February 24, 2024

Searching for a house theater setup sometimes means shopping for a soundbar, subwoofer and rear audio system individually. Some corporations could embrace a sub with the soundbar, however you don’t all the time get the whole lot you’ll want for essentially the most immersive sound in the identical field with high-end fashions. Samsung consists of all of these further audio system with (), although you’re clearly paying a premium. The corporate affords Dolby Atmos together with a spread of audio choices and two HDMI inputs, beaming crisp 11.1.4-channel sound into your lounge. The Q990C is a big funding, however it’s additionally one-stop buying.

Design

Because the Q990C is Samsung’s high-end soundbar in its present lineup, it’s additionally the most important. It’s 48.5-inches vast, which is definitely about three inches lower than . In fact, corporations want the additional area on the flagship fashions to pack in all the audio system. In Samsung’s case, the Q990C homes 11 front-facing drivers (together with some side-firing), 4 up-firing drivers and an inner subwoofer. The separate wi-fi sub can be substantial at 16 x 16 x 8 inches and weighing in at 26 kilos. The wi-fi rear audio system aren’t big, however they do have a three-driver setup with front-, side- and up-firing drivers the place different corporations may solely have one.

Professionals

  • All-inclusive bundle
  • Detailed and immersive sound
  • Rear audio system comprise upfiring drivers
  • Simple setup

Cons

  • Costly
  • Soundbar and sub are massive
  • Some options require a Samsung TV
  • No HDMI 2.1

Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar

Samsung opted for a mesh plastic protecting for each the soundbar and rear audio system. It’s simpler to maintain clear than the everyday speaker cloth. Samsung additionally saved issues easy on the soundbar itself, placing simply 4 buttons up high. Right here, you’ll discover a multi-function button that both turns the speaker on or cycles by the enter sources. Quantity controls and a microphone mute. From the entrance, a small show on the fitting aspect will present you enter info, quantity degree and different settings. As a substitute all 90-degree angles the Q990C’s aspect panels comply with the place of the side-firing audio system.

Setup

The preliminary setup for the Q990C is among the many best I’ve ever accomplished for a house leisure bundle. When you energy on the soundbar and join it to the SmartThings app, the subwoofer and rear audio system are mechanically added while you flip them on. There’s no ready for something to sync and I didn’t have to attach every factor individually. There are buttons on the sub and rears if it is advisable manually connect with the soundbar, however I by no means had to make use of them. The entire thing was fast and frustration-free, which will get you to the music and flicks quickly after unboxing.

Like many flagship soundbars, Samsung has included two further HDMI inputs on high of the HDMI eARC jack you’ll use to attach your TV. Many extra inexpensive, extra compact fashions solely have the eARC connection so you must depend on your TV’s ports, however the pricier fashions sometimes supply further choices for connecting on to the soundbar. Samsung says you possibly can count on 4K/60 and HDR10+ passthrough on the Q990C, however not 4K/120 because the unit doesn’t have HDMI 2.1. That’s a giant omission in a $1,900 soundbar being bought in 2023.

There’s additionally an optical enter on the Q990C in addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The latter brings Tidal Join, Spotify Join and AirPlay to the combination. It additionally permits you to join wirelessly to a appropriate Samsung TV for audio. This implies you may get Dolby Atmos to the soundbar with no cables working out of your tv, which is useful in the event you’ve already mounted the show flush with the wall. And when you’ve got a appropriate Samsung cellphone, you possibly can allow Faucet Sound which connects to the Q990C through Bluetooth while you gently contact the speaker with the handset. As an iPhone person, I wasn’t capable of check this.

SmartThings app and different options

Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar review
One of many rear audio system

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Along with serving to with setup, the SmartThings app is the place you possibly can tweak the Q990C’s settings. The present enter and quantity controls are essentially the most outstanding on the system display screen, with sound modes, EQ and woofer degree slightly below. There are additionally choices for SpaceFit Sound, which mechanically tunes the audio to the room, and Energetic Voice Amplifier, which combats room noise by optimizing on-screen dialog. The superior settings menu affords voice and bass enhancement alongside a Night time Mode, however all of those are on or off toggles with no additional customization. SmartThings permits you to select both Bixby or Alexa for the voice assistant you wish to make use of on the soundbar.

Samsung enables you to select between Normal, Encompass, Recreation Professional and Adaptive Sound modes. The primary doesn’t tweak the audio in any respect and it’s the one mode the place the totally adjustable EQ is accessible (simply bass and treble on the remainder). For all the others, the Q990C upscales 2.0, 5.1 and seven.1 audio to the 11.1.4-channel output the soundbar affords. In fact, all Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content material is beamed out at 11.1.4, too. Encompass mode is self-explanatory whereas Recreation Professional creates extra immersive audio with 3D-optimized sound particularly for gaming. Adaptive Sound is the choice I used most because it analyzes audio in actual time to maintain dialog sounding clear throughout a spread of volumes for motion pictures, information and sports activities. I discovered it the best-sounding preset for music, too.

Along with deciding on a sound mode within the app, you possibly can cycle by them with a devoted button the included distant. It additionally offers you entry to SpaceFit Sound, Energetic Voice Amplifier, Voice Enhancement and extra with a Sound Management button that’s labeled with the settings/gear icon. A Channel Stage button enables you to modify the quantity of every speaker, with Middle degree, Facet degree, Huge degree, Entrance Prime degree, Rear degree, Rear high degree and Rear aspect degree among the many decisions. There’s additionally a button for Tone Management, placing bass and treble tweaks just some button presses away. These are all along with the usual energy, enter, quantity (general and subwoofer solely), mute, pairing and playback choices soundbar remotes sometimes have.

Sound high quality

Due to the Q990C’s upscaling talents, almost each film or TV present sounds extra immersive than in the event you have been listening in stereo and even with a 5.1 setup. Netflix’s Drive To Survive, which is obtainable in Dolby Atmos when you’ve got the priciest Extremely HD plan, continues to be superb with this soundbar for these of us on the extra inexpensive month-to-month price. The whir of the vehicles as they zoom previous, pitlane noise and crunching crashes make the meticulously-shot collection even higher. Marvel exhibits and flicks on Disney+ can be found with Atmos they usually sound superb.

I can confidently say that is the closest I’ve come to a film theater-like expertise in my lounge. The extra drivers within the rear audio system undoubtedly elevate the overhead sensation, contributing considerably extra to directional audio than regular single-driver models. Combat scenes just like the one which opens The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are loud and chaotic, however they sound extra such as you’re watching in actual life, taking within the thud of every punch, the fireplace of each gun and the drone of choppers navigating the canyon.

The Q990C can be a fantastic possibility for music. Crisp, clear highs and highly effective, punchy bass praise almost each style. Even at decrease volumes, tunes like Sia’s “On a regular basis Is Christmas” come throughout layered reasonably than compressed. Vocals minimize by clear and the bassline doesn’t overpower. The identical goes for Turnpike Troubadours’ A Cat within the Rain the place every member of the band stands on their very own, with snare hits and country-rock vocals slicing by the combination. Bass from the massive subwoofer is current however restrained, solely as bombastic because it must be and by no means muddy or uninteresting.

Samsung HW-Q990C
The total set that comes with the Q990C

Samsung

The sound on these albums was spectacular and I wasn’t even streaming them in Dolby Atmos. Tunes within the immersive format sound much more unimaginable on the Q990C. TesseracT’s prog-metal Battle Of Being is hovering and atmospheric, with the staccato guitars and slapped bass on tracks like “The Grey” displaying off the dimensional high quality of Atmos Music. Much less intense genres like Tyler Childers’ Rustin’ In The Rain come throughout extra like dwell performances than streamed albums. The sound is full, crisp and envelopes the room with guitars, piano, metal guitar and completely calculated drum hits, all supporting Childers’ trademark jap Kentucky vocals.

This soundbar system works properly in a multi-room setup, too, and also you don’t want different Samsung audio system to do it. Due to AirPlay, you possibly can simply choose the Q990C and different audio system in your Wi-Fi community. I used to be capable of constantly hyperlink the soundbar with a HomePod in one other room with just some faucets in Apple Music. The audio carried out constantly as soon as the 2 audio system have been linked and I by no means heard any dropouts or clipping after they have been utilized in tandem.

One audio characteristic that I wasn’t capable of check is Q-Symphony. This makes use of the audio system inside Samsung TVs along with the drivers within the soundbar setup. The corporate guarantees it “can optimize all of the channels” for a “masterfully orchestrated sound expertise.” I don’t have a Samsung TV, however the soundbar system sounds nice with out it. What’s extra, this type of factor isn’t distinctive to Samsung gadgets as Sony affords an analogous software referred to as Acoustic Middle Sync with its soundbars and TVs.

The competitors

is the very best different to the Q990C. It additionally does Atmos and music very properly, however the whole lot you add to it’s an extra buy. At present costs, the soundbar, the most affordable sub and rear speaker choices will price you $1,600 whereas soundbar alone is $1,000. There are higher decisions for each the woofer and rears, however these considerably increase the value.

The A7000 affords loads of what the Q990C has on its spec sheet. That features the 2 HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K/120 passthrough. Sony consists of compatibility with each Hello-Res and 360 Actuality Audio alongside numerous items of digital encompass tech and plenty of sound modes. The important thing variations between this and the Q990C is that the A7000 is a 7.1.4-channel setup, versus 11.1.4, and the aforementioned HDMI 2.1 help.

The Q990C is presently on sale for $1,400, however it’s unclear if that value minimize is everlasting. The $500 financial savings make the all-inclusive Samsung setup much more enticing, in the event you can dwell with out HDMI 2.1.

Wrap-up

Samsung’s newest is a sonic powerhouse. And, maybe extra importantly, it comes with the subwoofer and rear audio system you’ll must profit from it within the field. For the price of what you’d pay for a soundbar alone from a number of the firm’s important opponents, you get the whole package deal, and one which’s simple to arrange and customise as wanted. The sound high quality is nice and Atmos content material is as crisp and immersive as ever, as long as you will have area to accommodate the bundle. The dearth of HDMI 2.1 hinders efficiency for players, and that’s a evident omission on a premium soundbar today. The Q990C isn’t low cost, even on the present discounted value, however at the least you’re getting the whole lot you want in a single go.

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