Review: Samsung HWK550 3.1 Channel Soundbar with Subwoofer

Guest blog by David.

I recently took delivery of the latest soundbar from Samsung and immediately noticed the declaration on the side of the unusually shaped box: 3.1 Channel! Attention grabbed, I continued to read that this has a built-in centre speaker, (most soundbars are only 2.1 channel), wireless subwoofer and TV Sound Connect as expected.

Curiosity piqued, I was keen to check out what was inside. I started to unpack the subwoofer first; it looked great with a high gloss finish. Measuring in at 452mm wide, 330mm high and 154mm depth in size means that it can easily be located behind the TV or in a corner of the room. As it is wireless to the soundbar it only needs to be plugged into the mains socket.

The soundbar itself has a black metal mesh effect and is 1010mm wide, 54mm high and 87mm in depth. The bar was just the right size to fit on the top of my cabinet and the right height not to cover up my Samsung TV remote sensor. Opening the accessory pack I retrieved the 2 x mains leads (1 for bar and 1 for sub ), remote control and button cell battery (tip: use a 1p coin to open the battery cover on the remote, to save nails ) as well as 2 x wall brackets supplied, just what you need for wall mounting.

hwk550-2The sound bar is very versatile to connect to any television as it has four possibilities. Connect via an optical cable, HDMI if your TV supports ARC (audio return channel), 3.5mm audio in (headphone socket or analogue phono output) and finally TV Sound Connect which is what I will be using. This is a wireless method which supports latest Samsung TV’s and then your TV remote volume controls your sound; no faffing around trying to find ALL your remotes as you’ll only have one remote in your hand!

Everything’s unboxed so let’s set this up now to see how it sounds. After plugging both units into the mains supply I make sure my soundbar is going into my surge protection unit with my Blu-ray, Sky box, TV and game console.

I had to pair the subwoofer up to the bar, this is done simply by pressing a small button “ID SET” on the back of the subwoofer. You then see a blue led flashes and the soundbar notifies after a few seconds when paired. As I am connecting to a latest Samsung panel via TV Sound Connect, I use the source button on the remote to select TV input; after a few seconds on the TV screen a message appears and I select yes by pressing OK / Enter button.

hwk550-3The unit is now set up, now to put the 6 x 30 watt speakers to its test along with the 160 watt subwoofer to create a brilliant 340 watts of power in my living room.

I started with my favourite clip from Jurassic World, hoping to be suitably scared of the rumble sound of the subwoofer as the dinosaurs rushed towards me. The quality of the sound had me gripped to my seat from the off. On the remote I selected the Sound Mode, Movie option. There are different settings for different genres: Standard, Clear Voice, Music, Movie, Sports and Night Mode. I pressed the Surround button which expands the sound sideways and upwards to give a more realistic sound coming directly from the screen.

Onto the Music mode; I played “Save the Best to Last” by Vanessa Williams (flashback to 1991) to listen to the crispness and clarity of her voice. Again, I was really impressed with the quality of sound being delivered.

Next, I decided to set up the Bluetooth facility; again an easy operation. I started by pressing the source button “select BT” on input and after a few seconds the Samsung soundbar appeared on my phone and I could play all my music I have stored on my phone. I can assure you that “History” by One Direction at full blast has great sound quality… if you like that kind of thing (it was my 8 year old daughter’s choice).

hwk550-youtubeIn summary, if you are not happy with the sound from your TV speakers, this is a very versatile piece of kit which will connect to any set with its array of connections. This great-looking soundbar will add more depth to your viewing pleasure and hugely improve the audio experience whilst you’re watching TV programmes, watching sports or settling down to your favourite film. You can even add a pair of compatible Samsung wireless speakers to the rear of your room to turn the already great sound quality into cinematic audio (just beware of the dinosaurs!)

Find out about buying or renting a Samsung HWK550 soundbar online, or phone or call into your local store to ask about a demo.