Have you just bought a 4K Ultra HD TV with curved screen from Samsung? For example, the HU8500 series that we have recently tested? Then of course there is a nice audio system. If you are going for minimal, sleek design and as few bells and whistles as possible, you will soon arrive at a soundbar. But, a rectangular soundbar under your curved screen does not look like that. That’s why Samsung has brought the HW-H7500, a curved soundbar, to the market especially for its curved TVs.
In short, it is an elongated speaker that you place in front of your TV or under your TV. This speaker features multiple drivers that can reproduce both stereo and virtual surround sound with different sound modes. A soundbar is therefore one speaker that contains all the functions of a 5.1-channel (or larger) home cinema system, but of course with limitations that we discuss further in this review. Most soundbar home cinema systems are equipped with a (wireless) subwoofer that provides the bass. The slim speaker is too small and compact to also convincingly display these tones.
Samsung HW-H7500 – specifications
The Samsung HW-H7500 (black) and HW-H7501 (silver) are specially developed to match the curved TVs of the Korean manufacturer. Both in terms of materials and curvature, they have to fit exactly with both the new and already launched models with a 55-inch or 65-inch format. According to Samsung, the systems offer an 8.1-channel surround sound, of course the virtual version. Furthermore, the speakers are equipped with Samsung’s own TV SoundConnect technology for easy connection with a TV, Bluetooth for streaming music, support for Dolby and DTS audio, an HDMI port and a USB port. The Samsung HW-H7500 and HW-H7501 soundbars with curved design have a suggested retail price of 699 euros but now for just over 500 euros for sale.
Samsung HW-H7500 – installation and design
The Samsung HW-H7500 is a soundbar that is suitable for a small target group, namely those with a curved TV from the Korean manufacturer. But, that does mean that the speaker is completely tuned for those TVs, both in terms of design and use. The speaker is delivered in a giant box but once opened a fairly minimal soundbar appears. It has a size of 1230 x 42 x 170 millimeters and weighs 4 kilograms. The subwoofer is heavier with 8.45 kilograms and has a size of 291 x 371 x 291 millimeters. Incidentally, you can of course place the soundbar on any other TV, even curved models from other manufacturers, but in design and functionality it is really a product for a Curved TV from Samsung.
The speaker is very tightly finished, with a gray grill that runs around the entire front, an LED display that is behind this grill and connections that are located at the rear. On top of the speaker you will find buttons for the volume, the standby function and the selection of the source. Samsung provides a small and somewhat cheap-looking and sensing remote control with which all functions can be controlled.
The installation is a piece of cake, the design is adjusted to the design of the TV. In the soundbar there is a cut-out so that the speaker fits exactly over the foot of the TV and can be placed neatly under the display. However, this means that the connections are not easily accessible anymore. It is therefore convenient to connect your USB hard drive, your HDMI cable and the ac adapter beforehand. But, after the installation, all those cables are no longer visible. Just putting a USB stick is a bit trickier, then the soundbar has to be removed from its place. Incidentally, it is unfortunate in this price range to see that there is only one hdmi input on the device, something you should definitely take into account. However, there is an optical input and a 3.5 mm port.
Once the soundbar is on, it is the turn of the subwoofer. This is wireless and can in principle be placed anywhere. When the soundbar is turned on, the subwoofer automatically connects and you can get started. The same applies to the connection with the TV when you do not use an HDMI cable. After activating the HW-H7500, the TV automatically notifies you and asks if the speaker needs to be paired for sound reproduction. Select ‘yes’ and the soundbar is ready for the real work.
Samsung HW-H7500 – use
Media that you have on a USB stick or disk can be played via the USB port, which is hidden at the back. The soundbar supports a large number of file formats, including AAC, FLAC and OGG. For the playback of audio from TV and other sources there is support for both Dolby Digital and DTS. In addition, there are a number of sound modes with which the audio reproduction can be influenced, including Cinema, Voice, Music, Sports and Standard. A minimal equalizer function allows you to adjust the bass and treble.
All inputs and functions work as you would expect, and linking a Bluetooth device, such as a smartphone, is simple. You select the Bluetooth input on the soundbar, activate Bluetooth on your smartphone and then select the soundbar on your smartphone. Once paired, music can be displayed.
Samsung HW-H7500 – quality
Of course it is all about the sound quality, which should be a drastic improvement compared to the built-in speakers of the TV. We can immediately say that indeed an impressive better audio reproduction gets, what you can also expect for 500 euros.
With a soundbar, however, it is important that you know what you are buying. A soundbar is not a 5.1-channel home cinema system with speakers in the back of the room, something that many people often realize too late. This is not only the fault of the consumer because too many manufacturers use marketing terms as ‘surround sound’ while a soundbar will never be able to deliver surround sound. Samsung also uses terms like 8.1-channel surround sound, but means that the sound is sent into the room via 8 speakers. A soundbar uses the acoustics in the room and the positioning (and direction) of the speakers to give a virtual surround sound, an audio reproduction that gives you a sense of a wide sound field with depth.
The HW-H7500 is therefore not a speaker that delivers an actual surround sound, it is and remains virtual. Depending on the acoustics of the room, the sound field is a lot broader and sound objects go further into space. Especially when you are sitting on the sweet spot , the middle of the soundbar, you get a convincingly wide audio reproduction that gives you the feeling that you are in the middle of the action than when you use the speakers of the TV. However, the sound will not really surround you in any way, but that is something that you have to realize in advance, before the purchase.
The Samsung HW-H7500 offers a well-balanced audio reproduction, with crystal clear dialogues and convincing surround effects that do not submerge these dialogues. The speaker provides a tight reproduction of low tones, without being overpowering, and subtle details remain remarkably well audible. In our view, the Standard mode offers the most natural and realistic audio reproduction, with a sound field that is sufficiently wide. Also the reproduction of music is above average good, with a dynamic range, a tight bass and a natural reproduction of vocals. Even at high volume the speaker knows how to maintain a good standing, although the bass may dominate a bit. However, this is easy to adjust.
Samsung HW-H7500 – conclusion
The Samsung HW-H7500 (and therefore HW-H7501) is not a soundbar for everyone. Especially those who have a Curved TV from the Korean manufacturer and are looking for a better audio quality with this model have a great system in house. The speaker fits perfectly with the Samsung TVs and has a high quality but simplistic look. The system is easy to use, you get various (wireless) connection options and the audio quality is above average level. It is not a cheap audio system but for about 500 euros you get quality, a sleek design and sufficient features.