New Sam­sung Dolby At­mos Sound­bar Even Makes Su­per­man A Big­ger Hero Than Ever

SoundMag - - Review - Writ­ten by David Richards

Su­per­man has never sounded bet­ter and Like Mar­lon Brando in the orig­i­nal Su­per­man films, Rus­sell Crowe and that fab­u­lous deep voice played a key role in 2013’s Man of Steel as Su­per­man’s Kryp­to­nian fa­ther Jor-El.

This is not a re­view about a movie it’s a re­view about the all new Sam­sung Dolby At­mos HW-K950 sound­bar and at­tached wire­less speak­ers which sud­denly do what tech­nol­ogy Com­pa­nies have been pre­dict­ing for years, shifts the the­atre right into the liv­ing room in the most spec­tac­u­lar way.

The Man of Steel Movie that is now out on 4K

Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion Blu Ray, when played on an 80” Curved Sam­sung Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion TV con­nected to the new Sam­sung Dolby At­mos HW-K950 sound­bar de­liv­ers a whole new movie watch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, that’s as good as any Cin­ema.

You sud­denly re­alise that a new era in sound tech­nol­ogy has ar­rived and it is not go­ing to break the bank.

I fell in love with this sound­bar cud­dled up on a set­tee in a suite at a Syd­ney bou­tique Ho­tel, even my wife fell in love with this sound­bar claim­ing it “does make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence”.

If your sit­ting in a cin­ema the chances are that you would have seen the words Dolby At­mos sound splashed across the screen.

Dolby At­mos burst onto the scene a few years ago. Of­ten re­ferred to as “ob­ject-based sur­round sound,” At­mos (and its coun­ter­part DTS:X) rev­o­lu­tionised cin­e­matic sound with a va­ri­ety of tech­nolo­gies at play, in­clud­ing over­head speak­ers that spin sound ef­fects in a hemi­spheric pat­tern, en­gulf­ing lis­ten­ers in a globe of sound.

Now that tech­nol­ogy is avail­able from Sam­sung in a sound­bar that only costs $1,999.

For the tech­ni­cally minded out there the sys­tem has nine chan­nels (5.1.4), in­clud­ing the five stan­dard sur­round chan­nels, four “over­head” chan­nels via speak­ers de­signed to bounce sound off the ceil­ing, and a bass chan­nel.

The bar houses dual 2.5-inch midrange drivers and a sin­gle 1-inch tweeter for each of its three chan­nels, along with dual 2.5-inch height drivers for At­mos.

Each of the satel­lite speak­ers boasts a 2.5-inch speaker each for the height and sur­round chan­nels, and an eight-inch side-fir­ing driver sits in­side the sub cabi­net. The power plant of­fers a claimed 500 watts — it’s a whole lot of power, and you’ll feel it when you’ve got At­mos fir­ing on all cylin­ders as I did with the Man of Steel Movie.

In fact, I was half ex­pect­ing Ho­tel man­age­ment to come knock­ing on the door to tone down the noise.

Sam­sung’s HW-K950 is the lat­est, and the first to of­fer not only satel­lite speak­ers with in­te­grated At­mos drivers, but wire­less sur­rounds at that.

Along with At­mos, the sys­tem of­fers Dolby TRUEHD, and Dolby Dig­i­tal. How­ever, it de­codes DTS in stereo. The de­sign leaves all of your DTS-only discs to be han­dled by the bar’s sur­round sound DSP.

Other fea­tures in­clude mul­ti­room sup­port, al­low­ing the sys­tem to link up with any Sam­sung mul­ti­room speak­ers or sound bars, as well as con­trol via Sam­sung’s re­mote app.

The only pain in the back­side for me was the three re­mote con­trols, TV, Blu Ray Player and Dolby At­mos sound­bar. Per­son­ally I would have pre­ferred one re­mote which I most prob­a­bly could have got with a re­mote app via my Sam­sung smart­phone.

The jewel of Sam­sung’s au­dio of­fer­ing and the first to be fully de­vel­oped in-house at its new US au­dio lab, the K950 is a big gam­ble for Sam­sung, and po­ten­tially a ma­jor foothold in Sam­sung’s quest to dom­i­nate home au­dio.

Out of the box the Sam­sung Dolby At­mos is like a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing. In fact, it looks like any other “or­di­nary” sound­bar.

48” in length the bar is al­most ob­sti­nately or­di­nary, com­posed of four com­po­nents cut into plain black cubes, it has a low pro­file for a sound bar, and the unit is also thin enough to rest be­neath your TV, it’s an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of in­no­va­tion in com­pact de­sign.

When switched on and you load a Blu Ray 4K movie your world ex­plodes with sound you have never heard be­fore on a $1,999 home the­atre sound sys­tem.

For the best Dolby At­mos ex­pe­ri­ence, you’ll also need to set your Blu-ray player’s au­dio out­put to Bit­stream (rather than PCM). Dolby At­mos sig­nal is reg­is­tered by a blue LED at the bar’s right cor­ner and a flash of “Dolby At­mos” across the dis­play.

The sys­tem comes with six avail­able ef­fects, in­clud­ing choices like Clear Voice, Sports etc. We rec­om­mend stick­ing with the Stan­dard or Movie op­tions for best re­sults.

When it comes to Dolby At­mos, the HW-K950 of­fers noth­ing less than heart-pound­ing, pupil di­lat­ing thrills. Su­per­man be­comes a hero in more ways than one and ev­ery word that Rus­sell Crow ut­ters is crys­tal clear.

This baby while small and com­pact is a se­ri­ous kick arse sound­bar which will turn a top end Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion TV into a per­fect cin­ema ex­pe­ri­ence.

I took along a Dolby At­mos sam­ple disc that I got at CES and when you close your eyes and sim­ply lis­ten to the sound you ac­tu­ally think that you are in a rain for­est or sur­rounded by birds and wildlife.

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