The Samsung HW-Q990B is an excellent soundbar that produces a startlingly lifelike surround sound experience by utilizing numerous drivers, wireless rear speakers, and an improved subwoofer.
Overall audio quality is superb, engineering is impressive, and built-in Alexa provides smart functionality. You won’t find a more capable home theater soundbar, but it is costly and lacks a few additional HDMI ports.
Review of the Samsung HW-Q990B’s features and design
The Samsung HW-Q990B has the same spacious cabinet and angled edges as the HW-Q950A from the previous year, but a more durable metal mesh grille is used in place of the fabric covering. It is more unlikely to be scratched by cats, more appealing, and simpler to maintain clean. Thankfully, Samsung has also repositioned the display such that it is once again visible at the front of the bar.
The build quality is superb, the matte black finish is unobtrusive and non-reflective, and the soundbar’s dimensions are appropriate for TVs with screens of 55 inches or more. You may choose between stand mounting and wall mounting, and if you choose the latter, Samsung offers special brackets for it.
Both the revamped rear speakers and subwoofer are matte black-finished, with the latter sporting a new, highly modern, curved shape. They can be wall or stand mounted and share the same metal mesh grille as the soundbar, giving a unified design. Although the sub and rears are wireless, they still require a power outlet.
Even though the Q990B is one of the most feature-rich soundbars you’re likely to discover, its main selling point is its ability to offer an astonishingly lifelike 11.1.4-channel soundstage. This year’s improvement to the subwoofer has an 8-inch driver and an acoustic lens construction, which generates bass with greater homogeneity and makes the low end clearer and more precise.
To ensure smooth panning of effects from front-to-back and side-to-side, the system is made up of front left and right channels, a center channel, front and rear overhead channels, width channels at the front, and side channels at the front and rear. To increase the frequency range, the soundbar employs up-firing wide-range tweeters rather than acoustic beams.
Due to the soundbar’s support for DTS:X and Dolby Atmos object-based audio codecs, all of these speakers can be used to their maximum potential. This year, Wireless Atmos was added, which enables the format to be broadcast using lossy Dolby Digital Plus from supported 2022 Samsung TVs over a Wi-Fi connection.
Review of the Samsung HW-Q990B: Control and connections
The Samsung HW-Q990B boasts a respectable selection of connections, including two HDMI inputs and an eARC-compatible output. It would be good to have more inputs, however they all support 4K/60p and all HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision) formats. Although they do not support VRR or 4K/120 fast frame rate, they do support Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). There is an optical digital input, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay 2 available as additional connection choices.
The One Remote Control has undergone a facelift, gaining new functions while keeping its user-friendly interface. The SmartThings app is extremely straightforward to use and streamlines setup, enabling you to easily set up Alexa, update the firmware, and establish a Wi-Fi connection. Users have a variety of options for controlling the HW-Q990B after it has been set up, including the controls on the soundbar itself, the included remote, the SmartThings app, Alexa, and their TV remote.
Review of the Samsung HW-Q990B: Sound Performance
The Q990B has excellent overall performance, and its substantial drivers and great breadth make it a capable music performer. The subwoofer delivers a strong foundation of bass that feels tight and controlled thanks to the Auto EQ, and there is some good stereo separation. The delivery also has a clarity to it, with a clear treble and an uncluttered midrange.
The menu offers different options for manually changing the treble, bass, and any sync audio delays. There are also controls for altering the subwoofer and channel levels. However, since SpaceFit Sound automatically optimizes the acoustics and periodically corrects as needed, there shouldn’t be a need to modify these.
Ample width is provided by the side-firing speakers, and clear, on-screen conversation is guaranteed by the center channel. The Samsung performs admirably when viewing TV, and the rear speakers make sure that 5.1-channel soundtracks are transmitted appropriately and with distinct surround effects. There are no delays or dropouts with the wireless connections.
The Q990B truly has the chance to demonstrate its full capacity for immersion when the complete 11.1.4-channel soundstage is engaged. Any other soundbar cannot compare to the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X’s sensation of surround sound, which even rivals some AVRs. The usage of front and rear up-firing speakers makes a significant difference, albeit your ceiling height has a significant impact on how effective they will be.
The massive soundstage has effects that are carefully positioned throughout the space in a genuine sound hemisphere. A decent-sized space may be filled with sound while maintaining good dynamic range thanks to the adequate amplification. The new subwoofer delivers bass that is extraordinarily deep and strong without obstructing the other channels or the soundstage.
Watching 1917, which has a very directional sound design that moves individual audio effects around three-dimensional space, wonderfully exemplifies all these qualities. The Q990B moves these sounds throughout the space naturally, giving you the impression that you are in the heart of No Man’s Land.
Clear conversation can be heard in TV shows, there is delightful dynamism in movies and video games, and there is outstanding stereo image and instrument localization in two-channel music. The HW-Q990B provides a captivating, pleasurable, and remarkably immersive performance whether you’re watching TV or movies, listening to music, or playing games.
Summary of the Samsung HW-Q990B review
The Samsung HW-Q990B maintains the brand’s successful run of creating soundbars that are among the best in their class. Its 11.1.4-channel system flawlessly reproduces space-filling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, while the revamped soundbar, subwoofer, and rear speakers outperform last year’s flagship model in all but one way.
The overall delivery is excellent, with a large, strong, and immersive soundstage that has plenty of low-end punch. Installation is straightforward, automatic room adjustment ensures the system functions effectively, and the process is simple.