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Samsung HW-T550 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jun 19, 2020 at 08:36 am
Samsung HW-T550 Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
8.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.4
Music
6.3
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Samsung HW-T550 is a good overall entry-level soundbar from 2020. It features a 2.1 speaker configuration with a wireless subwoofer that delivers powerful and deep bass. It has a nice and well-balanced sound profile, with a bit of extra kick to the bass. It's a very well-built soundbar that looks a bit more similar to the high-end models from 2019 from Samsung but doesn't look quite as sleek and premium. It has a few sound enhancement features, including a 7-band EQ, which is great to customize the sound to your liking. Unfortunately, it doesn't support 4k passthrough for latest-gen console or PC gaming. Nevertheless, it's still a good option for people on a budget that want a good upgrade over their TV speakers.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-T550 is a decent overall soundbar. This 2.1 setup has a well-balanced sound profile with a bit of extra bass kick. The wireless subwoofer is powerful and delivers decently deep bass too, which is nice at this price point. Unfortunately, due to its speaker configuration, it can't support Atmos content, which isn't ideal for movies, but it does a pretty good job with music and is suitable for a lot of different music genres. It also packs a few sound enhancement features, including a dialogue enhancement that's great for TV shows or the news.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Good build quality.
  • 7-band EQ for customization options.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos content.
  • Downmixes surround sound content.
  • No app.
8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-T550 is great for dialogue-centric content like podcasts, audiobooks, and TV shows. It has a well-balanced sound profile that is suitable for most content and reproduces accurate and clear vocals. It also offers the Dynamic Range Compression (DRC) feature from Samsung to automatically optimize the level of different content. You can also easily stream content to the bar via Bluetooth, which is useful.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Good build quality.
  • 7-band EQ for customization options.
Cons
7.4 Music

The Samsung HW-T550 is decent for music. It has a well-balanced sound profile and comes with a wireless subwoofer that packs a good amount of bass. The stereo soundstage is also decent and slightly larger than the bar itself, which is nice especially for its price point. You also have access to a 7-band EQ via the remote that is great to customize the sound signature to your preferences.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Good build quality.
  • 7-band EQ for customization options.
Cons
  • No app.
6.3 Movies

The Samsung HW-T550 is mediocre for movies. It's a simple 2.1 setup that doesn't support Atmos content, so you don't have the impression of height when watching some movies. On the upside, it supports surround sound audio formats, although it has to downmix it to stereo to be able to play it, which doesn't result in the most immersive listening experience. On the upside, its stereo soundstage is quite decent and larger than the bar itself.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Good build quality.
  • 7-band EQ for customization options.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Atmos content.
  • Downmixes surround sound content.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.4 Music
  • 6.3 Movies
  1. Update 9/21/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The HW-T550 is a simple 2.1 soundbar from Samsung's 2020 lineup, and it replaces the 2.1 Samsung HW-R550 from 2019 with only a few minor changes. This soundbar doesn't have a dedicated center channel like the higher-end 3.1 Samsung HW-T650, and follows the same overall logic as last year's lineup. The main competitors of the HW-T550 are the LG SN5Y, the Yamaha YAS-209, and the Polk Audio SIGNA S2.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

This soundbar looks a bit different than last year's Samsung HW-R550. It doesn't have angled edges and looks a lot more like Samsung's higher-end models from 2019 like the HW-Q90R. The front of the bar is covered by a metal grille while the rest of it is covered by good quality plastic.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is pretty much identical to the previous model. There's a fabric panel at the front and the rest is made from pressed wood. The port is found on the back.

Design
Style - Satellites

This 2.1 setup doesn't come with satellites.

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

The Samsung HW-T550 is shorter than the 2019 model and may be able to fit between the legs of some 55" TV stands. It's also not too high so it shouldn't cover the bottom of your screen unless your TV 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)

As usual, this Samsung subwoofer is about the same size at a desktop computer. You can place it wherever you want in your room as it connects wirelessly to the bar.

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)

Like most soundbars, the back of the Samsung HW-T550 is very plain. You have two openings for the different inputs and the power cable. If you want to wall-mount the soundbar, you'll find the universal hole on the underside, and the brackets are included in the box.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The sub's back is very straightforward. The port is situated at the top and the power cable is at the bottom, making it quite easy to hide if you need to do some cable management.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Samsung HW-T550 is good. The plastic material used feels solid, and the speakers are covered by a metal grille to protect them. The subwoofer feels a bit cheaply made and has fabric covering its front face, which can easily become dirty or damaged.

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

  • Optical cable
  • Remote with batteries
  • 2x Power cables with power brick for the bar
  • Mounting templates with brackets and screws
  • Manual

Sound
7.6
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.64
ST Std. Err.
2.37 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
43.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.3 kHz

The Samsung HW-T550 has a good stereo frequency response. Its subwoofer delivers powerful and deep bass for such an affordable setup, which is nice. The overall sound profile is well-balanced, with a bit of extra kick in the bass.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.96 dB

The stereo soundstage of the Samsung HW-T550 is decent. It feels a bit wider than the bar itself, which is good. However, the bar doesn't do anything to make it seem even wider. On the upside, the focus of objects in the soundstage is very focused and you can easily pinpoint their location rather than hearing them coming from a general location.

7.8
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
91.0 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
0.96 dB

Update 09/21/2020: We've discovered a value input bug that would cause the Dynamics box results to be slightly off. All soundbars reviewed since January 30th, 2020 have been updated.

This soundbar can get pretty loud, which is great if you're having a party or have a very large room. Also, it can be pushed to its max volume without too much audible compression, which is great.

6.6
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.95
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.66

The Samsung HW-T550's stereo THD performance is just okay. There isn't much audible distortion at a normal listening volume, but there's a noticeable jump when pushing the bar to its limit. However, there's more distortion in the treble at a lower volume in our testing, but we aren't completely sure why. This shouldn't be audible to most listeners anyway.

5.2
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
-1.63
C Std. Err.
4.88 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
86.7 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
1.97
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.50

The center channel performance of the Samsung HW-T550 is sub-par because it doesn't have a dedicated center channel. This stereo 2.1 setup uses the left and right speakers to create sounds in the middle, which doesn't sound as clear as a dedicated one. However, voices still sound fairly accurate since there isn't much bass on the center channel track.

2.6
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
No
Sr Slope
-1.70
Sr Std. Err.
5.06 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
83.8 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
2.02
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.14

The Samsung HW-T550 has very bad surround performance. This soundbar has to downmix the surround signal to stereo to be able to play it. It can only use its left and right drivers to play, so it doesn't result in an accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage. This isn't very immersive and the sound seems to be coming from in front of you rather than all around you. The output level is also a lot quieter than when playing stereo content.

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

This soundbar doesn't have height channels and doesn't support Atmos content.

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

The Samsung HW-T550 has a lot of sound enhancement features, although it lacks room correction, which means it may sound a bit differently depending on the acoustics of your room. On the upside, it has four additional presets: Surround Sound, Game, Smart, and DTS Virtual:X. The Smart preset uses DRC (dynamic range compression) and acts as a dialogue enhancement feature. You also have access to a 7-band EQ with a few commands on the remote.

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
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Samsung HW-T550 has a few inputs, but unfortunately, the manufacturer decided to take away the analog 3.5mm jack that was found on last year's 2019 Samsung HW-R550, which is unfortunate.

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-T550 has decent support over its ARC port. It can play both Dolby Digital and DTS files which are often found on streaming platforms like Netflix and Blu-ray discs. Unfortunately, due to its speaker configuration, it needs to downmix the tracks to stereo to be able to play the content.

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

The Samsung HW-T550 has a full HDMI port that can be used for your external devices. It supports Dolby Digital and DTS, but can't play lossless 5.1 audio formats. On the upside, it can play lossless PCM 2.0 stereo content.

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

Like most soundbars, both DTS and Dolby Digital are supported via the optical cable.

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

You can easily stream content to the Samsung HW-T550 via Bluetooth. It also allows for multi-device pairing up to two devices like mobile phones. You can easily pause one playlist and start another on another device.

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

This soundbar doesn't support 4k passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar. The only wired connection it has is its power cable.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

There are no satellites on this setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The interface of the Samsung HW-T550 is just a small screen that is now centered in the middle of the bar compared to last year's model. It shows you all the settings you're changing but sometimes has to scroll to show the entire message.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The controls situated on top of the bar are pretty straightforward. You can power on/off the bar, change the volume and change inputs.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is very similar to last year's model as well. It allows you to control all the settings of the soundbar, but can't be used as a universal remote.

Additional Features
App
App Name N/A
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

Unfortunately, this soundbar isn't compatible with any Samsung app, which is disappointing since last year's model was. All the customization needs to be done via the remote now.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Samsung HW-T550 goes into a power-saving mode after being idle for 20 minutes. It also supports HDMI CEC so you can use your TV's remote to control some basic functions of the bar.

Compared to other soundbars

The HW-T550 is a good entry-level soundbar from Samsung's 2020 lineup, and it stands out from the rest for its well-balanced sound profile and surprisingly deep bass. It offers good overall performance if you're limited on budget, but it won't offer the same surround performance as higher-end models. It also lacks Atmos support, which movie fans might prefer having. Overall, it's an affordable option that offers good stereo sound and is a sure upgrade over your TV speakers. If you want more options, take a look at our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars, or if you watch a lot of movies, check out the best Dolby Atmos soundbars we've reviewed.

Samsung HW-T450

The Samsung HW-T550 is a better overall 2.1 setup than the Samsung HW-T450. The HW-T550 is better built, and it has both an HDMI ARC input as well as a Full HDMI In input, which allows it to support Dolby Digital content. It has a slightly more neutral sound profile, and it also has a dialogue enhancement feature as well as a graphic EQ. 

Samsung HW-T650

The 3.1 Samsung HW-T650 is a better soundbar than the 2.1 Samsung HW-T550. Thanks to its discrete center channel, the HW-T650 offers a better-balanced center channel performance that sounds more clear and more real than the HW-T550's phantom center. The HW-T650 also has a much wider sounding soundstage, and it gets a bit louder.

Samsung HW-R550

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.

Samsung HW-R650

The 2019 Samsung HW-R650 3.1 setup is a better performing soundbar than the 2020 Samsung HW-T550 2.1 soundbar. Thanks to its dedicated center channel, the HW-T550 has a much clearer reproduction of vocals and dialogue in movies. It also has access to an app, although everything is still accessible with the remote on the HW-T550. On the other hand, the 2020 model's subwoofer seems to perform a bit better and provides a deeper thump than the HW-R650.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2

The Samsung HW-T550 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. The Samsung has a better-balanced overall sound signature and it even has a 7-band EQ to let you customize the sound to your preference. It also has a full HDMI port, which the Polk doesn't have, and it supports DTS, which the Polk doesn't do. The Samsung also feels a bit more durable and has a lot more features.

Yamaha YAS-209

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Samsung HW-T550 if you're looking for deep bass and want to listen to 5.1 lossless PCM content. However, if you're looking for style and a more neutral sound, the Samsung might be a better option. The HW-T550 also has sound enhancement features that can further enhance your general listening experience. The Yamaha, in contrast, has an ethernet port and supports Wi-Fi wireless playback, which the Samsung lacks.

Samsung HW-Q60R

The Samsung HW-Q60R is a slightly better soundbar setup than the Samsung HW-T550. The Q60R has a dedicated center channel and features Samsung's Acoustic Beam that acts like up-firing speakers. Both of these result in a more accurate dialogue reproduction and a more immersive surround experience. The HW-T550 also feels a bit cheaper-made than the 2019 HW-Q60R.

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