The Simplified Vizio Sound Bar Manual: From Unboxing to Troubleshooting
Admit it, even though your Vizio sound bar came with a manual, you still prefer to go online and know how to install and use it.
It’s probably because we are more of a visual type, not the textual one. So, we prefer images and videos.
It can also be that the manuals we have do not explain all of the questions we have in mind. And no matter what we do, the manual would never reply in case we ask.
This is why I created this article. It aims to be the ultimate Vizio sound bar manual you’ll ever refer to. Also, it’s simplified.
Vizio sound bars generally work the same albeit named differently. For the purpose if simplicity, I’ll be dividing it into three categories: the 2.0, 2.1, and 5.1.
Vizio Sound Bar Connection Options
Before showing how to set up and fix a Vizio sound bar, let me first discuss the connection options you have. What works best depends on how you plan to use it.
- RCA. Also known as the analog input/output, this connection is probably as old as our grandparents. It is commonly used in old TVs, turntables, and our current music players such as MP3s and smart phones. It usually uses copper wires to transmit analog signals between devices.
- TOSLINK. Optical connection or TOSLINK uses fibre optic cable to transmit digital signals. Hence, the cable appears thinner and more feeble. Thus, I suggest extra care when using it.
- Coaxial. In digital music transmission, coax is probably the least used.
- HDMI. This connection is probably the most recommended of all because it is considered the all-in-one solution.
- Bluetooth. For wireless connectivity, Bluetooth is probably the most common. Most portable multimedia devices have this.
On our MP3 players and smartphones, we see the 3.5 mm audio jack. On other devices, we see two ports: the red and white ones.
Do not choose this connection if playing digital music because it can degrade its sound quality.
A TOSLINK cable usually has a plastic cover on both ends to protect the connecting pins. Make sure to remove this before plugging it in.
Do not choose this connector if you’re into lossless sound formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. TOSLINK does not yet support these.
Also, note that TOSLINK is for transmitting audio signals only. You will need a separate cable for the video.
The coax connector uses a single RCA and the port usually has an orange insulator in the middle. In terms of quality, there is not much difference between coax and TOSLINK.
In the sound bar world, coax is the usual connector used between the soundbar and the subwoofer.
HDMI cables lately can transmit both the audio and video signals. Plus, they have the capacity to let Dolby and DTS audio signals pass through them. Also, they’re good for 3D and 4K watching. In other words, whether these signals are compressed or not, HDMI can transmit them.
Choosing this connection is optimal if you find wiring your audio and video devices abysmal.
However, note that using Bluetooth connection may result in latency. Meaning the character you are watching may not be saying exactly what you are hearing. There is a delay, so to speak.
The 2.0 Vizio Sound Bar Manual
- Get it out the box. Open the top flap of the box then remove the accessories first before pulling out the sound bar. This will avoid losing any accessory while unboxing.
- Plug the power cable. The next thing to do is to plug the power cable into the back of the sound bar. You may turn it on to check if it’s working.
- Choose the connection. Depending on your audio needs, choose the connection that will work best for you. If it’s the optical/TOSLINK you are using, remember to remove the protective cap first. Also, the port may seem covered because there is a “door” protecting it from dust and dirt. You don’t have to remove this door. Just push it open with the cable until you hear a click.
- Set up the audio source. Once the cable is connected, the next thing to do is to choose the input/output source using the buttons on the sound bar or the remote that comes with it. If using a TV, you may have to turn off internal speakers first.
In the box, you should find the manual, the wall mounting template, the wall mounting brackets, remote control, and the cables: the power cable, RCA, coaxial, and TOSLINK.
For a more comprehensive how-to for TV installation, check out my previous article.
The LED lights in front of the sound bar should respond when volume, input source, or settings are changed.
Because 2.0 sound bars have only one piece of the speaker, the most common problem you may encounter is the absence of sound.
When this happens to do one or more of the following:
- Ensure that you have chosen the correct input source
- Check that the volume is turned up
- Make sure the cables are properly attached
- Power cycle both devices and reconnect
The 2.1 Vizio Sound Bar Manual
- Get them out the box. Open the flap on the larger end of the box. Take out the subwoofer first then the sound bar next. Lastly, take out the accessories box.
- Plug the power cable. Plug the power cables on both the sound bar and the subwoofer. Turn them on to see if both are working.
- Set up the subwoofer. Find the sweet spot for the subwoofer. It should be within 60 feet from the sound bar. Also, there should be a clear line of sight between the two.
- Follow steps 3 and 4 on the 2.0 sound bar installation
The accessories included are typically power cables for both the sound bar and the subwoofer, the connection cables: coaxial, RCA and optical, remote control, wall mounting brackets, wall mounting template, and the quick start guide.
Both the sound bar and the subwoofer have the pairing button and the indicator light at the back. When the sub’s power is turned on, the indicator light should light up. It should also automatically pair with the powered on the subwoofer.
If not, hold the pairing button on the subwoofer for 5 seconds until the light blinks fast. Do the same for the sound bar. The LED lights in front of the sound bar should tell you if the two are paired successfully. Refer to your device’s manual for the proper indication.
- No bass sound. If you can’t hear or feel the boom from the subwoofer, do one or more of the following:
- Check if the sub is turned on.
- Ensure it is properly paired (the pairing light should be on and not blinking).
- Check if the volume is turned up.
- Power cycle the sub and the soundbar. Re-pair.
- No sound from the sound bar. If it is the soundbar itself that seems not to be working, do any of the following:
- Ensure that you have chosen the correct input source.
- Check that the volume is turned up.
- Make sure the cables are properly attached.
- Power cycle both the audio source and the sound bar.
The 5.1 Vizio Sound Bar Manual
- Get them out the box. Open the top flap of the box. Remove the satellite speakers first followed by the accessories box. Remove the subwoofer next then the sound bar.
- Follow steps 2 and 3 on the 2.1 installation
- Set up the satellite speakers. These speakers are best placed behind the listener's position to give that surround sound. You may do this by mounting the satellite speakers on the wall or by placing them on a stand you have to buy separately.
- Follow steps 3 and 4 on the 2.0 installation
The accessories that come with usually the following: power cables for both the sound bar and the subwoofer; audio cable for the satellite speakers; RCA, optical, and coax cables; mounting brackets for the soundbar and satellite speakers; wall mounting template; and quick start guide.
But before doing so, plug the speakers’ audio cable first to know if it will reach your desired location. Otherwise, you have to place the speakers where the cable can reach them.
If it is the soundbar or the subwoofer that’s not working, follow the troubleshooting tips listed under 2.1 manual above.
If it’s the satellite speakers, do any of these:
- Make sure the audio cables are properly connected.
- Ensure surround is enabled in the audio setting.
- Make sure the sub is turned on and paired with the sound bar.
Vizio sound bars are a popular choice for those who are after low cost without compromising the quality. Good thing they are generally easy to set up and troubleshoot.
If the above setup and troubleshooting tips do not work, however, you may have to see other more comprehensive articles on troubleshooting. Or worse, you may have to get a whole new different sound bar because compatibility may be the problem.
If it’s remote, check out the whole article I wrote on how to fix a Vizio sound bar remote.
If you have any other concerns not discussed in this article, feel free to let me know via the comments section below, and I’d be happy to help.