Very simple design, as the subwoofer is built into the soundbar. Curved to match curved TVs. Automatically adjusts the speaker's output to minimize effects of distortion. Plays 4K audio smoothly with built-in pass-through technology. Streams music from mobile devices.
Some people prefer a separate subwoofer. Bass sounds aren't as pronounced.
Includes a wireless subwoofer for maximum surround sound experience in a simple 2.1 channel soundbar system. Subwoofer also has a good level of bass. Easy to connect mobile devices for streaming music over a Bluetooth connection. Nice quality audio for the price.
Not made for those seeking highest audio quality. Subwoofer sometimes cuts out.
Includes a tweeter that has a higher frequency range than most soundbars on the market. No separate subwoofer required, as it's built into the soundbar itself. Soundbar hardware will connect directly to a compatible Samsung TV, creating a simple installation process. Plays 4K audio smoothly.
High price point. Bass sounds aren't as powerful as they'd be with a separate subwoofer.
Simple system to set up and use as it features a 2.1 channel configuration. Separate subwoofer matches up with the soundbar through a wireless connection. Offers Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from a mobile device. Nice bass sounds from the subwoofer.
Sound volume is lower versus some other soundbars. Some Bluetooth connection issues.
Offers some of the best audio quality that you'll find in a soundbar system. Includes 15 different built-in speakers, two rear speakers, and a subwoofer for the best possible quality. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for streaming music from mobile devices. Works well with 4K movie audio.
Really expensive system. More audio features than most people need.
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Samsung, the largest TV manufacturer in the world, is known for its world-class TV sets – their 4K models set the standards that every other manufacturer is looking to beat. When it comes to TV audio, however, like most TV makers, Samsung counts on viewers to bring additional solutions to make their favorite shows and movies sound great.
Fortunately, Samsung makes some of the industry’s best soundbars, too, and they’re worth looking into for anyone who wants to add a little “oomph” to their TV – even if that TV isn’t a Samsung.
At BestReviews, we’re on a mission to provide our readers with the most unbiased and comprehensive product guides on the internet. That means we’re dedicated to sharing insights about the features and models you’ll need to make a strong purchasing decision. Read on for our take on Samsung soundbars, then, when you’re ready to shop, check out the table at the top of the page to see which models we recommend.
Samsung makes soundbars that support a variety of different speaker configurations, so make sure you know which one you need and which ones you want to avoid.
2.1 audio features two primary speakers – a left and a right channel – and one subwoofer. Soundbars with 2.1 audio are ideal for music but sometimes struggle with producing quality dialogue that’s intended to have its own channel. Models with 2.1 audio are great for small spaces and are typically the most affordable in Samsung’s product line.
3.0 audio includes three main speakers – a left, a right, and a center channel. This configuration is perfect for TV and movies. The center speaker is dedicated to dialogue, so every conversation becomes clearer and easier to understand. The zero indicates that there is no subwoofer, so expect these models to be light on bass.
Curves we can’t resist
Samsung’s Sound+ speaker is as much of a powerhouse as it is a conversation piece. Its nine speakers simulate surround sound well, and its slight curvature looks sleek even under a flat TV. We love that it supports WiFi music streaming, and the built-in subwoofer is surprisingly loud.
Soundbars are capable of pumping out impressive, high-quality audio, but there’s some debate about how well they handle surround-sound tracks from TV and movies. Most soundbars handle “surround” effects – the audio that is supposed to come from behind you or from the sides – in one of two ways:
External satellite speakers
Samsung sells a soundbar expansion kit that includes two wireless rear speakers. While the kit isn’t cheap, it solves one of the major shortcomings of soundbars: it reliably places secondary audio in the right place. If you don’t have the space for a full multi-speaker home theater setup, but you still want the best, most immersive audio available, buy a Samsung soundbar that supports the wireless rear speaker kit.
Simulated surround through upfiring speakers
Many soundbars try and get specific audio to specific locations in the room – with variable success – by including speakers that push audio upward to bounce it on the walls so it sounds like it’s coming from behind the viewer. In these cases, the speakers use local acoustics to create a sonic stage, but how good that sounds is entirely dependent upon the room itself.
With all of this in mind, remember that the majority of audio from your TV will come from the left, center, and right channels, so if you watch mainly dialogue-heavy content, you may not see a lot of benefit from external satellite speakers or built-in upfiring speakers.
To stream music from your smartphone to a Samsung soundbar, buy a model with Bluetooth support. They are perfect for pulling double duty as a TV speaker and a wireless jukebox.
Most, but not all, Samsung soundbars include wall-mounting kits. If you plan on mounting your soundbar to a wall, make sure a kit is included or look into third-party mounting hardware.
It matters where you place your subwoofer. If you buy a Samsung soundbar with a subwoofer, try it in various locations throughout the room you want to set it up in and see how it sounds.
You can expect to pay between $100 and $1,500 for a Samsung soundbar.
Samsung soundbars that cost between $100 and $249 typically support 2.1 or 3.0 audio and include limited connectivity options. Soundbars in this price range are good for smaller rooms or situations where a simple, inexpensive option is needed. If you’re looking for a soundbar for a dorm room or a secondary TV, look no further.
You’ll find Samsung’s best values in soundbars in the mid-range, between $250 and $799. Here, you’ll start to see models that include wireless subwoofers and support for 5.1 surround sound. On the high end, expect to see the almost perfect models that sound incredible and include perks like WiFi audio streaming or support for high-resolution audio formats. On the low end, Samsung has options that still offer impressive sound while skimping on some of the luxuries like support for high-resolution audio formats.
For Samsung’s cream of the crop, Expect to pay between $800 and $1,500. Samsung soundbars in this price range include the kitchen sink and then some: satellite rear speakers, support for high-end formats like Dolby Atmos, and enough power to shake your home with thunderous bass. If you’re a home theater enthusiast, or if you simply want the best soundbar money can buy, expect to spend quite a bit.
Tiny price, giant sound
Samsung’s HW-M360 soundbar is tailor-made for small spaces. Its two-channel configuration makes it the perfect choice for music lovers or anyone who wants to beef up a TV’s audio without breaking the bank. The HW-M360’s secret weapon? A subwoofer that delivers bass well above the competitors in this price range.
Once your soundbar is in place, calibrate it. Samsung soundbars sound good out of the box, but they sound outstanding once properly calibrated. If your soundbar has a built-in calibration program, follow those instructions to let the soundbar self-adjust to the acoustic layout of the room. If your soundbar doesn’t come with a calibration program, manually adjust the settings while listening from various points in the room until you’re comfortable with how it sounds.
If you’re connecting your cable box to your Samsung soundbar, check to make sure digital audio is enabled. Most cable-TV set-top boxes can put out both analog and digital audio, but soundbars sound much better with a digital audio signal. Review your cable set-top box settings menu to make sure the audio signal going to your soundbar is digital.
Q. What happens if I try and play a movie audio format that my Samsung soundbar doesn’t support?
A. Most TV and movie audio formats are backward compatible, so that they contain compatible tracks within them that will work with older soundbars. If you try and play a movie or TV show that includes an unsupported soundtrack on a Samsung soundbar, the soundbar will default to the compatibility track and play that.
Q. How do soundbars simulate surround-sound effects without rear speakers?
A. Some soundbars, in addition to featuring front-facing speakers, also have speakers that fire up at an angle. Upfiring speakers can “bounce” sound off the walls, floor, and ceiling, creating the effect for the listener that sound is coming from various angles or even behind them. The quality of simulated surround will vary based on the soundbar as well as the room acoustics.
Q. Can I listen to music on a Samsung soundbar?
A. Absolutely. All Samsung soundbars can connect to an audio source and play back music. Many Samsung soundbars with multiple speakers will even let you play your tunes in surround-sound mode, where the audio is processed across multiple channels.