Samsung HW-K950 Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 Soundbar Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 29 Old 12-05-2016, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Samsung HW-K950 Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 Soundbar Review

When Dolby Atmos for the home was first introduced, the cost of entry for a 5.1.4 system was high. A nine-channel AVR cost at least $1500, and adding Atmos-enabled speakers was a significant four-figure expense on top of that...

Read the complete review by clicking here: https://www.avsforum.com/samsung-hw-k...undbar-review/

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post #2 of 29 Old 12-05-2016, 04:53 PM
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Comparison

How does this compare to the Yamaha YSP5600?
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-05-2016, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jamie Goldsmith View Post
How does this compare to the Yamaha YSP5600?
That's the other great soundbar I've heard. The Yamaha does 7.1.2 instead of 5.1.4, and because it relies on reflections it's more limited in terms of rooms it will work in.

The HW-K950 needs a flat ceiling, the Yamaha needs flat, reflective walls as well as a flat ceiling.

I can say I'm a fan of Yamaha's approach, as well as Samsung's, And, the YSP-5600 has also "fooled" me into thinking I was hearing speakers. But, the Yamaha costs more and does not come with a sub, although it supports adding a sub.

Ultimately, Samsung's system costs less and offers better Atmos overhead sound thanks to its use of four channels, and discrete surround speakers are still better at creating a soundfield than Yamaha's sound projection. But, the Yamaha does an amazing job for a single unit and adds DTS:X support to the mix.

Oh, and think twice about being able to just plop that Yamaha in front of a TV. In most cases it's too tall for that, you'll see the marketing pics all show it wall mounted.

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Last edited by imagic; 12-05-2016 at 05:09 PM.
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 04:43 AM
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Crazy how far we have come. This seems like a perfect setup for someone that also does not want the hassle/set up of an AVR based system. Something "clean" and will probably pass the WAF.
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post #5 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 07:11 AM
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I have incorporated (cough cough) Bose sound bars. Sure it doesn't take place of the Klipsch but it surely fills a huge void that previously existed.

I have heard the Samsung system and was very impressed. My first thought was "Finally".

As one poster mentioned we have come a long way.
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post #6 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 07:13 AM
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Can you switch out the subwoofer for another that you already own?
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeez View Post
Can you switch out the subwoofer for another that you already own?
That's not possible, the connection is strictly wireless.
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 07:37 AM
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Any chance of pressing Samsung for a fix for the surround speaker hiss most owners seem to be plagued with? Or maybe it just can't be fixed? I know there are some who don't seem to have this problem or don't notice it, but they are in the minority.

Benq HT3550/LG OLED65B6P /Panny UB820 4k Bluray/Apple TV 4k
Nvidia Shield/HDFury AVRkey/Samsung HW-K950 Soundbar
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post #9 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeez View Post
Can you switch out the subwoofer for another that you already own?
I just chatted Samsung. The Sub is bluetooth and cannot be be replaced. As they put it, similar to Bose, is a limitation to the system.
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post #10 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hobbs47 View Post
Any chance of pressing Samsung for a fix for the surround speaker hiss most owners seem to be plagued with? Or maybe it just can't be fixed? I know there are some who don't seem to have this problem or don't notice it, but they are in the minority.
I have read up on the issue in the other thread. I can try to summarize it in a memo to Samsung.
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post #11 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
That's not possible, the connection is strictly wireless.
THank you for the response.
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post #12 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinsrme View Post
I just chatted Samsung. The Sub is bluetooth and cannot be be replaced. As they put it, similar to Bose, is a limitation to the system.
...other limitations could be the 'hissing' sound so many report of from the rear wireless speakers and the LACK OF DTS-X support.
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post #13 of 29 Old 12-06-2016, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I have read up on the issue in the other thread. I can try to summarize it in a memo to Samsung.
that would be helpful beyond belief. i share the same issue.

and of course a firmware fix to at least enable dts hd (not even DTS X) but that is probably too much to ask.
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post #14 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 01:03 AM
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Another glowing review for this and unless I missed it also another that fails to mention this soundbar does not support DTS HD which is what around 99% of blurays use for audio.
How can this be missed!
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post #15 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by EL Duke View Post
Another glowing review for this and unless I missed it also another that fails to mention this soundbar does not support DTS HD which is what around 99% of blurays use for audio.
How can this be missed!
A good point, I am on a trip but when I can I will edit the review to note this. It simply did not come up for me, since it's not really that big an issue unless you own a BD player that can't convert bitstream to PCM.

Last edited by imagic; 12-07-2016 at 12:28 PM.
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post #16 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 02:00 AM
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Kudos to you for editing it, I think its def a issue that potential buyers should be made aware of. For samsung to skimp out on the licence for dts hd on what they call a 'premium product' is abit of a joke.
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post #17 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 03:40 AM
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imagic is correct for DTS-HD, it is not a big deal if your player can do PCM. It is a lossless format and it gets converted to PCM, it doesn't matter if the player converts it or the sound bar converts it. DTS X is a different story since the object based data can't be converted.
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post #18 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 10:10 AM
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How many HDMI inputs does it have?

7.1.4 Home Theatre
LG 65" C8 OLED
Samsung HW-N950 7.1.4 Atmos/DTS-X System
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post #19 of 29 Old 12-07-2016, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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How many HDMI inputs does it have?
Two
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post #20 of 29 Old 12-11-2016, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
When Dolby Atmos for the home was first introduced, the cost of entry for a 5.1.4 system was high. A nine-channel AVR cost at least $1500, and adding Atmos-enabled speakers was a significant four-figure expense on top of that...

Read the complete review by clicking here: https://www.avsforum.com/samsung-hw-k...undbar-review/
mark,

one other major issue i'm hoping you can bring to samsungs attention:

the k950 soundbar will not allow proper passthrough of hdr from the ps4 pro.

if i connect the ps4 pro directly to my lg oled c6, the ps4 pro under video settings shows that 4k full rgb is an option.

when connected through the samsung soundbar, under video settings, it automatically shows the full rgb 4k option as being unsupported/not an option. only 4k at the YUV420 option is possible when going through the soundbar.

tv and soundbar are updated to latest firmware as of 12/10. all cables are 2.0a standard.

an issue like this woukd have to be fixable vua firmware, right? please point this out to samsung - it is a significant issue for any ps4 pro owners!

Last edited by smail.nathan; 12-11-2016 at 08:22 PM.
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post #21 of 29 Old 12-11-2016, 07:35 PM
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I have a 70" KU6300 and was thinking I would plug the PS4 Pro into the sound bar but just realized that HDR wouldn't work when I started "The Last of Us" so have to plug it back into the TV.

Also, I have everything connected correctly and played YouTube Atmos demos from both the smart TV and the PS4 but I have yet to get the little blue light to come on.
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post #22 of 29 Old 12-12-2016, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kpiskin View Post
I have a 70" KU6300 and was thinking I would plug the PS4 Pro into the sound bar but just realized that HDR wouldn't work when I started "The Last of Us" so have to plug it back into the TV.

Also, I have everything connected correctly and played YouTube Atmos demos from both the smart TV and the PS4 but I have yet to get the little blue light to come on.
As with numerous TVs, is likely you have to set the PS4 Pro to output 4:2:0 color to get it working with the soundbar. If you have the PS4 Pro's output set to "Auto" it's likely that it's outputting 4:2:2 color. And as for Atmos, check to make sure the PS4 is outputting bitstream audio not PCM.

Atmos over ARC has to be supported by the TV, right now few TVs offer that.

Last edited by imagic; 12-12-2016 at 03:37 AM.
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post #23 of 29 Old 12-12-2016, 03:16 AM
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Yes, I had already set the color to support HDR when I had the PS4 plugged in to the TV before I bought the soundbar. So based on your comment it sounds like I can ether have HDR or have Atmos but not both. Can any HDMI cable that handles 4K also pass Atmos?
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post #24 of 29 Old 12-12-2016, 03:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kpiskin View Post
Yes, I had already set the color to support HDR when I had the PS4 plugged in to the TV before I bought the soundbar. So based on your comment it sounds like I can ether have HDR or have Atmos but not both. Can any HDMI cable that handles 4K also pass Atmos?
Yes, if a TV supports Atmos over ARC, a cable rated for UHD/4K use will pass it. But basically you need to own a 2016 Vizio to do that right now because no other brand offers that function.

By the way, I had to amend my note... Setting the PS4 Pro to support HDR in "auto" apparently defaults to 4:2:2 output, which is too much bandwidth for the HDMI chain to handle. There are specific, somewhat kludgy instructions for setting 4:2:0 color output, I don't have a PS4 but it can be Googled. Anyhow, it's a known issue that's not specific to the soundbar, people are also having this issue with their TVs (depending on brand or model).

Here's a quote from a Forbes article that describes it properly: "Within my own set up I’ve discovered that if I connect my PS4 Pro directly to my Samsung KS9500 (KS9800 US) TV I get HDR RGB support, whereas if I loop my PS4 Pro through a Samsung K950 sound bar I can only get HDR YUV420 support. Even though the HDMI loopthrough on the K950 has appeared to be completely neutral with other source kit." - read more at Forbes

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Last edited by imagic; 12-12-2016 at 03:41 AM.
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post #25 of 29 Old 12-12-2016, 05:56 AM
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Atmos over ARC is only available for the DD+, a compressed format. ARC is not currently capable of handling the lossless Dolby True HD Atmos format or DTS:X format. If using Blu-ray the Atmos disc has to have DD+ format encoded on it as well as Dolby True HD, some do and some don't. So you might not get Atmos on Blu-ray with ARC. Currently they are separate tracks on the disc. I don't know of any players or other device that converts the True HD Atmos signal to DD+. The streaming services that have Atmos tend to use DD+.
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post #26 of 29 Old 12-12-2016, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Yes, if a TV supports Atmos over ARC, a cable rated for UHD/4K use will pass it. But basically you need to own a 2016 Vizio to do that right now because no other brand offers that function.

By the way, I had to amend my note... Setting the PS4 Pro to support HDR in "auto" apparently defaults to 4:2:2 output, which is too much bandwidth for the HDMI chain to handle. There are specific, somewhat kludgy instructions for setting 4:2:0 color output, I don't have a PS4 but it can be Googled. Anyhow, it's a known issue that's not specific to the soundbar, people are also having this issue with their TVs (depending on brand or model).

Here's a quote from a Forbes article that describes it properly: "Within my own set up I’ve discovered that if I connect my PS4 Pro directly to my Samsung KS9500 (KS9800 US) TV I get HDR RGB support, whereas if I loop my PS4 Pro through a Samsung K950 sound bar I can only get HDR YUV420 support. Even though the HDMI loopthrough on the K950 has appeared to be completely neutral with other source kit." - read more at Forbes
Thank you. I will reverify my settings. So 4.2.0 color and bitstream audio.
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post #27 of 29 Old 12-14-2016, 10:47 AM
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[QUOTE=imagic;48730249]

The HW-K950 needs a flat ceiling, the Yamaha needs flat, reflective walls as well as a flat ceiling.

I can say I'm a fan of Yamaha's approach, as well as Samsung's, And, the YSP-5600 has also "fooled" me into thinking I was hearing speakers. But, the Yamaha costs more and does not come with a sub, although it supports adding a sub.

Ultimately, Samsung's system costs less and offers better Atmos overhead sound thanks to its use of four channels, and discrete surround speakers are still better at creating a soundfield than Yamaha's sound projection. But, the Yamaha does an amazing job for a single unit and adds DTS:X support to the mix.


Also, don't forget the Yamaha also adds in full DTS decoding. It's a shame it doesn't include a sub.

Why couldn't Samsung include DTS decoding...why cheap out on that?
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post #28 of 29 Old 12-31-2016, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
imagic is correct for DTS-HD, it is not a big deal if your player can do PCM. It is a lossless format and it gets converted to PCM, it doesn't matter if the player converts it or the sound bar converts it. DTS X is a different story since the object based data can't be converted.


Wait, I've read from the other 950 thread that it won't accept anything more than 2 channel pcm. Is this incorrect?


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post #29 of 29 Old 12-22-2017, 06:17 PM
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I just bought the speaker after reading the review from here. Thank you so much. Maybe the price has gone down since this thread started. I bought the Samsung HW-K950 for $700 at colamco . Its a great price. There are coupon codes floating in the internet somewhere for them that will bring down the price even more. Thanks!
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