Samsung HW-MS650 Soundbar | TechRadar

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Not content material with dominating the TV world, Samsung now has its sights set on turning into the primary model for house leisure audio, too. 

To bolster its declare to the audio kingdom it’s nabbed expertise from a variety of the hi-fi world’s largest gamers, constructed a brand new, no-expense-spared audio laboratory in California, and bought busy establishing shut working relationships with key audio luminaries resembling Dolby. All this effort has already delivered excellent ends in the types of each the and , in addition to a variety of ground-breaking multi-room wi-fi audio system. 

Now, although, within the form of the MS650, Samsung would possibly simply have give you its most outstanding audio product but.

Design

That is one enticing soundbar. Its no-nonsense rectangular sculpting is suitably critical, but the brushed end on the highest and industrial-style grille over the audio system look pretty in their very own proper and harmonize collectively superbly.

The little slope down from the highest edge to the speaker grille ties the design collectively effectively too, and we’re happy to see that the brushed prime plate doesn’t trigger an excessive amount of reflection from the display it should probably be sitting beneath.

Word, although, that at 78mm the sound bar stands fairly excessive – excessive sufficient, in actual fact, to obscure the underside of the image, if sat instantly in entrance of one in all Samsung’s personal Q9F QLED TV, and excessive sufficient to obscure an IR sensor on another makes and fashions. When you’re going to relaxation the soundbar on the identical little bit of furnishings as your TV, you must positively measure how excessive your TV sits (and the place its IR receiver is situated) earlier than committing to the MS650.

That stated, at the very least Samsung consists of VESA mounting factors for attaching the MS650 to the wall, and a TV energy loopthrough function meaning you should utilize only a single plug socket to energy each the soundbar and your TV. 

The MS650’s different connections embrace a 4K-capable HDMI loopthrough system, optical and auxiliary audio inputs, an output for including an elective subwoofer, and assist for each Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wi-fi streaming. A second HDMI may need been good in a perfect world, however you would all the time route a number of audio sources to the soundbar through your TV’s audio output choices. 

Dimensions: 1060 x 78 x 130mm (W x H x D) | Speaker configuration: 3.0 | Claimed audio energy: 9 x 20W | Connections: Single 4K/HDR HDMI loopthrough, one optical audio enter, 3.5mm audio port, 2-way Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Options

You will most clearly use your soundbar in wired mode more often than not, however the MS650’s wi-fi choices can be utilized for streaming from each Bluetooth  units and through Samsung’s multi-room app that helps a variety of music companies together with Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Music, TuneIn and Pandora.

The MS650 can be paired with Bluetooth headphones or different Samsung wi-fi audio system as a part of a cable-free house community audio resolution. Need true encompass sound? All it’s essential to do is incorporate a pair of upcoming SWA-8500S or 9000S audio system so as to add a real rear-channel impact. (Correction: In line with Samsung, the SWA-8500S elective wi-fi audio system are now not usable with the MS650. Solely the SWA-9000S possibility will likely be accessible going ahead.)

The MS650’s one-body design delivers a 3.0-channel (left, proper, centre) configuration delivered through a startling mixture of six woofers and three tweeters – all powered by their very own particular person 20W amps. The tweeters are the identical wide-dispersion ones used so successfully on the Okay950 Atmos soundbar to develop the listening ‘sweet spot’ to accommodate extra seating positions.

The place issues get actually attention-grabbing, although, is with the MS650’s’ modern distortion-cancelling know-how that helps it to attain bass ranges a lot deeper than these you will get from an ordinary speaker design. Samsung’s specs conservatively state that the MS650 can hit frequencies as little as 40Hz. That stated, throughout our checks it really managed to get even deeper than that. 

The MS650 ships as customary with a Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder on board, down-converting multi-channel inputs to its 3.Zero speaker configuration except you add an exterior subwoofer and Samsung’s wi-fi rear audio system.

As with Samsung’s Okay950 and Okay850 soundbars, the MS650 presently receives DTS multichannel mixes in stereo, earlier than utilizing processing to create a digital centre speaker channel suited to its 3.Zero speaker array. Fortunately, although, Samsung says that it expects to carry correct multi-channel DTS decoding through firmware replace to the MS650 (and Okay950 and Okay850 Atmos soundbars) within the subsequent few months.

One closing function value masking right here is the audio file codecs the system can cowl. Particularly, that features AAC, MP3, FLAC, WAV, OGG and ALAC.

Efficiency

It’s instantly obvious as you begin to use the MS650 that every one that discuss of non-linear management and distortion cancelling know-how is far more than simply advertising and marketing hype. Actually, the MS650 is the very best all-round single-body soundbar we’ve heard – sure, it is actually that good.

Beginning off with film playback, the dimensions and assault the MS650 delivers with a robust movie soundtrack is excellent for a three-channel system – particularly when you choose Encompass mode, which expands the peak and width of the soundstage right into a incredible ‘wall of sound’ with out diminishing the vocals or making particular results and heavy bass moments sound overwhelming.

The dimensions of the MS650’s sound is enhanced significantly by a bass extension so profound that it’s virtually incomprehensible that it’s coming from a one-body speaker. It really works flawlessly even when the speaker is sat on a desk (moderately than being suspended on a wall) and, much more remarkably, this bass by no means overwhelms the remainder of the sound, or leaves you with any sense of a ‘gap’ between mid-range and low frequencies.

Whereas the MS650’s 3.0-channel speaker system isn’t able to delivering any actual sense of encompass sound data, you may all the time add elective additional rears to the MS650 sooner or later in case you actually determine you need them. One other enormous advantage of the MS650’s sound is the way in which its verticality makes vocals appear extra ‘attached’ to the photographs coming from screens sitting above it than is commonly the case with soundbars.

Sound bars that excel for films don’t generally additionally ship the products with music. The MS650, although, is the exception that proves the rule.

For starters, it’s bought a wonderful sense of timing, and delivers a a lot wider dynamic vary with music than you usually hear with soundbars. Its easy, wealthy bass dealing with is to the fore once more, too, hitting superbly musical depths with out sounding compelled, billowy or saggy. The MS650 even manages to ship not simply the total bass depth of Lorde’s Royals, but in addition the sense of swelling and growth that track’s bassline deploys.

Listening to music additionally makes you conscious of simply how simply the sound escapes and expands from the audio system; there’s no trace of muddiness or swallowed tones. This allows its music to fill a big room even at pretty reasonable volumes, to be able to be enveloped in sound without having to push the fantastically strong drivers to anyplace close to the kind of quantity the place they could begin to sound strained or uncomfortable.

Detailing is powerful, too. We have been in a position to pick refined harmonies, respiratory and different small audio parts throughout prime quality recordings that solely the very best music gamers can reproduce effectively sufficient to make you conscious of them.

The stability of the sound appears immaculately judged, with no a part of the music – vocals, bass, drums, snares, synths – standing out an excessive amount of from the combination.

Final up within the plus column, we have been pleasantly stunned by how adaptable the MS650’s musical qualities are, because it dealt with just about each musical style I performed with equal tenacity and precision.

That’s to not say the MS650 is ideal. Excessive-end hi-fi followers might really feel its presentation with very delicate tracks resembling Nick Cave’s Distant Sky is a contact too aggressive. Its deal with making a wall of sound additionally means its stereo presentation is a bit of slim for music. Additionally, wonderful although the MS650’s bass efficiency is for a single-box soundbar, inevitably a couple of high-end soundbar/subwoofer combos can go deeper nonetheless. 

Nonetheless, we really feel that whereas there could also be one or two soundbars on the market from hi-fi manufacturers that ship music with a bit of extra delicacy, and soundbar-with-subwoofer combis that may ship much more bass, the underside line is that no single-body sound bar has sounded as sensible with each movies and songs because the Samsung MS650.

Worth

When you’re within the US, the MS650’s $449 value appears remarkably good worth for such a innovative and excessive efficiency soundbar. Given the US value it’s a bit of exhausting to know why the MS650 ought to value £599 within the UK. That stated, when you’ve taken into consideration the standard and suppleness of its sound and the modern know-how it makes use of to ship that high quality, the value nonetheless holds up effectively towards the UK soundbar competitors. 

In order for you extra element within the wall of sound your soundbar can produce, 300 kilos extra will get you to Samsung’s Okay850 system, with its additional up-firing audio system. The Okay850 ships with an exterior subwoofer, although, which could not go well with everybody.

If you wish to spend much less and worth music playback over films, you would additionally take into account the $399/£329 . Although whereas this sounds excellent with music for its cash, it’s far more restrained with movies than the MS650.

We appreciated

Samsung has rewritten the rulebook with the HW-MS650. No different one-body soundbar has mixed a lot uncooked energy with a lot readability, scale and, particularly, bass, or excelled so persistently with each movies and music. It’s the kind of efficiency that solely real audio innovation can ship – and with that in thoughts, it’s effectively value its £599 price ticket. 

The MS650 produces unprecedented quantities of bass for a single-body soundbar in addition to an enormous however cohesive soundstage. This makes it a famous person film performer – but whereas most soundbars solely excel with films or music, the MS650 is nearly equally sensible with each sorts of audio expertise. It additionally appears good, and provides loads of supply flexibility.

We disliked

Hello-Fi followers would admire a bit of extra stereo definition and delicacy with comparatively quiet, minimal music, and the MS650’s barely tall design may very well be an issue for TVs that sit very low on their stands. 

Ultimate verdict

Samsung’s seemingly cash’s no object bid to determine itself as a critical audio model continues to ship the products. Simply because the Okay950 Dolby Atmos system reached new requirements for the soundbar plus rear audio system and subwoofer market, the £599/$449 MS650 units a brand new bar for the one-body soundbar market. Its bass efficiency is unprecedented, the dimensions of its sound is outstanding, and its capability to modify between films and music is uncanny. 





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