After spending a few weeks with Vizio’s M51ax-J6 5.1 soundbar, I thought I turn it down a notch and see how their V-Series 2.1 model aka the V21x-J8 holds up. It looks like its M-Series sibling but is a bit more compact and goes for about half the price. Can it satisfy your appetite for sound?

Style

The V21x-J8 is a 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar System that consists of a soundbar and a subwoofer.  The soundbar is 36” wide while the subwoofer squares off at 5” all around. Both devices have a black colorway, while the soundbar has a slightly rubberized texture surrounding it. There are clickable buttons which are Power, Source, Bluetooth, and Volume Controls. Each device also has the Vizio insignia etched in the right corner.

Hidden within the speaker grill of the soundbar is LED indicator lights on the left side that will advise you of volume controls and other settings done via the included remote.

Included with the V21x-J8 is wires for Optical, HDMI, wall brackets, and power cords for the soundbar and subwoofer.

Setup / Features

Connecting the soundbar and subwoofer took a matter of moments and the TV recognized it right away. The subwoofer itself is wireless and instantly kicked in with the soundbar. It uses no wires other than its power cord. Like the M51ax-J6, this soundbar has foolproof labels to indicate what goes into where.

One feature I got accustomed to on the M51ax-J6 was that display on the remote control. The V21x-J8 has a similar remote but just without the screen. Here you would rely more on the LED indicator lights to make sure you are adjusting your system properly.  The EQ button changes audio modes such as Gaming, Movie, and Dialogue and you even get audio cues regarding this. Bass, Treble, and Sub can be changed by the button presses and you can see the levels on the LED lights.  

Sound

Coming from a 5.1 setup and going down to 2.1, I am impressed with what Vizio is offering. Here you are getting two speakers(inside the soundbar) and of course the low frequency from the subwoofer for bass. There isn’t any Dolby Atmos and DTS:X but are still getting Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Surround. If you look on that remote there is a button that says “VRT:X” which indicates virtual surround sound. Using this injunction with Dolby and DTS presented some pleasant results. For instance, in “Bumblebee”, dialogue b/w Bumblebee and Blitzwing is rather clear as is all the explosion and action around it. In “Spider Man: Far from Home”, a scene with Mysterio where he is in Spider Man’s head, it feels if though he was coming from you at all angles with Virtual X turned on.  This little 5” subwoofer puts in some surprising work. Its uncanny how that little box can become such a room rattler. This is on the default setting of the sub which can be increased for more thump.

Playing games such as Forza Horizon 4 on Xbox Series X, I was able to feel the vibe of the soundtrack and also feel like i was in the driver seat as I drove cross country and crashed into just about everything along the way.


Verdict

The V21x-J8 is a nice starter home theater system with its slim soundbar and startling hard hitting subwoofer. Of course, if you want some more detail, bass, and more of a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X experience you want to go up to the M-Series home theater systems and up. But if you are looking for a nice audio profile that bangs under $200 the V21x-J8 is only $149.99 and give you a nice taste of surround sound.

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