Review: Samsung HW-N660

Perfect balance

The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.

Karakter
We think
The soundscape is great, and it works extraordinarily well on film and games. The soundbar has a very well adjusted timbre balance.
We would like more power, and the narrow display can hold way too little text, which is why it appears in a rolling manner.
Specs

Matches screen size: 49” and up
HDMI: 1 in, 1 out (ARC)
Digital in: Optical
Wireless: Bluetooth
Analogue in: 3.5 mm AUX
Website: samsung.no

Annons
Annons
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HW-N660 supports 4K-video from Blu-ray through the HDMI input, and it also extends the sound in height in order to give an additional dimension. Unlike Sony there is no decoding of 360 audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Instead, Samsung scales the volume in height from regular two-dimensional audio formats. The usability is good, but the display is narrow and can accommodate few characters. This means that the text must scroll sideways in order for us to read it.

Sound quality

The sound is more well-balanced than the rest in its class. The dialogue in Alien: Covenant sounds open and natural, without any humps or colouring anywhere. The subwoofer integrates well and the bass is rendered very good tonally. This adds a good foundation to the soundscape, and explosions also work quite well within certain limits.
The soundscape is large and open and even when we play Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One S, we do so with a surprisingly large amount of immersion. There is room, and there is dynamics. Samsung cannot work wonders in terms of power, and we feel it perhaps gives up a little early.
Music in stereo never sounds harsh or problematic. The voice of David Gilmour on Pink Floyd’s Hey You is clear as day, and it sounds natural and well balanced in the timbre. Samsung sounds more resolved in overtones than the others in the test and is the best for music if you do not have to play loudly.

Conclusion

Samsung has gradually become very good at making well-sounding soundbars, and the HW-N660 is no exception. It is very well balanced in the timbre and sounds resolved and natural for movies, games and music. It could, admittedly, be a little more powerful, but the total package is so good that it deserves our full recommendation.
The display could have had more room for text, otherwise it’s usability is also very good.

Also in this test

Klipsch RSB-6

Does not follow up

A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.

If you like the PA sound you know from concert halls and nightlife venues, you'll nod approvingly.
The soundbar does not have the power to keep up with the “tough” soundscape. It all sounds fairly flat, and Bluetooth sounds discouragingly bad.

JBL Bar 3.1

Powerhouse

No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.

No one in this class come close to this level of power. The subwoofer at 10 inches is especially impressive. In addition, it sounds good, and the soundbar is user-friendly.
There are those with higher resolution and even better cohesion in the tones. Does not support DTS

LG SJ8

Let the sound flow

The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.

The sound is crisp, with a clear dialogue on movies. The soundscape is huge, and we give a thumbs up for the network and streaming services.
It lacks power, and it can sound a little slim.

Panasonic SC-HTB250

Small and half-hearted

The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.

The sound is powerful, with more oomph than we had anticipated. Quite a huge soundscape on film.
Bluetooth sounds miserable, and with the absent analogue input, you can therefore not enjoy music from a mobile phone.

Creative Sound BlasterX Katana

For gamers

Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.

The soundscape gets an okay feel of surround on film and games, and the subwoofer hangs well together with the sound from the soundbar. A straightforward display simplifies its use.
The overtones are rather taciturn, the dialogues in film sound somewhat woolly, and the music lacks a little spark. The subwoofer is not wireless, HDMI is missing as is support for DTS.

Yamaha YAS-207

Surprisingly huge sound

Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.

The soundscape is folded outward and upward. This soundbar does an excellent job in simulating true surround sound.
We miss a display, since LEDs provide limited visibility from a distance. The overtone area could be more airy.

Philips Fidelio B1/12

Better on TV than music

This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.

Very compact dimensions makes for a discreet soundbar, and it is also very easy to use. The sound is more powerful than you might think.
Does not sound as good on music as film, the bass is somewhat uncontrolled and the midrange could have had more energy. HDMI does not support HDCP 2.2 and thereby does not support 4K Blu-ray.

Sony HT-XF9000

Extra dimension in height

Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.

The soundscape is huge on film, and the dialogue is crystal clear. The subwoofer has also tolerable power.
It can sometimes sound a little crass in the overtones, and the subwoofer has a lot of energy in its upper range and less in the deep bass. Music in stereo is not great.
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