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

In my opinions, soundbars that incorporate subwoofers often audio superior than standalone soundbars with no subs, for 1 evident cause: additional bass. The subwoofer provides a lot of small-end impression and creates a fuller audio, but individuals huge bass containers acquire up a lot of place. What if you want a speaker that generates a huge soundfield and very good bass, but only takes advantage of the area in entrance of your Tv? The Vizio M21D-H8 tends to make a great scenario for the solitary speaker program — it seems massive nonetheless continues to be reasonably compact. 


  • Extraordinary audio from a solitary device
  • Excellent for Tv demonstrates and audio, way too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS Digital:X

Don’t Like

  • Expenditures practically as considerably as the superior sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to talk of

The Vizio’s audio quality is a massive step higher than a television’s, which you’d hope, and set my toes tapping. It seems very good with most videos and audio and is reasonably easy to set up. Unlike practically any other solitary bar in the vicinity of this value the Vizio M21 consists of two HDMI ports, which genuinely boosts its versatility. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your audio as nicely.

At $a hundred and fifty the M21 is reasonably very affordable, while it isn’t going to deliver the visceral bass of as subwoofer-outfitted models close to this value, this kind of as the Artistic Stage V2 or Vizio’s possess V21. If you happen to be looking to ditch the subwoofer, however, you will find absolutely nothing in this value vary that can challenge the Vizio M21 for compact dimension, fantastic features and whole audio. 

Likely to a solitary bar


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars usually are not typically recognized for their sleekness but I located the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal style pretty striking. Call it a Toblerone if you like, I certainly do, but Vizio evidently isn’t going to care. Although it appears to be very similar to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the style has been simplified — the minimal triangles on 1 side are now changed by a solitary Vizio logo, for instance. On the other end are buttons for volume, resource range and Bluetooth.

This audio bar is 36 inches extended and is built to sit in entrance of your Tv — supplied you have ample clearance for its two-inch peak — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to stage outward into your place. It consists of 6 motorists comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of three-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, however, so you are not able to incorporate a separate sub later on.


The M21 features a collection of white LEDs denoting volume and EQ

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The entrance of the fabric-coated cupboard consists of a colored LED to denote the enter as nicely as a collection of white LEDs for volume. It can be a large amount superior than the old program, which was practically incomprehensible, but nevertheless not as clear as an true alphanumeric exhibit, for instance.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out section for the inputs along with two keyholes for wall-mounting. The most important update on the authentic, and potentially the cause behind the $30 value bump, is the addition of two HDMI ports: HDMI in and HDMI ARC. Although some men and women use their TVs as a swap, the more HDMI is useful if, say, you use your good Tv for streaming and want to incorporate a 2nd machine, like a gaming console. The soundbar also consists of optical audio for hooking up your Tv, two three.5mm analog ports with 1 for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for enjoying MP3s and WAVs from a thumb travel. 

The Vizio has equally Dolby and DTS decoding, which is impressive for a audio bar at any value, additionally it has DTS Digital:X, which is built to simulate audio coming from close to and higher than you, and that will work primarily nicely.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The remote delivers impressive levels of handle for a low cost soundbar, with volume additionally two bands of EQ and an enter selector. The back again of the remote helpfully consists of a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it audio?

The M21’s audio quality was extremely very good in general, while is absence of bass in contrast to subwoofer-outfitted models arrived by means of in my comparisons. 

As I have located with preceding soundbars showcasing DTS Digital:X, this technologies genuinely allows fill a place with lifelike audio. Head to head in opposition to a soundbar that isn’t going to have it, like the Artistic Stage V2, the dissimilarities are evident. The Vizio was easy to reduce physically although seeing blockbuster videos, although the Creative’s audio constantly seemed like it was coming from the cupboard.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was straight away evident all through the foyer scene in The Matrix. Just after Neo (Keanu Reeves) trips the steel detector and decorates the marble-walled place with garlands of guide, a solitary soldier shouts “Freeze” (one.42:09)  The shout and its slow decay stuffed the place in a way the Artistic could not. Nonetheless the Artistic was capable to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-less Vizio skipped.

When compared in opposition to the Vizio V21, a different device with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative absence of bass ended up after all over again obvious. The M21 sounded additional vibrant all through the foyer scene, even if it could not match the V21 for impression. That deep bassline popped up now and all over again on the solitary bar when there wasn’t anything at all else occurring, but I heard it whole throttle with the V21. 

1 detail you never often get from a spending plan soundbar, even 1 with Bluetooth, is affinity with audio, nonetheless the Vizio held its possess with a amount of various genres. It was capable to current vocals with convincing articulation, and make the instrumentation coalesce as 1 device. 

With the chill anthem Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Corporation, for instance, the Vizio sounded sleek by means of the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a separate sub. On the Artistic Stage V2 audio was limited and a little bit additional thrilling, while it shown 1 of the probable weaknesses of these type of devices — the decreased mids seemed to be lacking. As a outcome the music arrived throughout as a minimal slender sounding.

Should you get it?

The Vizio M21 is an fantastic solitary-bar program with plenty of connectivity and a sophisticated, refined style. I know of no other solitary bar that costs less than $two hundred that delivers as considerably. 

That stated, it truly is cannibalized by the existence of the firm’s possess M21: at $a hundred and fifty the V21 is comparatively way too considerably. Although it truly is routinely on sale for $120, and is $116.22 at Amazon ideal now, a large amount of areas offer it for whole value. For the exact $a hundred and fifty you can get the V21, and it comes with a wireless subwoofer, so if it truly is a preference in between the two get the V21 as an alternative. Equally the $109 Artistic Stage V2 delivers a separate sub which also lifts its efficiency, and bargain hunters looking to extract the maximize efficiency for the littlest sum of money ought to get (the) Artistic.

Rosa G. Rose

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