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Samsung HW-Q950T Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Sep 21, 2020 at 08:33 am
Samsung HW-Q950T Picture
8.1
Mixed Usage
8.4
Dialogue/TV Shows
8.2
Music
7.9
Movies
Channels
9.1.4

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a 9.1.4 setup from 2020. It has a neutral and balanced sound profile that delivers a thumpy, punchy bass suitable for a variety of audio content. It also has several sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ plus presets so that you can tweak its sound. As a high-end soundbar, it comes with Q-Symphony, a feature that works in tandem with compatible Samsung QLED TVs to create a more immersive audio experience, but we don't currently test this feature. However, despite its elevated price point, it has a mostly plastic and fabric build, which feels like a bit of a step down from Samsung's other premium models that use metal grilles. It also has a screen on its top side, which is impossible to see unless you're standing directly over it. Still, if you're looking for a soundbar that works more closely with your Samsung TV, this is a solid choice.

Our Verdict

8.1 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-Q950T is great for mixed use. Whether you're watching movies or listening to music, this bar has a balanced and neutral sound. If you want to tweak its sound, it has a graphic EQ as well as presets. There's a dialogue enhancement feature, which is great if you like to listen to audiobooks or TV shows. It can get loud enough to be used during a house party, and you can also stream your favorite songs to it using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It even supports Atmos, giving you a more immersive movie experience.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Can get loud.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible.
  • Supports Atmos.
Cons
  • No room correction.
8.4 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-Q950T is great for dialogue and TV shows. It has a balanced and neutral sound, which helps reproduce clear and accurate dialogue. There's also a dialogue enhancement feature to further improve vocal content. You can stream podcasts and audiobooks to the bar using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth too, which is great.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible.
Cons
  • No auto-volume/night mode.
8.2 Music

The Samsung HW-Q950T is great for music. It has a neutral and balanced sound profile suitable for most music genres and if you like to tweak your sound, there's a graphic EQ and presets to help you get the most out of your audio. It has a good soundstage that's as wide as the bar and focused. As it can get quite loud, you can even crank the volume to your favorite tunes without too many compression artifacts.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Can get loud.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible.
Cons
  • No room correction.
7.9 Movies

The Samsung HW-Q950T is very good for movies. It has a balanced sound profile that's capable of delivering a thumpy bass to liven explosions in action movies. If you prefer a different sound, it has a graphic EQ and presets. It can get pretty loud and there aren't many compression artifacts present at max volume. However, while it supports Atmos, its surround and height performances aren't as immersive as a home theater setup.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Can get loud.
  • Supports Atmos.
Cons
  • Disappointing surround and height performances.
  • 8.1 Mixed Usage
  • 8.4 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 8.2 Music
  • 7.9 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung HW-Q950T is the highest-end soundbar from this manufacturer. Released in 2020, this 9.1.4 setup uses a wireless subwoofer and two satellite speakers to help produce a more immersive sound. Just like the Samsung HW-Q900T, it also supports Q-Symphony, which uses your Samsung TV's speakers in addition to that of the bar to enhance your audio experience. You need a compatible Samsung TV to use this feature. Its main competitors are the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch, the LG SN11RG, and the Samsung HW-Q90R from 2019.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

This is a fairly wide and heavy soundbar. It has a similar design to the Samsung HW-Q900T as it has slightly angular sides with vent-like openings for its side surround speakers. The bar is mostly made from plastic and its front and top sides covered in a tight fabric that looks like it could easily get dirty.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Samsung HW-Q950T's subwoofer is mostly made of wood. The right side speaker is covered by fabric that feels like it could easily rip or collect dust.

Design
Style - Satellites

The satellites are mostly made of plastic. They have a tight fabric covering on their top and front sides. As their power cable is located beneath the speakers, there's a groove to help keep the satellites from squashing the cord. If you're looking for a similar soundbar but don't have space for satellite speakers, check out the Samsung HW-Q900T.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 48.4" (123.0 cm)
Bar Height 2.8" (7.0 cm)
Bar Depth 5.4" (13.8 cm)

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a long soundbar and it most likely won't fit between the legs of any 55" TV. On the upside, it's not too tall, especially when compared to other large soundbars like the Samsung HW-Q90R, so it shouldn't obscure your view of the TV unless it sits flush to the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width 8.2" (20.9 cm)
Sub Height 15.8" (40.2 cm)
Sub Depth 15.9" (40.3 cm)

The subwoofer is about the size of a large desktop PC but you shouldn't have too much of a problem placing it in a room.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width 4.8" (12.2 cm)
Sat Height 8.2" (20.9 cm)
Sat Depth 5.6" (14.3 cm)

The satellite speakers are fairly tall and long but they can be placed anywhere in the room, as long as they're connected to a power source.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on underside)

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has one opening for its input ports and its power cable is located separately on the right side of the bar's back. You can wall-mount this bar using its universal holes located on its underside thanks to the included brackets and screws.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the subwoofer has its port as well as its pairing button. The power connects at the bottom of the subwoofer.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

These satellites are labeled left and right so that you can place them accordingly in your home. Their backside has a pairing button and a universal hole if you want to wall-mount them.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-Q950T has a good build quality. Although it's fairly wide and heavy, the bar and satellites are made from mostly plastic. All of the speakers are protected by tight fabric but it looks like it could easily collect dust, and is a slight step down from the Samsung HW-Q90R's metal grilles. However, the subwoofer is made from wood, which makes it feel pretty sturdy. Unfortunately, the display is located on the top of the bar and you won't be able to see it unless you're standing directly over it.

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

  • Manual
  • Remote and 2x AA batteries
  • 4x Power cables
  • HDMI cable
  • Wall-mounting accessories
  • x4 Rubber foot

Sound
8.4
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.14
ST Std. Err.
2.59 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
29.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
14.7 kHz

The Samsung HW-Q950T has a great stereo frequency response. It has a deep low bass that's boomy, which is great for explosions in your favorite action films. It otherwise has a very neutral sound profile that's well-suited for a variety of audio content. If you prefer to customize its sound, this soundbar also has a graphic EQ plus a few presets.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.35 dB

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has a good stereo soundstage. While the bar is pretty wide, the soundstage is about the same width and the bar doesn't do any tricks to widen it. That said, it has a pretty focused soundstage as objects seem to be coming from accurate pinpoint locations rather than general areas.

9.0
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
101.1 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
1.00 dB

The Samsung HW-Q950T has outstanding stereo dynamics. It can get pretty loud, which is great if you're hosting a house party or if you have a large room. It also performs quite well at max volume as there isn't much compression.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.18
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.55

The THD performance of the Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar is great. At a normal listening volume, its audio reproduction is clean. While there's a small jump in THD when you push this bar to its max volume, it may not be noticeable to most people with real-life content.

8.4
Sound
Center
C Localization
Discrete
C Slope
0.61
C Std. Err.
3.84 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
96.9 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.21
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.05

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a 9.1.4 setup with an impressive center channel performance. As it uses a dedicated center channel, it reproduces clear and accurate dialogue in movies.

4.8
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Rears
Yes
Sr Slope
2.57
Sr Std. Err.
7.91 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
93.5 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.36
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.69

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has a poor surround performance. It uses its side-firing speakers on the bar to reflect sound off of your walls to give you the impression of a wider surround sound. However, this setup won't provide the most accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage, especially when compared to discrete surround produced by a home theater.

5.8
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar & Satellites)
H Slope
1.03
H Std. Err.
5.75 dB
H SPL @ Max Volume
88.5 dB SPL
H Weighted THD @ 80
1.09
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.74

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has a disappointing height performance. As it uses its up-firing speakers found on the bar as well as its satellites, it bounces sound off of your ceiling to help give you the impression of height. However, this produces a diffused localization of objects that doesn't sound as real as a discrete localization provided by down-firing speakers.

6.3
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has acceptable sound enhancement features. It lacks room correction and an auto-volume mode, which is a little disappointing from a high-end model. However, it does come with a graphic EQ as well as several presets: 'Standard', 'Surround', 'Game Pro', and 'Adaptive Sound'. Inside the companion app, there's also EQ graph modes: 'None', 'Pop', 'Jazz', and 'Classic'. It's equipped with Q Symphony, which allows you to sync this soundbar with your Samsung TV and is advertised to produce a more immersive sound by using all speakers, including your TV's.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
2
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No

This soundbar can be used as a hub between your TV and other devices as it has several inputs. While it doesn't have an AUX In so that you can connect it to older devices, it has two Full HDMI In cables.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
Yes
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Yes
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has outstanding support via its HDMI ARC port as it supports all common audio formats. It also supports eARC, so it's able to play object-based surround signals and high-quality lossless formats.

9.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
No

This soundbar has remarkable support via its Full HDMI In port. It can play almost all audio formats, which is great if you like to watch Blu-ray movies or shows from a streaming service. However, note that 5.1 PCM files don't play on the center channel.

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

When you're connected via Optical In, this soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS, which is usually found on Blu-ray discs as well as streaming platforms.

8.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

The Samsung HW-Q950T has great wireless playback options. You can stream your favorite audio via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi but you won't be able to use more system-specific connectivity options like Apple AirPlay.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar can passthrough the highest quality signals. When connected between your PC and TV, text is clear and crisp on your screen.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

This subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar and only requires a cable for its power supply.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T's satellites only use a power cable and connect to the soundbar wirelessly.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has a small display on its top side. It can only be seen when you're standing over the bar, which is a little annoying. This display indicates your volume level, speaker settings, and inputs. There are also three lights in front of the bar that turn on and off when adjusting the volume but they're not level indicators.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The Samsung HW-Q950T has a couple of buttons on the top of the bar. There's a multi-function button to select your input, you can adjust the volume up or down, and you can turn the mic on/off.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Samsung HW-Q950T's remote is the same style as the Samsung HW-Q90R and it allows you to control all the soundbar's functions. However, you won't be able to use it as a universal remote for other devices.

Additional Features
App
App Name Samsung SmartThings
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts as the Remote
Limited Support
Controls Soundbar's Settings
Some
Casts Device Files
Audio Files Only

The Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar has a companion app called Samsung SmartThings. You can control some of the soundbar's settings such as changing the volume or tweaking its sound via its EQ. However, it can't do everything that the remote can do, as the remote can also control the bar and satellite's levels.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q950T turns itself off after 18 minutes of inactivity. It also supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control basic features of your soundbar like volume.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a premium 9.1.4 setup from Samsung's 2020 lineup. This soundbar has a neutral sound profile capable of reproducing a nice low bass. While it performs similarly to the 7.1.4 Samsung HW-Q90R, its center, surround and height performances fall a little short, which can be disappointing for movie buffs. On the upside, it comes with Q-Symphony, which allows you to connect this soundbar to a compatible 2020 Samsung QLED TV that supports this feature and use its speakers in addition to those in the setup to create a more immersive experience, but we don't test for this feature. If you're looking for more soundbars, check out the best soundbars for Dolby Atmos, the best soundbars for movies, and the best soundbars.

Samsung HW-Q90R

The Samsung HW-Q90R and the Samsung HW-Q950R are two differently performing soundbars with different setups. The HW-Q90R is a 7.1.4 setup that feels better built and has less compression at max volume. Its center, surrounds, and height performances are better and it also supports 5.1 PCM via its Full HDMI In port. The HW-Q950R, in comparison, is a 9.1.4 setup that's able to reproduce slightly more bass.

Sonos Arc

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a better overall soundbar than the basic Sonos Arc setup. The Samsung is a 9.1.4 setup with a better-balanced sound profile and it has a graphic EQ and presets so that you can tweak the sound to your liking. You can stream audio to the bar using Bluetooth too, and it supports 4k @ 60Hz passthrough. However, the Sonos is a 5.1.4 setup that offers a better center, surrounds, and height performance. It has room correction as well as an auto-volume/night mode too. While it has limited inputs, you can also stream audio to it using Apple AirPlay.

JBL Bar 9.1

The JBL Bar 9.1 and the Samsung HW-Q950T are two well-performing but differently set up soundbars. The Samsung is a 9.1.4 setup with a more balanced sound profile. It can get louder with less thumping and compression artifacts and comes with a graphic EQ as well as a dialogue enhancement feature. However, the JBL is a 5.1.4 setup that has a better build quality. Unlike the Samsung, the JBL uses detachable wireless satellite speakers to create a more immersive audio experience. Its center, surrounds, and height performances are all significantly better.

LG SN11RG

The LG SN11RG is a 7.1.4 setup while the Samsung HW-Q950T is a 9.1.4 setup. The LG feels better built and produces a more punchy and boomy sound. Its center, surround, and height performances are all better too, and it even has room correction as well as an auto-volume mode. It also has a USB port. However, the Samsung has a better THD performance and its overall sound profile is better balanced too.

Samsung HW-Q900T

The Samsung HW-Q950T and the Samsung HW-Q900T are very similar, very versatile soundbars. The HW-Q950T provides a slightly more immersive listening experience because it comes with two rear satellites. It also has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, and the sound profile when playing Atmos content is better-balanced and more suitable to a wider variety of content. That said, both soundbars have lots of sound customization and connectivity options.

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch and the Samsung HW-Q950T are two differently set up soundbars. The Nakamichi is a 9.2.4 setup that comes with two subwoofers and two satellites. It has a more premium build quality, and it has a better surround and height performance. It also has three Full HDMI In ports as well as an AUX port, and a USB slot. In contrast, the Samsung is a 9.1.4 setup that has a more neutral sound profile and a graphic EQ. It can get a little bit louder than the Nakamichi with slightly fewer compression artifacts, and it has full audio format support via its ARC port.

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