Tricking the brain with process wizardly or bouncing sound walls works to a certain degree, but it can’t replace the experience of having speakers at the rear. This is precisely what Samsung hw-q90r does. It immerses you into sound thanks to its four upward-firing drivers and its wireless surrounds. 

It’s fair to say that Samsung is the only manufacturer that has been able to deliver an immersive sonic experience from the bar, but well, we will find out. While the competition is offering support for object-based audio formats such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, they are doing so by using psychoacoustic or sound projection. 

The Samsung HW-Q90R Review 1

Get The Samsung HW-Q90R from

Design: business as usual

  • Available in Carbon Silver (black)
  • Speakers (ea): 210 x 120 x144mm; 2.1kg
  • Main soundbar: 83 x 1226 x 136mm; 8.8kg
  • Subwoofer: 403 x 205 x 403mm; 9.8kg

The Samsung HW-Q90R is identical to N950 but with a larger cabinet. It is mainly designed for big TVs, but it’s lower enough so that it doesn’t block the screen. If you prefer wall-mounting the soundbar, Samsung provides you with the required brackets. The bar is well designed with metal at the front and sides, top, and a great metal finish.

There’s an LED display that lights up whenever the soundbar receives a command providing primary data—they do so by psychoacoustic or sound projection. 

Design features

  • Available in Carbon Silver (black)
  • Speakers (ea): 210 x 120 x 144mm; 2.1kg
  • Main soundbar: 83x 1226 x 136mm; 8.8kg
  • Subwoofer: 403 x 205 x 403mm; 9.8kg

The Samsung HW-Q90R is identical to N950 but with a larger cabinet. It is mainly designed for big TVs, but it’s lower enough so that it doesn’t block the screen. If you prefer wall-mounting the soundbar, Samsung provides you with the required brackets. The bar is well designed with metal at the front and sides, top, and a great metal finish.

At the top center, they’re some controls for turning it on and off, adjusting volume, and selecting inputs.

The included wireless rear speakers are the same as those of N950. Each has a finish that matches the soundbar. Although the speakers are wireless, they need plunging. This powers the built-in application driving the surround and rear upward-firing speakers.

Q90R’s wireless subwoofer is one of the primary differences from the previous soundbar. The new bar is using bigger dimensions, to improve the control and bass response. Yet the new design still has a side-firing 8-inch driver, rear bass port, and finish that matches the entire system. 

 Connections and Controls

  • Included remote control
  • Optical digital audio input
  • Alexa voice control
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth wireless
  • 2x HDMI input


The provided remote is somewhat similar to the controller that Samsung includes with its TVs. This is an improvement from the usual lost credit card-sized zappers that come with most soundbars. 


It’s well designed, intuitive to use, and comes with all buttons needed to control the Q90r. 

The other two methods to control the system are Amazon Alexa and the SmartThings app. Amazon Alexa is more effective in setting up and controlling the soundbar as it goes past the front bar that provides more informative data. The best thing about the latter is that it gives you a chance to control the soundbar hands-free, and you can even listen to music through Spotify connect. 

The Q90R comes with two HDMI inputs and an output that supports wide color gamut, 4K/60p, and high dynamic range (HDR).

Although two inputs feel a bit unfair compared to the price, it supports HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, which isn’t common in soundbars. 

Note that Samsung hasn’t added an eARC, meaning there isn’t support for lossless audio to be sent back through HDMI at present. 

However, there is the optical digital input as well as Bluetooth and WI-FI. Yet, there is still no support for Apple’s AirPlay or Chromecast.

Genuine 7.1.4 channel setup

  • 17 drivers in total
  • 7.1.4-channel configuration


The Samsung HW-90QR is different from its competition in that it delivers the most authentic 7.1.4-channel immersive audio experience. But what exactly does that mean?

It has 12 speakers, which include a total of 17 drivers. The front three channels have three drivers each, two woofers, and a wide range of tweeter. All the other channels are based on a single drive. 

The soundbar speakers are divided into 12 channels: center, front left and right, two front heights, a sub, two rears, and a pair of rear heights. The speakers are driven by 512W of built-in amplification and a frequency of 34Hz to 17kHz.


By adding this up, you’ve got all kinds of sounds flying from all directions. This can’t be compared by applying psychoacoustic sorcery or reflecting acoustic beams off sidewalls. 

However, there is one small drawback. 

The soundbar creates overhead channels by bouncing off the ceilings. And while this is an option, you’ll require a low and reflective surface for the best outcome. So, if you have a vaulted ceiling, this might not be an option for you. 

Complex but simple setup

Despite it sounding so complicated, the Samsung HW-90QR is surprisingly easy to understand. The only thing you need is to place the 90QR in front of your room under a TV, stick the surrounds at the back, and put the sub in front.

The setup can be a little bit too easy. A product like this should have an automation calibration with room equalization, test tones, and a microphone. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo is an excellent example of a complicated soundbar that boasts of an easy but sophisticated auto EQ.

Since Samsung leaves you to it, the channels involved can be somewhat confusing. 

Immersive sound quality 

  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • 34Hz to 17kHz frequency response
  • 512W of built-in amplification
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding

Watching movies and Tv shows

Despite the few drawbacks, Q90r is a great audio sensation. If you pop up an aggressive mixed object-based track like Shazam, the benefits are undeniable. The effect is massive, with a wall at your home that gives your movie a real sense of scale. 


The use of similar drivers makes sure there is a tonally balanced soundstage, surrounds ensure effects are coming from behind, and the side channels add the required width. 

That show’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack amps up the immersion during its superpowered scenes, and all the mediums are engaged. The result is a sound with lighting cracking all around and effects flying at you from all directions. The bass is increased to 11, and the redesigned subs dig deeper, resulting in a low-end foundation without empowering other speakers.

Atomic Blonde has a great DTS:X soundtrack, which kicks out once the action commences. Whether it’s an explosion, car crash, or a fistfight, the Q90r reproduces each punch, kick, with remarkable precision. 

The sub comes into its own, giving hits a visceral quality and underscoring the action. Yet, the soundbar’s music quality also plays a role, making all the 80’s hits in the movie sound better. 

Although the soundbar works perfectly in a small room, giving it a bigger room allows you to enjoy even better results. You can also dial-up the volume to unsociable levels without it running out of the stream. The best part is that the Samsung HW-q90r still delivers at low volumes. 


That comes in handy at night. Even without feeding the soundbar, a DTS:X or Atmos, the Mindhunter (Netflix), and Peaky Blinders (BBC) still sound impressive. 

Although there is a host of sounds modes available, the new adaptive sound is the most interesting one. But it works best with less dramatic TV shows and sports. For shows like Star Trek, it is equally amazing since it mixes the soundtracks to utilize the overhead channels. The game mode is also vital, and with a Samsung TV, it can give a seamless gaming experience. 

Listening to music 

The Samsung HW-q90r experience is still no different when it comes to music. While many people who are considering the soundbar have a multi-channel in mind, a well-integrated subwoofer and quality font speakers still give a stereo presentation that has perfect clarity and localization.

Whether your source is stereo or multi-channel, disc, or streaming, the soundbar won’t disappoint you. 

Value for money

At first glance, you might feel like the disc or streaming is overpriced. But once you start analyzing what it’s capable of, you realize that it brings great value for that price. If you were to build an equivalent 5.1.4-channel system separately, you’d spend more than it would cost to buy the soundbar. You’d need a subwoofer package, a nine-channel AV receiver, and a matching speaker. It might cost more and probably not sound as good. And do not forget hard to install.

Other soundbars to consider

The Samsung HW-Q90R has very great features, and this makes it very hard to recommend any alternatives. There are still no soundbar packages that have an authentic 7.1.4-channel using four upwards firing drivers and wireless rear speakers.

This limits the alternatives. With that said, you can check out the Yamaha YSP-5600, LG SL10YG, and Sony HT-FZ9.

If you want to have a genuinely immersive experience but you’re short on cash, Samsung HW-N950 is your best shot. It’s almost the same as Samsung HW-Q90R. 

Final Thoughts 

The Samsung HW-Q90R is an effective immersive audio soundbar that gives you a great bang for your buck. Thanks to wireless rear speakers, a wireless subwoofer, and four upward-firing drivers, the package gives you the ultimate experience. 

No other soundbar produces the full Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sensation. And thanks to shifting from Harman Kardon the HW-Q90, the music sounds terrific too. 

A great set of features and a fully-specified HDMI connection completes a perfect package.  

If interested, check out the product link to make your purchase.


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