With one clear legacy leader in audio entertainment and another that has made huge strides delivering outstanding home theater solutions, this “Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsung HW-Q950T Which is better?” promised to be great fun and it was. They stack up so well against each other that I came into this one expecting the real challenge to be finding any daylight at all between these two. Much to my surprise, there was quite a bit that I discovered.
Some Klipsch History
Since we’re talking about a legacy brand here I think it’s worth looking at history just a bit and with Klipsch, you are looking at the father of HiFi. That takes us back to 1945 and the first patent issued to the company for the Klipschhorn speaker design.
The company continues to be a leading innovator in the development of all sorts of audio speaker designs but most interesting to me is their focus on home theater and more specifically, soundbars. So for those that know Klipsch for its speakers and headphones, but haven’t yet discovered their soundbars, this review should be a real eye-opener.
Samsung Stands Strong
Samsung on the other hand has a legacy all its own but its work in audio and home theater entertainment isn’t nearly as storied. That makes the products they bring to market all the more impressive. Without a long history of audio innovation, they still managed to deliver market-leading home theater products that are highly competitive, fairly priced, and constantly evolving.
Staring in 1969; a baby compared to Klipsch, the company began with a vision of the future that would see them deliver outstanding products that would become an integral part of our everyday lives, and while this could have led to a company that delivered a whole line of non-descript products, they instead focused tonnes of energy on delivering excellence. Their soundbars are no exception and their well-earned position in the market is proof that they are succeeding.
How they stack up
Both the Klipsch Cinema 1200 and the Samsung HW-Q950T are or were in the case of the Q950T, flagship products in their respective lines. The Q950T came out last year. This year’s release, the HW-Q950A now takes that leading position but the Q950T remains a very solid player and a continuing favorite among professional home theater experts.
They both come as a package that includes the soundbar, a wireless subwoofer, and two satellite speakers. Both systems support Dolby Atmos and both are powerful enough to fill almost any living space with an immersive listening experience. For exceptionally large rooms or rooms with very high ceilings, you may need to add additional satellite speakers to fill in some gaps. You can easily do that with either of these soundbars.
Stylewise, the Klipsch Cinema 1200 simply looks better. That probably comes from many more years designing all sorts of speaker systems for the home that Samsung simply can’t draw on. I’m not suggesting the Samsun HW-Q950T is ugly by any measure. It isn’t. As I looked at these two side-by-side I felt like Klipsch was simply more refined, with a style that was meant to be seen and appreciated. Samsung feels a bit less refined, almost understated, and feels like it is designed intentionally to be heard but not seen.
Prices for the Klipsch Cinema 1200 are listed on Amazon at $1,899, making this soundbar system one of the more expensive soundbars on the market and also one of the least expensive among the legacy brands. This price holds fairly steady because of its legacy reputation. Plus, Klipsch holds its value and always has. This comes as the result of their reputation for building products that are designed to last and that become collector’s items among audiophiles.
The Samsung HW-Q950T is currently available on Amazon for $979 and eBay for $1,220. It’s interesting to note that you can also find pre-owned Q950T packages on eBay that are about half this price so as you can see, Samsung prices don’t hold well. This probably has less to do with the quality of these products than with the fact that an updated version is typically introduced annually so the new becomes old rather quickly.
As a comparison between the Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsun HW-Q950T, I won’t go into all of the details for each of these soundbar solutions. Instead, I’ll be focusing on their highlights and key differences. To dig deeper I’d suggest looking at a couple of other resources.
Klipsch Cinema 1200
L&B Tech Reviews has an excellent piece on the Cinema 1200. This includes pulling back the covers and talking about individual drivers. That helps deliver a better sense of how much is packed into the soundbar, and how comparatively massive the subwoofer is.
You’ll also want to spend 25 minutes with Andrew Robinson, a long-time audio tech writer. His video review of the Klipsch soundbar system is well balanced and very much hands-on.
There is a well-detailed review of the Q950T that was posted by Techradar. What’s interesting is this review has been updated recently so you’ll also gain some insights into the newer Q950A and how its moved the bar forward for Samsung’s soundbars.
Andrew Robinson also delivers an excellent review of the HW-Q950T, including some interesting thoughts on the product design that I felt as well. This is another 27 minutes that will help you make a more informed decision.
Why a Soundbar rather than a dedicated Home Entertainment system?
I’ve often talked about why soundbars exist and why you should be looking at them as you dream up your perfect home entertainment system. As I worked through this review it dawned on me.
When a company with such a storied past as Klipsch takes such a strong position on soundbars you realize just how far these have come. This isn’t just a bit of a space-saving kit, and it isn’t simply a cheaper alternative to stereo component systems. It isn’t the unloved stepchild either.
When companies like Klipsch, Sennheiser, Sonos, and others are focusing so much of their design resources on these products the humble soundbar of yesterday has most certainly matured. Soundbars are not just an alternative to component stereo systems anymore. They stand confidently as a clear alternative.
So, don’t be caught up in the past. Those soundbars and today’s soundbar systems have almost nothing in common (other than the format) and are now a true must-have if you’re looking to build a fully immersive home entertainment system without breaking the bank.
|Klipsch Cinema 1200||Samsung HW Q950T|
|5.1.4 Channels||9.1.4 Channels|
|12” Subwoofer||8” Subwoofer|
|Wireless Subwoofer||Wireless Subwoofer|
|1200w Output||930w Output|
|Wifi Support||WiFi Support|
|No playback||No playback|
|Dolby Atmos, Dolby True Sound||Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby True Sound, Q-Symphony|
|1 HDMI in||1 HDMI in|
|1 HDMI Out||1 HDMI Out|
|HDMI ARC||HDMI ARC / eARC|
|Optical digital I/O||Optical digital I/O|
|3.5in Analog||No Analog Connector|
|Bluetooth/ Klipsch Connect App||Bluetooth,, SmartThings App Compatible|
|No Voice Assistants||Alexa support included|
|Full WiFi Streaming||Full WiFi Streaming|
There are three notable differences in these specifications but they aren’t necessarily important in the final analysis.
The first and most obvious is the difference in the number of channels and especially when looking at Dolby Atmos performance, the extras that come with the Q950T should be impactful. With Atmos, each speaker in an array of speakers is treated as a unique element that can be fired independently of all others. The more speaker elements you give it, the better the surround sound separation. In theory, this should deliver a more immersive listening experience.
The next is the support for Alexa, but not for the reasons you may think. For Alexa to work you have to have a microphone and when there’s a microphone the soundbar gains the ability to self-correct the quality of the sound that fills your viewing space. This has the potential to deliver a noticeable impact.
The last major difference is in the size of the subwoofers and the difference between these two soundbar systems is massive. It Klipsch subwoofer will make you feel like you’re right there in the middle of the most intense action scenes, where you feel the explosions and crashes. When it comes to an immersive experience, this is massive.
Pro of the Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsung Q950T:
Klipsch Cinema 1200 Pros
- We can’t look at the pros without first addressing the elephant in the room. The Klipsch Cinema 1200 delivers the most massive subwoofer I’ve ever come across in a soundbar system and it does everything you’d expect it to do.
- The original horn technology that was first patented by Klipsch has been continually improved and this is proven out by the quality of the sound across a very wide frequency range. You hear everything.
- With such a wide range of connection options, this soundbar is exceptionally versatile. Connect it to your TV with a single eARC HDIM connector and add your Blueray and set-top box directly to the soundbar.
- With WiFi support, it’s easy to extend this soundbar to create a whole-house entertainment system.
- Klipsch hasn’t forgotten its roots in music and while this system has Cinema in the name, it is just as good when you want to enjoy all sorts of music.
Klipsch Cinema 1200 Cons
- As balanced as this soundbar is, it should benefit from having additional channels that allow Atmos to work its magic.
- Unfortunately, it doesn’t include support for DTS:X that is prevalent in most Blueray media.
- The app that Klipsch developed is a bit wonky and just not up to the standards of most other smart device apps. It lacks features that simply shouldn’t be missing.
- It is unable to offer any automatic room enhancements due to the lack of a built-in mic.
Samsung HW Q950T Pros
- This Q950T makes great use of every speaker in its extended array. This results in a surround sound experience that is both wide and deep. You will feel the impact when watching anything that is Atmos enhanced.
- With the added support for DTS:X, this soundbar will do an equally great job with Blueray and other DTS:X movies.
- With Alexa support, this soundbar becomes self-aware and is capable of automatically adjusting the quality of the sound it delivers based, on the unique qualities of your viewing space. You may only do this once during the initial setup but you’ll be much happier that you had this option.
- Q-Symphony adds to the Dolby Atmos experience and is especially helpful when the movie you’re watching isn’t Dolby Atmos enhanced. You will need a Q-Symphony enabled TV to make this work.
Samsung HW Q950T Cons
- It could use a bit more power, especially at the bottom end of the frequency spectrum.
- While fantastic for movie watching, it feels a bit flat when listening to music, especially anything that has a heavy bass line.
- While infrequent, there are some issues with occasional connection dropouts over the wireless connections.
Comparing Sizes – Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsung Q950T
|Klipsch Cinema 1200||Samsung HW Q950T|
|Width||54 inches – 137.16 cm||48 inches – 121.92 cm|
|Height||2.9 inches – 7.37 cm||2.7 inches – 6.85|
|Depth||6.2 inches – 15.75 cm||5.4 inches – 13.71 cm|
|Width||16 inches – 40.64 cm||8.3 inches – 21.08 cm|
|Height||16 inches – 40.64 cm||15.9 inches – 40.38 cm|
|Depth||20 inches – 50.80 cm||15.9 inches – 40.38 cm|
|Width||6.5 inches – 16.51 cm||4.7 inches – 11.94 cm|
|Height||4.25 inches – 10.79 cm||8.3 inches – 21.08 cm|
|Depth||4.25 inches – 10.79 cm||5.6 inches – 14.22 cm|
Both the Klipsch Cinema 1200 and the Samsung HW-Q950T are large and that means both will look a bit out of place when paired with any TV that isn’t at least 50+ inches. With the Cinema 1200, it’s also deeper than most soundbars. This makes sense given its unique Klipsch horns but it also means this bar may not look as good in a wall-mounted configuration.
The subwoofer is also massive. This isn’t something you’ll easily hide in a corner somewhere. You will have to accept that this wants to be both seen and heard, (even felt). It may look quite out of place in smaller living rooms. Also, this is a downward-firing configuration meaning that it reverberates through the floor. If you have downstairs neighbors they may not like you very much after watching a few great action movies.
In the end, this comparison of the Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs the Samsung HW-Q950T, comes down to two clear factors.
If performance is key and budget doesn’t limit your choices go with the Klipsch Cinema 1200. It is premium in both its build and its performance. You’ll get everything you could hope for and then some with this soundbar system.
If budget is a concern don’t be disappointed. The Samsung HW-Q950T offers a premium listening experience, with superior Atmos performance, at a very reasonable price. It comes up a bit short with music listening but even that is great for most folks. In fact, if you’re not comparing this side-by-side with the Klipsch, you probably won’t notice any faults at all.
I hope this proves helpful as you explore the best soundbar for you and in your listening space. If you still want to learn more I and my friends have done many other soundbar reviews. You can find them and much more at All For Turntables.