A Closer Look at Vizio S3821W-C0 Sound Bar

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A sound bar amplifies your TV’s standard audio, but sometimes audio can overpower smaller TV screens. Even those with 42 inches may have to compete with a sound bar.

That’s not the case with Vizio’s S3821W. These sound bars were made to fit 38-inch and 42-inch TV models, but how do they stack up against other sound bars? There are some pros and cons to the new Vizio sound bar.

Read also: A Comparison between Vizio VSB200 and VSB207

Key Highlights of Vizio S3821W-C0

To kick off this review, it is a delight to know that one cable is all it takes to operate one of Vizio’s most popular sound bar offering. The subwoofer is separate and wireless, which allows you to set up your system anyway that you like. The S3821W-CO is also rated at 100 dB with less than 1 percent of total harmonic distortion. Since the sound is Dolby Digital, it’s no wonder that it’s so high quality.

The S3821W is a 2.1 channel system with a wireless subwoofer. It also has some pretty cool features like built-in Bluetooth. They have made it amazingly simple to operate. If you like to stream music from mobile devices (via Bluetooth), this should delight you more than anything else. The sound bar also has support for DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume. Both of these features can improve your audio experience significantly.


DTS TruVolume controls the volume level and even balances the level when it jumps. This makes for a smooth experience, and you can create your own volume settings. DTS TruSurround immerses the viewer into the sound without any need for rear speakers. It’s quite clear and provides depth to every sound element.

The bass on the S3821W-CO gets pretty dynamic as any true subwoofer should, but if you are looking at smaller modules for 29-inch and 32-inch TVs, Vizio uses something called deep bass technology, which doesn’t sound as good as a separate subwoofer. Based on my personal test of the Vizio S382W-CO, you can place the wireless subwoofer up to 60 feet away and still enjoy crystal clear and explosive audio.

The styling for the S3821W is a little like like the Vizio 5.1 sound bar or S4251W-B4. The remote for the new sound bar doesn’t have the same integrated display however. This was a rather handy device that should have been included with the new sound bar especially for the price. Many Vizio sound bar reviews that discuss the S3821W-CO have questioned why the integrated display was left out for the all new sound bar.

The Letdowns

There are some issues that could have been improved upon with this sound bar. For instance, many sound bars today feature WiFi so that it can connect to all kinds of devices and not just rely on Bluetooth. The subwoofer also has some problems at high decibels and may not provide as smooth sound. The Vizio S3821W is also very heavy at 20 pounds, which leads to higher shipping costs and issues with mounting.

Overall, there is a lot to love about the new sound bar from Vizio. The sound bar has all of the innovative features that you expect from Vizio, and it also meets international standards for high quality. You can set up and configure the sound bar with unique volume settings and controls as well. While the single cable connection isn’t as good as wireless, it’s still not as bad as having to place several different speakers around the room to get the full effect of surround audio. It’s much simpler with Vizio’s thin sound bar and wireless subwoofer setup.

Vizio S3821W-C0 side viewConnector ports of Vizio S3821W-C0

To Sum it Up

Vizio has come a long way in sound bar design and only looks to be improving upon their earlier models. It’s one of the few sound bars that can provide surround sound without rear speakers for smaller home televisions, and it also features some great wireless connectivity.

The Vizio S3821W also has achieved greater sound quality for only having a wireless subwoofer. It’s an incredible addition to any home entertainment system and is likely worth the money if you are looking for more sound to go with your smaller television.

Your Take

Do you think the Vizio S3821W-C0 makes the cut as a solution to your home entertainment need? If not, you may want to check which sound bars came out top in our recent pick of the best sound bars for LED TVs.


  1. Helane Walker

    We have a 42″ Vizio TV. We have some trouble hearing what people are saying. eg. Downton Abbey or movies. I understand that Vizio does not have good sound. Would a soundbar help this problem?

    • Fredric

      Hi Helane,

      That’s exactly the problem we have as the thickness of LED TV is shrinking. I can never enjoy any movie by relying on the TV speaker output. Soundbar definitely helps.

      Hope that helps.

  2. William Tyler

    I have an Oliveo tv that has lost its sound, but picture is fine. My ATT Uverse box has audio output as well as optical outlet. I think I can use a sound bar in place of the tv sound. What do you think?

  3. Andres

    We bought this after great reviews. We have noticed that there is a problem in lip sync. You can really notice this when playing the TV speakers along the with the sound bar. We are using the provided optical cable plugged into our JVC TV. I am thinking about buying a higher quality (and longer) optical cable and plugging it to the cable box instead (can’t do with the length of the optic chord provided). Hopefully this will solve the problem (otherwise my wife won’t let me spend money on toys for a while!).
    Anybody else had this problem? any suggested solutions?

    • dvdp112

      That’s a common problem .. I put my tv speakers on clear voice and only turn it up a bit right before you can tell there is a sync issue

  4. dvdp112

    I also just bought my dad this speaker for Father’s Day so I will let you know how it goes when I go to his house and give it to him

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