Vizio M51ax-J6 testimonial: This 5.1-channel soundbar flaunts virtualized Dolby Atmos as well as DTS: X audio

vizio m51ax-j6 review

“The M51ax-J6 provides Dolby Atmos as well as DTS: X audio using virtualization as opposed to upfiring drivers.”

VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar

VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar
4.8 5 0 1
Low-Profile Modern Design Seamlessly blends into any environment and ingeniously attaches to select VIZIO M-Series TV stands for quick, clean tabletop or wall-mount installation.
Low-Profile Modern Design Seamlessly blends into any environment and ingeniously attaches to select VIZIO M-Series TV stands for quick, clean tabletop or wall-mount installation.
4.8 rating
Total Score

Vizio’s latest mid-range soundbar satisfies haggle hunters that desire immersive Dolby Atmos as well as DTS: X audio without breaking the financial institution, and also without the need for upfiring motorists that need flat ceilings at just the appropriate elevation.

Considered that it uses virtualization rather than physical chauffeurs to supply elevation signs, it comes as no surprise that the 5.1-channel M51ax-J6 can’t match the precision of costlier soundbars that do have upfiring drivers. You’ll likewise need to do without Wi-Fi connectivity as well as audio casting assistance, although that’s no huge surprise provided the M51ax-J6’s cost as well as attribute collection.

Regardless of those drawbacks, the 5.1-channel M51ax-J6 uses lots of value, including rich, punchy, as well as amazing audio, eARC support, as well as a devoted audio jack for linking a wise audio speaker, such as an Amazon Echo or Mirror Dot.


The Vizio M51ax-J6 is a 5.1-channel soundbar with a total of 9 chauffeurs. The primary soundbar device comes equipped with 3 oval-shaped (1.66 x 3.48-inch) full-range vehicle drivers and three 0.79-inch tweeters, which provide noise for the right, left, as well as center networks. Boosting those chauffeurs is a pair of passive radiators that support the soundbar’s bass reaction. The surround audio speakers obtain one full-range motorist (1.61 x 2.22 inch) each, while the wireless speaker has a five-inch chauffeur.

The M51ax-J6 supports Dolby Atmos as well as DTS: X, a pair of object-based sound styles that supply height along with border results (you can review those audio layouts in this other story). Rather than upfiring motorists that jump elevation hints off the ceiling, the M51ax-J6 utilizes virtualization specifically, DTS Virtual: X to deceive your ears right into thinking they’re hearing height results. While virtualized elevation networks will not seem as accurate as those you’ll get from upfiring chauffeurs (or, even better, in-ceiling motorists), they can in fact be preferable for those with ceilings that are vaulted, as well high (above 14 feet) or too low (below 7.5 feet).

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

Gauging 36 x 2.2 x 3.5 inches, the M51ax-J6 shows up with a pleasingly reduced account. The top of the system simply hardly gets rid of the lower side of my low-slung, 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV, a welcome modification from soundbars that obstruct a sliver (or more) of the LG’s display.

At the same time, the wireless subwoofer is reasonably portable at 8.25 x 8.25 x 10 inches (WxDxH) which’s a good idea, considered that the majority of users will likely be positioning the speaker near their sofas. The 5.6 x 3.4 x 2.25 inch (WxDxH) border audio speakers might conveniently be placed on a small rack or (also much better) installed on the wall surface, ideally a foot or 2 above your head when seated.

Talking of mounting, the wall-mountable M51ax-J6 features installing braces, screws, and also a template, along with a quartet of cable connections.

Inputs and results

You’ll locate the M51ax-J6’s numerous ports as well as connectors in two rear tooth cavities on the left as well as right. The soundbar’s two HDMI ports are on the right-hand side: an outcome and an input. Not just does the HDMI output support ARC (or Audio Return Channel, which enables Televisions to send audio back to a soundbar), but it additionally sustains eARC, an improved variation of ARC that boasts adequate transmission capacity to supply lossless sound styles such as Dolby TrueHD as well as DTS-HD Master Sound. (Click here to read more about ARC and also eARC.).

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

Those HDMI ports offer you a number of alternatives in terms of configuration. You can either attach a video resource (such as a streaming player, a gaming console, or a Blu-ray player) to the HDMI input and after that link the HDMI output to among your TV’s HDMI ports (4K HDR passthrough is sustained), or you can attach the soundbar’s HDMI-ARC port to the matching HDMI-ARC port on your TELEVISION, and after that connect video resources to your TV’s HDMI inputs. If you select the last alternative, you’ll be able to change between more video clip sources without exchanging cables, and also you’ll also have the ability to pipeline audio from your TV’s receiver and smart TV apps with the soundbar.

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

If you own an older TV that doesn’t have HDMI ports, you can link it to the M51ax-J6 through its optical input, and also if your TV doesn’t also have an optical result, you can fall back to the soundbar’s 3.5 mm supporting input, which sits in the unit’s left rear cavity. (A stereo RCA-to-3.5 mm Y-cable is included in the box.).

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

Simply listed below the M51ax-J6’s 3.5 mm complementary jack is a 2nd 3.5 mm input, which is scheduled for connecting in a wise audio speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot; you can additionally attach a smart speaker (including the Google Nest Mini, which does not have a wired result jack) through Bluetooth. Either method, if you link a wise speaker to the M51ax-J6, the audio speaker’s sound will certainly be ported through the soundbar’s audio speakers, as well as the soundbar will certainly also decrease the volume of whatever’s playing so you can much better hear your voice assistant when you wake it.

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

The last interface worth pointing out is the M51ax-J6’s USB-A port, which rests in the ideal rear cavity together with the HDMI and also optical ports. The USB port can both upload firmware updates to the soundbar in addition to accessibility media on USB storage drives; sadly, the port can only check out MP3 as well as WAV files, not FLACs or video documents.


As I pointed out earlier, the major M51ax-J6 soundbar unit can be either positioned before your TELEVISION or placed on the wall under your TV, and once more, placing materials are consisted of. The soundbar’s approximately five-foot power cord terminates in a common two-prong plug, so there’s no beefy, outlet-blocking Air Conditioner adapter to manage.

The M51ax-J6’s compact surround speakers connect to the wireless speaker (which, given its power cord, isn’t in fact cordless) through a pair of 30-foot cable televisions, giving you some latitude in regards to where the speaker will go. One alternative would certainly be to place the below in a traditional place behind the TV and also off to the side, but that would require stringing the cables for the border audio speakers across your floor (hopefully under a carpet). One more choice is to keep the speaker better to your couch, although if the speaker is too close, it will certainly begin to appear overwhelmingly boomy.

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

Now, if you prefer to not manage surround speakers across the room from the soundbar, there’s a 3rd alternative: placing them best beside the soundbar, so they’re flanking the primary soundbar housing. The M51ax-J6 includes a set of border audio setups for this real purpose: a “Front” setting made to provide digital border impacts while the satellite attributes remain in the front of the room, and a “Twin” setting that guides sound from the appropriate and also left front channels to the surrounds, basically widening the soundstage. You can likewise turn the border audio speakers off completely. Now, I wouldn’t suggest paying out for a 5.1-channel soundbar if you’re not intending on positioning the border audio speakers nearer your sofa (or at all), yet the option exists if you want it.

The M51ax-J6 comes pre-paired with its wireless (well, mostly wireless) speaker. When I powered both units up, they instantly connected to each other, easily on my part. That stated, if there are any type of link problems, you can always pair the soundbar and speaker by hand.

Provided its sub-$500 cost tag, it’s little marvel that the M51ax-J6 does not have a Wi-Fi connection. That indicates you will not have the ability to cast audio to the soundbar via Apple AirPlay 2 or Chromecast, nor will you be able to stream songs natively through Spotify Link or one more streaming music solution. On the brilliant side, the lack of Wi-Fi ways you won’t have to manage connecting the soundbar to your cordless network, an irritating process on other Vizio soundbars I have actually checked.

Controls, remote, and indicators

5 switches rest atop the M51ax-J6’s major housing: a power button, an input button that cycles with video and audio resources, a Bluetooth pairing switch, and quantity up/down controls.

Vizio’s brand-new soundbar remote (which I formerly talked about in my evaluation of the 5.1.2-channel Vizio M512a-H6) has a boost over its rivals thanks to its backlit display screen, although the buttons themselves are not backlit. Otherwise the remote is a messy affair, with a four-way navigational keypad in the facility, along with different EQ, audio level, setup, and also audio effect buttons below the navigation wheel. Thankfully, the buttons you’ll most likely usage at night volume up/down, as well as mute, are very easy to locate by touch.

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

If you go into the Level food selection utilizing the remote, you can cut the M51ax-J6’s treble and also bass setups (I left them both level), and also readjust the level of dialogue (in lieu of a one-touch “voice boost” mode) or of the center channel in general. You can also improve or dial back the surround volume and modify the border balance also. Finally, you can fiddle with the speaker level, which can come in useful if you wind up putting the soundbar close to your sofa.

Just like Vizio’s various other recent soundbars, the M51ax-J6’s signs contain a column of 10 LEDs on the left side of the front panel. The column of lights increases as well as drops according to the volume level, as well as when you trim the soundbar’s different audio levels. There’s also an additional LED at the base of the column that glows various shades depending on the identified noise layout; for instance, the light radiances green for Dolby Atmos, amber for DTS, and white for typical Dolby Audio. A few secs after you quit pushing buttons, the lights transform as well as fade off totally, so I never discovered them distracting.


Crisp, punchy, vibrant, as well as amazing: Those are a few of the words I have actually utilized to define Vizio’s latest soundbars, including the costlier M512a-H6 (which includes up-firing drivers to the mix), as well as the M51ax-J6 makes the exact same praise well, approximately a point.

As I stated previously, the M51ax-J6 uses DTS Virtual: X to attain the height effects for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X soundtracks. (Dolby utilized to frown on third-party DSP innovations being used in addition to its very own audio styles, but according to Vizio, Dolby has actually given that dropped its arguments. I have actually got to out to Dolby for more details.).

I started my listening examinations with the UHD Blu-ray of Celebrity Wars: The Realm Strikes Back, which boasts a remastered Dolby Atmos soundtrack. As I viewed the Millennium Falcon executing barrel rolls with three enormous Imperial Star Destroyers in the quest, I was struck by the crisp noise of John Williams’s exhilarating rating and the deep holler of the Falcon’s engines a little boomier than I’d such as, yet nothing a tweak of the subwoofer level settings could not deal with. (I likewise kept the speaker concerning three feet far from my couch.) It’s an amazing scene, and also the M51ax-J6 made for an excellent pairing.

As much as height effects go, DTS Virtual: X can not be anticipated to match the noise of elevation cues from upfiring motorists, much less in-ceiling audio speakers. The virtualization modern technology did a sensibly great task, supplying the hiss of frozen snow bits spilling down from the ceiling at the concealed Rebel base on Hoth, as well as the height hint of the groaning Imperial Pedestrian foot as it virtually stomps on Luke. And also while I’ve whined in the past about the shrillness of DTS Virtual: X in older soundbars, DTS’s virtualization seemed even more all-natural this time around.

vizio m51ax-j6 review
vizio m51ax-j6 review

Proceeding from Realm, I cued up the noodle-bar scene near the beginning of the UHD Blu-ray variation of Blade Runner, when Gaff summons Deckard to police HQ with a disrespectful poke of his walking stick. As a soaked Deckard dives under the safety awning of the noodle bar, the consistent, pelting rainfall should feel like it’s coming down all over you, or a minimum of it performs in my (upfiring) 5.1.2-channel house theater. On the M51ax-J6, the rainfall still seems like it’s originating from above, however, the private raindrops really did not seem quite as specific not a big surprise, but it does show what you lose when using virtualization for height hints.

Lest I appear as well critical about the height effects, I ought to include that Deckard’s ride to the station with Gaff was a reward, complete with Vangelis’s renowned, shining rating and also the whoosh of rewriters zooming around and also listed below the structure.

Changing to the UHD of Apollo 13 and its DTS: X soundtrack, the launch series appeared rather spectacular, from the border cue of the gurgling fuel pumps to the grumble of the Saturn V rocket the spacecraft rose off the launchpad. I likewise liked the tidy pop of the getaway tower jettison, as well as James Horner’s stimulating rating. Once more, the virtualized height results did not have the accuracy you may obtain with upfiring drivers, however, provided the M51ax-J5’s cost variety, my ears were rather happy.

OK, so just how does requirement 5.1-channel material noise? Leaping into the “Ode to Titanic” series (“Take her to sea, Mr. Murdock let’s stretch her legs”) from the Blu-ray of that huge sinking watercraft movie, the clang of the bridge bell had a clear, resonant ring, while the pistons in the engine space fluctuated with deep, pleasing “ker-plunks”. Toggling on DTS Virtual: X expanded the soundstage as well as pressed it ahead a little bit while adding a welcome feeling of airiness as well as once more, I really did not listen to any of the harshnesses that plagued the DTS Virtual: X mode on older soundbars.

I also streamed some tunes to the M51ax-J6 over Bluetooth, starting with “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen. With Songs setting enabled as well as DTS Virtual: X switched over off, the one in charge’s spare vocals and also guitar work seemed clear however a tad as well bass-y, while Larissa Dedova’s performance of Ravel’s solo piano functions for Centaur seemed sloppy (approved, playing solo piano tracks on a below-$400 soundbar is a big ask). Ciara’s “Degree Up” got on much better, with limited, punchy bass as well as clear vocals, albeit with a visibly slim soundstage (activating DTS Virtual: X helped to widen things up, however, it also made the total audio much less tight). Simply put: The M51ax-J6 manages songs simply fine for informal or history listening, however, audiophiles will not be impressed.


Generally, the M51ax-J6 delivers large, bold noise for the cost, and its virtualized height impacts, while not as exact as those you’ll receive from upfiring drivers, might be ideal for those with vaulted ceilings. It’s additionally great to see (and listen to) eARC support on a soundbar in this rate array, while the capacity to connect a clever audio speaker is a smart method that contending soundbar producers have yet to match.

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