VIZIO SB3820-SB3821-C6 2.1 Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer System Review

Last updated on: Sep 17, 2018
Bottom Line: a very cheap, convenient, and space-saving way to upgrade lousy default TV speakers to decent 2 channel sound, with the option of a subwoofer for a 2.1 system. Will inevitably fall short to larger traditional box-speakers and subwoofers.
VIZIO SB3820-C6 38-Inch 2.0 Channel Sound Bar
click to see zoomable image on Amazon (affiliate link)

Important Specs Overview

Speaker type: powered, wireless, sealed 2 channel soundbar, ported subwoofer
Max output: 100 dB
Frequency response range: 60 – 19k Hz (soundbar), 50 Hz – ? (subwoofer)
Warranty: 1 year

Review and Discussion

VIZIO is known for their focus on the budget-tier – TVs, speakers, etc. that are decent while being very affordable. The SB3821-C6 is an all-in-one system that includes a 2 channel soundbar (which essentially has the same functionality of 2 traditional box-seakers), and a subwoofer. As an alternative you can purchase the sound bar only (the SB3820-C6) for about two thirds of the price. The idea here is an inexpensive and convenient way to get quality, upgraded sound over built in TV speakers, which in this day and age are generally lousy given how TVs have become thin and flat. It also avoids the cost, space requirements, and hassle of a traditional home theater set up – no separate receiver, wires, or cables required, with this sound bar and subwoofer you just plug them in and they’re ready to go.

The max output of 100 dB is quite decent enough if you’re just trying to fill a smaller room, but will inevitably fall short to bigger traditional home theater speakers. Same goes for the range and bass – while it’s great that you get a 2 channel speaker AND a subwoofer for so cheap with this product, a 50 Hz floor sub just isn’t going to compare to larger subs on the market. We couldn’t find any information on the crossover point when the sub is included, but the soundbar itself has a response floor of 60 Hz if you choose to forgo the subwoofer.

The rounded bezels, sheen finish and dull chrome tops/sides actually look quite decent for budget-tier speakers, which tend to look pretty boxy and plain. Also nice is that the subwoofer port is on the back so you don’t have to worry so much about it being placed on a hard surface – just as long as it can reach an outlet it can wirelessly sync with the system. VIZIO offers a 1 year warranty on its consumer electronics, which is pretty bare minimum but par for the course when you’re getting minimally priced speakers.

Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition

The intent of the SB3821-C6 system is pretty clear: to give people an inexpensive and easy way to upgrade basic TV speakers to acceptably decent sound. If that’s all you’re after, and you’d rather not pay much money, or deal with the bulk, cost, and hassle of a traditional home theater system with passive speakers and a receiver, the SB3821-C6 is a great option, and it is one of the most inexpensive all-in-one 2.1 sound solutions available. We recommend just getting the all inclusive 2.1 option since, for ~50 extra bucks, adding even the most basic of subwoofers is definitely worth the money.

If you’re looking for a more permanent, high quality system, you’re going to get maximum power and value for your dollar with traditional speakers and a receiver, but we’d say for everything you need you’re going to be spending around 500 dollars bare minimum. There’s no “right” choice after all, it really kind of just comes down to what you care about most.

See the SB3820-SB3821 sound bar on Amazon (affiliate link)