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Samsung's new N950 & N850 soundbars have Dolby Atmos & DTS:X

14 Aug 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

Samsung has unveiled its second-generation Dolby Atmos soundbars (HW-N950 and HW-N850) that also support DTS:X. The flagship N950 boasts 7.1.4ch audio with side- and up-firing units plus wireless rear speakers.

Dolby Atmos & DTS:X inside

Samsung launched its first Atmos-compatible soundbar in 2016 but opted not to launch soundbars capable of handling object-based audio formats last year. This year, it will launch two new products.

The flagship N950 has been developed in collaboration with Harman Kardon. It is a 7.1.4ch system with up-firing as well as side-firing units that will deliver “a powerful and clear audio experience that is second to none”, the company said.

- “Our collaboration with Harman Kardon – an audio leader for 65 years – is a major leap forward as we continue to push the boundaries of premium sound and design for our consumers,” said Jongsuk Chu, SVP of Visual Display Business, Samsung. “Samsung’s market leading display technology and design paired with premium sound quality of Harman Kardon products is a winning combination for consumers.”


Samsung N950 Atmos soundbar


With the new generation, Samsung is expanding support to DTS:X, which was missing on the previous models. So-called object-based audio technology encodes sounds as objects in a three-dimensional space rather than fixed channels. In addition, it adds height dimensionality.

Also read: FlatpanelsHD strengthens focus on TV audio

N950 has a wireless subwoofer plus wireless rear speakers with up-firing units. It supports high-res audio and you can listen to music via either Bluetooth or WiFi.


Samsung N950 Atmos soundbar


Samsung HW-N950 connects to the TV via HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) but there is seemingly no support for eARC. The company confirms that the soundbar comes equipped with 2 HDMI inputs for connecting external players and that it supports 4K and HDR pass-through.

The previous generation lacked Dolby Vision HDR video pass-through, and it is not yet clear if N950 can do. If it still lacks this type of pass-through, owners of Dolby Vision-capable TVs will probably have to look elsewhere. Missing eARC and pass-through support will result in Dolby Vision being cut out of the video chain.

Samsung HW-N950 will be available in the US and Europe in August / September. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Samsung HW-N950 - specifications

General features
HDMI (2 inputs / 1 output)
Optical input
Total Power: 512W
Number of Channel: 7.1.4 Ch
Number of Speaker: 17
Frequency Range: 34Hz~17kHz
Audio format support:
Dolby 5.1, Dolby DD+, Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos
DTS:X, DTS 5.1, DTS HD
AAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF
Video features:
3D, 4K and HDR pass-through
Other features
HDMI CEC
HDMI ARC
Alexa 3PDA
WiFi (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth 4.0
SmartThings support
Supports wall mounting

HW-N850 sans rear speakers

Beside N950, Samsung will introduce a more affordable N850 option. It is the same soundbar but without rear speakers in the box.

N850 delivers a 5.1.2 listening experience, the company said, explaining that it packs a total of 13 units, including two up-firing and two side-firing speakers. It comes bundled with the same wireless subwoofer and supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It is possible to buy optional rear speakers, if you decide to upgrade at a later point.


Samsung N850 Atmos soundbar


The new soundbars are meant to compete head-to-head with similar products from Sony and LG as well as offerings from classic audio brands such as Onkyo and Yamaha. To experience Atmos you obviously need movies or TV shows with an Atmos soundtrack. These can be found on UHD Blu-ray, Netflix, Vudu, and soon on Apple TV iTunes and Amazon Video.

Samsung HW-N850 will be available in the US and Europe in August / September. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Samsung HW-N850 - specifications

General features
HDMI (2 inputs / 1 output)
Optical input
Total Power: 372W
Number of Channel: 5.1.2 Ch
Number of Speaker: 13
Frequency Range: 34Hz~17kHz
Audio format support:
Dolby 5.1, Dolby DD+, Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos
DTS:X, DTS 5.1, DTS HD
AAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF
Video features:
3D, 4K and HDR pass-through
Other features
HDMI CEC
HDMI ARC
Alexa 3PDA
WiFi (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth 4.0
SmartThings support
Supports wall mounting

Unibody and mid-range soundbars

Besides the new flagship models, Samsung will offer a full line-up of soundbars to complement its many different TV models. We have already covered the NW700, which is an all-in one soundbar. The all-in-one portfolio also includes the N300 and N400.

Furthermore, Samsung will offer soundbars with separate subwoofers. These include the 2.1 channel N450, the 3.1 channel N500, and the 3.1 channel N650. The company will sell optional wireless rear speakers (SWA-8500S) and a subwoofer for customers that want to expand the system.


Samsung NW700 soundbar


These soundbars also support ‘TV Sound Connect’ that allows wireless connection to Samsung TVs. However, the link relies on Bluetooth so it will not pass audio at full quality.

Most of these mid-range soundbars are already shipping in the US and Europe.



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