Vizio V Series V51x-J6 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jul 22, 2021 at 09:13 am
Vizio V Series V51x-J6 Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
8.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.6
Music
6.9
Movies
Channels
5.1

The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is a budget-friendly 5.1 soundbar that's the next generation of the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It comes with an AUX In port for voice assistant-enabled devices, meaning you can plug them into the bar for voice assistant support. Its balanced, neutral sound profile makes it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, and it even comes with discrete surround speakers. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content, which can be disappointing for movie fans.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Vizio V51x-J6 is satisfactory for mixed usage. With its 'Direct' preset, this soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, with a little extra punch in the bass range. There are some sound customization features available, too. It also comes with discrete surround speakers. However, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it lacks more premium sound features like room correction.

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. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce dialogue clearly and accurately. Also, it has a discrete center channel, so voices localize to a pinpoint location in the sound image. There's even a dialogue enhancement mode, so you can make voices more clear and crisp. While it supports Bluetooth, unfortunately, you can't stream podcasts or audiobooks to the bar via Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, or Apple AirPlay.

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. On its 'Direct' preset, this soundbar offers a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for most music genres. Its dedicated subwoofer adds a little extra boom in the bass range, too. You can also use its bass and treble adjustments and its EQ presets to customize its sound. Unfortunately, it lacks some more premium sound customization features like a graphic EQ.

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 is fair for movies. Its neutral sound profile can reproduce dialogue with detail, and the extra boom in the bass can help you feel the punch in action-packed scenes. It also comes with discrete surround speakers, so surround objects reproduce clearly and accurately. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No height channels.
  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.6 Music
  • 6.9 Movies
  1. Updated Jul 22, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 14, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Vizio V51x-J6 is a budget-friendly 5.1 soundbar released as part of the manufacturer's 2021 lineup. It's the upgraded version of the Vizio V Series V51-H6, and it comes with a dedicated subwoofer and satellites. However, it doesn't have height channels for Dolby Atmos content. Its other competitors include the Vizio M Series M51a-H6 and the LG SP7Y.

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

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

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)

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar isn't very wide, though it may not fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. Fortunately, 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 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
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has two openings for the inputs and the power cable. You can also wall-mount the bar using the universal holes on the underside and the included wall-mount brackets.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

There's a port on the back of the sub. You can also find an input for the power cable and the jacks for connecting the two satellites.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
Proprietary

The backs of the satellites have an input for the cable that connects them to the sub. You can also wall-mount them using the proprietary holes and the included wall-mount brackets.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a decent build quality. The bar and the satellites are mostly matte-textured plastic, which feels solid and durable. The subwoofer is melamine. However, the fabric covering the front and sides of the bar and satellites seems like it could rip or get dirty easily.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.9 m (6.2 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.2 m (3.9 ft)

  • User Manuals
  • Wall mount template
  • Wall mount brackets with screws
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x surround speaker audio cables
  • 2x power cables
  • Remote with batteries (2xAAA)

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a good stereo frequency response. On its 'Direct' preset, it offers a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to most types of audio content. There's a little extra boom and punch in the bass range, which can also please fans of bass-heavy music genres like hip-hop. You can also customize its sound to your liking using the bass and treble adjustments and the EQ presets.

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 calibration, the Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a good stereo frequency response. With its bass set to '-3', it 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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 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 Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a great stereo dynamics performance. 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.

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a decent stereo THD performance. At normal listening volumes, the THD 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, this may not be noticeable for most listeners with real-life content.

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

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a great center channel performance. This 5.1 setup has a discrete center channel, so you can accurately localize voices to a pinpoint location in the sound image. Thanks to its balanced, neutral frequency response, dialogue is reproduced clearly and with detail, too.

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
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 V Series 5.1 Soundbar has a decent selection of sound enhancement features. You can customize its sound to your liking using the bass and treble adjustments as well as its EQ presets: 'Direct', 'Game', 'Movie', and 'Music'. You can also set its 'Surround' feature to 'On', 'Off', 'Front', and 'Dual' for a more immersive sound. However, it doesn't come with a room correction feature, so it may sound a bit different depending on the room you're listening 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 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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects wirelessly to the bar. You only need to plug it into a power outlet to get it to work.

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

You have to wire the satellites to the subwoofer to get them to work. However, they don't need to connect to the bar or a power outlet.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Vizio V Series 5.1 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
Universal Remote
No

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

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.

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)
Yes

The Vizio V Series 5.1 Soundbar has an eco-power mode that powers down the bar after a period of inactivity. You can enable this feature by pressing and holding the power and volume buttons for five seconds. It also supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control some of its basic functions.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vizio V51x-J6 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.

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.

Sonos Arc

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

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.

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.

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