Samsung HW-D550 HT Sound Bar

Audio|Video|Misc
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POWER MEASUREMENTS

This is SPCR; it is a long established tradition to measure and report power consumption whenever possible. They are difficult to do while the speaker/amps are actually working to produce sound, but much easier in static mode.

Samsung HW-D550 AC Power Consumption
State
Samsung HW-D550
Rockus 3D | 2.1
Audioengine A2
AC Power
SPL (dB)
AC Power
SPL (dB)
AC Power
SPL (dB)
plugged in
1.3W
0
4W
0
1W
0
volume mute
17W
0
7W
0
4W
0
moderately loud
17~23W
60~85 dB@2m
12~24W
60~85 dB@2m
4~20W
60~85 dB@2m

The Samsung HW-D550 is quite energy efficient, drawing just 1.3W when powered off, and 16W at idle. When it is actually producing sound, the peaks rarely go much past 23W, even at high volume. The power supplies within do not have power factor correction, however; PF measured 0.5 to 0.6 at most loads. While pulling 17W, its Volt-Amp draw is 27VA.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Samsung HW-D550 sound bar speaker system is a compromise between convenience and high performance. Convenience it achieves nicely, with its wireless sub, HDMI cable connections, and handy remote control. No complaints there. It also looks the part, well matched to the glossy black finish of most large screen HDTVs.

Performance is more of a compromise, however. It certainly provides better sound than the speakers built into any HDTV I've heard, but the Samsung HW-D550 falls a bit short of audio hifi standards. The biggest flaw seems to lie in the all-plastic construction of the sound bar, which gives rise to many resonances that intrude audibly especially in the midrange and upper bass. There are probably various ways to minimize the effects of these resonances, but they will all impinge on the convenience and visual simplicity which are keys to the product's appeal; i.e., they require physical isolation of the soundbar from any furniture, wall or floor. Even if such isolation is achieved, some of the resonance effects will surely remain. A more substantial case made of well-braced high density wood panels or perhaps aluminum (as in the Paradigm Millenia or Soundscience Rockus satellites) could have prevented such resonance effects from being as intrusive.

Still, for many users, judging from online forum and feedback comments, the performance of the Samsung sound bar is perfectly acceptable. Perhaps the main expectation of these users is an improvement over the sound of the built-in TV speakers. It is certainly an attractive package for people who live in smallish apartments or condos.

For those with higher expectations, Samsung HW-D550 isn't an ideal choice. Although I have no direct experience with them, I expect that other products in its category with similar all-plastic construction suffer the same limitations as the Samsung. I refer to sub-$500 all-plastic sound bar HT speaker systems from Vizio, Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, etc. A better choice for those with higher sonic expectations is to spend a little more money in a better built sound bar or go for a compact powered 3.1 system utilizing small wood or metal box satellites. The latter is fussier, with more cables to hide, but will surely provide better sonic performance per dollar and long term satisfaction than the all-plastic sound bars.

Our thanks to Samsung Canada for the loan of the HW-D550 speakers.

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Articles of Related Interest
Paradigm Millenia HT Speaker System
Soundscience Rockus 3D | 2.1 speaker system
AudioEngine A2: Little Big Speakers
Samsung PN58C6400 Plasma HDTV
Squeezebox 3 Digital Music Box
WD TV Live Streaming Media Player

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