Review: Samsung HW-MS660

Impressive balance

Samsung’s soundbar sounds just as well on music as it does for movies.

Karakter
Samsung HW-MS660
We think
The sound is very clear and clean, Samsung is in the forefront when it comes to natural sound.
The bass can once in a while almost be too rich.
Specifications
    • HDMI: 1 input/1 output (ARC)
    • Digital input: Optical
    • Network: Wi-Fi
    • Wireless: Samsung Multiroom, Bluetooth
    • Analogue in: 3.5 mm minijack
    • Subwoofer: No
    • W x H x D: 106 x 7.8 x 13.1 cm
    • Colour: Black
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With one HDMI input and output, it is natural to connect Samsung’s soundbar to the TV’s audio return channel, if you have more than one video source to connect to. The soundbar is relatively easy to connect to the wireless network, but in the manual it tells only how to do this if you have a compatible Samsung TV. It works best with Samsung’s own TVs, since it opens a few extra features like wireless rear speakers, and the multi-room feature becomes more seamless.
It is still quite possible to connect MS660 to your home network and stream music, even if your TV is not from Samsung. If you hold the Wi-Fi Setup button down, the soundbar is found as a wireless network on the mobile phone, and then press the “ADD Speaker” button on the back of the soundbar. The speaker is found in the Samsung app and you’re asked to enter the network password.
The soundbar, which should work on its own without a subwoofer, is a typical black box, but we like the display that pops up on the right side behind the grill. A small, cool detail.

Sound quality

We used a Sony TV during the test, and the audio from the optical cable is delayed in relation to the picture. With Samsung, you must therefore use HDMI, otherwise the sound does not match the lip movement in the dialogue. If you have a Samsung TV it should not be a problem, but we recommend using HDMI. You will then get better support for the surround sound formats.
The surround mode provides a large and immersive soundscape on movies. The dialogue becomes even clearer in stereo mode, but the sound is still more engaging with the surround feature. The whole thing sounds better than Bose and both of the Yamaha soundbars. In our ears, Samsung also sounds more natural in the timbre than Sonos and Heos. Without an external subwoofer, you cannot get the most powerful bass.
As you might expect, music sounds best in stereo mode. However, even with surround sound enabled, the soundbar does not do much more than create a larger soundscape. It does not ruin the rendition of vocals. This in itself is quite impressive.
Female vocals sound open and fine. Samsung sounds more tidy and dissolved than the other soundbars. Here you get a very balanced and decent sound, which accommodates the various instruments in the soundscape. There are clear overtones, a guitar sounds like a guitar and not like a ukulele. There is no rumbling or masking in the bass range. Sometimes bass instruments sound a little swollen, just turn down the bass with the remote control.

Samsung HW-MS660: Conclusion

Samsung has made a soundbar that sounds very clear and clean, and it is also fuller in the bass than you might think, considering that it has no external subwoofer. Very impressive.
We saw a prototype of a subwoofer at the CES in Las Vegas in January, so all indications are that a matching subwoofer will be included in the purchase.
Edit review: Samsung now also supplies a matching subwoofer for those who want extra bass: SWA-W700.

Photo: Samsung

Also in this test

Yamaha YSP-2700

Hissing sound

The biggest problem with this soundbar is a huge hole in the soundscape.

Many speaker drivers and advanced DSP allow one to get virtually true surround sound.
There is a large hole in the sound between the subwoofer and the soundbar. The soundbar gives us the consonants from vocals, while the subwoofer provides the vowels.

Bluesound Pulse Soundbar

The most accomplished

Bluesound’s soundbar costs a bit more, but pays off in the form of a much better experiences on both film and music.

Very powerful sound, even without a subwoofer, timbre balance is great and user-friendliness very good.
There could also be even more air at the top.

Sonos PlayBase

The TV's resting pad

Sonos’ new sound base PlayBase acts as a base for the TV. But did it arrive too late?

The sound is balanced, and the room correction fixes problems. Increased chassis volume accommodates subwoofers.
It lacks HDMI inputs, and the sound is not as engaging as the best sound bases.

Sony HT-NT5

Good compromise

This is designed to lie flat and point towards the ceiling, but nevertheless sounds good facing forward. It works pretty good.

The most successful flat soundbar we have heard. Sounds both natural and open, and has good usability.
The focus of the soundscape is better from the soundbar that play directly forward.

Yamaha YAS-306

Rather complete

If you are looking for an affordable option with multi-room, and do not want an extra bass crate, then this one is good.

A low price and good usability are a plus, and the soundbar provides a rich enough audio without a subwoofer.
Music in stereo lacks energy and life.

Philips HTL5160

Clear speech

The Philips soundbar does its job, with crystal clear dialogue and a fairly balanced sound.

The balance in the sound is fine, and the soundbar simulates surround sound quite well. Google Cast provides great usability for streaming.
We want more overtones, and the stereo perspective on the music should be wider.

Bose SoundTouch 300

Not good enough

Bose has banked on user-friendliness, but has unfortunately forgotten about the sound quality.

In typical Bose style, the soundbar is very user-friendly, and room correction can help in difficult environments.
The sound is too bad, and it lacks support for multiple streaming services.

Klipsch RSB-14

A lot of sound pressure, little else

Klipsch has the highest sound pressure in the test. But the soundbar disappoints on sound quality.

When it comes to sound pressure, Klipsch is in a separate class. The user-friendliness of the Play-Fi multi-room is very good.
The sound quality does not measure up.

Heos HomeCinema

User-friendly and tough

Heos has endowed this with user-friendliness, and here one also gets tough, rich sound for one’s money.

The usability is top notch, many streaming services are supported, and with subwoofer included, the price is very favourable.
It lacks some nuances in the overtones, especially for music in stereo.

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