Miscellaneous: Vizio Soundbar And Latest James Bond Movie

I’ve had the same 2.1 Samsung soundbar since about 2014, though it was time for a new one. The sound is OK, good for TV shows, OK for movies, not quite as immersive. I’d love to be able to use my Bose 301 speakers with the stereo, but, have to use a converter, change a TV setting each time. Have been considering getting a new receiver, doesn’t have to be great, just take an optical cable, perhaps add a second set of speakers.

Anyhow, was looking for a new soundbar that is at least 3.1 with Dolby Atmos. All the reviews really showed that the best bang for the buck (had no plan to spend over a grand) was the Vizio M512a-H6, which I picked up at Best Buy, getting them to match the price from Amazon at $450. It was actually rated higher than the more expensive ones like the Sonos Arc, Bose 900, and many others.

Except, after getting it all set up, the first thing I noticed was that all the voice was coming from the center, from Atmos content (Carnival Row at Amazon), Hell’s Kitchen on Tubi, Burn Notice via Freevee, and 47 Meters Down on Amazon. Which is not particularly expansive. It doesn’t surround you. It felt like putting an Echo Dot in front of the TV. The music and background audio came from the side speakers, which sounded good. The satellite speakers did have sound, but, was so low didn’t really add much.

I’d consider playing with it a bit, but, the normal volume level is around 50. Out of a 100. Kinda makes no sense, and lots of reviews mention this. And getting vastly different volumes depending on the show. My current soundbar is good at around 8-10, go to about 15 for louder stuff, like playing a movie. Just not impressed with the Vizio.

So, for any of y’all who have something at least 3.1, preferably with Atmos, what do you have? I really do not want a 3.1 or more where the voice comes only from the center.

Then we have the latest James Bond, No Time To Die. Regardless of the pre-reviews and reviews, worried about Wokeness having a black, female 007, no, it wasn’t, it was actually pretty good. Well done, the story moves well, easy to track. It was utterly enjoyable (spoilers below the fold

But, see, there is a big problem. They killed James Bond at the end. Not in a “he could be back we’re tricking you” style, he was 100% dead. And that ruined a 2 hour and 38 minute viewing. That could have had him make a miraculous escape so he could retire (again) and live with his love and his daughter he didn’t know he had. Very, very disappointing. Like the end of The Mist, which I saw in the theaters. You know, when everyone kills themselves, then here comes the Army to save everyone? At least that was horror, and meant to be horror. I would have been very mad if I saw it in the theaters and paid for it, instead of watching on Amazon. Which, BTW, was not being broadcast in 4k like they said, but, standard 1080p

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7 Responses to “Miscellaneous: Vizio Soundbar And Latest James Bond Movie”

  1. Max Blancke says:

    We put in a Yamaha 7.1 cinema system, which actually serves as a HDMI hub as well. The sat receiver, media players, and game consoles all plug into the Yamaha receiver, and you use the receiver control to choose what plays on the TV.
    For speakers, we have Bose 501s L and R, little Bose bookshelf speakers for the mid and rear channels, and the center channel comes through both a Bose loudspeaker, and through the built-in speakers on the TV. There is a big subwoofer, which is actually in the next room.
    It was hell to set up. I spent the first week or so fiddling with levels and annoying the family. But it is close to perfect now. Once we got everything dialed in, it is at least as good as anything in a theater. The setup is done via the Yamaha remote, but through an extensive set of menus on the TV screen.

    For media, we use a grey-market media player that has streaming capability, but we pretty much always play media that has been transferred to thumb drives. The little media players have some advantages. They can play almost any format of audio or video, and can be readily updated. When watching a film in a language we do not speak, most of the time we can get subtitles separately that we do understand, and combine them on the box, even synch them when they do not quite match up.

    • Might have to look into that. I wouldn’t get true surround using an optical cable (I’d keep the hdmi arc for the soundbar, since I watch more TV shows than movies), but, having multiple speakers would be good. Thanks.

  2. Zendo Deb says:

    I have an older 5.1 system. I didn’t spend a lot, since I was moving off the boat, and had gotten rid of most of my electronics. I had a lot of things to buy all at once….

    If you can get speakers behind where you typically sit, that works out great for movies – the 7.1 systems are even better of course, but you hear things creeping up behind you, or whatever.

    It can be a pain to route speaker cables. Though I guess there are some wireless systems today. No idea how expensive or how good (or bad) they are

  3. Zendo Deb says:

    The killing of JB is so that they can “reboot” and give the franchise the same treatment they gave Ghostbusters in 2016

    Because if they introduced a NEW Character – 009 or whatever – they would actually have to write stories and be creative, and they would rather just rehash old stories and worry about how to include “The Message”

  4. Doom and Gloom says:

    I have only seen really bad reviews about sound bars with newer TVs. I am using a sound bar on a Samsung that is about 10 years old and it works well. Nothing spectacular. Just good.

    Review after review was filled with negatives on soundbars only, including Jbl, Sony, Samsung, and Bose to name a few. Even the Bose surround systems were being trashed by reviewers as were many others because they didn’t seem to use a central amplifier to convert the signal coming from the TV and then feed it correctly to the sound system.

    Roku makes a system that is trash. On and on it goes.

    As Zendo points out the only real way to get the sound you want is to avoid plug and play and go with a receiver and let everything connect to that. I use a Harmon Kardon receiver that connects to a subwoofer, a sound bar for mid-channel, and four Harmon Kardon speakers for the front and rears. Not anywhere near top of the line but the sound is very good. Not great just very good for a geezer watching TV.

    I had to have a sound company get it to work with my 50-inch 3D Sharp TV.

    On a side note. I used to simply use my Roku and apple earplugs to listen to some kick-ass-sounding movies and tv. In the last couple of years Prime, Vudu, Netflix, and others have jacked with their sound to where now my ROKU kicks in and out. The sound breaks up constantly forcing me to toss the ear plugs in the drawer. I have no doubt Prime with its 200 billion dollar man is jacking with everyone’s stuff to get you to use a Firestick rather than a competitor.

    • I might have to go that way. My 2.1 is good, not great, but, all the sound comes out of both sides. A lot of 3.1 and up have the voice out of the center channel, and, just doesn’t surround you. It sounds like coming right from there, and not immersive.

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