Samsung HW-Q990B review – the most expensive, but worth the price

Samsung HW-Q990B review - the photo shows the whole set
Samsung HW-Q990B Review $ 1697
  • Sound quality in movies
  • Sound quality in music
  • Production quality
  • Operation and application
  • Connectors
4.2

Samsung HW-Q990B review in three sentences

The Samsung HW-Q990B is expensive, but the price is adequate to its capabilities. We get a large set of speakers with a very good final sound, which will certainly satisfy even more demanding people. It is a pity, however, that I had a big problem with the application, which severely limited the usability of the soundbar.

Benefits

  • Sound quality for movies and music from Dolby Atmos
  • Production quality
  • Remote
  • Supported by SmartThings
  • Network Capabilities (if they work)
  • The effect speakers in the set do a very good job
  • Simple operation
  • The whole connects wirelessly when we connect other components to the electricity

Disadvantages

  • No 4K 120Hz support via HDMI connections
  • Problems with connection
  • Stereo music sounds average
  • Very large sizes
  • Display too small

Sound often affects the perception of movies more than the image quality itself. Therefore, it is worth taking good care of. The review of the Samsung HW-Q990B, the highest available soundbar model from a Korean manufacturer, will easily and pleasantly allow us to take care of this zone at home. 

Set and price

Samsung HW-Q990B review - the photo shows the whole set

The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar comes to us in a really powerful box, which is easily twice the size of most of the known “chair solutions” from, for example, last year’s HW-Q800A. The whole thing also weighs over 28 kilograms , and the cardboard itself is extremely bulky due to the width of the strip itself. Inside you will find four power cables, a soundbar, a subwoofer, two effect speakers, as well as a short HDMI cable to connect the TV to the soundbar using the eARC. 

The Samsung HW-Q990B currently costs USD $1,697 , which makes it one of the most expensive soundbars on the market and the most expensive from this manufacturer. Does the price match the quality?

Samsung HW-Q990B Connectors

Specification

  • Channels 11.1.4
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS X support
  • Total 22 speakers
  • Wireless effect speakers and subwoofer
  • Bluetooth with SBC (only) support
  • AirPlay 2 support
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spotify Connect
  • Two HDMI inputs (4K 120Hz and VRR not supported)
  • HDMI output (to TV)
  • Optical SPDiF input
  • RMS power (combined): 656 W

Build quality and build

A close-up of the Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar

The Samsung HW-Q990B is a really nice, but at the same time great soundbar. It is quite difficult to fit it under the TV, in the case of the Samsung 55QN90B it had to stand in front of the leg. The entire main strip is covered with a metal mesh that looks very good and gives the impression of austerity, while blending into the room. 

The corners of the side sections are cut to accommodate the speakers. The manufacturer’s logo is on the left side of the soundbar, and on the other end there is a very small screen that informs us about the volume, modes or source. However, the screen is so small that you cannot see half of the options in full and you have to wait until all the information scrolls. 

The subwoofer and surround speakers are a bit more basic

Effective speaker from the Samsung HW-Q990B set

The effect speakers that are included in the Samsung HW-Q990B set are also surrounded by a metal mesh, but on three sides, which is where the drivers are. On the inside there is a brushed plastic that fingers hard , but luckily you don’t touch these speakers at all. At the bottom there are rubber feet that will help to place the speaker on the shelves behind us. It is a pity that the dedicated power cables are very short. There may be a problem with their help to conveniently position the speakers. 

The subwoofer is quite a standard brick, although from the diaphragm side it has a very nice cover for it. It is well made, but the material it is made of collects dust very quickly , so wipe it down every few days. 

Pilot and operation

Remote control for Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar

The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar comes with a small remote control with source selection, overall volume change, subwoofer adjustment, or sound modes change. In the end, the only thing I used the soundbar remote for was to change the subwoofer voice level. For the rest, all you need to do is use the TV remote control , which with the help of HDMI CEC working together with eARC will do the rest for us. 

The most archaic option is to change the volume and sources from the buttons on the soundbar, which are located in the middle of the soundbar. The last option is also the SmartThings application, which I will come back to in a moment. 

How do I set up the subwoofer and surround speakers?

The subwoofer is placed next to the couch - Samsung HW-Q990B

Samsung in its infographics shows a sound that twists in flight to finally reach our ear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, because the sound has to reflect somewhere, or have our ears on the line of fire. If we have a fairly symmetrical room, place the speakers behind you, looking for a good reflection angle of the external speaker from the wall. It is worth playing with it, because when necessary, they will make an amazing impression. I deliberately do not give a specific angle, because depending on the room, they can be very different.

Setting up the sub is surprisingly easy because I used to walk all over the living room with it, and it always sounded at least good. The only time it actually improved significantly was when it was positioned next to me, around the corner of the couch. Due to the fact that it is not a comfortable place, it did not stay there for a long time. 

The SmartThings app helps in many ways, but you need to connect to it first

For the first time with any Samsung hardware, I had a problem connecting it to the application. The Samsung HW-Q990B showed up as available for connection, but it was throwing out two connection errors on two different devices. I tried resetting the phone, changing the router but nothing helped unfortunately. I was also unable to connect to a network cable, because it cannot be plugged into the HW-Q990B. In the end, I was able to connect for a short while, because then it threw out the equipment available online again. 

What can SmartThings give me?

Buttons located on the top of the soundbar
- Samsung HW-Q990B

For many, the most important function will be the graphic equalizer that is available in it. Everything else is now available directly from the remote control of the soundbar, but controlling the application due to the tiny display is more convenient . Even the volume is, in my opinion, good to control through the application, because I like to sit in the kitchen with music, and taking the remote to it will always end up searching. 

Spotify Connect should be in every soundbar

And the Samsung HW-Q990B has them. It is true that due to connection problems I could not assess the stability of this function, so at least I will describe its operation. In the Spotify application, we have access to devices that support Spotify Connect and are on the same network. With the help of this, we can play music directly on the soundbar, without losing the sound quality as in the case of a Bluetooth connection. 

Because Bluetooth is on, but for an extension (again)

Samsung in TV sets still insists on the lack of Dolby Vision support, and in soundbars the Bluetooth connection segment is a bit lame. Even a much cheaper soundbar like the Teufel Cinebar Set has the AptX codec, but it again doesn’t have network features. If I had to choose between good BT and good network functions, I would always choose better Wi-Fi support, because in the long run Bluetooth can be tiring, especially when many people want to connect alternately. 

Sound quality

Samsung HW-Q990B in the movies

Close up of the soundbar driver - Samsung HW-Q990B

Due to the design and set, you can see that the Samsung HW-Q990B is a soundbar aimed at cinema fans . The 11.1.4 system is great for these applications, especially when the videos are recorded in Dolby Atmos format, which is by far the most impressive. And Samsung works amazingly well in most productions. 

Properly positioned effect speakers can really surprise and make a great scene effect with action happening everywhere , like in action movies or mentioned in the Samsung QN90B review , The Bad Batch series. They introduce much more immersion to the session, where the subwoofer can additionally punch you with good quality bass. 

Speaking of the subwoofer

A close-up of the subwoofer pickup's grille - Samsung HW-Q990B

It is with a well-set power level that it does not impose itself excessively. Bas shows up on a regular basis, but is usually an agent in the background and does not turn the character’s steps into an earthquake. It actually strikes when it is necessary, like the passage of a spacecraft, a series of explosions, or it perfectly captures the journeys and clatter of trains. Thanks to these little things, I think that the Samsung HW-Q990B has a very good bass control and quantity. 

Perfectly readable dialogues

The main sound bar is, as always, responsible for the dialogues in the movies. They sound really great. They are pushed to the front in a natural, albeit slightly warmed, style. Only when the movies used deliberate reverb did the soundbar get lost a bit . The solution to fully understand such moments is for me to put on headphones or switch to my stereo, which, however, is a bit more expensive than the reviewed soundbar. However, for two weeks I had this situation literally once, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. 

Peaceful movies also sound beyond their means

Top of the effect speaker with a visible transducer - Samsung HW-Q990B

Even though I am rather a fan of action movies, I decided to watch some calmer productions, including returning to the series Mindhunter for a while. When I watched it for the first time, I did it on a very mediocre audio system, in an absolutely unsuited room. Currently, I also did it in an unsuited room, but the Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar made a very good impression nonetheless. Especially during interviews in prisons, all background noises can be heard much better. The soundbar pulls them out nicely, without exaggerating. 

Samsung HW-Q990B in music

Here, the sound in terms of the signature itself is very similar to last year’s mid-range model, the HW-Q800A . It is a rather darker, dense sound, but at the same time dynamic and giving a lot of listening pleasure . If you do not fully understand these phrases, in the headphone ranking guide , you will find an explanation for them. For a soundbar, I was also surprised by a large amount of texture and quite a lot of detail. 

Both elements are easy to hear, although they were introduced definitely not in audiophile.They do not have a technical edge, but are presented in a very sonorous and lively way, which is also a sought-after feature for many. When I want to relax, I prefer this sound to something overly technical, because it can be tiring in the long run. 

Everything except opera and metal

Samsung HW-Q990B - Everything except opera and metal

The Samsung HW-Q990B performed well in almost every music genre, except for those mentioned in the paragraph’s header. They require much more detail in the higher frequency ranges so that the sound does not get lost . The reviewed soundbar has more of them in the lower midrange and bass, so many guitar riffs or strings simply mix with each other, not sounding the way they should. This is also due to the sound signature, which is too dark and the sound is too dense for the Samsung HW-Q990B to be able to process it. 

Dolby Atmos is great, but the stereo is there

By anticipating some – yes, you can get at least a decent stereo from the soundbar. In this case, the Samsung HW-Q990B lies a bit , because while using the Q-Symphony with a Samsung TV you cannot hear that the soundbar itself is playing, you can still hear that the sound reaches us in a simplified style, fully from the front. 

The situation is saved here by the availability of Dolby Atmos and AirPlay 2 support. Or at least among iPhone owners, because Apple Music supports Dolby Atmos surround sound , in which music will sound much better, with a better scene and greater depth, which is often missing in standard Spotify listening. Apple Music is also available on many operating systems among TVs, so this is also the right path to better sound quality. 

Samsung HW-Q990B review – summary

Samsung HW-Q990B review - summary

Samsung HW-Q900B is not cheap. It is also not weak. Is it profitable? If we do not have too much space to set up a full home theater system, then it is. The 11.1.4 sound system is great for movies and music with Dolby Atmos for an amazing cinematic production experience. The soundbar also has a lot of network features, but they don’t always want to work together, so keep that in mind. It is also worth remembering about the absolutely top quality of workmanship and elegant design that will fit into almost any apartment finish. 

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