Vizio VHT510 Review
Recommend this product?
I bought this 5.1 speaker system from Amazon for $300 w/o tax. Afterwards, I realized that I had space in my living room for a 7.1 so I returned it and got an Onkyo HTS-5400. This review is divided into two sections: technical specs and sound performance.
Design - Connectivity - Features
The speakers came in a 40 pound, well designed box. The speakers' front are covered with a plastic grill and has very shiny black wood-like substance trimmed with sliver metal, enclosing all of the speakers. All of them look very sleek and nice.
The remote also is shiny black and lightweight. Running on a button cell battery, it has some basic buttons: volume, mute, volume up/down, and buttons for controlling a wirelessly docked iphone/ipod: play/pause, rewind, and fast forward. Unfortunately, the soundbar dosen't have bluetooth capabilities for audio. You can slide out the remote for more advance functions such as: switch source, SRS TruSurround, SRS TruVolume, and adjusting bass, treble, center, subwoofer, and surrounds.
SRS TruSurround processes the sound to sound better and cleaner. It makes a big difference and sounds very nice. SRS TruVolume is supposed to limit volume spikes between programs and commercials. I haven't really used it much, so I have no opinion on it.
In the front of the sound bar, there are 2 led windows. One is used to tell what kinds of features are turned on: power (including whether connected to wireless subwoofer), dolby digital, dts audio, SRS Tru Volume, and SRS Tru-Surround. The other led window on the bottom tells you the levels of volume, bass, treble, etc. when adjusting with the remote.
Unlike other new speaker systems, this doesn't have a program (like Audyssey) with a microphone to auto-adjust volume levels and room correction. However, there isn't much calibrating to do anyways.
A big complaint about this unit is that the led window for adjusting levels will burn out. This is very true and Vizio is well aware of this problem. I got this unit for a week and the leds went out. The unit still functions properly, but it's just you need to use your ears to hear what's suitable in terms of bass, treble, balance, etc. I called Vizio and I tried to reset the system and it didn't work. They told me to ship it to them and they'd sent a new system that supposedly has the problem fixed. I ended up returning it to Amazon.
The soundbar is as long as a 40" led tv (as advertised) and stands about four inches tall, weighing about 10 pounds. It accommodates for the front 3 speakers in a 5.1 setup and can be mounted on a wall. It has three .75" tweeters and four midrange 3" speakers
On the top of the soundbar are 4 buttons: power, source and volume up/down. In the back, there is the power in, a switch (Hub or client) for using other Vizio wireless products, optical in, and 2 rca ins (for stereo). This is a major problem because if you want to enjoy 5.1 surround sound from every gadget you have (xbox, blu-ray, cable, etc.), you either have to go up to unplug and plug the optical cord to the desired source or buy an optical splitter. You can buy one on Amazon for about $16. I find this really annoying. I don't understand why Vizio would'nt put 3 or 4 hdmi inputs. Instead, you get almost twice the amount of wiring to do.
The wireless subwoofer should be placed behind you and the two satellites on the right and left of you. The satellites connect to your subwoofer in the back. I have placed this about 40 feet from the soundbar behind the sofa and the wireless signal still transmits strongly. The subwoofer has a 6.5 front-firing woofer, although I preferred a down-firing woofer. It still sounds the same. On the bottom left is a status indicator telling whether the system is on and connected to the soundbar. My only complaint with this is if you want to go turn off the subwoofer, you have to get up and click the switch behind it. I wish Vizio would incorporate an auto shut-off when the soundbar turns off.
The satellite speakers have about 20 feet of wiring and supports keyhole and threaded insert mountings. Each of them has one .75" swivel adjusting tweeter (to point to your listening position) and two 2" drivers. They are of medium size, standing about 7.5" tall and 3" wide. On the back of the satellite is a panel where you can remove the factory made wire and put in your own length of wire.
Overall, the physical appearance and driver specs of the Vizio are well designed. It is very easy to set up, thanks to the soundbar and wireless connection. However, due to the limited digital connections, it makes the unit a hassle. Also, be aware that there might be an LED problem.
With all of the 5.1 systems I have tried and considering that this is just a home theater in a box, this is by far the best. You may be able to find better speakers, but only by buying separate packages. Partly is because they have good driver configurations for all their speakers. The satellites are unlike others because these accommodate for mid-range and tweeters. Most satellites only have only one kind. As a result, dialogue and sound comes out very clearly from the system.
The SRS TruSurround also enhances the sound a lot, which I feel like that is the difference between other speaker systems. It makes the sound system have very crisp highs, warm lows, and thunderous booms from the subwoofer.
I have watched movies and it is a very nice compliment because you can clearly hear the dialgoue without turning it up. In shooter games, its very cool and satisfying to kill someone who was sneaking up behind you. The boom of rockets are very suprising and clean.
My only wish for Vizio in the future is to make 7.1 speakers, keeping the same design as this one. This would definitely beat out the competition for home theater speakers.
In the end, this is one of the best sounding and designed 5.1 speakers but lack many options for connectivity, making it more of a hassle than it should be.