Samsung launch new Ultra HD Blu-ray Player and Soundbars

The new soundbars include distortion cancelling technology

by Steve Withers Mar 26, 2017 at 8:54 AM

  • After launching the world's first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player in the form of the UBD-K8500, Samsung look to expand their range with the new UBD-M9500.
    The new player looks similar to the previous model, with the same curved chassis and angular design but the build quality has been improved and the new player includes an OLED display that is built into the edge of the front facia. It also has a new remote control that is an improvement on the previous model, as well as the same Tizen powered user interface that Samsung use in their TVs. The M9500 supports all the specifications for Ultra HD Blu-ray with 4K output, 10-bit video, HDR 10 and Rec.2020. The player has an Auto HDR Setting for use with Samsung TVs, although it can also be set manually, as well as an Auto Audio Output Setting to enjoy Dolby Atmos and DTS: X soundtracks. In terms of connections there are twin HDMI outputs, a LAN port, an optical digital out and built-in WiFi (802.11ac).
    The inclusion of a full Tizen powered platform not only provides the opportunity to bring smart features to less capable TVs but also allows you to use the M9500 to enjoy all the main 4K HDR streaming services like YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. These apps can also be quickly and directly accessed, with more than 300 available via the app store. The M9500 supports hi-res audio support up to 24-bit/192kHz (FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF) via USB or your home network. You can also listen to music through connected Bluetooth devices and use the Private Cinema Mode with Bluetooth headphones. There's a free iOS and Android remote app for smartphones and tablets, as well as screen mirroring on a connected mobile device. You can also watch content from the player on your mobile device, even when the TV isn't on. Finally there is an option on the M9500 to watch 360 degree content on your TV. The Samsung UBD-M9500 will be available in May at a suggested price of £399.
    Samsung's HW-K950 and HW-K850 Dolby Atmos soundbars will be carried over into this year but the manufacturer has also added two new soundbars for 2017. The HW-MS650 and HW-MS6500 soundbars are identical except that the MS650 is straight whilst the MS6500 is curved and both have a display and basic controls on the right hand side. They form part of Samsung's new Sound+ range which uses their 'one experience' ethos. So the soundbars use One Body, One Mount, One Cable and One Remote. The One Body design basically means that the soundbar has the subwoofers built in rather than as a separate subwoofer. The One Mount relates to the bracket that is sold separately but allows you to mount your TV and the soundbar together. The One Cable comes with the One Mount and allows you to connect the power cable of your TV to the sounder itself, the cable supports a two-pin connector and is 1.1m long. Finally the One Remote allows you to control the soundbar using your Samsung TV remote.

    The MS650 and MS6500 don't just boast new designs and features, they also have improved sound quality. As mentioned they don't have separate subwoofers but use six 2" by 4.3" speakers that use long excursion technology to increase the depth of speaker movement and thus deeper bass. There is also multi-speaker control that allows the speakers to move simultaneously to also improve the bass performance. Samsung have also developed a proprietary distortion cancelling technology that helps improve the bass performance by cancelling distortion created at low frequencies. This technology essentially predicts the distortion that occurs at the end of the speaker movement and pre-adjusts for it upfront. The result isn't only deeper bass but a more detailed performance and less distortion at higher volumes. Samsung also use wide range inverted dome tweeters that cover a wider frequency range and are designed to deliver a more uniform dispersion by using a lower crossover. The result is more detailed power in the mid to high frequencies coming from a single device and better voice clarity. The new soundbars are also able to deliver better sound imaging and a wider soundstage than traditional soundbars.
    Samsung were certainly happy to put their money where their mouth was and demonstrated both the MS650 and MS6500 against the Bose SoundTouch 300 and Sonos Playbar with the Samsung soundbars sounding more open and detailed compared to the competition. What was more impressive was that Samsung also compared the new soundbars to the Genelec 8350A studio monitor and they still sounded excellent. Whilst the Genelecs had a wider stereo soundstage, mainly because they were set on either side of the soundbars, and also had more bass, these are large speakers, the difference wasn't night and day. This is especially impressive when you consider that the Genelecs are professional studio monitors and yet the soundbars were able to render a similar level of detail and imaging without any noticeable distortion. The MS650 and MS6500 produced a nice vocal clarity, a lovely high-end and reasonable amount of bass, making them surprisingly good with music. We didn't get a chance to hear how they performed with film soundtracks but we will get both models in for review soon.

    However this excellent musical quality will be useful because the two soundbars will support music streaming via the Multiroom App, with most of the popular services covered including Spotify and Tidal. There is also the option to add the soundbars to a Samsung Multiroom system, as well as connect them wirelessly to a compatible Samsung TV. The MS650 and MS6500 also include Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music from a mobile devices and control the soundbar using the Multiroom App. The efforts that Samsung have made in terms of sound quality certainly mean that new soundbars can be used for listening to music without feeling that your are compromising in terms of performance. The Samsung HW-MS650 will be available in April for a suggested price of £549 whilst the HW-MS6500 will also be available in April but for a slightly higher price of £599.

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