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Samsung's New Soundbar Doesn't Need Speakers in Your Ceiling for 3-D Audio

Illustration for article titled Samsungs New Soundbar Doesnt Need Speakers in Your Ceiling for 3-D Audio

Soundbars aren’t normally the go-to option for crazy immersive surround sound, but a Samsung-Dolby partnership is hoping to change that. Using a pair of rear speakers, a soundbar and the ceiling of your den, Samsung’s trying to recreate the 3-D feeling of a Dolby Atmos cinema.


Atmos is meant to be the final evolution of cinema sound, doing away with five or seven speaker channels to create an entire 3-D audio environment. Thanks to the need for speakers in (or aimed at) the roof, it’s being rolled out very slowly to movie theaters country-wide.


Samsung’s new partnership with Dolby is meant to bring Atmos to your home relatively easily. The complete HW-K950 comprises a front soundbar, two wirelessly connected rear speakers, and a subwoofer. With all that, you get a 5.1.4 channel system: five regular speaker channels, a sub, and four extra drivers in the soundbar, which bounce sound off the ceiling to create that 3-D effect.

Samsung’s not the first to make an Atmos-enabled soundbar—that honor goes to Yamaha’s YSP-5600. But whereas Yamaha’s trying to make a complete sound system from just one source, Samsung is using those separate rear speakers, and more upwards-facing drivers to give a more immersive effect. If it comes at the right price, it could be a very simple way to create a killer home audio system.


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“If it comes at the right price, it could be a very simple way to create a killer home audio system.”

No. At best, this will be the ‘loudness’ button for surround sound. You don’t want your sound bouncing all over your fucking listening room; never mind the fact that the rooms these will be put into will be acoustically terrible. This will trick people who don’t know any better into thinking they’re getting surround sound**, at the expense of the actual sound mix. That’s all it will do.

**Although at least they’re getting some true rear-channels with this thing