Samsung HW-Q60T soundbar review: surround sound as an option

No drastic change in formula for the HW-Q60T, which always aims for efficiency above all else. This sound bar retains the understated design of previous iterations, still with impeccable build quality. The bar is almost completely covered and protected by a metal grid, the few plastic parts show real robustness. The finishes are also very neat.

At 98 cm wide, the Q60T is not strictly speaking a compact sound bar. However, it remains compact: with its contained height of 58 mm and a depth of barely 10 cm, it slips discreetly in front of a television. The size of the wireless subwoofer that accompanies it is average, with dimensions of 36 x 30 x 30 cm. As always with this type of product, take a good look at the space you have with any purchase.

The sound bar and its wireless subwoofer weigh 3.6 kg and 6.2 kg respectively.

The sound bar and its wireless subwoofer weigh 3.6 kg and 6.2 kg respectively.

Getting started with this soundbar couldn’t be more conventional. The Q60T is not “connected”, it is not necessary to go through a software to configure it before using it. In addition to a few controls directly accessible on the upper face, the Q60T can be controlled remotely thanks to the remote control that accompanies many models of 2019 and 2020. There is not much to complain about. On the other hand, navigation is still quite painful because of the ridiculous size of the screen integrated into the bar. You often have to wait a good five seconds, or even more, before you see the exact title of the parameter you want to change.

As always, the rear part of the bar includes all of the wired connections, unchanged from last year’s model (Q60R): there is an HDMI ARC output and a single HDMI input (4K, 60 Hz, HDR and HDR 10+), a Toslink optical input and a USB port (playback of AAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC and AIFF audio files). On the other hand, there is a small change on the Bluetooth side, which this time allows two simultaneous connections (multipoint).

3D is mentioned in Samsung‘s communication, but the bar can only handle 5.1 multichannel streams in Dolby Digital and DTS. DTS Virtual: X 3D virtualization mode algorithms can therefore only be based at best on these tracks. Suffice to say that we must forget the promised “3D” listening experience, which we will analyze in more detail in the audio part of this test. Regarding the PCM format, only stereo is supported.

With this Q60T, Samsung once again shows its great acoustic mastery in the field of bars.
In standard mode and without the virtualization mode engaged, this model indeed behaves very well. The restitution is rich, ample, detailed and very natural. There is no particular imbalance. Each frequency band is in its place. Precision is truly there, from low mids to highs, but the level of detail would have benefited from being greater at each end of the spectrum. The higher frequencies do indeed lack a bit of hairline and, depending on the audio mix of the stream being listened to, this region sometimes seems slightly detached although it is not really in front. As we had observed in other tests, this phenomenon is most likely due to the design of the Acoustic Beam system (projection of the treble by waveguides placed on the upper part of the bar).

Frequency response measurement: standard listening mode, subwoofer set to -1 (black), subwoofer set to -12 (blue).  We strongly advise against activating the Gaming mode, which does not add anything interesting apart from a significant frequency imbalance.

Frequency response measurement: standard listening mode, subwoofer set to -1 (black), subwoofer set to -12 (blue). We strongly advise against activating the Gaming mode, which does not add anything interesting apart from a significant frequency imbalance.

The subwoofer does an honest job. The crossover with the sound bar is well managed and balance is essential. However, the rendering of the extreme bass and bass is a bit messy and lacks punch, especially when listening to music. It can thus be a little difficult to clearly distinguish certain elements between them (the famous duo bass drum / bass, double bass, for example). Power is also at the rendezvous with the added bonus always excellent control of harmonic distortion. We can thus place ourselves at a generous listening volume without risk of distorting the sound reproduction.

Harmonic Distortion Rate measurement (normalized to 85 dB SPL, 1 m, 1 kHz).

Harmonic Distortion Rate measurement (normalized to 85 dB SPL, 1 m, 1 kHz).

The Q60T does a very good job of reproducing the stereo / front-end scene. It can extend quite generously beyond the physical dimensions of the bar by activating the surround mode, while remaining stable. We locate and replace each element without difficulty. The dialogues stand out perfectly well thanks to the dedicated speakers for the center channel. In this famous Surround mode, we are very far from the expected result on this kind of product. If it is not a widening of the frontal scene, as evoked, one does not feel any sensation of envelopment, if only on the sides. To taste the joys of the real surround on this bar, the acquisition of the rear satellites – sold separately, we remind you – therefore seems essential …

The DTS Virtual: X 3D virtualization mode has absolutely no interest since it does little better than the Surround mode. The consequences on sound balance are even disastrous. It significantly distorts the rendering because of a very exaggerated emphasis on the high mids / treble and a frank compression of the dynamics which makes listening very unnatural and even tiring.

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