To experience one of the latest in home audio setups, the Robb Report Malaysia team took on the new Samsung Q800C soundbar and accompanying subwoofer, a 2023 release which is a more compact (and affordable) alternative to their flagship HW-Q990C which comes with satellites. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the Q800C soundbar is in the fact that it is also the world’s first Dolby Atmos surround sound which connects wirelessly to your television, realising the dream of having immersive sound minus the cables.
But first, a primer on why Dolby Atmos is so crucial: Dolby Atmos is the latest and greatest bit of technology in the world of audio, pioneered by the wizards at Dolby, the gold standard when it comes to cinematic sound. Atmos technology refers to a specific capability that helps to isolate individual sounds—like all the beeps and boops in a Star Trek spaceship or the surge of an engine in Top Gun: Maverick—so that an audience can hear each distinct noise. When you combine this technology with up-firing speakers typically included in a bar, sound bounces off the ceiling and down into your ears, providing a better, more immersive audio experience in your home—assuming the media you’re consuming is designed for it.
To fully exploit the Q800C’s abilities, we used the recommended HDMI eARC cable for a very minimal and straightforward setup with the Samsung S95C OLED television, running the HDMI eARC cable into the television and the power one into the wall socket. Then comes the test; playing content with the Dolby Atmos sound engineering (on Netflix the titles with the ability will have a Dolby Atmos logo next to the description).
With the Q800C’s True 5.1.2ch Sound, the surround sound quality is clearly evident with all of the speakers fully optimised. This works in concert with the proprietary Samsung Q-Symphony technology which, when connected with a Samsung-compatible television, enables the acoustic immersion which gets you the sensation of satellite speakers (even though you don’t have it) such as discerning the approach of a jet from left to right, or gunshots coming from a certain direction of the room. The only caveat, of course, is that you have to be watching content that is optimised for the surround sound to come to life.
The savvy SpaceFit Sound Pro on the Q800C is the sort of technology that you don’t see in but definitely will hear in operation. It works intelligently to analyse your space, calibrating all the elements of the experience to generate the right kind of sound based on your viewing content, giving you crisp, hushed tones of dialogue in dramas, and soul-shaking explosions of an action film, based on real-time scenes. Fast X anyone?
Some other nice touches include Bixby for voice control, as well as the tap sound which allows you to coordinate with the Samsung SmartThings app on your phone, letting you use the Q800C soundbar to stream music and podcasts via your phone using a straightforward Bluetooth connection.