A small but significant update

Samsung’s HW-Q990C It was the best overall soundbar I tested last year, mainly because of its excellent sound and the fact that it comes with a subwoofer and rear speakers. The company hasn’t changed much for the 2024 version, HW-Q990D, but in a pinch it offers a feature that last year’s model should have: HDMI 2.1. There are also some new audio modes, but you’ll find them on other Samsung soundbars. The Q990D is as powerful as ever, but it’s still expensive 2000 dollars. If you’ve already bought a Q990C, the company hasn’t given you a reason to upgrade just yet.


The Q990D’s biggest plus is that Samsung’s advanced soundbar is already a must-have feature.


  • HDMI 2.1
  • All-in-one surround setup
  • Great, immersive audio
  • Convenient features

  • expensive
  • It’s not a huge upgrade over last year’s model

$2,000 on Amazon

The biggest addition on the Q990D is HDMI 2.1. In doing so, Samsung addressed my main criticism of the Q990C, which debuted last year when most of the competition adopted the standard. HDMI 2.1 provides 4K passthrough at 120 frames per second, which improves visuals if you connect a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series Xi directly to the soundbar.

The Q990D also comes with new audio modes. Personal Listening disables all front-facing drivers and uses only the rear satellite speakers. It’s basically an extended version of the night mode that many companies offer on soundbars aimed at reducing noisy bass while family or roommates are asleep. My house has an open floor plan and my TV faces the bedroom hallway, which means that any soundbar will make noise in that direction. Private Listening sends the audio in the opposite direction, and while you may have to sacrifice some overall quality, it’s good enough for all the times you need to be quieter.

There’s also a new Party Play mode that provides a more balanced sound between the soundbar and rear speakers for a better experience while listening to Rager. With this on, you get the full audio range, rather than channels programmed specifically for the speakers behind you. I actually turned the speakers around and moved them out of the living room to deliver the retuned sound to the other communal spaces. This makes a bigger difference for movies and TV, as music now plays through the rear speakers with more balanced levels.

These two modes are not unique to the Q990D; The rest of the 2024 Q series will also be able to use them. Although this is my first time testing them and it’s remarkable that they actually work well on Samsung’s most expensive soundbar.

On the left, the Samsung Q990D soundbar shows a side-firing driver. On the left, the Samsung Q990D soundbar shows a side-firing driver.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The combination of a driver-filled soundbar, a large subwoofer and more robust rear speakers creates an immersive sound that surrounds my living room. Whether you’re listening to music or soundscape Dune, the Q990D retains the sound capabilities of its predecessor. Dolby Atmos content from Disney+ is as immersive as ever. I could hear the finer details of Knowhere in the opening scenes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, including a live reverb of Radiohead’s “Creep” played over the loudspeaker. The distracting sounds of the city, including the hustle and bustle of people moving around, make it seem like you’re standing right there.

For music, there’s deep, punchy bass when the track calls for it, and that crisp detail I hear in movies. Justice Hyperdrama The Q990D showcases its range, accompanied by textured synths on songs like “Neverender.” Quieter genres like jazz are also blanketed in sound by Miles Davis’ albums. A kind of blue offers subtleties that make you feel like you’re in the studio.

What I like most about the Q990D is that everything you need for a full surround sound setup is included in the box. Subwoofer and rear speakers come with the soundbar and do not require additional purchase. These satellite speakers also feature top-firing and side-firing drivers, which is not always the case with comparable accessories from the competition. Installation is as easy as connecting everything to the network, as integration with the rest of the system happens automatically.

One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sits on a wooden table. One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sits on a wooden table.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The all-in-one setup is great, but it also means the Q990D is expensive. Even if you get everything you need in the package, at $2,000 it’s a significant investment. The Q990D is currently on sale for $1,750, but we don’t know how long that discount will last. By comparison, Sony comes close Bravia Bar 9 It is 1400 dollars. The cheapest subwoofer and rear speakers you can get for this are $400 and $350, respectively, bringing your total cost to $2,150. Of course, with Sony you have two options for bottoms and backs, and you don’t have to buy them all. LG offers some respite if you want to go that route S95TR It comes in at $1,500 and includes a subwoofer and rear speakers.

The overall size of the soundbar is another thing to consider. The Q990D has 11 front speakers, two up-firing drivers and a subwoofer. All of these components need space, and accommodating them means this soundbar is quite large at 48.5 inches wide. While this isn’t a deal breaker in itself, it does require some planning, so know that you’ll need a spacious room.

Like soundbars from other companies, the Q990D also has some useful features designed for Samsung TVs. For example, Q-Symphony 2020-2024, which uses your TV speakers in addition to the soundbar to expand audio capabilities, requires a compatible Samsung TV. The Q990D sounds great without it, but be aware that you won’t get the full package of tricks unless you also have a supported TV.

Unless you don’t care about the latest HDMI standards Q990D it doesn’t offer a huge improvement over last year’s model. Their design and feature lists are almost identical except for two new sound modes and 4K/120 switching. And some of these extras are available on more affordable Samsung soundbars. So if you’ve already started on last year’s Q990C, there’s probably not enough reason to make another big investment. If you still don’t own a Samsung flagship soundbar, the Q990D now offers powerful, immersive sound in an all-in-one package with all the modern conveniences you need.

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