Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Aug 24, 2020 at 08:17 am
Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.2
Music
4.8
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is a budget, entry-level setup that comes with two built-in subwoofers. Thanks to its well-balanced and neutral audio reproduction, it performs well with dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. It also has some EQ presets, a virtual surround feature, and a lot of inputs for its price point. This soundbar can get loud, too. However, it doesn't support Atmos or surround content, and it doesn't support Dolby Digital or DTS, so it may not be ideal for movie fans. That being said, overall, this soundbar is still an acceptable upgrade over your TV speakers.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is mediocre for mixed usage. Overall, this budget soundbar has a decently well-balanced audio reproduction that is suitable for dialogue-heavy content. However, it's a pretty barebones soundbar, so it doesn't have a center channel, and it doesn't support Atmos or surround content. It has limited connectivity options, and it only supports PCM 2.0 content, which may be disappointing for some users. However, there are some customization options, so it can still be a decent upgrade over your TV speakers.

Pros
  • Built-in subwoofer.
  • Gets loud.
  • EQ presets.
Cons
  • Only supports PCM 2.0 content.
  • Doesn't support Atmos or surround content.
  • No center channel.
8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is great for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. Its sound profile is well-balanced, especially in the mid-range, which is ideal for reproducing voices. There's even a News EQ preset that works like a dialogue enhancement feature to help make dialogue sound more crisp. Overall, this soundbar can get loud, and you can even stream podcasts to the bar wirelessly using a Bluetooth connection. However, it doesn't have a center channel, so it won't reproduce voices as clearly as some of the other bars we've tested.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • EQ presets.
  • Bluetooth compatible.
Cons
  • No center channel.
7.2 Music

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is decent for music. Despite the two subs integrated into the bar, it struggles to reproduce low bass, but nevertheless it has a decently neutral sound profile. This bar should be suitable for many music genres, but fans of bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop may prefer a bar with a more extended bass. On the upside, this soundbar also comes with some sound enhancement features, including four EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments, so you'll be able to change the sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • EQ presets.
Cons
  • Lacks a bit of sub-bass.
  • No graphic EQ.
4.8 Movies

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is poor for movies. It can get loud and it has a well-balanced sound profile. However, it's lacking a bit of sub-bass, and it struggles to reproduce the deep thumps and rumbles from action-packed scenes and movie scores. Also, this soundbar doesn't support surround or Atmos content, which may be disappointing for movie fans.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Only supports PCM 2.0 content.
  • Doesn't support Atmos or surround content.
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.2 Music
  • 4.8 Movies
  1. Update 9/22/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.

Check Price

Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Vmai X-Bar is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar from Vmai, a smaller and lesser-known manufacturer. It was released in 2020. It comes with two subwoofers built-in to the bar. Its competitors include the Sony HT-S200F, the TaoTronics TT-SK026, and the Amazon Basics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar has a simple, black design. It's mostly made of plastic, except for the metal grille covering the front and the top speakers. In the front middle of the bar, there's a groove pattern that goes all the way around the bar. The two speakers on the top of the bar are used for the subwoofer, which is built into the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is embedded into the bar.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn't have satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 37.8" (96.0 cm)
Bar Height 2.8" (7.0 cm)
Bar Depth 4.5" (11.5 cm)

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is a fairly long bar that likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV. However, it isn't very tall, so it likely won't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

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

There's no separate subwoofer in this setup.

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

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Proprietary

The back of the bar has an opening for the input ports. If you want to mount this bar on the wall, the manufacturer recommends that you screw the included mounting kit to the wall and then attach the bar to the mounted screws. The bar doesn't sit flush against the wall when it's mounted, which leaves enough space for the audio cables.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

The subwoofer is integrated into the bar.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

There aren't any satellites in this setup.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vmai X-Bar has a decent build quality. It's mostly made of plastic, expect for the metal grille on the front of the bar and covering the top speakers. The metal grille should help to protect the drivers.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)

  • Manual
  • Optical cable
  • Remote (no batteries included)
  • Wall-mounting kit (2 plastic holders and screws)
  • Power cable
  • Adapter for power cord
  • RCA to 3.5mm audio cable

Sound
7.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
0.08
ST Std. Err.
2.58 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
59.9 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
12.9 kHz

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar has a satisfactory stereo frequency response. Its sound profile is pretty well-balanced, but punchy with a touch of brightness. This bar struggles to reproduce low bass, which may be disappointing to fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop or action-packed movie scenes. On the upside, this soundbar comes with four different EQ presets (Music, Movie, News, 3D Surround) to help you customize the sound to your liking.

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

The Vmai X-Bar has a satisfactory stereo soundstage. It sounds a little wider than the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it sound wider than that. On the upside, the soundstage is focused, so objects seem to come from an accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area.

8.2
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
94.7 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
1.12 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 Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar has great stereo dynamics performance. This bar can get loud and there aren't a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, so it's ideal for large rooms and crowded settings.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.63
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
7.39

The THD performance of the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is adequate. At normal listening volumes, there isn't a lot of distortion, resulting in a clean and pure audio reproduction. However, when pushed to its max volume, there's a jump in THD across the range. This may not be audible with real-life content.

0
Sound
Center
C Localization
N/A
C Slope
N/A
C Std. Err.
N/A
C SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
C Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The Vmai X-Bar only supports PCM content and can't decode or downmix surround sound content.

0
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
N/A
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
N/A
Sr Std. Err.
N/A
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't have surround channels.

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 content.

3.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar has a poor selection of sound enhancement features. There isn't a room correction feature, so it may sound different depending on the room you're in. On the upside, there's a selection of four EQ presets (Music (EQ1), Movie (EQ2), News (EQ3), 3D Surround, and you can adjust the bass and treble to your liking. The News preset acts as a dialogue enhancement feature, so it can help make voices sound more crisp and clear.

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
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar has several physical inputs, including an optical port, an HDMI ARC port, and a 3.5mm Aux port. However, there isn't an HDMI In port, so you won't be able to use the bar as a hub between your different devices. It also downsamples pretty much all formats to PCM 2.0 through its inputs, which won't provide as immersive of a listening experience.

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

To get this soundbar to play content over its HDMI ARC port, you need to change your TV settings to PCM. With the settings adjusted, it plays sound in PCM 2.0. This soundbar doesn't support Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, or DTS, and instead downsamples them to PCM 2.0.

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

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it can't connect to external devices that support the reproduction of advanced sound formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
No
DTS
No

The Vmai X-Bar only supports PCM 2.0-format content. You have to change your TV settings to PCM in order to play sound via its the Optical port.

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

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar can connect to any device that supports Bluetooth, like a smartphone or a tablet. However, you won't be able to connect your devices using a Wi-Fi connection, Chromecast built-in, or Apple AirPlay.

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

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it can't support 4k passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

The subwoofer is integrated into the bar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The Vmai X-Bar has a very simple interface in the middle of the bar. There's a small LED text screen that displays the current input, the volume level, and the preset. When muted, the current input text flashes on the screen. There's also a solid red light when the bar is turned off.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On the right side of the bar, there are physical controls. You can control the power, the mode (Bluetooth, USB, Aux, Optical, or HDMI ARC), play and pause the audio, and adjust the volume.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Vmai X-Bar comes with a simple remote that lets you adjust the power, change the presets, adjust the volume, play and pause your audio, change the inputs, and adjust the bass and the treble.

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 doesn't have a companion app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

This soundbar goes into Standby mode after 3 minutes without an audio signal. The display goes blank, but the bar comes back to life once another audio signal is sent. Also, the bar supports CEC, so you can use your TV's remote to control the soundbar.

Compared to other soundbars

The Vmai 2.1 soundbar for TV is a decent entry-level bar that comes with two built-in subwoofers. While its sound is well-balanced, it can only support PCM 2.0 content. It doesn't have a center channel, and it can't support surround or Atmos content. It also has limited connectivity options, so it isn't very versatile. If you're looking for more soundbars, see our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars for dialogue, and the best soundbars for movies.

Sony HT-S100F

The Sony HT-S100F is a slightly better overall soundbar than the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar, but depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. Both soundbars have integrated subwoofers, but the Sony's more compact design may be preferred by some users. Unlike the Vmai, the Sony has a phantom center, it can play surround content, and can support Dolby Digital via its Optical In port, which is good for watching movies. It also has a Night Mode feature, unlike the Vmai. However, the Vmai performs much better than the Sony with music, thanks to its better-balanced sound profile, more extended bass, and wider soundstage.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose Solo 5 and the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar are both entry-level, budget soundbars, and you may prefer one over the other depending on your listening habits. Overall, the Bose is better for watching movies, as it has a center channel and it supports surround content. That being said, the Vmai is better for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows thanks to its dialogue enhancement feature. The Vmai also comes with EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments, unlike the Bose, and it has an HDMI ARC port, though it can only be used to play PCM content.

Samsung HW-Q90R

The Samsung HW-Q90R is a better overall soundbar than the Vmai 2.1 Channel Soundbar. The premium 7.1.4 Samsung has way more features than the entry-level 2.1 Vmai, including a center channel, a fully-supported HDMI ARC port, and support for Atmos and surround content. The Samsung is also better-built, has a wider soundstage, and has more sound enhancement features.

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is a better overall soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Both are entry-level 2.1 setups with an integrated subwoofer that lack center channels and surround and Atmos support. However, the Vmai is better-built, and it has a much more well-balanced, neutral sound profile compared to the Amazon's dark sound profile. It also has a more focused soundstage, so objects seem to come from a pinpoint location instead of a general area. The Vmai has an HDMI ARC port and bass and treble adjustments, unlike the Amazon.

TaoTronics TT-SK026

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is a better overall soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK026. Both bars have integrated subwoofers and can only support PCM content, so they're best-suited for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. However, the Vmai is better-built, and it has a better-balanced sound profile. It also has a more focused soundstage than the TaoTronics, so objects will sound more localized. Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments, the Vmai also offers more sound customization options. Finally, unlike the TaoTronics, it has an HDMI ARC port, though you can only use it for PCM content.

Sony HT-X8500

The Sony HT-X8500 is a better overall soundbar than the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar. Unlike the Vmai, the Sony has a phantom center channel, and it supports Atmos and surround content. Thanks to its auto volume feature, it has more sound customization options than the Vmai. It also has more robust connectivity options. While the Vmai only supports PCM 2.0 over its HDMI ARC and Optical ports, the Sony has full audio format support through both ports, making it better-suited for watching movies. The Sony also has an HDMI In port, which the Vmai lacks.

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