An Ultimate Audio Experience in One Box
When it comes to home theater setup, most consumers must purchase a soundbar, subwoofer, and rear speakers individually. While some firms include a subwoofer with the soundbar, higher-end versions sometimes need a separate purchase. Samsung takes a different approach with the HW-Q990C soundbar ($1,900), providing all of the essential speakers at a premium price. With Dolby Atmos, various audio settings, and two HDMI connections, this sound bar offers clean 11.1.4-channel sound to convert your living room into an immersive audio safety. While the Q990C requires a hefty investment, it delivers a handy all-in-one solution for your home entertainment needs.
Design and Build Quality: The design is simple but stylish
As the Q990C is Samsung’s high-end soundbar in its current lineup, it’s also the biggest. It’s 48.5-inches wide, which is actually about three inches less than The Sony HT-A7000. In Samsung’s case, the Q990C houses 11 front-facing drivers (including some side-firing), four up-firing drivers and an internal subwoofer. The separate wireless sub is also substantial at 16 x 16 x 8 inches and weighing in at 26 pounds. Like the Q990B, the Q990C offers a useful front-side visual display with real words, not just LEDs.
That’s particularly handy if you’re trying to figure out if you’re getting Dolby Atmos or to see if the proper input is selected. The satellites and subwoofer look stylish as well, and you can easily see all the drivers in the satellite speakers under their perforated grilles.
The included remote looks even fancier, with a brushed metal top. But you shouldn’t need the remote much as your TV remote and the Samsung app account for most functions when connected via HDMI (but not if you’re connected over Wi-Fi).
Setup: A Seamless Installation Experience
The initial setup for the Q990C is one of the simplest I’ve ever done for a home entertainment package. When you switch on the soundbar and link it to the SmartThings app, the subwoofer and rear speakers are instantly added. I didn’t have to wait for anything to sync, and I didn’t have to connect everything separately. If you need to manually connect to the soundbar, there are buttons on the sub and rears, but I never had to use them. The entire process was quick and painless, allowing you to get to the music and movies quickly after unboxing.
Like many high-end soundbars, Samsung has provided two more HDMI ports in addition to the HDMI eARC connector for connecting your TV. Many less expensive, more compact versions only feature the eARC connection, thus you must rely on the ports on your TV, while more expensive models often provide extra choices for connecting directly to the soundbar. Samsung claims that the Q990C will support 4K/60 and HDR10+ passthrough, but not 4K/120 due to the lack of HDMI 2.1. That’s a significant absence for a $1,900 soundbar released in 2023.
Performance: The sound is balanced, clear, and incredibly immersive
The soundbar's movie performance is top-notch, especially when listening to Dolby Atmos content
The HW-Q990C is an incredible powerhouse of a sound system, capable of surrounding you in the type of mind-bending dome of sound that Dolby Atmos was designed for. Music and effects swirl about you with seamless smoothness and accuracy thanks to great control and an almost ridiculously large number of speaker drivers.
As a result, the music is both dynamic and engaging, as well as incredibly delicate in its immersion. at it comes to pure power, few soundbars can compete with the Q990C with its 650+ watts, but it’s perhaps even better at capturing the more granular moments, from a thunderstorm overhead to an echoey voice in a splashy route.
When functioning in combination with the main bar for Dolby Atmos “sound objects,” a mixture of upfiring, front-firing, and side-firing speaker drivers, plus the satellite speakers at the back, provides pinpoint quality. This means that even little effects, such as a buzzing bugs or a spinning aircraft situated miles above the action, sound very realistic. Each effect feels precisely positioned inside the soundstage, as if it sparks a natural impulse that fools you into thinking you’re there. In short, the Q990C is a cinematic magic.
Features: With a few exceptions, the bar provides decent features
With the HW-Q990C, you’ll receive about every feature you could want, including a variety of settings and smarts, as well as support for nearly every major audio format. This includes the larger ones like Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD, as well as its DTS counterparts like DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS:X, which is Dolby Atmos’ main 3D-audio competition.
Should you buy the Samsung HW-Q990C?
Yes, unless you can find a much better deal on an older Q990B. Apart from that strange Spotify Connect uniqueness, the Q990C increases the bass and optimizes the setup with the current software. Even if you couple it with a brand-new Samsung TV like the S90C, you won’t be missing out on anything with last year’s Q990B. In any scenario, you’ll receive a high-end Dolby Atmos soundbar with premium features and excellent audio quality for whatever you’re playing. If you don’t want to pay this much (or connect this many speakers), there are several fantastic Dolby Atmos options, such as the Sonos Arc or, for a lower price, the Bose Smart Soundbar 600.
The new flagship soundbar from Samsung is a sonic powerhouse. And, perhaps more crucially, it includes the subwoofer and back speakers you’ll need to get the most out of it right out of the box. For the price of a single soundbar from some of the company’s biggest competitors, you get the entire package, which is simple to set up and configure as required. So long as you have the space to fit the package, the sound quality is excellent, and the Atmos material is as sharp and immersive as ever. The lack of HDMI 2.1 reduces gaming performance, and it’s a blatant missing on a premium soundbar these days.