Samsung HW-Q990B Soundbar Page 2

Overhead and height details, such as King Kong chasing the racers across skyscrapers during the Ready Player One sequence, also sound more convincing than they did on the Q950A, especially when it comes to effects that transition from front to back or back to front. The upfirers in the rears and main soundbar seem to 'meet up' better overhead; whether this is down to physical tuning of the driver arrays, or the impact of the calibration system, is hard to say.

We're used to seeing an acoustics lens on a high-frequency driver to shape dispersion characteristics, so the addition of one to Samsung's subwoofer is something of a headscratcher. Regardless of the science at play, this bass bin is also a better performer than before, hitting slightly deeper bass extensions than the already rumble-friendly Q950A sub, and feeling more tight and nimble to boot.

As for the main 'bar, this adds a touch more refinement to the raw power and huge, room-filling projection that have been at the heart of Samsung's high-end soundbar systems for some time. I found there was less chance of dynamic effects sounding abrasive (though they still hit gleefully hard), and atmospheric moments such as Ready Player One's Overlook Hotel sequence reveal improved channel steering – especially for the front side channels.

Put these marked improvements together with the expansive soundfield on offer and the Q990B is a genuine superstar with movie soundmixes.


Samsung's remote includes subwoofer and channel level adjustments

As for music, this premium package, like the Q950A before it, tends to sound too muscular, dense and bass heavy with straight stereo playback. However, a newly tweaked Adaptive Sound mode does a better job than previous iterations of remixing two-channel material to the soundbar's full speaker count. This won't be an ideal solution for hi-fi purists, but 'regular' listeners will likely be pleasantly surprised by how clever the Adaptive Sound option is at redistributing and balancing elements from a basic stereo track. At times it can sound uncannily like an authentic Dolby Atmos mix.

Welcome To The Party
The Q990B takes the already superior movie performance of its predecessor and makes it even better. Auto calibration is a welcome addition, the refreshed aesthetic is a success, and the feature list (including the clever Q Symphony mode which can add the speakers from a partnered Samsung TV to the audio party) is long. The price tag is high, but so is that of other soundbar systems that aim for this level of largescale immersion.

If the Q990B is the result of Samsung moving to a push for better channels rather than more channels, I'm very much here for it.

HCC Verdict

Samsung HW-Q990B

Price: £1,599

We say: The Q990B carries on Samsung's tradition of powerful, detailed and immersive Atmos sonics, but adds sweeter highs and lusher lows. A fantastic soundbar system.

Overall: 5/5


DRIVE UNITS: 21 drivers including Atmos heights on main enclosure and rears ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 656W total CONNECTIONS: 2 x HDMI inputs; 1 x HDMI output with eARC; optical digital audio input Dolby Atmos/DTS:X: Yes/Yes SEPARATE SUB: Yes. 8in driver REMOTE CONTROL: Yes DIMENSIONS: 1,232(w) x 70(h) x 138(d)mm (soundbar); 220(w) x 413(h) x 410(d)mm (sub); 129.5(w) x 201(h) x 140.4(d)mm (rears) WEIGHT: 7.7kg (soundbar); 11.7kg (sub); 3.4kg (rears)

FEATURES: Adaptive Sound Mode; wireless Dolby Atmos support and Q Symphony with compatible Samsung TVs; Dolby Vision/HDR10+ passthrough; SpaceFit Sound+; Bluetooth; Wi-Fi; Alexa built-in; Apple AirPlay 2; app control