A sound bar with a subwoofer is sure to sound more powerful than just an ordinary one whether the speaker is internal or external. But a subwoofer can also contribute to more power consumption and of course, sound bars with subwoofers cost more. But not everyone needs a subwoofer especially if they are not so fond of jamming to bass-heavy music. A well-designed and equipped sound bar can still sound very good for movies, gaming and most types of music. The VIZIO S5430W-C2 aims to prove that with its massive size, 3-channel configuration and some extra tech for low frequencies.
Massive and minimal are two words that best describe the S5430W-C2. Measuring 54 inches wide and weighing close to 9 pounds, this sound bar is the kind of speaker system you should think about if you want to give your very large 50 or 60-inch a matching companion. Of course, VIZIO S5430W-C2 was primarily made to pair with VIZIO TVs although the sound bar should work with just about any other TV. Like the VIZIO TVs, the front VIZIO logo is positioned on the bottom right of the S5430W-C2 giving the sound bar that clean and minimal look when viewing it from the front. Rather than having the rectangular form factor, the VIZIO S5430W-C2 takes a more trapezoidal prism form at the back of the sound bar, where all the connections are, has a shorter width than the speaker grille.
The sound bar is so minimal that you will have to look at the left side of the sound bar just to spot the basic controls. You can turn on or off the sound bar, adjust the volume, change the input and pair a Bluetooth-enabled device. The included remote control comes with these functions as well and a little bit more. You will need the remote control if you wish to quickly mute or un-mute the sound bar, use the playback controls or access the sound bar’s menu. When adjusting settings through the menu, a pair of LEDs will light up on the right of the sound bar showing the current status of the selected function. Pressing the “Next” and “Previous” buttons will adjust the level and the LEDs will update accordingly.
Setting up the S5430W-C2 is pretty simple because the sound bar itself serves as the only component and all the important cables are included. An HDMI cable is even included so you may quickly connect that cable to the HDMI out on the back and then immediately connect the other end to your TV if it supports Audio Return Channel (ARC). Otherwise, you can use the included digital optical or coaxial cables or substandard 3.5mm to RCA cable. A subwoofer isn’t part of the package so you are pretty much done after making the necessary connections although a subwoofer out remains available if you wish to connect your own subwoofer. An HDMI input can be found on the back as well along with a USB port. Because the VIZIO S5430W-C2 already comes with the wall mount screws, brackets and wall mount template, you can immediately mount the sound bar to the wall which is the recommended thing to do if your TV is mounted and you don’t want to set up a very wide table just to accommodate the sound bar.
The S5430W-C2 offers broader support for different home theater components than the cheaper models thanks to the addition of an HDMI input. This means that you can hook up a Blu-ray player or cable box directly to the sound bar effectively freeing up ports on your TV. Then you can use the remaining ports to hook up other media players, gaming consoles and portable devices. The USB port can read flash drives but the odd thing is that the VIZIO S5430W-C2 can only read .WAV files.
Perhaps the best way to feed music to the S5430W-C2 is through the Bluetooth functionality. When it comes to Bluetooth, anything goes because there are lots of smartphones and feature phones that can pair with the sound bar and stream any stored music files to the sound bar without much effort. If you have any streaming apps for your smartphone or tablet, you can listen and then link the sound bar to the device so the streamed music can be heard from the sound bar.
Unlike the entry-level VIZIO models, the VIZIO S5430W-C2 has its own menu interface and that explains why there are fewer controls on the remote control. You can use the menu to adjust the bass, treble, center, surround and subwoofer levels if plugged in. You can also toggle certain settings like the DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume. The S5430W-C2 also allows you to program your TV remote control so it can be used to control the sound bar functions as well.
The wide form factor of the VIZIO S5430W-C2 enables the sound bar to produce a very wide sound field. 103dB is loud and even the low-end frequencies can be heard without a subwoofer hooked up thanks to the Deep Bass Modules. During the times where you won’t like the bass, you can turn on the “Night” mode to lower those bass frequency levels. All 3 channels are capable of surround sound playback through DTS TruSurround as well and the overall sound quality is fantastic.
VIZIO claims that the S5430W-C2 really doesn’t require a subwoofer even though you can add one and get noticeable results. But as a standalone sound bar, the VIZIO S5430W-C2 is nice and the Bluetooth feature works well. $299 is a bit on the high side but at least the audio quality is great and it has plenty of connection possibilities.
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