When doing a comparison between the Samsung HW-Q950T – a Samsung soundbar that comes with the Q-Symphony feature – and the Sonos Arc, we’re basically comparing two immersive 3D audio soundbars around the same point, with each soundbar costing about $1200.
About the Models
The Sonos Arc was released in 2020. Featuring a 5.0.2 setup, it is one of the high-end models from the manufacturer. If you want better performance, you can upgrade this soundbar to Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. Due to its height channels, the Sonos Arc supports Dolby Atmos content unlike the Sonos Playback and Sonos Beam.
Released in 2020, the HW-Q950T is the highest quality soundbar from Samsung. It features a 9.1.4 setup with two satellite speakers and a wireless subwoofer for a more immersive sound. The HW-Q950T also features Q-Symphony, which allows compatible soundbars and Samsung QLED TVs to work together to produce spatial audio. Hence producing a sound that comes from both the soundbar and the TV speakers.
Both the Samsung Q950T and the Sonos Arc are outstanding soundbars for mixed-use. If you require a sound companion for movies, music, or TV shows, these should be your go-to soundbars.
Are there any key differences in performance and features between these two soundbars? Which is better between the Sonos Arc and Samsung HW-Q950T (with Q-Symphony)? Read on to find out.
The Sonos Arc has a cylindrical shape with white and black colors. It is quite sturdy with a premium look and feel on a plastic finish that is smooth and stylish. The soundbar comes with two plastic grilles on the side along with a black plastic mesh located on the top side and between the grilles. These grilles protect the drivers inside the soundbar. The Sonos Arc measures 44.9” width, 3.4” height, and 4.7” depth. It doesn’t come with satellite speakers but you can get those separately. Also, there are no subwoofers on this soundbar.
The design of the Samsung HW-Q950T is somehow different from the Sonos Arc. The HW-Q950T is heavier and wider than the Sonos Arc, with an impressive and solid build. It takes the shape of a rectangular bar with slightly angular sides that have vent-like openings to house the surround sound speakers. The Samsung HW-Q950T, just like the Sonos Arc, has a plastic finish. There is a tight fabric cover on the front and upper parts of the bar. This is a disadvantage as it can collect dust and dirt. This soundbar comes with satellites and subwoofers. It measures 48.4” width, 2.8” height, and 5.4” depth. Thus it is longer than the Sonos.
Even though the Sonos Arc looks sleeker, the HW-Q950T also has a remarkable build quality. However, the satellite speakers and subwoofer give the Samsung HW-Q950T the edge.
The video below compares the features and qualities of the Sonos Arc and the Samsung HW-Q950T:
The surround sound performance on the Sonos Arc is quite acceptable. It employs side-firing drivers embedded in the soundbar to simulate surround sound objects such as voices on the soundstage. However, the discrete localization offered by the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers sounds better. The Sonos Arc comes with a great stereo frequency response, and through a compatible IOS device (it’s not available on android for now), you can get access to the Trueplay room correction feature using the app. Trueplay automatically fine-tunes audio reproduction based on the exceptional acoustic characteristics of the room.
The surround sound performance of the Samsung HW-Q950T is very impressive. This soundbar features two distinct surround speakers that help to localize objects such as voices in a sound image more accurately. It has very loud surround channels and a frequency response that is quite neutral and balanced, thus reproducing dialogue and instruments clearly. The stereo frequency response on the HW-Q950T is fantastic, plus it has a deep low, boomy bass, which is great when you’re watching action movies with scenes of explosions. This soundbar’s sound profile is neutral and suitable for an assortment of audio content. It comes with a graphic EQ and preset settings that allow you to customize the sound.
Both the Sonos Arc and the Samsung HW-Q950T come with active amplification. You can play Spotify content through the two devices.
Generally, the Samsung HW-Q950T provides better sound features compared to the Sonos Arc.
Both the Sonos Arc and the Samsung HW-Q950T come with a wireless Wi-Fi interface. While the HW-Q950T features 2/1 HDMI inputs/outputs, the Sonos Arc has 1/0 HDMI. Both soundbars also have Bluetooth and Audio Return Channel (ARC).
When you connect a soundbar featuring the Q-Symphony technology, such as the HW-Q950T and a Samsung QLED TV, the TV sound is not disabled. Consequently, the TV speakers and the speakers on the soundbar work together to produce all-around, extra powerful, and spatial audio. Since the TV speakers are tilted face-up, you get to feel the sound from different directions. Thus creating the perfect surround sound.
The Verdict: With Q-Symphony, Samsung Q950T is the obvious winner.
Likes and Dislikes
- Sleek and sturdy design
- Support for Atmos
- The stereo soundstage is remarkable
- Compression artifacts occur when you use it at the highest volume
- Doesn’t provide complete EQ
- No DTS support
Samsung HW-Q950T (Q-Symphony)
- Well-balanced sound profile
- Has support for Atmos
- Has the Q-Symphony feature
- No room correction
Essentially, the Sonos Arc and the Samsung HW-Q950T (Q-Symphony) are both excellent soundbars. However, depending on your circumstances of use, you’d have to pick one soundbar over the other. The budget shouldn’t be much of a factor as both soundbars are pricey and high-end.
So, which of these soundbars should you be splurging on? The Samsung HW-Q950T (Q-Symphony) comes out tops in terms of performance when you consider its great bass, upward-firing speakers, nice rumble, and the fact that it has more channels. It has a 9.1.4 setup, a more balanced sound profile, graphic equalizer (EQ), as well as presets that allow you to tweak the sound to your taste.
The Sonos Arc comes with a 5.1.4 setup and provides a better height and center performance. It features room correction along with an auto-volume/night mode. Even though its inputs are limited, you can stream audio to it via Apple Airplay. You won’t get the HW-Q950T’s bass-heavy performance from the Sonos Arc, but it comes with a stylish design, it’s fairly easy to use and produces good sound quality in most usage settings.
Ultimately, we would recommend the Samsung HW-Q950T (Q-Symphony) if you’re looking for an all-around better experience from a soundbar and most especially if you’re looking for the perfect speaker to pair with your Samsung TV. The Samsung HW-Q950T (Q-Symphony) offers a more accurate and richer sound with a well-balanced audio profile.