Innovative Gadgets

A small however vital replace


Samsung’s HW-Q990C was the most effective total soundbar I examined final yr, largely as a consequence of its stellar audio and the truth that a subwoofer and rear audio system got here with it. The corporate didn’t change a lot for the 2024 model, the HW-Q990D, however one tweak delivers a function final yr’s mannequin ought to’ve had: HDMI 2.1. There are some new audio modes too, however you will discover these on different Samsung soundbars. The Q990D is as highly effective as ever, nevertheless it’s nonetheless expensive at $2,000. In case you already purchased a Q990C, the corporate hasn’t given you a motive to improve simply but.

Samsung

The largest addition to the Q990D is a function Samsung’s flagship soundbar ought to’ve already had.

Professionals

  • HDMI 2.1
  • All-in-one encompass setup
  • Wonderful, immersive audio
  • Useful options
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not an enormous replace over final yr’s mannequin

$2,000 at Amazon

The largest addition on the Q990D is HDMI 2.1. With this, Samsung addressed my principal criticism of the Q990C, which debuted final yr at a time when a lot of the competitors had already adopted the usual. HDMI 2.1 delivers 4K passthrough at 120 frames per second, which can enhance the visuals should you join your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Collection X on to the soundbar.

The Q990D additionally arrives with new audio modes. Personal Listening turns off the entire front-firing drivers and makes use of solely the rear satellite tv for pc audio system. It’s principally an expanded model of the night time mode loads of corporations provide on soundbars, aimed toward lowering boomy bass when household or roommates is likely to be asleep. My home has an open ground plan and my TV faces in the direction of the hallway to the bedrooms, which implies any soundbar will beam noise in that route. Personal Listening sends the audio the alternative approach, and whereas it’s a must to sacrifice some total high quality, it’s ok for all of the instances that you must be quieter.

There’s additionally a brand new Occasion Play mode that gives extra balanced sound between the soundbar and rear audio system for a greater expertise once you’re internet hosting a rager. When that is energetic, you get the total audio vary moderately than simply the channels particularly programmed for the audio system behind you. I truly turned the audio system round and confronted them out of the lounge to undertaking the re-tuned audio into different communal areas. This makes a much bigger distinction for motion pictures and TV as a result of music already performs from the rear audio system with extra balanced ranges.

These two modes aren’t distinctive to the Q990D; the remainder of the 2024 Q-series lineup will be capable of use them too. That is the primary time I’ve examined them although, and it’s notable that they really work nicely on Samsung’s costliest soundbar.

Samsung Q990D soundbar from the left side showing the side-firing driver. Samsung Q990D soundbar from the left side showing the side-firing driver.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The mix of a driver-packed soundbar, giant subwoofer and more-robust rear audio system produces immersive sound that envelops my front room. Whether or not you’re listening to music or the soundscape of Dune, the Q990D retains the sonic prowess of its predecessor. Dolby Atmos content material from Disney+ is as immersive as ever. I may hear the finer particulars of Knowhere within the opening scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, together with the life-like reverb of Radiohead’s “Creep” taking part in over a loudspeaker. The directional sounds of the city, together with the hustle and bustle of individuals transferring round, make it seem to be you’re standing proper there.

For music, there’s deep, boomy bass when a monitor requires it, and that crisp element that I heard in motion pictures is right here too. Justice’s Hyperdrama reveals off the Q990D’s vary, with driving low-end tone on songs like “Neverender” accompanied by textured synths. Quieter genres like jazz are a blanket of sound too, with albums like Miles Davis’ Sort of Blue providing subtleties that make you are feeling such as you’re within the studio.

The factor I like most in regards to the Q990D is that every thing you want for a whole encompass sound setup is included within the field. The subwoofer and rear audio system include the soundbar and don’t require a further buy. These satellite tv for pc audio system additionally home up-firing and side-firing drivers, which isn’t all the time the case on comparable equipment from the competitors. And the setup is as straightforward as plugging every thing in as a result of pairing with the remainder of the system occurs mechanically.

One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sitting on a wooden table. One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sitting on a wooden table.

Billy Steele for Engadget

An all-in-one setup is nice, however that additionally means the Q990D is pricey. At $2,000, this can be a appreciable funding even should you’re getting every thing you want within the bundle. The Q990D is at the moment on sale for $1,750, however we don’t understand how lengthy that low cost will final. For comparability, Sony’s upcoming Bravia Bar 9 is $1,400. The most affordable subwoofer and rear audio system you may get for it are $400 and $350 respectively, which places your complete price at $2,150. After all, with Sony you’ve got two choices for subs and rears, and also you don’t have to purchase all of them. LG provides some respite if you wish to go that route, with its S95TR coming in at $1,500 and together with the subwoofer and rear audio system with up-firing drivers.

The general dimension of the soundbar is one thing else you’ll want to think about. The Q990D homes 11 front-facing audio system, two up-firing drivers and a subwoofer. All of these parts want area, and accommodating them means this soundbar finally ends up being fairly giant at 48.5 inches vast. Whereas that’s not a deal-breaker per se, it does require some planning, so simply know you’ll want ample room.

Like soundbars from different corporations, the Q990D has some useful options which are reserved for Samsung TVs. For instance, Q-Symphony, which makes use of your TV audio system along with the soundbar to develop the audio capabilities, requires a suitable 2020-2024 Samsung TV. The Q990D sounds nice with out this, however simply know you’re not getting the total bag of methods except you even have a supported TV.

Except you take care of the most recent HDMI requirements, the Q990D doesn’t provide an enormous improve over final yr’s mannequin. Their design and options lists are practically an identical, besides for 2 new sound modes and 4K/120 passthrough. And a few of these additions can be found on more-affordable Samsung soundbars. So should you already sprang for final yr’s Q990C, there’s most likely not sufficient motive to make one other sizable funding. In case you don’t already personal a Samsung flagship soundbar, the Q990D provides boomy, immersive sound in an all-in-one bundle that now has all the trendy conveniences it ought to.



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