Review: Samsung HW-S60B soundbar

The HW-S60B is a pretty unique soundbar: it not only has seven speakers, if you combine it with a new Samsung television, it can also receive Atmos and Dts: Virtual X wirelessly.

Add to that the compatibility with Smart speakers and in theory you have a perfect middle ground between soundbar and wireless speaker for your living room. You purchase the HW-S60B for 349 euros, but it is also possible to expand the system with, for example, a subwoofer.

Build quality

Because so much wireless is possible with this soundbar, the amount of inputs and outputs on the bottom is limited: there is an HDMI-Arc port, a USB input for possible firmware updates, an optical-in and a power point. In addition, as mentioned, the HW-S60B is Bluetooth and WiFi compatible.

The soundbar is quite compact and thanks to the rounded ends it looks a bit more luxurious than if it were a simple, rectangular bar. As mentioned, there are seven speakers in the soundbar, two of which are fully directed outwards. At the back of the soundbar you will also find two woofers that should provide some extra power in the low end.

The HW-S60B comes with a simple but sturdy remote control, power cable and a short high-speed hmdi cable. Both the wireless connection with bluetooth and the wired connection work seamlessly, simply and incredibly fast.

Compatibility and Modes

Samsung presents the HW-S60B as a Dolby Atmos soundbar. However, it is important to mention that this soundbar may be compatible with the codec, but does not really provide an Atmos-like listening experience. As we wrote earlier, there are no upward-facing speakers and if you purchase the S60B, you will not receive any rear speakers or subwoofer.

Although the soundbar has four woofers and three tweeters, the listening experience is most comparable to a very wide 3.1 display. This makes the listening experience quite room-filling, but certainly not spectacular in height. The soundbar does have a Dts:x mode for surround sound simulation; this adds something to the width, but unfortunately also causes unnatural smearing in the center region of the stereo image. In addition to the Dts:x mode, there are also standard, adaptive, music and gaming modes.

Sound and modes

When listening to music in standard mode, it is immediately apparent that the soundbar is a major improvement compared to standard television speakers. Especially in the breadth and size of the listening experience it is a big improvement. The soundbar does sound somewhat thin in the lower frequencies. In standard mode, there is also too little dynamic range to convincingly set down musical contrasts. The soundbar can be quite loud, but the differences between loud and soft are sometimes not pronounced enough.

When switching between the different modes while listening to music, it is noticeable that they are not only quite different from each other, there are also the necessary volume differences between the various modes and that comes across as somewhat sloppy. The adaptive mode is quite disappointing when listening to music. The soundbar does indeed seem to adapt, but this results in a restless and slightly pinched sound.

Strangely enough, the gaming mode sounds a lot better; as if the depth and breadth of the stereo image suddenly open up. There may be a little less focus and precision in the center of the stereo image in this mode, but the overall sound of music sounds a lot more convincing and natural.

It is also noticeable when gaming in gaming mode that the soundbar sounds quite wide. The speakers on the side provide a large sound field and that makes the listening experience during in-game action quite immersive. Nevertheless, the HW-S60B lacks real persuasiveness during spectacular in-game moments; that has to do with the aforementioned lack of real sublayer.

Also in the middle low, mainly around 500Hz, the sound leaves something to be desired. In this area the HW-S60B is not precise enough and a bit too pronounced, so that spaciousness and grandeur in the game world translates somewhat boxy and unnaturally metallic. It is a property that is less noticeable in music, but when translating grand game worlds, it is negative in the ear.

In conclusion

The HW-S60B is an incredibly versatile soundbar. Thanks to the WiFi, Bluetooth, and smart speaker compatibility, you can use it completely wirelessly. This makes it a kind of middle ground between wireless Bluetooth speaker and soundbar. The sound of the S60B is also a major improvement on the speakers of your television. If you already have a Samsung television, the speakers of the soundbar and the TV can also work together. Nevertheless, this soundbar still leaves something to be desired.

For example, there is a lack of real persuasiveness in the lower frequency regions. The price is not small and if you really want a complete sound experience, you will also have to invest in a subwoofer and perhaps even rear speakers. In addition, the soundbar is Atmos-compatible, but it cannot really display height in the sound. This makes the HW-S60B particularly suitable for someone who already has a Samsung television or someone who is looking for a fully wirelessly integrated total solution for their living room. If you want a real surround system with perhaps less wireless options, there are better options available for the same money.

For an extensive overview of all technical specifications regarding this product, we would like to refer you to the Samsung website, or view the official manual.

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