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Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Nov 11, 2022 at 10:47 am
Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 Picture
Channels
2.1

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is a mid-range setup released in 2022. Overall, it's similar to the 2021 Vizio M Series M215a-J6 in both performance and design, and they're both among the few 2.1 bars on the market that can decode more premium audio formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Dolby Digital. Of course, as a 2.1 bar, it has to downmix these formats into 2.1 stereo to play them. There aren't any built-in smart features, but you can still plug in a third-party voice assistant device if you want to control the bar with your voice.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is good for mixed usage. This 2.1 bar is best-suited for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and vocal-heavy TV shows. It reproduces dialogue with clarity, and instruments in your favorite songs are detailed and accurate in the mix. Thanks to its sub, you get some punch in the bass range. There's also support for a lot of different audio formats, including 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos. However, the 2.1 bar has to downmix these formats into stereo, so you don't get the most immersive, all-around feel.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround sound into stereo.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is great for dialogue-centric TV shows and podcasts. It's a 2.1 setup, so you don't have a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction, but it's not a big deal since voices are reproduced with great clarity and detail right out-of-the-box. You can even use its dialogue enhancement tool, as well as its auto-volume mode to balance the volume level between different programs and commercials, which is nice. Podcast fans and audiobook lovers can stream content from their phone to the bar over Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Bluetooth compatible.
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi, Chromecast, or Apple AirPlay support.
N/A Music

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is good for music. Right out of the box, the bar's balanced sound lets you enjoy clear and detailed voices and instruments in your favorite tracks, with some punch in the bass range to bring music to life. The sub is rather small, so you don't get as much rumble in the low-bass as with more premium models, but it's not too noticeable unless you're listening to lots of EDM, hip-hop, or other bass-centric tracks. If you want a different sound, you can adjust its bass and treble, and there are some different EQ presets. However, you don't get access to a full graphic EQ to change up its sound across the range.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
N/A Movies

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is decent for movies. Although it's a 2.1 bar, it supports lots of different audio formats that you're likely to come across on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays, including Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. Voices are clearly reproduced, and its sub brings a little punch in the bass range, though not quite as much in action-packed scenes as with more premium models. Also, since it's a 2.1 bar, it has to downmix these formats into stereo to play them, which takes away from the overall immersive feel. It's a fine choice if you want the flexibility to watch different formats at will, but it won't bring the same cinematic feel as more premium models on the market.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Downmixes surround sound into stereo.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Nov 11, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 08, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is available in 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across 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 M215aw-K6 is similar to the Vizio M Series M215a-J6 in sound quality and design. It's a sleek bar with support for many different audio formats, even though it has to downmix them into stereo to play them back. Still, you get a rich and detailed sound that brings music, movies, and TV shows to life right in the comfort of your living room. Of course, it's not quite as impressive as more premium models on the market, but it still offers solid sound quality at a more affordable price.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Vizio soundbars, and the best soundbars with subwoofers.

Vizio M Series M215a-J6

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is the next generation of the Vizio M Series M215a-J6. Both bars are similar in both performance and design. Despite being 2.1 setups, they support more advanced formats like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital. However, the next generation M215aw-K6 is the better pick, as it improves on the 2021 model's mediocre latency performance. You don't notice any issues with lip-synching on the newer model, which is great.

TCL Alto 8i

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is better than the TCL Alto 8i. They're both 2.1 setups that support many different audio formats, including Dolby Atmos. However, only the Vizio has a dedicated subwoofer to add more bass. The Vizio supports more audio formats, including DTS content, and has more sound enhancement features. The TCL's standalone design is great if you're low on space, but if you have room for a sub, the Vizio is the better pick overall.

Vizio M Series M213ad-K8

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is better than the Vizio M Series M213ad-K8. They're both 2.1 setups that support many different audio formats, including Dolby Atmos. However, the M213ad-K8 is a standalone bar. It's a better choice if you're low on space, but the M215aw-K6's added subwoofer makes a big difference in the sound quality, so you feel more rumble in action-packed movies and bass-heavy music genres. If you can find space for the sub, it's the better choice overall.

Sony HT-X8500

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is a better 2.1 Atmos soundbar than the Sony HT-X8500. The Sony's standalone design is nice if you're low on space, but since the Vizio comes with a dedicated subwoofer, it adds more bass to the mix. The Vizio has more sound enhancement features, and its stereo soundstage is better.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The bar is mostly made of plastic, with fabric covering the front and the sides. The controls are located on top, while the inputs are on the back. Overall, it looks similar to the Vizio M Series M215a-J6.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is also similar to the model that comes with the Vizio M Series M215a-J6. It's made of melamine and sits on four plastic pegs with rubber grips to hold it in place. The port is on the back, while the speaker is located underneath.

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

The bar is fairly wide, but it fits between the legs of most 55" TV stands, which is nice. Also, it's not very tall, so it doesn't block out your TV screen.

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

The sub is about the size of an average desktop computer; however, it isn't quite as tall. Since it connects to the bar wirelessly, you have lots of flexibility when placing it in your room.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Locked

The back of the bar has some openings for the inputs and the power cable. If you want to mount it to your wall, the holes are located underneath.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Locked

There's a port on the back of the sub. You also find the input for the power cable, as well as the pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Locked
N/A
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 has decent build quality. The sub is quite solid, with a melamine build that feels sturdy overall. The bar, meanwhile, is made of plastic. The fabric covering the front and the sides is a potential weak point, though, since it's loose. If you aren't careful when handling it, it could rip, and it can collect dust and pet hair over time.

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

  • Manuals
  • Wall mount template
  • 2x wall mount brackets
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x power cables

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
2.1
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 has a great stereo frequency response. Overall, its sound is quite balanced, so dialogue in your favorite TV shows is clear and present in the mix, and voices and instruments sound detailed in music. Despite the small size of the subwoofer, there's a good amount of punch in the bass range, but you notice a touch less rumble in the low-bass than more premium setups like the Vizio M Series M512a-H6.

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

You can adjust the bar's bass and treble to get a different sound if you prefer. However, if you like a more balanced sound with stereo content, we recommend using its default settings.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6's soundstage is decent. With stereo content, its soundstage is perceived to be a little wider than the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it extend past that. Its focus is good, so sound effects like instruments in an orchestral recording seem to come from pinpoint locations in the space around you, matching where the musician sits on stage.

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

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 gets quite loud, so you don't have trouble filling large, open spaces with sound. That said, there's quite a bit of compression when you crank up the volume, so audio reproduction isn't as pure, and you get some pumping artifacts in the mix.

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

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 has a good stereo THD performance. At normal listening volumes, distortion falls within good limits, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. There's a slight jump when you push the bar to max volume, which is typical. That said, distortion is tough to hear with real-life content, so it's not much of an issue for most listeners.

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

Since it's a 2.1 setup, this bar doesn't have a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. Instead, it uses its left and right stereo channels to simulate a "phantom" center. It's not as accurate as what you get with more premium setups, but it's still suitable for listening to stereo content. With its balanced frequency response, you won't have any trouble hearing voices and dialogue on the 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

Since it's a 2.1 setup, this bar isn't ideal for listening to 5.1 surround content like Dolby Digital. It has to downmix surround sound into stereo to play it, so you can't take advantage of the more immersive quality in the original track. Sound effects seem like they're just coming from a speaker placed in front of you rather than stretching into the room around you. On the upside, its balanced frequency response means you don't have any trouble hearing those sound effects, as they reproduce with clarity.

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 M215aw-K6 is one of the few 2.1 setups on the market that supports Dolby Atmos content. However, since it's a 2.1 setup, it has to downmix it into stereo to play it. You can't take advantage of the immersive audio technology that beams sound throughout your room, which is a bit disappointing. Still, thanks to its balanced frequency response, sound effects are clear and detailed in their reproduction.

Subjectively, the bar's soundstage with Atmos content isn't very impressive. It's certainly an upgrade over your TV speakers, as it amplifies the sounds in movies and Atmos-enabled TV shows. However, it can't simulate height. For example, drones don't seem to fly overheadโ€” it just feels like they're coming from the speaker in front of you. It doesn't provide an immersive, all-around feel like more premium models.

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 M215aw-K6 has a fair selection of sound enhancement features. It's the same offering as what you get with the Vizio M Series M215a-J6, with bass and treble adjustments to switch up its sound, as well as EQ presets like Movie, Music, Direct, and Game. There's no room correction feature, though, so the bar sounds a little different depending on the acoustics of your space. Fortunately, you can use the customization tools to make up for this. You also get audio feedback when you change the EQ presets, which is nice.

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

You can connect the bar to your TV over Optical or HDMI connections. There's even an AUX VA input, so you can plug in third-party voice assistant devices to the bar to control it with your voice.

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 bar supports many different audio formats via ARC that you're likely to come across on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays. It can playback 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos. However, it has to downmix these into stereo.

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

Over HDMI In, the bar also supports lots of different audio formats, meaning you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows from streaming platforms and Blu-rays alike. They're downmixed into stereo, though.

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

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content over Optical. Dolby Digital is commonly found on streaming platforms, whereas DTS is more common with Blu-rays.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
Lock ms

The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6's latency performance is good and is a noticeable improvement over the Vizio M Series M215a-J6. Latency is low, meaning the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see on the screen. There are no lip-synching issues, either. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary.

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

You can 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 M215aw-K6 can passthrough some of the highest bandwidth signals, including Dolby Vision Passthrough. It can't passthrough 4k @ 120Hz, though.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly, so you just need to plug it into an outlet to get it to work.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Locked
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

There's no display, but you can use the lights on the left side of the bar to monitor the settings you control. There's a different color and pattern for each mode, which you can find listed in the manual. Also, the bar offers audio feedback when you change the input or switch to a different EQ preset, which is nice.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The buttons on top of the bar let you power it on/off, change the input, activate Bluetooth pairing, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
Locked

The remote is simple and sleek, with buttons that let you access all the bar's customization tools and features. The display screen on top lets you monitor the settings as you change them, too, which is a nice touch.

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

If you plug in a third-party voice assistant device, you can control the bar over Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. However, you'll have to purchase this device separately.

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 bar automatically turns off after a period of inactivity when its Eco Power mode is turned on. It's switched off by default, so you'll need to activate it if you want to use this feature. You can also turn it off with your TV remote if you activate HDMI CEC.

Discussions