Sony HT-A9 vs Samsung Q950A, which one is the best? If you have tight budget and want all speakers included in the home theater system, the Samsung HW-Q950A is best for you. On the other hand, if you want unique and extraordinary home theater sound, and have flexible budget, the Sony HT-A9 is worth a try.
Samsung with wide-angle tweeters will deliver a broad sweet spot. Dedicated drivers angled in different direction along with audio formats like Atmos and DTS:X makes Samsung the best budget-friendly soundbar. Up-firing channels can create powerful overhead effect. Sound around you are quite accurate that will keep you engaged in movies or games.
Sony creates a powerful dome of sound that comes from the real and virtual speakers. The psychoacoustic sound is very convincing which is far better than virtual sound created by other soundbars. It feels and sounds more real and lifelike. Redefining home theater audio is what Sony HT-A9 gives you.
Quick differences of Sony HT-A9 and Samsung HW-Q950A soundbars, and compatible TVs:
Our pick: Sony HT-A9
Sony HT-A9 vs Samsung Q950A: Compare and Contrast
Comparison between the Sony HT-A9 and Samsung Q950A are shown in this table:
Size and placement:
Comparing Sony HT-A9 vs Samsung Q950A, Samsung is a soundbar that comes with two rear speakers and a sub. Sony HT-A9 is not a soundbar, rather it consists of four speakers and a hub to connect them together. Sony advertises the HT-A9 to have the most flexible placement. The image below is an indication of that.
This means you can place the speaker in places where it is not recommended by manufacturers. We have tried placing the speakers in different places and the result is just the same as suggested by Sony. In case your room is a mess, and you wonder where to put the speakers yet get spectacular sound, Sony HT-A9 will do it for you.
Sony has the Sound Field Optimization which means you can place left and right speakers at different position and different heights. All these speakers will identify its horizontal and vertical location and then produce sound. In real life, this is actually true and not some misleading marketing terms.
Samsung soundbar has a height of 2.8” and width of 48.4”. So, it can adjust under most TVs without blocking your view. Subwoofer and rear speaker placement should follow basic placement guidelines. The rear speakers will stay behind the user and angled towards the listener. See the image below for more details.
Design and build:
Samsung HW-Q950A has fabric grille and is made of plastic. The build quality might not seem to be premium but is quite sturdy. It has a display, but it is placed in an inconvenient place. It lies on the top of the unit and since you will be using the bar sitting down, watching TV, or listening to music, you will not be able to see the display at all.
Although the build quality of both these home theaters are quite good, if you are a pet person or have kids running around, the Samsung fabric will attract dust and hair. Sony HT-A9 speakers have fabric grille, they have a cylindrical shape, but the back side is flat instead of being circular. The build quality is pretty good.
This Samsung soundbar HW-Q950A review will reveal the details of the system. Samsung HW-Q950A has a total of 16 channels with a total of 22 speaker in the system. There are two side-firing drivers and the soundbar has 15 of the 22 speakers. The three front channel has 2 oval woofers and a tweeter in each. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
The surround or rear speakers are quite large and has 3” woofers in each speaker. Then there is a subwoofer that has a rear port on the back and a side opening covered with fabric grille. There are woofers on the side channels of the soundbar, both channels that is at an angle on the front and another one on the side. These woofers are also available in the up-firing Atmos channel.
The soundbar delivers sound directly, sideways, and upwards and in this way creates a 360-surround sound. Choosing the Surround Sound mode will make the soundstage wider with excellent dynamics. In case you are using the soundbar for gaming, use the Game Pro mode. The mid-range and highs are very good, and the dialogues are crystal clear without sounding too heavy or distracting.
The soundstage is massive specially for a soundbar. The bass has real authority delivering tight low-end without any distortion. While watching movies, actions unfolding on the screen becomes lively with surround sound. While there are several other soundbars with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the HW-Q950A delivers outstanding Dolby Atmos performance creating cinematic experience like no other.
Comparing Samsung HW-Q950A vs Samsung HW-Q900A , the Q-900A is a 7.1.2 system without any rear speakers. It is a good home theater system which you can get at even lower cost but the HW-Q950A is better. In this Sony HT-A9 review, we will focus on the advantages along with its drawbacks. Sony HT-A9 creates 12-channel sound system with only 4 speakers.
There are 12 amps within the system. Each speaker has soft dome tweeter, mid-bass driver, up-firing driver and two microphones. This is a wireless home theater that connect to the hub. These X-Balanced speakers ensure zero distortion and clear vocals. They deliver natural sound, and the up-firing driver will reflect audio from the ceiling and then to the user.
In terms of Sony HT-A9 sound quality, it is top-notch, spectacular, and premium. You will receive high-end audio from this system. The movies are fuller and immersive. The surround sound adjusts itself based on what you are watching which is not something we feel with other soundbars. Although there is no center channel, the phantom center channel works very well.
The purpose of any sound system is that it should deliver audio without distracting you with its presence. This is exactly what we feel with Sony HT-A9, dialogues are prominent, but it doesn’t force you to feel sound is coming from the center speaker. The four speaker detects horizontal and vertical space in your room with their built-in microphone and create multiple phantom channels.
The sound will envelope you and you will experience 360 spatial sound mapping. Sony does what it says and if you prefer audio among others, Sony HT-A9 is the best sound system for you. It can deliver traditional theatrical sound and as you listen it, you will feel that you are sitting in an actual home theater.
Sony uses DSP and the result is actually worth it. Bombs explosion, heartbeats, birds flapping their wings: these movie effects become vivid and prominent. Inclusion of the subwoofer will fill the gaps with appropriate punch. In case you experience any audio dropout, make sure the hub and speakers are in line-of-sight.
Although the SW5 subwoofer is expensive than the SW3, it is more powerful and impactful than the SW3. The SW3 has a 200W of power and 160mm driver and the SW5 has 180mm driver with 300W power. While SW3 can be used with others, the SW5 seems to be compatible with the Sony HT-A9 sound quality.
In case you are looking for a SonyHT-A9 alternative, the Bronze Audio 100 paired with center and Bronze 50 forms a good home theater system. For the Samsung Q950A alternative, look into Nakamichi Shockwave home theater.
Sony HT-A9 sound system claims to transform the 4.0.4 to a 7.1.4 with the help of Sound Field Optimisation and Monopole Synthesis. Connecting wirelessly to the hub, creating a clean look with no wires makes the Sony HT-A9 the ultimate wireless home theater system in town. However, we can’t forget the wired connection to the TV. Both the Samsung and Sony HDMI out supports ARC, eARC, CEC.
The setup is very easy where you need to follow the on-screen commands. Complete the setup as instructed to get the best audio out of the system. The Samsung soundbar setup is easy as breeze as well. Sony uses Acoustic Center Sync that will match sound with the object on screen. Samsung supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2.
Sony supports these three along with Chromecast and Spotify Connect. The HT-A9 has less number of inputs and outputs when compared to the HW-Q950A. It has one HDMI IN, one Out and that’s it. There is a S-Center out for connecting TV and USB for updates. The Immersive Audio Enhancement technology can take regular content and upscale them into surround sound.
The Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) Extreme can enhance the quality of low-res contents.Samsung HW-Q950A soundbar supports High Resolution audio files. It works with features like Tap Sound and Q-Symphony. You can choose different Surround modes in Samsung like Surround Sound expansion, Game Pro, Standard, and Adaptive.
Connections include 2 HDMI In and one HDMI out. It supports MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV files. The HDMI also works with Dolby Vision and HDR 10+. The last port is the optical input and that it, you will not find any USB port for playback in this soundbar. Basic buttons on the soundbar are mic on/off, multifunction button and volume up/down.
Comparing the HW-Q950A vs HT-A9, the Samsung soundbar paired with Samsung TV has the SpaceFit+ feature. This is an auto calibration feature which will emit white noise and analyze your room shape and structure, to deliver the audio accordingly. In case you don’t have the Samsung TV, the Auto EQ feature of the soundbar will perform this process.
Similar to Samsung TV, it has Active Voice Amplifier (AVA) which will ‘watch’ the surrounding sound and re-adjust the audio.
Remote or voice control
Samsung works with Amazon Alexa but there is no Google Assistant which is quite disappointing. Along with remote control, it has Samsung Smart app. The app doesn’t have all the features of the remote, so you eventually have to use the remote which is a drawback. The sleek remote control has only 10 buttons along with a circular navigation pad.
Sound modes mentioned above can be chosen from the remote. You can use the Sound Control to change treble, adjust Sync, or change volume of each speaker. With woofer level button you can increase or decrease within +6 to –6. With HDMI CEC support, the Samsung TV remote can be used to controlbasic soundbar functions. The HW-Q950A soundbar is quite versatile in terms of control.
Sony HT-A9 comes with a remote control and if you have Bravia XR TVs, then you can use the TV remote to control the bar. Sony supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Just connect the voice assistant devices to the hub and you are good to go. The remote control has several buttons, you can choose different presents from Auto Sound: Voice, Night, Cinema, Music, Standard, Immersive AE.
Samsung HW-Q950A is the best all-in-one home theater solution. Since it comes with rear speakers along with a subwoofer, you don’t need to include anything later. Sony HT-A9 only has four speakers but since you will be using the two as rear speakers, all you need in the inclusion of a subwoofer. You can buy the SW3 or SW5 subwoofer.
Integration with TV
When Samsung HW-Q950A is paired with Samsung TVs, Q-Symphony comes into action. However, the Q-Symphony with only work with latest TV models of 2020 and 2021. The TV and soundbar syncs perfectly and the integration will make you want to pair the soundbar only with Samsung TVs. You can connect via HDMI or go wireless if the TV supports Bluetooth.
But you can always connect it with any other TV models. All you need to do is match the connections. Sony comes with a headphone-like wire to make connection between the hub and the TV. If you want to use the TV as center channel, you need to have this connection.
This seems a major put-off when all the speakers are wireless. You can avoid connecting it with Sony TV and still enjoy center channel. Samsung performs better when connected to Samsung TV than Sony. Sony will easily work with other TV brands like LG, Vizio, etc.
Sony HT-A9: Best for
Sony HT-A9 is best for movies creating realistic sound like no other. Atmos and surround sound will make you imagine that you are in a movie theater.
Gaming are pretty good with HT-A9 as it supports 8K, 4K/120 passthrough. The DV deals with graphics and images making them detailed.
Music is as impressive as movies with 360 reality Audio. the instruments, vocals deliver audio as intended by the singer. It engulfs you completely and instead of just coming from front, the audio surrounds you. Set the Auto Sound preset and AE on the remote to improve audio.
Samsung Q950A: Best for
Samsung HW-Q950A is best for movies creating a 3-dimensional surround sound. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X makes the overhead effect quite prominent.
Music is average and isn’t the best category for Samsung. However, it improves if you select the Adaptive mode on which will analyze the content you are playing and optimize the audio.
Gaming with HW-Q950A is decent because it has a dedicated Game Pro preset. But there is no support for 4k@120Hz or VRR.
How I rated the Samsung HW-Q950A and Sony HT-A9:
Few factors get higher priority while choosing a home theater system. However, they also vary from person to person.
Why are you looking for a home theater system? If your first priority is to watch movies, both Sony and Samsung sound systems will perform well. Sony HT-A9 is an all-rounder. Gaming and music can be easily enjoyed with this system. Samsung is a movie-soundbar but will work well with games.
Not everyone needs high-end and premium sound quality, and not everyone understands it. In case you want a high-quality Dolby Atmos soundbar, for most users a Samsung HW-Q950A is capable of producing cinema-like sound. However, if you have own couple of latest TV models and know your taste and music better, then there are better systems that this.
Comparing Sony HT-A9 vs Samsung HW-Q950A, the Sony is relatively better sounding than Samsung HW-Q950A. But you need to make sure to buy the subwoofer to pair with it for optimum experience. Sony uses DSP, phantom channel and several other technologies moving a step ahead of latest soundbars.
In case your TV doesn’t have HDMI port, it will become useless with Sony HT-A9. With Samsung, you have the option to go with optical input. So, make sure the TV and soundbar connections match.
In most cases, the price remains the only barrier between the user and their dream sound system. Comparing Sony HT-A9 vs Samsung HW- Q950A price, the Sony is costlier than Samsung. The cost will rise more when paired with the SW5 subwoofer. We have mentioned it before and will say it again that, don’t consider the sub as optional.
Sony HT-A9 over Samsung HW-Q950A, is it worth the extra cost? Well, absolutely. Go for the Sony HT-A9 if you can. However, the Samsung HW-Q950A will still be one of the best soundbar because you don’t have to buy any speaker or subwoofer with it. It doesn’t have any hidden cost. For most cases the Samsung will be a pleasing sound system but, if you want to explore further, Sony HT-A9 is the one for you.
Dialogues, movie effects are well represented by Samsung. DTS: X and Atmos with up-firing drivers will create immersive sound adequate to please movie-geeks. While the performance of Samsung HW-Q950A is outstanding, comparing the Samsung HW-Q950A vs Sony HT-A9, it is one of the best mid-level home theater systems in 2021.
Both these sound systems are easy as breeze in terms of control and setup. Design-wise the Samsung soundbar cloth-grille is prone to dust and hair and might get dirty after some time. If you game a lot and listen to music, along with movies, we recommend the Sony HT-A9. While the price may be high, the performance goes even higher leaving you surprised.
This FAQ is here to solve some of the most asked questions from all over the internet. let’s find out the asnweres.
What can I do if the Sony HT-A9 speakers aren’t connected?
Follow these troubleshooting steps:
- Press the Home button on the remote to get the menu on the TV.
- Go to Setup> Advanced Settings
- Then choose speaker Settings> Wireless Speaker Settings > Start manual linking
- Check for Link on speakers.
- Press the Link for all speaker
- You will see the power indicator glow green two times
- Then choose Start option and the TV screen shows the settings
- Complete the process, then press Finish
How to manually perform setup of the Samsung HW-Q950A?
- Switch off the Soundbar
- Then press the ID set on the subwoofer and rear/surround speakers and wait for 5s.
- Check whether the red light on the speaker turns blue.
- Use the remote to push the Up button, then wait again for 5s.
- The soundbar will show ID set on the display, then it will turn on as the process is complete.
- Blue LED on the devices will ensure the connection is complete.