Stick with 5.1 via AVR or Soundbar with Atmos


Well-known Member
I currently have a Denon AVR X3400 running a BK XLS300/PR sub (which is very old, but very good) with Monitor Audio Apex A10 satellite speakers and an A40 centre.

Changing these speakers is not an option, or adding and more speakers is not an option. So I have 5.1 audio and that is it realistically.

I keep thinking about getting rid of the lot and getting a Samsung Q950A soundbar with Atmos instead. The biggest motivator is that my wife and I want our room to be a living room 1st and a home cinema second which means big speakers, wall / ceiling mounted speakers etc, all a no go and finding a TV cabinet to house the A40 and the amp is a total PITA.

A sound bar makes life easy, plonk it on top of the TV unit and walk away, plus I get Atmos which I have no other way of achieving otherwise.

Would it be a massive step backwards though, it sounds pretty darn good. The sub can get seriously low and the speakers sound very nice.

I like the idea of a simple set up, but I dislike the idea of going backwards, Is Atmos enough to swing the decision?

Then the Samsung doesn't have the same level of room correction software, the sub wont have the same depth ... I expect?

Has anyone any real life experience with a similar move / decision ?

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Distinguished Member
Noticeable downgrade from what you have now! The atmos effects with upfiring bounce depends very much of your ceiling height, flat/popcorn, how far you sit etc. Some people have made the change to soundbar from decent 5.1 systems and while it can sound nice at first they usually regret it later and come back for separates.

There is reason why the Apex are still popular even if they are ~10year old. They are similar level to MA Silvers so for most people hits the sweet spot as the next step Gold 5.0 system costs over 4k£. Your receiver is also chosen wisely and the older passive radiator BK model got lot of praise when it was sold, so all in all i can see you have very enjoyable system. I hope you can change wifes mind somehow. If you lose the battle then i would consider keeping them in closet for future if you possibly move or get some spare hobby/man cave room..

"I like the idea of a simple set up, but I dislike the idea of going backwards, Is Atmos enough to swing the decision?"

No. Downgrade in overall sound quality, weight, depth, sound stage, detail, subwoofer bass weight/depth/sound quality/control wouldn´t be on same level either. You would also possibly need to move couch closer to find the sweet spot for the overhead effects.


Distinguished Member
I see @lgans316 has the Samsung soundbar, but also possibly looking going back to separates. Any comment amigo? :)

I am not going back now but looking at adding separates back into the mix. The only reason for that would be deep bass (under 30 Hz). :) Otherwise the Samsung matches my big and bulky ex-separates easily in my living room and I am not exaggerating.

I know the hardcore audiophiles won't even bother soundbars as they can afford big gears and rooms but gone are those days where a soundbar was looked upon like a third class citizen. The ones from Samsung and Klipsch can easily give mid end separates a run for their money.


Well-known Member
@berkeley384 Did you end up demoing the Samsung soundbar?

In so much that my friend has one, I do not know how customisable it is and I do not know if his speaker placement was ideal enough to get the best out of it. It seemed sub heavy in one way but then in another the sub didn't have enough low end.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

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