Samsung HW-D550 Speaker Bar - Final Thoughts on the HW-D550

Article Index
Samsung HW-D550 Speaker Bar
Closer Look at the HW-D550
Features and Specifications
Test Setup and Testing
Final Thoughts on the HW-D550
 

Final Thoughts:

The HW-D550 from Samsung is a product that arrived here without a lot of anticipation.  Samsung requested that I look at this product, and after taking a look at a lot of their other consumer electronics products over the past few years, I thought it would be a bit interesting to look at a sound bar, so I agreed.  Overall, the build quality of the HW-D550 is not too bad - for a plastic speaker.  There is no getting around the fact that it feels cheap; at least the sound bar part does.  The sub-woofer feels more solid and the cabinet is made of wood with some plastic accents, and it should hold up pretty well.  In fact, both items should hold up well under normal use.

Samsung has included a single HDMI-to-Mini HDMI with the speakers and I do wish they'd include at least one more to output back to your TV.  As all of the HDMI ports on the device are mini, most people don't have extras of these and you'll need to head to the store and pick up a few more - probably at an overly inflated price.  The other extras are well-received though and the remote, mounting bracket and analog cable are appreciated.


Installation and use is super simple - if you have the appropriate cables.  Everything works great out of the box and setup and picking a DSP to match your media choice is simple and easy.  If you're a hardened geek, or a 91 year young grandma, you'll be able to unpack this and get it working in a matter of minutes.

Overall performance wasn't too bad, but it lacks the hi-fidelity sound of a high-end product.  I currently have the Axiom Audiobytes hooked to my TV + the EPZero Subwoofer and they sound significantly better in terms of clarity, crispness, accuracy and resonance.  The Axiom package retails for $200 more than the Samsung HW-D550 and they only have a single analog input.  It isn't a fair comparison for sure, but this is what I had available to "test" for comparison.  The Samsung product is much more robust in terms of connectivity and features, but for raw audio enjoyment, spending more always gets you better results.

The value of the HW-D550 is kind of hard to nail down for me.  While it does offer a lot in the way of features and has decent performance, for ~$400 it's not an easy or an impulse buy.  There are some basic packages that will probably get you better sound for the same money, but they probably won't give you a wireless sub-woofer and all of the input options, DSP, etc.  If you could snag this for $300 and it came with a few extra cables, I'd find it an easier pill to swallow.   

Overall though, it's still pretty hard to dump on the HW-D550.  It works well and the best part is how seamlessly it integrates into your TV/Console/Music experience.  With a simple two minute setup, it can easily provide much better audio than your TV set alone and makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.  Even though it's not perfect, there certainly is nothing wrong with the HW-D550 that would make me say not to go out and buy one.

All things being equal, this is a pretty good product, but at ~$400 it's a little pricey to have as a "Highly Recommended" product.


Pros:

  • Excellent input options 
  • Good sound quality
  • Wireless sub-woofer doesn't receive interference and just works
  • USB port for firmware updates
  • Lots of DSP, 3D, Auto-Level options
  • Separate bass control and lots of bass

 

Cons:

  • Speakers aren't as clear as other similarly priced stereo speakers
  • Plastic enclosure feels pretty cheap
  • Needs to include more mini-HDMI cables
  • Pretty expensive way to get better sound from your TV

 

 BCCRating

Silver

 

I'd like to thank Samsung for sending over the HW-D550 for us to review.  If you have any thoughts, comments or questions on this product and this review, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.