Vizio VHT-215 vs Sony HT-CT150 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-07-2012, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Purchased a Vizio VHT-215 and thanks to the help of others in this forum, got it hooked up correctly and was able to test it a bit last night.

First off, to my ears (very non-audiophile) it sounded very nice. It looks good and I really like the wireless sub that I can put elsewhere out of the way. Way better than my TV speakers ... but that's probably obvious.

Here's the problem. I bought it after trying to watch the Lord of the Rings DVD the other night and having a lot of problems hearing the dialog. I had to keep turning the volume up so I could hear the dialogue and then turning it back down because it was too loud during the loud action scenes. I live in a duplex so can't just crank stuff up as much as I like. And, almost as importantly, my wife doesn't like the volume too loud, so even if I think it's not too loud for our neighbor, it's often too loud for her. The Vizio was a good improvement on this situation. I could hear dialogue better, but not as well as I was hoping for. I still had to fiddle with the volume on occassion so while it's definitely a nice improvement, to me it's not quite there.

I'm very much a neophyte when it comes to audio, but I'm wondering if the Sony HT-CT150 would be as nice as the Vizio but even better in regard to the problem of hearing the dialog in quiet parts. Unlike the Viziio, the Sony has a center speaker adjustment, so I'm thinking that if I crank that center adjustment, will that solve the problem I have with the Vizio? The Vizio only has bass/treble/sub adjustment. I had the treble up almost all the way and still occasionally had a problem. Will the Sony do what I'm asking for, or am I simply asking too much for something in this price range? I can't afford too much, but I'm willing to spend a little more if it will make a big difference for the dialog volume issue.

My "problem" with the Sony is the wired subwoofer. I have room behind the TV (in a corner) but I'm thinking I'll need to have the subwoofer out where it is visible in order to control it, and I don't know if I have the room for that. (It's tight and is hard to tell until I actually have the thing to place there and see if it works.) I'm willing to give it a try but only if I can get some confirmation that it will make a difference in relation to the Vizio.

If the Sony won't make much difference in my particular situation, is there a slightly higher-end model that will do what I need it to do? I really can't go much higher, but may be able to swing something around the $300 range.

Thanks for any help and comments.

Warren
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-08-2012, 01:10 PM
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I know this may be obvious but have you tried playing around with the different SRS modes? The VHT215 is awesome, I just replaced a Samsung E450 with and there is really no comparison.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-08-2012, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramoer View Post

I know this may be obvious but have you tried playing around with the different SRS modes? The VHT215 is awesome, I just replaced a Samsung E450 with and there is really no comparison.

Sorry to hijack but can you please expand on this? I have been going back and forth between the Samsung HW-E450 and the VHT215. I need to ask my wife to get one of the 2. We have all Samsung products in the living room including a 46" LED (not ARC) and BD player. We also have an XBox 360 Kinect so, with the Vizio, I would probably connect the HD DVR and the BD player directly to the soundbar via HDMI and then the XBox to the TV via HDMI and then the TV to the soundbar via optical. Enough of that. I see that the Samsung has bluetooth, which is nice but not really necessary. Is there anything else that the Samsung has that the Vizio doesn't? What makes the Vizio better other than that it sounds better? Thanks.

My other concern might seem minor but it's not to my wife. The Vizio might be a little too tall. From the top of the cabinet to the bottom of the TV is approximately 4 inches. This soundbar with the legs might be a little too tall.

Lastly, I would really like HDMI pass-through and I don't see it listed anywhere that either of these units has that.

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-09-2012, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsmithjr View Post

Purchased a Vizio VHT-215 and thanks to the help of others in this forum, got it hooked up correctly and was able to test it a bit last night.
First off, to my ears (very non-audiophile) it sounded very nice. It looks good and I really like the wireless sub that I can put elsewhere out of the way. Way better than my TV speakers ... but that's probably obvious.
Here's the problem. I bought it after trying to watch the Lord of the Rings DVD the other night and having a lot of problems hearing the dialog. I had to keep turning the volume up so I could hear the dialogue and then turning it back down because it was too loud during the loud action scenes. I live in a duplex so can't just crank stuff up as much as I like. And, almost as importantly, my wife doesn't like the volume too loud, so even if I think it's not too loud for our neighbor, it's often too loud for her. The Vizio was a good improvement on this situation. I could hear dialogue better, but not as well as I was hoping for. I still had to fiddle with the volume on occassion so while it's definitely a nice improvement, to me it's not quite there.
I'm very much a neophyte when it comes to audio, but I'm wondering if the Sony HT-CT150 would be as nice as the Vizio but even better in regard to the problem of hearing the dialog in quiet parts. Unlike the Viziio, the Sony has a center speaker adjustment, so I'm thinking that if I crank that center adjustment, will that solve the problem I have with the Vizio? The Vizio only has bass/treble/sub adjustment. I had the treble up almost all the way and still occasionally had a problem. Will the Sony do what I'm asking for, or am I simply asking too much for something in this price range? I can't afford too much, but I'm willing to spend a little more if it will make a big difference for the dialog volume issue.
My "problem" with the Sony is the wired subwoofer. I have room behind the TV (in a corner) but I'm thinking I'll need to have the subwoofer out where it is visible in order to control it, and I don't know if I have the room for that. (It's tight and is hard to tell until I actually have the thing to place there and see if it works.) I'm willing to give it a try but only if I can get some confirmation that it will make a difference in relation to the Vizio.
If the Sony won't make much difference in my particular situation, is there a slightly higher-end model that will do what I need it to do? I really can't go much higher, but may be able to swing something around the $300 range.
Thanks for any help and comments.
Warren

$300 range stay with Sony. If your room is big, get the CT550. It can shake the room.
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-10-2012, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMeister View Post

$300 range stay with Sony. If your room is big, get the CT550. It can shake the room.

Thanks. It's a small room and I don't need to shake it as I live in a duplex. I've ordered the CT150 and will get to test it out side-by-side with the Vizio and will report back.
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-14-2012, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Have had both units for a few days and have tested them out and figured I'd report my "findings" for any who might be interested.

First to Doctego,

The Vizio sound bar is taller than the Sony. I haven't measured, but the Sony would definitely fit into that space. I'm pretty sure you can take the feet off the Vizio but I can't vouch for how well it would sit without those feet. Actually, my guess would be not well, as the cables plug "up" into the soundbar. My HDMI was very thick and I had to take extra effort to bend the cable so that it wasn't pushing the soundbar forward, because there wasn't much clearance. I also had a thinner cable which wasn't a problem, but if you took those feet off, I'm not sure you'd have enough clearance to run the cables. I guess it would depend on the cable.

Second, and I don't know if this would really matter for your situation, if you want to hang the sound bar, to avoid potentional cable issues, it's not simplistic to do so. I've read other posts where people have done it, but there are no holes on the back specifically for this purpose. There are holders designed to work with the wall mounts supplied with the unit, but as far as I could tell, you can't remove those holders so I'm not sure how you would hang it, or mount it above the TV for that matter. The Sony unit had holes on the back which would make it much easier to hang from the TV.

Truth be told, I liked the look of the Vizio a little bit better ... it's a nice looking and sounding unit.

Hope this helps a little bit.


Ramoer was correct ... I had missed extensively testing the various SRS modes. When I went back and re-looked at that, it started sounding much better. Very good, in fact. There is a setting labelled TruVol. I really don't know exactly what it does, but it solved the problems I had indicated above and really sounded good when I turned it on. To my ears and my wife's, it sounded better than the Sony unit. I could hear some effects in my test movie (Lord of the Rings pt 1) that I couldn't hear in the Sony unless the volume was much higher. (In fairness, I was still trying to figure out what settings worked best for the Sony, but it was an obvious difference.) My guess (untrained & uneducated guess) is that the TruVol enhanced the audio track in some way. Most of the time it sounded better than the Sony. However, in the end, I decided to stick with the Sony. The difference was in the "most of the time" previous comment. Throughout my testing, 4 or 5 times the sound dropped out completely for a second or so. I don't know if my unit was defective, or maybe there was some interference with the wireless subwoofer, or maybe that's just the way it's supposed to work. I really don't know, but I didn't care to spend tons of time trying to figure something out that I wasn't even sure could be figured out. Second, there were occassions when the sound would not drop out completely, but would .... just change in sound. It happened consistently at one point in the movie, when the sound would suddenly drop to half of the volume and then build back up over the next few seconds. Again, I don't really know why this was, but my uneducated guess was that the enhancing algorithm (or whatever) just had trouble with that particular spot. My first guess was that it was just the soundtrack on the DVD. However, this did not happen on the Sony unit, so that's why I think it had something to do with the way the Vizio enhanced the sound. When I used the Sony, I wouldn't call the sound spectaculr, but I would call it rock-solid consistent. I never heard changes in level like I would occasionally with the Vizio. It didn't sound as good, but it also didn't distract me when those little, admittedly probably minor, variations in sound did occur. And while it wasn't an easy decision, for me, in the end I decided a good consistent sound was preferable to a better inconsistent sound.

Don't get me wrong ... I'm not suggesting the Vizio was *bad* in any regard, but these little things were noticeable and I thought that over time it would distract and aggrivate me and I'd rather have the Sony unit which never seemed to get in the way or distract me from what I was watching/listening to. Perhaps my unit was defective. To be honest, I didn't want the hassle of going through another one to see if indeed that was the case. Also, I'm still trying to figure out the ideal balance for the Sony unit, so given a bit more time, I think I can make it sound even better for what I'm looking for. I really was conflicted because I really liked the sound of the Vizio better. But, in the end, I chose the "good" and consistent sound of the Sony. For what I spent, less than $200, it is a nice improvement over the TV speakers. I'm sure for a lot more money you could get something that would blow the Sony HT-CT150 out of the water. But, I'm not willing to spend that kind of money, so am happy with my compromise.

Hope this is helpful to somebody.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-14-2012, 10:23 AM
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Thanks wsmithjr...a lot of useful info. I just bought one of these as a gift to my parents for Christmas. I was leaning towards the Sony but was afraid they just didn't have space to put the subwoofer in a location to use the remote. The Vizio makes it easy. I was glad to hear confirmation of the sound quality.

A little worried about the problems though. I found a great price online at Walmart ($188) but didn't realize till checkout it was a refurbished unit. I went for it anyway...will see. Anyone else have personal experiences? Setup tips also appreciated from owners.

I will make sure they try the TruVol selection. One of the online audio sites review mentioned clear dialogue which was a motivating factor for me as my parents are getting older.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-14-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Doctego,

I neglected to mention that the Sony has HDMI pass-through. The Vizio does not.

athiker,

Hope it works out for you and that I either had a faulty unit or something in my specific environment was causing those problems. Clear audio was the biggest thing on my list and with the TruVol On it was really good. Without it on, it was OK, but not as good as I wanted it. I liked the Sony due to the separate center channel which I increased to it's max adjustment and made it very good for the dialogue.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-15-2012, 09:41 AM
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In reply to my comment of the E450 vs VHT215T:

I wasnt overly impressed with the E450 (looks or sound wise). The Subwoofer is mild and the speakers sound plasticky. The one thing the E450 has is better integration and connectivity with my Panasonic GT50 plasma. I cant get the Vizio to power on with vieralink like I could with the Samsung.

The VHT215 has much fuller sound, better midrange, and better low end. I also like the speaker fabric look much better than the bare tweeters of the E450.

The TruVol mode of the VHT215 pumps up the audio for voice dialog so it isnt drowned out by the sub. You can definitely notice the difference, however, the feature doesnt always work. You will find it sometimes pumping the volume at the wrong time which can start sounding weird watching moving and TV shows. I usually keep Truvol off, unless I'm really having trouble hearing the dialog.
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