Samsung HW-Q950A Soundbar Review Page 2

Nor has Samsung's flagship system lost any of its impact elsewhere. The main soundbar produces a huge soundstage that's hard to reconcile with its slender profile. It spreads up as well as out, generating a robust wall of sound into which effects are placed with slick precision.

It has an attacking nature, too, delivering effects like gunfire, explosions and punches with an impression that few rivals can match. When the security guard's head is bashed into a glass window during the fight in the psych ward in 2020's The Invisible Man (4K Blu-ray), it sounded gut-wrenchingly raw and visceral.

Fully Immersed
My 'wall of sound' description does the Q950A a disservice, actually. It projects strongly forward into your room, too. This means that with the dystopian world of Blade Runner 2049 (4K Blu-ray) I felt fully immersed, rather than a distant observer of stuff only happening in front of me. The sense of the soundfield wrapping right around you, exactly as you want it to with a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X mix, is remarkably intense and complete.

For the most part effects are placed throughout this space with impressive accuracy. The only slight exception to this concerns overhead details, which end up a little more generalised by the system's reflected sound approach than the specific, direct feel you get with physical overheads. The results are still convincing enough, however, to make you feel like you're not seriously missing out on anything. And the whole point of soundbars is to give you a cinematic experience without having to install loads of separate speakers all over your room.

Another string to the Q950A's bow is its handling of bass. Samsung's subwoofer does an excellent job filling out the low frequencies of even the most extreme movie mixes. The monstrous bass drops that punctuate Blade Runner 2049's Dolby Atmos track are handled with conviction and it integrates well with the bottom end of the main soundbar. There's power and depth here, but also an ability to meet subtle changes in soundtrack demands. It's nimble enough to never sound like it's just rumbling away.


The remote is light on buttons, but some have more than one function

The Q950A's full-range, largescale presentation carries over into its music playback. Even basic stereo mixes played through the soundbar's Standard mode have a scale and presence to them that compares favourably with a dedicated two-channel system. This works particularly well with exceptionally dynamic, relatively sparse music such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Skeleton Tree album, or Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever. The dynamics of the system also play well, generally, with the extra clarity of hi-resolution files and Dolby Atmos music.

Premium Price
There are reasons why the Q950A might not be for you. The most obvious one is its cost. While it arguably justifies its price with the power and three-dimensionality of its sound, it's striking how much more it sells for in the UK than it does in the US. Its aggressive approach, meanwhile, doesn't always sound especially 'hi-fi' with music, valuing power and detail over smoothness and character.

Lastly, the system is quite demanding on your room design. To get the best from it you won't want a vaulted or beamed ceiling, and the rear cabinets, which fire three ways, will need to have clearance.

If you aren't deterred by these issues, then I have no hesitation in declaring the Samsung HW-Q950A the most immersive, action movie-loving soundbar I've ever heard.

HCC Verdict

Samsung HW-Q950A

Price:  £1,600

We say: A premium sound system that loves a Hollywood blockbuster, Samsung's 16-channel flagship marries convenience with superb power, detail and immersion.

Overall: 5/5


DRIVE UNITS: L/C/R, 2 x upfirers, 4 x side-firers (soundbar); front, side and upfirers (rears) ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 616W total CONNECTIONS: 2 x HDMI inputs; optical digital audio input; HDMI output with eARC Dolby Atmos/DTS:X: Yes/Yes SEPARATE SUB: Yes. 8in driver REMOTE CONTROL: Yes DIMENSIONS (Main soundbar): 1,232(w) x 69.5(h) x 138(d)mm WEIGHT (Main soundbar): 7.1kg

FEATURES: Wall-mounting option; wireless subwoofer; wireless rears; bass management; auto-calibration option (SpaceFit Sound) when paired with a compatible Samsung TV; Game mode; Tap View compatibility; AAC, WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF audio file playback; Bluetooth; Wi-Fi; Samsung Q Symphony; Amazon Alexa built-in; Adaptive Sound processing