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

Maria J. Danford

In my testimonials, soundbars that contain subwoofers generally sound superior than standalone soundbars with no subs, for one obvious reason: much more bass. The subwoofer provides lots of reduced-conclusion effect and results in a fuller sound, but these huge bass bins get up lots of space. What if you want a speaker that generates a huge soundfield and excellent bass, but only utilizes the house in front of your Tv set? The Vizio M21D-H8 makes a wonderful case for the single speaker procedure — it sounds huge nonetheless continues to be rather compact. 


  • Remarkable sound from a single device
  • Excellent for Tv set displays and new music, far too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Electronic, DTS and DTS Virtual:X

Never Like

  • Fees pretty much as a lot as the superior sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to converse of

The Vizio’s sound excellent is a huge step previously mentioned a television’s, which you’d count on, and established my toes tapping. It sounds excellent with most videos and new music and is rather quick to established up. As opposed to pretty much any other single bar close to this rate the Vizio M21 features two HDMI ports, which genuinely boosts its versatility. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your new music as effectively.

At $one hundred fifty the M21 is rather economical, while it does not supply the visceral bass of as subwoofer-outfitted units all around this rate, these kinds of as the Innovative Phase V2 or Vizio’s own V21. If you might be wanting to ditch the subwoofer, nonetheless, there is certainly nothing in this rate variety that can challenge the Vizio M21 for compact measurement, outstanding functions and entire sound. 

Heading to a single bar


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars usually are not typically regarded for their sleekness but I observed the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal style really putting. Call it a Toblerone if you like, I surely do, but Vizio obviously does not treatment. While it seems identical to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the style has been simplified — the minimal triangles on one aspect are now changed by a single Vizio emblem, for case in point. On the other conclusion are buttons for volume, source choice and Bluetooth.

This sound bar is 36 inches prolonged and is created to sit in front of your Tv set — offered you have ample clearance for its two-inch top — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to position outward into your space. It features six drivers comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of three-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, nonetheless, so you can not include a different sub later.


The M21 functions a sequence of white LEDs denoting volume and EQ

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The front of the cloth-covered cupboard features a colored LED to denote the input as effectively as a sequence of white LEDs for volume. It truly is a ton superior than the old procedure, which was almost incomprehensible, but continue to not as obvious as an genuine alphanumeric display, for case in point.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out segment for the inputs together with two keyholes for wall-mounting. The greatest upgrade on the original, and maybe the reason behind the $thirty rate bump, is the addition of two HDMI ports: HDMI in and HDMI ARC. While some folks use their TVs as a switch, the further HDMI is practical if, say, you use your smart Tv set for streaming and want to include a next gadget, like a gaming console. The soundbar also features optical audio for hooking up your Tv set, two three.5mm analog ports with one for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for taking part in MP3s and WAVs from a thumb push. 

The Vizio has equally Dolby and DTS decoding, which is outstanding for a sound bar at any rate, additionally it has DTS Virtual:X, which is created to simulate sound coming from all around and previously mentioned you, and that performs primarily effectively.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The remote provides effective ranges of command for a cheap soundbar, with volume additionally two bands of EQ and an input selector. The again of the remote helpfully features a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it sound?

The M21’s audio excellent was extremely excellent in general, while is lack of bass in contrast to subwoofer-outfitted units came by way of in my comparisons. 

As I have observed with previous soundbars showcasing DTS Virtual:X, this technologies genuinely can help fill a space with lifelike sound. Head to head versus a soundbar that does not have it, like the Innovative Phase V2, the variances are obvious. The Vizio was quick to drop physically although viewing blockbuster videos, although the Creative’s sound often appeared like it was coming from the cupboard.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was promptly obvious for the duration of the lobby scene in The Matrix. Immediately after Neo (Keanu Reeves) journeys the metallic detector and decorates the marble-walled space with garlands of guide, a single soldier shouts “Freeze” (1.forty two:09)  The shout and its sluggish decay loaded the space in a way the Innovative could not. Yet the Innovative was equipped to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-considerably less Vizio missed.

In comparison versus the Vizio V21, yet another device with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative lack of bass were being when all over again evident. The M21 sounded much more vivid for the duration of the lobby scene, even if it could not match the V21 for effect. That deep bassline popped up now and all over again on the single bar when there wasn’t nearly anything else occurring, but I read it entire throttle with the V21. 

1 detail you don’t generally get from a price range soundbar, even one with Bluetooth, is affinity with new music, nonetheless the Vizio held its own with a quantity of distinct genres. It was equipped to current vocals with convincing articulation, and make the instrumentation coalesce as one device. 

With the chill anthem Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Corporation, for case in point, the Vizio sounded easy by way of the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a different sub. On the Innovative Phase V2 new music was tight and a little bit much more thrilling, while it demonstrated one of the possible weaknesses of these sort of systems — the lower mids appeared to be lacking. As a consequence the track came across as a minimal skinny sounding.

Should you get it?

The Vizio M21 is an outstanding single-bar procedure with a great deal of connectivity and a innovative, delicate style. I know of no other single bar that prices considerably less than $200 that provides as a lot. 

That explained, it is really cannibalized by the existence of the firm’s own M21: at $one hundred fifty the V21 is comparatively far too a lot. While it is really consistently on sale for $120, and is $116.22 at Amazon suitable now, a ton of spots sell it for entire rate. For the very same $one hundred fifty you can get the V21, and it arrives with a wireless subwoofer, so if it is really a decision among the two get the V21 rather. In the same way the $109 Innovative Phase V2 provides a different sub which also lifts its performance, and cut price hunters wanting to extract the increase performance for the littlest amount of money should get (the) Innovative.

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