The Samsung HW-Q990B is a incredible soundbar that makes use of a number of drivers, wi-fi rear audio system and a beefed-up subwoofer to ship a staggeringly immersive encompass sound expertise.
The general audio high quality is superb, the engineering spectacular and there’s good performance courtesy of built-in Alexa. It’s expensive and will do with a few extra HDMI inputs, however you received’t discover a extra achieved house theatre soundbar.
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: What it’s essential to know
he Samsung HW-Q990B builds on the success of the corporate’s earlier flagship fashions, and even manages to enhance a number of issues with a reimagined cupboard and a new-look subwoofer.
It’s an 11.1.4-channel system primarily designed for house cinema lovers and provides a stage of immersion that may in any other case require an AV receiver and a number of audio system. The Q990B’s house theatre credentials additionally embody assist for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, plus the HDMI connections can move each model of HDR, together with Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10+. Solely passthrough for 4K/120p and Variable Refresh Price are missing.
There’s a bunch of different options, together with Auto EQ, built-in Alexa and assist for Q Symphony, which synchronises sound from the bar and suitable Samsung televisions. There’s additionally a succesful distant app, assist for high-resolution audio, and even wi-fi Atmos.
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: Value and competitors
he Samsung HW-Q990B may appear costly at £1,599, however when you think about its immersive capabilities the value begins to make sense. Fashionable opponents just like the Bose Good Soundbar 900 or Sonos Arc might seem cheaper, however they haven’t any separate subwoofer or rear audio system. When you add these the value tag jumps up considerably, and even then the sound isn’t as immersive.
If you happen to like the concept of the Q990B however don’t have the price range for it, the Samsung HW-Q930B provides an analogous set of options for much less cash. There’s no Auto EQ or acoustic lensing on the sub and it’s solely a 9.1.4-channel system, however is considerably cheaper at £1,099. Alternatively, the 7.1.4 channel LG SN11RG additionally sports activities an analogous set of options for £1,499, although you’ll need to make do with out HDR10+ passthrough.
READ NEXT: One of the best soundbar offers this month
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: Design and options
he Samsung HW-Q990B makes use of the identical massive cupboard and angled corners as final yr’s HW-Q950A, however replaces the material overlaying with a extra sturdy metallic mesh grille. It’s enticing, simpler to maintain clear, and fewer prone to be scratched by cats. Fortunately Samsung has additionally moved the show again to the entrance of the bar the place it may well truly be seen.
The matte black end is discreet and non-reflective, the construct high quality is superb, and the soundbar’s dimensions swimsuit TVs with display sizes of 55 inches or bigger. There’s a selection of stand or wall mounting, and in the event you determine on the latter Samsung contains devoted brackets for this objective.
The redesigned subwoofer and rear audio system are additionally completed in matte black, with the latter utilizing a brand new curved design that’s very modern. In addition they use the identical metallic mesh grille because the soundbar, making a cohesive aesthetic, and could be stand or wall mounted. Whereas the sub and rears are wi-fi, they nonetheless have to be plugged into an influence socket.
The Q990B is about as feature-packed a soundbar as you’re prone to discover, however its most important promoting level is the power to ship an extremely immersive 11.1.4-channel soundstage. The subwoofer has been upgraded this yr, and now boasts an 8in driver mixed with an acoustic lens design that produces bass with higher uniformity and thus the low-end is clearer and extra exact.
The system consists of entrance left and proper channels, a centre channel, entrance and rear overhead channels, width channels on the entrance, and facet channels on the entrance and rear to make sure seamless panning of results from front-to-back and side-to-side. The soundbar makes use of up-firing wide-range tweeters as an alternative of acoustic beams to increase the frequency vary.
The soundbar is ready to totally utilise all these audio system due to assist for the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio codecs. New this yr is the addition of Wi-fi Atmos, which permits the format to be transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection utilizing lossy Dolby Digital Plus from supporting 2022 Samsung TVs.
Samsung’s SpaceFit Sound Gen II expertise is ready to carry out an computerized EQ utilizing a microphone constructed into the subwoofer. This calibrates the bass for higher integration with the opposite audio system, whereas concurrently optimising the room correction for the particular setting. It additionally periodically adjusts the room correction if mandatory, similar to for adjustments within the structure or decor.
The Adaptive Sound (AI Sound) setting works very well, optimising the sound primarily based on scene-by-scene evaluation of the content material, leading to a greater total efficiency. It would additionally mechanically improve voice readability at low volumes in the event you’re watching non-Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content material. There are additionally Normal, Encompass Sound and Recreation settings.
The newest iteration of Q Symphony permits homeowners of suitable Samsung TVs to make full use of their additional audio system by concurrently synchronising sound from each units to provide a much bigger entrance soundstage. This up to date model now makes use of all of the audio system within the TV to create a system composed of as much as 22 channels, relying on the TV.
The inclusion of built-in Amazon Alexa turns the HW-Q990B into a totally functioning good assistant, permitting customers to ask questions, hearken to music or podcasts, and management the soundbar with their voice. You should utilize Alexa to entry Amazon Music as nicely, and never solely hearken to numerous songs, but additionally music combined in Dolby Atmos in case you have an Limitless subscription.
It’s also possible to get Dolby Atmos music from Tidal (in case you have a Hello-Fi subscription and forged songs with the Dolby emblem) and Apple Music (in case you have an Apple TV and choose Immersive Audio within the audio format). Lastly, there’s Hello-Res Audio assist, Faucet Sound for supporting Samsung units, and the Lively Voice Amplifier (AVA), which could be useful in noisy environment.
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: Connections and management
he Samsung HW-Q990B has a good set of connections, with two HDMI inputs and an output that helps eARC. Extra inputs could be good, however all of them move 4K/60p, and each model of HDR (HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient). In addition they assist Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), however not VRR or 4K/120 excessive body price. When it comes to different connection choices, there’s an optical digital enter, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2.
The One Distant Management has been redesigned, including extra controls however remaining intuitive to make use of. The SmartThings app can be easy to make use of and makes setup simple, permitting you to shortly create a Wi-Fi connection, configure Alexa, and replace the firmware. As soon as the soundbar has been arrange, customers can function the HW-Q990B utilizing both the controls on the soundbar itself, the offered distant, the SmartThings app, Alexa or their TV distant – so there’s loads of selection.
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: Sound High quality
he total efficiency of the Q990B is incredible, with its massive drivers and spectacular width guaranteeing it’s a reliable performer with music. There’s some good stereo separation and the subwoofer gives a strong basis of bass that feels tight and managed due to the Auto EQ. There’s additionally a readability to the supply, with an uncongested midrange and a clear treble.
The menu gives varied controls for manually adjusting the treble, bass and any sync audio delays; and there are additionally controls for setting the degrees of the assorted channels and subwoofer. Nonetheless, there needs to be no want to regulate these as a result of SpaceFit Sound mechanically optimises the acoustics, and periodically corrects when mandatory.
The side-firing audio system present loads of width, whereas the centre channel ensures that dialogue is evident and centered on the display. When watching TV reveals, the Samsung proves extremely achieved, and the rear audio system guarantee 5.1-channel soundtracks are delivered accurately and with well-defined encompass results. The wi-fi connections are additionally freed from delays and dropouts.
When the complete 11.1.4-channel soundstage is engaged, the Q990B actually will get an opportunity to indicate its full immersive capabilities. The sense of sonic envelopment with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X is superior to every other soundbar, and even rivals some AVRs. The usage of entrance and rear up-firing audio system makes an enormous distinction, though their effectiveness will largely rely on the peak of your ceiling.
The soundstage is large, with results steered exactly and positioned across the room in a sensible hemisphere of sound. There’s adequate amplification to retain glorious dynamic vary, and sufficient energy to fill a decent-sized room. The brand new subwoofer gives exceptionally deep and highly effective bass, with out dominating the opposite channels or swamping the soundstage.
All these attributes are completely demonstrated when watching 1917, which has a extremely directional sound design that strikes particular audio results via three dimensional area. The Q990B seamlessly strikes these sounds across the room, making a visceral sonic expertise that locations you in the course of No Man’s Land.
The efficiency with TV reveals reveals clear dialogue, with motion pictures and video games there’s a satisfying dynamism and with two-channel music there’s glorious stereo imaging and localisation of devices. Whether or not watching TV or motion pictures, listening to music or taking part in video games, the HW-Q990B delivers an interesting, pleasant and extremely immersive efficiency.
Samsung HW-Q990B evaluation: Verdict
The Samsung HW-Q990B continues the corporate’s successful streak on the subject of producing class-leading soundbars. Its 11.1.4-channel system flawlessly delivers room-filling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks and the brand new design of the soundbar, subwoofer and rear audio system is a particular enchancment on final yr’s flagship mannequin.
Set up is easy, computerized room correction ensures the system performs optimally, and the general supply is great, with an enormous, highly effective and immersive soundstage that has loads of low-end affect.
As if that wasn’t sufficient, it packs in additional options than you may shake a stick at: Q Symphony, wi-fi Atmos, Apple AirPlay 2, Adaptive Sound and Lively Voice Amplification all contribute to make the Samsung HW-Q900B the immersive soundbar to beat this yr, and one of the best in its class.