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on December 24, 2012
After using a Samsung 5.1 channel surround system for our living room for the past 2 years, my spouse and I started looking into sound bars to eliminate speaker placement issues, wiring clutter, and lack of power.

I purchased a Vizio SB4021M-A1 sound bar at a national wholesale warehouse store and I couldn't be happier with my purchase! I had absolutely no problems setting the system up. Turning the wireless subwoofer on before the sound bar automatically links it, no configuration required. Turning them on the other way around will require one to press and release the 'Link' button in the rear side of the subwoofer. The system includes an RCA cable, but an optical cable is strongly recommended for optimal sound quality.

The audio settings are as follows:

- Volume control setting scale from 0 to 35
- Bass and treble settings scale from -10 to 10
- TruVolume: Evens out audio volume. I enable it only when watching TV to compress the extremely irritating louder volume of TV commercials.
- SRS TruSurround HD (STHD): processes multichannel audio for two speakers in a way that tricks the brain into thinking there are more than two speakers [...] This is the first feature I enabled out of the box.
- Input options: RCA, optical, USB (USB did not work with my iPhone 4). Again, an optical cable is strongly recommended.

We have a 1 year old child as of the date of this review. Our previous home theater system didn't phase her one bit. With the volume set at only 15 on the Vizio SB4021M-A1 system during "The Avengers", my daughter became startled and quickly ran into my arms at The Hulk's first roar when Bruce Banner has his first transformation in the film. I've gone through "Act of Valor", "Jurassic Park", and "The Dark Knight Rises" on this system and I was extremely impressed with the sound clarity and the STHD feature. In terms of sound quality, this system rivals the "high end" manufacturers like Bose. It personally came THAT close for me.

The reasons I gave this product four stars are because it wouldn't play music off my iPhone 4 and because at times, it can become slightly cumbersome to catch a signal from the remote control. Overall, the Vizio SB4021M-A1 is a fantastic sound bar system for those on a budget. The subwoofer pumps out excellent bass for its size, and keep in mind that placement has a whole lot to do with that. The user manual recommends placing the subwoofer against a corner for optimal sound performance. Since the subwoofer has a LINE-OF-SIGHT wireless range of up to 60 feet, it can be placed in any corner of the room within range of an electrical outlet and within line-of-sight of the sound bar.

Overall, this an excellent system for those on a budget or who don't want to burn over $1,000 on a high-end sound bar/multiple speaker system.

- excellent sound quality considering price
- great STHD processing
- extremely easy to set up
- user friendly interface and controls
- wireless subwoofer for greater placement flexibility
- wall mounts and mounting template included

- although subwoofer range is 60 ft, it has to be within line-of-sight of the sound bar
- does not appear to support iPhone (did not test USB connectivity on flash drive as of date of review)
- remote control signal slightly weak

2013-02-05 UPDATE: I found the issue with the remote control. The battery cover doesn't press it down with enough pressure to make solid contact. I resolved the issue by cutting a 1"x1.5" piece off a sheet of printer paper, folding it no more than 4 times, and placing it on top of the battery before sliding the cover back on. This applies enough pressure on the battery to make a good contact.
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on January 4, 2013
Last night was my initial setup and listening of the sound bar. Very impressed to say the least. The setup was simple. All I had to do was unpack, plug in the power supply and optical cable and connect the wireless sub. And guess what? It all worked perfectly and sounded beautiful. Vizio really should include an optical cable though. I made a few adjustments from the factory default settings but I can't really say for sure it was necessary. It sounded great right out of the box. I have the system connected to a Panasonic Viera 50" plasma by the way which is in my bedroom. The room is approximately 25'x16' and the system fills the room. The sub will pump out all the bass you'll need. The remote comes with a battery already installed. It's one of those flat kind about the size of a nickle. The stand attached to my plasma is kind of large. What concerned me right after ordering was if the sound bar would have enough clearance to span the base without sitting on the base. The sound bar has two feet attached (or can be removed for wall mounting)that provides about 1/2" clearance. It sat right across the plasma base with approximately 1/8" clearance to spare. Perfect for me. Also, the sound bar does not cover any of the bottom of the plasma screen. For me it's a perfect fit. The system looks really great. It's probably the best looking sound bar on the market. Very stylish. Prior to buying this sound bar I spend a lot of time looking at various others and reading many reviews. I'd say the majority of reviews were all positive. The poor reviews were probably from audio snobs. Ha! I will say this however. If you're looking to fill a large living room this might not be the ideal choice. In fact I'm planning to purchase a more robust A/V-speaker setup for my living area later this year sometime. This weekend I'm going to watch a blue-ray and listen to some music through it. I'd read a few reviews there people said the sound quality was even better with blue-ray. All in all I'd recommend this system as a great buy for the buck. Unless you are one of those people who thinks they can hear sounds only measured by professional testing equipment then you'll be more than happy with it.
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on December 10, 2012
I give this 5 stars and it is worht every single one of them. The sound is amazing. It is extremly user friendly. Litterally take it out of the box and attach the digital optical cord. The sound bar does the rest automatically. The only thing I have had a problem with is the remote control. It can be difficult to get a signal to the sound bar. It was a great purchase for the price. I feel I got more than my monies worth with this product.
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on January 13, 2013
I have had a 60" Sharp for 12 months which I love but the sound output of a flat screen is limited. I trialed the Bose equipment which was incredible but it came with a $1500 price tag which I could not really justify. So, I read and watched the online reviews and the Vizio seemed to be reasonable quality for the price.
This weekend I set it up which was as simple as they say. One optical cable between the soundbar and TV and them BOOM, instant movie theater sound. 2 hours later my wife came home and asked how it sounded, so I suggested she switch on the TV and listen. She sat down facing the TV with our two dogs. She switched on the TV and assumed the sound bar was on and thought the sound was quite good. I had the remote in my pocket, so without her knowing I walked up behind her and pressed the power button. The dogs thought they had been transported to the jungle - Frozen planet was queued up...OMG the impact was amazing. This unit emits an incredible amount of undistorted power.
I would recommend this product in a heartbeat. $250 well spent. I cannot imagine it could be any better.
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on January 18, 2013
About two weeks ago I went out and bought the Samsung HW-E450C. I got it at Costco since they had an instant $50 rebate that brought the price down to $219.99. That model included a HDMI cable and optical cable. After trying it out for two weeks, I thought it was ok but it just sounded quite flat to me. I wanted a sound bar that was going to bring out the dialog since that was the thing I had the most difficulty hearing on TV; voices were just not clear enough. I decided I needed a sound bar that was better than the Samsung.

I did some research and found an audio/visual site that recommended the Vizio. I went to Sams Club and bought the Vizio for $218.88. Was I ever glad I did! However, after getting it unboxed and setup, everything worked fine except the menu button on the remote did not work at all. I called Vizio support and they went through a few things with me but were not able to fix the problem. They offered to mail out a new remote, but since I had just bought it from Sams, I just took it back and got a replacement.

As others have said, the sound out of the box is very impressive. I was immediately blown away by the rich, clean sound and the highs that brought out the dialog so I was able to hear and understand the voices clearly. I like how you can adjust the bass and treble with this unit. With the SRS TruSurround HD turned on, you get the "surround" experience as if you had 4 speakers and the sub. The sub woofer puts out a nice deep sound.

Only negative I have is that the box did not include an optical cable; you will either have to have one or go out and buy one to receive the best sound.

I highly recommend this sound bar as it really is far superior to the Samsung HW-E450C. If you are going to buy one, make sure the model you get is the SB4021M-A1. They also make a model number SB4021E-A0 that is sold at Target and WalMart, DO NOT buy that one. That model does not have an optical input and does not allow for bass or treble settings.
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on December 28, 2012
Researched quite a bit and settled on this Vizio...hooked it up easily and listened to it on TV and Blu Ray....tested on Predator (TV) and roaring lions in Ghost and the Darkness DVD....very impressed. Was leaning toward higher end Energy Elite Powerbar with 10" sub. Could not get below $499...found the Vizio for $179 at BJ's Wholesale...Just could not justify the extra price diff. Was worried that 6.5" sub would not give me is great..not overwhelming but definitely hearing it just enough...maybe 10" would be a little overwhelming in my smaller room. Also, listend to some orchestra music on Sirius TV...sounded terrific. I am very happy with this little system...well worth the money...btw, am using tv speakers with the sound bar..really experimenting...interesting effect...feel like I'm at the Regal Cinema..bold sound...
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on January 26, 2013
I have owned a 52 inch Vizio lcd hdtv for a few years. The set has two built in 15 watt speakers. The sound is rather pleasing compared to the usual 2x 10 watt speakers in most big screen flat panel televisions. As the Super Bowl approaches once again, I could not find a rational reason to buy another television soooo, I decided to upgrade the sound. I do not often have good ideas. Sound bar --- Good! The hihg range sound output is very similar(slightly better) to the set's built in sound. The lower range output of the sound bar is a room shaker. Wow!! The combined sound is a significant improvement and worth the effort. The hardest part of the set up was unpackaging the product. 4 plug - ins and you are done. Plug in woofer into outlet. Plug in sound bar into outlet. Plug in optical cable into sound bar in . Plug in opposite end of optical cable to television out. That's it. Remote is small but efficient. Woofer recognises and pairs with souund bar on it's own. I do not often have good ideas. This was a good idea. Beyonce, I am ready for your half time act.
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on May 16, 2013
I located some Vizio SB4021E-A0 sound bars at a Sam's warehouse. Since I understood that model lacked an optical port, I passed them by. However, as I was walking toward the Exit I observed another display at the end of an aisle, highlighting the Vizio model SB4021M-A1. I bought it for $198.

It must have been a challenge to pack the sound bar and sub-woofer together in a secure package. But Vizio did a good job with it. I was impressed. And I was surprised and pleased to discover an optical cord included with the unit. Finally!

I was concerned the LED stand on my LG set, which extends forward in front of the set on a table, would interfere with the sound bar positioning. I thought the unit would require I move the set backward to accommodate the sound bar in front. But this was not necessary. The legs on the sound bar raised it sufficiently to clear the stand. With the legs included the unit was only about 4" high. Installation was easy. So far so good.

But I found the Bass effect to be overpowering at times. It soon became obvious that different TV programs required different sound bar and sub-woofer settings for optimum effect. While heavy Bass settings might be fine for playing games with explosions evident, they would not be acceptable for reality or news shows. I would increase the Treble settings and decrease the Bass settings to try to overcome those tendencies. Sometimes the sub-woofer would emit a low, continuous rumbling sound, like thunder. I found that to be quite annoying. Interestingly, that rumbling sound seemed to mellow over time.

My major disappointment was with the Input settings accessed from the Menu button. The modes and numerical values are displayed in a window in front of the sound bar. But they are not evident on the TV screen. For example, I don't know if the unit is in the Treble or Bass mode from the chair. So I am not able to adjust the settings if I don't know what mode the unit is in. I asked Tech Support how I could project this data onto the screen. I was informed they could only be displayed in the window.

But the windows readings are not evident from a chair 15 feet away. In fact, they are not evident until I arise from the chair and walk toward the set until I am 1'-2' from it. And I found that different programs required different Bass and Treble settings for optimum effect. Heck, if I have to leave my chair and approach within to within 1' or 2' of the TV set to read or adjust Input settings, why do I need a remote in the first place?

There is a Brightness control setting for the window. But, even with the setting set to a maximum setting of "10", its effect was minimal.

One reason I chose this unit over its competitors was the fact that it included an SRS TruSurround (STHD) feature. But this effect was non-existent with my unit.

I'm going to spend more time tweaking the thing. But I do believe it will go back. The clinchers are the requirement to approach the TV to change settings to the sound bar and sub-woofer and the lack of functioning SRS features. I don't know if these symptoms are common on other sound bars or not. If they are it looks like I may have to cancel the sound bar project altogether. Perhaps the input provided by the optical cord is just not sufficient to provide the features I am looking for.

I had hoped the new features of the Vizio unit would overcome the inconveniences presented by introducing an additional remote. But they didn't
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on May 5, 2013
So easy to set up. This is an excellent system, but I think it's a little pricey.

6 month update: The remote stopped working, and I deducted two stars from my initial rating.

12 month update; I discovered the remote stopped working because someone took out the battery!
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on February 1, 2013
Sound bar does improve my ability to enjoy my tv listening. A little booming from the subwoofer but can be controlled by decreasing the bass using the remote. Everything worked right out of the box just as the instructions said it would. Basically plug and play. Bought the optical cord, Visio should include it, but the RCA is sufficient if you don't want to maximize connection.
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