Home / Gaming / Samsung HW-Q70R soundbar review: This easy-to-install soundbar delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

Samsung HW-Q70R soundbar review: This easy-to-install soundbar delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

If you wish to deliver wealthy, detailed, and immersive sound into your lounge with at least parts and fuss, Samsung’s HW-Q70R soundbar will have to be close to the highest of your buying groceries checklist. At $700, the HW-Q70R is as dear as some higher-end soundbars we’ve reviewed, however for the reason that Samsung’s one of the best soundbar sells for two times as a lot, $700 seems to be the brand new mid-range.

Worth tags apart, the HW-Q70R soundbar and its wi-fi subwoofer make for a very simple technique to get dazzling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound, whilst a resounding pseudo-surround mode provides unexpected intensity to different content material. If you need true sound, alternatively, you’ll wish to drop an extra $100 for Samsung’s SWA-8500S wi-fi rear speaker package (to be had on Amazon). Samsung didn’t ship the package for assessment.

Configuration

Boasting Harman Kardon-designed audio (Samsung received Harman Global in 2017), the HW-Q70R is a three.1.2 soundbar, because of this it has devoted left, appropriate, and middle drivers (with the middle channel being specifically vital for turning in transparent conversation); up-firing left and appropriate drivers for immersive, object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with audio top cues accomplished by way of bouncing pontificate your ceiling; and a wi-fi subwoofer for deep bass reaction and low-frequency results in film soundtracks.

Measuring 43.three x 2.three x three.nine inches, the primary soundbar unit can sit down without delay in entrance of your TV, or you’ll mount it at the wall with the incorporated bracket, whilst the 15.nine x 15.nine x eight.1-inch subwoofer can sit down within sight at the flooring.

Inputs and outputs

At the backside of the soundbar, you’ll discover a pair of cavities the place the more than a few ports and buttons sit down. A button at the left-hand facet we could the soundbar attach for your Wi-Fi community (with a little bit assist from the Samsung SmartThings cellular app), at the side of a microSD carrier port and a 19V DC energy port. The hollow space at the right-hand facet hosts one HDMI enter, one HDMI-ARC (so your TV can ship audio from its onboard tuner and video-streaming apps again to the soundbar), and a TosLink (optical) virtual audio enter.

Setup and set up

Putting in the HW-Q70R was once a somewhat simple procedure. After I’d positioned the soundbar in entrance of my TV, I related the facility adapter after which plugged the incorporated HDMI cable into the soundbar’s HDMI output (which helps 4K 60Hz video and HDR passthrough) and related the opposite finish to one among my TV’s HDMI inputs. I then related my Apple TV 4K (which is in a position to Dolby Atmos audio output) to the soundbar’s HDMI enter.

samsung hw q70r soundbar inputs and outputsBen Patterson/IDG

The Samsung HW-Q70R includes a unmarried HDMI enter, an HDMI-ARC output, and a Toslink enter.

For the reason that HW-Q70R simplest has a unmarried HDMI enter, you’ll wish to manually change out the cable if you wish to transfer to every other video supply (akin to a recreation console or a Blu-ray participant).This is very important if you need Dolby Atmos output by the use of the lossless Dolby TrueHD structure (a Toslink connection can’t supply sufficient bandwidth)..

When you don’t wish to be switching cables always, you’ll additionally attach all of your video resources for your TV, after which ship audio again to the soundbar the usage of HDMI-ARC. The disadvantage to depending on ARC for audio is that you simply’ll need to accept lossy Dolby Atmos by the use of Dolby Virtual Plus. If the speaker supported Enhanced Audio Go back Channel (eARC, which gives extra bandwidth), this wouldn’t be a subject matter.

Ultimate however now not least, you’ll wish to hook up the wi-fi subwoofer, which may well be the perfect step within the procedure. For the reason that soundbar and the subwoofer are paired out of the field, the soundbar will have to mechanically hook up with the subwoofer after they’re each powered on, and that’s precisely what came about for me. A gradual blue mild at the again of the subwoofer signifies you may have a just right wi-fi connection. A blinking blue or cast purple mild method the subwoofer can’t attach mechanically to the soundbar, during which case you’ll wish to manually pair the devices by way of urgent the “ID Set” button at the again of the subwoofer, after which press and cling the “up” button at the faraway.

SmartThings and Alexa integration

Upon getting the soundbar related for your TV and the subwoofer, you’ll additionally attach it for your Wi-Fi community the usage of the Samsung SmartThings app. Simply set up the app for your iOS or Android tool, signal into or create a SmartThings account, press the Community button at the soundbar, after which uncover it the usage of the app.

As soon as the SmartThings app has the soundbar on its radar, you’ll attach it for your Wi-Fi community, upload it to a “room” to your sensible house, after which keep watch over it like several of your different SmartThings gadgets. You’ll be able to additionally keep watch over your Wi-Fi-connected soundbar with Amazon Alexa voice instructions, or circulate track to it by the use of Spotify and different appropriate music-streaming services and products. Ultimate however now not least, the SmartThings app means that you can mess around with the soundbar’s EQ settings.

Far off and Samsung TV integration

The AA battery-powered faraway that includes the HW-Q70R is just about similar to people who come bundled with different Samsung soundbars. Some TechHive members have praised this faraway; however as a newcomer to Samsung’s ecosystem, I discovered it a little complicated, specifically when digging into the HW-Q70R’s more than a few settings.

Urgent the Settings button cycles thru a number of choices, akin to fidgeting with the relative ranges of the drivers, tweaking treble and bass, and toggling the Digital atmosphere off and on (extra at the Digital atmosphere in a second). However I couldn’t determine the best way to alternate the settings themselves. Seems you’re intended to press “Up” at the round four-way directional keep watch over, which is unmarked.

samsung hw q70r soundbar remoteBen Patterson/IDG

The HW-Q70R’s faraway takes being used to, however a minimum of it isn’t stuffed with buttons.

After I figured that out, the remainder of the faraway was once somewhat simple to grasp, with a couple of skinny quantity rockers for the primary speaker and the subwoofers, a mute button, a Sound Mode button that cycles thru a quartet of sound profiles (we’ll get to them in a 2d), an enter button, and a Bluetooth pairing button (which paired the soundbar with my iPhone in a snap). Certainly, one just right factor I’ll say concerning the faraway is that it isn’t stuffed with a complicated array of buttons.

If in case you have a 2013 or more moderen Samsung Good TV, you’ll additionally tinker with the soundbar’s settings the usage of the on-screen Samsung TV menu. Since I’ve a Sony TV, I wasn’t ready to check this option—and certainly, restricting on-screen setup for the soundbar to a selected logo of TV turns out needlessly restrictive.

Operation and function

Whenever you flip for your TV, the three-character (four-character, with regards to HDMI) show at the appropriate entrance facet of the soundbar lighting fixtures up, telling you which ones enter it’s the usage of. This show is going darkish after a couple of seconds, and fortunately there aren’t any different distracting lighting fixtures or signs to pollute your darkened house theater. As you’re gazing TV or being attentive to track, you’ll check out the soundbar’s more than a few sound modes by way of time and again urgent the Sound Mode button at the faraway.

For starters, Same old places the soundstage squarely entrance and middle, with little in the way in which of results. The Same old atmosphere is a good choice for being attentive to track unadulterated with distracting sonic results, and I wasn’t disenchanted as I teed up Carlos Kleiber’s exciting interpretation of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony at the Orfeo label, entire with its wealthy, swelling strings and pulse-quickening timpani. I additionally attempted the name observe from Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad and soaked in The Boss’s quiet efficiency with acoustic guitar and harmonica within the spare opening phase, sooner or later accompanied by way of punchy percussion and a heat synthesizer.

As cast because the Samsung’s Same old mode sounds, the Encompass mode manages to dramatically extend the soundstage with out sounding gimmicky. With assist from Samsung’s Acoustic Beam generation (which channels soundwaves thru an array of holes), sound results convincingly slip to the perimeters of the soundstage, as though there have been left and appropriate audio system positioned slightly ahead of the display.

Digital rear results aren’t moderately as bright as on competing soundbars with extra competitive digital modes, however that’s in fact a just right factor. As an alternative of overreaching, the HW-Q70R’s mode delivers a pleasing rear presence with out getting slowed down in distracting, synthetic-sounding results. As a listener who’s aware of a conventional five.1-speaker setup, I may indisputably reside with Samsung’s digital mode if I needed to surrender bodily rear audio system.

There’s additionally a Recreation mode that takes the soundbar’s mode up a couple of notches, that may be effective for gaming however begins heading into distracting territory for films and TV presentations.

Significantly better is the Adaptive mode, which adjusts the soundbar’s results relying on what’s at the display. After some preliminary tinkering, I parked the Samsung’s sound mode within the Adaptive atmosphere and was once beautiful proud of it, with the results (as soon as once more) sounding interesting with out calling undue consideration to themselves.

Past the primary sound modes, there’s additionally a “Digital” atmosphere that upmixes a top channel for presentations, films, and video games with five.1 or 7.1 soundtracks. Don’t be expecting dramatic results swirling round your head with the Digital atmosphere on; as a substitute, it’s way more refined, simply filling out the higher area of the soundstage, very similar to how the Encompass sound mode fills out the rear. 

Dolby Atmos efficiency

The HW-Q70R is one of the soundbars vying to deliver the immersive sound of Dolby Atmos into your lounge. A valid structure that targets to exactly position “audio gadgets” (as much as 128 at a time) in a 3-D house, as opposed to the 2D sounds you’ll pay attention in same old five.1 or 7.1 methods that lack a top channel, Dolby Atmos (and its competitor, DTS:X) extra in most cases is determined by audio system put in within the ceiling to ship the sense of sound results coming from above.

samsung hw q70r soundbar displayBen Patterson/IDG

Every time the soundbar detects Dolby Atmos content material, it’ll flash “Dolby Atmos” (no, now not simply “ATM”) on its scrolling show.

For the ones of use who don’t have the time, cash, or inclination to chop holes within the ceilings, audio system or soundbars with up-firing drivers can simulate a bodily top speaker by way of bouncing pontificate the ceiling at a couple of 20-degree attitude. For the impact to paintings correctly, you’re intended to have a flat ceiling between seven and 14 toes prime; no peaked or dropped ceilings will do.

Right through my assessments, I used an Apple TV 4K plugged without delay into the soundbar’s HDMI enter. When the soundbar detected a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the phrases “Dolby Atmos” flashed in brief at the soundbar’s show.

First, I queued up one among our favourite Dolby Atmos demos: the scene in X-Males: Apocalypse the place a more youthful Cyclops (a.okay.a. Scott Summers) blows a hollow in a rest room ceiling with the power beams capturing out of his eyes, which sends particles crashing to the ground (it’s at concerning the 10:08 mark should you’re ).

With a just right audio device, this scene could make you are feeling like plaster is falling throughout you, and the HW-Q70R does a pleasant activity of placing you within the motion, with the clattering particles debris sounding distinct however now not too harsh, with a deep bass layered beneath. You indisputably get the sensation of sound results from above, even if with out a set of rear audio system, the sounds at the back of you’re a lot much less distinct—once more, suppose extra of a presence somewhat than transparent, particular audio gadgets.

Subsequent, I dialed up the well-known opening credit from the Dolby Atmos-remastered Superman from 1978, and as Marlon Brando’s credit score swoops up and over the display, I may pay attention the “whoosh” over my head—and sure, I were given chills. (I noticed Superman right through its unique run when I used to be nine, so there’s a nostalgia issue at paintings.) And when the Superman brand seems, there’s an accurately deep thump of bass, at the side of John Williams’s crisp, blank, and triumphant ranking. Beautiful cool.

For one thing a little bit extra detailed, I streamed an legitimate Dolby Atmos trailer by the use of AirPlay to my Apple TV, which transmitted the Dolby Atmos soundtrack intact. In Dolby’s “Leaf” trailer, the digital camera snakes thru a maze of twigs and branches, after all specializing in a leaf that detaches with a crisp snap and flutters slowly to the bottom, swirling facet to facet and above and beneath the body, and you’ll pay attention the leaf’s whispers the entire approach down, even if as sooner than, rear main points are a long way much less pronounced than they’re from the entrance and above. Once more, moderately spectacular.

Base line

Sure, it’s dear, however the Samsung HW-Q70R soundbar means that you can upload wealthy, detailed, and immersive sound, entire with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X improve, for your TV in a question of mins. The HW-Q70R’s faraway takes being used to, and it’s anxious that you wish to have a appropriate Samsung TV for on-screen setup. Nonetheless, the soundbar delivers convincing sound even with out Samsung’s not obligatory rear audio system, and you’ll all the time dash for an not obligatory, relatively priced wi-fi package so as to add extra rear soundstage element.

 

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