Vizio Elevate soundbar review: This Dolby Atmos speaker could start a revolution

Soundbars capable of reproducing the atmospheric effects of Dolby Atmos soundtracks have been about due to the fact 2016, but until finally now they have not been really progressive. To get the job done nicely, Atmos units will need added speakers to reproduce those people top effects, and typically they are little, static drivers aimed at the ceiling. The Vizio Elevate expenses a bundle but it tries anything radically new: motorized speakers that rise up and revolve in accordance to whether you are listening to audio or a suitable motion picture. The craziest portion is, it in fact works!


  • Motorized speakers get the job done nicely.
  • Fantastic audio for videos and audio.
  • Lots of connections
  • Includes rears and wi-fi sub.

Never Like

  • Not as easy to use as Sonos Arc
  • No Apple AirPlay aid
  • Relatively shorter surround cables

The Vizio Elevate is pricey for a soundbar, but Atmos bars in basic have usually tended toward the substantial close. The Samsung HW-Q950T comes close in phrases of specification but that program is also $one,700. The Sonos Arc ($799 at Amazon) presents the simplicity of a single bar and contains a voice assistant, but it doesn’t audio as superior as the Vizio. With its relocating speakers, the Vizio Elevate definitely is its possess animal.

Rookies beware nevertheless: The Vizio Elevate’s manual setup can be difficult and just isn’t aided by the confusing distant. Some consumers may perhaps also discover the wired surround speakers a agony relying on in which they select to put the subwoofer — the cables are almost certainly also shorter for massive rooms.

The rotating speakers reek of gimmickry, but in apply they get the job done nicely, incorporating oomph to audio and spaciousness to legitimate Atmos soundtracks. If you will not thoughts plunking down the money for a absolutely showcased, wonderful-sounding soundbar, the Vizio Elevate is a really severe contender. If the Elevate is also loaded for your blood, nevertheless, the Vizio SB36512 is our Editors’ Option winner and an superb alternate at much less than half the selling price.

Build high quality: A phase previously mentioned


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The Vizio Elevate is a soundbar which presents compatibility with equally immersive expectations: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. In addition to the key speaker itself, the Elevate’s setup contains rears, a massive subwoofer and a distant. If you wished to deck out the Arc with a identical array of speakers, namely the Sonos Sub and two Symfonisk for the rear channels, it would price tag about $one,700.

The Vizio Elevate may perhaps be a plastic soundbar at heart but its layout is… ahem… elevated. The key bar feels sturdy and comes in a two-tone finish — portion thick vinyl wrap and portion gun-steel aluminum. This is a major speaker at 48 inches broad and a table-swallowing six.5 inches deep. The finishes are coated in a matte-black materials, which tends to make it difficult to see the matte-black controls, but the elevated buttons are in fact less difficult to use by touch. The front of the soundbar contains a colored LED that tends to make it relatively very simple to tell which input you are on, as nicely as a white LED amount meter.

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The key speaker functions a whopping 13 drivers, including a focused heart channel and 5 tweeters in whole. The swiveling speakers are situated at each individual close and rotate when the program detects a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X sign, revealing the Atmos brand on a single facet and DTS:X on the other. 


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The subwoofer is a single of the largest I have found on any program, measuring 11 inches broad by fourteen inches deep and 16 inches substantial. The rear speakers attribute equally forward-facing and upward-firing drivers and are tethered to the sub by a thirty-foot cable (the link among the soundbar and the sub is wi-fi). The cable was extended more than enough to drape at the rear of my couch and together the facet of the residing area to the sub at the front, but the length could be an concern for some installations. 

Vizio statements the program is able of 107 decibels, and I did discover it was quite loud, so no problems about filling even the largest residing spaces. The Elevate contains a wall-mount bracket in the box (BYO screws, nevertheless), and Vizio made the bar to mate seamlessly with the Vizio OLED Television set.

A mountain of functions

Connectivity is superb with two individual HDMI inputs, a single of which supports eARC, as nicely as optical electronic, a three.5mm analog audio and a three.5mm “voice assistant” input, USB and Bluetooth. The Elevate connects to your network through Wi-Fi and supports Spotify Link and Chromecast crafted-in. Compared with the Arc, it lacks Apple AirPlay aid but its actual physical connectivity is much greater than the Arc’s.


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The Elevate also lacks a crafted-in voice assistant, observed on the Arc and other soundbars, but I will not see this as a big disadvantage. Applying Alexa or Google Assistant on a soundbar can be aggravating as the volume will mute if it hears the wake phrase, which means you could pass up some of your clearly show. If you want to use a voice assistant to hear to audio through the Elevate it is really easy to established the soundbar up as the default speaker for an low-cost Google or Echo speaker nearby.


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The distant looks like the ones that arrive with less expensive Vizio soundbars but differs in two significant aspects. There’s an Lcd display at the major, and 4 buttons which support with setup at the base. Getting equally Influence and EQ selections is a small confusing due to the fact they carry out really identical jobs, and navigating menus through the different buttons takes a small having utilized to.

Adjusting the volume of the subwoofer was easy more than enough with the Stage button but not almost everything was intuitive, and you will will need to know to obtain the Vizio SmartCast application to complete the setup of Wi-Fi, for instance. I also had some troubles updating the firmware from the site, but Vizio instructed me it was due to the fact a single of the files was misnamed and assured me it was now fastened.

In comparison the Sonos Arc was a very simple enjoyment to use, set up and update, while that speaker’s setup does greatly favor iPhone ($599 at Apple) users — Sonos’ TruPlay calibration application is not available on Android. I had some troubles with the Arc initially and these had been aided by utilizing TruPlay (on an iPad ($300 at Back again Industry)).

Significant and mighty audio

The Elevate is two times the selling price of the existing SB36512, but you can not assume two times the performance. I was not able to check the two models facet-by-facet, but in my experience there are usually diminishing returns when heading from an superb, cost-effective speaker to a a great deal a lot more pricey a single. 

For these checks I compared the Elevate facet-by-facet in opposition to the Sonos Arc, due to the fact the two are roughly the very same selling price. The Vizio acquitted itself really promptly with authoritative audio high quality throughout all types of materials. Compared with the Arc, which performs greater at household theater than audio, the Elevate was equally able with equally — a exceptional feat among soundbars.

I begun my checks with audio, Radiohead’s My Iron Lung to be precise, and I observed that the Arc was not quite as attained as the Vizio. The Arc played the tune at a take away, slightly boxy and distant. By fiddling with the EQ I was able to increase definition to the percussion, but Thom York still gave the perception he was phoning it in. The Vizio was the opposite, energetic and punchy many thanks to that subwoofer. It was not quite fantastic, though, as I essential to back off the treble a small, but a great deal a lot more listenable general.

I moved to anything a lot more ethereal with Yulunga (Spirit Dance) by Dead Can Dance, and the Arc enhanced rather, with a crispness and presence in the stereo shaker eggs for instance, even if it was not able to dig deep on the larger drums. The Vizio’s authority was obvious from the initially handful of bars of the tune. Lisa Gerrard’s voice floated free of the speakers, and the string accompaniment was less difficult to listen to. The sub was able to let the drums and gong sounds absolutely resonate in my tests place.

I moved to videos and Television set subsequent, starting up with the infamous egg-stealing Chapter 10 of the Mandalorian. The episode functions a chase scene through clouds and an inescapable canyon run (it would not be Star Wars if you could not flip your ship vertically or had to contend with guard rails on gang planks). During this scene the Arc was able to express a serious feeling of top as the Razor Crest descended into the frosty planet’s atmosphere, pursued by two X-Wing fighters.

As beautiful as the Arc sounded, it was the Vizio’s focused rears and sub which definitely aided anchor the motion. The Elevate’s surround effects had been a great deal a lot more pinpoint and the metallic thud of the ship as it skidded throughout the flooring of the icy canyon sounded impactful and terrifying. It didn’t have the very same vertiginous feeling of top as the Arc nevertheless.

The sub and rears again aided the Vizio express a feeling of area in my subsequent check, the Thanator chase scene from Avatar. Bugs buzzed about the listening situation, dialogue was obvious and explosions bombastic. In comparison with the Arc, it could once in a while mail an insect-like click on to my appropriate that designed me imagine the Elevate’s rears had been by some means still doing the job, but the feeling of surround was a great deal much less palpable.

The revolution starts off listed here

Are revolving, motorized speakers heading to turn out to be a trend? Probably not. The up-firing speakers of the Vizio Elevate include some affect when in stereo manner it is really not definitely more than enough to justify a prospective relocating-portion weak position down the highway. 

The Elevate may perhaps not be as easy to use as the Arc, but it is really the greater performer, and which is definitely what matters. The Vizio soundbar is also a greater price, because of to its enhanced connectivity and focused subs and rears. The Vizio SB36512 still presents the best price of any Atmos soundbar I have tested, but if you want an improve, the nifty Elevate is a a lot more refined and household-theater-prepared speaker.