Samsung and Harman Kardon Collaborate on New Soundbars

Samsung is showing two new soundbars at CES: HW-N950 and HW-N850. They both feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Interestingly, the soundbars sport both Samsung and Harman Kardon logos.

As you know, Samsung acquired Harman International in March, 2017. The two companies are stepping up their collaboration on audio products and these soundbars are two of the newest examples of that. First announced in August, they are making an appearance at CES. These soundbars represent the first major collaboration between the two companies in the premium audio category.

Reportedly, the soundbars were primarily developed by Korean engineers at Samsung, then the sound quality was tested and validated by Harman's rigorous in-house sound-quality testing regimen. As is the case for all Harman Kardon audio products, both objective and subjective criteria were used; the former tests used the traditional anechoic chamber and mock home environments, while the subjective tests used critical (human) listeners employing diverse audio formats and music genres.

The eternal question of the correlation between acoustical measurements and human impressions has long been a specialty at Harman, with decades of development to back up their methodology. It would be interesting to know how listeners judged the intended "3D" effect of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X provided by these soundbar systems.

To help provide immersion, both soundbars use up- and side-firing speakers. The 7.1-channel HW-N950 comprises a main unit, four speakers, two wireless surround-sound speakers, and a wireless subwoofer. The HW-N850 is a simplified version that comprises a main unit and a subwoofer.

Steve Goff's picture

They have been available for purchase for a long time. They are the subject of reviews and long owner threads on AV forums.