Reviewed: Vizio's entry-level Dolby Atmos sound bar

Vizio SB36512-F6

Vizio SB36512-F6

Android Central Recommended AwardAndroid Central Recommended Award

I will be able to distinctly keep in mind the day I found out stereo sound. Laying between the ground audio system in our den, I spotted that it wasn’t the similar sound coming from the left and the precise. 2nd to that discovery was once the primary time I listened to Weapons ‘n’ Roses’ Urge for food for Destruction with headphones. It was once a seismic trade in how I understood tune. (Additionally appropriate solution: Anything else from the Rolling Stones.)

The following main bounce in my listening lifestyles was once once I were given my first five.1 encompass sound gadget. First, the whole thing wishes a subwoofer. However having audio coming from in the back of you adjustments the revel in in the entire anticipated tactics. (Beautiful positive I wore out my DVD of The Matrix that yr.)

What is the summit in house audio? For me it is been Dolby Atmos. That implies a couple of issues. First, it method a sexy main building up in expenditure. I picked up a good little Vizio sound bar on sale a couple of years in the past, which was once a painless (and in part wi-fi) strategy to have rear audio system in a big front room.

Extra just lately, Vizio introduced to ship over its awfully named SB36512-F6 sound bar. (To which I shall refer via the rest instead of its product title.) Whilst it very a lot looks as if what I used to be the use of up to now — a legitimate bar within the entrance, and rear audio system and a subwoofer within the again — it is a giant step up in a few tactics. First, it has got Dolby Atmos on board. 2nd is that it is $500, which if truth be told is not dangerous for an entry-level Atmos product.

House theater


Vizio SB36512-F6

Access-level Dolby Atmos.

Dolby Atmos is a kind of issues you need to revel in to actually perceive. This sound bar makes it doable.

The Excellent

  • Simple to arrange
  • Wi-fi rear audio system and sub
  • Will get your Atmos ft rainy
  • Complete-featured sound bar

The Dangerous

  • Atmos content material arduous to search out streaming
  • Vizio’s lousy far off regulate

Welcome to the longer term

What’s Dolby Atmos?

First, an oversimplified primer.

By means of now you are for sure nicely familiar with stereophonic sound. This is, quite other sounds coming from a couple of audio system, to provide the impact that there is motion or that sound is coming from a definite route. Sounds to the left. Sounds to the precise. (And you are the simplest bait on the town.) Rear audio system upload an extra route to that.

Dolby Atmos does not simply upload some other route — it is fairly actually some other size in sound.

As an alternative of simply firing off sounds generally instructions, Dolby Atmos creates sound “gadgets,” giving sound designers the facility to position particular sounds in particular puts. (And that incorporates the theory of bouncing pontificate your ceiling.) Atmos helps as much as 34 person audio system, and as much as 128 simultaneous “gadgets.” So you’ll be able to get into some severe stuff right here.

Now not the whole thing can benefit from Dolby Atmos. You’ll be able to want that may take care of Atmos — reminiscent of this Vizio sound bar we are reviewing right here. And the content material additionally wishes to make use of Dolby Atmos. That is a function you will want to search for at the field in case you are purchasing a Blu-Ray disc, or in case you are looking at thru a streaming provider.

Vizio SB36512-F6

Vizio SB36512-F6 Up to date buttons atop the Vizio SB36512-F6 sound bar are visual, however now not glaring.

The good things

Vizio Dolby Atmos Sound Bar * What I Like*

This sound bar is what is known as a five.1.2 deal. This is there are 5 audio system up entrance, one subwoofer, and two rear audio system. Within the sound bar itself there are 3 forward-facing audio system, and a pair that time skyward.

Then there are the 2 rear audio system, which attach (by the use of wires) to the quite not-huge subwoofer. The ones 3 gadgets attach wirelessly (and without problems, I must notice) to the sound bar itself. Having had cables strung in all places my front room up to now, it is a large development.

All in all it appears and acts like a Vizio sound bar setup — similar as what I have had for years now. The adaptation (along with simply typically being more recent, higher and dearer) in fact comes into play with Dolby Atmos.

You get the benefit of the Vizio revel in with the magic of Dolby Atmos.

“Room-filling sound” is a word that does not if truth be told imply the rest, in fact. It is a advertising and marketing factor. My Sonos Play:five fills a room fairly properly. However it is nonetheless only one speaker, nice as it can be. (And it’s fairly nice.) It is simply now not the similar as more than one audio system.

This Vizio setup (no, I am nonetheless now not going to make use of that god-awful product designation) completely fills a room. Now it does as a way to other levels, relying at the audio supply. Now not all content material is created equivalent. However for the needs of this “what I really like” phase, allow us to stipulate that Dolby Atmos is a factor you wish to have. This can be a function through which you completely must make investments, must you be the kind who in any respect cares about audio. Certain, five.1 encompass sound is simply advantageous. And my $200 price of Vizio sound bar tools has labored nice. However Atmos (if you’ll be able to excuse the cliche) in reality takes issues to a brand new point.

Sounds do not simply come at you from the left and proper, and in the back of you. They are now above you and diagonal and far and wide. This stays a rather easy Atmos setup — commit it to memory can technically take care of just about 3 dozen audio system — besides films have an absolutely new intensity to them.

Would you understand the variation in case you plopped down on my sofa and watched a flick however were not advised that Atmos was once a factor? I might love to suppose you may.

All that mentioned, this additionally is an ideal succesful non-Atmos sound bar. It is simply advantageous as a Bluetooth goal, has Google Chromecast inbuilt — it does the entire sound bar stuff that you would be expecting, actually.

The not-so-good stuff

Vizio Dolby Atmos Sound Bar What I Did not Like

We do must mood our expectancies right here only a tad. At $500 this is likely one of the more economical Atmos setups you’ll be able to get, and is the least dear in Vizio’s lineup. (Vizio’s top-shelf providing has an extra 5 audio system and a better frequency reaction around the board. It additionally prices two times as a lot.)

I am not a legitimate snob. I do know when one thing sounds nice, and I do know when one thing sounds dangerous. This sound bar sounds beautiful darn nice, and I am not going to let best possible be the enemy of the nice.

Outdated gripes with Vizio’s sound bars stay right here.

So my simplest actual gripes about this factor are acquainted — similar as what I had with my previous Vizio sound bar.

The integrated far off regulate is not nice. There is a beautiful nice likelihood you’ll be able to virtually by no means want to use it (relying on your own home setup), however it is nonetheless beautiful disappointing. It is a ways from intuitive and is not one of these factor I might hand off to a cherished one with out anticipating them to run into some hassle one day.

Similar is going for the Vizio SmartCast app. It is useful, however it is usually roughly a large number, filled with suggestions for issues I do not wish to watch or concentrate to. Thankfully after the preliminary setup it is usually now not the rest I have ever had to make use of. (Although now and again you’ll be able to nonetheless wish to peek in there to look if there is a firmware replace to your sound bar.)

Vizio 36-inch Dolby Atmos Sound Bar

Must You Purchase It? Sure

four
out of five






This is crucial factor to bear in mind about this sound bar — or another Atmos-enabled product, actually. Now not the whole thing you watch will benefit from Dolby Atmos. And you are nonetheless going to have to head slightly from your strategy to to find one thing that can.

It is early days for Dolby Atmos, however the usual is price looking for out.

I will be able to pass whole days — almost definitely weeks — with out unintentionally working into one thing that makes use of Dolby Atmos for its audio supply. That is together with content material on the entire main streaming services and products, each (and particularly) are living displays, in addition to the rest thru curated services and products like Netflix and Amazon High Video. That is additionally together with any time I play tune during the sound bar. (Although I’d pay actual cash for some 9 Inch Nails in Dolby Atmos.)

That isn’t Vizio’s fault, despite the fact that. It is nonetheless very early days for Dolby Atmos content material. So for now we are going to have to head out of our means slightly bit to search out it. Search for it on Blu-Ray discs. Search for it within the listings of Netflix and Vudu and Amazon High Video. (Professional tip: Additionally you should definitely’re having a look at 4K content material.)

As for me? If I have been even rather enthusiastic about films and audio, I might pass forward and spring the additional couple hundred greenbacks for Dolby Atmos reinforce. The adaptation within the audio revel in is worthwhile. Take a look at it like an funding. Over the longer term, you’ll be able to finally end up with a extra relaxing, extra immersive revel in. And with this product — OK, the Vizio SB36512-F6 — you are moving into at the flooring flooring at about $500, with quite simple setup, and with no need to fret about working wires in all places the room.

For me, that is $500 well-spent.

$500 at Amazon

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