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Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 27, 2022 at 10:46 am
Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 Picture

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 is a 5.1.2 setup released in 2022. As part of Vizio's M Series lineup, it's a mid-range offering that provides a more affordable alternative to Vizio's top-of-the-line model, the Vizio Elevate. Both Elevate bars derive their name from their unique design, with rotating drivers at each end that "elevate" when you listen to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. That said, it isn't a direct match to the original Elevate—this model has an LED light behind each elevating driver, and you can choose between different colors based on your preferences. Also, its satellites more closely resemble those of the more affordable Vizio M Series M512a-H6, with a smaller design that lacks additional up-firing drivers.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The Vizio M Series Elevate is great for mixed usage. It's a stylish 5.1.2 bar with a balanced sound out-of-the-box. Voices and lead instruments are clear and accurate from the jump, and dialogue in TV shows is detailed in the mix. The sub provides adequate rumble in the bass range, albeit a little less than some of Vizio's other models. It's a solid choice for movies, thanks to its satellites that help stretch audio to the space around you for an immersive sound. Thanks to its versatile performance, it can please many different listeners.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • A touch less bass than the original Elevate.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio M Series Elevate is great for dialogue-focused TV shows and podcasts. This 5.1.2 setup has a discrete center channel to improve vocal clarity, and its balanced mids mean that you won't have trouble following the dialogue in your favorite shows. There's even a dialogue enhancement feature on hand, which is great if you want to make voices more crisp and clear. You can stream podcasts and audiobooks to the bar over Bluetooth, too. However, compared to the original Elevate, you don't have Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, or Spotify Connect capabilities.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, or Chromecast built-in.
N/A Music

The Vizio M Series Elevate is good for music. Its default sound is pretty balanced, especially in the mids, so voices and lead instruments in your favorite tunes are reproduced with clarity and accuracy. There's a little extra punch in the high-bass, too, that's suitable for fans of a more bass-heavy sound. You can even customize its performance, thanks to the bass and treble adjustments on hand. Compared to other Vizio models, you notice a little less rumble in the low-bass, especially with bass-centric genres like hip-hop and EDM.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • A touch less bass than the original Elevate.
N/A Movies

The Vizio M Series Elevate is very good for movies. It supports the common audio formats found on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays, like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. Dialogue is clear and present in the mix, and there's adequate rumble in the bass to bring action-packed scenes to life. With two satellites, you can get a more immersive sound with surround content, and its Dolby Atmos performance is quite good, too. It's not as impressive as the more expensive models on the market, but for its price, it does a good job.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • A touch less bass than the original Elevate.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Sep 27, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Sep 15, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 is available in 'Black', and you can see the label for our model here.

If you find another version of this soundbar, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 is a more affordable, mid-range alternative to the Vizio Elevate. It's a 5.1.2 bar, meaning that its satellites don't have up-firing drivers like the original Elevate, and it offers fewer wireless playback options. Its design more closely resembles the Vizio M Series M512a-H6, which is a more affordable 5.1.2 bar from Vizio's M Series lineup.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars for movies, and the best soundbars with subwoofer.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a more affordable alternative to the Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6, and it may be a better value for some users. The main difference between these two bars is that the better-built Elevate has a unique design, and its sides rotate when you listen to Atmos content for a more immersive sound. However, the M512a-H6 has a better soundstage out of the box, and its low bass is more extended. If you don't need this extra Atmos feature, it's a good value overall.

Vizio Elevate

The Vizio Elevate is the more premium alternative to the Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6. It has a better soundstage, and since its satellites come with additional up-firing drivers, it's a better choice for listening to Dolby Atmos content. Both bars offer the same sound enhancement features, but the original Elevate has more wireless playback options. The M Series is designed to be a more affordable alternative, and while its default sound is more neutral than the original Elevate, it can't reproduce quite as much low-bass.

Vizio SB36512-F6

The Vizio SB36512-F6 and the Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 are both 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbars, and they each have different strengths. The Elevate is a 2022 bar with a unique design, as its sides rotate upwards when you watch Atmos content, providing a more immersive sound. It has more sound enhancement features, and it's better built. The SB36512-F6 is still a versatile alternative, with more wireless playback options. Since it's older, you may be able to find it at a better price, meaning it may be a better value for some users.

Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

The Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers and the Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 are both 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos setups, but the Sonos is better overall. The Sonos is a better-built setup with more wireless playback options, and its sound quality is better. It offers a wider soundstage as well as a more immersive performance with Atmos content. The Vizio is still a good alternative if you're looking for something cheaper, and it even has an HDMI In port for video passthrough, unlike the Sonos.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module is a better 5.1.2 bar than the Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6. The Bose is a better-built setup that supports more wireless playback options. It stands out thanks to its sound, with a wide, immersive soundstage that surpasses the Vizio soundbar's performance. That said, the Vizio is a more affordable alternative, and unlike the Bose, it has an HDMI In port for video passthrough and support for more audio formats.

Samsung HW-Q67CB

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 is better than the Samsung HW-Q67CB. The Vizio is a 5.1.2 setup that comes with two up-firing drivers built into the bar itself for simulating height with Atmos content, unlike the Samsung, which supports Atmos through side-firing drivers in its bar. Subjectively, it makes a big difference with Atmos content, as you notice more height in the soundstage around you. The Vizio also brings more rumble in the bass, which is nice.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a unique design with rounded edges. It's mostly made of plastic and is tightly wrapped in fabric. On the side of the bar, you see a circle with a Vizio logo. This piece extends from the bar when you listen to height content to create a more immersive sound, which you can see in action here. You can turn this feature off or turn it on with other types of content, too. There's even an LED light inside, which you can customize with different colors.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6's sub features rounded edges that match the style of the soundbar. It's mostly plastic, with a port in the rear and a speaker underneath. It sits on four feet to help keep it in place.

Design
Style - Satellites

The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6's satellites have a similar design to the bar. They're made of plastic, with a fabric wrapping. They sit on four rubber pads to keep them in place.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The Vizio M Series Elevate is rather wide, so it can't fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. It isn't very tall, so it doesn't block your TV screen, which is nice.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The sub is fairly compact and doesn't take up a lot of room in your space. Overall, it has a similar footprint to a desktop PC, but it's shorter.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The satellites have a small footprint and aren't very tall, either. You have to wire them to the sub to get them to work. It adds some extra cables into your setup and, depending on your setup, may not be ideal.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Locked

The back of the bar is plain. You have two openings for the power cable and other inputs. If you want to mount the bar to the wall, there are holes underneath it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Locked

The back of the sub includes the port. You also find the input for the power cable, as well as the two jacks to connect it to the satellites.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Locked

The back of the satellites is pretty nondescript. There are inputs for the cables that connect them to the subwoofer, and openings for the included wall mount screws. The brackets to mount them to your wall are included in the box; however, you need to buy the screw to connect these brackets to the wall separately.

N/A
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio M Series Elevate has great build quality. The sub is made of plastic, which feels quite solid and durable. The bar and the satellites have a similar plastic build, and they're wrapped in fabric. Since the fabric is tight and taut, it doesn't seem like it could rip easily. That said, it may collect dust over time.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
Lock m (Lock ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Manuals
  • Wall mount with 4x cable ties
  • 2x wall mount brackets (for soundbar)
  • 4x wall mount screws
  • 2x wall mount brackets (for surrounds)
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x power cable
  • 2x surround audio cables

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
5.1.2
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a great stereo frequency response. Its default sound is neutral and balanced, especially in the mids. It means that voices and lead instruments in your favorite music genres are clearly and accurately reproduced in the mix, and you don't have any trouble following the dialogue in TV shows. There's a little extra emphasis in the high-bass, which adds some boom to the mix. However, compared to other Vizio models like the Vizio Elevate, its low-frequency extension isn't as impressive, meaning you notice less rumble with bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
Lock
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments, you can switch up the Vizio M Series Elevate's sound based on your preferences. If you prefer a more balanced sound, we recommend setting the bass to '-3' and the treble to '-1'. The resulting sound profile is quite balanced, and the high-bass is more even, so there isn't as much punch in the mix. However, you still notice the lack of rumble in the low-bass, as bass adjustment tools can't really make up for that.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a good stereo soundstage. Its focus is good, meaning that sound effects seem to come from accurate, pinpoint locations in the soundstage. For example, dialogue seems like it's coming from the same side of the screen that a character is standing on. The width of the stereo soundstage isn't much more than the bar itself.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

The Vizio M Series Elevate has decent stereo dynamics. The bar gets loud, so you have no trouble filling even the largest and most open living rooms with sound. There's a bit of compression when you push it to max volume. Loud audio isn't as clean or as pure as it is at lower volumes.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a very good stereo THD performance. When you're listening at a normal volume, distortion falls within good limits, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. As with most bars, there's a jump in distortion when you push the bar to its max volume. That said, you may not care to listen at such a loud volume, and even if you do, distortion is pretty hard to hear with real-life content.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Vizio M Series Elevate is a 5.1.2 soundbar, so it comes with a discrete center channel. It works to improve vocal clarity and place dialogue in a more accurate location within the soundstage. Given the balanced frequency response on this channel, voices are reproduced accurately and with detail, too. You don't have any issues following the dialogue on screen.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a good surrounds performance. There are two discrete satellites included in the box, which you can turn on with either the Surround or DUAL settings. These satellites improve the bar's ability to provide a clear and real representation of sound effects in the space around you, especially compared to bars without discrete setups. Its frequency response is pretty balanced, too, so sound effects accurately reproduce, although with a little extra thump and punch in the bass.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Vizio M Series Elevate supports Dolby Atmos content, which is often found on streaming platforms. Atmos is a more advanced object-based technology that makes it seem like audio stretches into the space above and behind you. The bar uses two up-firing drivers built into the bar itself to simulate this "height", and its unique design rotates the sides of the bar for a more immersive sound when height content is played.

Subjectively, the Vizio M Series Elevate provides an enjoyable listening experience with height content. It replicates height and depth, and details on screen seem like they're coming from all around you. Drones and helicopters seem to fly right overhead, and cars race past you during chase scenes. Overall, it's an immersive performance that makes you feel like you're seated right in the middle of the action.

N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate offers the same selection of sound enhancement features as the original Vizio Elevate. There's no room correction feature, so it sounds a bit different depending on the acoustics of your space. That said, you have bass and treble adjustments on hand to compensate, as well as some EQ presets to switch up its sound, including Movie, Music, Direct, and Game. The Virtual:X feature acts as a virtual surround mode, too.

Also, the bar's unique design can be adjusted based on your preferences. You can set the sides of the bar to UP, WIDE, or AUTO. AUTO automatically rotates the sides upwards when you watch Atmos or DTS:X content, while the other settings let you control the rotation manually.

The Vizio M Series Elevate offers the same selection of sound enhancement features as the original Vizio Elevate. There's no room correction feature, so it sounds a bit different depending on the acoustics of your space. That said, you have bass and treble adjustments on hand to compensate, as well as some EQ presets to switch up its sound, including Movie, Music, Direct, and Game. The Virtual:X feature acts as a virtual surround mode.

Also, you can adjust the bar's unique design based on your preferences. You can set the sides of the bar to UP, WIDE, or AUTO. AUTO automatically rotates the sides upwards when you watch Atmos or DTS:X content, while the other settings let you control the rotation manually.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI ARC
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate connects to your TV over HDMI or Optical connections. There's an HDMI cable included in the box, which most newer TVs support. However, if you have an older TV with an Optical connection, you'll need to buy a separate cable. There's also an AUX VA input to connect third-party voice assistant devices to the bar.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Locked
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X (eARC only)
Locked
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Locked
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Locked
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate has fantastic audio format support over ARC. It's great if you watch a lot of content over streaming platforms, where you're likely to run into both Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos content. Blu-ray fans will be pleased, as there's support for DTS and DTS:X formats.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
5.1 PCM
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate supports many different audio formats via HDMI In. You can enjoy both 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via Optical. Dolby Digital is the most common surround sound format, and it's often found on streaming platforms. DTS, meanwhile, is more common with Blu-ray discs.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
Lock ms

The Vizio M Series Elevate has a decent latency performance. Its latency is fairly low, so you don't notice a delay between the audio you hear and the video you see on screen. As a result, it's a solid choice for watching videos and movies. You may notice some discrepancies, as some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate lets you wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar via Bluetooth.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate can passthrough some of the highest-quality bandwidth signals, including Dolby Vision Passthrough. You can connect the bar between different devices, like a PC and a TV, to get clear and crisp text on the screen. That said, there's no 4k @ 120Hz support.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly, so you only need to plug it into a power outlet to activate it.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Locked

The satellites connect the bar wirelessly. However, you need to wire them to the subwoofer to get them to work. It adds some extra cables to the setup, which isn't ideal for everyone.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate lacks a display; however, you can use the vertical lights on the left side of the bar to monitor the settings as you adjust them. These lights change patterns as you adjust certain features, and you can see the list in the manual for reference. There's also some audio feedback when you switch settings, which is handy.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The top of the bar has a few buttons. You can power the bar on/off, adjust the input, activate Bluetooth pairing, and control the volume. However, you need the remote to access its additional features.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
Locked

The remote matches the style of other Vizio remotes. It's simple and sleek, with a display screen on the top to show the settings as you adjust them.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate doesn't have built-in voice assistant capabilities. If you own a third-party voice assistant device with Amazon or Google support, you can plug it into the bar to control it with your voice.

Additional Features
App
App Name Locked
iOS Locked
Android Locked
Acts As A Remote
Locked
Controls Soundbar's Settings
Locked
Casts Device Files
Locked
Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Locked
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Locked

The Vizio M Series Elevate automatically turns off after a period of inactivity when its Eco Power Mode feature is turned on. Also, it turns off if it doesn't detect an audio signal. Since there's HDMI CEC support, you can also turn off the bar and control some of its other basic functions with your TV remote.

Discussions