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Vizio V Series V51x-J6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Review updated Dec 16, 2022 at 03:27 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 05, 2024 at 12:41 pm
Vizio V Series V51x-J6 Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
8.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.6
Music
6.8
Movies

The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is a budget-friendly 5.1 soundbar and the next generation of the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's one of the few setups in its price range that includes discrete satellites, which you can place around your couch to get a more immersive surround sound. Its subwoofer is a little smaller than its predecessor, but it's still designed to pack a punch with sound effects and bass-heavy tunes. Plus, you can plug in a voice assistant device to control the bar with your voice, which is a cool touch.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Vizio V51x-J6 is satisfactory for mixed usage. Out-of-the-box, dialogue in TV shows and podcasts is clear and accurate in the mix, and voices and other instruments in your favorite music are even and balanced. There's a little extra punch in the bass range, too, that adds some excitement to the mix. It's a great choice for 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, too, thanks to its discrete satellites. However, without Atmos support, you can't take advantage of some of the most immersive formats on the market.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • No height channels.
8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vizio V51x-J6 is great for dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. Since it's a 5.1 setup, there's a discrete center channel that's designed to improve vocal reproduction. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, so it's easy to follow the action on-screen. Plus, its dialogue enhancement tool is on hand in the event that you want to make voices more crisp. However, if you want to stream podcasts to the bar, you're limited to Bluetooth connectivity.

Pros
  • Supports Bluetooth.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, or Apple AirPlay connectivity.
7.6 Music

The Vizio V51x-J6 is good for music. Out-of-the-box, voices and lead instruments in your favorite tracks are reproduced with clarity, making it suitable for listening to lots of different genres. There's a little extra punch in the high-bass, too, which adds some excitement to the mix. You can even customize its output by adjusting its bass and treble. That said, there's a touch less low-bass compared to last year's model, which is disappointing if you love to feel the rumble in genres like EDM and hip-hop.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
6.8 Movies

The Vizio V51x-J6 is fair for movies. It's one of the only bars in its price range that comes with discrete satellite speakers, which are a great tool for enhancing the cinematic feel with your favorite movies. Sound effects stretch into the space around you, just like in the movie theater, and dialogue and other effects are clearly reproduced. That said, you can't take advantage of the most immersive height formats like Dolby Atmos, which is disappointing if you watch a lot of content on streaming platforms.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No height channels.
  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.6 Music
  • 6.8 Movies
  1. Updated Jan 05, 2024: Added market comparison for the Hisense AX5125H in the Height (Atmos) box.
  2. Updated Jun 13, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  3. Updated Mar 01, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  4. Updated Mar 01, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  5. Updated Dec 16, 2022: Updated the review text for clarity and consistency.
  6. Updated Jul 22, 2021: Review published.
  7. Updated Jul 14, 2021: Early access published.
  8. Updated Jun 21, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  9. Updated Jun 21, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  10. Updated Jun 15, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This soundbar comes in Black, and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Vizio V51x-J6 is a 2021 soundbar that's the next generation of the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It lets you plug in a third-party voice assistant-enabled device so you can control it with your voice. However, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it lacks a Full HDMI In port.

See our recommendations for the best 5.1 soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best Vizio soundbars.

Vizio V Series V51-H6

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 M Series M51ax-J6

The Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The M Series reproduces a more extended low-bass, and it offers a better surround performance. Unlike the V Series, it supports Dolby Atmos content, and it has a Full HDMI In port.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is better for mixed usage than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The Sonos is better built and supports Dolby Atmos content. It also has a room correction feature and better soundstage performance. It has built-in voice assistant support, though you'll have to purchase a separate third-party device to use voice assistants with the Vizio. However, the Vizio comes with EQ presets.

Vizio M Series M51a-H6

The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The M Series supports Dolby Atmos content and offers a better surround performance. It also reproduces a more extended low-bass. Unlike the V Series, it comes with a Full HDMI In port that supports high-quality passthrough. However, only the V Series comes with an AUX In port for voice assistant-enabled devices.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is better than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The M Series is a better-built setup that supports Dolby Atmos content. It has better soundstage and surround performances. Also, it can reproduce a more extended low-bass.

Sony HT-S400

The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is better than the Sony HT-S400. Unlike the Sony, the Vizio is a 5.1 setup with discrete satellites, so it has a better surround sound performance. It reproduces more low-bass to add more punch to action-packed scenes. There are more sound enhancement features and DTS support, which the Sony soundbar lacks. You can get a lot more from the Vizio model for a similar price.

Vizio V Series V21x-J8

The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V21x-J8. The V51x-J6 comes with discrete satellite speakers, so it offers a better surround performance. It also has a more neutral sound profile, and it has less compression at max volume. Thanks to its 5.1 setup, it has a better center channel performance, too.

Hisense AX5125H

The Hisense AX5125H is better than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6 since it supports Dolby Atmos content, which is increasingly common on various streaming platforms and Blu-rays. The Hisense is better built, too. However, if you don't watch much Atmos content, you may find that the Vizio is the better deal of the two since its surround performance is quite similar to the Hisense.

Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. The Samsung is an 11.1.4 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content and offers built-in voice assistant support, unlike the Vizio. It's better-built, with better soundstage and surround performances. It also comes with more sound enhancement features, like room correction and a graphic EQ, and it can get louder.

LG SP7Y

The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is a bit better for mixed usage than the LG SP7Y. The Vizio comes with discrete surround speakers, so it offers a better surrounds performance. Also, it reproduces a more extended low-bass, and you can connect voice assistant-enabled third-party devices via its AUX In port. That said, the LG is better built, with a better soundstage and a Full HDMI In port.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar is a simple soundbar. It's mostly plastic, with a thin fabric fitted around the front and the sides. Like the Vizio V Series V51-H6, the control buttons are on top of the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes
Enclosure
Ported

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

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
Partial, wired to wireless sub

The satellites have a similar design to those of the Vizio V Series V51-H6. They're mostly plastic, and there's fabric on the front and the sides. They don't have a power cable, so you only need to wire them to the sub to get them to work.

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

This soundbar is a touch wide, so it doesn't fit between the legs of most 55-inch TV stands. That said, it's not very tall, so it shouldn't block your screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 7.7" (19.5 cm)
Height 8.5" (21.5 cm)
Depth 7.7" (19.5 cm)

The sub is a bit smaller than the sub for the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's shorter in height than the average desktop PC, so you should have lots of flexibility when placing it in your setup.

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. That said, you need to wire them to the subwoofer to get them to work, which may limit where you place them in your setup.

Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
Yes
Mountable Satellites
Yes
Satellite Brackets Included
Yes
7.0
Design
Build Quality

This setup has a decent build quality. The bar and the satellites are mostly matte-textured plastic, while the subwoofer is made of melamine. Overall, the materials feel solid and durable. However, the fabric covering the front and sides of the bar and satellites seems like it could rip or get dirty easily, so you should take caution when handling them.

Design
In The Box

  • User manuals
  • Wall mount template
  • Wall mount brackets with screws
  • Optical cable (3.9 ft / 1.2m)
  • HDMI cable (6.2 ft / 1.9m)
  • 2x surround speaker audio cables (26 ft / 8.0m)
  • Power cable for sub (8.5 ft / 2.6m)
  • Power cable for bar (5.2 ft / 1.5m)
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)

Sound
7.7
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Direct
Slope
-0.55
Std. Err.
3.25 dB
Channels
5.1
Low-Frequency Extension
39.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

This soundbar has a good stereo frequency response. Overall, it has a pretty even response, especially in the mids, which is where most voices and lead instruments are reproduced. The bar is suitable for listening to most types of audio content as a result. Plus, there's a little extra punch and thump in the high-bass range to help bring genres like EDM and hip-hop to life. However, compared to last year's Vizio V Series V51-H6, there's a little less low-bass in the mix, so you feel less rumble with certain tracks.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Direct
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.04
Std. Err.
2.57 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
43.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

With its bass set to '-3', this soundbar offers a more neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for lots of different types of audio content without overwhelming listeners who don't like a lot of extra punch in the bass range.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.34 dB

This soundbar has a decent stereo soundstage performance. The soundstage is perceived to be a little bit wider than the bar itself, though it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem wider than that. Also, its focus is decent. Sound objects like voices and instruments seem to come from a pinpoint location most of the time, though they may jump to a more general area sometimes.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
94.7 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.95 dB

The bar gets loud without a lot of compression at max volume, so you can crank up the volume to fill large spaces and crowded parties without distorting your audio.

7.2
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.62
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.25

This soundbar has a decent stereo THD performance. At normal listening volumes, distortion falls mostly within good limits, so audio reproduction is largely clean and pure. There's a small jump in distortion at max volume, especially in the bass range. However, distortion is really hard to hear with real-life content, so you're unlikely to have an issue unless you're a really astute audiophile.

8.1
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.80
Std. Err.
3.40 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.73
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.55

This 5.1 setup has a discrete center channel, which is designed to improve the quality of vocal reproduction in your audio. This channel's frequency response is really even, too, especially in the mids where voices are reproduced. As a result, dialogue is clear and accurate in the mix.

6.9
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-2.27
Std. Err.
5.23 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.79
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.53
7.1 Rears
No

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a fair surrounds performance. It comes with two discrete satellite speakers, so surround objects like voices are clearly and accurately represented in the sound image. Audio seems like it's coming from all around you, rather than just from speakers placed in front of you. That said, the frequency response is quite bass-heavy, so your audio content may be boomy or muddy. If you want a soundbar with a better surrounds performance, check out the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6.

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

This soundbar is a good alternative to other models like the Hisense AX5125H if you don't watch a lot of Dolby Atmos content.

7.1
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 V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a decent selection of sound enhancement features. Unlike more premium setups on the market, it doesn't have a room correction tool, so it sounds a bit different depending on the acoustics of your space. That said, you can make up for it a bit with its bass and treble adjustments. There are also some EQ presets to customize its sound: 'Direct', 'Game', 'Movie', and 'Music'. You can also set its 'Surround' feature to 'On', 'Off', 'Front', and 'Dual' for a more immersive sound.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI Out
ARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
No

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar comes with some physical inputs. There's an AUX port, which is handy if you want to wire older devices to the bar to playback audio. However, it lacks a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use it as a hub between different devices. We don't consider it to have a true HDMI Out port since it lacks a Full HDMI In, and you can't plug in two HDMI devices at the same time.

6.3
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has good audio format support via ARC. It supports Dolby Digital content, which is the most common surround sound format for streaming platforms and Blu-rays. However, it doesn't support lossless or object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Supported
DTS
Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via Optical. You can often find these formats on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs.

8.4
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
33 ms
Optical
65 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a great latency performance. It has fairly low latency via ARC and Optical, so the audio you hear should mostly be in sync with the video you see. As a result, it's suitable for watching videos and movies over this connection. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
8k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
HDR10 Passthrough
No
HDR10+ Passthrough
No
Dolby Vision Passthrough
No
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar lacks a Full HDMI In port, so it doesn't support high-quality passthrough.

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

You can wirelessly stream audio from mobile devices like your phone to the bar via Bluetooth.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

This soundbar doesn't have a display, though it does have a series of vertical lights on the left side that flash depending on the settings you adjust. Also, when you select one of the EQ presets, there's some audio feedback.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the bar, there are physical controls that let you power the bar on/off, change the input, activate Bluetooth pairing mode, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is fairly simple and lets you control the bar's settings. However, it isn't a universal remote, so you can't use it to control your TV.

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. However, there's an AUX In port on the bar that lets you plug in a voice assistant device like an Amazon Echo. We don't consider this built-in support since you need to purchase a third-party device to get it to work.