Samsung HW-Q950T and HW-Q900T Soundbar - Review & Comments

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
@PlanetaryReference
Would you be able to test whether playing PCM 5.1 via HDMI1/2 input of the Q950T works on your bar?
I have downloaded test files from AAC Multichannel Playback Test
but can't get them to play correctly unless I convert them to DD (AC3).
I haven't messed with any other format inputs so far, using the 'KISS-Principle' to debug the issues it has. I was intending to try out the XBox One-X format options over ARC and direct.
 

kavie87

Active Member
I've used a few systems and the default rear level on this system is far too soft at 0.

It's actually incredibly easy to confirm the gain programming error, all you have to do is go into a game and check the 5.1 level surround sound image.

On defaults it's completely out of balance with almost no rear hemisphere to the sound image.

But move Rears to +6, and Bar to -6 and presto! A beautifully balanced 5.1 sound image suddenly appears, as it should when the gains are properly matched.

So it's not a matter of subjective opinion, you can easily test this out, and confirm it beyond any question where the relative full-range front to back gain balance and surround image actually appears.

The surround image is absent at the defaults, as is a full-range system frequency response.

No guess work.

I’m sure they could be better. It was more just for me they are perfect. And must say they are better than the Q90R I feel. But just a subjective perspective...
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Cart before the horse is not the way. The bottom-line is this:

Music spans the full frequency range of human hearing.

Games span the full frequency range of human hearing.

TV movies span the full frequency range of human hearing.

Dolby Atmos movies also span the full frequency range of human hearing.

A properly setup and tuned Q950T also spans the full frequency range of human hearing.
Partly disagree here.

Average Human ==> 20Hz-20Khz
Above average human ==> 15Hz - 20Khz

No soundbar systems with the included wireless subwoofer till date can reproduce low frequencies (< 28Hz). Even if it goes lower, its just port noise. Even the low frequency sounds lack the true impact and precision you get from proper active subs. I am saying this because I had 7.2 separates (dual SVS cylinders which gave me close to 12Hz on the SpL meter).

The upcoming Klipsch 54's rated frequency response is 22Hz-20Khz. It comes with a 12 inch subwoofer and you can add additional subwoofer via sub out.
 

Talkshowchris

Active Member
Partly disagree here.

Average Human ==> 20Hz-20Khz
Above average human ==> 15Hz - 20Khz

No soundbar systems with the included wireless subwoofer till date can reproduce low frequencies (< 28Hz). Even if it goes lower, its just port noise. Even the low frequency sounds lack the true impact and precision you get from proper active subs. I am saying this because I had 7.2 separates (dual SVS cylinders which gave me close to 12Hz on the SpL meter).

The upcoming Klipsch 54's rated frequency response is 22Hz-20Khz. It comes with a 12 inch subwoofer and you can add additional subwoofer via sub out.
Isn't the Klipsch 54 just a 5.1.4 system though?
I doubt satisfied owners of a 9.1.4 system will be willing to downgrade by 4 speakers. Just the difference between 7.1.4 (SN11RG) and 5.1.4 (JBL 9.1) was too much of a compromise for me.

I also don't think the Klipsch does any form of DTS decoding.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Isn't the Klipsch 54 just a 5.1.4 system though?
I doubt satisfied owners of a 9.1.4 system will be willing to downgrade by 4 speakers. Just the difference between 7.1.4 (SN11RG) and 5.1.4 (JBL 9.1) was too much of a compromise for me.

I also don't think the Klipsch does any form of DTS decoding.
Personally I don't care about the sound coming from the front side speakers as I am so used to having a proper 7.2 setup (LCR + REARS + .2 SUBS). As long as I get the bubble effect with deep bass, I am fine with that.

We will have to wait and see if the Klipsch does any form of DTS decoding.
 

PrMinisterGR

Active Member
Got the Rtings early access...

Was interesting to see a few results...

Audio Format Support - ARC

eARC Yes
Dolby Atmos Yes
Dolby Digital Yes
Dolby Digital Plus Yes
DTS Yes
DTS:X (eARC only) Yes
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only) Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only) Yes
5.1 PCM (eARC only) Yes

Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos Yes
DTS:X Yes
Dolby Digital Yes
Dolby Digital Plus Yes
DTS Yes
Dolby TrueHD Yes
DTS-HD MA Yes
5.1 PCM No

I think they might have tested it with the original firmware... because DTS:X isn't working for either HDMI In and via eARC.
This is very weird. So you supposedly get PCM 5.1 from eARC but not from a direct connection? This makes no sense at all. Also @Steve Withers mentioned in his review that DTS:X wasn't working via eARC, although the C9 does definitely pass it (as witnessed by people with the Q90R).

where did you get information that this soundbar didn’t have hdmi 2.1 Ports? As the other poster says, I’m getting an option to activate VRR on my Xbox one x when the Xbox is directly connected to the soundbar which suggests to me these ports are hdmi 2.1, but who knows! It’s a weird soundbar.

I had a Samsung engineer come in to inspect my soundbar and I told him the majority of the faults that I’ve had with the soundbar such as DTS:X via earc not working, sound coming out of the rear speakers when stereo was playing etc. Personally my Rears were very quiet which was my main issue, even on +6 which the engineer had a mutual conclusive agreement with me about them being quiet. The only type of audio format where he said the Rear sounded fine were when we watched a Dolby Atmos movie with Dolby True HD core. Anything on Netflix on lossy Dolby Atmos was so so quiet with the rears. He said there’s nothing really he can do by bringing the speakers back to the warehouse as most of the tests they would do, I did in front of him. He also said all of this sounds like software issues. He said I could contact my retailer and replace the system with another one ( which I can’t be bothered to do but might have to), or hope with new software updates these problems get fixed. He wrote a Samsung report for my serial number for the soundbar so hopefully any faults in the future, I can use this as evidence!
The German Samsung website is the only one referring to an HDMI standard and lists this sound bar as HDMI 2.1.
I don't believe it is, to be honest, but it would be nice if we knew that VRR is working or not.
 

daibaron

Standard Member
The good thing about Klipsch 54a is the wider size of the bar which is better because the left and the right channel will be much more separated from each other when the Q950T gave me the impression that all the sounds coming from the front were pretty mixed up.
 

Talkshowchris

Active Member
This is very weird. So you supposedly get PCM 5.1 from eARC but not from a direct connection? This makes no sense at all. Also @Steve Withers mentioned in his review that DTS:X wasn't working via eARC, although the C9 does definitely pass it (as witnessed by people with the Q90R).


The German Samsung website is the only one referring to an HDMI standard and lists this sound bar as HDMI 2.1.
I don't believe it is, to be honest, but it would be nice if we knew that VRR is working or not.
VRR is working okay. Several of us have confirmed it using XBox One X consoles.
 

Chaybee1

Active Member
where did you get information that this soundbar didn’t have hdmi 2.1 Ports? As the other poster says, I’m getting an option to activate VRR on my Xbox one x when the Xbox is directly connected to the soundbar which suggests to me these ports are hdmi 2.1, but who knows! It’s a weird soundbar.

I had a Samsung engineer come in to inspect my soundbar and I told him the majority of the faults that I’ve had with the soundbar such as DTS:X via earc not working, sound coming out of the rear speakers when stereo was playing etc. Personally my Rears were very quiet which was my main issue, even on +6 which the engineer had a mutual conclusive agreement with me about them being quiet. The only type of audio format where he said the Rear sounded fine were when we watched a Dolby Atmos movie with Dolby True HD core. Anything on Netflix on lossy Dolby Atmos was so so quiet with the rears. He said there’s nothing really he can do by bringing the speakers back to the warehouse as most of the tests they would do, I did in front of him. He also said all of this sounds like software issues. He said I could contact my retailer and replace the system with another one ( which I can’t be bothered to do but might have to), or hope with new software updates these problems get fixed. He wrote a Samsung report for my serial number for the soundbar so hopefully any faults in the future, I can use this as evidence!
I could have sworn I heard they weren't 2.1 in a review but now I can't find it. I was doing so much research on bars and TVs at the time its very possible I got it mixed up another. I can find no documentation on the Samsung website or in the specs that confirm either way.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Anyone who wants to test and push their system, check out Hurt Locker 4K DV/DA on iTunes USA store which can be purchased for $4.99.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
I've got the UHD disc and it does sound amazing!
Yes but its not Atmos. The Atmos even though is 768 Kbps, sounds amazing with clear overhead effects.
 

Talkshowchris

Active Member
Whilst on the subject of demo worthy content, there's a new John Williams concert from Vienna in Atmos now and it's absolutely stunning.
It is the first disc that I've seen that states it is in 9.1.4 too, so a good demo of the Q950t
 

gazza7474

Member
Yep - that’s how they mostly work unfortunately. Viera Link is Panasonic's name for CEC type stuff. Leave the top ticked to keep ARC and untick the two power options and give that a go. The power options are a good thing - many (maybe older) devices have on CEC on or off so you have little choice if you want ARC.
So arc was working fine all day changing from blu ray player and sky. Only the main viera setting on. Also leaving soundmode on surround. Then I turn the TV on this evening and now not working. Tried everything including powering off everything. I did get some interesting results powering on and off the soundbar and removing and replacing the hdmi arc lead. At one point the TV was stuck in home cinema mode (using the soundbar) and no sound out of the soundbar and I couldn't set the tv to use it's own speaker! It sounds like I may have more of an issue with how the TV is trying to deal with ARC, especially as at one point I couldn't use the TV speaker no matter what I tried.
I guess if I still struggle then I can use optical for sky stuff and hdmi for the blu ray. I guess this is one of those occasions where samsung could say that my tv is at fault (and they might be right on that one). I guess the more functionality/fearures/options/setting etc they offer the more potential issues. I can now see why sonos arc only had one hdmi port. I might see if I can borrow another arc device just to test it.
 

gazza7474

Member
So arc was working fine all day changing from blu ray player and sky. Only the main viera setting on. Also leaving soundmode on surround. Then I turn the TV on this evening and now not working. Tried everything including powering off everything. I did get some interesting results powering on and off the soundbar and removing and replacing the hdmi arc lead. At one point the TV was stuck in home cinema mode (using the soundbar) and no sound out of the soundbar and I couldn't set the tv to use it's own speaker! It sounds like I may have more of an issue with how the TV is trying to deal with ARC, especially as at one point I couldn't use the TV speaker no matter what I tried.
I guess if I still struggle then I can use optical for sky stuff and hdmi for the blu ray. I guess this is one of those occasions where samsung could say that my tv is at fault (and they might be right on that one). I guess the more functionality/fearures/options/setting etc they offer the more potential issues. I can now see why sonos arc only had one hdmi port. I might see if I can borrow another arc device just to test it.
Just tried a different HDMI lead and turned off the router. For some reason it is now working. I have now turned the router back on and still working. Fingers crossed it's ok now I'm using the best HDMI lead I have. I will look again at the recommended leads in the manual,
 

PlanetaryReference

Active Member
Purely out of curiosity, I put a low-frequency sweep through the Q950T yesterday from inaudible lows at 10 Hz to about 45 Hz. I only used vol=17 with this test (approximately TV viewing level) to see were the sub would start audibly working clearly. The test started at 10 Hz, rising slowly from there, with the frequency displayed. I could also slow it down, or speed it up with VLC. (I used the settings previously as given in Steve Wither's Review thread, on Friday, 11th Sept for the test.

I could just perceive sub noise beginning at 21 Hz (weak), could feel it clearly at 24 Hz, it was impressive from 28 Hz to 50 Hz. There was a slight rise until about 33 Hz, but I think this was just a result of the gain cutting at 25Hz and 40Hz, thus 32.5Hz being where it would be cut least. I ended the test at 45 Hz.

Above 45Hz is really low-mids, and quickly become affected by the bar and especially the rears which are pretty strong in the low-mids. This is why I wound them back by almost 12.95 dB at 63Hz (and this is with the Bass at -6).

The audible sub response at 24 Hz was surprising given the 6.9 dB cut at 25Hz. You'd think it would be tailing off fast below 28 Hz, but drops off more gradually. A 31-band EQ fine-tune could produce smooth lows to 24 Hz with the Q950T.

In my limited experience of new compact subs an 8-inch with a 24 Hz range when tuned which doesn’t seem to get stressed, nor even warm up, is an eye-opener. I don’t know how loud the system would go making 24 Hz, but I'm fairly confident it'll be considerably louder than I'll ever need.

In reality I'll be using a 31-band EQ to smooth it very slightly, but mostly to attenuate the gain sooner below 30 Hz, to spare my neighbors from low tones resonating their residence. Doing that is too indulgent. So Q950T's sub is delivering slightly more low end than I want. A below 32 Hz bypass button would be a nice option on such a sub, especially given it doesn't have a mute function anywhere (which is an appalling oversight by Samsung, as -12 does not cut it with a sub making 28Hz late at night, I'm left with no option but to manually turn the power off to the sub every night! This, and broken EQ memory, is almost a sufficient reason to return it to the store for a refund.

As for system level volume changes of 0 to +/-6 on the Q950T setup menus, it looks like each of those steps occurs in 1 dB increments. To put this in perspective, a gain change from 0 to +6 will produce a volume increase of 200%. So if you set the Rear speakers to +6, and the Bar speakers to -6, the relative volume change, front to rear, is 398%. That's how far the factory default speaker gain leveling balance was out, from front to rear of the surround image.

If that was my product I'd require that fixed inside of 24 hrs, or heads will roll.
 
Last edited:

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Thanks @PlanetaryReference for the detailed post. Exactly what I wanted to know.

One sub that defies physics is KEF KF92. Read about it. It's quite fascinating. Sadly it's expensive £2000 but it a near perfect solution for those who want a powerful infrasonic capable sub that has a less footprint
 

BeefS2

Active Member
Was offered $1250 US dollars for the q950t. I currently have the q90r. Was planning on holding out for klipsch cinema 1200 reviews, but that seems like a great deal. Pretty tired of the Samsung ecosystem, ie smartthings, though
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Was offered $1250 US dollars for the q950t. I currently have the q90r. Was planning on holding out for klipsch cinema 1200 reviews, but that seems like a great deal. Pretty tired of the Samsung ecosystem, ie smartthings, though
Good luck buddy but I would wait for the Klipsch 54/1200. If it is not good then it makes total sense to get this.
 

Chaybee1

Active Member
I have not seen this yet, but I was not too impressed with this guy's earlier video where he seemed obsessed with Sonos.

This guy hated the Q9050t from the jump and I really believe he received a defective unit (remember the sub was all banged up in his review?). I bet it was a demo unit that was passed on and on to reviewers.
 

BayAreaAudiophile

Active Member
This guy hated the Q9050t from the jump and I really believe he received a defective unit (remember the sub was all banged up in his review?). I bet it was a demo unit that was passed on and on to reviewers.
True that, his earlier video seemed to come from a place of a lot of pre-conceived notions rather than objectivity.
 

Chaybee1

Active Member
Why is the weighting on each of his points the same?
Surely audio quality should have about ten times the weighting as a voice assistant (that few people use let alone buy the bar for).
I'm like 7 minutes in and having owned both of these and ultimately keeping the Q950T, he's already wrong about set-up. The LG forces you to use the Google Home app to connect and then download their own app. He fails to mention this. LG also has a specific process as how to set-up properly.
 

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