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

In my assessments, soundbars that contain subwoofers normally seem improved than standalone soundbars with no subs, for 1 clear cause: far more bass. The subwoofer adds loads of reduced-close affect and results in a fuller seem, but these big bass packing containers choose up loads of area. What if you want a speaker that generates a big soundfield and good bass, but only utilizes the place in entrance of your Television set? The Vizio M21D-H8 would make a wonderful circumstance for the solitary speaker method — it seems substantial but remains comparatively compact. 


  • Impressive seem from a solitary device
  • Good for Television set demonstrates and music, too
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS Digital:X

Really don’t Like

  • Fees almost as much as the improved sounding Vizio V21
  • No deep bass to talk of

The Vizio’s seem excellent is a substantial stage earlier mentioned a television’s, which you would expect, and established my toes tapping. It seems good with most films and music and is comparatively effortless to established up. As opposed to almost any other solitary bar close to this value the Vizio M21 incorporates two HDMI ports, which definitely boosts its flexibility. And there’s Bluetooth streaming your music as very well.

At $a hundred and fifty the M21 is comparatively inexpensive, while it does not produce the visceral bass of as subwoofer-outfitted models all-around this value, such as the Artistic Stage V2 or Vizio’s very own V21. If you might be hunting to ditch the subwoofer, having said that, there is certainly absolutely nothing in this value selection that can challenge the Vizio M21 for compact size, great features and whole seem. 

Likely to a solitary bar

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Soundbars usually are not normally acknowledged for their sleekness but I uncovered the Vizio M21D-H8’s trapezoidal structure rather striking. Contact it a Toblerone if you like, I certainly do, but Vizio obviously does not treatment. Whilst it seems to be similar to the SB362An-F6 it replaces, the structure has been simplified — the very little triangles on 1 side are now changed by a solitary Vizio symbol, for instance. On the other close are buttons for volume, resource range and Bluetooth.

This seem bar is 36 inches very long and is made to sit in entrance of your Television set — delivered you have more than enough clearance for its 2-inch peak — or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to stage outward into your area. It incorporates six drivers comprising of two woofers, twin tweeters and a pair of three-inch onboard “subwoofers.” There is no subwoofer output, having said that, so you are unable to increase a different sub afterwards.


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

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The entrance of the fabric-covered cabinet incorporates a colored LED to denote the enter as very well as a series of white LEDs for volume. It is a good deal improved than the aged method, which was almost incomprehensible, but nonetheless not as clear as an true alphanumeric display screen, for instance.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The rear has a scooped-out part for the inputs along with two keyholes for wall-mounting. The largest up grade on the primary, and probably the cause behind the $30 value bump, is the addition of two HDMI ports: HDMI in and HDMI ARC. Whilst some people use their TVs as a swap, the additional HDMI is helpful if, say, you use your intelligent Television set for streaming and want to increase a next unit, like a gaming console. The soundbar also incorporates optical audio for hooking up your Television set, two three.5mm analog ports with 1 for a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo Dot, and a USB port for taking part in MP3s and WAVs from a thumb generate. 

The Vizio has both of those Dolby and DTS decoding, which is outstanding for a seem bar at any value, in addition it has DTS Digital:X, which is made to simulate seem coming from all-around and earlier mentioned you, and that will work primarily very well.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The remote presents powerful amounts of management for a low cost soundbar, with volume in addition two bands of EQ and an enter selector. The again of the remote helpfully incorporates a shade code chart of the inputs.

How does it seem?

The M21’s audio excellent was very good all round, while is deficiency of bass when compared to subwoofer-outfitted models arrived by in my comparisons. 

As I’ve uncovered with earlier soundbars showcasing DTS Digital:X, this technological innovation definitely allows fill a area with lifelike seem. Head to head towards a soundbar that does not have it, like the Artistic Stage V2, the variations are clear. The Vizio was effortless to shed bodily while observing blockbuster films, while the Creative’s seem generally appeared like it was coming from the cabinet.

The Vizio’s expansive soundstage was promptly clear all through the lobby scene in The Matrix. Right after Neo (Keanu Reeves) visits the metallic detector and decorates the marble-walled area with garlands of guide, a solitary soldier shouts “Freeze” (1.42:09)  The shout and its slow decay crammed the area in a way the Artistic couldn’t. Nevertheless the Artistic was in a position to articulate the explosions and bass-led soundtrack that the subwoofer-significantly less Vizio missed.

As opposed towards the Vizio V21, a further device with a subwoofer, the M21’s openness and relative deficiency of bass were as soon as yet again clear. The M21 sounded far more vivid all through the lobby scene, even if it couldn’t match the V21 for affect. That deep bassline popped up now and yet again on the solitary bar when there wasn’t just about anything else taking place, but I listened to it whole throttle with the V21. 

1 factor you don’t normally get from a finances soundbar, even 1 with Bluetooth, is affinity with music, but the Vizio held its very own with a number of various genres. It was in a position to present 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 clean by the bass and midrange even if it lacked the oomph other soundbars get with a different sub. On the Artistic Stage V2 music was restricted and a bit far more thrilling, while it demonstrated 1 of the likely weaknesses of these variety of programs — the reduced mids appeared to be lacking. As a final result the music arrived throughout as a very little skinny sounding.

Must you obtain it?

The Vizio M21 is an great solitary-bar method with a good deal of connectivity and a sophisticated, refined structure. I know of no other solitary bar that fees significantly less than $two hundred that presents as much. 

That reported, it is really cannibalized by the existence of the company’s very own M21: at $a hundred and fifty the V21 is comparatively too much. Whilst it is really regularly on sale for $120, and is $116.22 at Amazon suitable now, a good deal of destinations market it for whole value. For the exact same $a hundred and fifty you can obtain the V21, and it will come with a wireless subwoofer, so if it is really a decision among the two get the V21 in its place. Equally the $109 Artistic Stage V2 presents a different sub which also lifts its performance, and discount hunters hunting to extract the improve performance for the littlest total of cash should get (the) Artistic.