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Vizio SB2020n-J6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Feb 04, 2022 at 08:54 am
Vizio SB2020n-J6 Picture
5.6
Mixed Usage
6.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.9
Music
4.6
Movies
Channels
2.0

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is a budget-friendly soundbar that's the next generation of the Vizio SB2020n-G6. This 2.0 setup is only 20 inches wide, so you can easily fit its compact design into your space. It only supports PCM audio content, which is a two-channel digital track that you can find on many CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. With its balanced, neutral sound, voices and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and accurately. However, the bar doesn't support multi-channel audio formats like Dolby Digital, DTS, or Dolby Atmos.

Our Verdict

5.6 Mixed Usage

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is middling for mixed usage. It's a suitable choice for listeners of PCM-formatted content, but unfortunately, there's no support for multi-channel formats like Dolby Digital. It has a pretty neutral and balanced sound out-of-the-box, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and detailed. There's audible compression and distortion present at normal listening volumes, though. This soundbar also doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Small, compact design.
  • Dialogue enhancement.
Cons
  • Audible distortion and compression.
  • Doesn't get loud.
  • Only supports PCM content.
6.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is acceptable for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. With its balanced sound out-of-the-box, dialogue is reproduced clearly and accurately. There's even a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices more clear and crisp in your audio, as well as a night mode feature to balance the volume when you watch at night or in an apartment. However, without a discrete center channel, voices seem to come from a more general area rather than an accurate, pinpoint location.

Pros
  • Small, compact design.
  • Dialogue enhancement.
Cons
  • Audible distortion and compression.
  • Doesn't get loud.
6.9 Music

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is fair for music. It has a balanced, neutral sound out-of-the-box, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly. There's a little extra boom in the bass, which you can adjust thanks to its bass and treble adjustments. However, it can't reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass, so it's not ideal for bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, even at normal listening volumes, there's audible distortion and compression that affect the clarity of your audio.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Small, compact design.
Cons
  • Audible distortion and compression.
  • Doesn't get loud.
4.6 Movies

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is poor for movies. It's ideal for listeners who prefer the benefits of uncompressed PCM-formatted audio. Dialogue is reproduced pretty clearly, and you can use its DTS Virtual:X mode to widen its soundstage. However, you can't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes, and it can't get very loud. Also, you can't playback multi-channel formats like Dolby Digital or DTS on this soundbar.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Small, compact design.
Cons
  • Audible distortion and compression.
  • Doesn't get loud.
  • Only supports PCM content.
  • 5.6 Mixed Usage
  • 6.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.9 Music
  • 4.6 Movies
  1. Updated Feb 04, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Feb 02, 2022: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a very similar design to the Vizio SB2020n-G6. It's mostly made of plastic, and there's fabric on its front and top sides. However, the plastic plates on the sides of the bar are black instead of silver.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

There's no sub included. However, the Sub Out port on the bar lets you connect a separate subwoofer.

Design
Style - Satellites
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 20.0" (50.8 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.7 cm)
Depth 4.4" (11.3 cm)

The bar is very small. It easily fits between the legs of a 55" TV without blocking the screen.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
No

The back of the bar has several inputs so you can connect it to other devices. You can't mount it to your wall, and it's designed to sit on your desk or table.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
No Subwoofer
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The bar has a decent build quality. It's mostly made of good-quality plastic with a solid feel. There's fabric covering the top and front of the bar, though, and it feels loose. It's prone to collect dusting and dirt or ripping over time.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Manuals
  • Remote
  • 2x AAA batteries
  • RCA cable
  • RCA to 3.5mm adapter
  • Power cable

Sound
7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Music
Slope
-0.44
Std. Err.
2.64 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
53.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.3 kHz

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a satisfactory stereo frequency response. Its frequency response is quite balanced and neutral, with a touch of boom in the bass. Overall, voices and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and accurately. As a result, it's a suitable choice for most music and TV shows. That said, the lack of bass is noticeable, so it's not ideal for listening to bass-heavy music genres like hip-hop. We also noticed audible distortion and compression artifacts, even when the bar played at an average volume level.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Music
Suggested Bass Setting
-2
Suggested Treble Setting
3
Slope
0.19
Std. Err.
2.32 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

You can achieve a more neutral sound by setting the bass to '-2' and the treble to '3'. The resulting frequency response is very balanced, and vocals and lead instruments are clear and detailed. The bass is warm and full, without any additional boom. That said, it still lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the low rumble in bass-heavy music.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
3.32 dB

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a fair stereo soundstage. Its soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself, but unfortunately, the bar isn't very wide to begin with. Its focus is concentrated in the center of the bar, but as it tries to separate sounds in space, the soundstage becomes more diffused. As a result, instruments come from a more general area as opposed to an accurate, pinpoint location.

6.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
84.4 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.81 dB

The Vizio SB2020n-J6's dynamics performance is okay. Unfortunately, like many small soundbars we've tested, it doesn't get very loud. While it's suitable for more casual settings, it can't fill up a large room with music. There's also some compression, even at more moderate listening volumes, which was quite noticeable in our subjective listening tests.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.83
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.45

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a decent stereo THD performance. At a normal listening volume of 80dB, distortion falls within good limits. There's a slight jump in distortion when you push the bar to its max volume, though. Audio reproduction isn't clean and pure, and you notice pumping and compression artifacts when you listen to audio.

0
Sound
Center
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 doesn't have center or surround channels. This soundbar only supports PCM content. PCM stands for Pulse-Code Modulation, and it's generally used to convert analog audio into digital audio. It's a two-channel digital track that you can find on some CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. You can still enjoy music, movies, and TV shows on your soundbar, but it isn't designed to support multi-channel audio formats like Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos.

You can find information in the bar's manual on how to switch your TV's audio mode to PCM.

0
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
7.1 Rears
No
0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
4.6
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 doesn't offer a lot of sound enhancement features. There are bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound, as well as some EQ presets: 'Movie', 'Music', 'Game', and 'Dialogue'. You can enhance the dialogue, and there's a Night Mode feature to balance the volume level when you watch TV at night. Unfortunately, it lacks more premium features like room correction, so it sounds a bit different depending on the room you're in.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
No
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a limited selection of physical inputs. There's no HDMI support, but you can still connect it to your TV with its Optical input. That said, it doesn't come with an Optical cable, so you have to buy one separately to use this connection. If you don't want to buy any extra cables, you can also use its RCA to 3.5mm adapter to connect the included RCA cable to its AUX port and connect the RCA cable to your TV. You can also add a subwoofer with its Sub Out port.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
No
DTS
No

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 only supports PCM-format content. As a result, you can't use the bar to playback common multi-channel surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, often found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

8.3
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
N/A
Optical
50 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has a great latency performance. Via Optical, it has low latency, so the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see. You don't notice lip-synching issues when watching dialogue-heavy content, either. That said, some apps and TVs can compensate for latency differently, so your experience can vary.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

This Bluetooth-compatible bar lets you wirelessly stream audio from mobile devices, like your phone or tablet, to the bar itself.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

There's no Full HDMI In port, so unfortunately, this bar doesn't support video passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

There's no display, but a small light in the middle of the bar flashes different colors when you adjust certain settings. For example, it changes color when you change the input and flashes when you change the volume. It even stops flashing to indicate when you've reached either the maximum or minimum volume level.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are a few buttons on top of the bar that you can use to power it on/off, change the input, activate Bluetooth pairing, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is quite simple, and it lets you control features like the bass and treble adjustments, the EQ presets, and change the inputs. It has a slightly different design from its predecessor, though.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 doesn't have built-in voice assistant capabilities. However, the manufacturer says that you can plug in a compatible third-party Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device to control it with your voice. You have to purchase these devices separately, though.

Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No
Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Limited Support

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 has an auto-off feature that turns it off after a certain period of inactivity. There's also limited HDMI CEC support, so you can use a compatible Vizio TV remote to control some of the bar's most basic features, like the power and the volume.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This soundbar is available in 'Black', and 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 SB2020n-J6 is a unique 2.0 model that only supports PCM content. It's the updated version of the Vizio SB2020n-G6, and while its overall performance is quite similar, it comes with an additional dialogue enhancement mode. It's a simple, affordable option best-suited to listening to TV shows and music. That said, fans of multi-channel audio like Dolby Digital and DTS can find compatible budget-friendly models like the Sony HT-S100F and the TCL Alto 6+.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars under $100, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars for dialogue.

TCL Alto 6+

The TCL Alto 6+ is better than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. They're both budget-friendly bars, but the TCL has a dedicated sub that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It gets louder than the Vizio, with less compression at max volume, too. It also comes with HDMI inputs, and it can support multichannel audio formats like Dolby Digital, though it has to downmix it to stereo to play it. That said, the Vizio is still a solid choice for PCM content. It even has more sound enhancement features, like bass and treble adjustments.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc and the Vizio SB2020n-J6 are two very different soundbar setups. They're both standalone bars, but the Sonos is a much more premium model, with a better soundstage and support for surround sound and Dolby Atmos content. The Vizio, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly model that only supports PCM content. The Sonos is better overall, with a much more versatile performance. However, the Vizio is still suitable for users on a tight budget who mostly listen to dialogue-focused content like TV shows.

Vizio V Series V21-H8

The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is better than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. The V21-H8 is a 2.1 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It gets louder, and it has a better soundstage performance. Also, whereas the SB2020n-J6 can only support PCM content, the V21-H8 supports surround sound like Dolby Digital and DTS content. That said, if you want an affordable, standalone bar, the SB2020n-J6 is a fair choice for dialogue-centric content.

Sony HT-S100F

The Sony HT-S100F is better than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. They're both budget-friendly, standalone bars, but the Vizio can only support PCM content. Meanwhile, the Sony offers support for multi-channel formats like Dolby Digital, even though it has to downmix it to stereo to play it. The Sony also gets louder, and it has HDMI inputs. That said, some users may prefer the Vizio's smaller, more compact design.

Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar and the Vizio SB2020n-J6 are very similar soundbars. They're both budget-friendly options that only support PCM content. However, the Vmai is slightly better overall. It has a better soundstage, and it can get louder with less compression at max volume. That said, some users may prefer the Vizio's smaller, more compact design.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is more versatile than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. The Polk comes with a dedicated subwoofer, so it can reproduce a slightly more extended low-bass. Unlike the Vizio, it supports surround sound like Dolby Digital, though it has to downmix it to stereo to play it. The Vizio, on the other hand, only supports PCM content. It's a budget-friendly choice for fans of TV shows, but if you want a more versatile bar, the Polk is better overall.

Vizio SB2020n-G6

The Vizio SB2020n-J6 is the updated version of the Vizio SB2020n-G6, and it offers better overall performance. Both bars have similar performance, and they only support PCM content. However, the J6 comes with an additional dialogue enhancement feature. Also, it reproduces more treble out-of-the-box, resulting in a more detailed sound.

Vizio M Series M51a-H6

The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is better than the Vizio SB2020n-J6. They're two very different setups, and the M51a-H6 comes with a dedicated subwoofer and satellites. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass. While the SB2020n-J6 only supports PCM content, the M51a-H6 supports surround sound like Dolby Digital and DTS as well as Dolby Atmos content. However, if you want a budget-friendly model for dialogue-centric content like TV shows, the SB2020n-J6 is an okay choice.

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