Samsung HW-T550 Review: Well-balanced and powerful
The HW-T550 is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar from Samsung’s 2020 lineup that replaces the 2019 Samsung HW-R550 soundbar. However, these models are slightly different from each other. This soundbar does not have a dedicated center channel like the higher end Samsung HW-T650 with 3.1 sound.
The main competitors of the Samsung HW-T550 soundbar are the LG SN5Y, Yamaha YAS-209 and Polk Audio SIGNA S2. In this Samsung HW-T550 review, we take a look at the price-to-quality ratio to see if the HW-T550 is worth buying from Samsung.
Samsung HW-T550: Design
The soundbar of the Samsung HW-T550 looks a little different than last year’s Samsung HW-R550. The panel has no corner edges and looks more like 2019’s more expensive Samsung models like the HW-Q90R . The front is covered with a metal grille and the rest is covered with good quality plastic.
The subwoofer is almost identical to the previous model. The body is made of pressed shavings and the front panel is covered with fabric. The phase inverter is at the back. The HW-T550 soundbar is shorter than the 2019 model. This makes it possible to place it between the legs of some 55 “TVs. It’s also not too tall, so it won’t cover the bottom of the screen.
Similar to other models from Samsung, the subwoofer is about the same size as a desktop computer. Since the sub connects to the bar wirelessly, it can be placed anywhere. Like most soundbars, the back of the HW-T550 soundbar is very simple. The port is at the top and the power cable is at the bottom.
Therefore, the network cable is quite easy to “hide” from prying eyes. If there is a need to fix the soundbar on the wall, there is a special hole on the bottom side for this. Mounting brackets are included. The build quality of the T550 soundbar is good. The plastic material used seems to be durable, the speakers are covered with a metal grille.
The subwoofer feels a little cheap as it is covered with a cloth on the front, which is easy to stain or damage. In addition to the panel itself and the subwoofer, the package includes: 2 power cables, a power supply for the soundbar, an optical cable, a remote control with two batteries, a user manual and mounting brackets with screws.
The soundbar interface of the T550 is a small screen, which is centered on the bar compared to last year’s model. The display shows all the settings that you change. The screen is not very wide. Because of this, some information will sometimes need to be scrolled to see the entire message. The controls at the top of the panel are pretty simple. It is possible to turn on / off the panel, change the volume and rewire the inputs.
The remote, as in last year’s model, allows you to control all settings of the soundbar, but cannot be used as a universal remote. Unfortunately, this soundbar is not compatible with any Samsung app, which is disappointing compared to last year’s model. All settings must be done with the remote control. Samsung HW-T550 enters Power Save Mode after 20 minutes of inactivity.
The Samsung T550 soundbar has a good stereo frequency response. Despite its affordable price, the subwoofer delivers powerful and deep bass. The overall sound profile is well balanced. Samsung HW-T550 has decent stereo sound. The stage seems to be slightly wider than the soundbar width, which is very good.
However, the panel is dormant to expand the scene even further. On the other hand, objects in a stereo soundstage are well focused. You can easily pinpoint their location rather than hear the sound coming from one common place. The soundbar of the Samsung T550 can sound quite loud. This is great for a large room.
Moreover, the panel can be output at maximum volume without hearing the compressed sound. At normal listening volume, there is almost no audible distortion. However, there is a noticeable leap when pushing the volume to the limit. This distortion occurs mainly at high frequencies at maximum volume, but most listeners may not hear this distortion.
The HW-T550’s center channel performance is below average as this model does not have a dedicated center channel. This 2.1 stereo system uses left and right speakers to create a center sound that doesn’t sound as clear as with a separate speaker. However, voices still sound pretty accurate as there isn’t much bass on the center channel track.
The T550’s surround sound performance is very poor as the soundbar must mix the surround sound to stereo in order to be played. After all, the soundbar can only use the left and right speakers for playback.
This arrangement does not result in an accurate and clear representation of the surrounding objects in the soundstage. As a result, the sound appears to be coming in front of you, not around you. In addition, the output level is much quieter than when playing stereo content. This soundbar has no height channels and therefore does not support Dolby Atmos content .
The Samsung HW-T550 has many sound enhancement features but no room correction. This means that the sound may differ slightly depending on the size of the room. On the other hand, the Samsung HW-T550 acoustic panel has four additional presets.
These are Surround Sound, Game, Smart and DTS Virtual: X. The Smart preset uses DRC (Dynamic Range Compression) and acts as a dialogue enhancement function. In addition, the system is equipped with a 7-band equalizer.
Samsung HW-T550 has an optical audio input, one HDMI input and one output, and a USB port. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has decided to remove the 3.5mm analog jack that was equipped with last year’s HW-R550, which is very unfortunate. There is support for the ARC port . The unit can play both Dolby Digital and DTS files, which are often found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs.
However, the T550 cannot play 5.1 lossless audio. On the other hand, the soundbar can play lossless PCM 2.0 stereo content. Like most soundbars, DTS and Dolby Digital are supported via optical cable.
It is possible to transfer content via Bluetooth. The soundbar allows you to connect up to two devices at the same time, such as mobile phones. It is also possible to pause one playlist and start another from another device.
Balanced sound profile.
Good build quality.
7-band equalizer for sound customization. Cons
No support for Atmos content.
Surround sound loses power output.
The Samsung HW-T550 soundbar with 2.1 sound design has a well-balanced sound profile and a powerful wireless subwoofer.
The soundbar delivers decently deep bass, which is pretty decent for this price point. Unfortunately, due to the speaker configuration, the soundbar cannot support Atmos content, but it handles music quite well and is suitable for many different music genres. The device also contains several sound enhancement features, including dialog enhancement.