the best-value Dolby Atmos soundbar on the town – TechToday



Samsung HW-Q800B: Two-minute overview

The Samsung HW-Q800C is the corporate’s premium “comfort” soundbar from 2023, that means that whereas it dispenses with the rear audio system and among the dimension and energy you get with Samsung’s flagship Q990C soundbar, its “bar-plus-subwoofer” package deal nonetheless gives extra energy and actual channels – it claims 5.1.2 – than the vast majority of rival soundbars hovering round its official £749 / $699 / AU$799 worth.

The Samsung HW-Q800C helps Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, with two upfiring drivers to ship the peak channels. There’s additionally assist for a variety of music information, together with high-resolution ones corresponding to FLAC.

There’s an HDMI passthrough system for anybody involved about dropping considered one of their HDMI ports to the TV, and for those who use the soundbar with a latest Samsung TV you can even get the audio system of every machine to join forces into an ever larger sound, utilizing Samsung’s Q-Symphony tech.

In motion, the Q800C delivers spectacular energy and wonderful channel steering for films and TV exhibits, that’s nearly as good as any of one of the best soundbars get for this worth. Bass is deep, dialog is obvious, and spatial results are convincing – as a lot as an absence of rear audio system permits, anyway. It doesn’t sound fairly as constantly “hi-fi” with music as one thing just like the Sonos Arc, however not everybody will thoughts that.

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Worth & launch date

Releases in June 2023
Worth: £749 / $699 / AU$799

The Samsung HW-Q800C loved a worldwide launch in the summertime of 2023, initially priced at £849 within the UK, $999 within the US and $1,099 in Australia. It has lately undergone a spherical of seemingly everlasting worth reducing, although, which now sees it promoting for £749, $699 and AU$799. These lowered costs actually do make the Q800C look rather more aggressive and interesting (particularly within the US) given the extent of competitors there may be within the mid-range soundbar class.

By comparability, Samsung’s flagship soundbar for 2023, the Samsung HW-Q990C gives included rears, an even bigger and extra highly effective most important soundbar part and an enormous 11.1.4 channel rely for £1,299 / $1,499 / AU$1,599. 

The value undercuts the likes of the Sonos Arc and Sony HT-A7000 – neither of which has a subwoofer.

You’ll be able to add Samsung’s elective SWA-Q9500S wi-fi rear audio system to the Q800C if you want, for £249 / $299 / AU$349. These audio system carry an up-firing driver every in addition to the same old ahead dealing with driver, making a 7.1.4 system.

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Specs

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Soundbar: 1111 x 60 x 120mm / 43.7 x 2.4 x 4.7 in ; Subwoofer: 210 x 403 x 403mm / 8.3 x 15.9 x 15.9

Speaker channels

1x HDMI enter, 1x HDMI eARC assist, digital optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

Sub included

Rear audio system included

Q Symphony, SpaceFit sound calibration, Hello-Res Audio Decoding, LED show, 4K HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough

Samsung HW-Q800C front panel

The Samsung HW-Q800C is supplied for all superior film audio codecs. (Picture credit score: Future)

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Options

5.1.2 channels, 360 watts
4K HDR HDMI passthrough
Some Samsung TV-specific options

The HW-Q800C’s fundamentals of a 360W energy output feeding into 5.1.2 actual (moderately than digital) audio channels are fairly spectacular by mid-range two-piece soundbar requirements. As is the truth that the elective rear audio system you possibly can add if you wish to improve to a full {surround} sound expertise characteristic up- in addition to forward-firing drivers to bolster the presence of the overhead results which might be a part of Dolby Atmos soundtracks. 

The included-as-standard 5.1.2 channels break down into a middle speaker, entrance left and proper audio system, aspect left and proper audio system, two up-firing audio system constructed into the soundbar’s high edge, and a bass channel offered by the exterior wi-fi subwoofer. You can too successfully add extra audio system to the system by way of Q Symphony, the place the audio system in appropriate Samsung TVs can intelligently join forces with these within the soundbar to ship an even bigger, extra exactly detailed soundstage. The soundbar works simply advantageous with any TV – appropriate Samsung TVs simply get an additional enhance.

The subwoofer part sports activities an impressively massive 8-inch driver, however lacks the acoustic lens aspect for smoother, wider bass dispersal that you just get with the sub in Samsung’s Q990C soundbar package deal.

The Q800C helps a powerful array of sound codecs, starting from Dolby Atmos and DTS:X multi-channel mixes to fundamental {surround} sound, stereo, and a variety of music file codecs – together with FLAC, AIFF, AAC, ALAC, WAV, WMA, OGG and MP3. 

Additionally supported are Spotify Join, Apple AirPlay 2 and Tidal Join, with the soundbar’s wi-fi connectivity extending to Samsung’s Wi-fi Dolby Atmos transmission system, the place the soundbar can obtain Dolby Atmos alerts wirelessly from appropriate Samsung TVs – no HDMI required. Word, although, that the Atmos alerts delivered this manner shall be in a compressed format, moderately than the lossless True HD Atmos format you possibly can get pleasure from from the most effective 4K Blu-ray gamers for those who keep on with a wired connection.

The Q800C carries Samsung’s newest Adaptive Sound system, which is designed to research scenes in actual time and routinely current their sound in the simplest approach in accordance with their content material and elements corresponding to the quantity stage you’ve gotten the soundbar set to. The principle new innovation of this newest Adaptive Sound system helps vocals to sound clearer if you’re listening at low volumes. 

There’s extra voice enhancement, too, within the form of the Energetic Voice Amplifier, which may frequently analyze your room’s audio setting and routinely add emphasis to vocal tracks when there’s a variety of ambient noise occurring. 

Players, in the meantime, might benefit from the Q800C’s new Sport Mode Professional characteristic, which tweaks the audio presentation to create a extra dynamic and three-dimensional soundstage to make it simpler to put the place particular sounds are coming from. The soundbar may even routinely swap to its Sport mode when your TV does (offered that TV is a Samsung mannequin outfitted with Sport Hub menu assist).

Players ought to observe, although, that the Q800C’s HDMI passthrough system doesn’t assist 4K 120Hz video, or variable refresh charges. Such options stay uncommon within the soundbar world, although a few of Sony’s soundbars assist it, together with the Sony HT-A7000.

Samsung HW-Q800C logo and grille close up

The Samsung HW-Q800C hides a variety of audio system below that grille. (Picture credit score: Future)

Samsung HW-Q800C: Audio efficiency

Astounding energy, but additionally a fragile contact
Wonderful readability and element even in busy scenes
Nice Dolby Atmos spatial results

Having spent a variety of time with Samsung’s flagship soundbar, the Q990C, I really feel compelled to kick this a part of the overview off by saying that I instantly missed the {surround} sound motion offered by that flagship mannequin’s included rear audio system. Whereas the Q800C does, as we’ll see, do a wonderful job of creating all of its channels rely, its sound does stay fairly resolutely in entrance of and, nearly, to the aspect of you. 

In fact, although, that is solely to be anticipated with a bar-plus-subwoofer package deal, so it’s fairly unreasonable to criticize the Q800C on that foundation. Particularly provided that it’s lower than half the value of the Q990C. I’m simply making the purpose that true surround-sound Dolby Atmos playback is an entire completely different stage of expertise for those who can afford it. 

Specializing in how the Q800C shapes up in opposition to different two-piece fashions with film soundtracks, the very first thing that strikes you is how highly effective it’s. Its sound roars forth, projecting a soundstage able to filling even massive dwelling rooms with none of the extremities of its sound feeling over-exposed, brittle or indifferent from the center of the motion.

And what a coronary heart it’s. The mid-range is epic when it comes to each the dynamic vary it might probably cowl and the quantity of impression and bass it forces out to underpin huge action-scene moments. It’s not all about aggression, although; it’s additionally in a position to ebb and swell with stunning sensitivity and smoothness to comply with the calls for of an excellent film soundtrack. 

Forceful and exuberant although the Q800C’s most important soundbar part is, it by no means lets its meatiness get in the best way of element. Quite the opposite, the sensitivity of the Q800C’s 11 drivers, along with some wonderful steering of the 5 most important and two up-firing channels, produces an exceptionally busy, clear and involving sound stage through which particulars are each superbly positioned and properly balanced. Particularly with Dolby Atmos mixes. There’s no sense of particular particulars or results turning into both too brilliant or overwhelmed by bass. 

That’s although the bass options some really epic rumbles from the Q800C’s subwoofer. The 8-inch driver reaches prodigious low frequency depths that present motion scenes with an enormous sense of scale and heft. It does so, furthermore, with out both hanging too loosely off the underside of the principle soundbar’s lowest frequencies, or sounding flattened or compressed when the going will get actually robust.

Maybe better of all, although, is the best way the subwoofer is nimble and adaptive sufficient to keep away from sounding droney or over-dominant.

Other than the inevitable lack of rear staging, the one remotely unfavorable factor I can discover to say concerning the Q800C’s film efficiency is that its most important bar part doesn’t sound as highly effective because the Q990C system, and its bass doesn’t unfold round your room fairly so evenly and easily due to its lack of the Q990C’s acoustic lens attachment. However developing brief in opposition to a soundbar that prices twice as a lot is hardly a shock. Far more pertinently, the Q800C’s film efficiency is arguably one of the best I’ve heard from a two-piece mid-range soundbar.

Samsung HW-Q800C subwoofer on a black table

The Samsung HW-Q800C’s subwoofer isn’t precisely small, nevertheless it’s not exhausting to discover a good place for it. (Picture credit score: Future)

Up to now so good. However what about music playback, an space the place Samsung soundbars have tended to wrestle barely in recent times? Fortunately it’s immediately apparent that the Q800C delivers a noticeable enchancment over its predecessors.

Vocals, for starters, are superbly staged, sitting completely on the coronary heart of  what’s an impressively extensively dispersed stereo soundstage (for those who’re listening within the Customary preset that leaves stereo mixes of their native type) with out sounding both too brilliant or ever overwhelmed by the remainder of the combo. Observe particulars and layers are each produced with readability and credibility too, becoming a member of forces to compose a decent, managed well-timed sound stage that sometimes doesn’t really feel compelled or unbalanced. 

These strengths of the Q800C’s stereo music efficiency maintain good throughout most if not all forms of music, too; it’s now not simply efficient with pop, heavy bass or comparatively ambient music. 

Additionally a lot improved is the best way the Q800C’s subwoofer contributes to music playback. It’s way more refined and adaptive with its enter, including bass that feels extra constantly built-in with the sound popping out of the principle soundbar, and fewer prone to sound distractingly dominant.  

The Q800C musicality improves on earlier Samsung soundbar generations, too, with its Adaptive Sound mode. Whereas this method for remixing stereo into multi-channel sound isn’t as immersive as it’s with Samsung’s full {surround} Q990C soundbar, it nonetheless expands the Q800C’s staging of your music properly, giving it a extra room-filling, concert-hall really feel whereas retaining the stability and “really feel” of the unique monitor extra constantly than we’ve heard with earlier Q800-level iterations. 

One small rider I’d add to the Q800C’s improved musicality is that it’s essential have the subwoofer positioned in entrance of your seating place for it to meld most successfully with the principle bar. I’m not fully sure why, however my greatest guess is that Samsung’s newest Area Match professional auto-calibration algorithms can get one of the best deal with on it. 

In case you’re after a soundbar as a lot for its music as film capabilities, I’d additionally say that improved although the Q800C is, there are one or two extra Hello-Fi-minded rivals on the market, together with the Sonos Arc and Harman Kardon Quotation Multibeam 1100, that may sound extra constantly deft and refined along with your favourite tracks. The variety of fashions that higher the Q800C musically is much smaller than the determine posted by its predecessors – and none of that dwindling variety of extra musical rivals can beat the Q800C on the subject of film soundtracks.

Samsung HW-Q800C side, showing the angle and grille

The Samsung HW-Q800B’s angled sides are fairly extreme, however they assist with the sound, so who’s complaining. (Picture credit score: Future)

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Design

Grey metallic plastic end
Angled design is on the commercial aspect
Sufficiently small for 50-inch TVs, superb for 55-inch and up

The Samsung HW-Q800C’s most important soundbar part appears to be like loads like its different bars, and at 1111mm / 43.4 inches huge, it’s not too imposing to accommodate beneath your TV. This can be a little much less huge than the common 55-inch TV, and is just about precisely the width of a 50-inch TV, such because the Samsung Q90C. It’s barely wider than a 48-inch TV, such because the LG C3. That’s what you get for not going with Samsung for every part…

The Q800C’s metallic, grilled end appears to be like fairly engaging in an industrial form of approach, and for me is an enchancment over the temporary dalliance with cloth speaker covers Samsung experimented with for a few earlier soundbar generations. The principle bar and attendant subwoofer seem with a barely grayer colour scheme than the blacker end of their 2022 predecessors. This makes the 2 parts look somewhat extra bland, arguably, but additionally much less “heavy”.

The principle bar part contains a very angular look emphasised by the sharpness of its edges, and the pointed look of every of its ends. Some might need most well-liked a softer look, however I form of just like the aggressiveness of it. And the angling of the top parts has a sensible facet to it, after all, because it permits the soundbar to optimize the positioning of its side-channel results.

The subwoofer is a extra prosaic affair; basically simply a big angular grey wood field fitted with a felt-covered eight-inch driver on one aspect and a port to vent air stress on its rear. Usually I’d say this subwoofer could be greatest positioned in an not easily seen place in your room, however as famous within the efficiency part, you’ll want to put the subwoofer pretty close to the soundbar and your TV to get one of the best sound efficiency.

Samsung HW-Q800C ports

The 2 HDMI ports are recessed properly beneath, for simple cable administration. (Picture credit score: Future)

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Setup & usability

SpaceFit room calibration is automated
Simple to manage by way of app or distant
My sub didn’t pair routinely, so required a guide course of

Sometimes Samsung soundbar packages are very straightforward to arrange, however within the Q800C’s case issues didn’t go as easily as regular because the subwoofer and soundbar did not routinely detect and join up with one another as they need to. This led to a reasonably sophisticated guide connection course of. It’s attainable you received’t have this concern, nevertheless it’s actually not what I’m used to.

In any other case, although, setup is fairly simple. Particularly for those who set up Samsung’s SmartThings app in your telephone, which gives a pleasant menu system to assist the pleasingly easy format of the soundbar’s small, slim distant management. The soundbar additionally carries built-in assist for the Alexa voice management system, and may moreover work with Google Assistant voice management by way of exterior listening gadgets.

For one final neat user-friendly trick, the Q800C can forge a reference to latest Samsung telephones simply by tapping the telephone to the soundbar’s bodywork.

There’s a row of touch-sensitive buttons alongside the soundbar’s high edge do you have to not have your telephone or distant management at hand, whereas an LED show on the entrance edge helps you retain monitor of fundamental data such because the enter you’ve acquired chosen and the sound format the soundbar is receiving.

Setup and day-to-day optimization of the Q800C can also be enormously assisted by Samsung’s newest Area Match automated calibration system, which very successfully customizes the sound to fit your room format, and retains re-checking its settings usually when you’ve first known as it into motion, so that you don’t need to hold enthusiastic about it.

Samsung HW-Q800C soundbar unit sits alone on a black table

The Samsung HW-Q800C is one of the best film performer we’ve heard for the value. (Picture credit score: Future)

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Worth

Nothing gives richer and extra highly effective film audio for the value
For music followers, others in the identical worth vary are somewhat extra proficient
Rear audio system appear to be a steep addition, however are well-specced

Assuming you’re out there for a soundbar in the beginning to convey films and TV exhibits to life, the Q800C represents wonderful worth. It undercuts its rivals, regardless of serving up essentially the most highly effective, impactful and precisely introduced Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound stage I’ve heard from a two-piece soundbar system.

If you need a soundbar that’s extra hi-fi oriented, although it’s rather more musical than its predecessors the Q800C could be bettered by some rivals, that is true. However for films, at this worth, nothing does it higher.

The elective rears are maybe a contact costly relative to the remainder of the system – although they do add up-firing drivers in addition to common ahead firers. So on a per-channel foundation, possibly the wi-fi rear additions aren’t truly that costly in spite of everything – however finally, they’re elective.

Ought to I purchase the Samsung HW-Q800C?

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4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough is mainly the one factor missing right here. Extraordinarily well-equipped.

Audio efficiency
The larger the soundtrack, the extra the Q800C laps it up. Music is improved from the earlier mannequin, too.

Industrial grey received’t be to everybody’s style, however I just like the seriousness of it.

Setup & usability
I had a wi-fi sync downside, however most patrons possible received’t. Exterior of that, it’s very slick and simple.

Huge energy, spectacular readability and tons of options for a worth that beats mainly all shut rivals.

Purchase it if…

Don’t purchase it if…

Samsung HW-Q800C overview: Additionally think about

How I examined the Samsung HW-Q800B

Examined over every week
Examined with 4K Blu-rays, CDs and streamed/Bluetooth audio sources
Reviewed in each nook and mid-wall room positions

The Samsung HW-Q800C’s most important soundbar has been sat beneath 75-inch Samsung QN900B TV, which for many of the testing interval has sat in a center of the wall place moderately than in a nook, to present the side-firing drivers extra space to ship their sound. The subwoofer has been tried in quite a lot of positions, each to the aspect and behind the principle check seating place – although in the long run it delivered one of the best outcomes when positioned to the aspect of TV, in entrance of my seating place.

The soundbar was additionally examined below the identical TV moved to a nook place, to mirror the truth that this stays the commonest TV place. The Q800C was not examined with the elective further rear audio system.

The soundbar was put via its paces in every arrange with a choice of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 4K Blu-ray soundtracks, particularly It Chapter One, the 2021 model of The Invisible Man, Prepared Participant One and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. 

Compressed Atmos tracks from Netflix and Disney+ have been additionally trialled, whereas on the music entrance I used a mixture of stereo CDs and streamed information – together with hi-res audio tracks – together with Tidal’s Dolby Atmos mixes, protecting a variety of genres together with rock, pop, classical and ambient.


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