Get insider access
Preferred soundbar store

Vizio SB3820-C6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed May 27, 2020 at 08:18 am
Vizio SB3820-C6 Picture
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.5
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.1
Music
5.8
Movies
Channels
2.0

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is an entry-level 2.0 channel soundbar that's good for dialogue and TV shows. As it lacks a subwoofer, it struggles to produce a thumpy and punchy bass which isn't great for action flicks or more bass-heavy genres like EDM. Luckily, it has a sub-in input so you can upgrade the setup down the line if you crave bass. It otherwise has a fairly neutral sound that helps reproduce accurate vocals on your favorite TV shows or podcasts. It can get pretty loud, too. It doesn't offer many connectivity inputs such as HDMI, though, and it can only support Dolby Digital surround content.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is acceptable for mixed use. It lacks in the bass range, which impacts sound effects in action movies and music genres like EDM. Aside from the bass, it has a fairly neutral sound profile that's well-suited for vocals and dialogue. This soundbar can get loud and you can stream your audio to it using Bluetooth. It even has three surround sound settings to help immerse you in your favorite movies.

Pros
  • Three virtual surround sound features.
  • Can get loud without too many compression artifacts.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • No HDMI inputs.
  • No EQ.
7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is good for dialogue and TV shows. While it doesn't have a dedicated dialogue enhancement feature, it has a neutral sound that does a fair job of reproducing voices as well as an auto-volume/night mode feature that can help level out volume differences between different kinds of content. It can also get loud, which is nice if you have a large room.

7.1 Music

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is alright for music. It has a slightly dark sound profile that lacks a thumpy and punchy bass. However, it reproduces vocals and lead instruments better. Fans of EDM and hip-hop may find its underemphasized bass disappointing, but this sound should still satisfy most other listeners. This bar can get loud enough for house parties or large rooms.

5.8 Movies

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is disappointing for movies. It lacks a lot of bass, which can dampen the immersiveness of your favorite action films. On the upside, it has a soundstage that's focused and slightly larger than the bar. You can also adjust for bass and treble to get closer to the best sound for your needs, and there are three different surround sound features available too. However, its surround performance is poor as it downmixes to stereo.

  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.1 Music
  • 5.8 Movies
  1. Update 9/23/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a 2016 entry-level 2.0 soundbar from Vizio. While it has a sub-out input if you want to add a subwoofer down the line, Vizio doesn't sell these separately. This bar competes with other budget-friendly 2.0 soundbars such as the Vizio SB3220n-F6 or the Sony HT-S100F.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a simple-looking, black plastic soundbar with silver caps on both ends, just like the Vizio SB3220n-F6. It has a fabric cover but it can easily collect dust or rip.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 38.2" (97.0 cm)
Bar Height 3.0" (7.6 cm)
Bar Depth 3.0" (7.6 cm)

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a wide soundbar and may have problems fitting between the legs of most 55" TVs. It may also block your screen if your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width N/A
Sub Height N/A
Sub Depth N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

This soundbar has two openings on its back. The first one is for the detachable power cable, and the second one is for the connectivity inputs. On the downside, the shape of the wall-mount makes this soundbar slightly stick out from the wall rather than lay flush.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has a decent build quality. The front and top parts of the bar have a fabric covering while the rear and underside use a good quality plastic. On the downside, the fabric covering can rip and it can also collect dust or dirt.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
3.9 ft (1.2 m)

  • Manual
  • Wall-mount template
  • 2x Wall-mount screws
  • 2x Wall-mount brackets
  • Remote
  • 2x AAA batteries
  • 11-ft power cable
  • Coaxial audio cable
  • Stereo RCA to 3.5mm audio cable
  • Optical cable

Sound
6.5
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
0.25
ST Std. Err.
3.29 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
72.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.0 kHz

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has an acceptable stereo frequency response. As this soundbar doesn't have a subwoofer, it doesn't produce deep thump or rumble and it struggles to produce a bass with punch and warmth. The treble is also a little dark across the range but this soundbar still manages to produce a somewhat neutral sound.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.55 dB

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has a good stereo soundstage that's bigger than the bar itself. It has a centered focus that can help objects sound as if they're coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than from a more general area. However, its soundstage seems a bit wider on the right side than on the left side, even when it's centered on a table.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
93.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
0.65 dB

Update 09/23/2020: We've discovered a value input bug that would cause the Dynamics box results to be slightly off. All soundbars reviewed since January 30th, 2020 have been updated.

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has great stereo dynamics. It can get loud enough for house parties or large rooms, which is nice. At higher volumes, it produces a few compression artifacts and some pumping, particularly in the bass range, but it may not be noticeable to all listeners.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.41
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.14

The Vizio SB3820-C6's total harmonic distortion performance is good. The THD falls within good limits at moderate volume. At max volume, there's some distortion that results in harsh and impure frequencies but this may not be noticeable to all listeners.

7.1
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
-0.48
C Std. Err.
2.92 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
92.2 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.67
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.79

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has a decent center channel performance. While it doesn't have a dedicated center channel, it uses its left and right drivers to simulate a phantom center. The result is a fairly balanced sound that produces accurate audio and dialogue. However, it won't be as clear or detailed sounding like that of 3.0 or higher channel soundbars that have a dedicated center channel.

4.8
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
-0.48
Sr Std. Err.
2.94 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
89.7 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.76
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.52

Like most 2.0 soundbars. the Vizio SB3820-C6 has a bad surround performance. It has to downmix surround content into stereo, so it can't reproduce objects in the surround image very clearly, which affects the immersion of surround sounds. However, it does offer three virtual surround modes but we don't currently test their performance.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support Atmos.

3.2
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
No
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
No
Surround Level Adjustment
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
Yes

This soundbar has poor sound enhancement features. It lacks a dialogue enhancement feature and, unlike the Vizio SB3220n-F6, has no EQs at all, which is pretty disappointing. Instead, it offers three virtual surround features called DTS Virtual X, DTS StudioSound, and DTS TruSurround but we don't currently test this. There's also an auto-volume mode as well as bass and treble adjustment.

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
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has a limited amount of inputs. There's a standard audio jack, digital input, RCA input, and an optical-in. There's also a USB input if you want to play files directly from your flash drive and a sub-out input so you can add a subwoofer down the line. There are no HDMI ports, though, so you won't be able to use it as a hub for your media devices.

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

This soundbar doesn't have an HDMI ARC port.

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

This soundbar doesn't have any HDMI ports.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

Although this soundbar has an optical connection, it can only play Dolby Digital files. This shouldn't be an issue for most though as there's a lot of content available in Dolby Digital. However, some Blu-rays are DTS only, so they won't play on this soundbar.

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

The Vizio SB3820-C6 has passable wireless playback options. It only supports Bluetooth but at the least, it's easy to stream music or podcasts from your mobile device.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
N/A
HDR10 Passthrough
N/A

Since this soundbar doesn't support HDMI, there's no video passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Vizio SB3820-C6 uses the same set of vertical lights on the front of the bar as the Vizio SB3220n-F6. They flash in different patterns to let you know which setting you're on, but while the lights are more visible on this model, it can still be hard to know which setting you're on if you don't have it memorized.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This soundbar uses five physical buttons found on the top of the bar. From here, you can turn the bar on/off, change inputs, pair up with a Bluetooth device, and control the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

This soundbar comes with a remote that you can use to control audio playback when you're connected via Bluetooth or USB. You can also change inputs, toggle between different surround sound modes, and adjust for treble and bass. On the downside, it doesn't have a screen unlike some other Vizio models such as the Vizio SB36512-F6 and it can be hard to know which input you're on.

Additional Features
App
App Name N/A
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

This soundbar isn't compatible with Vizio's SmartCast app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
No

As this soundbar doesn't support HDMI, you won't be able to use your TV's remote to control it. On the upside, it has a standby mode to help save power when you're not using it.

Compared to other soundbars

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a 38" 2.0 channel soundbar. Although it looks nearly identical to the Vizio SB3220n-F6, It's slightly longer and has a slightly worse overall performance. However, compared to other 2.0 soundbars in this range, it has a more neutral sound profile and it can get fairly loud. It even offers two additional virtual surround sound features and a sub-in port, if you ever want to expand your setup in the future, which is a nice touch. If you're shopping around for soundbars, check out our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars under $200.

TaoTronics TT-SK023

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a better overall 2.0 soundbar than the TaoTronics TT SK-023. The Vizio has a more balanced sound profile, a phantom center, and it can downmix surround content, allowing it to support Dolby Digital content. While it lacks an EQ, it has an auto-volume feature, and you can even adjust the bass and treble. The TaoTronics is much smaller, though, and can easily fit between the legs of most 55" TVs.

Vizio SB3220n-F6

While the Vizio SB3220n-F6 32" and the Vizio SB3820-C6 38" are both 2.0 soundbars with an almost identical look, the SB3220n-F6 slightly outperforms the other. The SB3220n-F6 produces more bass and offers EQs to help customize your sound experience. Still, the SB3820-C6 is longer, it can get slightly louder with fewer compression artifacts, and it doesn't distort as much at max volume. It also has three additional surround sound features available.

JBL Link Bar

The JBL Link Bar is a better overall 2.0 soundbar than the Vizio SB3820-C6. It can deliver a more punchy and warm bass, it has an HDMI-in port, and it can support Dolby Digital content. It also has EQ presets and a companion app that lets you control some of the soundbar's settings. On the flip side, the Vizio has a slightly better center and surround performance, even though it uses a phantom center channel and it downmixes surround content into stereo.

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth

Although the Vizio SB3820-C6 is a 2.0 channel speaker, it has a better performance than the 2.1 channel AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The Vizio has a better-balanced sound profile and has fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It also has a phantom center channel and it can downmix surround content. While it doesn't have EQs, it has bass and treble adjustments as well as three virtual surround sound features. The AmazonBasics, on the other side, offers a dialogue enhancement feature.

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post