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Samsung Soundbar Bliss !Posted
The Samsung HW-MS650 Soundbar provides excellent sound and can definitely provide the sound you are looking for during your TV viewing pleasure. It is especially attractive to those who have limited space, yet need to fill the room with that missing element when you are watching movies. At its higher tier price point, it is definitely a tough pill to swallow for some. However, it still works as intended with a few caveats especially since sound perception differs drastically per individual. Physically, this thing is massive; luckily it fits perfectly in front of my TV with a bit of room to spare to center it. At roughly forty-two inches long and about thirteen pounds, the unit is solid and quite heavy for a soundbar. I would definitely avoid resting this on any external device such as a bluray player or a satellite receiver. The metal finish on top is actually really nice and smooth. It does seem like it would be prone to scratches so watch for that. On the back you will notice several connection capabilities including an optical port, an auxiliary jack, and lastly 2 HDMI ports (one in and one out supporting ARC). Once connected, you will notice that the cables are not straight back into the unit, but rather an up and under installation. It does a decent job of hiding the initial HDMI connection, but I was a bit worried about pressure on the port. Be careful and make sure you provide enough slack in your cable. Personally, I would have like an extra pair of HDMI ports that went straight back but I can see why they tucked it under the unit. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities are also integrated in the unit. I could not test the Wi-Fi component as my TV is a 2011 Samsung and only works for those released after 2014. As far as technical merits are concerned, the HW-MS650 is up there, including UHD and Full HD pass through. In addition, the manual does not mention this but I can confirm the unit will pass through 3D 1080p video. It worked flawlessly through HDMI. On the unit, several sound modes are integrated such as standard, movie, music, clear and sports. There is also a smart mode that tries to optimize sound based on what is playing. For my tests, I focused only on lossless sources ran through HDMI. I used various movie titles including John Wick, Kingdom Of Heaven, The Martian and San Andres. For 3D, I used two animated moves: Home 3D and Penguins of Madagascar. I tested it on two TVs: our Sony KDL48W600B and my 3D Samsung 7 Series from 2011. Both TVs were connected via a Sony 3D Bluray player (BDP-S5500). I also tested regular audio CDs with various genres to see how regular two channel stereo sounds. Everything was tested in standard mode and with volume set around 20-25, with bass presets between 0-3. Collectively, the sound is quite balanced. For me personally the bass on this was perfect, it was loud and it rumbled on nearly every action scene. Particularly, the opening storm in The Martian was exquisite and roared and howled like I never heard before. This was a definite upgrade over the TV speakers that I used before. In John Wick, the night club really moved the speakers and every gunshot was piercing. In his basement, the cling of the floor breaking was ridiculous. For fun, I then switched to the compressed Dolby Digital track on that exact same scene and difference was staggering. Lossless was at a clear advantage. On Kingdom Of Heaven, the music blasted through the speakers with a nice clarity. Bass was there on the combat scenes and I was particularly excited that most of the dialogue was clear, though sometimes you had to turn it up a bit. Naturally, of course, the sound will vary by movie and on the two animated movies this was especially clear. Dialogue was much quieter in comparison to the more action oriented movies. During my 3D viewing, I noticed that the background music was over shadowing the dialogue. On both Home and Penguins, the dialogue drastically improved when I clicked the Smart mode. Everything was much crisper and louder, although I assume it was just compressing the sound. Nonetheless, it was neat that there was a difference, though I still think I would prefer just turning up the volume. At night, this will be extremely helpful though. I went back and tried this setting on the rest of the movies. While there was some improvement, mostly in the higher frequencies and individual speech it was not needed for the most part as everything was already pretty loud already. On John Wick, the gunshots seemed louder and on San Andres the glass breaking seemed more pronounced, though on both with it off there wasn't too much of a reduction for the need to toggle it back on. Dialogue did have a heavier sound to it, but again not worth it difference. The greatest improvement using the smart mode was on the animated movies. Overall, I was pleased with the results albeit that you are relatively mindful that the bass will not rattle itself off your stand, although you could definitely feel it in your ears and in the room. I thought it was plenty, but some people love crazy bass and I caution to keep your expectations within reason. Highs were there as well as some of the middle sounds. I actually could make out some of the background speech in some places on Home 3D. Switching back to regular TV speakers, you could definitely tell something was missing. Lastly, I would like to conclude with my CD audio test. I tried various genres to see how it would react and it was quite nice. It filled the room nicely just like our regular stereo and on bass oriented tracks you could definitely feel the pressure in your ears in some frames of the songs. My test CDs included Seal's album Seal II, Eminem's The Marshall Mather's LP, DJ Encore's Intuition. Using Seal's album Seal II, you could definitely appreciate the dynamics on "Kiss from a Rose". On Eminem's Marshall Mather's LP, the bass kicked on "Stan" as well as the weather effects in the background. On the DJ Encore CD, dance tracks came through clear. Bass was strong here was well, but not over powering. The track "Open Your Eyes" stood out quite nicely. Uncompressed audio is a real treat to listen to with these speakers. I also switch the sound mode to music while listening to all three CDs and it does not sound good. It compresses and does get a lot louder but it did not sound as intimate as the standard mode did. For Bluetooth, I paired it with Xperia Z3+ and the sound was decent. Walking around it would cut in and out a few times and as I went further away, it would get progressively worse as one would expect. The manual lists 32.8 feet as the maximum distance it would operate. It also only supports A2DP codec and phone calls are not broadcasted. Conclusively, I would say the performance of this speaker was excellent. Bass was there and full of presence, while the middle and higher sounds were dazzling on top of it. Action movies really shine on this speaker as well as clear dialogue. As a whole, the HW-MS650 definitely does not disappoint and does what it was intended for. However, at its price point, I do have a few problems. First, I would have liked to have maybe one more pair of HDMI ports and also APTX codec support over Bluetooth for those of us with FLAC/WAV/ALAC libraries. I would have also liked a larger front display, although you do get used to it. Overall, I would say to first try and go for something cheaper. There are probably ones that do sound close to this one in addition with all the features this unit has. If money is not an issue, it would be a great purchase. Also, remember to keep your sound expectations reasonable. Overall, recommended despite its steep price.
I would recommend this to a friend
Really loud, great features for the pricePosted
The notion of a big, beefy speaker that can put all your other speakers in their place can be simultaneously deliciously tempting and financially excessive. I’ve been searching for the better part of the last 5 years for a replacement to my current largest speaker, and since the portable speaker market has exploded with Hiroshima-sized output, you’d think I’d have no issue finding a suitable understudy. And throughout those 5 years I’ve purchased (and in most cases, returned) probably a half-dozen speakers that I had hoped to be contenders. The problem is, the portable speaker market is more focused on, well, portable speakers—and that’s just not what I’m looking for. I had hoped to find a slightly lower quality speaker (from a frequency balance perspective) that brought home the bacon, so to speak. Sadly, though, my expectations were too high. What I did find is a speaker that, while its price exceeds my budget, its performance far exceeds my expectations for a device in the this category. Bear in mind one caveat—I know I keep saying “speaker,” yet this is a soundbar. But soundbars can’t be great soundbars unless they are great speakers, and that is where this review comes in. The product is the Samsung HW-M5650 Soundbar, in Samsung’s Sound+ lineup. There are multiple in the lineup specifically designed for Samsung TVs, and more precisely for the 2017 or newer panels which will integrate the soundbar’s controls into your existing remote. Sadly, my panel is from Samsung’s 2016 lineup, so I’m stuck using separate stock remotes that are visually very similar…truly first-world problems. So how does one, in 2017, pick a suitable soundbar for your set up? Well, I’d look first to my surround sound manufacturer to determine if they have a soundbar option—and pick it up to maintain cohesiveness there. If you’re like me, though, and you don’t have a surround sound system, look next to your preferred speaker manufacturer and see what they have to offer. I’ll admit that Samsung’s unification of TV and Soundbar controls is a nice touch, and assume that other manufacturers either have or will follow suit…so matching your panel for design cohesiveness is always a nice approach if the others fail. From a design perspective, this soundbar is impressively sturdy. At nearly 14 pounds and 3.5 feet long, this isn’t something you’re going to want to carry around. In that sense, it fulfills its role well as a soundbar and less as a bluetooth speaker…but as I’ll cover shortly, in almost any room in my house, I can hear the thing just fine if I want to. The entire body of the unit is matte black with a solid black speaker grill on the front, and along the right side of the device are the volume, source and power buttons. On the right side of the front is a small display sitting behind the speaker grill that indicates volume levels, source choice, paired devices, and other relevant things you might want to know about your sound experience (like mode information). Although it sits behind the grill, it is perfectly visible and easy to read. From an input perspective, Samsung provided a 4K HDMI pass-through as well as a power pass-through (Samsung One Cable purchased separately) to reduce cable clutter. Otherwise, there is an optical audio input along with a 3.5mm analog jack, and the device supports both bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity. The bar combines 9 separate internal speakers, all with dedicated amps, and among o