Samsung has severely improved its audio sport in the previous couple of years. The Samsung HW-Okay950 introduced Dolby Atmos sound and upfiring audio system to the South Korean producer’s audio arsenal in 2016, and final yr’s HW-MS650 gained our Editor’s Alternative award for dominating conventional encompass setups.
The Samsung HW-N400 is the corporate’s newest entry-level soundbar and kinds a part of its ‘all-in-one’ vary – i.e. it’s a single unit, with no separate subwoofer. It’s designed for smaller display screen sizes, with a diminutive cupboard and a simplified set of options.
Like its older siblings, the HW-Okay950 and HW-MS650, the N400 seems to be good on paper, however does it carry out properly sufficient to be included as a part of the household?
Samsung’s HW-N400 makes use of an virtually similar design to its different 2018 soundbars, primarily trying like a black rectangular block. The construct high quality is excellent, and the one unit feels stable and properly engineered. There’s a steel grille alongside the entrance, a brushed steel end to the highest and plastic sides.
The N400 is designed to enhance smaller TV screens, so it’s solely 640mm broad, however at 71mm excessive it’s truly taller than the bigger HW-N650. It ought to be capable of slot in entrance of most TVs with out blocking the display screen, though if that is a matter the narrower cupboard is designed to simply match on a shelf. Samsung additionally contains devoted brackets for many who would reasonably wall mount the soundbar.
There’s a centrally-located LED show on the entrance of the N400, which gives easy suggestions throughout operation. The show lights up once you use the controls, and gives primary info on the settings, quantity and chosen inputs. On the suitable hand aspect finish panel, you’ll discover some primary controls for choosing inputs, adjusting the amount and turning the soundbar on and off.
The included distant is definitely fairly good, and positively higher than the type of controller usually included with smaller soundbars. It’s ergonomically designed, suits comfortably within the hand, and contains all of the buttons you’ll want. These have additionally been sensibly laid out, making set-up and operation as straightforward as attainable.
All of the connections are positioned in a recessed space on the backside of the soundbar. Right here you’ll discover an HDMI enter and an HDMI output with ARC (Audio Return Channel). There’s additionally a USB port, a 3.5mm auxiliary audio jack, an optical digital audio enter, and a connector for the separate energy provide.
The Samsung HW-N400 makes use of a 2.1-channel speaker configuration, with two forward-firing channels every composed of a mid-range driver and broad dispersion tweeter. This configuration means the soundbar doesn’t have a devoted centre channel for dialogue.
The connectivity of the N400 seems to be cheap for a soundbar at this value level, however on nearer inspection a sure limitation turn into obvious. The included HDMI enter and output are each model 1.4, which implies the Samsung can’t go 4K or HDR.
How large a problem that’s will rely in your show and sources, however the perfect method can be to attach all the things to your TV and ship the audio to the soundbar through ARC. That manner you mitigate the issue of restricted HDMI connections and their incapacity to go 4K and HDR.
For the reason that N400 solely helps two-channel Dolby Digital and DTS, utilizing ARC gained’t make any distinction to the sound high quality both.
The soundbar doesn’t assist Samsung’s multiroom system, but it surely does embrace Bluetooth. So not solely are you able to stream music out of your smartphone or pill, however you may also ship wi-fi sound to the N400 from a appropriate Samsung TV.
There are two sound modes; Customary and Encompass. The Customary mode simply makes use of the entrance two audio system and is finest for music and sure TV programmes, whereas the Encompass mode is designed for motion pictures, TV dramas and video games.
The Samsung HW-N400 is a wonderfully competent soundbar that fulfils its position of bettering the sonic efficiency of smaller TVs with ultra-slim panels.
Nevertheless, given the superb audio delivered by a few of Samsung’s current soundbars, it’s onerous to not be barely dissatisfied.
The smaller-sized cupboard clearly limits the width of the entrance soundstage, and though Samsung’s use of a wide-dispersion tweeter helps to a level, it nonetheless feels decidedly slim. That gained’t be a problem in smaller rooms, however the N400 will definitely battle in bigger ones.
The soundbar additionally feels reasonably under-powered, and it’s fascinating to notice that Samsung doesn’t quote any amplification numbers of their advertising and marketing. We might flip the amount as much as full and it nonetheless wasn’t that loud, though on the plus aspect the audio didn’t distort even at full quantity.
There aren’t any devoted woofers constructed into the N400, only a small bass port on the rear left of the cupboard. In consequence, the soundbar has little or no in the best way of low frequency presence, leading to a sound that lacks any actual bass impression. Coupled with the restricted amplification, this does end in a reasonably underwhelming efficiency general.
When it got here to common TV programmes, the N400 was in a position to produce a lovely audio expertise. The music and sound results of documentaries and fewer demanding TV reveals have been delivered properly, and dialogue remained clear, regardless of the dearth of a centre speaker.
The place the N400 started to battle was with TV dramas and flicks, each of which supply larger and extra immersive soundtracks. The soundbar might nonetheless deal with music and dialogue with none points, however the soundstage lacked width, results have been onerous to position and bass was restricted.
This sense of constraint additionally utilized to gaming, the place the sense of immersion was additionally restricted. Conversely the stereo nature of the N400 lends itself to two-channel content material, and we did discover that music was properly rendered, even when the devices lacked low frequency depth.
The Customary sound mode is the only option for music, however we typically discovered it was additionally higher suited to TV reveals and flicks. The included encompass mode both had little impact on the audio, failing to create a larger sense of immersion, or it added an echoey presence that detracted from the general expertise.
Different soundbars to contemplate
An important rival for the Samsung HW-N400 is the Acoustic Power AEGO Sound3ar. It makes use of a small however very properly made cupboard that sounds larger than it’s, and because of a separate wired subwoofer it has loads of bass, too. The distant is a bit garbage, and there’s no HDMI assist, however the AEGO Sound3ar presents an awesome efficiency at a cracking value.
Equally priced to the N400, the Q Acoustics M3 is also one other soundbar that’s price contemplating. It doesn’t have a separate subwoofer, similar to the N400, however not like the Samsung it’s able to a wider soundstage, extra energy and deeper bass. The M3 solely has an HDMI output, however given the restrictions of the N400 on this space, that’s largely irrelevant.
Lastly, the Polk Magnifi Mini soundbar is one other nice selection that is shut in value to the N400. Because the title suggests the Mini makes use of a small cupboard, however as soon as once more it is able to producing a much bigger soundstage than you’d anticipate. It additionally has a separate wi-fi subwoofer for deeper bass, whereas an HDMI output and a properly designed distant spherical out a really good package deal.
The Samsung HW-N400 feels reasonably primary, even for an entry-level soundbar. It has restricted options, and lacks a separate subwoofer. Extra importantly, it’s underwhelming by way of its efficiency. That is shocking, as a result of current fashions from Samsung have actually impressed by way of their sound high quality.
Sadly the N400 has a restricted soundstage, is under-powered by way of amplification and lacks bass impression. It will possibly deal with music and TV reveals fairly properly, however struggles to supply an immersive expertise with motion pictures and video games. Though the N400 can increase the sonic efficiency of smaller super-slim TVs, there are higher alternate options.