We have the Samsung HW-Q990B 11.1.4 channel soundbar system with us today, and if you’re looking for a really good sound system for your home, this might be a pretty decent choice.
Now, a disclaimer. This really is the most ideal soundbar to consider if you’re planning on overhauling your entire home entertainment setup, from the TV to the speakers, and if you’re looking at Samsung, that is, because there’s a very cool feature here that only works with selected 2022 Samsung TVs and that’s the ability to go completely wireless and still get Dolby Atmos on this soundbar. But more on that later.
Let’s talk design first. The soundbar is pretty wide at around 1.2-ish meters, so I would say that in order to not let it look unproportionate, you would probably have to get a TV that’s around 60 to 80 inches. This 2022 Samsung TV that we have it paired with is 75 inches and it’s a pretty decent size pairing.
You might be a bit shocked at the S$2,399 or around US$1,999 price tag, but keep in mind it does come with an 8-inch wireless subwoofer as well as two rear wireless speakers. Again, placement is important because these are individually powered, so wherever you place them, you will need a power socket or two. Thankfully, Samsung did provide speaker stands for our review, but the speaker stands do not come with the soundbar so they need to be purchased individually.
The soundbar itself has 11 drivers, all around the front, sides and top, while the rear speakers come with three drivers, one in front, one on the side and one on top. The subwoofer has, well, the bass channel.
You get two HDMI inputs on the soundbar, an optical digital input and one HDMI eARC port for connecting to your TV, and while that’s all nice and dandy, do note that this soundbar does not support 4K 120Hz passthrough, so you’ll have to connect your PS5 or Xbox Series X to your TV directly instead of this soundbar if you want that feature.
There’s also Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Wi-Fi streaming on this soundbar, which is nice, but the real highlight has to be the wireless Dolby Atmos support. It’s, as I mentioned earlier, only available if you have a compatible 2022 Samsung TV, but it’s actually kinda amazing. It’s not lossless, of course, but hey, it’s really easy to set up. If you have a Samsung phone, you can tap it to the side of the soundbar and it’ll connect that way too and you can control the soundbar using the Samsung SmartThings App. Fuss-free, which is great. There’s also a remote control included in the box, and it works perfectly fine without any sort of major input lag or delays.
But let’s talk sound quality, starting with movies and shows. This has to be one of the better Dolby Atmos soundbars I’ve tried, and a particularly striking moment for me, was when I was watching Extraction on Netflix. There’s this gunfight scene at 39:40 when Chris Hemsworth’s character takes a shot and the bullet ricochets off a wall out of the shot, and that ping actually came very distinctly and clearly out of the rear left speaker. I remember this vividly because I was actually looking at my phone during this scene, and I jumped when I heard it because it was so well-located that I actually thought something had dropped behind me.
Same thing for games, by the way. Sounds follow the way your character’s facing, so voices can switch from being in front of you to your rear left or rear right very smoothly when your character moves, which helps to avoid breaking immersion in RPGs and the likes.
There’s also this Q-Symphony feature that works with Samsung TVs, allowing the up-firing and side-firing speakers on Samsung TVs to be used in tandem with the soundbar system for even more immersiveness. Even without it though, the soundbar is very, very impressive in terms of separation and positioning. Nothing feels cramped and the soundstage is incredibly wide and high. You get an excellent sense of verticality when it comes to stuff like helicopters or planes flying overhead.
Voices are also very clear and sharp, which is great since you’ll most likely be using the soundbar for movies and the like, and there’s plenty of rumble and bass thanks to the subwoofer. The soundbar is, honestly, quite hard to find fault with when using it for shows.
As for music, it’s honestly still quite impressive. While we don’t have an Apple TV box for true Atmos music, the tracks we tested sounded quite incredible on the system. One that comes to mind immediately is Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know. The instrumental placement and separation are actually kind of insane. We were listening to the track and there’s a particular part of the song that has a sort of, knocking, and my colleague and I thought there was someone knocking on the door of our office. That’s how spacious and distinct the instruments and vocals were.
And, yeah, that’s about it for the review. It’s just really good. It’s expensive, yeah, but if you value Dolby Atmos, you want a clean, wireless set up and you’re planning on getting a 2022 Samsung TV, it’s kind of a no-brainer. These sound so good, you should get them even if you don’t have a Samsung TV, just do Dolby Atmos wired, you won’t be disappointed.