Samsung has significantly improved its audio sport in the previous couple of years. The Samsung HW-K950 introduced Dolby Atmos sound and upfiring audio system to the South Korean producer’s audio arsenal in 2016, and final 12 months’s HW-MS650 received our Editor’s Selection award for dominating conventional encompass setups.
The Samsung HW-N400 is the corporate’s newest entry-level soundbar and kinds a part of its ‘all-in-one’ vary – i.e. it’s a single unit, with no separate subwoofer. It’s designed for smaller display sizes, with a diminutive cupboard and a simplified set of options.
Like its older siblings, the HW-Okay950 and HW-MS650, the N400 seems good on paper, however does it carry out nicely sufficient to be included as a part of the household?
Samsung’s HW-N400 makes use of an nearly equivalent design to its different 2018 soundbars, primarily wanting like a black rectangular block. The construct high quality is excellent, and the one unit feels strong and properly engineered. There’s a steel grille alongside the entrance, a brushed steel end to the highest and plastic sides.
The N400 is designed to enhance smaller TV screens, so it’s solely 640mm huge, however at 71mm excessive it’s truly taller than the bigger HW-N650. It ought to have the ability to slot in entrance of most TVs with out blocking the display, though if that is a matter the narrower cupboard is designed to simply match on a shelf. Samsung additionally consists of devoted brackets for individuals who would fairly wall mount the soundbar.
There’s a centrally-located LED show on the entrance of the N400, which supplies easy suggestions throughout operation. The show lights up once you use the controls, and supplies primary data on the settings, quantity and chosen inputs. On the proper hand facet finish panel, you’ll discover some primary controls for choosing inputs, adjusting the quantity and turning the soundbar on and off.
The included distant is definitely fairly good, and definitely higher than the form of controller usually included with smaller soundbars. It’s ergonomically designed, suits comfortably within the hand, and consists of all of the buttons you’ll want. These have additionally been sensibly laid out, making set-up and operation as simple as attainable.
All of the connections are situated in a recessed space on the backside of the soundbar. Right here you’ll discover an HDMI enter and an HDMI output with ARC (Audio Return Channel). There’s additionally a USB port, a three.5mm auxiliary audio jack, an optical digital audio enter, and a connector for the separate energy provide.
The Samsung HW-N400 makes use of a 2.1-channel speaker configuration, with two forward-firing channels every composed of a mid-range driver and huge dispersion tweeter. This configuration means the soundbar doesn’t have a devoted centre channel for dialogue.
The connectivity of the N400 seems affordable for a soundbar at this worth level, however on nearer inspection a sure limitation grow to be obvious. The included HDMI enter and output are each model 1.four, which implies the Samsung can’t move 4K or HDR.
How huge a difficulty that’s will rely in your show and sources, however the most effective strategy can be to attach all the things to your TV and ship the audio to the soundbar by way of ARC. That approach you mitigate the issue of restricted HDMI connections and their incapability to move 4K and HDR.
Because the N400 solely helps two-channel Dolby Digital and DTS, utilizing ARC received’t make any distinction to the sound high quality both.
The soundbar doesn’t help Samsung’s multiroom system, but it surely does embody Bluetooth. So not solely are you able to stream music out of your smartphone or pill, however you can even ship wi-fi sound to the N400 from a suitable Samsung TV.
There are two sound modes; Commonplace and Encompass. The Commonplace mode simply makes use of the entrance two audio system and is greatest for music and sure TV programmes, whereas the Encompass mode is designed for motion pictures, TV dramas and video games.
The Samsung HW-N400 is a superbly competent soundbar that fulfils its function of enhancing the sonic efficiency of smaller TVs with ultra-slim panels.
Nonetheless, given the wonderful audio delivered by a few of Samsung’s latest soundbars, it’s onerous to not be barely dissatisfied.
The smaller-sized cupboard clearly limits the width of the entrance soundstage, and though Samsung’s use of a wide-dispersion tweeter helps to a level, it nonetheless feels decidedly slim. That received’t be a difficulty in smaller rooms, however the N400 will definitely wrestle in bigger ones.
The soundbar additionally feels fairly under-powered, and it’s fascinating to notice that Samsung doesn’t quote any amplification numbers of their advertising. We may flip the quantity as much as full and it nonetheless wasn’t that loud, though on the plus facet the audio didn’t distort even at full quantity.
There are not any devoted woofers constructed into the N400, only a small bass port on the rear left of the cupboard. In consequence, the soundbar has little or no in the best way of low frequency presence, leading to a sound that lacks any actual bass influence. Coupled with the restricted amplification, this does lead to a reasonably underwhelming efficiency total.
When it got here to common TV programmes, the N400 was capable of produce a satisfying audio expertise. The music and sound results of documentaries and fewer demanding TV reveals had been delivered nicely, and dialogue remained clear, regardless of the dearth of a centre speaker.
The place the N400 started to wrestle was with TV dramas and films, each of which provide larger and extra immersive soundtracks. The soundbar may nonetheless deal with music and dialogue with none points, however the soundstage lacked width, results had been onerous to put and bass was restricted.
This sense of constraint additionally utilized to gaming, the place the sense of immersion was additionally restricted. Conversely the stereo nature of the N400 lends itself to two-channel content material, and we did discover that music was properly rendered, even when the devices lacked low frequency depth.
The Commonplace sound mode is your best option for music, however we usually discovered it was additionally higher suited to TV reveals and films. The included encompass mode both had little impact on the audio, failing to create a higher sense of immersion, or it added an echoey presence that detracted from the general expertise.
Different soundbars to think about
An important rival for the Samsung HW-N400 is the Acoustic Vitality AEGO Sound3ar. It makes use of a small however very nicely made cupboard that sounds larger than it’s, and because of a separate wired subwoofer it has loads of bass, too. The distant is a bit garbage, and there’s no HDMI help, however the AEGO Sound3ar gives an ideal efficiency at a cracking worth.
Equally priced to the N400, the Q Acoustics M3 is also one other soundbar that’s value contemplating. It doesn’t have a separate subwoofer, identical to the N400, however in contrast to the Samsung it’s able to a wider soundstage, extra energy and deeper bass. The M3 solely has an HDMI output, however given the constraints of the N400 on this space, that’s largely irrelevant.
Lastly, the Polk Magnifi Mini soundbar is one other nice alternative that is shut in worth to the N400. Because the title suggests the Mini makes use of a small cupboard, however as soon as once more it is able to producing a much bigger soundstage than you’d count on. It additionally has a separate wi-fi subwoofer for deeper bass, whereas an HDMI output and a nicely designed distant spherical out a really good package deal.
The Samsung HW-N400 feels fairly primary, even for an entry-level soundbar. It has restricted options, and lacks a separate subwoofer. Extra importantly, it’s underwhelming when it comes to its efficiency. That is shocking, as a result of latest fashions from Samsung have actually impressed when it comes to their sound high quality.
Sadly the N400 has a restricted soundstage, is under-powered when it comes to amplification and lacks bass influence. It will possibly deal with music and TV reveals fairly nicely, however struggles to supply an immersive expertise with motion pictures and video games. Though the N400 can increase the sonic efficiency of smaller super-slim TVs, there are higher options.