Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
It seems every week Vizio expands into a new market. First it was HDTVs (they were originally a computer monitor company by the name of Princeton Graphics), then came DVD and Blu-ray players. Now, the electronics giant has branched into speakers, specifically soundbars like the VSB205 reviewed here. Retailing for $119.99 the VSB205 is the least expensive and smallest soundbar that Vizio currently makes, but does that mean it's the lesser for it? Let's find out.
• Read more soundbar reviews by the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Explore subwoofer pairing options in our Subwoofer Review section.
• Find an LED HDTV or Plasma HDTV to pair with the VSB205 soundbar.
The VSB205 is a compact soundbar designed to be mated with HDTVs 32-inches and larger though if you're one who values design and proportion I wouldn't recommend pairing the VSB205 with any HDTV larger than 40-inches diagonal for its 31.5-inch width would look out of place. VSB205 is styled in the same vein as other Vizio soundbars, the only cue you have that it's not one of its costlier siblings is the fact that it is smaller -and doesn't have a subwoofer. The VSB205 is a two channel only speaker containing two, two and three quarter inch full-range drivers giving it a reported frequency response of 90Hz to 19.5kHz. Vizio states that the VSB205 is capable of sound pressure levels of 98dB though I'm not sure I'd recommend it. The VSB205 is a simple, straightforward affair possessing only two inputs, a pair of RCA style analog audio input as well as a single 3.5mm audio input. Despite having SRS WOW HD sound processing technology there is no surround sound or even faux surround sound decoding or playback of any kind present here. In other words, think of the VSB205 as providing you with enhanced built-in loudspeakers for your HDTV.
Connecting the VSB205 is straightforward and simple thanks to Vizio supplying all the necessary cables for installation. You can even mount the VSB205 on your wall below or above your HDTV using the included feet and screws -pretty cool. The VSB205 itself has a few hard controls for power, input and volume up and down, all of which are located along the top of the speaker itself. The VSB205 also has a very simple remote that accomplishes the same tasks though it adds mute as well as a SRS on/off control.
As far as the VSB205's sound quality is concerned, if installed in a smaller room such as a bedroom, office or den the VSB205 should perform admirably. Give it too much square footage to contend with, say in excess of 150 square feet, things will go bad in a hurry. In my guest bedroom, which is roughly 120 square feet the VSB205 proved to be solid. Mated to a 32-inch Vizio HDTV it was a match made in guest room heaven -possessing a fuller, richer sound than some of the competition I'd be trying out recently. There is a noticeable bump in the lower midrange that creates the aural sensation of more bass, with or without the SRS engaged, that also helps flesh out the rest of the VSB205's sonic performance. The high frequency performance was sweet and largely smooth though I don't recommend pushing it for it will flatten out and compress easily. Remember, this is a small soundbar designed for smaller HDTVs and small rooms after all. Dynamics were good as was detail. Surprisingly there was even a semblance of a small soundstage present on certain recordings. So long as I kept the VSB205's volume in line with the size and impact of the screen I paired it with, its performance didn't disappoint.
Read about the high points and low points of the VSB205 soundbar on Page 2.