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Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos (model SB36512-F6 ) review: This speaker covers all the bases

Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos (model SB36512-F6 ) review: This speaker covers all the bases

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Vizio’s Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos is a high-value, high-tech sound bar with a style of immersive audio magic.

Execs
  • Dolby Atmos-enabled audio system improve the sense of area and peak
  • DTS Digital:X upmixer included for conventional surround and two-channel audio
  • Helps Chromecast and Google Assistant
  • Excessive worth proposition for all the included options.
  • 4K/UHD, HDR-10, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR move by way of
Cons
  • This is not any substitute for a standard Dolby Atmos configuration
  • IR distant’s display wants higher distinction
  • Show is troublesome to learn in low-light circumstances

This soundbar options immersive audio for films, Chromecast for multi-room audio, and Google Assistant help for voice management.

Vizio’s Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos, mannequin quantity SB36512-F6,  is a high-value, high-tech soundbar that delivers a style of immersive audio magic.

This is a 5.1.2 answer, which means there are left, proper, and middle drivers–plus two entrance peak channels–in the principal speaker cupboard; two discrete surround audio system, and a (wi-fi) subwoofer. Vizio’s strategy leans in the direction of the pragmatic, not the aesthetic. The primary speaker cupboard measures roughly 36-inches extensive, 2.5-inches excessive, and three.25-inches deep.

The left and proper surround audio system ship a real surround-sound expertise that no digital audio system can match. Measuring round 5.75-inches excessive, 2.75-inches broad, and a couple of.5-inches deep, they’re sufficiently small to mix into any room’s décor and even sit on a window sill. These are passive drivers, in order that they aren’t wi-fi. You’ll want to attach them to the subwoofer utilizing the RCA-terminated speaker cables Vizio offers. However there actually is not any such factor as a very wi-fi speaker. Until it runs on batteries, it is going to want at the least an influence twine.

Vizo includes everything you need in the box. Accessories are plentiful and instructions are well doVizo consists of every little thing you want in the field, together with a well-produced instruction guide.

The included wi-fi subwoofer (sure, it has an influence twine) is an upright design that comes pre-paired to the soundbar out-of-the field. It’s rated to ship sonic slam all the method right down to 40Hz—far decrease than its footprint would recommend.

The Dolby Atmos-enabled audio system are oriented at a 20-degree angle to bounce peak sound results off the ceiling right down to your listening place. To ensure that this impact to work, your room should fulfill a number of necessities, as outlined in Dolby’s Atmos-enabled speaker spec.

In a nutshell, for the overhead impact to work you want a flat, reflective ceiling between 7.5 and 12 ft above the audio system—though ceilings as excessive as 14 ft may work. In case your room doesn’t meet these necessities, don’t anticipate the peak sound cues to work properly—or at all. The peak impact gained’t work with angled ceilings, drop ceilings, or any non-reflective ceiling materials both. I’ll inform you my impressions of the overhead results additional alongside in the evaluate

In the event you’re in search of entrance and rear peak channels, then look to Vizio’s upcoming 46-inch, 5.1.four Dolby Atmos system. It provides a bodily bigger subwoofer and two Dolby Atmos-enabled audio system in the surround audio system for a complete of 4 overhead speaker channels. It should value $999.99 when it ships later this yr. I heard each the 5.1.2 and 5.1.four methods at the firm’s personal press unveiling in New York Metropolis earlier this yr. The 2 further peak audio system make a noticeable distinction.

The Vizio has two up-firing Dolby Atmos enabled speakers that reflect sound off the ceiling. Your miThe Vizio has two up-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled audio system that mirror pontificate the ceiling. Your mileage might differ on how efficient the impact is.

Excessive tech and excessive worth

Vizio is understood for delivering worth for the greenback, and that’s definitely the case right here. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity are commonplace, in fact, however there’s additionally an ethernet port should you’re lucky sufficient to have a wired community in your house theater. Supply enter choices embrace three.5mm analog, S/PDIF optical, USB, and HDMI out and in, with ARC (Audio Return Channel) help on the output so you should use your TV’s tuner and streaming options. Simply ensure that your TV additionally helps ARC and that you’ve HDMI CEC enabled on each your TV and the soundbar.

Chromecast shines

Chromecast makes the Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos a star. I used to be capable of stream music from Tidal and each different Chromecast-enabled audio app on my sensible system: Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Google Play Music are just some of the suitable providers.

With Chromecast on-board you can group the Vizio with other Chromecast-enabled speakers and find thoWith Chromecast onboard, you’ll be able to group the Vizio with different Chromecast-enabled audio system and discover these teams by way of Chromecast-enabled apps.

Nevertheless it will get even higher. Utilizing the Google Home app on my iPhone, I might search my community for any Chromecast-compatible audio system and create teams or perhaps a whole-home zone. I  created a whole-house group with the soundbar and my Cambridge Audio Yoyo (L), referred to as “Hall of Justice” in the screenshot above, and streamed music to each audio system concurrently.

With its most up-to-date replace, my Roon music server helps Chromecast, too. Utilizing that software program, I might choose the Vizio soundbar as a speaker endpoint and group the Vizio with another audio setup in my residence, together with my two-channel audio setup. I might even pair the Vizio with AirPlay audio system.

Use IR or the cellular app for system management

You’ve gotten two management choices: Use the included infrared distant management or the free Vizio SmartCast app for Android or iOS. The included distant is superb. It’s an actual distant, not the low cost credit-card sort that some producers embrace. I might simply make out its numerous buttons by contact. The distant’s textual content show, on the different hand, is way too troublesome to learn in dim lighting. Vizio wants to deal with this situation with a backlit display–or at the least one that gives higher distinction. People with imaginative and prescient issues may have problem utilizing this one.

Vizio’s included remote is excellent, though its screen needs better contrast for low-light conditioVizio’s included infrared distant management is superb, with the exception of its show: It must supply a lot better distinction for low-light circumstances.

The SmartCast app is a factor of magnificence, providing full management over each facet of the soundbar’s efficiency, together with treble and bass settings; quantity for the middle, subwoofer, and surround channels; and on the spot entry to EQ presets.

Of particular observe are the quantity leveler and night-mode settings. Activating each night time mode and quantity leveler dramatically decreased program dynamics and bass response. In different phrases, if you wish to take pleasure in your present however don’t need to get up the youngsters or disturb the neighbors, Vizio has you coated.

However Vizio’s SmartCast app isn’t your abnormal app-based distant. It’s a whole suite of audio and video media entry centered round Google Chromecast. When you’re utilizing a Vizio TV, then the SmartCast app’s worth will increase significantly. Not solely are you able to management each the TV and the soundbar from a single interface, however you can even “cast” TV exhibits, films, and stay TV out of your cellular gadget to your Vizio TV whereas controlling your audio at the similar time. I’m at present engaged on a evaluation of Vizio’s P-Collection 65-inch 4K UHD sensible TV, and utilizing it with the soundbar is a very seamless expertise.

Management your Vizio with Google Assistant

Configuring this soundbar to work with Google Assistant was additionally a breeze. I used my Google Home Mini to play particular musical artists and tracks with voice instructions, and I used to be additionally capable of increase or decrease the Vizio’s quantity degree that method.

Vizio’s SmartCast app gives you control over music, media, and audio settings.Vizio’s SmartCast app provides you management over music, media, and audio settings.

Dolby Atmos onboard

The soundbar’s key promoting level is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos help. In contrast to conventional surround sound, Dolby Atmos provides a 3rd dimension—peak—for overhead sound results.

Simply ensure you have all the required items in place: an Atmos supply, a suitable participant, and the correct ceiling. You’ll want a 4K UltraHD Blu-ray title with Dolby Atmos (Dolby has an inventory right here) or a digital copy. Watch out, not all streaming packing containers bought as we speak help Dolby Atmos. The Roku Extremely, Chromecast Extremely, and the Apple TV 4K do (though Apple TV 4K house owners should improve to tvOS 12 to get it).

When the Vizio senses a Dolby Atmos audio sign, it shows a inexperienced LED on the entrance of the soundbar. Alternatively, you possibly can press the Menu button on the soundbar’s distant and navigate to the Information choice, utilizing the up/down keys on the distant, after which press the Play/Pause button. The bar will announce the present enter adopted by the at present enjoying audio format and their related LEDs will mild up. From the SmartCast app, you may as well choose the Gear icon and go to System—> System Info—> Soundbar info—> Audio Sort.

I’ve lived with a devoted Dolby Atmos 7.1.four setup with discrete ceiling audio system in my basement for a number of years. The 3D audio expertise is so enthralling that I simply can’t return to the two-dimensional expertise of conventional surround sound. The Vizio gained’t take the place of my devoted setup, nevertheless it does a good job on a number of fronts as I’ll word in additional element under.

Vizio includes well-placed stickers with key setup points for those who don’t like to read manuals.Vizio consists of well-placed stickers with key setup factors for many who don’t wish to learn consumer manuals.

Up-mixing conventional audio to immersive audio

You may marvel in case you can take a two-channel or conventional surround-sound title and upmix it to immersive audio. The reply is sure, you’ll be able to. There are two methods to do that: When the Vizio’s peak channels are on (the default setting), the soundbar makes use of Dolby Audio Processing for all enter codecs (e.g. 2.zero or 5.1). The Vizio will upmix that sign to five.1.2 and use all its audio system.

If, nevertheless, the peak channels are turned off or the peak channels are set to digital mode (which you are able to do by way of the distant or the SmartCast app), Dolby Audio Processing is turned off and DTS’ Digital:X kicks in. Right here’s the essential distinction: Digital:X makes use of 5.1 channels for this impact by incorporating digital sign processing and psychoacoustics. Digital:X doesn’t use the Vizio’s peak channels. A Vizio consultant defined that some shoppers may discover Digital:X helpful in conditions the place you don’t have an optimum setup/room/ceiling configuration to make the most of the bodily peak channels.

Under the hood, the sound bar has two up-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers at a 20-degree angle.Underneath the hood, the soundbar has two up-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled audio system aimed toward a 20-degree angle to bounce peak cues off the ceiling.

I ought to word that the Vizio doesn’t help DTS:X, an immersive audio format that competes with Dolby Atmos. When you feed the Vizio a 4K UltraHD Blu-ray with a DTS:X sign by way of its HDMI enter, it can decode the DTS-HD Grasp Audio layer after which upmix it. In case you are utilizing HDMI ARC, then DTS Digital Encompass might be decoded and upmixed.

A style of immersive audio magic

Setup is a breeze. Vizio pays meticulous consideration to your setup expertise and clearly is aware of many (most?) of us hate to learn consumer manuals. Somebody at Vizio deserves a pat on the again for arising with the concept of together with stickers on the soundbar. The labels present precisely the proper educational cues that will help you keep away from frustration throughout preliminary setup.

I put in the Vizio in my essential front room in a table-top configuration about 12 ft from my main listening place. The room has a flat, 9-foot reflective ceiling, proper in line with Dolby’s specs for Atmos. I positioned the two side-surround audio system roughly eight from the TV, two ft behind my main listening place at near ear peak. I used an Oppo UDP-205 to play 4K UltraHD and Dolby Atmos titles, and an Apple TV 4K (pre-tvOS 12 replace) as my main sources and Vizio’s 65-inch P-Collection as the show. As a result of the soundbar doesn’t have a number of HDMI inputs, I switched them out manually to check HDR pass-through.

Finish customers gained’t have to try this: If you could join a number of A/V sources to the soundbar, you would simply use the TV’s a number of HDMI inputs. Most Atmos supply units (streaming bins and set-top bins, as an example) will ship an Atmos sign over Dolby Digital Plus (DD+), and the TV will ship the DD+ sign to the soundbar utilizing ARC.

In case you have a 4K UHD TV and 4K sources, you’ll be completely satisfied to know that the Vizio passes 4K UHD alerts—together with HDR-10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR—by means of to the show. I had no drawback enabling Dolby Imaginative and prescient on an Apple TV 4K or enjoying 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray Dolby Imaginative and prescient titles corresponding to Spider-Man Homecoming.

On the audio entrance, the Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos shines. Dialog is very intelligible and the system performs with ample dynamics—simply filling my comparatively giant 24-foot x 30-foot area with audio pleasure.

Film EQ does yeoman’s work with bass response in films. Bass response is exceptionally good contemplating the worth level and footprint—simply don’t anticipate it to be utterly freed from bloat or to completely register depth-charge-deep bass.

The surround speakers connect to the back of the subwoofer with the included RCA-terminated speakerThe surround audio system (proper) hook up with the again of the subwoofer (left) with the included RCA-terminated speaker cable.

However let’s look a bit extra into the cause why you’d contemplate this soundbar system: Dolby Atmos.

I fired up the 4K UltraHD Blu-ray disc model of X-Males: Age of Apocalypse, which has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. I’ve performed this film numerous occasions to demo overhead results. At the 10:08 mark of the film, Scott Summers’ (AKA Cyclops) concussive eye beams blast open a toilet stall and cuts into in the ceiling as he seems up. This act sends particles hurling down all over the place from above. The impact is uncanny in my devoted Dolby Atmos theater, I could make out particles fragments as they fall round me.

The Vizio did a high quality job conveying the sensation of area in the Atmos monitor, and it did a reputable job creating the phantasm that particles was falling down from above. Consider the distinction as my devoted theater with the ability to render the impact in exact excessive definition, whereas the Vizio was extra fuzzy in its rendition. I additionally performed this scene with out the Vizio’s peak channels engaged and I a lot most popular the Atmos presentation.

Pacific Rim in 4K UltraHD Blu-ray is one other demo-worthy movie. In Chapter 2, a mechanical robotic Jager faces the Kaiju Knifehead. The battle takes place in the center of the ocean amidst a fierce thunderstorm. The Visio excelled at presenting the scene’s intense dynamics, by no means lacking a beat. Dialog was clear and intelligible. Rain and thunder weren’t a lot noticeable from above; however the Dolby Atmos soundtrack did create a greater sensation of area and envelopment.

A excessive worth proposition

Not everybody can set up a devoted Dolby Atmos theater system of their residence, and that’s the place Vizio’s Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos’ worth proposition kicks in. Vizio’s 5.1.2 package deal provides you a style of immersive audio magic in a small footprint whereas becoming into most aesthetic and architectural constraints.

The Vizio will create an expanded sense of area and depth that you simply gained’t get from a standard setup—and that’s a large a part of what immersive audio is all about. Simply don’t anticipate this package deal to rival the peak results rendered with a devoted Dolby Atmos setup. No speaker system can defy the legal guidelines of physics. Consider this as an appetizer as an alternative of a full-course meal.

(techhive.com, http://bit.ly/2ML4bwa)

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