Vizio V Series V51-H6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Oct 27, 2020 at 07:27 am
Vizio V Series V51-H6 Picture
7.6
Mixed Usage
8.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.8
Music
7.0
Movies
This soundbar was replaced by the Vizio V Series V51x-J6
Channels
5.1

The Vizio V Series 5.1 soundbar is a versatile 5.1 setup that comes with a subwoofer and two dedicated satellite speakers. Its sound profile is neutral and well-balanced with a touch of extra bass, so it's suitable for a lot of different audio content. It has a lot of sound enhancement features too, including four EQ presets and a dialogue enhancement feature. However, it doesn't support Atmos content, and its satellite speakers provide a muddy, bass-heavy listening experience. It lacks a Full HDMI In port, so you also can't use the bar as a hub between your devices. That said, this bar can get loud without a lot of compression artifacts.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed Usage

The Vizio V51-H6 is good for mixed usage. It has a balanced, neutral sound profile that's suitable for a range of audio content, and the subwoofer adds extra boom and punch that's well-suited for action flicks or bass-heavy music genres. Its dedicated center channel can reproduce vocal-heavy content like TV shows and podcasts clearly and accurately. However, it doesn't support Atmos content, and its surround performance isn't the best.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
  • Four EQ presets.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos content.
8.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio V51-H6 is great for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel, it can reproduce voices clearly and accurately. There's even a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices sound more clear and crisp. It can get loud without a lot of compression, which is nice. You can even stream podcasts and audiobooks to the bar via Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Not compatible with Wi-Fi or Google Chromecast.
7.8 Music

The Vizio V51-H6 is very good for music. Its default sound profile is quite neutral and well-balanced, making it suitable for a range of genres. The dedicated subwoofer adds a touch of boom in the bass range that can please fans of bass-heavy genres, too. If you prefer a different sound, there are a few EQ presets available.

Pros
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
  • Four EQ presets.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
7.0 Movies

The Vizio V51-H6 is decent for movies. Its default sound profile is well-balanced, with an extra boom in the bass range that's suitable for action-packed scenes in your favorite films. It comes with dedicated surround speakers, but they don't provide a very immersive listening experience. Also, it doesn't support Atmos content, which is a bit disappointing.

Pros
  • Dedicated surround speakers.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos content.
  • 7.6 Mixed Usage
  • 8.3 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.8 Music
  • 7.0 Movies
  1. Updated Jul 20, 2021: Confirmed no Dolby Digital+ support via ARC.
  2. Updated Feb 09, 2021: Fixed mistake in supported voice assistants.
  3. Updated Feb 09, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  4. Updated Oct 27, 2020: Review published.
  5. Updated Oct 22, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Vizio V51-H6 is a 5.1 setup from Vizio's 2020 lineup. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and two satellite speakers. Its main competitors are the Samsung HW-Q60T, the Yamaha ATS-2090, the Vizio SB36512-F6, and the Vizio V Series V21-H8.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio V51-H6 is a simple, sleek soundbar. It's mostly made of plastic, with a thin fabric covering the front and the sides of the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is mostly made of plastic. It sits on four plastic pegs with rubber grips. There's a port on the back of the sub, and the speaker is underneath.

Design
Style - Satellites

The Vizio V51-H6 comes with two satellite speakers, which are mostly made of plastic with fabric covering the front and sides.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 36.0" (91.5 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.7 cm)
Depth 3.2" (8.2 cm)

The bar isn't too wide, but it might not fit between the legs of a 55" TV. However, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 8.3" (21.2 cm)
Height 9.8" (25.0 cm)
Depth 8.3" (21.2 cm)

The subwoofer is similar to the subwoofer for the Vizio V Series V21-H8, and it's shorter in height than the average desktop PC.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width 4.8" (12.1 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.7 cm)
Depth 3.2" (8.2 cm)

The satellites aren't very big. They don't need to be wired to a power source, but they do need to be connected to the sub to function.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has two openings for the input ports. There are also universal holes underneath the bar that let you wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The port is located on the back of the subwoofer. The power cable connects at the bottom, and there are also two jacks for the two satellites.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Proprietary

The satellites have a plain back. There's a connection for the cable that connects to the sub. You can also mount these satellites to the wall using the wall-mount screws and bracket included, but you'll have to purchase a bracket screw separately.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio V51-H6 has a decent build quality. The components are mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. However, the thin fabric on the front and sides of the bar and the satellite speakers seems like it could get dirty or rip easily.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.8 m (5.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.2 m (3.9 ft)

  • Manuals
  • Wall-mount template
  • Wall-mount brackets with screws
  • 4x cable ties
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x surround speaker audio cables
  • 2x power cables for sub and bar
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable
  • Stereo RCA to 3.5mm cable
  • Remote with 2x AAA batteries

Sound
8.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Direct
Slope
-0.46
Std. Err.
2.69 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Vizio V51-H6 has a great stereo frequency response. It has a balanced, neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. The subwoofer adds extra boom and punch in the bass range, which can please fans of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and EDM. There are also four EQ presets available to help you adjust the sound: 'Movie', 'Music', 'Direct', and 'Game'.

8.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Direct
Suggested Bass Setting
-2
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
0.04
Std. Err.
2.33 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
34.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.44 dB

The Vizio V51-H6 has a decent stereo soundstage. The soundstage is about as wide as the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it sound wider than that. Its focus is good, so objects like voices and instruments seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location rather than a general area. For a soundbar with a better stereo soundstage, check out the Vizio M Series M512a-H6.

8.5
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
96.4 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.91 dB

The Vizio V51-H6 has excellent stereo dynamics performance. This bar can get loud without a lot of compression artifacts present, making it suitable for large rooms and crowded environments like parties.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.52
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.08

The Vizio V51-H6 has a decent THD performance. At normal listening volumes, the THD falls mostly within good limits, resulting in clean and pure sound reproduction. At max volume, there's a small jump in distortion, especially in the bass range. However, this distortion may not be audible with real-life content.

8.1
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.96
Std. Err.
3.34 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.86
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.41

The Vizio V51-H6 has an impressive center performance. This 5.1 setup has a dedicated center speaker, which helps to reproduce vocal-heavy content clearly and more accurately. It can get decently loud, too.

6.7
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-2.08
Std. Err.
5.88 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.3 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.77
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.46
7.1 Rears
No

The Vizio V Series 5.1 soundbar has a middling surrounds performance. It comes with two surround speakers that help to reproduce clear and real surround content. Unfortunately, the frequency response is quite bass-heavy, so audio content may sound boomy or muddy.

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 doesn't have height channels. If you want a 5.1 soundbar that supports Atmos, check out the Vizio M Series M51a-H6.

7.0
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
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
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Vizio V51-H6 has a good selection of sound enhancement features. It offers four EQ presets to help you adjust the bar's sound to your liking: 'Movie', 'Music', 'Direct', and 'Game'. There's a dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices sound clearer and more crisp, and a TruVolume feature that provides a consistent volume level across different programs. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a room correction feature, so it may sound different depending on the room you use it in.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
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 V51-H6 has several inputs, including a 3.5mm AUX port, which allows you to connect older devices to the bar using a wired connection. However, there isn't a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use the bar as a hub between your devices.

7.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

Update 07/20/2021: Following user feedback, we retested this soundbar using our new testing methodology. We confirmed that this soundbar doesn't support Dolby Digital+ via ARC.

Over its HDMI ARC port, this bar supports some of the most common formats for streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs, including Dolby Digital Plus and DTS. However, it doesn't support higher-end formats like Dolby Atmos.

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 a Full HDMI In port.

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

This soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via its Optical Audio In. These formats can usually be found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

8.7
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
41 ms
Optical
37 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A
6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

This soundbar only supports Bluetooth wireless playback, which lets you stream content from your phone to the bar wirelessly.

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

The Vizio V51-H6 doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it doesn't support 4k passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects wirelessly to the bar. Its only wired connection is its power cable.

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

The satellites connect to the subwoofer using a wired connection. They need to be close enough to the sub to be connected by a wire, which may limit where you can place the satellites in your room.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Vizio V51-H6 doesn't have a display, but there's a set of vertical lights on the left side of the bar that flash depending on your settings. There's also audio feedback when you select one of the four preset modes.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are a few buttons on the top of the bar that let you controls its basic functions. You can power the bar on and off, change the input, activate Bluetooth pairing mode, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is fairly simple, and it lets you control all of the bar's settings. There's even a display screen, unlike the remote for the Vizio V Series V21-H8.

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

This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.

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

The Vizio V51-H6 comes with an eco-power mode that powers down the bar after a period of inactivity. You can also use your TV remote to control the bar's basic functions as it has HDMI CEC support.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vizio V51 comes in one color: Black. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you find another variant of this soundbar, let us know in the discussion section below so that we can update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Vizio V51-H6 soundbar has a neutral, well-balanced sound that's suitable for lots of different audio content. While it has a similar design to the Vizio V Series V21-H8, this 5.1 setup comes with two satellite speakers to help create a more immersive surround sound. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Atmos content, and it doesn't have a lot of physical inputs or connectivity options. If you're looking for more soundbars, see our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best 5.1 soundbars, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.

Vizio M Series M51a-H6

The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V51-H6. The M Series has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it has a better surrounds performance. It also supports Dolby Atmos content, and because it comes with a Full HDMI In port, it can support 4k passthrough.

Vizio M Series M51ax-J6

The Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 has a better performance than the Vizio V Series V51-H6. The M Series supports Dolby Atmos content, and it also has a better surrounds performance. Unlike the V Series, it comes with a Full HDMI In port that supports high-quality passthrough. However, the V Series has a better latency performance.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is better than the Vizio V Series V51-H6. The M Series is better-built, with better soundstage and surround performances. Unlike the V Series, it supports Atmos content and comes with a Full HDMI In port. That said, the V Series has lower latency via its ARC and Optical ports, making it suitable for watching videos and movies over these inputs. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

Sonos Arc

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Arc or the Vizio V Series V51-H6. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that comes with satellites and a dedicated subwoofer, so it reproduces a more extended low-bass. However, the 5.0.2 Sonos is better-built and supports Dolby Atmos content. Also, it has a better soundstage performance and a room correction feature. You can even upgrade it as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers for a better performance.

Samsung HW-A650

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the Samsung HW-A650. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that reproduces a more extended low-bass. It also gets louder with less compression at max volume, and it has a better surrounds performance. That said, the 3.1 Samsung is better built with a graphic EQ for sound customization.

Vizio V Series V51x-J6

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a bit better for mixed usage than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The V51-H6 gets louder, and it reproduces a more extended low-bass, meaning you can feel more thump and rumble in your audio. 

Vizio V Series V21-H8

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V21-H8. The V51-H6 is a 5.1 setup that comes with dedicated satellite speakers, unlike the 2.1 V21-H8. It also has a better-balanced, more neutral sound profile. However, the V21-H8 comes with a second USB port for voice assistant speakers, which some users may prefer.

Samsung HW-Q65T

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q65T. The Vizio has a more extended low-bass and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. However, the Samsung is better-built with a graphic EQ and a Full HDMI In port.

Sonos Beam

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the Sonos Beam. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that comes with a dedicated sub and discrete satellites. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass, so you feel more thump and rumble in your audio. It also has a better surround performance. However, the 3.0 Sonos is better built with built-in voice assistant capabilities. It also has a better soundstage.

Vizio SB36512-F6

The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a better overall soundbar than the Vizio V Series V51-H6. The SB36512-F6 supports Atmos content, and it has a better surrounds performance. Also, it has more connectivity options, including a Full HDMI In port that allows for 4k passthrough, and Wi-Fi and Chromecast compatibility. That being said, the V Series has a dialogue enhancement feature, which it SB36512-F6 lacks.

Samsung HW-Q60T

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better overall soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q60T. The Vizio comes with two dedicated satellite speakers that help provide a more immersive surround sound. It also has a better-balanced default sound profile. However, the Samsung is better-built, and it comes with a graphic EQ and a Full HDMI In port, which the Vizio lacks.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that comes with discrete satellites, unlike the 2.1 Polk Audio. It reproduces a more extended low-bass. Also, it has better center and surround performances.

Samsung HW-A550

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the Samsung HW-A550. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that comes with discrete satellite speakers. It has better center and surround performances. That said, the 2.1 Samsung is better built. It also comes with a graphic EQ, which some listeners may prefer for sound customization.

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. The Vizio has better soundstage and surround performances, and it gets louder. That said, the JBL is better-built, and it comes with a Full HDMI In port that supports high quality passthrough.

Klipsch Cinema 600

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Vizio V Series V51-H6 or the Klipsch Cinema 600. The Vizio is better built with discrete satellite speakers. It has a better surrounds performance and more sound enhancement features, like EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments. That said, the 3.1 Klipsch has a better stereo soundstage performance.

Vizio V Series V21x-J8

The 5.1 Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better soundbar than the 2.1 Vizio V Series V21x-J8. The V51-H6 gets louder, and it has better center and surrounds performances. Also, some listeners may prefer its more neutral out-of-the-box sound compared to the V21x-J8's more bass-heavy sound profile.

Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R. The V Series is a 5.1 setup that comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two surround speakers, and it has better center and surround channel performances. It also has a more neutral sound profile, and it gets louder with less compression at max volume. That said, the 2.1 M-Series is better-built, and it comes with a Full HDMI In port that supports 4k passthrough.

Samsung HW-Q60R

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a better overall soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q60R. The Vizio comes with two satellite speakers, which help provide a more immersive surround sound. It also has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. However, the Samsung is better-built, and it comes with a graphic EQ and a Full HDMI In port, unlike the Vizio.

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