Samsung HW-Q990B Review: The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar

If you are an audiophile, the times when once you needed to spend hundreds of {dollars} on a receiver and persuade your contractor uncle to point out you methods to run cables by 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 real need to splurge on the old-school gear.

In specific, programs like Samsung’s flagship HW-Q990B sound increasingly like your conventional high-end dwelling theater. This 11.1.4-channel soundbar bundle is the primary ever to characteristic wi-fi Dolby Atmos, and all you 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 full and clear within the middle channel. Unless you’re prepared to spend far more time (and cash), it’s downright exhausting 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 expertise, the skin of the bar is extraordinarily boring (and thus simple 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 massive, with angled tops to spray sound up and bounce it down as peak channels.

The included wi-fi subwoofer is probably 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 primary bar into energy, and in addition into your TV or projector by way of the HDMI eARC port. Then you’re off to the films! Seriously, it’s that easy.

Those with higher-end programs, or who’re tremendous choosy about their inside design, would possibly need to mount the primary bar or the surrounds. But that may be simply achieved 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—might sound silly. But then, take into consideration the final time to procure a brand new pair of laptop audio system to go together with a brand new laptop computer. You have a tendency to not substitute your audio gear as continuously, 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, however it isn’t creating as rapidly as picture processing and display screen expertise are.

If you get a soundbar that is this high-end, with Dolby Atmos and all the trendy processing that comes with it, I’d anticipate it to final by at the least two TV generations. So if you happen to anticipate 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 dwelling. Whenever you bridge the hole with an excellent audio system, it actually does rather a lot to convey you again to that movie show headspace.

After all, a significant part of most films and TV reveals is the sound. You’ve in all probability seen most reveals in full decision on a fairly 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 good audio system or good headphones? Maybe not.

Epic Fidelity

I’ve heard wonderful center-channel soundbars earlier than—Sennheiser’s heinously expensive Ambeo comes to mind—however I’ve by no means heard a bar with such wonderful encompass audio system. The massive 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 fireplace 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 thing from huge boomy motion films to sultry classic detective films with theater-like ease. Bass is nice, however not huge. 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 condominium dwellers want concern retribution from their neighbors.

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