Vizio Elevate’s Rotating Speakers in the Vizio Elevate 5.1.4. Home Theatre Sound bar
Plug in the soundbar, hook it up to your TV, plug in the subwoofer, then plug clearly color-coded wires from the rear satellite speakers to the subwoofer and you’re good to go. The Elevate comes with every cord you could possibly need, and then some. You get a Stereo RCA to 3.5mm cable, HDMI cable, optical cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cables, all the requisite power cables, and the audio cables to hook up the rear satellites to the subwoofer. The subwoofer, thankfully, connects wirelessly to the sound bar. You could wall mount it if you’d like. The remote looks like the ones that come with cheaper Vizio soundbars but differs in two important aspects. There’s an LCD display at the top, and four buttons which help with setup at the bottom. Having both Effect and EQ options is a little confusing because they perform very similar tasks, and navigating menus via the different buttons takes a little getting used to. The support platform at the core of the sound bar is powered by MediaTek chipset ensuring a stable and steady performance at all times.
The Elevate also lacks a built-in voice assistant, found on the Arc and other sound bars, but I don’t see this as a major disadvantage. Using Alexa or Google Assistant on a sound bar can be annoying as the volume will mute if it hears the wake word, which means you could miss some of your show. If you want to use a voice assistant to listen to music through the Elevate it’s easy to set the sound bar up as the default speaker for an inexpensive Google or Echo speaker nearby.
The wiring isn’t too complicated and the cables are decently long. On the other, it limits where you might place your subwoofer in relation to the satellites. It wasn’t an issue in my tiny studio apartment, but I could see it being somewhat of a challenge if you have an open concept or large living space. Adjusting the volume of the subwoofer was easy enough with the Level button but not everything was intuitive, and you will need to know to download the Vizio SmartCast app to complete the setup of Wi-Fi.
The 8-inch subwoofer is a big black box measuring 10.8 by 15.6 by 13.8 inches (WHD). The driver is underneath — something to think about if you’re in an apartment building — and Vizio says it has a frequency response of 30Hz. In layman’s terms: It big, it go boom. The rear satellites are much smaller, measuring 2.9 by 5.9 by 3.7 inches (WHD). They’re meant to be placed vertically, to shoot sound up as well as forward. The sound bar itself is boxy, black, and, at 48 inches, quite a long boy. The front has a rounded, anodized aluminum grille while the back is plastic. On the left side, there are LED indicator lights, though frankly, I didn’t find them to be that helpful. Meanwhile, on the right side, you can find some physical controls for Bluetooth, volume, input, and power. The Elevate offers a generous selection of ports. On the left side of the sound bar in the back, you’ll find the AC in, the optical port, an analog AUX input, and another AUX input for voice assistant speakers. On the right side, you’ll find the USB port for updates, as well as one HDMI eARC/ARC output and two HDMI inputs. The sound bar supports Bluetooth and Chromecast is also built-in, which means you’ve got more options when it comes to streaming music and you also get 4K at 60Hz passthrough.
Lastly, you get a remote. It’s fine and does what it’s supposed to, and thankfully has a display screen so you can see what EQ setting you’re on. You can also set up the sound bar to work with Vizio’s SmartCast app both as a remote and to control settings. The Elevate also makes excellent use of the 18 speakers inside the sound bar itself. As far as immersive sound, the Elevate is excellent. The Sonos Arc also has upward-firing speakers, but the Vizio Elevate does a noticeably better job. The Elevate’s surround effects were much more pinpoint and the metallic thud of the ship as it skidded across the floor of the icy canyon sounded impactful and scary. It didn’t have the same vertiginous feeling of height as the Arc however.