Like the HW-MS650, only curved, this soundbar’s processing power reaps rewards. Read our Samsung HW-MS6500.
TO CURVE OR not to curve? That was the question on the lips of TV buyers a few years back when a bunch of manufacturers decided that curved sets were the future.
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Turns out they weren’t, but Samsung is gamely ploughing on with the idea and continues to offer a range of soundbars to match its geometrically-challenged screens.
The latest is the HW-MS6500, a curved variant of the staggeringly good HW-MS650 soundbar. Again, the
Bass output is remarkable – this has the slam, depth and room-filling power to rival an external subwoofer
headline feature is Samsung’s Distortion Cancelling technology, which works to iron out low-frequency distortion before it happens, like a musical Minority Report.
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But first things first – design. The MS6500 has a classy dark grey finish with brushed panels (always the height of AV sophistication), a metal grille and chamfered edges. It’s every inch the premium soundbar.
Weirdly, the curve heightens the sense of elegance, making it even more attractive than its straight sibling.
A display shines through the front grille giving out inputs, volume levels and more.
It’s shoved to the right to make way for the dedicated centre speaker.
The MS6500 is a huge soundbar that won’t suit sets under 55in. It’s not slim per se, but slender enough to fit in the space below the screen of my resident telly without interfering with remote control operation.
Connections include a single HDMI 2.0 input, ARC output, optical and 3.5mm inputs. A USB port lets you connect a dongle for Samsung’s wireless rear speaker kit (SWA- 9000S) and sub, creating a full 5.1 system.
Inside the ‘bar are six 2 x 4.3in mid/bass drivers. Something Samsung calls MultiSpeaker Control is touted to ensure simultaneous movement for improved time alignment. Combined with Distortion Cancelling, this aims to result in bigger and more detailed bass (good enough to not worry about a subwoofer, it’s suggested), while three wide-range inverted dome tweeters offer expansive treble dispersion.
Elsewhere the MS6500 packs in a plethora of features, including Bluetooth, DLNA streaming and multiroom support via Samsung’s excellent smartphone app. The app gives you access to Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal, Napster, JUKE, 7digital, Murfie and TuneIn radio.
This generous feature list is backed up by a genuinely gob-smacking performance, the scale of which has more in common with a separates system than a soundbar.
Most remarkable is the bass output, which has the slam, depth and room-filling power to rival an external sub – and a decent one, too.
So when Jedha City is blown up by the Death Star in …Rogue One, it similarly wipes its grouptest rivals off the map with a roar so thunderous I was wondering if I should check my building insurance.
Not only are bass notes beefy, but they also reach depths that you don’t expect from a single-body soundbar – indeed, its low-frequency reach is quoted at an uncommonly deep 38Hz.
But it’s not all about that bass – Samsung has tuned the MS6500 to deliver sweet-sounding treble, hitting levels of refinement I haven’t heard from the brand previously.
Pin-sharp detail trickles through the speakers as Cassian and Jyn meander through Jedha City, whether it’s whirring vehicles, footsteps or bleeping droids. The dedicated centre driver renders voices with authority and detail, while the nine drivers ensure a satisfying spread of sound.
In fact the only negative about the HW-MS6500 is, ironically, the thing that defines it – the curve. With interest in curved TVs diminishing, the market for a soundbar like this is becoming increasingly narrow, whereas the straight MS650 has more universal appeal. But if you are on a quest for a curved ‘bar then they don’t get better than this.
DRIVE UNITS: 6 x mid/bass drivers; 3 x wide-range inverted dome tweeters AMPLIFICATION (CLAIMED): N/A CONNECTIONS: HDMI 2.0 input and output (ARC); optical digital audio input; 3.5mm minijack input; USB port for wireless dongle DOLBY TRUEHD/DTS-HD MA: No/No SEPARATE SUB: No REMOTE CONTROL: Yes DIMENSIONS: 1,160(w) x 80(h) x 168(d)mm WEIGHT: 6.5kg
FEATURES: Distortion Cancelling; Multiroom app; Crystal Amplifier; Dolby Digital; DTS (2ch); 5 x DSP modes; 4K & 3D passthrough; hi-res audio playback; Bluetooth
Samsung HW-MS6500 (450W) Wireless Curved Soundbar with Distortion Cancelling (Black)