Samsung HW-Q950A Soundbar Review & Comments

UMAR 3:16

Moderator
Thanks @Steve Withers. so this or the full fat Sonos arc setup? You didn’t mention that as an alternative?
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member

UMAR 3:16

Moderator
Not a valid comparison as the arc is missing some basic features. :)
I am aware but from a sound quality comparison I feel you can compare
 

wwwebber

Active Member
Great review thank you. Im really interested in this soundbar and really want Atmos but without the fuss of wires / speakers etc. But my room is vaulted, has anyone used any up firing Atmos speakers in a vaulted room ? does it ruin the experience ? or just muddy the sound ?. Thank you.
 

UMAR 3:16

Moderator

MarkusThatch

Distinguished Member
Really wish soundbars had more HDMI inputs - too many devices, modern problems etc.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
No other soundbar is doing 11.1.4

Btw, I doubt if we can get a proper 11.1.4 effect from a soundbar package as the speakers are crammed next to each other.
 

CaroleBaskin

Well-known Member
Steve mentioned on last years Samsung that the effect was on par with some separates he’s compared. 11.1.4 might be different but we know the 9.1.4 was in effect.

Perhaps the additional 2 channels doesn’t add much to the projection but I’m sure it doesn’t take away from last years already excellent 9.1.4, otherwise the score wouldn’t be where it is on the review.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Great review thank you. Im really interested in this soundbar and really want Atmos but without the fuss of wires / speakers etc. But my room is vaulted, has anyone used any up firing Atmos speakers in a vaulted room ? does it ruin the experience ? or just muddy the sound ?. Thank you.
Unfortunately for you a vaulted ceiling won't work properly with any upward-firing Atmos solution.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Steve mentioned on last years Samsung that the effect was on par with some separates he’s compared. 11.1.4 might be different but we know the 9.1.4 was in effect.

Perhaps the additional 2 channels doesn’t add much to the projection but I’m sure it doesn’t take away from last years already excellent 9.1.4, otherwise the score wouldn’t be where it is on the review.

I am sure these soundbars can closely replicate separates up to 5.1.4 channels but anything beyond that is placebo effect.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Btw, I doubt if we can get a proper 11.1.4 effect from a soundbar package as the speakers are crammed next to each other.
It isn't really 11.1.4 because the sources don't offer that number of channels. As I mention in the review, with 9.1.6 Atmos test tones the side channel signals are shared by the front and rear side channels, and the middle height channels are also spread across the front and rear height channels. Since the HW-Q950A doesn't support DTS:X Pro, it will be 'limited' to 7.1.4 for that format. In reality most of these channels are there to smooth out steering and add a bit more scope to the soundstage. I will say the HW-Q950A is the closest a soundbar has come to competing with a decent immersive audio separates package, and it's obviously a lot more convenient (and probably cheaper).
 
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lgans316

Distinguished Member
I think that’s disingenuous to Steve’s review but I respect it’s your opinion.

Lol no. I have LG SN11 7.1.4 soundbar in a confined space. I do feel the separation and height effects (to an extent - most of the time it feels like coming from the middle of the TV and sometimes from my flat ceiling). What I am saying is it would be exceptionally difficult to discern 11.1.4 sound from a soundbar package. Also most Atmos/DTS-X are 7.1.4.

If these soundbars come with a dedicated subwoofer out, I can make some compromise and live with it.
 

CaroleBaskin

Well-known Member
Lol no. I have LG SN11 7.1.4 soundbar in a confined space. I do feel the separation and height effects (to an extent - most of the time it feels like coming from the middle of the TV and sometimes from my flat ceiling). What I am saying is it would be exceptionally difficult to discern 11.1.4 sound from a soundbar package. Also most Atmos/DTS-X are 7.1.4.
I will say the SN11 did not do as good a job of separating channels to my ears as last years Samsung. Hardly helped by sound steering issues on the SN11. Maybe take a listen to the Samsung multi channel, you might be pleasantly surprised.
 

flashf1

Active Member
I haven't heard this new version, but from a purely sound quality perspective, I think the Sonos ARC/Sub/rear combo is way ahead of last years version of the Samsung, fantastic sound quality, great over head effects and steering, far more power in the rears, larger front soundstage, much more refined Sub (not even close). Again, purely from a sound quality stance. I know it's more expensive and doesn't support DTS, but it does everything else and mutichannel PCM, and you can add a second sub. I suspect Steve may not have demoed this kit (I could be wrong) and is an A/V purist who simply dismisses Sonos, but I for one will never go back.

One thing I can say for certain, to say they are not in the same ballpark in terms of sound quality is laughable.
 
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UMAR 3:16

Moderator
I haven't heard this new version, but from a purely sound quality perspective, I think the Sonos ARC/Sub/rear combo is way ahead of last years version of the Samsung, fantastic sound quality, great over head effects and steering, far more power in the rears, larger front soundstage, much more refined Sub (not even close). Again, purely from a sound quality stance. I know it's more expensive and doesn't support DTS, but it does everything else and mutichannel PCM, and you can add a second sub. I suspect Steve may not have demoed this kit (I could be wrong) and is an A/V purist who simply dismisses Sonos, but I for one will never go back.

One thing I can say for certain, to say they are not in the same ballpark in terms of sound quality is laughable.
This is also what I have been reading. My question was with regards to sound quality comparison not features and inputs. I have heard the 950t and the Sonos arc full setup and to my ears the Sonos blows it out the water. That’s with 9.1.4 vs 5.1.2. I don’t consider increased channels = better sound. Surprised @Steve Withers you think Sonos cannot even compete from a sound quality perspective.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I haven't heard this new version, but from a purely sound quality perspective, I think the Sonos ARC/Sub/rear combo is way ahead of last years version of the Samsung, fantastic sound quality, great over head effects and steering, far more power in the rears, larger front soundstage, much more refined Sub (not even close). Again, purely from a sound quality stance. I know it's more expensive and doesn't support DTS, but it does everything else and mutichannel PCM, and you can add a second sub. I suspect Steve may not have demoed this kit (I could be wrong) and is an A/V purist who simply dismisses Sonos, but I for one will never go back.

One thing I can say for certain, to say they are not in the same ballpark in terms of sound quality is laughable.
I didn't word my response very well because I'm not knocking the Sonos sound quality, which is excellent, but £1,800 for 5.1.2 and no DTS:X doesn't cut it for me. It's aimed at those who are already invested in the Sonos ecosystem, rather than the home cinema crowd in my opinion.
 

zubeir

Well-known Member
I wish the upward firing speakers that are supplied with the 950A's were available separately and compatible for the 2020 Q900T.
 
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flashf1

Active Member
This is also what I have been reading. My question was with regards to sound quality comparison not features and inputs. I have heard the 950t and the Sonos arc full setup and to my ears the Sonos blows it out the water. That’s with 9.1.4 vs 5.1.2. I don’t consider increased channels = better sound. Surprised @Steve Withers you think Sonos cannot even compete from a sound quality perspective.

I love AV forums and the guys and the podcasts, but this just smacks of av snobbery. It's been reviewed seriously in many other places, but it does annoy when your favourite forum/review site basically dismisses it. I was into full separates for 20 years before i went the soundbar route for simplicity and to stop upgraditus, and was moderately impressed with LG, then very impressed with the Samsung 950 but Sonos has actually made me stop missing separates, that's the biggest compliment I can give it, true room filling dynamic sound. 11.1.4 on a soundbar is snake oil in my opinion...
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I wish the upward firing speakers that are supplied with the 950A's were available separately and compatible available for the 2020 Q900T.
At least this year the optional wireless rear speakers for the Q900/Q800 do include upward-firing drivers. I think it makes these soundbars much more attractive because you've got a solid upgrade path to 5.1.4 if decide you need it later.
 

zubeir

Well-known Member
At least this year the optional wireless rear speakers for the Q900/Q800 do include upward-firing drivers. I think it makes these soundbars much more attractive because you've got a solid upgrade path to 5.1.4 if decide you need it later.
The SWA-9500S upfiring surround speakers have been available for a while. I remember they were on sale even before the Q950A/900A launched. This is why it confused some T series owners that they are not compatible. It would probably just need a firmware upgrade, I hope Samsung make it happen. I bought the Q900T on the Currrys offer for £399, what I class as 'Sale of the century.'
 

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