Soundbar vs bookshelf stero speakers for movies & games

ClementNerma

Novice Member
Hi there!

I've recently bought a Samsung HW-Q900T to use in a ~30m^2 room, and I must admit it doesn't sound nearly as good as I thought it would given the $1000 price tag.

Due to the structure of the room, which is open on the back (the couch is just in front of a wall, but there is no room at its left or right), and other constraints, I cannot have physical rear or surround speakers, nor I can have tower speakers.

The Q900T has good left/right separation and good height effects as well, but the music is not projected, it gives the impression of staying at the soundbar's location.

So my question is: would a pair of bookshelf speakers (let's say for instance a pair of KEF LS50s) with a stereo amplifier (or AC receiver?) with a dedicated subwoofer have a better 3D sound?

It would obviously sound better with music, but I'm really wondering about the immersion (and especially music projection), since it's the main reason I bought this soundbar to start with - I already have a good pair of headphones and amp when I want to listen to music.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

ClementNerma

Novice Member
Ok so I just discovered that the sound sent to my soundbar was in PCM 2.0. I played some 5.1 test files and I was getting no sound from the LFE channel, although the subwoofer is working perfectly.

It seems that, even though I configured the output with Dolby Atmos and the game I'm playing is offering me a 5.1 option while it doesn't when I use my headphones, the final output was downmixed to stereo.

After researching for a bit, I found that it was due to my PC being directly plugged in via HDMI to my TV, whose EDID indicates it cannot receive multi-channel contents. Dolby Atmos does not seem to handle PCM 5.1, which I was not aware of, or it simply was Windows' fault for downmixing the whole sound.

So, I plugged my PC's HDMI output to the soundbar's HDMI input, and after a few difficulties managed to make it display the PC's content on the TV. When testing some 5.1 playback, I indeed get sound from the LFE channel, and the sound is a LOT MORE immersive.

It it still relatively front-heavy, probably due to the structure of the room which is nearly the worst possible structure for the rear effects, but it works like a charm and is a lot more immersive!
 

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