Vizio 46″ 5.1.4 Premium Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos Review

Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos SB46514-F6

Vizio is known for making affordable yet visually stunning television sets, like the 4K and HDR P-Series with its deep blacks, bright whites and vibrant colors. The company also has a hand in audio, and it’s bringing affordability and quality sound to the home theater market. Enter the Vizio Home Theater Sound System. We were able to test out the Vizio 46″ 5.1.4 Premium Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos, courtesy of Vizio. It is truly spectacular, whether you’re watching an action-packed film or playing a video game with Dolby Atmos.

With the typical 5.1 audio setup, sound is set to a certain channel. Dolby Atmos is described as object-based surround sound. Think of it like being inside an audio bubble where sound can come from all over. You’ll hear helicopters from above, whispers to your right, or explosions in front of you. It just feels fuller as if the sound is truly circling all around you.

The Vizio 46″ 5.1.4 Premium Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos (see it on Amazon)comes with a soundbar, two satellite speakers, and a 10-inch wireless subwoofer. With the system priced at $899, it comes with everything you need for the ultimate in home theater surround sound. The soundbar has 5 channels for the left, center, right front channels and two upfiring speakers for the front height effects channels. The two rear satellite speakers provide the left and right surround channels and two upfiring speakers. The upfiring speakers project the sound toward the ceiling and then bounces the audio back to the listener. It’s important that you have a flat ceiling that’s 7.5ft to 12ft high since those are the optimal heights for hearing sound from above. If you don’t have the optimal settings, then the height speakers are going to lose some effects.

To listen to Dolby Atmos, you need a Dolby Atmos source and a receiver or soundbar that can decode it. Luckily, the Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos is capable of doing just that, acting as both receiver and speakers. Dolby Atmos content is growing, and audiophiles can check them out on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, video game consoles like the Xbox One, and Ultra HD Blu-rays.

One of the most impressive demos out there is Mad Max: Fury Road. The film roars through the speakers from the beginning to the end. In the opening scene with Max, voices can be heard all around, and you really feel like you’re inside his head. The film features fast vehicles as they crash into each other, and the chaos truly envelopes the listeners.

Non-Dolby Atmos tracks also sound great. Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia” featuring Matt Bellamy’s voice truly shines, with mids like the guitar riffs packing a punch. And then there’s Lil Jon and DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What,” with its deep bass for showing off the lows. (I definitely bumped up the subwoofer levels.) And Steve Perry’s tenor vocal range in Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” delivers crisp highs.

Vizio really utilizes the soundbar for audio since there isn’t the typical LED display. Replacing it are LED indicators, which will let you know if you’re listening to a Dolby Atmos (green), Dolby Digital (white) or DTS (amber) source. (You can get more information about the sound source using the remote.) There are many other indicators to let you know the levels for volume, bass, and treble. And you can also change the levels for the different speakers including the center and surround.

The top side of the soundbar features buttons for power, input, Bluetooth pairing, and volume controls. To mess with all the other audio settings, use the remote that comes with its own display to let you know what you’re changing. Since surround sound can be very dynamic depending on the movie, there’s a night mode option that lowers the bass frequency for those living in an apartment or those with sleeping children or roommates.

One minor gripe about the soundbar is that there’s only one HDMI In, so if you have a lot of devices, it’s going to be a hassle. I’m currently using Caavo, an HDMI switch with 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos lossless passthrough that includes a remote that can control connected devices. It’s also able to control my Vizio Smart TV and the Vizio Sound System thanks to HDMI-CEC, although controlling it can be wonky sometimes. Of course, you can use the HDMI inputs on your TV and have the sound go through the ARC function (if it has one), but you won’t be getting lossless sound. For example, watching an Ultra HD Blu-ray with lossless sound will be lossy through ARC, but it will still have the same spatial sound from Dolby Atmos. It’s an issue if you want to connect more than one device that can provide lossless audio.

Having a voice assistant device is very helpful if you’re too lazy to look for the remote. I use Google Home to change the volume of the sound system and tell the TV to play music. It’s all convenient and very intuitive when it works. There are times when it’s not working, but a simple fix is power cycling the TV or sound system.

The HDMI Out with ARC means that you can have better quality sound coming from your TV to the Vizio Sound System, provided that your TV has an HDMI In with ARC. You’ll be able to do Dolby Atmos via the ARC, however, it won’t be lossless. There are other audio inputs including 3.5mm IN, Optical, and Coaxial IN. If you have MP3 or Wav files, you can transfer them to a USB stick and plug it in the USB In. You can also pair an audio device to the Sound System via Bluetooth.

If you’re using a device with HDR content like HDR10 and Dolby Vision, it can pass through the HDMI input to a compatible TV via an HDMI 2.0 cable.

The Vizio Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos truly immerses you with impressive and spacial audio at an affordable price. It’s a bargain at $899, especially for a Dolby Atmos surround sound system with a 5.1.4 upfiring speaker setup.

Score: 4.5/5 Atoms

The product was provided by Vizio for review purposes.

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John Nguyen
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