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Samsung HW-B550 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jul 20, 2022 at 10:25 am
Samsung HW-B550 Picture
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.7
Music
6.6
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Samsung HW-B550 is a 2.1 soundbar released in 2022. It's the next generation of the Samsung HW-A550 and performs quite similarly to its predecessor. It's a simple bar that's best for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. If you want to improve its surrounds performance, you can add a Wireless Rear Speaker Kit, which is sold separately. However, there's no Dolby Atmos support to let you take advantage of more immersive formats on streaming platforms. You don't get access to Samsung's more premium features, like room correction, which optimizes audio to your room's unique acoustics, and Q-Symphony, which pairs the bar with compatible Samsung TVs for an enhanced sound.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

The Samsung B550 is decent for mixed usage. As a 2.1 soundbar, it's ideal for listening to stereo content, which encompasses most music and dialogue-heavy TV shows. Out-of-the-box, its neutral sound ensures voices and lead instruments reproduce with clarity, and you have lots of customization tools to change up its sound. You don't feel as much rumble in the bass as with more premium models, especially with bass-heavy music and movies. 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, which you find on lots of streaming platforms, aren't very immersive-sounding, either.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • No satellites included.
7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung B550 is great for dialogue-focused TV shows and podcasts. With its balanced mid-range, voices reproduce with clarity and detail. You even have a dialogue enhancement mode (Voice Enhance) as well as a night-mode feature that balances out the volume between different programs and commercials. Without a discrete center channel, dialogue isn't quite as clear or real as with 3.0 setups, but it still does a good job overall.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Bluetooth support.
Cons
  • No support for Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi, or Chromecast.
7.7 Music

The Samsung B550 is great for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a balanced sound, with neutral mids that ensure voices and lead instruments reproduce accurately. As a result, it's suitable for listening to most music genres. It gets loud, and you have lots of customization tools on hand to get it to sound the way you want. That said, there's a noticeable lack of bass on certain tracks, especially bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop.

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

The Samsung B550 is fair for movies. Dialogue reproduces with clarity and accuracy, and you have plenty of enhancement tools to customize its sound. However, you don't feel the deep thump in the low-bass during intense movie scores or action-packed scenes. You can't take advantage of more immersive object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, which you find on lots of streaming platforms. 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital are downmixed into stereo, which doesn't sound very immersive. However, you can always add a rear speaker kit if you want to improve its surround sound.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • No satellites included.
  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.7 Music
  • 6.6 Movies
  1. Updated Jul 20, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 14, 2022: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung B550 has a similar design to last year's Samsung HW-A550. It's mostly made of plastic, and there's a metal grille covering the front and sides. It's very lightweight, too. However, compared to last year's model, the sides have an angled design that makes it stand out.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is quite simple. It's mostly made of wood, and a thin fabric covers the front.

Design
Style - Satellites

While no satellites are included, you can add a Wireless Rear Speaker Kit from the manufacturer separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 33.9" (86.0 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.6 cm)
Depth 3.0" (7.6 cm)

The Samsung B550 isn't very wide, so it fits between the legs of a 55" TV stand. Since it isn't very tall, it doesn't obscure your TV screen, which is nice.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 7.2" (18.4 cm)
Height 13.5" (34.2 cm)
Depth 11.7" (29.7 cm)

The sub is roughly the same size as what you get with the Samsung HW-A550. It's equivalent to an average desktop computer, and it connects to the bar wirelessly for more flexibility when you add it to your living 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 some openings for the power cable and the inputs. Underneath the bar, some holes let you mount it to your wall using the included wall-mounting kit.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The port is on the back of the sub, as well as the input for the power cable. You also have a pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung B550 has a great build quality. The bar itself is mostly made of solid, lightweight plastic, and the metal grille on the front and sides helps protect the drivers inside better than the fabric sides of the Samsung HW-B450. The sub is the weaker part of the design, though, as the fabric feels thin. It collects dust easily, too.

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

  • Manual
  • Remote with batteries (2x AA)
  • Mounting brackets with screws and template
  • Adapter
  • 2x power cable
  • Optical cable

Sound
8.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.32
Std. Err.
2.40 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
38.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung B550 has a great stereo frequency response. It performs similarly to the Samsung HW-B450, as it sounds neutral right out-of-the-box, especially in the mids, where more voices and lead instruments reproduce. It's suitable for most music genres as a result, and dialogue in TV shows is clear and crisp. The subwoofer is controlled, but you notice the absence of low-bass with certain tracks, especially bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.32
Std. Err.
2.40 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
38.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung B550 comes with lots of sound enhancement features to help you get the best sound for your needs. If you prefer a more neutral response, it's best to use its default settings.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.57 dB

The Samsung B550 has a decent stereo soundstage. The soundstage is perceived to be about as wide as the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem larger than that. It has good focus, though, especially compared to other 2.1 bars we've tested. As a result, sounds like instruments in an orchestral recording seem to come from accurate locations in the soundstage.

8.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
92.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.88 dB

The Samsung B550 has great stereo dynamics. It gets loud enough to fill most living rooms with sound. There's a little compression when you push it to max volume, especially in the bass range, but it's not too noticeable, so audio quality isn't degraded at loud volumes.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.66
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
6.30

The Samsung B550 has a fair stereo THD performance. At a normal listening volume, distortion falls within good limits, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. There's quite a jump in distortion when you push it to max volume, though. Still, distortion is hard to hear, so casual listeners aren't as likely to notice it as serious audiophiles.

6.0
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-1.43
Std. Err.
4.91 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.38
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.20

The Samsung B550 has an okay center channel performance. Since it's a 2.1 bar, it uses its left and right stereo speakers to simulate a phantom center channel. As a result, voices aren't quite as accurately localized as they are in bars with a discrete center channel. While its frequency response is a little bass-heavy, voices are still pretty clearly reproduced, and you don't have any issues understanding dialogue. If you want a similar bar with a discrete center, check out the Samsung HW-B650.

3.4
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.50
Std. Err.
5.10 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
87.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.39
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.60
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung B550 has a poor surrounds performance, typical of 2.1 bars. It has to downmix 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital and DTS into stereo to play them, which doesn't sound quite as immersive. Sound effects don't seem as clear and real in the soundstageโ€”instead, it seems like they're just coming from a speaker placed in front of you.

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
7.1
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
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Samsung B550 has a decent selection of sound enhancement features. You don't have room correction like with more premium bars in the manufacturer's lineup, so it sounds a little different depending on your room's acoustics. Fortunately, you have lots of ability to customize its sound using its bass and treble adjustments and its graphic EQ. If you don't want to play around with the sound too much, there are also some preset modes: 'Standard', 'Surround Sound', 'Bass Boost', 'Game', and 'Adaptive Sound Lite'. The settings button on the remote gives you access to other tools like Night Mode, Voice Enhance, and the Audio Sync feature to reduce latency. If you choose to add on a Wireless Rear Speaker Kit, you can adjust its levels.

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 B550 has more inputs than the Samsung HW-B450. You can connect it to your TV using Optical or HDMI, and both cables are included with the bar, which is handy.

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

Via HDMI ARC, the Samsung B550 has decent audio format support. It supports Dolby Digital, which is the most commonly-used surround sound format that's often found on streaming platforms. There's DTS support, too, which is great if you watch a lot of Blu-rays. It doesn't support lossless or object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, though.

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 B550 only supports Dolby Digital via Full HDMI In. It's helpful since Dolby Digital is the most common surround sound format, and you're likely to come across it on different streaming platforms.

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

The Samsung B550 supports both DTS and Dolby Digital content via Optical. Since it's a 2.1 bar, it has to downmix it into stereo to play it.

7.4
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
105 ms
Optical
75 ms
Full HDMI In
43 ms

The Samsung B550 has a decent latency performance. It has fairly low latency, though its ARC input doesn't perform quite as well. You may notice a delay between the audio you hear and the video you see as a result. However, certain TVs and apps compensate for the delay differently, so your experience can vary. During our testing process, we didn't notice any lip-synching issues with videos or movies.

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

The Samsung B550 lets you wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar over Bluetooth.

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

Though there's a Full HDMI In port, this bar doesn't support high-quality video passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly, so you just need to plug it into an outlet to get it to work.

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

There's a small screen on the side of the Samsung B550 that displays a maximum of four characters. It shows the volume number as you adjust it and the sound modes as you change them. It scrolls to complete longer messages and fades away when you aren't changing the settings.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The buttons on top of the bar let you power it on/off, adjust the volume, and change the input.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is quite simple. You can use it to access to bar's features, including the sound modes. If you press the settings button, you can access other features like dialogue enhancement and night mode.

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 B550 automatically powers off after a certain period of inactivity to help you conserve power. There's also HDMI CEC support, so you can use your TV remote to control some of its basic features.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung B550 is available in 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

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

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung B550 is a simple 2.1 bar that offers nearly identical performance to its 2021 predecessor, the Samsung HW-A550. Designed for stereo content like music and TV shows, it does a good job with those formats, though, as expected, it's not ideal for 5.1 surround sound. There are some extra features compared to the more budget-friendly Samsung HW-B450, also released in 2022, like a graphic EQ and HDMI connections. But, given the similarity of their frequency responses, it might not be worth the extra cost. 

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Samsung soundbars, and the best soundbars for dialogue.

Samsung HW-A550

The Samsung HW-B550 is the next generation of the Samsung HW-A550. That said, they offer almost identical performances. They're both 2.1 bars with lots of customization tools, including a 7-band graphic EQ. With neutral frequency responses out-of-the-box, they're suitable for listening to most types of audio content, though they lack a little punch in the bass that's noticeable with bass-heavy music and movies. Neither support Atmos content.

Samsung HW-A650

The Samsung HW-B550 and the Samsung HW-A650 offer similar frequency responses, so you don't notice much of a difference between their sound. However, the A650 is a 3.1 setup with a discrete center, which improves vocal clarity in your audio. Given the price difference, though, this may not be worth the value for some listeners.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A is better than the Samsung HW-B550. The Q600A is a 3.1.2 bar, and unlike the 2.1 B550, it supports Dolby Atmos content. It also comes with a discrete center channel, so vocals are reproduced more clearly in the mix.

Samsung HW-B650

The Samsung HW-B650 is better than the Samsung HW-B550. They're both similar bars with similar sounds right out of the box and lots of customization tools on hand. However, the B650 adds a discrete center, which improves vocal clarity. The B550 remains a good option for those looking for a more budget-friendly choice.

Samsung HW-B450

The Samsung HW-B550 is better than the Samsung HW-B450. They're both 2.1 soundbars that offer similar stereo frequency responses, but the B550 comes with some extra features. It's better built and has a graphic EQ, so you have more ability to customize its sound. There are also HDMI connections, which the B450 lacks. If you aren't interested in these features, though, the B450 is pretty similar, and it's more affordable overall.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2

The Samsung HW-B550 is better than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. They're both budget-friendly 2.1 bars, but the Samsung soundbar performs best. It has more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound to your liking. It's better-built, too, with a more balanced sound out-of-the-box than the boomy Polk.

Vizio V Series V21-H8

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Vizio V Series V21-H8 or the Samsung HW-B550. They're both 2.1 bars at budget-friendly prices. The Vizio is best for fans of bass-heavy music—it reproduces more low-bass and adds more boom and punch to the mix right out of the box. The Samsung is more balanced out-of-the-box but has more customization tools, like a graphic EQ. You can add more boom in the high-bass with these features, but unfortunately, the Samsung soundbar still doesn't get the rumble in the low-bass like the Vizio.

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