Samsung HW-Q990B Review: The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar

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If you are an audiophile, the times when if you needed to spend 1000’s of {dollars} on a receiver and persuade your contractor uncle to point out you how one can run cables by way of the wall are lengthy gone. Soundbars, particularly these with devoted rear encompass audio system, have gotten so good that more often than not there’s no actual must splurge on the old-school gear.

In explicit, programs like Samsung’s flagship HW-Q990B sound increasingly more like your conventional high-end house theater. This 11.1.4-channel soundbar package deal is the primary ever to function wi-fi Dolby Atmos, and all you’ll want to set it up is 4 energy shops and a brief HDMI cable.

In mere minutes, you’ll end up engulfed in fairly astonishing object-based encompass sound. Dragons, alien ships, and helicopters whirr overhead, bullets whiz to the left and proper, and even James Earl Jones’ baritone comes by way of full and clear within the middle channel. Unless you’re keen to spend far more time (and cash), it’s downright onerous to get a system that sounds this good in most residing rooms.

Tentpole Setup

While the within of the black-on-black HW-Q990B options loads of cool and fascinating know-how, the skin of the bar is extraordinarily boring (and thus straightforward to cover beneath a TV display screen). The bar is an extended hexagon, with angled corners to bounce pontificate the partitions, and the rear surrounds are giant, with angled tops to spray sound up and bounce it down as top channels.

The included wi-fi subwoofer is essentially the most nondescript of the bunch, a easy rectangle that would simply be hidden in any nook of my studio. Put the surrounds on stands. Plug them in together with the subwoofer. Plug the principle bar into energy, and likewise into your TV or projector by way of the HDMI eARC port. Then you’re off to the films! Seriously, it’s that straightforward.

Those with higher-end programs, or who’re tremendous choosy about their inside design, would possibly need to mount the principle bar or the surrounds. But that may be simply completed with a number of drywall anchors and an influence drill (not included).

The Price of Entry

Spending $1,700 on a soundbar—considerably greater than I’d suggest most people spend on a current-generation TV—may appear silly. But then, take into consideration the final time to procure a brand new pair of laptop audio system to go along with a brand new laptop computer. You have a tendency to not exchange your audio gear as often, as a result of they have an inclination to last more. In the home-theater world, good sound isn’t by any means a static enterprise, but it surely isn’t growing as rapidly as picture processing and display screen know-how are.

If you get a soundbar that is this high-end, with Dolby Atmos and all the fashionable processing that comes with it, I’d count on it to final by way of no less than two TV generations. So if you happen to count on your TV to final three to 5 years, a soundbar of this high quality would final 5 to 10 years, which makes the value per 12 months even by comparability.

Personally, I discover more-immersive audio brings me extra deeply contained in the motion than a higher-end display screen. It would possibly sound like sacrilege coming from a TV and projector reviewer, however actually partaking encompass sound is likely one of the few issues that the majority theaters do considerably higher than we do at house. Whenever you bridge the hole with audio system, it actually does loads to carry you again to that movie show headspace.

After all, a big half of most motion pictures and TV reveals is the sound. You’ve most likely seen most reveals in full decision on a reasonably first rate high quality display screen, even if you happen to’ve solely seen them on a cellphone, however have you ever heard them with full high quality sound, by way of good audio system or good headphones? Maybe not.

Epic Fidelity

I’ve heard wonderful center-channel soundbars earlier than—Sennheiser’s heinously costly Ambeo involves thoughts—however I’ve by no means heard a bar with such wonderful encompass audio system. The giant two-way surrounds pump out extra quantity and higher constancy than I’ve ever heard from a bar-plus-speakers setup earlier than, offering head-turning tire squeals and whooshes behind your head. At one level whereas watching the newest Fletch film, I swore that an actual hearth alarm was going off behind me. Nope, simply the film. 

The bar, subwoofer, and surrounds mix with Samsung’s wonderful digital sign processing to do every part from huge boomy motion motion pictures to sultry classic detective motion pictures with theater-like ease. Bass is nice, however not large. You get sufficient rumble from the included woofer to listen to and really feel every step of an evil monster in Stranger Things, however not sufficient that condo dwellers want worry retribution from their neighbors.

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