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Samsung HW-R550 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Sep 30, 2019 at 09:00 am
Samsung HW-R550 Picture
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.1
Music
6.2
Movies
This soundbar was replaced by the Samsung HW-T550
Channels
2.1

The Samsung HW-R550 has a decent overall performance. This 2.1 system setup can get pretty loud and will perform quite accurately. Its sound profile is slightly dark, though, as there's an overemphasis in the bass range while lacking a bit of detail in the treble, which some won’t notice. However, even if the bar has pronounced bass, it doesn’t get very low, meaning it won’t recreate the deep thump and rumble of bass. On the upside, it can easily be used to stream content via Bluetooth from your smart devices.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. This 2.1 soundbar sounds decent with stereo content like music and dialog-oriented content like podcasts and audiobooks. However, it won’t be the best option for movies as it doesn’t provide an immersive experience due to the lack of height channels and Atmos support. It has a decent overall sound profile but might lack a bit of low-bass for fans of action movies and bass-heavy music genres.

Pros
  • Decent stereo sound.
  • Well-built design.
  • Good overall performance at high volume.
Cons
  • No 4k @ 60Hz passthrough.
  • No height channels and Atmos support.
  • Poor surround performance.
7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

Good for dialogue and TV shows. The Samsung HW-R550 has a decent overall sound profile and accurate mid-range performance. It can get loud enough for normal use and there’s a useful dialogue enhancement feature to make voices clearer. You’ll also be able to stream content wirelessly with a Bluetooth connection, making this bar a decent option for content like podcasts and audiobooks.

7.1 Music

Decent for music. The Samsung HW-R550 lacks a bit of bass, especially lower frequencies, so it might not be the ideal system for bass-heavy music. However, its mid-range is good, while the treble lacks a bit of detail. This gives an overall dark sound profile but won’t be too noticeable, making it a decent option for a wide variety of music genres. You can also push the soundbar to its limits at high volume without getting audible distortion or compression, which is good. You’ll also be able to stream content via Bluetooth and have a few customization options.

6.2 Movies

Mediocre for movies. The Samsung HW-R550 won’t give you an immersive feel since it doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos. It's also a 2.1 setup, which means all 5.1 surround content on Blu-ray discs and Netflix will be downmixed and will feel like it's coming from the front instead of around you.

  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.1 Music
  • 6.2 Movies
  1. Update 6/16/2020: We've changed the Surround Level Adjustment test result for consistency.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The HW-R550 is a budget soundbar system from Samsung's 2019 lineup, but has now been replaced by the 2020 Samsung HW-T550. This 2.1 system setup doesn't have a dedicated center channel like the Samsung HW-R650, but has more speakers than the 2.1 Samsung HW-R450, which came out the same year. These two models are also the R550's main competitors, and it's also compared to some similar budget 2.1 setups like the Yamaha YAS-207.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-R550 resembles the Samsung HW-R650 a lot. It has a metal grille to cover the front face, but the rest is made of solid plastic. On the right side, there are four buttons to control the soundbar's functions.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is mostly made of wood. The front face is covered with fabric that can get easily dirty or damaged. The port is found on the back.

Design
Style - Satellites

There are no satellites on this setup.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 35.6" (90.5 cm)
Bar Height 2.1" (5.4 cm)
Bar Depth 3.2" (8.2 cm)

The Samsung HW-R550 is fairly wide and unlikely to fit between the legs of most 55" TVs. On the upside, it isn't too tall and won't obstruct the lower part of the screen, unless your TV has a very low stand or sits flush on the table.

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

The subwoofer is almost as big as an average desktop. It connects wirelessly to the system so you can place it anywhere in the room, as long as you can provide it with power.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

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

The back of the bar has two openings for the power cable and the input ports. The wall-mounting holes are on the underside, and the required brackets are included in the box.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The sub's back is plain. The port is made of plastic and is located on the top, while the power cable connects on the bottom, making it easy to hide it.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-R550 has a great build quality. It's a robust construction that's mostly made of solid plastic and a metal grille on the front face. The sub is made of wood and its weakest point is the fabric on the front of the subwoofer that can get dirty or damaged.

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

  • Remote & batteries
  • Bar power cable
  • Bar power brick
  • Subwoofer power cable
  • Optical cable
  • Screws & washers
  • Wall-mounting brackets & template
  • Manuals

Sound
7.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.81
ST Std. Err.
2.65 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
47.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
14.1 kHz

The Samsung HW-R550 has a decent stereo frequency response. Its low-frequency extension is slightly high but still better than some higher-end models. Its sound profile is slightly dark, as there’s an overemphasis in the bass range and a lack of detail in the treble range.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
3.04 dB

When listening to the Samsung HW-R550, the soundstage is just okay. The bar isn’t that wide and the speakers are situated at the extremities of the bar. The R550 doesn’t do any tricks to try widening the soundstage, meaning it’s about as wide as the bar itself. The focus of sounds is fairly good, but due to the dark sound profile, it sounded a bit more diffused than the Samsung HW-R650.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
93.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
0.70 dB

The Samsung HW-R550 can get to a good volume level that will be suitable for a large room or a crowded environment. Also, it performs quite well at max volume and doesn’t produce compression artifacts, which is great.

7.6
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.39
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.73

The Samsung HW-R550's THD performance is good. At a normal listening volume, the amount of THD is within very good limits, which results in a clear and pure sound. However, there’s a noticeable big jump in THD at maximum volume, especially in the bass range and low-mid. However, this might not be audible with real-life content.

5.7
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
-1.56
C Std. Err.
4.10 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
92.8 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.28
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.50

The center channel performance of this soundbar is sub-par. It's a 2.1 setup, meaning that it doesn’t have a dedicated center speaker. It uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete one. The graph shows a pretty dark-sounding profile, but since there’s hardly any bass on the center channel, this shouldn’t affect the performance too much. Voices will still sound fairly clear and accurate.

3.3
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
-1.62
Sr Std. Err.
4.22 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
90.2 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.33
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.20

The Samsung HW-R550 is a 2.1 setup, so it'll downmix surround content and will also sound very dark and bass-heavy. This soundbar can only use its left and right speakers, which won’t do an accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage. This means the result won't be very immersive and the objects will be perceived to come from the front instead of to your sides or behind you.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The Samsung HW-R550 doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.

7.3
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
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
Yes

Update 06/16/2020: The HW-R550 supports surround sound content, but we had previously listed 'Surround Level Adjustment' to 'N/A'. The test result has now been set to 'No', which has slightly decreased the scoring.

The Samsung HW-R550's sound enhancement features are good. It lacks room correction, so it might sound different depending on your room. On the upside, it has a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices and dialogue in movies clearer. Also, you have a dynamic range control, which is the night mode, and can be enabled/disabled by holding down the sound mode button on the remote for a few seconds. However, this is only available with Dolby Digital tracks. You also get a 7-band EQ and a woofer adjustment level to control the amount of bass produced.

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)
1
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Samsung HW-R550 can accept several types of inputs to accommodate almost every need. The Analog Audio In can be handy for older devices that only have audio out ports, whereas the Optical Audio In can be helpful with older TVs. Thanks to the Full HDMI In and the HDMI ARC port, you can place the bar in between an external device and the TV and obtain the best visual and audio experience. If you want to listen to music from a USB key, you have to use an adapter as the available port is micro-USB.

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

This setup can playback Dolby Digital and DTS over ARC although it downmixes it to 2.1. Dolby Digital is widely used in streaming platforms like Netflix and Blu-rays. DTS is rarely found on its own. It's mainly found as the fallback of the higher quality DTS-HD MA widely available in Blu-rays.

7.4
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

When your external device is connected to the Full HDMI in port, this bar will downmix Dolby Digital and DTS sound formats to 2.1. Unfortunately, the higher end object-based sound formats, like Dolby Atmos, or the lossless ones like 5.1 PCM are not supported, so you can't enjoy the highest-fidelity sound experience.

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

Through Optical, both Dolby Digital and DTS are supported but downmixed to 2.1 due to the bar's design. You can find Dolby Digital content in almost all streaming platforms, and most Blu-rays. DTS is usually found as the fallback of the DTS-HD MA which is found on most recent Blu-rays.

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

Just like the Samsung HW-R650, you can enjoy your music on your phone or tablet wirelessly through Bluetooth. Unfortunately, you can’t connect to WiFi or cast using Chromecast built-in or AirPlay.

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

Thanks to the Full HDMI In and the HDMI ARC ports you can pass through a video signal. However, the HW-R550 can't pass through a 4k @ 60Hz video even if both your TV and PC support it.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar and all you have is the power cable.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

There are no satellites on this setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

There's a small screen behind the grille that serves as the interface. It can display the input source and the volume level and sometimes has to scroll to display the entire message.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The four buttons on the right side of the bar control the volume, the input source selection, and can power the bar on and off.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Samsung HW-R550's remote is the same as the Samsung HW-R650's remote. It allows you to control all the settings of the soundbar. A message on the interface screen confirms your actions.

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

The Samsung Audio Remote is the app that pairs with this bar. However, it can't completely replace the remote as it's lacking the 'Settings' and 'Bluetooth' buttons. On the upside, it has great functionality and you can cast files from your phone to the bar.

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

After 5 minutes of inactivity, the Samsung HW-R550 will switch off thanks to its Auto-Off feature. Also, due to HDMI CEC, your TV's remote can control some basic functionality of the bar.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-R550 is a decent overall soundbar, especially for its price range. It has a good overall sound profile, but lacks a bit of sub-bass, even with a dedicated subwoofer. Since it's a fairly affordable soundbar, it doesn't support high-end features like Atmos and can't passthrough 4k @ 60Hz. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars under $300, and the best soundbars with subwoofer.

Samsung HW-T550

The Samsung HW-T550 from 2020 is a slightly better option than the 2019 Samsung HW-R550. While they perform quite similarly, the overall sound signature of the HW-T550 is a bit more neutral throughout the range and its stereo soundstage sounds a little bit wider. On the other hand, our unit has some slight distortion issues in the treble range, which we didn't encounter with the HW-R550. The 2019 model also has access to an app, which the 2020 HW-T550 doesn't, although all settings are still available through the remote.

Sony HT-S350

The Samsung HW-R550 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. It has a more accurate audio reproduction and overall sound profile. The bass of the R550 is more extended as well. While the Sony can get marginally louder, it compresses noticeably more than the R550. The Samsung soundbar also has more inputs, since the HT-S350 lacks Full HDMI Ins, and supports DTS, which the Sony doesn't.

Samsung HW-R650

The Samsung HW-R650 and Samsung HW-R550 are practically identical, but the R650 has a dedicated center channel that the R550 doesn't have. This results in better dialog and voice reproduction, which is great when watching TV shows and movies. Other than that, these soundbars are pretty much the same.

Samsung HW-Q60R

The Samsung HW-Q60R is slightly more versatile than the Samsung HW-R550 thanks to the Samsung Acoustic Beam up-firing speakers. It also has a dedicated center channel for better and clearer dialog. The Acoustic Beam helps with the surround performance of the Q60R.

Yamaha YAS-207

The Yamaha YAS-207 is a better soundbar system than the Samsung HW-R550. These two 2.1 setups have decent overall performance, but the YAS-207's stereo frequency response is a bit more accurate and neutral. Its center channel performance is also noticeably better and results in more detailed and accurate voices and dialog in movies. On the other hand, the R550 has more features, is better-built, and is more stylish.

Samsung HW-N450

The Samsung HW-N450 and Samsung HW-R550 are similarly performing 2.1 soundbars. They have an almost identical sound profile that's slightly dark and lacks a bit in bass. The HW-R550 is better suited for TV and dialogue, however, as it has the added advantage of a dialogue enhancer feature, unlike the HW-450.

LG SL6Y

The Samsung HW-R550 is a better soundbar for dialogue and TV shows than the LG SL6Y. The Samsung is better balanced for reproducing vocals, it can get loud enough for normal use, and it has a graphic EQ if you want to tweak its sound a little more. However, the LG has better center and surround performances even though all surround content is still downmixed into stereo. If you connect a device to it using its HDMI input, it can also easily pass a full 4k signal, although it won't pass HDR10 content through.

TCL Alto 5+

The Samsung HW-R550 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the TCL Alto 5+. It sounds better, has more sound enhancement features that lets you slightly customize the way it sounds to your preference, has more inputs, and supports DTS. If you're looking for a budget soundbar, the price difference between these two won't be high enough to make the Alto 5+ a better option; the Samsung HW-R550 is a better overall soundbar.

Vizio SB3220n-F6

The Samsung HW-R550 and the Vizio SB3220n-F6 are both decent soundbars. The 2.1-channel Samsung gets more low-bass thanks to the dedicated subwoofer, and has more sound enhancement features; however, its stereo soundstage isn't as wide as spacious as that of the Vizio. While the Samsung has more input options, like HDMI, the Vizio also has a more compact design that's better if you're tight on space.

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