Review of the Samsung HW-B450: a simple and pure 2.1 soundbar

Manufacturing

The HW-B450 is a basic, useless soundbar made entirely of plastic and fabric acoustic elements that protect the speakers. Only two beveled ends can pass for a little extravagance in design terms. Its size and weight are quite similar: 85.9 x 5.9 x 7.5 cm for 1.4 kg. The workmanship quality is also a bit “light”, especially due to the plastic plate placed on top that quickly stores fingerprints, is easily scratched and is complicated to clean. The acoustic fabric is of good quality, even if it benefits from being more dense.

The HW-B450 looks very small in front of a 65 TV

The HW-B450 looks very small in front of a 65 “TV

The subwoofer is also quite compact (18.4 x 34.3 x 29.5 cm for 4.5 kg) and easily fits next to the TV cabinet. The plastic of the bar gives way here to the chipboard panels, and we found the acoustic fabric covering the front surface and therefore a loudspeaker in the box. There is also a bass-reflex vent in the rear.

Samsung HW-B450: a simple and pure 2.1 soundbar

The HW-B450 has a remote control, an optical cable, two power cables and a wall bracket system to hang the bar directly on a wall.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

User experience

The user experience is like a rudder: simple and hassle -free. The HW-B450 has four physical buttons at the top for volume control, bar function or switching sources. These buttons are augmented with an intricate remote control but are well provided with options. There are buttons physically located on the bar but also, among other things, a button for Bluetooth pairing, one to change the listening mode or one to adjust the subwoofer level. It is also possible to access advanced settings such as a seven-band equalizer or audio/video synchronization management.

The HW-B450’s screen is placed in its center, behind acoustic fabric.  Its small size (six characters displayed) remains acceptable for occasional navigation in the bar configuration menus.

The HW-B450’s screen is placed in its center, behind acoustic fabric. Its small size (six characters displayed) remains acceptable for occasional navigation in the bar configuration menus.

During our listening, we noticed some micro-cuts when we connected via Bluetooth, which can be painful sometimes. These random cuts are just fine without showing if the bar is connected to the optics.

It is also possible to control the volume of the bar using the infrared remote control of your television after a small manipulation.  Please note that only a few television brands are compatible with this option (Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Sharp, Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hi ...

It is also possible to control the volume of the bar using the infrared remote control of your television after a small manipulation. Please note that only a few television brands are compatible with this option (Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Sharp, Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hisense, RCA).

Finally, we measured a latency of about 215 ms over Bluetooth, which made watching a video even more unpleasant. The bar had to be connected optically to limit latency, but even in this case, we noticed a slight delay of about 75 ms: nothing more dramatic in itself, but more sensitive people can be angry.

Impulse response delay measurement in Bluetooth (blue), optical (orange).

Impulse response delay measurement in Bluetooth (blue), optical (orange).

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Audio

For its entry-level soundbar, Samsung kept it simple and only equipped the HW-B450 with two speakers that offer stereo rendering. A subwoofer accompanies the bar to increase bass amplification.

Different sound modes are available on this HW-B450: Standard, Surround, Game, Bass Boost and finally, Adaptive, automatically juggling between the other four modes depending on the program being broadcast. Surround mode has the effect of very little expansion of the sound stage at the cost of a completely cluttered rendering and randomly placed sound elements: so you have to go back to the cash register and get the SWA-9100S surround back speaker to hope to benefit. in true surround rendering. The game mode adds an indefinite additional reverb effect, while the Bass Boost mode extends a slight bass extension at an amount that is less accurate in that area. Standard mode, which offers unprocessed sound amplification, is actually the most convincing. So let’s focus on this one for our analysis.

Measurement of frequency response (normalized by 85 dB SPL at 1 kHz at 1 m).  Standard (black), Surround (blue), Play (orange), Bass Boost (pink) mode.

Measurement of frequency response (normalized by 85 dB SPL at 1 kHz at 1 m). Standard (black), Surround (blue), Play (orange), Bass Boost (pink) mode.

In Standard mode, therefore, the sound signature of the HW-B450 is more balanced. The subwoofer plays its role well by providing a nice bass presence, without it being excessive. The effects are well marked and the extension of intense bass is satisfying, even if we can’t resist a little deeper in some musical effects, or in action scenes for example.

One of the main strengths of this HW-B450 is the imitation of dialogues, perfectly clear and clean. Activating the Voice Enhanced mode is therefore completely useless, especially since it completely slows down the bass and treble. In movies or listening to music, sounds naturally stand out, no matter what the conditions, thanks also to a precise phantom center … The HW-B450 also features excellent stereo scene reproduction, even if it remains limited in width, thus making it possible to easily identify the position of the origins and identify them with each other.

Measurement of harmonic distortion in Standard mode (normalized at 1 kHz at 1 m).  Normalization to 85 dB SPL (red), to 79 dB (green).

Measurement of harmonic distortion in Standard mode (normalized at 1 kHz at 1 m). Normalization to 85 dB SPL (red), to 79 dB (green).

Grief heights are worse than the rest of the spectrum. In fact, the distortion management is poor in this area, producing a certain inaccuracy, a lack of detail, which is felt in a particular by the sounds (in the form of a slight sibilance of the sounds. [s], [f] and [ʃ]) or on cymbals, the brass will pick up a slightly shimmering sound. Not surprisingly, this error worsens as the volume increases, thankfully, you don’t have to push the bar straight to its limits to put yourself at a comfortable sound level and therefore protect yourself from it. defect (which can be accompanied as a bonus to a crushing of dynamics).

Samsung SWA-9100S

Introductory price € 199


Samsung SWA-9100S

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How the pricing table works

Strong points

  • Good sound signature balance (in Standard mode).

  • Good copying of dialogues and stereo scenes.

  • Easy management.

Weak points

  • Unknown environmental effects.

  • Perfect treble accuracy.

  • Connection to rickets.

  • Average build quality.

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