Published On: July 15, 2011

Vizio VSB205 Home Theater Soundbar Reviewed

Published On: July 15, 2011

Vizio VSB205 Home Theater Soundbar Reviewed

Vizio continues to expand into the soundbar market place with the Vizio VSB205 home theater soundbar. HTR reviewer Andrew Robinson found that the VSB205 just made everything so easy to do.

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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.

Additional Resources
• 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.

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High Points
Vizio makes some of the nicer looking soundbars available today and the VSB205, despite being the smallest and least expensive, steps up to the plate with looks befitting its costlier stable mates.
• The VSB205 is one of the easiest soundbars to install and live with day-to-day. 
• Out of the box Vizio gives you everything you need to enjoy the VSB205 in your home including the hardware to wall mount the VSB205 should you wish to.
• In smaller rooms and when played at reasonable volumes the VSB205's sound quality is rather surprising -even its bass, which on paper is non-existent, was rather pleasing.

Low Points
• If you're looking for a soundbar to mate to your new 50-inch HDTV and don't have the money for something larger don't buy the VSB205, save your money and get one of Vizio's larger soundbars for you'll be disappointed if you expect too much from the VSB205. 
• The VSB205 does not have the ability to decode or playback even Dolby Digital soundtracks -that's a feature reserved for more expensive soundbars. 
• There is no way to add a subwoofer to the VSB205 in order to augment its lack of bass. 
• The VSB205's remote is handy and fully functional but it's cheap and because of its size is easily misplaced.

Competition and Comparisons
While most soundbars are inexpensive it's difficult finding one that is roughly $100 in price like the VSB205. There's the iLive IT209B, which retails for $149 and comes with a motorized, built-in iPod dock and digital clock display. Unfortunately, the iLive doesn't sound as good nor does it appear to be built to the same standard as the VSB205, which is saying something considering they're both bare bones, affordable products. You could always step it up a notch (or two) and still not go broke by taking a peek at Samsung's HW-D450, which like the VSB205 is a two-channel soundbar though the Samsung includes a wireless powered subwoofer to augment the bass. The Samsung retails for $349.00, which is three times more than the VSB205 but then again it does possess three times the performance. Of course if you like Vizio you could always step up to Vizio's VHT-210 soundbar and subwoofer combo, which retails for $269.99.

For more on soundbars including the latest soundbar news and reviews please visit Home Theater Review's Soundbar page.

Conclusion
If you're looking to add a bit more punch to your small bedroom or den HDTV but don't want to go broke in the process then look no further than the VSB205 soundbar from Vizio. The VSB205 is affordable, easy to install, easy to use and provided you don't turn it up too loud, easy to live with too. The VSB205's sound quality is solid when played back at reasonable volumes and should provide you with all the added oomph needed to elevate your HDTVs sound performance to that next level.

Additional Resources
• 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.

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