Samsung q6r soundbar: 5.1Ch Soundbar HW-Q60R | Samsung Caribbean

Samsung HW-Q60R Soundbar review | TechRadar

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Solid sonic performance but limited on features

(Image: © Samsung)

TechRadar Verdict

The Samsung HW-Q60R delivers a strong sonic performance with TV, movies and gaming, but the lack of Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and even Wi-Fi significantly reduces the features it has on offer. It’s a solid entry from Samsung, but there are better options further up the company’s range.

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Cons
  • No Atmos/DTS:X

  • No built-in Wi-Fi

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The Samsung HW-Q60R is a soundbar and subwoofer combination with a 5.1-channel layout and Harman Kardon tuning. Which all sounds great… however it doesn’t support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio, or even include built-in Wi-Fi, which might work against it at this price point. 

Samsung HW-Q60R price

The Samsung HW-Q60R is clearly designed as a lower-priced alternative to the HW-Q70R, but in order to reduce the costs the company has jettisoned too many features. At $499 (£599) it’s still an expensive option compared to much of the competition, and the lack of built-in Wi-Fi puts it at a disadvantage. 

  • Samsung HW-Q60R Soundbar at Amazon for $395.98

For comparison, the higher-end Samsung HW-Q70R Soundbar sells for $699 (£799, AU$1,099) while the ultra high-end Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar with Dolby Atmos sells for a whopping $1,499 (£1,299 around AU$2,200).

The Samsung HW-Q60R looks identical to the more expensive HW-Q70R with a sleek design and attractive styling. It has the same low profile and solid build quality with metal grilles at the top and front, and a brushed-metal finish to the edges and sides. The soundbar comes in black, and at a width of 1100mm it will complement most large-panel TVs. The discreet design shouldn’t block the screen, but there’s also the option of wall-mounting using provided brackets, screws, and a paper template.

On the right hand side there’s a simple LED display showing basic information on the volume, inputs and sound modes. There are also some equally basic controls for power, input selection and volume on the far right end plate – just in case you misplace the remote.

The zapper itself is the same one Samsung includes with all its soundbars, and it’s an effective controller. The design is ergonomic and includes all the necessary buttons intuitively laid out to make setting up and using the HW-Q60R as easy as possible.

The connections are fairly basic, with an HDMI input, an HDMI output, and an optical digital audio input. There’s also a USB port for firmware updates, and Bluetooth for a wireless connection. However there’s no built-in Wi-Fi, which is unusual at this price.

The Q60R comes with a wireless active subwoofer that packs quite a punch. It measures 205 x 353 x 303mm (WxHxD), weighs in at 6.2kg, has an 6.5-inch side-firing driver, and should pair automatically. You can also tweak the bass levels using the remote if necessary.

Design TL;DR: The attractive styling and discreet design will look good in front of most TVs. Only a lack of built-in Wi-Fi disappoints. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

Features

The Samsung HW-Q60R uses a 5.1-channel speaker configuration, with a claimed frequency response of 42Hz to 20kHz and a total claimed power of 360W (both of these figures include the subwoofer). The overall sound quality has been tuned by Harman Kardon in conjunction with Samsung’s Audio Lab in California, and the sub has been designed to integrate seamlessly.

There are three forward-firing speakers, which means the soundbar has a dedicated centre channel for dialogue. The left and right forward-firing speakers are composed of a midrange driver and a tweeter, while the centre speaker and two side-firing speakers use midrange drivers. There are no surrounds, but you can buy wireless rear speakers (SWA-8500S) separately.

While the connectivity is fairly basic, the good news is that the HDMI ports can handle 4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP 2.2, and high dynamic range (specifically HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision). 

 Samsung’s decision to not include Wi-Fi is unfortunate, and severely curtails the HW-Q60R’s capabilities: You’re forced to use Bluetooth to stream music, and there’s no support for the SmartThings App, nor does the soundbar work with Alexa. There’s also no Bixby, Google Assistant, AirPlay, Chromecast or Spotify Connect.

In terms of audio formats, the Samsung can decode Dolby and DTS, but unlike the HW-Q70R there’s no support for object-based immersive audio like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The lack of Wi-Fi means there’s also no support for high-resolution audio, with the Q60R restricted to AAC, MP3, WAV and OGG.

Features TL;DR: The adaptive sound and gaming technologies are useful, but the lack of built-in Wi-Fi limits the features and there’s no support for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

(Image credit: Samsung)

Performance

The soundbar does at least include four sound modes: Standard, Surround, Game Pro, and Adaptive Sound. The latter analyses the incoming audio and adapts the acoustics to give you the best sound performance on a scene-by-scene basis using all the available channels.

The Standard mode leaves the audio as it was encoded; the Surround mode is adds a greater sense of envelopment to movies and TV dramas; while the Game Pro mode is designed to make you feel like you’re in the world of the game.

Overall, the Samsung HW-Q60R is functional rather than flashy, but delivers a solid acoustic performance with TV shows, movies, music and gaming. The three front-firing speakers combine effectively with the side-firing drivers to create a wide soundstage, while the subwoofer is effectively integrated and does all the heavy lifting at the low-end.

The result is a soundbar that can handle most types of audio with ease. The lack of high-resolution audio support is a shame, but the HW-Q60R delivers good stereo separation and some excellent imaging. The woofers and tweeters used in the speakers ensure that the mid-range and higher frequencies are well represented, and the sub gives the bass and drums plenty of impact.

Listening to Shakespeare’s Sister’s new EP Ride Again, all the instruments have precise localisation, and the sub creates a solid foundation that gives the drums a deeper edge. The combination of Siobhan’s deeper vocals and Marcella’s falsetto is reproduced with clarity, while the uptempo numbers have plenty of driving rhythm.

The performance with TV shows is equally as impressive, especially where the soundtrack uses a stereo or three-channel mix. News, documentaries and game shows all sound excellent, and the Rugby World Cup certainly benefits, thanks to the soundbar’s ability to create a wide front soundstage that keeps the commentary clear, while enveloping you in the crowd. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

The adaptive sound mode often proves highly effective when used in conjunction with normal TV programming. It’s particularly good at drawing out the vocals to ensure they remain clear, and the dedicated centre speaker helps in this regard. The processing is also effective at spreading any music across the front, while picking out sound effects to keep the delivery focused.

Since all the speakers are at the front that’s where the audio is focused. As a result, a 5.1 soundtrack from a show like Mindhunter on Netflix lacks any surround presence. The sense of surround might be minimal, but this can be improved by engaging the Surround mode which up-mixes the audio to add greater width and depth to the soundstage.

The overall sonic signature is often highly effective, thanks to dialogue that remains anchored to the screen and effects that are placed with precision on either side. The subwoofer also plays its part, giving the bass on a show like The Boys (Amazon) greater impact. It doesn’t dive as deep as the HW-Q70R, but it’s certainly good enough for most living rooms.

Performance TL;DR: A solid front soundstage and some decent bass ensure TV shows, movies, music and gaming all sound better, but the lack of immersive audio support is disappointing.  

They’re visually similar, but the Samsung HW-Q70R (pictured here) has more features than the Samsung HW-Q60R. (Image credit: Samsung)

Other soundbars worth considering…

The obvious choice is the Samsung HW-Q70R Soundbar, and although it’s more expensive at $699/£799, it delivers a powerful Atmos and DTS:X performance thanks to upward-firing drivers and a bigger subwoofer. The connections are the same, but there’s also built-in Wi-Fi which means support for the SmartThings app, high-resolution audio, and Amazon Alexa.

For UK readers, the Panasonic SC-HTB900 is also a good alternative at a similar price. This 3.1-channel soundbar can decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, using psychoacoustic processing, and has been tuned by Technics. There’s a decent set of features including two HDMI inputs, high-resolution audio support, Bluetooth, Chromecast and the ability to work with Google Assistant.

Final verdict

The Samsung HW-Q60R is a solid entry in the company’s 2019 range of cinematic soundbars. It’s eye-catching and well-made, with a decent subwoofer that’s effectively integrated with the other speakers. Thanks to Harman Kardon’s involvement it performs well with music, and the various sound modes make watching TV shows and movies more fun, and gaming more seamless.

However the lack of support for object-based immersive audio like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X is disappointing at this price. The absence of built-in Wi-Fi is also a shame and limits the playback of high resolution audio, as well as other features. 

Unfortunately Samsung has cut one too many corners trying to reach a lower price point, ultimately limiting this soundbar’s appeal.

  • Don’t miss our roundup of the best soundbars in 2020

Samsung HW-Q60R Soundbar: Price Comparison

$645.98

$395.98

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Samsung/Harman Kardon HW-Q60R Powered 5.1-channel sound bar with wireless subwoofer and 4K video pass-through at Crutchfield

Features
Connections
Controls

Features

Harman/Kardon Sound: The HW-Q60R combines Samsung’s home entertainment expertise with Harman/Kardon’s audio technical expertise to deliver virtual surround sound from a two-speaker system, featuring an activate soundbar speaker and wireless powered subwoofer. The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar speaker system delivers on Harman/Kardon’s promise of a powerful and rich emotional audio experience.

Active Soundbar Speaker: The soundbar is a self-powered, 5-channel speaker with dedicated left, right, center, and surround channels that can provide virtual surround sound. The soundbar consists of eight total drivers inside its acoustic suspension (sealed) enclosure. The soundbar is powered by a built-in 200 watt amplifier (30W x 6ch + 10W x 2ch). The soundbar features Samsung’s new Acoustic Beam Technology, as well as dedicated center & surround channels for more enveloping surround sound.

  • Acoustic Beam Technology: Experience panoramic sound with Samsung’s innovative Acoustic Beam technology. Samsung’s Acoustic Beam technology mixes and delivers the sound via a set of precisely placed openings at the top of the soundbar, so sound appears to come from where the action is happening on screen. The sound will travel in sync with the motion on the screen, making you feel part of the action.
  • Dedicated Center & Surround Channels: The soundbar’s dedicated center channel section keeps dialog crystal clear, so you can hear every word during a movie soundtrack; while the dedicated surround channels provide more distinct surround effects.

Wireless Powered Sub: The wireless powered sub receives its low-frequency audio signal wirelessly from the soundbar via 2.4GHz transmission. There are no cords to connect, except the AC power cord. The wireless powered sub features a side-firing 6.5″ woofer inside a bass-reflex cabinet with a rear-firing port. The woofer is powered by a built-in 160 watt amplifier.

Dolby Digital & DTS Decoding: The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar system employs decoders compatible with Dolby Digital (up to 5.1ch) & DTS (up to 5.1ch), as well as four Sound Modes.

  • Surround Sound Expansion: The Surround Sound Expansion mode delivers a more realistic and immersive audio experience by adding depth and spaciousness to the movie soundtrack.
    From nearly any corner of the room, Surround Sound Expansion blankets the listening area both sideways and up to screen level for a more immersive surround effect. 
  • Adaptive Sound Mode:
    The Adaptive Sound Mode automatically analyzes the content and optimizes the sound setting for the best experience. The soundbar will analyze the frequency and sound signals to automatically deliver optimized sound scene-by-scene. Even when reducing the volume, background sound is reduced and voices are kept clear.
  • Game Pro Mode.
    In Game Pro Mode, the soundbar detects when you’re gaming and automatically optimizes the sound in real time. Game Pro Mode boosts game sound effects and delivers a highly directional sound as if gamers are wearing a headset
  • Standard Mode: Select Standard mode if you simply want to enjoy 2ch stereo playback.

Audio Settings: The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar system provides various audio adjustments to customize your listening experience.

  • AV Sync: AV Sync can be used to help sync video to audio when connected to a TV. Video may look slower than the audio if it is connected to a digital TV. If this occurs, you can adjust the audio delay time to match the video. You can adjust the AV Sync from 0 to 300ms.
  • Equalizer: You can independently adjust the system’s Bass & Treble (-6 to +6), or you can go a step further and adjust the system’s 7-band EQ (150, 300, 600, 1.2k, 2.5k, 5.0k, 10.0k Hz) from -6 to +6.
  • Subwoofer Level: You can independently adjust the volume of the wireless powered subwoofer from -6 to +6, using the system’s remote control.
  • DRC (Dynamic Range Control): A Dolby Digital soundtrack’s dynamic range is compressed making it easier to hear at lower volume levels.
  • Turn-On Volume: To protect your hearing, the Volume Restriction function restricts the volume to 20 if you turn on the soundbar system when the volume is set higher than 20.

Mounting Options: The slim, compact Samsung HW-Q60R’s soundbar can be mounted on the wall with the included wall-mount brackets (wall screws not supplied) or simply placed on a table-top, while the wireless powered subwoofer can be positioned anywhere in the room (up to 32.8′ away from soundbar) to achieve maximum audio performance. The included feet can be used to raise the soundbar, so it can be installed in front of your TV and above the legs of the TV’s pedestal stand.

Optional Wireless Surround Kit: The optional SWA-8500S Wireless Surround Kit (305SWA85KS, sold separately) lets you add rear speakers to the HW-Q60R soundbar system without all the wires. Together with the HW-Q60R
, you can create a 7.1 channel system for a true surround sound experience. The SWA-8500S Wireless Surround Kit consists of a wireless receiver module and two rear speakers. The wireless receiver module receives a wireless audio signal from the HW-Q60R soundbar, so you don’t have to run speaker wire from the soundbar to the rear speakers. The wireless receiver module does have to connect to an AC wall outlet via its power cord and to the rear speakers via two speaker cables.

Connections

HDMI 2.0: The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar is fitted with one HDMI 2.0 input and one HDMI 2.0 output (ARC compatible). The HDMI input allows you to connect your Ultra- HD Blu-ray player or cable/satellite box directly to the soundbar and then from its HDMI ARC output to your flat-panel TV. The HDMI 2.0 input and output support 4K Pass-Through, HDR, 3D video, ARC, and multichannel audio.

  • 4K Passthrough + HDCP 2.2 Compliant: The soundbar’s HDMI 2.0 input and output can pass 4K ultra-HD video; as well as 1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 480p video. The soundbar’s HDMI input and output also support HDCP 2.2, which fully complies with the latest copyright protection standard for 4K video transmission.
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video: HDR delivers a much higher level of contrast between light and dark to produce an image that is more realistic and closer to what the content creator imagined. This increased contrast reveals the subtle nuances of the image, from detailed blacks and shadows to the brightest whites and colors, plus greater depth. * The system supports HDR10 only; it is not compatible with HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats.
  • 3D Ready: The HW-Q60R can pass-through 3D video (up to 1080p) from 3D-ready Blu-ray players to 3D-ready TVs, via HDMI. You will also need compatible 3D-ready glasses and 3D-video content.
  • Dolby Digital & DTS (up to 5.1ch): The soundbar system’s HDMI 2.0 input and output offer Dolby Digital (5.1ch), DTS (5. 1ch), and 2ch PCM decoding.
  • ARC (Audio Return Channel): The unit’s HDMI output also supports the ARC function. This allows you to connect your Blu-ray player and satellite/cable box directly to the system’s HDMI inputs and connect the system’s HDMI output to your television for audio from the wireless audio soundbar system or your TV. Your TV must also be ARC compatible.

Note: Because with some televisions, the ARC-enabled HDMI input will only pass 2ch PCM from devices connected to the TV via HDMI or analog, we recommend that you connect your Blu-ray/DVD player, Satellite/Cable box, or Gaming console to the soundbar directly; and then connect the soundbar’s ARC-enabled HDMI output to your TV’s ARC-enabled HDMI input. This setup will give you with the best overall sound performance

Digital & Analog Audio Inputs: In addition to HDMI connectivity, the Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar system features both digital (optical) and analog (3. 5mm) audio inputs.

  • Optical Digital Input: The Samsung HW-Q60R’s soundbar is equipped with an optical (toslink) digital input to connect your television, Blu-ray/DVD player, or satellite/cable box. The optical digital input supports Dolby Digital (5.1ch), DTS (5.1ch), and 2Ch PCM. The optical digital output of some flat-panel TVs only send a Dolby Digital audio signal when receiving Dolby Digital surround sound from the TV’s built-in tuner, network connection, or connected USB device; and will output only 2ch PCM from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, or RCA (like your Blue-ray/DVD player or satellite/cable box).
  • Aux Input: The Samsung HW-Q60R ‘s soundbar also features a stereo audio minijack (3.5mm) input to connect your analog television or other analog audio component.

Note: To get the best audio performance out of the Samsung HW-Q60R, use the system’s HDMI input and optical digital input to connect your Blu-ray player and satellite/cable box. Then connect the system’s HDMI output to your TV’s HDMI ARC input. By connecting your Blu-ray player and satellite/cable box directly to the soundbar system, you’ll gain Dolby Digital/DTS decoding from these two sources.

Built-in Bluetooth: The Samsung HW-Q60R features built-in Bluetooth for wireless connection between the soundbar speaker system and your Bluetooth-enabled mobile device for wireless music streaming, as well as a wireless connection between the soundbar speaker and Bluetooth A2DP enabled TVs. The HW-Q60R’s Bluetooth function has a wireless range of approximately 32.8′.

  • Bluetooth Audio Streaming: You can wirelessly stream stored music and music apps from your Bluetooth-enabled device; like your smartphone, tablet, computer, or laptop to the Samsung HW-Q60R and enjoy music with high quality stereo sound, all without wires. The HW-Q60R’s remote can be used to control Play/Pause and Skip functions (advanced music navigation is still handled from your Bluetooth source device. The HW-Q60R does not display song/artist information (song/artist info is still viewed on your Bluetooth source device). You can only pair and connect one mobile device at a time.
  • Wireless TV Connection: You can simplify the installation of the HW-Q60R by eliminating the need for a wired connection between a Bluetooth-enabled TV and the soundbar. Simply plug the soundbar and the subwoofer into AC power and follow the simple pairing instructions to wirelessly connect the soundbar to a Bluetooth A2DP enabled TV. When a TV is connected using Bluetooth, audio is transmitted in stereo (not Dolby Digital or DTS). Only one TV can be paired and connected at a time.

Notes:

  • This system does not support Bluetooth hands-free communication for phone calls.
  • Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the Samsung HW-Q60R.

microUSB Port: You can connect and play music files from external USB mass storage class devices (such as a USB thumbdrive) using the soundbar’s rear-panel microUSB port and a microUSB-to-USB adapter (sold separately). The HW-Q60R supports playback of a variety of music files loaded onto a compatible USB device formatted in FAT16/32. You can control basic playback functions; such as Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, and Repeat. The system will also charge (5V/0.5A) your connected USB device. Compatible music files include –

  • MP3: 80-320kbps; 16-48kHz
  • WMA: 56-128kbps; 16-48kHz
  • AAC: 48-320kpbs; 16-96kHz
  • WAV: up to 3000kbps; 16-48kHz
  • OGG: 50-500kbps;16-48kHz

Note: The microUSB port does not support USB hubs, card-readers, computers, Apple iOS devices, or Android devices.

Power Requirements: The active soundbar speaker and the wireless powered subwoofer will both have to be plugged into an AC power outlet or surge protector (sold separately). The active soundbar includes an AC power adapter with an attached 58″ DC cord and detachable 5′ AC power cord. The wireless powered sub includes a detachable 5′ AC power cord.

Firmware Updates (via microUSB): Samsung may offer updates for the soundbar’s system firmware in the future. If an update is offered, you can download the firmware update from Samsung’s Support website onto a USB thumbdrive inserted in your computer. Once the firmware is downloaded on your USB thumbdrive, plug the USB device into the soundbar’s microUSB port using adapter cable (sold separately) for update.

Controls

Remote Control w/ Anynet+: The included IR remote control provides wireless operation of the Samsung HW-Q60R system. Anynet+ is a convenient feature that offers linked operation with other Samsung components (up to 12) that have the Anynet+ feature, and lets you control those products with one Samsung remote control. To operate this function, you must connect Samsung HW-Q60R wireless audio soundbar system to an Anynet+ Samsung TV using an HDMI cable.

Note: There are also side-panel controls (including Power, Source, and Volume) on the soundbar speaker.

TV Remote Control: When the HW-R500 system is connected to a Samsung Smart TV (released in 2017 or later), the soundbar can be controlled using the TV’s remote control. This function also allows you to use the TV menu to adjust the soundfield and various settings, as well as the volume and mute. You can also program Sony, LG, Vizio, Sharp, Panasonic, and Toshiba TV remotes to control Power/On Off, Volume Up/Down, and Mute functions of the HW-Q60R soundbar system.

Bluetooth Control: The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar system offers an Android compatible Bluetooth remote app and incorporates a Bluetooth Power On feature.

  • Bluetooth Remote App (for Android): Download Samsung’s Audio Remote app onto your Android (OS 3. 0+) smartphone or tablet to control the HW-Q60R soundbar system wirelessly from your mobile device over Bluetooth. This convenient app lets you control all the soundbar’s basic functions such as power, volume, and the media controls, plus lets you control customizable functions such as the surround modes & EQ.
    *The Samsung Audio Remote App is not supported by Apple iOS devices.
  • Bluetooth Power On: If a previously paired Bluetooth device (including a Samsung SoundConnect compatible TV) tries to pair with the soundbar when the Bluetooth Power On function is activated and the soundbar is turned off, the soundbar turns on automatically.

Auto Power On/Off: The Samsung HW-Q60R soundbar system offers Auto Power On/Off functionality.

  • Power Link (Auto On): The wireless audio soundbar system is automatically turned on when you turn on your TV or any device connected to the wireless audio soundbar system with an optical cable.