Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Samsung HW-MS650 review: This innovative soundbar is now cheaper than ever

Christopher Minasians
19 Nov 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

With no audible distortion, the MS650 has a crisp, clean and accurate sound

Pros 
Overall sound quality
Connectivity options
Cons 
Sub-bass response
No Bluetooth aptX support
Advertisement

If you’re looking for supercharged movie audio without the clutter of multiple speakers and trailing cables, Samsung’s latest soundbar might be just the ticket. At £550, it’s a little spendier than some, but with nine drivers and a raft of audio-wrangling technology hidden beneath its jet-black exterior, the MS650 promises serious bass from a single box.


Deal update: This brilliant soundbar is now just £300

Over at Amazon, the Samsung HM-MS650 all-in-one smart soundbar has dropped to its lowest ever price, ever: this snazzy piece of kit is now priced at just £300. That's a significant drop in price from its original review price of £550. If you're curious to know more about the soundbar, continue reading our review below.

For more deals, click here to see our pick of the best soundbar deals you can find in the UK.

Buy now from Amazon


Samsung HW-MS650 review: What you need to know

The Samsung MS650 is seriously impressive. Its sound quality is stunning and can fill a large living room with ease. If you’ll be watching movies, it won’t eliminate the need for a dedicated subwoofer, but comes very close to it.

How does it do it? Well, Samsung’s new range of soundbars (from the MS550 upwards), have innovative distortion cancelling technology that accurately monitors the movement of the speaker drivers, and optimises the incoming audio to produce the best, lowest-distortion performance from each. Suffice to say, it works.

You’re spoilt for choice with connectivity options, as you’ll be able to use it via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, analogue 3.5mm inputs, HDMI or optical connections. It is beautifully designed and will blend into most living room setups. Its main drawback? At £550, it’s definitely not a budget option.

READ NEXT: Best soundbars of 2017 – our favourite TV speakers

Samsung HW-MS650 review: Price and competition

At £550, the MS650 faces stiff competition. For almost the same wad of cash, you can purchase the Bose SoundTouch 300 and for a little more, the Sonos Playbar and the Philips Fidelio B5.

Cheaper, but still brilliant, you’ll find the Cambridge Audio TV2 for £200 and the Q Acoustics Media 4 for £270.

Buy now from John Lewis

Samsung HW-MS650 review: Design, features and connectivity

The MS650’s brushed aluminium design and rounded edges make for a lovely-looking soundbar. However, it’s not small: measuring 1,060mm across, 130.5mm deep and 78mm tall, the MS650 won’t fit under some television stands nor might it fit on your fireplace, so you’ll want to make sure you can accommodate it in your living room.

Still, if you’re not keen on the idea of drilling holes in your walls, Samsung has created an ingenious bracket that attaches the soundbar to your already wall-mounted television. The Samsung WMN-300SB One Mount Kit can be purchased for an additional £70, and mounts directly into VESA holes found at the back of your TV. If you want your soundbar seamlessly integrate with your wall-mounted television, it’s well worth considering.

Samsung includes a sleek, easy-to-use remote. With it, you can change input modes, adjust the volume, bass, treble, surround sound, flick though different sound modes, toggle play/pause, or skip tracks. Better still, if you own a Samsung TV, it integrates with Samsung’s Eden UX, and provides access to your soundbar’s settings on your TV screen. Thankfully, you’re not out of luck if you lose the remote down the back of the sofa: there are physical buttons for power, volume source selection on the soundbar’s right-hand side.

Samsung has opted to move the LED display on its 2017 soundbars from an off-centre position to the right-hand side. The small display enables you to view key information such as the current audio source or sound modes, or precisely adjust the volume level.

Underneath the soundbar, you’ll find its connections: there’s a power input and output (so you don’t need two wall sockets to power both the soundbar and TV), an optical digital input, analogue 3.5mm input, and HDMI input and output (TV-ARC). Its connectivity options don’t stop there, as the MS650 has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity too. It’s mildly disappointing that aptX support isn’t present, though, as this would improve audio quality over Bluetooth connections.

On the plus side, the MS650 does have support for both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 2.0 codecs, and capable of handling 24bit 96Khz audio without the need to down-sample. This means you’ll be able to play hi-res lossless, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, and AIFF audio directly through the soundbar.

READ NEXT: All soundbar reviews

Samsung HW-MS650 review: App

Samsung’s Multiroom app provides a clean, simple interface which allows the MS650 to integrate with music services such as Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn radio, amongst others. Fire up the app and you can play music directly from your device’s internal storage, or stream it from the various music services.

You can also adjust the tone of the MS650 via the app’s 7-band equaliser, and add other compatible Samsung devices to your network to create a true multi-room setup.

READ NEXT: Best PC speakers 2017

Samsung HW-MS650 review: Sound quality

The Samsung MS650 houses nine drivers (six woofers, three tweeters), each of which has a dedicated amplifier that connects to a single digital signal processor (DSP). The DSP does the hard work of directing multi-channel inputs to the appropriate drivers: for example, due to the MS650 supporting Dolby Digital 5.1 inputs, and the soundbar housing a three-channel driver setup (each channel has three dedicated drivers), the DSP resamples the digital six-channel signal to suit the 3.0 output. That means true surround sound isn’t on the cards, but Samsung will be releasing an optional Wireless Surround Kit and wireless subwoofer in the coming months.

The MS650’s overall sound quality is superb. Samsung’s distortion cancelling technology seems to be very effective indeed, and this is most evident in the MS650’s potent reserves of mid-bass slam, with the nine drivers working together to produce a fantastically clear, crisp and punchy sound. In comparison to many soundbars I’ve tested, the MS650 sounds vastly more composed and accurate.

There isn’t a huge amount of truly earth-shaking sub-bass, but as the MS650’s bass output disappears below 34Hz, that’s to be expected – after all, home cinema subwoofers routinely reach down as low as 20Hz. There’s an impressive amount of bass on offer given how compact the MS650 is, but don’t expect to hear earth-shattering bass when you blow up a tank in Battlefield 1. If you like explosions in games and movies to shake your living room dinner table, then you’ll want to budget for the matching wireless subwoofer, the Samsung SWA-W700 (detailed below).

Move further up the frequency range, though, and the MS650 is stunning. You might expect pristine sound to come as standard with a £600 speaker, but there are plenty of speakers and soundbars that fall short of the mark. By contrast, I found the MS650 to sound blissful: vocals are accurate and lifelike; instruments with complex high frequencies such as cymbals are reproduced flawlessly, and the clarity reveals minute details in both movies and music. No matter how loud you push it, the MS650 never sounds jumbled or congested.

The soundstage is also impressive, with a wide room-filling sound that spreads far beyond the soundbar’s dimensions. The MS650 provide oodles of depth, and instruments are all clearly positioned across a deep, wide soundstage. It’s highly impressive.

READ NEXT: Samsung HW-K850 review: Half a surround system, but not half-hearted

Samsung HW-MS650 review: Paired with Samsung SWA-W700

Having heard the MS650 without a subwoofer, I felt it missed that extra low-end rumble. This is due to an intentional cut-off at 34Hz. The 350W SWA-W700 wireless subwoofer addresses that. By supporting a 27Hz~120Hz frequency range, it provides that oomph the MS650 was missing. Coupled with the soundbar, it sounds incredible. Mid and high frequencies are wonderfully portrayed and the lows are passed down to the subwoofer, which delivers clean, crisp and earth-shattering bass. Just like the MS650, the SWA-W700 subwoofer also features distortion cancelling technology.

The only caveat is the subwoofer's price. At £600, it isn't cheap. You can, however, get a discount if you're buying it with the soundbar - ask your local retailers for more details.

Samsung HW-MS650 review: Verdict

There is very little to dislike about the Samsung MS650 soundbar – in fact, it only has two flaws: the lack of window-shattering sub-bass and the absent Bluetooth aptX support. These flaws can’t take anything away from its finer qualities, though, as Samsung has concocted a winning combination of dynamic sound quality, ample connectivity and attractive design.

If you can afford to shell out £550 on a soundbar, then this should be at the top of your list – the MS650 is truly one of the best soundbars money can buy.

Buy now from John Lewis

Read more

Reviews