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Samsung HW-Q990B

12 min read


In terms of offering an epic, prime quality sound expertise for motion pictures and TV exhibits, there’s merely no soundbar system higher than the Samsung HW-Q990B. When coping with stereo music, the returns aren’t as excessive, with a bass efficiency that feels indifferent from the remainder of the frequency vary.


  • Delivers a real encompass sound expertise
  • Excellent Dolby Atmos efficiency
  • Two HDMI inputs


  • Extra litter than a single-bar resolution
  • No 4K 120Hz pass-through
  • Music doesn’t sound pretty much as good as motion pictures


  • UKRRP: £1299
  • USARRP: $1499
  • EuropeRRP: €990
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$1399

  • 4 wi-fi partsShips with two wi-fi rears and a wi-fi subwoofer to go together with the principle bar

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playbackHelps object based mostly sound codecs from Dolby and DTS

  • Q Symphony helpJoins forces with suitable Samsung TVs to ship an even bigger, extra detailed soundstage.

  • 11.1.4 channels of sound16-channels of sound

  • 656W of energyIt is a very excessive quantity of energy by soundbar requirements, and ensures that all the Q990B’s channels have loads of energy to feed off.


Samsung’s flagship soundbar yearly can often be trusted to do two issues: 1) Ship a brand new record-breaking variety of actual sound channels for enhanced playback of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X movie soundtracks, and a pair of) create the all-round most immersive and highly effective audio efficiency the soundbar world has to supply.

With the Samsung HW-Q990B, although, solely one among this stuff is true – so does that make it much less of an improve?


  • 4 piece resolution
  • Grilled metallic end
  • HDMI loop by with two inputs

The Samsung Q990B pushes the definition of a soundbar to its restrict by consisting of 4 separate parts. Particularly the principle 1232(w) x 69.5(h) x 138(h)mm soundbar that sits underneath your TV, two compact however channel-rich wi-fi rear audio system, and a big (220 x 413 x 410mm) subwoofer boasting a meaty eight-inch driver on its facet.

The principle bar and rears see Samsung ditching the felt finishes it’s used on its flagship soundbars such because the HW-Q950A in favour of a return to a extra conventional metallic mesh end. This maybe doesn’t look as premium, however I truly desire the Q990B’s extra industrial strategy. It’s far much less vulnerable to attracting mud than the felt finishes have been, too.

Detailed view of the left end of the Q990B's main soundbar component.
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The principle bar is slim sufficient to suit underneath most TVs with out impacting their photos or IR receptors, whereas the rears are sufficiently small to simply tuck on a bookshelf or sideboard. The rears sit on little plinth toes, too, to isolate their vibrations from no matter furnishings they’re sat on, whereas their high edges now angle ahead barely to, presumably, enhance the feeling that overhead sounds are coming from above.

The subwoofer is extra of an eye fixed sore than the opposite audio system within the Samsung Q990B package deal, however offered you may depart its facet driver unobstructed the non-directionality of its sound means you may disguise it down the facet of or behind a settee, or underneath a sideboard. The sub features a cool new design characteristic, too, within the form of an Acoustic Lens that sits round an inch above the motive force to assist bass rumbles unfold additional and sound smoother.

The Q990B carries a fairly vibrant and clear LED show that can assist you observe inputs, quantity ranges, sound codecs and so forth, and mercifully Samsung has put this on the soundbar’s entrance this yr, the place you may see it when seated, slightly than persevering with to place it on the highest edge as has been the case for the model’s previous couple of flagship soundbar generations.

The highest edge nonetheless performs host to a sequence of tidy management buttons, although for more often than not you’ll be controlling the soundbar by way of its compact, slightly light-weight however truly very simple to make use of distant management.

The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar's remote control.
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Connections are present in a bay minimize out of the soundbar’s backside rear edge, and comprise an HDMI loop-through with two HDMI inputs, plus a single optical audio enter. The HDMI help consists of eARC for lossless reception of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks from suitable TVs, and there’s go by help for all the principle excessive dynamic vary codecs, together with Dolby Imaginative and prescient, regardless that Samsung nonetheless doesn’t help Dolby Imaginative and prescient on any of its TVs.

There’s no help for 4K/120Hz and variable refresh fee gaming alerts by the HDMI loop by, however to be truthful only a few different soundbars help this both. Players nonetheless have the choice of connecting their consoles or PCs on to an acceptable succesful TV after which outputting lossless sound from the TV to the Q990B utilizing eARC.


  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X help
  • 11.1.4 channels of sound
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth playback

The headline grabbing characteristic of the Q990B is its large 11.1.4 channel rely. To be clear, these channels are all actual with their very own devoted drivers – there aren’t any digital channels created by psycho-acoustic processing. The one soundbars in a position to match this large channel rely are JBL’s Bar 1300 and the Q990B’s predecessor, the Q950A.

This latter level is vital as a result of, as famous earlier, it signifies that for the primary time for a couple of generations, the Q990B doesn’t add to its predecessor’s channel rely. So the Q990B must depend on different enhancements to for indicators of progress.

When you’re questioning what all these channel numbers imply in sound phrases, you get entrance centre, entrance left/proper, facet left/proper, ahead facet left/proper, rear entrance left/proper, rear facet left/proper, subwoofer bass channel, and 4 up-firing drivers for top/overhead results. 

Each rear speaker in the Samsung Q990B package has three drivers.
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Two of those up-firers are present in the principle bar, whereas every rear speaker additionally sports activities one on their high edges. The rears additionally every carry a facet firing driver in addition to front-facing drivers in a bid to ship as seamless a hemisphere of sound across the listener as attainable.

It’s attainable to get pleasure from wi-fi transmission of Dolby Atmos alerts from one among Samsung’s current TVs to the Q990B – although notice that that is solely attainable with the lossy Dolby Digital+ Atmos service format, not the lossless True HD one.

Whereas I’m with regards to advantages gained from working the Q990B with a Samsung TV, a Q Symphony characteristic allows the TV’s audio system to affix forces with these of the soundbar to create a extra detailed sound stage with higher centre channel impact placement.

There’s a bonus to utilizing the Q990B with a Samsung Galaxy telephone, in which you could get the 2 gadgets speaking to one another for sharing music content material just by tapping the telephone towards the soundbar’s bodywork.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity can also be out there, with help for the Alexa voice recognition system inbuilt, and streaming attainable utilizing AirPlay 2 and Spotify Join. File varieties supported included the AAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, OGG and ALAC excessive decision codecs. 

The Q990B's subwoofer component features an acoustic lens over the main driver, to help improve the quality and dispersion of bass sounds
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Arrange and daily use of the Q990B is feasible by way of Samsung’s moderately helpful SmartThings app for a extra detailed and visible management system than the distant management/LED show mixture can present.

Choices throughout the app embrace SpaceFit, which is the slightly sci-fi identify for an auto-calibration system that makes use of mics in the principle soundbar to evaluate and compensate for room acoustics. In contrast to cheaper soundbars in Samsung’s vary, the Q990B moreover will get an Auto EQ system for monitoring and frequently adjusting the subwoofer’s bass output to maintain all the pieces in stability.

Different options embrace an Energetic Voice Amplifier that may sense when there’s a lot of ambient noise round and elevate vocals in a sound combine to compensate, and an Adaptive sound mode that basically remasters stereo music tracks to make the most of the Q990B’s large variety of channels.

Sound High quality

  • Fantastically immersive sound staging
  • Enormous energy and dynamics
  • Improved music efficiency 

For my cash, there’s at present no different soundbar on the market that delivers a extra totally shaped and immersive Dolby Atmos soundstage than the Samsung HW-Q990B. 

Not solely can I make out and totally recognize each final one among its 11.1.4 channels, however all of them be a part of forces brilliantly to create a just about flawless hemisphere of sound round my seating place. An immersive three-dimensional encompass sound area, that’s filled with immaculately balanced, pristinely clear and completely positioned particulars.

Loads of soundbars can create a superb sense of area in entrance of the listener, and some may even add a convincing sense of top above and behind. However none I’ve heard can create that all-important Dolby Atmos (and DTS:X) sound bubble fairly in addition to the Q990B. 

The main Samsung Q990B bar sitting beneath a Samsung 8K TV
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The improved rear speaker design means the up-firing sounds from the back and front meet up with one another over the top extra cleanly and successfully, whereas the facet firing drivers on the rears additionally mix higher with the front-side drivers on the principle bar, closing any distracting ‘gaps’ within the nearly uncannily three-dimensional soundstage.

The rear speaker channels mix properly with the sound from the principle bar, too, regardless of their comparatively petite dimensions, guaranteeing that entrance to again and facet to facet transitions at all times sound convincing. 

Vocals sound clear and wealthy, however by no means a lot that they develop into dislocated from their soundtrack environment, and so they additionally seem barely raised vertically to make them appear higher hooked up to the onscreen motion.

Whereas the Q990B has the ability to create an enormous, room-filling sound stage with out dropping cohesion, it’s additionally delicate sufficient to populate its sonic area with even the smallest of soundtrack particulars, guaranteeing that good film mixes are as busy and involving as they’re spacious and aggressive. 

Speaking of aggression, the Q990B’s potential to reply to sudden exhausting or extremely dynamic influence sounds is gorgeous, enabling it to deliver extra grit and depth to even the densest and most explosive film moments than every other soundbar in its class.

The principle soundbar is able to producing an even bigger and extra expressive dynamic vary than the overwhelming majority of standalone soundbars can – however within the Q990B’s case, there’s an unusually massive subwoofer to flesh out the decrease frequency vary, leaving the principle bar freer to deal with the mid-range and treble particulars with out both sounding in in the slightest degree compressed, skinny or congested. 

The Samsung Q990B's angled ends help with steering side and front side sound mix channels in the right direction.
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The subwoofer’s new Acoustic Lens attachment helps it ship the kind of mammoth but in addition nimble and expressive bass ranges I’m accustomed to listening to from Samsung’s flagship soundbars with extra smoothness and consistency, guaranteeing that whereas low frequencies proceed to be cinematic and current to a level not often heard within the soundbar world, in addition they mix higher with the general sound stage and fix extra invisibly to the bottom frequencies from the principle bar.

Add to all this the best way the brand new rears are much less more likely to set off audio coloration from the floor they’re positioned on, and the best way the auto-calibration system does an excellent job of harmonising the Q990B’s many parts with little or no handbook enter, and it’s critically exhausting to search out something to complain about with regards to film soundtracks.

Issues aren’t fairly as clear minimize with music. Beginning out on a constructive notice, Samsung has managed to considerably enhance its newest Adaptive Sound mode for remixing stereo music to make the most of the Q990B’s expansive channel roster. So intelligently are the weather of a stereo combine rearranged into the soundbar’s numerous channels, together with the rears, that I typically discovered myself considering I will need to have by accident placed on a Dolby Atmos observe by mistake. 

This stage of musical understanding with regards to deciding what components of a stereo combine can go the place in a encompass remix is backed up, too, by way more cautious balancing of a observe’s vocals, beats, guitars/strings and percussion than I’ve heard with comparable modes on earlier Samsung soundbar modes. That is very true with regards to vocals and bass, with the previous tending to retain higher and extra constant prominence within the remix course of, and bass remaining current and responsive however now being much less inclined to develop into too dominant.

The Adaptive mode can sound a bit compelled or wrestle to make the best channel placement decisions with very dense music, particularly guitar-led rock, and naturally, it received’t attraction in any respect to hi-fi purists. Whereas the Q990B can sound pleasing sufficient with comparatively primary, sparse stereo music mixes, although, with denser fare its subwoofer’s bass enter can generally sound distractingly indifferent from the remainder of a mixture, whereas different combine components can begin to sound barely muddy and cluttered in a method that merely by no means occurs with movies.

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Must you purchase it?

Uniquely compelling Dolby Atmos efficiency: No different soundbar I’ve heard does pretty much as good job of making the immersive Dolby Atmos sound bubble.

Music is your major motivation: The Q990B’s film skills maybe come on the expense of musicality and stability with stereo music. Although in the event you’re not a purist, the Adaptive sound remix mode is cleverer and extra listenable with most music varieties than earlier iterations.

Last Ideas

Whereas its film prowess perhaps hurts its (stereo) music efficiency just a little, there’s merely no higher everything-included soundbar on the market with regards to the principle soundbar enterprise of turning movie and TV present soundtracks into epic, immersive dwelling cinema experiences filled with element, energy and dynamism. All of which makes its value look fairly agreeable, too.

How we check

We check each soundbar we evaluation totally over an prolonged time frame. We use trade normal exams to match options correctly. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluation a product.

Discover out extra about how we check in our ethics coverage.

Examined with actual world use


What are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X?

These are so-called object-based sound codecs that create a three-dimensional soundstage across the listener into which results are positioned – slightly than simply reproducing sounds that appear to be coming out of your audio system as occurs with regular encompass sound methods.

What’s high-resolution audio?

Excessive decision audio refers to high-bandwidth file codecs able to delivering music in a lot larger high quality, with a lot much less compression, than common audio file codecs.

Are all of the Samsung Q990B parts wi-fi?

Sure. Other than every element needing its personal energy cable, all of them talk with one another as a system with none want for cables between them.






Quiet Mark Accredited

Dimension (Dimensions)



Launch Date

Mannequin Quantity

Sound Bar Channels

Driver (s)

Audio (Energy output)




Voice Assistant

Audio Codecs

Energy Consumption


Rear Speaker

Jargon buster

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and seven.1 soundtracks by including overhead channels. Sounds are known as “audio objects”, of which there will be as much as 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ will be precisely positioned inside a 3D soundscape. This permits soundtracks that help the know-how to put sounds above and across the listener with suitable equipment.


DTS:X is an object-based audio format created in 2015 for the house. The premise is just like Dolby Atmos in that it creates a hemisphere of sound that’s extra lifelike and pure in its presentation.

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