OK I got my 510 from amazon last Thursday. I've spent the weekend putting it through the paces and I offer my thoughts on the unit. Keep in mind this is only MY experience with the unit, other people's problems are well documented elsewhere.
I purchased this from Amazon for $297 with free shipping. Amazingly they delivered it in just 2 days even though I got the super saver shipping which said it would be as long as 10 days, so kudos to Amazon for that.Backstory: (Don't read if you don't care why I was looking at this system)
Now this is for my main living room with is a very large room; back wall is about 25' from the TV, the right wall (as you're looking at the set is about 15' but the left side of the room is open to the house entrance way with a 25' vaulted ceiling that has a huge fireplace smack in the middle of it (you could literally rock climb up and around it 360 degrees). So it isn't a room that is easy to set up for. We've been living with the TV speakers on our Sammy 50" 650 plasma, which aren't terrible but lack depth.
I knew going into this that it would cost a mint to get a real 5.1 system to sound great in here so really I just wanted MORE sound with possibly some surround effect. I looked into HtiB set ups (specifically the HT0SS370 from Sony) but there is no way I can easily run cables to the back. I saw a lot of good reviews of the JVC 5.1 soundbar but that soundbar is so large that it would cover up my TV if I placed it in front of it on the TV stand and it's too ugly to hang on a wall (sorry it's true). Thay's when Davyo's post about the VHT 510 caught my interest. A soundbar with wireless rear speakers that doesn't cost a fortune?!?!? Well I waited through the delays and finally bit the bullet.Set-up:
The 40" wide soundbar, a sub and two rear speakers. The sub was already synched with the main soundbar and I just had to plug in the back speakers and it was up and ready. The remote is very simple but has a neat pull out control pad for the detailed changes (see picture). I placed the main bar in front of my Sammy plasma and it looks well there and has a nice look to it.Sound:Note: I am still relying on the simple RCA cables while my optical cables are in the mail, I will update my thoughts once I get the final set up with optical cables and switch from the PS3/Cable/TV done.
Now I just came from a week from my parents house over Christmas and they just finished installing a full 5.1 system with nice Klipsh speakers and a high end receiver, so I somewhat used this as a bench mark.
I used Speedracer, Inception, and Saving Private Ryan for my initial tests. My first thought were.."WOW". Really, I was very impressed at first by the sound all around. The front three speakers carried the dialog very well, nice clean audible voice with good pitch and depth. The rear speakers really put out some nice sound to compliment the front. The Sub was great, with good full sound without overpowering the system. Even with a less than optimal set-up, cable wise, the system did a good job interrupting the signal and giving a good surround effect, there were some instances where the back sound kinda dropped out but I have a feeling using direct optical input will only help with this.
Now, I spent some time in Best Buy today and they had the Sony HT-SS370 on display playing Transformers:RotF. I listened to the system and thought "hum, this kinda sounds better than the 510", as it was really booming and covering a wide range of sounds there in the store, I even thought about buying one just to take it home to test, but decided the wife would kill me if I did. So of course the first thing I do when I get home is pop in my copy of Transformers and I must say after 10 seconds of listening there was no doubt that the 510 sounded as good if not better than the Sony unit. The bass really boomed and bullets whizzed and the transforming swirled all as expected. After this I put all thoughts of looking at any other unit to bed, SOLD!
I even did some gaming with Call of Duty: Black Ops and it was a great experience. Bullets went off in the distance behind me, grenades boomed and choppers whizzed at a nice range and draw in the background.
I tried some music and while it didn't do as well as my stereo system in my other room that has 10" speakers it certainly had a full sound that filled the large room/house nicely. I look forward to playing some Rockband with this.Complaints:
OK I do have some gripes, being a sound bar the system is limited in it's left/right stereo sound in the front bar, simply because it's only 40" wide, I do wish I got a bit more distance between the sound of the left and right sides, but again this is more a limitation of the soundbar set-up not that the Vizio is bad at, but worth mentioning. Also, I can confirm there is a quite but high pitch ring that comes from the unit (even when it's off). It doesn't bother me as you can't hear it unless your 2" away form the unit, however if this is in a bed-room it could drive you crazy. I can't hear it sitting on my couch even with the TV and everything off.
I did not (at least not yet) run into any of the LED issues that others have reported but honestly I don't think it would bother me if the LEDS did go out, I leave the system in the same mode at all times and I don't know why I would ever change it. Even if I did there's really only three options so cycling though wouldn't be much work.Conclusion:
I really came away impressed with the 510. I was worried about buyer remose on this as it would be really easy for a sound system to sound terrible in the room where I have it but this system does very well on a modest budget. It gives me a full (TRUE!) 5.1 setup that is easy to set-up and contrl (good for the wife). The only drawbacks are simply limitations to the size of the front bar but I knew going in that there would be some compromise but all and all this system does everything I was looking for at a nice price.
I would certainly recommend this unit.
Rear speaker size comparison.
Neat hide-away remote.
The LEDs that some have mentioned.