Founded in 2002 by Taiwanese American William Wang. Its original name was V. Inc but was changed to Vizio in 2007. It produces TV’s, Surround Sound Systems, Computer monitors, Laptops and a wide range of other electrical products. In its brief history, it has established itself as a major player in the audio market.
The company likes to be aggressive with its marketing techniques, especially against widely known competitors. In such a short existence, it has suffered its share of turmoil. This has included lawsuits and attempted buyouts, but they are still here. It is not for us to comment; we are simply going to review an audio product. In that capacity, we are pleased to do so.
They are based in California and have a further US center in South Dakota, which operates as a call center. Their products are manufactured in China and Mexico.
A Brief Overview
For those that may have never used or heard a soundbar in action, the results are very surprising. When combined with a subwoofer, they take your movie and TV experience to another level. They make your TV audio sound like it is a completely different system. That is the effect of a soundbar with a subwoofer.
Either positioned on the floor or attached to the wall, the spread of sound enhances the whole experience. The subwoofer providing the depth and low frequencies and the soundbar delivering the mid and top range. The quality of the sound produced is worth some consideration. More on the later.
The advantages of using a soundbar are many, but let us take a closer look at this Vizio soundbar with subwoofer.
In some quarters, there seems to be a trend to design and manufacture audio equipment that gets attention. It’s nice, therefore, to see just a simple, easy on the eye design. No flamboyance or outrageous angles. We believe that most people still prefer the simple ideas. The SH3821 is one of those that sits in the category of having a simple design. It is a smart piece of audio equipment.
Most soundbars we have seen are manufactured from a rather cheap plastic. Presumably, to keep the costs down. The Vizio has a plastic body but features a black grille and black panels. The end sections are made with a brushed aluminum texture. They look, and they feel very well-built.
The soundbar measures 38 by 3 by 3 inches and weighs just under six pounds. Controls are located on recessed sections on the rear. These are a little awkward if we are to be honest about them.
The subwoofer cabinet is ported and has a five-inch woofer and is very well-built. It stands fifteen inches high. The port gives a roundness to the bass sound. It is quite a pleasant surprise to see it is made from solid wood, not a fiberboard or similar. Quite surprising given the price point.
We wouldn’t call this the nicest soundbar design on the market, but it has some very good design points. It has a sleek design and is attractive in its simplistic way. In many ways, it is just an uncomplicated product. The black design and the aluminum ends add a certain style to it.
The build quality is good and stable, and there are no evident manufacturing flaws. The design is effective, and there are installation options, which are a good idea.
This Vizio system will give you an impressive 100dB of quality sound. It will fill an average size room, and it has only 1% of harmonic distortion. The soundbar comes with two 2,75” drivers that handle the mid and high frequencies. The 5-inch subwoofer providing the lower ranges. Combined together, they produce a surprisingly good sound.
We mentioned earlier we would consider the sound performance a little more closely. The two drivers in the soundbar produce a good quality of sound in their designated frequencies. They are there to project the mid and high frequencies. They do, and they are crisp and clear and project quite well. The highs not impinging on the mids at all. As a unit, then a decent sound.
The purpose of the subwoofer is to provide a deep bass, especially for movies. Due to its relatively small size, it is not really able to fulfill this function with great success. The cabinet is nicely designed with a port, but the speaker itself isn’t up to the job. A frequency bottom end of 50Hz is all it can do.
We wouldn’t say there is no bass at all that would be unfair, but it is lacking. This is particularly apparent with movies where the deep bass sound is necessary for effect.
Just for music, it is a little better, but not what you might hope for. We would, therefore, have to say that the sound is a little weak. We must, however, consider the price point in all this. It is not a multi-thousand dollar system. It is a budget system, and you cannot expect top of the range bass sound.
The real saving grace with the overall sound is the Dolby System. It is the recognized audio standard, and with this system, everything is sparkling clean. The surround sound effect gives space to the sound and in many ways, is a game saver for this Vizio system. We wouldn’t say you don’t notice the lack of lower frequencies, but the sound has a nice warmth.
DTS Trusound gives the system surround sound that is realistic. It is a multi-channel format that takes a 5.1 audio signal. It then creates the surround sound experience. Also installed is DTS Truvolume. Just set the volume once, and it will deliver a comfortable listening level throughout the movie.
There is no doubt the system has some good features. It’s just let down a little in the low frequencies.
The sound then is what we might describe as good without being brilliant, but it is certainly a hundred times better than what came with your TV. And at the price point, it is very good for a budget system.
We have already made a passing reference to the controls. They are situated on the rear of the soundbar. Here you have a soundbar that is only three inches in height. The positioning of controls is always going to be tricky as space is at a premium. They are recessed in the back. Awkward if the soundbar is placed on the floor. Very awkward if you choose to mount it on the wall.
The unit does come with a remote control, so maybe that is the reason the design is as it is. It is, though, not easy to use manually.
The controls themselves are easy to use. There are optical and coaxial inputs that connect the speaker to its source. There are also a 3.5 socket and a USB in.
The subwoofer is wireless, so there are no cables all over the floor.
Controls then are basic as there isn’t too much to connect or worry about. The placement on the soundbar leaves a bit to be desired, but there is the included remote control to use.
Overall the performance at the price point is very good. Some will argue and say it is below standard. But then they are maybe not considering the cost. If you are expecting a real deep bass and top quality mids and highs, you won’t find it. If you are expecting to find it for this price, then you are misled.
It will give you 100dB of a sound that is clear and has a low distortion level. It will not give you a thundering bass. That, as far as we can see, is the only downside of the system. It is noticeable if you are just playing music.
The bass is lacking. In movies, it is even more noticeable. But we are not going to go on about it. For a budget sound system, it is good, and the performance more than adequate. And as we have already said. The sound is a lot better than what the TV manufacturers gave you.
The connections between the soundbar and wireless woofer are good. There are no proximity problems as long as they are not placed too far from each other. Distances up to about 30 feet will be fine, but you will need a line of sight to the soundbar.
This unit has built-in Bluetooth, which gives streaming of files to and from your devices. This includes laptops, phones, and tablets with Bluetooth compatibility and some external connection options. These include a USB,3.55 socket, and digital and coaxial inputs.
There is no HDMI connection.
VIZIO SB3821-C6 Pros & Cons
- Much more compact than traditional speaker options.
- Solid wood subwoofer construction.
- Sleek and attractive yet simple design.
- Multiple fitting/placement options.
- Excellent Dolby and DTS options.
- Highs and mids sound good.
- The positioning of the controls could be a lot better.
- Doesn’t deliver the bass that it should.
VIZIO SB3821-C6 Review – What Do We Think?
Let us start our considerations by reminding ourselves and everyone that this is a budget system. That is what Vizio do, and they do it very well. It is not one of the best wireless home theater systems, but for the price point of this system, it is very competitive. And this does make it one of the best wireless TV Speakers currently available.
But you must remember that there is a subwoofer included. And how many other soundbars on the market include a subwoofer as part of the package? Not very many. And even less at this price point.
We have already mentioned at length about the lower frequency responses. They are not particularly good. They are not a total disaster, but they do not give you a great depth. But, for the price, do you expect that?
Other than the controls on the back of the soundbar being a little awkward, the rest is all good.
It has a nice simple design and can be used on the floor, on a table, or fitted to a wall. It is well-made with a solid wood subwoofer cabinet and has all the wireless connections you need. The Dolby and DPS additions give a great surround sound effect.
The system as a complete unit produces a good sound, and it comes with analog and digital connectivity. All this and at a price that is exceptionally cost-effective. There is no doubt in our mind this is going to be a popular system. It should be it delivers an instant upgrade to the sound of your TV at a very good price.
As a budget, entry-level sound system it is excellent value. And as a soundbar with a subwoofer, hard to beat for quality and performance.