If you are a tech geek and also love movies, then you probably already own a HDTV at home. However, after spending all that money, you might think twice about getting a complete 5.1 audio system although you know your HDTV speakers just won’t suffice. This is where soundbars come in, as they give you a better audio performance for a rather small size and more often than not, at a smaller price scale too. In our hands we have one such soundbar, the Samsung HW-D450. At a selling price of $299.99, it is way cheaper than Samsung’s HW-D550 sound bar but looks very similar and also promises to pack a decent audio punch to your living room. So read on for an in-depth review of the Samsung HW-D450.
One glance at the Samsung HW-D450, and you could have easily mistaken it for the Samsung HW-D550 as they share many similarities in terms of exterior design. For instance, this soundbar is thin and has that same attractive look thanks to the three visible drivers on each side of the bar. Not only that, the wireless subwoofer that comes with this surround bar is also similar to the one you get with its sibling the Samsung HW-D550. Measuring 3.6 x 37.6 x 1.8 inches makes it smaller when compared to its older brother but the Samsung HW-D450 is actually 0.5 pounds heavier than the 4.5-pound Samsung HW0-D550 which measures in at 3.2 x 41.6 x 1.8 inches. Nevertheless, it still has the same 80 watts of power per stereo channel. On the back of the sound bar you will find your inputs and there aren’t too many of them, just three to be exact. You have two optical audio inputs and one 3.5mm input. This means it lacks the two HDMI ports that its sibling has which you could use as passthrough ports.
On the top edge of the Samsung HW-D450 is where you will find your touch sensitive controls. These controls will remain invisible until you touch them to bring up their backlights. There is also a blue LED display which scrolls information as you change your settings. Moving on to the remote control, you will find that it ships with the same 5.4 inch remote control as the one that comes with the Samsung HW-D550. This means that you get extra buttons that are just making the remote bigger like the HDMI Anynet and Audio buttons. Click on these buttons and you will be notified on the surroundbar’s display that they are ‘Not Available’. You can add the TV Info and Channel buttons to this list. We would have definitely liked a smaller remote but this remote does the job well too, just that it’s bigger than it’s supposed to be.
The Samsung HW-D450 sound bar comes with a few modes that will fit your different needs. They are Cinema, News, Game and also Classical. Although being a somewhat low end model these modes either just flatten out the low end or high end of the sound, thus not giving too much impact to your audio output. There is also the simulated 3D surround sound feature at your perusal and it can be easily turned on or off with the click of a button. Although it may not be the best surround sound experience, it’s definitely good if you are looking for a wider sound field.
Setting up the Roth Audio Bar 1 Soundbar
This surroundbar is really small to begin with, but if you don’t want anything sitting in front of your TV then you can use the wall mount that Samsung has included with this unit. This means you can free up some space in front of your TV and at the same time you get the most out of your room’s audio potential. Once you have that sorted out, everything else is rather easy. Since you do not have HDMI inputs to function as passthrough ports you would have to look for another way to get them up and running. So, we suggest you connect your sound bar from the HDTV output to the soundbar input by using an optical audio cable. This means that your HDTV will take charge of all the HDMI switching.
The Samsung HW-D450 definitely impresses in this department as it is really loud for a surroundbar. Even at half volume, you get some seriously loud audio from this baby, so imagine playing it at full volume. Well we will just save you the effort of imagining and give you the details as at full volume it was loud and also had some super thumpy bass. This means if you are going to throw a party, this baby will take care of the audio needs even for a large living room. Of course, the Samsung HW-D450 also comes with a wireless subwoofer and it was impressive too. It can handle bass with minimal distortion. Cinema mode is definitely an all round performer as it not only handled bass very well but at the same time didn’t have any problems getting all the dialogues out clearly. In our case, we even used this mode for music and were impressed with what we got as the vocals were very clear as well. However it’s not all a bed of roses as we found out that when you use the sound bar at high volumes, midrange tends to get a little out of place.
Pros and Cons
This surroundbar definitely impresses with its super loud sound. The Samsung HW-D450 also works well with its wireless subwoofer to produce some amazing bass. Adding to that, it is actually quite easy to set up.
Samsung’s decision to stick to a remote from another model irked us a little as there were quite a few buttons that are useless thus causing the remote control to be longer than it should be. We also found the midrange to distort at high volumes.
This sound bar is definitely capable of producing some sheer power and has an average sound quality to go with it too. If you are looking for something cheap to replace your HDTV’s audio output, then the Samsung HW-D450 could be the one for you.