A premium TV soundbar, like the Samsung HW-Q990B, can give a more immersive viewing experience. While you can rely on its quality, this soundbar can be very expensive for some.
If you don’t want to splurge on a piece of equipment with lesser features, our audio engineers have prepared this in-depth Samsung HW-Q990B review to know if it’s worth the money or just another hype.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Design and Size
The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar is exquisitely elegant for your home design. Unlike most soundbars that are huge, bulky, and distracting under your TV, this sound equipment is simple and has a minimalistic design.
It is entirely black in a non-reflective matte finish, so it does not draw much attention. It has angled corners with a sturdy metal mesh grill. Also, it fits perfectly under your 55 inches TV screen or larger.
Another improvement that Samsung made to this model is they put the display back in front of the soundbar where you can easily view it. With the older models, it is on top, which is quite impractical.
It comes with wall mounting brackets that you can use if you prefer it over a stand. Either way looks stylish and will not be out of place in your entertainment room.
The subwoofer has an aesthetic design with a stunning matte black finish. But what we like the most is its improved 8-inch driver designed with an acoustic lens, which creates uniformity of the bass and makes the low-end clearer and more precise.
It has wireless connections but needs to be plugged into the power source.
The rear speakers mimic a curved cabinet designed with a metal mesh grill like the soundbar, so the design has seamless consistency. These rear speakers are just the right size to produce a clearer and louder sound.
Although they are quite big, they are not as bulky and hideous as other speakers. You can either mount them on the walls or the stand.
Samsung HW-Q990B Features
Overview of Specs
To get started, you must plug the soundbar, subwoofer, and satellite speakers to the power source. Then, connect the soundbar using the HDMI cable to the eARC port of your TV.
The connectivity is remarkable, as your TV will not have difficulty detecting the soundbar. Also, the satellite speakers and subwoofers will automatically connect to your TV.
Using the Samsung QLED TV will instantly engage the Q-Symphony Sound, enhancing the soundstage produced by the TV’s built-in speakers.
Also, you can connect your soundbar to your Samsung TV wirelessly through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. We find it very convenient as you will no longer need an HDMI cable.
This soundbar is designed to produce the highest quality sound. It has 22 drivers run by 656 watts that can unquestionably deliver the job. Each satellite speaker has four drivers, while the subwoofer has an 8-inch driver.
The remaining 13 speakers are in the soundbar. All the drivers are strategically placed to produce excellent and powerful sound. In each satellite speaker, there is a powerful Atmos driver.
One driver faces outward, and one on each speaker’s side, which seems like a dipole design. This driver’s setup produces directional surround audio and some distinctive nondirectional surround sound which is very impressive.
This soundbar has an incredible 11.1.4 channel setup capable of decoding numerous multi-channel formats like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.
The Samsung HW-Q990B sets the highest standard when it comes to sound quality. Among all the soundbars we have tested so far, it has many features and capabilities we did not find in other brands and models.
The sound is powerful and clear, suitable for almost everything from music to movies to TV shows. You can hear every sound detail, the timber is balanced and accurate, and the overall soundstage is outstanding.
As part of our team’s individual Samsung HW-Q990B reviews, we conducted different sound tests below to demonstrate this soundbar’s outstanding audio quality.
We are very impressed with Samsung HW-Q990B frequency response. It has balanced treble and mids, suitable for various audios because the vocals and instruments blend clearly and are not overpowering.
The bass is loud with lots of rumbles, and you can feel the bass thumps, especially when you play heavy-bass music like EDM. But if you prefer a mellow or neutral sound, you can adjust the bass to only -3 and set the treble to 1.
This setup will produce a more balanced sound with fewer thumps in the bass. The vocals and instruments mix clearly as well.
This soundbar has excellent soundstage quality. It has a distinctive focus sound. This means you can easily distinguish sound effects and determine where the sound is coming from.
For instance, when you play an orchestra performance, you can clearly hear where the instrument is coming from at different spots on the stage.
Even playing it on “Standard” mode produces a wide soundstage coming from the entire soundbar. When played on “Adaptive Sound,” the audio is a bit diffused and directed towards the back.
Therefore, we recommend using the “Standard” mode as it has a better overall stereo soundstage.
It has remarkable stereo dynamics quality. Its maximum volume is very loud and can easily surround a huge room. There is a bit of audio compression present at maximum volume, but it maintains the sound clean and clear.
This soundbar has excellent stereo THD quality. Its sound has minimal distortion, especially when listening to a normal or mid-volume. The audio reproduction stays pure and clear at this volume.
While some distortion is present at maximum volume, it is not very noticeable, and you can still enjoy a clean and clear sound.
Center Channel Performance
The center channel performance of Samsung HW-Q990B is superb. You can notice an improvement in its vocal quality compared to the old models. It is because of its 11.1.4 setup, which creates a distinct center channel.
This setup allows the sound effects and dialog to be localized to more distinguishable positions on the soundstage. It produces a balanced and accurate frequency response that reproduces clear and detailed voices.
Its surround performance is outstanding. It has two distinct surround speakers, which makes the sound clearer. Also, its sound effects are more realistic, creating a great viewing experience.
For instance, when watching a car chase clip, you can distinctly hear and pinpoints the locations of the cars racing. The sound surrounds you completely and does not just come from the speaker under your TV.
The most impressive feature of Samsung HW-Q990B is its built-in drivers in the soundbar and the satellite speakers firing up towards the ceiling, and the sound bouncing back, creating the height impression.
Combined with its balanced and accurate frequency response, the sound effects it reproduces are very detailed. But what sets it apart from other soundbars is its excellent “Adaptive Sound” mode which makes the dialogue clear.
Also, the subwoofer produces lots of rumble and thumps in the bass you can feel on your chair, especially during intense action scenes with powerful sound effects.
But even in “Standard” mode, there is a good representation of height, and you can still hear the sound clearly. Although, we suggest you set it to the “Adaptive” mode if you want to level up your viewing experience.
You will not encounter any latency issues with Samsung HW-Q990B. If there is any latency, it is very low and insignificant. Generally, the audio you will hear and the video displayed are synchronized.
Unlike most soundbars, it has no lip-synching problems. You will not encounter lip-synch issues even when you connect your Samsung TV through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Although some apps and TVs handle latency differently, it has an AV Sync feature to improve latency issues.
This Samsung HW-Q990B review won’t be complete without mentioning the different sound settings.
We’re quite impressed with this soundbar’s wide selection of sound enhancement settings. It is equipped with many tools that you can use to adjust its sounds, such as treble and bass adjustments and a 7-band graphic equalizer.
Also, you will not run out of EQ presets to choose from as it comes with many selections, including “Surround Sound,” “Adaptive Sound,” “Game,” and “Standard.”
It has many features that can optimize sound reproduction specifically for your room’s unique acoustics design.
We like the SpaceFit Sound as it automatically adjusts the audio from the soundbar. The Auto EQ feature is helpful in controlling the sub’s output, while the Q-Symphony allows the pairing of the soundbar with your Samsung TV.
It helps to sync the soundbar with your television so the sound can simultaneously play from your TV speakers. Although the impact on the sound volume is minimal, it adds a bit of a height impression.
Accepted Audio Formats
It supports various audio formats through ARC, allowing you to playback typical surround audio formats such as Dolby Digital. It also supports object-based and lossless sound formats like Dolby Atmos.
If you’re unsure which format is playing, press the “i” button on your remote, and it will display the sound format playing.
But if you want to stream via HDMI In, the Samsung HW-Q990B can support many audio formats through it as well. We recommend this when playing content from streaming platforms, commonly in Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos format.
It can also support audio format via optical, where you can playback the surround sound formats, DTS, and Dolby Digital. DTS is commonly used with Blu-rays, while Dolby Atmos format works well for streaming platforms.
Wired Connectivity Options
It is equipped with many physical inputs. You can connect your soundbar to your television via the optical input. A USB port for firmware updates is located at the bottom of the bar.
Meanwhile, the subwoofer and satellite speakers must be plugged into the power source.
Its HDMI passthrough connectivity is quite impressive. Although we’re a bit disappointed that it only has two HDMI inputs.
Nevertheless, it allows you to directly connect your content sources to the soundbar and then pass the content to your television.
This will skip any sound synch issues, most common in HDMI ARC of soundbars that only have single HDMI ports.
Surely, with Samsung HW-Q990B, you will not have any problems connecting your soundbar between your PC and TV for a clear and detailed video on the screen. Essentially, it can pass through the highest-quality signals.
It can support 4K HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision formats. However, the 4k at 120Hz passthrough is not available. But this is quite a new improvement for most soundbars in the market anyway.
It supports wireless connectivity through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Apple AirPlay 2. Once your mobile devices are connected, you can easily play back audio. You can also use the “Tap Sound” feature to play audio from your mobile device on the soundbar.
It works well with Bluetooth. You can easily play audio on your phone by tapping your compatible phone on the soundbar, which we find easy and convenient.
Also, both the satellite speakers and woofer are connected to the soundbar wirelessly. We have not encountered any latency or lag issues through these wireless connections.
We find the soundbar controls very straightforward and easy to use. All the control buttons are located on top of the soundbar. You may adjust the volumes, change the connectivity or input, and mute or unmute the microphone.
Smart Features and Assistance
It supports voice assistant features such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. We particularly like its built-in Amazon Alexa assistant feature, which allows you to control the soundbar with your voice even from a far distance.
But if you do not want this feature, you can simply mute the microphone to turn the voice assistant feature off.
It comes with a simple remote that is user-friendly. It allows you to access many features, including the different sound modes and the 7-band EQ.
We did not encounter any problems connecting the soundbar to the Samsung SmartThings app. But if you have difficulty connecting to the app, we suggest updating the firmware using the USB drive under the soundbar, improving the connectivity.
Generally, this app is easy to use and serves as a remote where you can access all the features of your soundbar, including the various EQ modes and the SpaceFit Sound feature.
It has an excellent power-saving feature that turns the soundbar off automatically if it is inactive for 18 minutes. Also, its HDMI ARC supports HDMI CEC, which allows your TV remote to access and control the soundbar’s basic features.
We find it handy as you can just use one remote to control your TV and soundbar.
Other Items in the Box
Your Samsung HW-Q990B comes with a user manual, four power cords, four pieces of rubber feet, an HDMI  cable, a remote with 2 pieces of AA batteries, and the bar brackets and screws with the wall-mounting template.
Value for Money
This sound bar may cost you a little extra than most brands and models. But you can ensure that you pay for high-quality surround sounds that elevate your listening and viewing experience. Therefore, it is completely worth your money.
Soundbar Alternatives, Compared
This soundbar is part of Samsung’s top-of-the-line models for 2023. This is our preferred alternative to Q990B. It has a powerful and clear sound like Q990B but fewer features like Auto EQ. However, it is significantly cheaper, so it is a good option.
We recommend the Samsung HW-Q950A if you want a soundbar with powerful bass but at a cheaper price. This soundbar is compact with its 11.1.4 channel setup, like the Q990B.
You can feel the treble and thumps in the bass. Although it is an older model and does not support many smart features, it is still good value for money.
Sonos Arc with Sub With One SL Speakers
This is a premium soundbar with excellent performance. It produces a wider soundstage, thanks to its 5.1.2 setup. Although its bass is not as powerful as the Samsung HW-Q990B, you can easily adjust its treble and bass to your liking.
Bose Smart Soundbar 900 With Speakers
This is another premium setup with remarkable overall performance. It also has a wider soundstage due to its 5.1.2 setup. But Samsung HW-Q990B has more channels and produces more powerful sound.
Review Conclusion: Samsung HW-Q990B
Our Samsung HW-Q990B review has shown that the soundbar exceeded our expectations regarding surround sound quality and features.
This soundbar can give a complete theater experience in the comfort of your home. It may cost a little extra, but it’s a great investment worth splurging on.