Samsung HW-Q990B – Convincing and enveloping


The HW-Q990B is the very best soundbar that Samsung will offer in 2022. The Koreans pull out all the stops with this flagship, both in terms of functionality and in terms of real surround performance via sophisticated extra wireless speakers. It is the only soundbar that can really offer 11.1.4 surround. Read our HW-Q990B review.

Samsung HW-Q990B

Price

€ 1,499
Connections

HDMI eARC, 2 x HDMI-in, aux-in, optical input
wireless

Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth
Sound bar dimensions

120 x 7.1 x 16 centimeters
Sound bar weight

6.5 kilograms
Subwoofer Dimensions

38 x 38 x 21.4 centimeters
Subwoofer weight

8.8 kilograms
Website
www.samsung.com
9 Score 90 Score: 90

  • Pros
  • Complete package that works perfectly together
  • Tight basses
  • Very enveloping surround
  • Good streaming options
  • Negatives
  • Sufficient space and correct placement are crucial
  • No HDMI 2.1 inputs
  • Some options only with Samsung TVs

Soundbars have become very advanced, but can really match a grand surround setup with speakers spread throughout the room… that is not yet possible. But Samsung does have the ambition to close that gap. They do this with their top models, which has been successful in recent years.

The HW-Q990B is the latest flagship from Samsung, a grand device that is bundled with a wireless subwoofer and two wireless rear speakers that you have to place behind the sofa.

Thanks to these extras, it is very suitable for playing movies and TV series with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X sound. The HW-Q990B also beckons gamers with a dedicated gaming mode.

Buy the Samsung HW-Q990B at Bol.com

22 speakers

The HW-Q990B is the successor to the Samsung HW-Q950A from 2021. After all, Samsung likes to launch new soundbars every year that fit the new TV models. It also always tries to add something ‘new’ to the latest model. Not always easy with a soundbar…

The HW-Q990B therefore looks a lot like the HW-Q950A, but adds some intriguing things. Two things stand out: the subwoofer is better and the wireless speakers have been adjusted to better spread sound at the back of the room.

Now that we are talking about those devices: there are more soundbars with wireless rear speakers, but they are rarely as sophisticated as this one. After all, they distribute three channels per device, including one channel to distribute Atmos effects. Combine that with a soundbar that contains 22 speakers, and you understand how Samsung arrived at that 11.1.4. The HW-Q990B also features an improved center channel. You notice this in the better reproduction of voices.

The soundbar itself is a large rectangle that fits a 55-inch TV. Thanks to its black metal housing without striking elements, the HW-Q990B appears very modest and unobtrusive. The design does deviate from the classic beam shape because the front corners are cut off. These slanted sides make it visually more fascinating and houses speakers that send sound very widely into the room.

As with more high-end Atmos soundbars, there are also two speakers at the top. You cannot see them, but it is important that they can radiate freely. So do not place the HW-Q990B half under the TV or in a piece of furniture. Wall mounting can; everything is included to make that possible.

SmartThings

If you want to connect a console or Blu-ray player, you will discover three additional HDMI inputs on the HW-Q990B. These can handle 4K and most HDR standards. Gamers who are very demanding will be disappointed that these inputs are not 4K120/8K60 ready.

Playing music from a mobile device can be done in many ways. The HW-Q990B has Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and bluetooth on board. With Tap Sound you can play music very quickly: just tap your (Samsung) smartphone on the soundbar to establish a Bluetooth connection.

You can set up and operate the HW-Q990B via the SmartThings app, with which you can also operate other Samsung devices (such as robot vacuum cleaners or washing machines). An improvement this year is that you can now completely adjust and tweak the Samsung soundbar in the app. Also the separate volume control per channel, which is useful to optimize the performance.

In the app you can activate Auto EQ. Test tones then play briefly, after which the soundbar adapts its sound to your room. Very useful, we immediately notice an improvement in clarity and tighter basses.

There is another more advanced feature like this on the HW-Q990B: SpaceFit+. But this function only works if you combine the Samsung soundbar with a recent Samsung TV. If you do that, you can also use Q-Symphony to let the speakers of the television play along with the HW-Q990B. Samsung is certainly not the only one to reserve extra options for owners of (new) TVs of its own brand.

enveloping

The Samsung HW-Q990B has everything on board to create an enveloping surround bubble around your seat. But does he? Yes, although there is a ‘but’. With many soundbars with separate rear speaker, you can place those devices more or less next to the sofa. That’s different here. For optimal performance, it is best to park them behind and next to your seat, according to Samsung. Just as Dolby prescribes for professional surround setups.

In practice you do have a bit more flexibility, but still. Only when they are correctly positioned will the surround experience be right and you will get a large bubble around you. Taking the time to adjust the different volume levels via the app or remote is also worth it.

Once that’s done, the HW-Q990B delivers a spectacular experience. Battles between knights and attacks by dragons in episodes two and three of ‘House of the Dragon’ are depicted mightily. At one point, a dragon flies from the back left to the screen – very cool.

The demos on the Dolby Atmos test disc also sound very good. The sound effects are accurately positioned and move as the on-screen action suggests. We also reach for ‘No Time To Die’, during the chase in Norway. This is a great scene that immediately shows why Dolby Atmos does not only have added value with popping action. The HW-Q990B conveys the atmosphere of a foggy forest where motorcycles echo in the distance and pistol shots resound.

In terms of realism, this Samsung really scores, with sound effects that are placed very three-dimensionally. When playing music, you can choose between a Standard mode that plays stereo or a Surround mode that sends music to all speakers. The first is not so impressive, but the HW-Q990B is very musical in surround.

Conclusion

The Samsung HW-Q990B is one of the best soundbars available – a real reference. The surround performance is very good, thanks to the excellent subwoofer, the smart rear speakers and the accompanying Auto EQ function.

You do have to place the rear speakers correctly, but then you will be immersively enveloped by sound in movies and games. There are few soundbars that can match this Samsung. He is also strong musically. It is a pity that its full potential is only reached with a new Samsung TV. But even without it it remains a real champion.

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