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

Victoria D. Doty

In my testimonials, soundbars that involve subwoofers often audio greater than standalone soundbars with no subs, for a single obvious rationale: far more bass. The subwoofer provides lots of lower-finish effect and creates a fuller audio, but those people huge bass bins get up lots of space. What if you want a speaker that generates a huge soundfield and very good bass, but only utilizes the place in front of your Television set? The Vizio M21D-H8 would make a good circumstance for the one speaker technique — it appears large still stays fairly compact. 


  • Impressive audio from a one device
  • Great for Television set shows and tunes, too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS Digital:X

Really don’t Like

  • Expenditures pretty much as a great deal as the greater sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to talk of

The Vizio’s audio high quality is a large action over a television’s, which you’d expect, and established my toes tapping. It appears very good with most films and tunes and is fairly straightforward to established up. Contrary to pretty much any other one bar around this cost the Vizio M21 consists of two HDMI ports, which really boosts its versatility. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your tunes as nicely.

At $150 the M21 is fairly reasonably priced, while it will not supply the visceral bass of as subwoofer-equipped models close to this cost, these as the Inventive Phase V2 or Vizio’s own V21. If you’re hunting to ditch the subwoofer, however, there is certainly absolutely nothing in this cost variety that can obstacle the Vizio M21 for compact dimension, excellent features and complete audio. 

Going to a one bar


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Soundbars aren’t normally known for their sleekness but I identified the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal style rather striking. Contact it a Toblerone if you like, I absolutely do, but Vizio obviously will not care. Although it appears equivalent to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the style has been simplified — the very little triangles on a single facet are now replaced by a one Vizio symbol, for example. On the other finish are buttons for volume, resource assortment and Bluetooth.

This audio bar is 36 inches lengthy and is intended to sit in front of your Television set — delivered you have adequate clearance for its 2-inch top — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to level outward into your space. It consists of 6 drivers comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of three-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, however, so you can’t incorporate a individual sub afterwards.


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

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The front of the cloth-lined cupboard consists of a coloured LED to denote the enter as nicely as a series of white LEDs for volume. It’s a great deal greater than the previous technique, which was virtually incomprehensible, but nevertheless not as distinct as an actual alphanumeric exhibit, for example.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out portion for the inputs along with two keyholes for wall-mounting. The major improve on the first, and possibly the rationale at the rear of the $30 cost 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 supplemental HDMI is beneficial if, say, you use your intelligent Television set for streaming and want to incorporate a next gadget, like a gaming console. The soundbar also consists of optical audio for hooking up your Television set, two three.5mm analog ports with a single for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for participating in MP3s and WAVs from a thumb travel. 

The Vizio has both Dolby and DTS decoding, which is spectacular for a audio bar at any cost, as well as it has DTS Digital:X, which is intended to simulate audio coming from close to and over you, and that works specially nicely.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The distant presents powerful levels of command for a cheap soundbar, with volume as well as two bands of EQ and an enter selector. The back again of the distant helpfully consists of a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it audio?

The M21’s audio high quality was quite very good all round, while is lack of bass in contrast to subwoofer-equipped models came as a result of in my comparisons. 

As I’ve identified with previous soundbars that includes DTS Digital:X, this know-how really helps fill a space with lifelike audio. Head to head towards a soundbar that will not have it, like the Inventive Phase V2, the differences are obvious. The Vizio was straightforward to reduce physically though observing blockbuster films, though the Creative’s audio generally appeared like it was coming from the cupboard.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was immediately obvious all through the lobby scene in The Matrix. Following Neo (Keanu Reeves) outings the metal detector and decorates the marble-walled space with garlands of guide, a one soldier shouts “Freeze” (one.forty two:09)  The shout and its sluggish decay crammed the space in a way the Inventive could not. Still the Inventive was capable to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-less Vizio skipped.

Compared towards the Vizio V21, a further device with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative lack of bass have been at the time once again clear. The M21 sounded far more lively all through the lobby scene, even if it could not match the V21 for effect. That deep bassline popped up now and once again on the one bar when there wasn’t nearly anything else happening, but I listened to it complete throttle with the V21. 

Just one thing you you should not often get from a price range soundbar, even a single with Bluetooth, is affinity with tunes, still the Vizio held its own with a amount of distinct genres. It was capable to present vocals with convincing articulation, and make the instrumentation coalesce as a single device. 

With the chill anthem Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Company, for example, the Vizio sounded smooth as a result of the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a individual sub. On the Inventive Phase V2 tunes was limited and a bit far more thrilling, while it shown a single of the prospective weaknesses of these sort of systems — the reduced mids appeared to be lacking. As a consequence the tune came across as a very little thin sounding.

Ought to you invest in it?

The Vizio M21 is an excellent one-bar technique with lots of connectivity and a complex, subtle style. I know of no other one bar that expenses less than $200 that presents as a great deal. 

That stated, it really is cannibalized by the existence of the company’s own M21: at $150 the V21 is comparatively too a great deal. Although it really is regularly on sale for $120, and is $116.22 at Amazon correct now, a great deal of sites offer it for complete cost. For the similar $150 you can invest in the V21, and it arrives with a wi-fi subwoofer, so if it really is a selection involving the two get the V21 as a substitute. Similarly the $109 Inventive Phase V2 presents a individual sub which also lifts its performance, and discount hunters hunting to extract the increase performance for the littlest sum of money need to get (the) Inventive.

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