Review: Samsung HW-Q990B

Samsung’s flagship soundbar is among the first to have Wireless Samsung Soundbar Dolby Atmos. It also sounds amazing.

If you’re an audiophile the days of having needed to shell out thousands of dollars for the latest receiver, and then convince an uncle from your construction company to demonstrate how to run the cables across the wall are over. Soundbars, particularly those that have built-in rear surround speakers have become so sophisticated that there’s really no reason to invest in the older equipment.

Particularly, systems such as Samsung’s flagship HWQ990B sound better and more like your typical premium home theater. The 11.1.4-channel soundbar is the first one to come with wireless Dolby Atmos. All you’ll need to set to go is four outlets for power as well as an incredibly shorter HDMI cable.

Within a few minutes, you’ll be immersed in a stunning objects-based surround sound. Dragons, alien ships and helicopters buzz over the ceiling, bullets fly across the right and left as well as James Earl Jones’ baritone can be heard clear and clear in the central channel. If you’re not willing to commit longer (and cash) it’s a challenge to find an audio system that sounds like this in most living spaces.

Tentpole Setup

The inside of the black-on black HW-Q990B is awash with lots of interesting and cool technology, the exterior of the bar is incredibly boring (and therefore easy to conceal under the TV screen). This bar is hexagon with angled corners that bounce sound off walls, and the surrounds at the rear are big with angled tops to shoot sound upwards and down to create the height channels.

The wireless subwoofer that comes with it is the least obvious of the lot, a small rectangle that could be concealed in any corner in my studio. Place the surrounds on stands. Plug them into the subwoofer. The main bar is connected to the power source, as well as into your projector or TV through using the HDMI EARC ports. After that, you’re off to the movie theater! It’s really that easy.

For those with more expensive systems or those who are particular about the design of their home may want to install the bar’s main part or surrounds. However, this can be accomplished using a couple of anchors for drywall and the power drill (not included).

The Price of Entry

Spending $1,700 on a soundbar–significantly more than I’d recommend most folks spend on a current-generation TV–might seem foolish. However, think about your last purchase. purchased an additional pair of computer speakers for the latest laptop. You don’t tend to change your audio equipment regularly, as they last longer. In the world of home theaters audio is in any way an unchanging business but it’s not developing at the speed that screen technology and image processing are.

If you purchase an audiobar of this quality equipped featuring Dolby Atmos, and all the advanced processing associated with it I’d guess that it’ll last for at least two generations of TV. Therefore, if you’re hoping for that your television will last for three or five years old, then a speaker of this caliber would last from between five and 10 years, which would make the cost per year a bit lower than.

Personally, I feel that more immersive audio draws me more into what’s happening than top-of-the-line screen. It may sound like sacrilege when you’re a TV or reviewer for a projector, but truly immersive surround sound is one of the things that theaters can are able to do better than that we can do at home. When you connect the two with a quality equipment, the sound helps to take you back to the cinema headspace.

In the end, a significant part of the majority of television and movies is the audio. You’ve probably watched most of them at full resolution on a fairly good quality screen even if you’ve just watched them on a mobile phone. But have you heard them in high-quality sound through decent speakers or good headphones? Perhaps but not.

Epic Fidelity

I’ve heard great center-channel soundbars in the past–Sennheiser’s Ambeo, which is a soaringly expensive model, is one that comes to the mind–but I’ve never experienced a bar with this high-quality surround speakers. The two-way surrounds are huge and give more volume and have better quality than anything I’ve heard from a bar with speakers previously, delivering the sound of a tire turning and squealing in the back of your head. While watching the most recent Fletch film, I believed that an actual fire alarm was flashing behind me. But it was only the film.

The subwoofer, bar, and surrounds are paired with Samsung’s superb digital signal processing technology to handle everything from big , boomy action movies to sultry , vintage detective films with the same ease as a theater. Bass is fantastic but it’s not particularly powerful. There’s enough rumble from your included woofer that you can feel each step of the villain within More eerie Things but not enough to cause people living in apartments have to be afraid of retribution by their neighbours.

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The built-in Alexa along with Apple Airplay 2 make streaming effortless and you can select from four sound options–sports movies, news, or dialogue–with the remote included (not that you’ll be touching it too much, due to the mentioned eArc support which lets your TV remote take control).

The sound quality is quite good as well, thanks to Bluetooth integrated for fast streaming using my smartphone. It is also possible to stream music through Samsung’s Smart Things app, and when you own a premium Samsung TV the bar will be able to be connected to the built-in speakers on the TV to provide even better audio. I tested this on an Samsung QN900B and must say that the sound was pretty good.

However, to be fair the soundbar system is generally quite good. It’s a significant amount of money, about 1,000 dollar more expensive than an acceptable system from Vizio or Samsung and Samsung, yet it does provide superior performance over less expensive alternatives. It’s nevertheless lower in price than many connected Dolby Atmos systems and is easier to put in the living room.

If you watch an abundance of television or movies at home , and you’re looking for a theater in your home experience, a top-quality soundbar like this is an investment worth it.