Review: Samsung HW-MS660

Impressive balance

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

Samsung HW-MS660

Our verdict

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.
    • 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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Price: £ 5990

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

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