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Vizio SB46514-F6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 30, 2020 at 07:59 am
Vizio SB46514-F6 Picture
7.8
Mixed Usage
7.9
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.7
Music
7.8
Movies
Channels
5.1.4

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a good overall soundbar that can be used for a lot of different content. This soundbar has a 5.1.4 speaker configuration and supports Atmos, which results in an immersive listening experience with Atmos movies. Its stereo audio reproduction is pretty accurate as well and most people will be satisfied with how loud it can get. However, there are some pumping and compression artifacts at max volume. Overall, the bar is very versatile and has a lot of connection options, but the satellite speakers aren't wireless like some other setups and need to be wired to the subwoofer.

Our Verdict

7.8 Mixed Usage

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is good for mixed usage. Its overall performance is good and is suitable for a wide variety of content. Whether you want to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or have an immersive experience when watching a movie, this soundbar can do it. It can get loud enough for most people, and its sub packs a good amount of bass too.

Pros
  • Very-well built design.
  • Immersive experience with Atmos content.
  • Very good stereo performance.
Cons
  • Some pumping and compression artifacts at max volume.
7.9 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a very good soundbar for TV shows or content with lots of dialogue. Its stereo sound profile is very good, especially around the frequencies responsible for voices. The bar can also get very loud, but it doesn't have a dialogue enhancement feature. On the upside, you can easily stream audiobooks or podcasts to the bar using the Bluetooth connection or even use Wi-Fi.

7.7 Music

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a good soundbar for music. Its sound signature is very good, and its subwoofer packs a lot of bass. It's versatile for a wide variety of music genres and can get pretty loud. You can also easily stream music to the bar using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections.

7.8 Movies

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a good soundbar for movies. It supports Atmos and has four up-firing speakers, which helps to create a height illusion. The bar also supports high-end audio signals.

  • 7.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.7 Music
  • 7.8 Movies
  1. Update 9/22/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.
  2. Update 8/24/2020: Validated our results.
  3. Update 7/20/2020: The Height Level Adjustment feature has been updated.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The SB46514-F6 is a 2018 high-end model from Vizio. It supports Atmos and has two additional up-firing speakers when compared to the shorter 36-inch SB36512-F6 soundbar. The main competitors of this setup are the more affordable SB36512-F6, the newer Vizio G6 lineup, and the Samsung HW-Q80R and HW-Q90R.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio 46" 5.1.4 is mostly covered by a metal grille, while its back is made from plastic. It has two metal plates on the side. Its style is fairly similar to the Vizio SB36512-F6, but it looks a bit more high-end thanks to the lack of cheap fabric.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer of this soundbar setup is bigger than most others we've reviewed so far. It follows the same design as the bar and the satellites.

Design
Style - Satellites

The satellite speakers follow the same overall design as the rest of the setup. They have a grille covering the speakers with two metal plates on the sides.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 46.1" (117.0 cm)
Bar Height 2.6" (6.5 cm)
Bar Depth 3.3" (8.5 cm)

The SB46514-F6 is a rather large bar and won't fit between the legs of most 55" TVs' stands. On the upside, it's not too tall, so it won't block the bottom part of your screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width 14.0" (35.5 cm)
Sub Height 14.4" (36.5 cm)
Sub Depth 14.0" (35.5 cm)

The subwoofer of this soundbar is noticeably bigger than the others we've reviewed so far. It's a large cube and is bigger than a standard desktop PC.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width 3.0" (7.7 cm)
Sat Height 6.6" (16.7 cm)
Sat Depth 2.6" (6.7 cm)

The satellites aren't too big, but they need to be wired to the subwoofer, which limits your options when it comes to positioning.

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

The Vizio SB46514-F6's back has two openings for different inputs and power. You also have universal mounting holes at the back, if you want to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the subwoofer is just like the 36-inch version. The port is at the back, and you can connect the power cable and the two satellites as well.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the Vizio 46 5.1.4 is rather straightforward. You have a port for the power cables, that need to be routed to the subwoofer, and a universal hole for wall-mounting them.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio SB46514-F6 build quality is a noticeable improvement over the smaller version. The bar's whole setup is covered by a grille rather than a cheap-feeling fabric. It feels well-built and durable, with two side metal plates on every part of the setup.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
6.3 ft (1.9 m)
Digital Optical Cable Length
4.9 ft (1.5 m)

  • XRS321 Remote
  • Stereo RCA to 3.5mm Audio Cable
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Cable
  • HDMI Cable
  • Digital Optical Cable
  • 2x Satellite Speaker Audio Cables
  • 2x Power Cables
  • 4x Wall Mount Screws
  • Wall Mount Template
  • 2x Wall Mount Brackets (Satellite Speakers)
  • 2x Wall Mount Brackets (Sound Bar)
  • 4 x Cable Ties
  • Manuals

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.49
ST Std. Err.
2.62 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
35.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.1 kHz

The Vizio SB46514-F6's stereo frequency response is very good and is quite similar to the SB36512-F6 as well. It has a well-extended bass, which is great for action movies or bass-heavy music. The rest of the response is very accurate and sounds fairly neutral.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.20 dB

The stereo soundstage of this soundbar setup is decent. The sound seems to be coming from just outside the bar, which is a good width without any DPS tricks to widen it. Also, the focus of the sound is good and the objects in the soundstage come from an accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area, but it doesn't sound as wide as actual home theatre tower speakers. For a soundbar with a more immersive soundstage, check out the Vizio Elevate.

8.2
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
96.7 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
1.59 dB

Update 09/22/2020: 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 SB46514-F6 can get very loud and can be used in large rooms or crowded environments. However, there are some pumping and compression artifacts present at max volume.

6.8
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.59
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
5.66

The SB46514-F6's THD performance is decent. The THD levels are within very good limits at a normal listening volume, but can there's a jump when pushing the bar to its limits, especially in the high-mid range.

8.8
Sound
Center
C Localization
Discrete
C Slope
-0.08
C Std. Err.
3.18 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
93.8 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.98
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
6.95

With a 5.1.4 speaker configuration, the Vizio SB46514-F6 has an excellent center channel performance thanks to its dedicated center speaker. This helps get more accurate and clearer dialogue, which is great if you watch a lot of TV shows or movies. The frequency response is great across the whole range and you’ll be able to get a decent loudness level.

7.3
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Discrete
Rears
No
Sr Slope
-1.21
Sr Std. Err.
3.95 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
92.7 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.23
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.16

The Vizio SB46514-F6 has decent surrounds performance thanks to its dedicated speakers. It performs noticeably better than the shorter SB36512-F6 as its sound profile is slightly more accurate, and can get a bit louder as well. However, the sound profile is still fairly bass-heavy. On the upside, the surround objects seem to be coming around you thanks to the localization of the speakers, rather than in-front like a typical stereo system. Note that we had to test this with the Direct EQ so our test files would play on the accurate speakers. If you're looking for a 5.1.4 setup with an even better surround performance, check out the JBL Bar 9.1.

6.9
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar & Satellites)
H Slope
-0.77
H Std. Err.
4.57 dB
H SPL @ Max Volume
90.4 dB SPL
H Weighted THD @ 80
2.65
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.47

The Atmos performance of this Vizio soundbar is decent. It has a total of four up-firing speakers: two on the bar and one on each surround satellite speaker. This helps to create the illusion of sound coming from over you as they aim the sound to the ceiling, reflecting it back to the listener. This doesn't sound as real as discrete up-firing speakers, but it does a slightly better job than the SB36512-F6 at creating height effects.

5.8
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
No
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

Update 07/20/2020: We incorrectly listed this soundbar as not having a Height Level Adjustment. However, this feature is available when using the Vizio SmartCast app. This review has been updated to reflect these changes.

The Vizio 46" 5.1.4 has sub-par sound enhancement features. It lacks a room correction feature that would help customize the audio reproduction to your room, which means it might sound differently depending on your room. Unlike the Samsung HW-Q60T, it also lacks a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices clearer, but at least there's a night-mode that helps to level out all content's volume. It also has EQ presets and individual bass and treble adjustment for you to play around a bit to find your preferred settings. Just like the SB36512-F6, you can turn the height speakers on/off or use the Virtual setting, which creates a virtual height speaker effect using the front-firing speakers, according to the manufacturer. You can also adjust the height level when using this soundbar's companion app.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
1

This soundbar has a few inputs that can be quite versatile for various devices.

8.4
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The Vizio SB46514-F6 has great sound format support over its ARC port. If you watch a lot of Blu-rays or content coming from streaming platforms, you'll be satisfied to know that it supports Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound formats. It can also play Dolby Atmos, an object-based surround sound format, over this port, which is great if you want a more immersive listening experience.

9.9
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
Yes

Near flawless support through the Full HDMI port. This soundbar supports most advanced sound formats via this port, although it supports support DTS Virtual X and not DTS X. You can play surround sound, object-based and lossless formats.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

Like most soundbars, the Vizio 46 5.1.4 supports Dolby Digital and DTS via its optical port.

9.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
Yes
Apple AirPlay
No

The Vizio SB46514-F6 has excellent wireless playback capacities. You can easily stream content to the bar by using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and it even has Chromecast built-in. This is great if you want to listen to music, podcasts, or an audiobook without having to leave your smart device near the soundbar.

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

This soundbar can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals, which means that text will look clear and crisp if you plug your soundbar between your PC and TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar, but you'll need to wire the surround satellite speakers to the sub.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Partial, wired to wireless sub

The satellite speakers need to be wired to the wireless subwoofer.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface of this soundbar, just like its smaller variant, consists of small LED lights on its side. They flash and change color depending on which settings you're on or which input you're using.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

Like most soundbars, this Vizio has physical controls on the bar to control the input, volume, Bluetooth pairing, and power on/off.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote for the SB46514-F6 is fairly small and can control the basic functions of the bar. However, there's no screen backlight, making it very hard to use. This seems to be the same remote as other Vizio soundbar models.

Additional Features
App
App Name Vizio SmartCast
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts as the Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Audio Files Only

If you don't like using the remote, you can use the Vizio SmartCast app instead, as it completely replaces the remote. Also, we didn't experience any bugs or laggy behavior from the app, as we did with the SB36512-F6.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

You can enable an eco-mode, which will turn the soundbar off after being idle for a while. If you don't enable this feature, the soundbar will always be on. Also, thanks to HDMI CEC support, you can control some basic functions of the bar with the TV's remote, like the volume.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a good overall soundbar, but some people might feel like the price jump from the 36-inch 5.1.2 Vizio SB36512-F6 model might not be worth it. While the 46-inch model has two additional up-firing speakers on the surround speakers, its overall Atmos performance isn't that much better. On the upside, the SB46514-F6 has a nice build quality, but might not be worth the price when compared to other high-end products. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Atmos soundbars, and if you're looking for something a bit more affordable, check out the best budget soundbars.

Vizio SB36512-F6

The Vizio 46-inch 5.1.4 F6 isn't that much better than the Vizio 36-inch 5.1.2 F6 soundbar. Their performances are quite similar, but the 5.1.4 soundbar setup has two additional up-firing speakers on the surround satellites. We also measured a bit more compression on the 46-inch model, although we don't expect most people to notice this. However, the 46-inch 5.1.4 F6 has a better overall surround performance. For most people, the 36-inch will offer better value.

JBL Bar 9.1

The JBL Bar 9.1 is a better 5.1.4 setup than the Vizio SB46514-F6. While both soundbars are well-built, the JBL is a bit more balanced. It also has a significantly better THD and surround performance. There are also more physical inputs so it supports more audio formats, and you can even stream music to it using Apple AirPlay. Some users may prefer the completely wireless satellite speakers too. However, the Vizio has a better height performance and its companion app can control all of the bar's features, which is nice.

Vizio Elevate

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio Elevate. The SB46514-F6 has a more neutral, balanced sound profile, and it has a better performance with its height channels. However, the Elevate has a better soundstage performance, and it comes with a dialogue enhancement feature. The Elevate also supports DTS:X content, which some listeners may prefer.

Samsung HW-Q60T

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a better overall performing 5.1 channel soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q60T. The Vizio is technically a 5.1.4 setup and it has a better-balanced sound profile that delivers a thumpy, rumbly bass. It has a remarkable center channel performance, its surround and height channels support Atmos content. However, the Samsung is similarly well-built and offers more sound enhancement features like a dialogue enhancement feature as well as a graphic EQ and presets.  

Samsung HW-Q90R

The Samsung HW-Q90R is a better soundbar than the Vizio SB46514-F6. Its overall performance outclasses Vizio's across the board. It has better bass performance, a slightly wider sounding soundstage, better performance at max volume, which is also louder than the Vizio's. On the other hand, the SB46514-F6 has dedicated surround speakers that have a better overall performance, as the localization of surround objects is discrete.

LG SL10YG

The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a better soundbar system than the LG SL10YG. Its stereo soundstage sounds wider, and it has dedicated surround speakers, which helps make a more immersive surround experience. Its Atmos performance is also noticeably more accurate, which might be helped by the extra up-firing speaker on the surround speakers, which the LG lacks entirely.

LG SN11RG

The Vizio SB46514-F6 and the LG SN11RG are very similarly performing soundbars. Both are well-built soundbars with balanced sound profiles, and comparable center and height performances. However, the Vizio has a better surround performance, and it has both an ethernet as well as an analog Audio In input. In contrast, the LG can produce a bit more bass. It also has more sound enhancement features such as room correction, and it has two HDMI In ports.

Samsung HW-Q80R

The Samsung HW-Q80R is slightly better than the Vizio SB46514-F6 when it comes to stereo sound, but it lacks dedicated surround speakers, so if you're looking for a soundbar for watching movies with an immersive experience, then the Vizio will be a better option.

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