The Sonos Arc ($799 at Sonos, Inc.) presents the simplicity of a single bar and contains a voice assistant, but it does not sound as fantastic as the Vizio. With its transferring speakers, the Vizio Elevate actually is its personal animal.

Newcomers beware however: The Vizio Elevate’s guide set up can be difficult and isn’t assisted by the perplexing remote. Some customers may perhaps also discover the wired surround speakers a soreness depending on in which they decide on to put the subwoofer — the cables are almost certainly too quick for significant rooms.

The rotating speakers reek of gimmickry, but in observe they function well, introducing oomph to songs and spaciousness to genuine Atmos soundtracks. If you will not brain plunking down the funds for a entirely highlighted, good-sounding soundbar, the Vizio Elevate is a really critical contender. If the Elevate is too prosperous for your blood, however, the Vizio SB36512 is our Editors’ Preference winner and an great option at fewer than fifty percent the value.

Create high quality: A action above


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Vizio Elevate is a soundbar which presents compatibility with the two immersive standards: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. In addition to the principal speaker itself, the Elevate’s set up contains rears, a significant subwoofer and a remote. If you desired to deck out the Arc with a comparable array of speakers, specifically the Sonos Sub and two Symfonisk for the rear channels, it would price tag about $one,seven-hundred.

The Vizio Elevate may perhaps be a plastic soundbar at heart but its structure is… ahem… elevated. The principal bar feels strong and comes in a two-tone end — element thick vinyl wrap and element gun-metal aluminum. This is a major speaker at 48 inches huge and a table-swallowing 6.5 inches deep. The ends are included in a matte-black product, which will make it tricky to see the matte-black controls, but the elevated buttons are truly less difficult to use by contact. The entrance of the soundbar contains a coloured LED that will make it rather uncomplicated to tell which enter you are on, as well as a white LED amount meter.

The principal speaker attributes a whopping thirteen motorists, including a dedicated heart channel and 5 tweeters in total. The swiveling speakers are situated at each individual close and rotate when the system detects a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X signal, revealing the Atmos brand on one facet and DTS:X on the other. 


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The subwoofer is one of the largest I’ve seen on any system, measuring 11 inches huge by fourteen inches deep and 16 inches superior. The rear speakers element the two forward-dealing with and upward-firing motorists and are tethered to the sub by a 30-foot cable (the connection amongst the soundbar and the sub is wi-fi). The cable was extended enough to drape at the rear of my sofa and along the facet of the living place to the sub at the entrance, but the size could be an difficulty for some installations. 

Vizio statements the system is able of 107 decibels, and I did discover it was pretty loud, so no worries about filling even the largest living spaces. The Elevate contains a wall-mount bracket in the box (BYO screws, however), and Vizio made the bar to mate seamlessly with the Vizio OLED Television.

A mountain of attributes

Connectivity is great with two different HDMI inputs, as well as a third, labeled “HDMI Out,” which supports eARC. There is certainly also an optical electronic enter, a 3.5mm analog audio and a 3.5mm “voice assistant” enter, USB and Bluetooth. The Elevate connects to your community through Wi-Fi and supports Spotify Link and Chromecast built-in. In contrast to the Arc, it lacks Apple AirPlay aid but its physical connectivity is significantly far better than the Arc’s.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Elevate also lacks a built-in voice assistant, identified on the Arc and other soundbars, but I will not see this as a important disadvantage. Utilizing Alexa or Google Assistant on a soundbar can be irritating as the volume will mute if it hears the wake phrase, which usually means you could miss some of your present. If you want to use a voice assistant to pay attention to songs by means of the Elevate it is really effortless to established the soundbar up as the default speaker for an low-cost Google or Echo speaker close by.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The remote seems like the kinds that come with more affordable Vizio soundbars but differs in two important elements. There is certainly an Liquid crystal display screen at the top rated, and four buttons which assistance with set up at the bottom. Obtaining the two Influence and EQ choices is a minor perplexing mainly because they conduct really comparable duties, and navigating menus through the different buttons normally takes a minor getting applied to.

Adjusting the volume of the subwoofer was effortless enough with the Stage button but not every thing was intuitive, and you will require to know to down load the Vizio SmartCast app to comprehensive the set up of Wi-Fi, for example. I also experienced some challenges updating the firmware from the site, but Vizio advised me it was mainly because one of the information was misnamed and certain me it was now set.

In comparison the Sonos Arc was a uncomplicated pleasure to use, set up and update, despite the fact that that speaker’s set up does intensely favor iPhone ($599 at Apple) users — Sonos’ TruPlay calibration app is not readily available on Android. I experienced some challenges with the Arc to begin with and these were being assisted by applying TruPlay (on an iPad ($300 at Back again Current market)).

Higher and mighty sound

The Elevate is 2 times the value of the current SB36512, but you are not able to expect 2 times the general performance. I was unable to check the two models facet-by-facet, but in my experience there are often diminishing returns when likely from an great, inexpensive speaker to a much extra high-priced one. 

For these tests I in comparison the Elevate facet-by-facet from the Sonos Arc, mainly because the two are around the very same value. The Vizio acquitted itself really promptly with authoritative sound high quality throughout all forms of product. In contrast to the Arc, which performs far better at home theater than songs, the Elevate was equally able with the two — a unusual feat amid soundbars.

I started off my tests with songs, Radiohead’s My Iron Lung to be exact, and I identified that the Arc was not pretty as completed as the Vizio. The Arc played the tune at a get rid of, a little bit boxy and distant. By fiddling with the EQ I was capable to make improvements to definition to the percussion, but Thom York however gave the perception he was phoning it in. The Vizio was the opposite, energetic and punchy many thanks to that subwoofer. It was not pretty great, while, as I necessary to again off the treble a minor, but much extra listenable general.

I moved to anything extra ethereal with Yulunga (Spirit Dance) by Dead Can Dance, and the Arc improved somewhat, with a crispness and presence in the stereo shaker eggs for example, even if it was not capable to dig deep on the much larger drums. The Vizio’s authority was evident from the initial number of bars of the tune. Lisa Gerrard’s voice floated free of the speakers, and the string accompaniment was less difficult to listen to. The sub was capable to allow the drums and gong sounds entirely resonate in my screening home.

I moved to motion pictures and Television upcoming, starting with the infamous egg-thieving Chapter ten of The Mandalorian. The episode attributes a chase scene by means of clouds and an unavoidable canyon operate (it would not be Star Wars if you couldn’t flip your ship vertically or experienced to contend with guard rails on gang planks). In the course of this scene the Arc was capable to express a authentic feeling of height as the Razor Crest descended into the frosty planet’s environment, pursued by two X-wing fighters.

As charming as the Arc sounded, it was the Vizio’s dedicated rears and sub which actually assisted anchor the motion. The Elevate’s surround consequences were being much extra pinpoint and the metallic thud of the ship as it skidded throughout the floor of the icy canyon sounded impactful and terrifying. It didn’t have the very same vertiginous feeling of height as the Arc however.

The sub and rears yet again assisted the Vizio express a feeling of place in my upcoming check, the Thanator chase scene from Avatar. Insects buzzed about the listening placement, dialogue was obvious and explosions bombastic. In comparison with the Arc, it could at times send out an insect-like click to my right that designed me assume the Elevate’s rears were being someway however doing work, but the feeling of surround was much fewer palpable.

The revolution begins here

Are revolving, motorized speakers likely to turn out to be a pattern? Possibly not. The up-firing speakers of the Vizio Elevate incorporate some effect when in stereo manner it is really not actually enough to justify a potential transferring-element weak place down the street. 

The Elevate may perhaps not be as effortless to use as the Arc, but it is really the far better performer, and that’s actually what matters. The Vizio soundbar is also a far better worth, due to its increased connectivity and dedicated subs and rears. The Vizio SB36512 however presents the best worth of any Atmos soundbar I’ve tested, but if you want an update, the nifty Elevate is a extra refined and home-theater-completely ready speaker.

Rosa G. Rose

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