Sound bars have started to look all alike: there’s this bar with a set of speakers inside that connects to an audio output from a TV or Blu-ray player or cable box. And in some cases a wireless subwoofer unit is part of the mix. So right from the start VIZIO’s S4251w-B4 42″ 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar stands out. And yeah, it sounds good too, in case you wondered.

The box holds more than just a sound bar — there’s also a fairly large front-firing subwoofer and two satellite speakers plus a whole mess of wiring. What are those little speakers for? Why to provide real 5.1 audio — none of that psycho-acoustic attempts at creating surround by trying to fool your ears.

I put the sound bar on the cabinet in front of the TV and moved it back/forth till it was almost even with the Sony 50-inch HDTV. The bar’s a bit thicker and heavier than most since there’s not only left, right and center channel speakers inside (2-3″ mid-range drivers, 1-3/4″ tweeter for left/right and 2-2/5 full range drivers for the center), but also the power supply. But the euro-styled shape and having a cloth front slims it down somewhat. I connected the power plug and went to find where to put the wireless subwoofer. I settled on the wall next to the couch facing the TV and plugged it in also. But before I turned it on, I plugged in the blue-coded RCA cable to its back and ran the wire to the left side of the couch where I had put the (blue labeled) satellite speaker. I plugged the free end of the RCA cable into the speaker’s back. I then did the same thing using the white-coded RCA cable and the other satellite speaker, which was placed to the right of the subwoofer. If the length provided isn’t enough, simply buy longer RCA cables. This simple approach made it easy for me to set up the sub/sats, especially since I was in temporary housing and so didn’t have access to speaker stands, nor could do anything that might cause some damage to the walls.

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