Samsung HW-Q950A Thread 11.1.4!

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
I am still messing with my setup by bringing the rear speakers down a little bit and pushing the soundbar volume up instead. Of all the different "modes", I've found Surround to be the worst - the expanded soundstage sounds very artificial and forced. Standard seems the most true to source for me and provides the best channel separation, followed by Adaptive if you do want a slightly wider soundstage.

Having 33% more speakers in the rear boxes and 33% more watts is going to make the rears sound louder, so all else being equal a Q950A rears should be noticeably louder that a Q950T's rears. Which rears btw have always been loud enough for me, and I sit much closer to the bar than to the rears. It was the prior flagship Samsung bar that had low rear volume level, but as I understand it a firmware patch resolved that since.

Surround Mode used to be the best sounding mode on Q950T with music for me, followed by Standard mode. But it no longer does sound the best on that bar, due to changes in firmware in early April 2021 which made the other 9.1.4 modes sound generally better with music. The consensus now is that Adaptive mode is clearly the best with music on Q950T too. So you're confirming the same trend in the Q950A's modes.
 

newsound18

Standard Member
Glad to hear you're enjoying it! I'm new to this area and have been eyeing the Q950A as my once-in-a-decade speaker purchase, but I really value good height channels for movie immersion. How would you say the height effects are and their volume compared to the surround channels? Would you (or anyone else in this thread) recommend a setup with dedicated speakers for good height channels instead, or is the Q950A satisfactory in that regard?
Hey! So honestly I would rate the height effect alone 3.5/5 overall, so definitely satisfactory. Even with my less than ideal ceiling setup, I do get a sense of the separation between surround and height, so in that sense I'm quite happy.

Having said that, if you DO have the option to have dedicated ceiling speakers, please go for that. I have tested a few Atmos systems with dedicated ceiling speakers and they definitely sound very impressive. Maybe some of the other folks here can chime in as well.
Having 33% more speakers in the rear boxes and 33% more watts is going to make the rears sound louder, so all else being equal a Q950A rears should be noticeably louder that a Q950T's rears. Which rears btw have always been loud enough for me, and I sit much closer to the bar than to the rears. It was the prior flagship Samsung bar that had low rear volume level, but as I understand it a firmware patch resolved that since.

Surround Mode used to be the best sounding mode on Q950T with music for me, followed by Standard mode. But it no longer does sound the best on that bar, due to changes in firmware in early April 2021 which made the other 9.1.4 modes sound generally better with music. The consensus now is that Adaptive mode is clearly the best with music on Q950T too. So you're confirming the same trend in the Q950A's modes.
Makes total sense, and I still find myself tweaking the rear speakers to bring them down depending on different sources. But that's just me fiddling around, overall I'd say they have been performing very well. I also turned on bass enhancement in SmartThings again to see if it would kill the rears for Atmos, and it absolutely did. Luckily, turning bass enhancement off again brought them back to life. I updated to the new firmware yesterday and the issue still persists, so I'm hoping they address this in the next update.

Overall very pleased with the system after two days! Outside of the bass enhancement bug killing Atmos, there have been zero disconnects of the sub/rears that others faced with the older Q90R/Q950T systems - was frankly quite nervous about that. Still going back and forth between Standard and Adaptive - I think the former is better for movies and general viewing, but agree that the latter sounds good for music.

Currently the only gripe I have is the disparity in volume levels between Atmos/non-Atmos content, and this seems to be consistent across Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+ etc. The levels are about 15 - 20% higher for Atmos content, so I'm constantly having to bring the overall volume up significantly when viewing non-Atmos content, especially standard 5.1 content.

In all fairness, this also may be an Apple TV source issue. Anyone experienced anything similar?
 

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
I also turned on bass enhancement in SmartThings again to see if it would kill the rears for Atmos, and it absolutely did. Luckily, turning bass enhancement off again brought them back to life. I updated to the new firmware yesterday and the issue still persists, so I'm hoping they address this in the next update.

I'm supposing this bugged 'Bass-Boost' function is a preset change to the shape of the sub's EQ response curve (because turning up a sub on a Q950T or Q950A is also a "Bass-Boost", and the bar likewise has a BASS function which affects only the bar.

So what's the nature/origin of this bug then?

I'm speculatively betting this new EQ-curve preset addresses only the sub's frequency response range of ~28 Hz to ~115 Hz, and then cuts-off all signals above that as a crossover does, except, the Samsung firmware coders applied this same sub EQ curve filter to all of the WiFi speakers instead of just to the sub alone. :rotfl:

So the rears will not be able to generate the sub-range frequencies and the new EQ-curve filter cuts-off everything above say ~100 Hz as the approximate crossover point, thus the rear drivers, whose lower freq response will be best above ~100 Hz, will seem to have been turned off, as the bass-boost filter is being applied to all three WiFi speakers.

So a Bass-Boost EQ filter applied to all three, will choke-off audio signals to the rears above about 100 Hz, even as it boosts the sub's level below that ...................... :rotfl:

I bet that's what they did.
 

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
Currently the only gripe I have is the disparity in volume levels between Atmos/non-Atmos content, and this seems to be consistent across Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+ etc. The levels are about 15 - 20% higher for Atmos content, so I'm constantly having to bring the overall volume up significantly when viewing non-Atmos content, especially standard 5.1 content.

In all fairness, this also may be an Apple TV source issue. Anyone experienced anything similar?

Same on Q950T with Xbox games from a hard disk direct to the bar then the TV. I normally play 7.1 games around volume ~21 to 22 but for Atmos games volume 13 to 14 is more normal, so I always turn the system down before Atmos content boots up.
 
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RandomAudioGuy

Novice Member
Hey! So honestly I would rate the height effect alone 3.5/5 overall, so definitely satisfactory. Even with my less than ideal ceiling setup, I do get a sense of the separation between surround and height, so in that sense I'm quite happy.

Having said that, if you DO have the option to have dedicated ceiling speakers, please go for that. I have tested a few Atmos systems with dedicated ceiling speakers and they definitely sound very impressive. Maybe some of the other folks here can chime in as well.

Thanks for your feedback. May I ask how your ceiling setup is less than ideal? My ceiling is 7.5ft tall and the bar and speakers would be about 4.5 ft lower than the ceiling. Would that be better or worse in your opinion?

Looking into building a somewhat similar 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 setup with a receiver and all the speakers makes my wallet very sad 😄 not to mention all the additional wiring, so I hope I can find a soundbar system that delivers on Atmos.
 

newsound18

Standard Member
Thanks for your feedback. May I ask how your ceiling setup is less than ideal? My ceiling is 7.5ft tall and the bar and speakers would be about 4.5 ft lower than the ceiling. Would that be better or worse in your opinion?

Looking into building a somewhat similar 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 setup with a receiver and all the speakers makes my wallet very sad 😄 not to mention all the additional wiring, so I hope I can find a soundbar system that delivers on Atmos.
Unfortunately my ceiling is quite high (10ft) and as such I don't think they're ideal for the upward firing speakers on the Q950A soundbar/rear speakers. I can also only place the rear speakers in an area where there is an uneven ceiling surface (it's angled), so I'm guessing that makes things even worse.

I'm not enough of an expert to be able to advise on your ceiling height (will leave that to the more informed pros on the forum!), but IMHO if it's 7.5 feet tall, flat and if the room is somewhat rectangular and not massive, you should be fine acoustically. That's my layman's take on it anyway!

I think the Q950A definitely sits on the impressive end of the spectrum of Atmos enabled soundbars, but at the end of the day it also depends entirely on your expectations.

If I were you, I would wait a bit to try and audition it somewhere before buying. Maybe do that in parallel with auditioning an actual 5.1.4 Atmos setup as well, and then see which option suits you better? Chances are you'll have a pretty clear idea which route you prefer at that point.
 

CCSGDM

Active Member
I would suggest new owners to at least do a leveling of sound levels for each sets of channels with a multi channels test tone and a spl app in your phone so that it sounds balanced. After tat adjust the levels to taste
 

kavie87

Member
Got my soundbar. All set up. If you don’t need the airplay and have the 950T I’d just stay with that. I have an iPhone so I’ve wanted airplay ever since the Q90R. Can’t get the voice enhancement to work. It’s greyed out so I can’t toogle it. I wonder if it’s specific to certain settings e.g. adaptive. I’ll have more of a play. On standard I can’t alter it I don’t know what it is LPCM is very low when I use my Apple TV. But I think it’s more an Apple TV issue or maybe Predator on Disney+. Volume is great when I play Dolby Atmos content on the Apple TV. Can confirm bass enhancement disconnects the rears. But I don’t notice more of a difference using it.
 

kavie87

Member
No I have a LG B9. eARC LPCM ain’t working. But I posted recently what the issue might with that. It’s a tv issue not the soundbar. I have updated it. I must say (knock on wood). It sounds good. Connected up easily too
 

rickray

Standard Member
I would suggest new owners to at least do a leveling of sound levels for each sets of channels with a multi channels test tone and a spl app in your phone so that it sounds balanced. After tat adjust the levels to taste
Any tutorials on how to calibrate the sound levels?
 

Space Force

Member
No I have a LG B9. eARC LPCM ain’t working. But I posted recently what the issue might with that. It’s a tv issue not the soundbar. I have updated it. I must say (knock on wood). It sounds good. Connected up easily too
Oh ok thanks. By not work do you mean that it's stereo only, or some other type of problem (e.g. 5.1 plays only from the bar, not the rears; audio drop outs etc)?

I did see your post about the issue with LG. Wasn't sure the context or how old that was. LG did have an issue previously with eARC and LPCM being limited to 2.1 but it was later addressed in a firmware update after about a year.

What doesn't make sense to me though is that Samsung bars have this supposed "TV issue" (LPCM via eARC being limited to 2.1 only) with the LG B9, CX, C1, Sony X900H, X950G, X950H, the modern Sony OLEDs etc. Pretty much every eARC TV on earth other than the LG C9. Yet these same TVs do work with higher than 2.1 eARC LPCM with other bars like the SN11RG, Sonos Arc, Sony G700 etc. So it seems far more plausible to me that the Samsung bars are the issue, rather than literally every other eARC TV on the market all combined, minus the C9. Especially as Samsung TVs are the only ones of the Big 3 that actually don't support more than 2.1 LPCM over eARC (or at least they were the last holdout, maybe even they have fixed that now too).
 

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
No I have a LG B9. eARC LPCM ain’t working. But I posted recently what the issue might with that. It’s a tv issue not the soundbar. I have updated it. I must say (knock on wood). It sounds good. Connected up easily too

What do you think of the sub after a room auto-EQ?

Rear sides with music in Adaptive?
 

rickray

Standard Member
Great when I play spotify. but I need to increase the rear level to 6. Adaptive is better than standard
 

kavie87

Member
What do you think of the sub after a room auto-EQ?

Rear sides with music in Adaptive?
Much the same. I haven’t tried music yet… well music of any real note. A brief play to check Spotify and Apple Music plays…

What doesn't make sense to me though is that Samsung bars have this supposed "TV issue" (LPCM via eARC being limited to 2.1 only) with the LG B9, CX, C1, Sony X900H, X950G, X950H, the modern Sony OLEDs etc. Pretty much every eARC TV on earth other than the LG C9. Yet these same TVs do work with higher than 2.1 eARC LPCM with other bars like the SN11RG, Sonos Arc, Sony G700 etc. So it seems far more plausible to me that the Samsung bars are the issue, rather than literally every other eARC TV on the market all combined, minus the C9. Especially as Samsung TVs are the only ones of the Big 3 that actually don't support more than 2.1 LPCM over eARC (or at least they were the last holdout, maybe even they have fixed that now too).

Converts to stereo. As you can see. I think the quote below is issue with eARC. It’s there but setup properly… and probably why people when they use a pc can override those issues…

We did find though, in more close examination of the LG eARC stream that it is still slightly incorrect. LG C9 latest update FW marks the stream sample rate incorrectly for all PCM multichannel content. If the content is 48kHz it is reported as 192kHz and if it is 192kHz it is reported as 768kHz. Only stereo input is marked correctly for sample rates.

Assumedly LG did the eArc multichannel support quickly and did not bother refining the reported sample rates. Most AVRs don't care about it but it may be that yours does care about it.
In this FW update we have setup the PS4 rate as 48kHz which is what is coming in from PS4 when LG is connected.
 

Tron04

Active Member
Can anyone confirm that there is really no Chromecast support for such an expensive bar? Sounds unreal to me...
 

kavie87

Member
Can you describe what night mode does to the sound, the bass????
To me and someone will probably know exactly what it does, it obviously lowers the volume and feels like it flattens the sound. I was watching the vehicle chase scene in the dark knight e.g. feels like the tumbler explosion scene lost some of the high end. But not to an unenjoyable level.
 

Ash748296

Novice Member
I have the lg b9 too and looking to for my first surround sound (atmos) setup would you recommend the Samsung 950a at all?
 

Snake Plissken 1997

Active Member
To me and someone will probably know exactly what it does, it obviously lowers the volume and feels like it flattens the sound. I was watching the vehicle chase scene in the dark knight e.g. feels like the tumbler explosion scene lost some of the high end. But not to an unenjoyable level.
It lowers the overall dynamic range, meaning softest to loudest, so in essence yes it does flatten the sound, it just makes the softer sounds louder and louder softer, depending on how much they use in their software.
 

kavie87

Member
I may post this over in the Q950T page as well. But thought i'd also ask here. When I use a shield into the soundbar using my Harmony Elite remote the soundbar turns back on after turning everything off. I'm thinking maybe I need to turn off the (sleep on when changing inputs/turning off tv) settings on the shield.
 

Tron04

Active Member
I have the lg b9 too and looking to for my first surround sound (atmos) setup would you recommend the Samsung 950a at all?
It depends on how you want to use the rear speakers. If you want chargable rear speakers that you only want to use on an "as needed" basis and dock them to the main soundbar when not needed, take a look at the JBL Bar 9.1 instead. (Which is still Samsung/Harman Kardon :) )
 

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