Samsung has a long history of providing top-quality audio products for a wide range of uses and living spaces. The company’s digital solutions have become integral parts of people’s lives as they have access to an ever-expanding array of content.
One of Samsung’s latest innovations is the HW-Q990B soundbar, the 11.1.4-channel soundbar, which offers rich, immersive sound that envelops the listener. Samsung’s audio products are the result of a focus on research and development, as well as adapting to consumer needs and preferences.
The HW-Q990B soundbar delivers an advanced 11.1.4-channel setup for an even more vivid surround sound experience in action-packed scenes, such as car chases and airplanes in flight. Using just four speakers – the main soundbar speaker, a subwoofer, and two rear speakers – the HW-Q990B produces a high-quality sound that would require double the power and inputs from other premium AV receivers to match.
In the past, only high-end home theater systems could provide immersive, 3D surround sound. However, with the release of the HW-Q990B soundbar and its 11.1.4-channel sound, users can now enjoy realistic audio with just a soundbar.
What does the 11.1.4 channel mean?
But what exactly do these channel numbers mean (Fully Explanation)? Channel numbers refer to the number of audio channels in a sound system. A two-channel system consists of a stereo with left and right speakers, while a three-channel system adds an additional center speaker for clearer audio output. A 3.1-channel system includes a subwoofer (the .1 channel) for low-frequency sounds, and a 5.1-channel system adds rear speakers for enhanced surround sound that extends behind the listener.
11.1.4 channel refers to a surround sound system that consists of 11 channels of audio, 1 subwoofer channel and 4 height/ceiling channels. The 11 channels are typically used to create a 360-degree soundstage, with the subwoofer channel handling low-frequency effects (such as explosions and bass lines in music) and the height/ceiling channels adding an additional layer of sound above the listener.
This type of surround sound setup is often used in home theaters or for immersive audio experiences in movies, video games, and other media. It can provide a more lifelike and immersive soundstage compared to traditional 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems.
In general, the more channels a sound system has, the more realistic and immersive the sound will be. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the speakers and the sound processing technology used are also important factors in the overall audio quality.
The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar consists of a soundbar main unit, a pair of wireless rear speakers, and a wireless subwoofer. The main soundbar has two upward-firing units, and the wireless rear speakers also have upward-firing units that output four overhead channel sound effects through ceiling reflection.
Supporting Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, a total of 11.1.4 channels are provided, which is the highest configuration currently available for a soundbar system. Although the channel configuration is the same as the previous HW-Q950A, the HW-Q990B has many upgrades in design, unit, sound, and details.
The metal mesh surface body of the current soundbar main unit maintains a very good body texture and is also easier to clean. The ceiling channel units and wireless subwoofers have been improved to enhance the overhead sound and low-frequency output, and the subwoofer has increased in size and weight has increased from 9.8kg to 11.7kg.
The small display screen of the soundbar has been moved from the top to the front for easier viewing of source, volume, sound effects, and other settings information, and the design has been improved in all aspects.
The Samsung HW-Q990B also continues to support the Q-Symphony function, which allows the soundbar and the built-in speakers of a compatible Samsung TV to output sound together, further enhancing the surrounding feeling and positioning effect.
The HW-Q990B also supports the Auto EQ function, which automatically optimizes the low-frequency output, and the SpaceFit Sound+ function, which adjusts the optimal sound output according to the usage environment.
In addition, the HW-Q990B has features such as a gaming mode, AVA (active noise canceling), and self-correcting sound effects, which can be easily connected to achieve the desired result.
The HW-Q990B has two HDMI inputs that support 4K and HDR10+ images. The HDMI output has the eARC function, which allows the TV to play streaming videos such as Netflix and Disney+ and directly return the TV’s 3D sound effects.
With built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the HW-Q990B supports functions such as AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect, and it is also convenient to listen to music with an iPhone or Android phone. The latest update has added a wireless Dolby Atmos transmission function, which allows the HW-Q990B to output Dolby Atmos sound through a Wi-Fi wireless connection with a compatible new generation Samsung TV, even without an HDMI connection.
The Samsung HW-Q990B 11.1.4 CH soundbar was tested with the Samsung Neo QLED 8K QN900B, an 8K TV, which was connected to the same Wi-Fi network. After the two devices were connected, a prompt to connect the soundbar would pop up on the TV, and after confirming the connection, the TV and soundbar could wirelessly transmit Dolby Atmos sound.
The sound settings of the soundbar can be controlled through the SmartThings App, which is more convenient and faster than using a remote control. The settings include voice enhancement, bass enhancement, night mode, Auto EQ, sound mode, and independent adjustment of each channel output, and can be quickly set through the graphical interface of the smartphone app.
In this review test, the Samsung HW-Q990B was first tested with the recently released “Doctor Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness”, which was connected wirelessly to transmit Dolby Atmos sound. The opening scene of the alien attack and the constantly reversing space is reproduced by the HW-Q990B with a sound field space that is quite realistic, especially since the sound’s position is very coherent and the positioning is clear.
The 11.1.4 channel output fills the entire approximate 200-foot listening space, and some rear, side, and upper sounds can be fully reproduced, and the sound density and energy sense are both quite sufficient. One upgrade is that the ceiling sound channel is more prominent, without the need for special EQ boosting, which already has several ideal effects, and all kinds of sound provide a clear positioning
The upgrade of the super low-frequency speakers also reflects the effect on the low-deep energy, where the bass is more solid and powerful, with a stronger sense of volume, combined with the usual good low-frequency elasticity and appropriate extension. Watching science fiction and action films is quite stimulating.
In terms of the sound output of Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar alone, the overall sound image tends to be more concise and clean, matched with QN900B using Q-Symphony output, the surround sound of the front field will be stronger.
Watching the opening of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with a loud voice, Spider-Man constantly jumps and escapes the scene, the coherence of the sound from the front to the top is stronger, and the voice reaches the effect of straight out of the screen position, which will indeed make people watch more immersive, but the image will be slightly stretched.
Later, I tried the effect of Auto EQ adjustment, and the sound image after automatic adjustment was quite good, and the voice and bass also provided a balance that was just right, which is considered a versatile setting that can adapt to different listening spaces and tastes, and it should be easy to adjust to a sound that suits you with manual fine-tuning.
Due to the fact that the voice of HW-Q990B itself is quite prominent, the voice enhancement function may sometimes be too loud when it is enabled, so voice and bass enhancement can be used as needed.
Listening to music on the Samsung HW-Q990B is an immersive and dynamic experience. The upgraded 11.1.4 sound system provides a rich and spacious soundstage, with clear and detailed separation between instruments and vocals. The low frequencies have a strong and punchy presence, and the high frequencies are bright and crisp, making for a well-balanced overall sound.
The Q-Symphony feature, which combines the output of the Soundbar with the TV’s speakers, adds an extra layer of surround sound immersion, making it feel like the music is all around you. The wireless Dolby Atmos feature allows for easy connection and adds a sense of height to the soundstage, making it feel like the music is coming from above as well as from the front and sides.
the upgrade of the 11.1.4 sound of the Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar has enhanced the already excellent sound field effect and surround sound, especially with the upgrades to the height channels and subwoofers, making the Dolby Atmos 3D sound more three-dimensional and the overall sound more exciting.
The design and functionality improvements make it the most outstanding Soundbar in terms of functionality and surround sound performance. Q-Symphony continues to provide impressive results, effectively enhancing the surround sound of the front sound field, especially the voice which is directly output from the screen, which is indeed very helpful in terms of immersion.
It is especially attractive to Samsung TV users who already support Q-Symphony. The addition of wireless Dolby Atmos also makes connections more convenient, especially for wall-mounted users, which is also a great bonus.