The Samsung HW-Q990C is the latest flagship soundbar from the Korean giant, and it promises to deliver an immersive and powerful sound experience with its 11.1.4 channel configuration. But is it worth the premium price tag? Here’s our review of the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar.
Design and Setup
The Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar consists of four components: a main bar, a wireless subwoofer, and two wireless rear speakers. The main bar is sleek and sturdy, with a metal mesh grille and an angled design. It has a small display on the front right corner that shows the input source, volume level, and sound mode. The bar measures 48.3 x 2.4 x 5.4 inches and weighs 16.5 pounds.
The subwoofer is a large black box that connects wirelessly to the main bar. It has a 10-inch driver and a port on the back. It measures 8.3 x 15.9 x 15.9 inches and weighs 21.6 pounds.
The rear speakers are also wireless, and they have upward-firing drivers on top to create the height channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. They measure 4.9 x 8.3 x 5.7 inches and weigh 4.4 pounds each.
The setup process is fairly simple, as you just need to plug in the power cords and connect the main bar to your TV via HDMI or optical cable. The subwoofer and rear speakers will pair automatically with the main bar, but you can also use a button on each device to manually sync them if needed.
The soundbar supports HDMI eARC, which allows you to pass through high-quality audio formats from your TV to the soundbar. It also has two HDMI inputs that support 4K HDR passthrough, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. However, it does not support HDMI 2.1 features such as VRR and 4K/120Hz passthrough, which might be disappointing for some gamers.
The soundbar also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless streaming, as well as an Ethernet port for wired connection. It supports Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Amazon Alexa for voice control.
Features and Performance
The Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar boasts an impressive array of features and sound modes to enhance your listening experience. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which are object-based audio formats that create a three-dimensional soundstage with sounds coming from above and around you.
The soundbar uses its 16 drivers (12 in the main bar, two in each rear speaker) to deliver a convincing 11.1.4 channel system that can fill any room with immersive sound. The subwoofer adds a powerful low-bass that can shake your couch with explosions and gunshots.
The soundbar also has a SpaceFit Sound Pro feature that uses microphones in the main bar and the subwoofer to analyze your room acoustics and optimize the sound accordingly. You can also use the Samsung SmartThings app to adjust the volume and distance of each speaker manually.
Another feature that sets this soundbar apart from others is the Q-Symphony support, which allows you to use the soundbar in conjunction with compatible Samsung TVs’ speakers for a more enveloping soundstage.
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The soundbar has several sound modes to choose from, depending on your content and preference. These include Standard, Surround, Game Pro, Adaptive Sound+, Music, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Clear Voice, Night Mode, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer, EQ Settings, and User EQ.
The Standard mode is the default mode that plays audio as it is without any processing. The Surround mode upmixes stereo or surround content to use all the speakers for a more spacious sound.
The Game Pro mode enhances the directional cues and effects for gaming content. The Adaptive Sound+ mode analyzes the content and adjusts the sound accordingly for optimal clarity and balance.
The Music mode enhances the musicality and detail of music tracks. The Bass Boost mode increases the bass level for more impact. The Treble Boost mode increases the treble level for more brightness.
The Clear Voice mode boosts the dialogue level for better intelligibility. The Night Mode reduces the dynamic range for quieter listening at night.
The DTS Virtual:X mode creates a virtual surround effect using only the main bar’s speakers. The Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer mode creates a virtual height effect using only the main bar’s speakers.
The EQ Settings mode lets you adjust the bass, treble, center level, side level, front top level, rear level, rear top level, subwoofer level, sync delay, and auto volume. The User EQ mode lets you customize the sound using a 7-band graphic equalizer.
The soundbar also has a Smart Sound feature that automatically selects the best sound mode for the content you’re playing. You can turn this feature on or off using the remote control.
The sound quality of the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar is excellent, especially with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. The soundbar creates a wide and deep soundstage that envelops you with realistic and precise sounds. The height channels add a sense of verticality and overhead effects that make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action.
The soundbar also handles dialogue, music, and other types of content well, with clear and detailed sound across the frequency range. The subwoofer delivers a thumpy and punchy bass that complements the soundbar nicely, although it can sometimes struggle with fast-paced music tracks.
The soundbar can get very loud without much distortion, making it suitable for large rooms or parties. However, it can also produce some compression artifacts at max volume, so you might want to lower it a bit for better sound quality.
The Samsung HW-Q990C is a fantastic soundbar that delivers class-leading immersion when it comes to decoding Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio. It creates a discreet but powerful 11.1.4-channel system that is easy to install, and comes packed to the brim with features.
The soundbar also offers excellent sound quality with all kinds of content, with a clear and balanced sound across the range, and a thumpy low-bass to bring out all the rumble in action-packed scenes.
The only drawbacks are the lack of HDMI 2.1 support for gamers, and the high price tag for a soundbar. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate soundbar for Dolby Atmos, you won’t be disappointed with the Samsung HW-Q990C.