Samsung HW-A550 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 25, 2021 at 09:50 am
Samsung HW-A550 Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.6
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.6
Music
6.5
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Samsung HW-A550 is a 2.1 soundbar that's the next generation of the Samsung HW-T550. Though it comes with a dedicated subwoofer, it struggles to reproduce some low-bass, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Like many Samsung soundbars, however, it offers many sound customization features, like a graphic EQ and presets as well as bass and treble adjustments. Also, its default sound profile is still neutral enough to be suitable for lots of types of audio content.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-A550 is decent for mixed usage. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, with a little extra punch in the bass range. However, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass for action-packed movies and bass-heavy music. It doesn't support Atmos, either, and its surrounds performance is disappointing. Fortunately, it offers lots of sound customization options.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • No Atmos support.
  • Poor surrounds performance.
7.6 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-A550 is good for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Though it lacks a discrete center channel, its balanced mid-range can still reproduce dialogue clearly and accurately. There's even an 'Adaptive Sound Lite' feature that enhances dialogue to make it clear and crisp, and a Dynamic Range Control to help balance the volume level across different programs. Since it's Bluetooth-compatible, you can also wirelessly stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone to the bar.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Auto-volume mode.
Cons
  • Disappointing center channel performance.
7.6 Music

The Samsung HW-A550 is good for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile with a little extra punch in the bass range that's still suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, it lacks some low-bass, so you may not feel the deep rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM. There's a graphic EQ and presets as well as bass and treble adjustments available to help you customize its sound, and it gets pretty loud.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
6.5 Movies

The Samsung HW-A550 is fair for movies. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, dialogue is reproduced clearly and accurately. However, it lacks some low-bass, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Also, doesn't support Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo, which isn't very immersive. Fortunately, there are some sound customization features available.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • No Atmos support.
  • Poor surrounds performance.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.6 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.6 Music
  • 6.5 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung HW-A550 is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar released in 2021. It's the next generation of the Samsung HW-T550, and it offers more EQ presets for sound customization. Unlike the 2.1 Samsung HW-A450, also released in 2021, it comes with a Full HDMI In port, so you can use it as a hub between different devices. However, it doesn't come with Acoustic Beam or Q-Symphony, advertised to help create a more immersive sound. Its main competitors include the Vizio V Series V21-H8, the Yamaha YAS-209, and the TCL Alto 8+.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The bar has a simple design. It's mostly made of plastic, and there's a metal grille around the front of the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is mostly made of melamine. There's fabric covering the front side.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't come with satellites. However, you can purchase the Wireless Rear Speaker kit from Samsung separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 33.9" (86.1 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.5 cm)
Depth 3.4" (8.7 cm)

The Samsung HW-A550 isn't very wide, so it may be able to fit between the legs of some 55" TVs. Also, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 7.9" (20.0 cm)
Height 13.8" (35.0 cm)
Depth 11.4" (29.0 cm)

The sub is about the size of an average desktop computer. It connects to the bar wirelessly, so you have a lot of flexibility when placing it in your room.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has two openings for the power cable and the inputs. There are also universal holes on the underside, so you can wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the sub has a plastic port, as well as the input for the power cable and a pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-A550 has a good build quality. The bar itself is mostly plastic, which feels solid and durable, and the metal grille on the front helps protect its drivers. The sub is mostly melamine. Unfortunately, the fabric on the sub seems like it could easily rip or get dirty.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Manual
  • Remote with batteries (2xAA)
  • Mounting brackets with screws and template
  • Optical cable
  • 2x power cable
  • Power adapter for soundbar

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.58
Std. Err.
2.35 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
40.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung HW-A550 has a very good stereo frequency response. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile with a little extra punch in the bass range that can please fans of bass-heavy music like EDM. However, it lacks a bit of low-bass, so you may not feel the deep rumble in action-packed movie scenes. It comes with a graphic EQ and presets as well as bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound to your liking.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
3
Slope
-0.12
Std. Err.
1.96 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
40.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung HW-A550 has a great stereo frequency response with calibration. With its bass set to '-3' and its treble set to '3', it has a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, it still lacks some low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like to feel low thump and rumble.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.65 dB

The Samsung HW-A550 has a decent stereo soundstage performance. Its soundstage is perceived to be about as wide as the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem wider than that. It also has good focus for a 2.1 soundbar. Objects like voices and footsteps seem to come from an accurate region, though it isn't always easy to pinpoint their exact location.

8.2
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
92.2 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.55 dB

The Samsung HW-A550 has a great dynamics performance. It can get loud without a lot of compression at max volume, making it suitable for listening to audio during parties and in large rooms.

6.2
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.08
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
6.15

The Samsung HW-A550 has a mediocre THD performance. At normal listening volumes, there's a bit of distortion in the mid and bass ranges. When you push the bar to max volume, there's a jump in THD across the range. While it can be hard to hear with real-life content, you may still notice it.

5.9
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-1.63
Std. Err.
4.66 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
87.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.50
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.08

The Samsung HW-A550 has a disappointing center channel performance. It's a 2.1 setup, so it has to use its left and right channels to simulate a sound in the center, which doesn't sound as clear or real compared to a discrete center channel. However, voices still sound fairly accurate since there isn't much bass reproduced on center channel tracks.

3.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.68
Std. Err.
4.87 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
85.1 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.51
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.22
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung HW-A550 has poor surrounds performance. This 2.1 bar has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it. As a result, surround objects like voices and footsteps aren't as accurately or clearly represented in the soundstage. Sound seems like it's coming from in front of you rather than from speakers placed all around you. For a soundbar with a better surrounds performance, check out the Vizio V Series V21x-J8.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
6.7
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Samsung HW-A550 has a lot of sound enhancement features. Unlike the Samsung HW-T550, it comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization. It also comes with many EQ presets, including 'Standard', 'Surround Sound', 'Bass Boost', 'Game', 'Adaptive Sound', and 'DTS Virtual X'. The 'Adaptive Sound' feature doubles as a dialogue enhancement mode, which helps make voices sound more clear and crisp. You can also press and hold the 'SOUND MODE' button on the remote when the bar is off to turn Dynamic Range Control on and off, which helps balance the volume level across different programs.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Samsung HW-A550 comes with some physical inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port, so you can use the bar as a hub between different devices. However, there isn't an AUX port, so you can't wire older devices to the bar to playback audio.

7.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The Samsung HW-A550 has decent audio format support via ARC. It supports both Dolby Digital and DTS, commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. However, it can't decode lossless or object-based surround formats like Dolby Atmos.

6.4
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

The Samsung HW-A550 supports Dolby Digital content via Full HDMI In. Dolby Digital is the most common surround sound format, and you can often find it on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. However, you can't playback lossless or object-based surround formats over this input.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

The Samsung HW-A550 supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content over Optical, which is useful for those who like to watch Blu-ray discs and content from streaming platforms.

7.1
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
104 ms
Optical
77 ms
Full HDMI In
77 ms

The Samsung HW-A550 has a decent latency performance. Its latency is a bit high over its ARC, Full HDMI In, and Optical ports, so you may notice a bit of a delay between your audio and your video. As a result, it may not be very suitable for watching videos over these connections. That said, some apps and some TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

The Samsung HW-A550 lets you wirelessly stream audio from your mobile device to the bar via Bluetooth. However, you aren't able to stream audio over other wireless connections.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No
Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly. You just need to plug it into an outlet to use it.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

In the middle of the bar, there's a small three-character display. It displays the volume mode and the sound mode when you adjust these settings. However, it isn't visible when you aren't adjusting a setting. Since it's only three characters, you may need to wait for it to scroll through longer messages.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the bar, there are some controls. You can power the bar on/off, adjust the volume, and change the input source.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is simple and lets you control the bar's functions. It's advertised to support Samsung OneRemote, which lets you use your TV remote to control the bar, but we don't test for this.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No
Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Samsung HW-A550 has an auto-off function that shuts the bar off after a certain period of time without an audio signal. Also, it supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control the bar.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung HW-A550 is available in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-A550 is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar released in 2021. It's the next generation of the Samsung HW-T550, and it comes with more presets like 'Bass Boost' and 'Game Mode'. Unlike Samsung's more premium models, like the Samsung HW-Q600A and the Samsung HW-Q800A, it doesn't come with built-in Acoustic Beam technology or Q-Symphony, which are advertised to help create a more immersive sound.

See also our recommendations for the best Samsung soundbars, the best soundbars under $300, and the best soundbars under $500.

Samsung HW-A650

The 3.1 Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the 2.1 Samsung HW-A550. The HW-A650 offers a discrete center channel that can reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately in movies and TV shows. Also, it's better-built.

Samsung HW-T550

The Samsung HW-A550 is the next generation of the Samsung HW-T550. Overall, these soundbars offer similar performances, offering a neutral sound profile with a little extra punch in the bass out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. However, the A550 gets louder, and it comes with more EQ presets.

Samsung HW-A450

The Samsung HW-A550 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A450. The HW-A550 is better built and comes with more physical inputs, including a Full HDMI In port and an HDMI ARC port. It also comes with a virtual surround feature, unlike the HW-A450.

Sony HT-S350

The Samsung HW-A550 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. The Samsung has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. It also comes with a graphic EQ and bass and treble adjustments for sound customization and a Full HDMI In port.

Samsung HW-T650

The Samsung HW-T650 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A550. The HW-T650 is a 3.1 soundbar that offers a better soundstage performance to help immerse you in your audio. Also, unlike the 2.1 HW-A550, it comes with a discrete center channel, so dialogue is more accurately localized to a pinpoint location.

Sonos Arc

The 5.0.2 Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the 2.1 Samsung HW-A550. The Sonos is better-built, and it comes with a discrete center channel and two up-firing speakers that support Atmos. It has a better soundstage performance and offers room correction and built-in voice assistant support. You can also upgrade it to the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. However, the Samsung comes with a graphic EQ and a Full HDMI In port, and it supports Bluetooth. You can also upgrade the Samsung with satellite speakers.

Vizio V Series V21-H8

The Samsung HW-A550 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V21-H8. The Samsung is better-built with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. Also, it comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization and a Full HDMI In port, unlike the Vizio.

Vizio V Series V21x-J8

The Samsung HW-A550 is a better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V21x-J8. The Samsung is better-built and has a more neutral default sound profile, which some listeners may prefer. Unlike the Vizio, it also comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization and a Full HDMI In port. That said, the Vizio offers a better surround performance.

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