Samsung HW-Q990C Q-series soundbar – massive 11.1.4 Dolby Atmos (AV review)

Samsung HW-Q990C Q-series soundbar has a massive 11.1.4 Dolby Atmos capability with terrific volume and in-your-face thumping bass. It will enhance any TV sound but comes into its own when paired with a 2020-2023 Samsung Q-Symphony TV.

Well, actually, that last statement is not entirely accurate. This soundbar is so powerful that it completely overshadows any benefit of using the combined TV and soundbar speakers. In fact, it made the sound experience more confusing. Q-Symphony probably works better with the lower-end HW700-C and HW600C 3.1.2 all-in-one soundbars (not tested).

Samsung says (of this soundbar), ‘Sound you can feel,’ as we agree.

Note: This is not a full review, as it was conducted in a Sydney hotel suite for about three hours. We can only bring some test equipment, relying on a subset of software-driven tools and diagnostics. In short, the results are more subjective than objective.

Further reading

Australian review: Samsung HW-Q990C, 11.1.4 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Model HW-Q990C/XY

WebsiteProduct page
Setup Guide – there is no manual on the Samsung site, but try this.
FromSamsung Online. See Approved resellers above.
Warranty12-months ACL
Made inSouth Korea
CompanySamsung is a South Korean multinational manufacturing conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics (the world’s largest information technology company, consumer electronics maker and chipmaker.
MoreCyberShack Samsung News and Reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First Impression – Pass+

The Samsung Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar is imposing at 1232.0 x 69.5 x 138.0 mm x 7.7kg, the sub-woofer 220.0 x 413.0 x 410.0 mm x 11.7kg and the two wireless rears each 129.5 x 201.3 x140.4 mm x 3.4kg. It is covered in steel acoustic mesh. It is not elegant – straight down to business.

On top are a multi-function button, Mic On/Off and volume up/down. At the rear are

  • 2 x HDMI in ports (version not disclosed)
  • 1 x HDMI eARC to connect to the TV
  • Digital Optical input
  • Power

It has Wi-Fi (version not disclosed) and Bluetooth SBC codec (version not disclosed). It supports Chromecast and AirPlay 2 music.

A battery-operated remote and wall mount is included.

Ports – Pass – shame it is not HDMI 2.1

Samsung does not disclose the HDMI Version except that it supports 4K Video and HDR10+. We can assume that the eARC port is 2. (18Gbps) and the other two inputs are 2.0 (18Gbps) for 4K@60Hz – supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos with some compression, a good all-rounder.

If in doubt, attach external devices, like Set Top Boxes etc., directly to the TV.

Speakers – 22 in total – Exceed

The soundbar has (18 W x 4) + (10 W x 2) + (18 W x 2) + (10 W x 1) + (18 W x 6 ) and is 7.0.2

  • Left front-firing (1.0)
  • Right front-firing (1.0)
  • Centre front firing (1.0)
  • Left side firing (surround 1.0)
  • Right side firing (surround 1.0)
  • Left side-firing (surround 1.0)
  • Right 45° angled surround 1.0)
  • Left up-firing (height 0.0.1)
  • Right up-firing (height 0.0.1)

The 8” sub-woofer has 200W (0.1.0)

The rear speakers have a total of 210W (4.0.2)

  • Left front-firing (1.0)
  • Right front-firing (1.0)
  • Left side firing (surround 1.0)
  • Right side firing (surround 1.0)
  • Left up-firing (height 0.0.1)
  • Right up-firing (height 0.0.1)

That adds up to 11.1.4 (14 speakers), and the remaining 7 are likely tweeters and full range to reinforce Dolby Channels and don’t count in Dolby numbering.

Power use – Pass+

We could not test power, but Samsung advises

  • 41W soundbar
  • 26W sub-woofer
  • 38W rears
  • Total 105W
  • Standby 2W

Power is required for the soundbar, sub-woofer and each rear speaker.

How does it sound? Superb

Awesome. It gets loud at 85+dB with imperceptible distortion.

Low bass (room shaking) starts around 30Hz and builds solidly to mid-bass (50-70Hz), where it is flat (good) to 8kHz, where it dips slightly to avoid harshness and is then flat to 20Hz.

This is a native Neutral sound signature: The audiophile standard is a flat (good) response that neither adds nor subtracts from the original music! The only issue here is garbage-in, garbage-out – the better the music quality, the better it sounds.

Dolby Atmos test shows sound coming from each speaker, and the rears do an excellent job of distributing the sound behind you.

SpaceFit Sound Pro calibrates the sound to the room, and it can compensate enough for the hotel room environment.

The sound stage is wide – at least a metre from the edge of the TV and overhead sounds move nicely with directionality – a plane flying overhead sounds just like that. Someone is taking behind you – ditto.

In non-DA content, it acts up to 7.1 surround sound and is very effective. DTS:X sound was not tested.

Active Voice – Pass

This was more effective than the TV sound, partly due to the centre channel and a few tweeters. It is not as good at clear voice as:

But then it is not bad either. The hearing impaired should be comfortable with the Active Voice.

Music – Pass+

Use the standard setting for unprocessed 2.0, or you can up-mix to 7.1, which is particularly good in placing you in the convect hall listening to the performer.

Voice and App – Pass

Supports Bixby, Alexa and Google. The SmartThings App (not tested) can control the soundbar and has an EQ. The remote has a microphone.

CyberShack’s view – Samsung HW-Q990C is a spectacular 11.1.4 soundbar

We cannot fault it – at least in the limited hotel room review circumstances afforded to us.

At $1999, it is good value, has great performance, and has superb dedicated rear 4.0.2 speakers.

Rating Explanation – Samsung HW-Q990C

  • Features: 90 – It has everything you need – we just wish Samsung was more forthcoming with accurate specifications, and a proper manual would be nice.
  • Value: 95 – competitive pricing
  • Performance: 95 – forget about Q-symphony for this model
  • Ease of Use: 90 – Would like a manual.
  • Design: 85 – big black perforated steel bars may be efficient but not stylish. A choice of white or a fashionable colour would make it stand out.

Samsung HW-Q990C Q-series 11.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar








Ease of Use





  • Superb Dolby Atmos 11.1.4 3D sound
  • Easy to setup – no App required, and automatic SpaceFit calibration
  • In-your-face room shaking bass
  • NFC Tap to play
  • Rears are side, front and up-firing!


  • Q-Symphony is a waste of effort with this soundbar
  • Like longer power cables
  • 4-character display – needs a better UI
  • It does not support 4K@120HZ VRR via HDMI in