We live in the streaming age and we are constantly wanting to invest in the best picture and sound quality to maximize our entertainment experiences. We always get the pictures right but falter in the sound department. When it comes to shopping for a good audio system to complement your home audio/video system, you could never go wrong with a good soundbar such as the Vizio Elevate or the Samsung Q950A to bring out the theater-like surround sound into your home environment.
But which of these should go for? This comparison can be a little dicey as they are both nice Dolby Atmos soundbars that offer you an all-around package. The setup for both soundbars is super-easy and they feature a constellation of features and connection points. Price-wise, the Samsung Q950A costs just over $1500 while the Vizio Elevate goes for roughly $900 to $1,000 so the Samsung soundbar is priced on the higher end.
How do they compare?
In comparing these two top-tier soundbars, we looked at the connections count, the quality of the listening panel, configuration, and the amount of bass or whether it includes subwoofers. We also look at features such as the availability of Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition, which some might consider a frill, but a feature that adds some convenience to the soundbar.
Samsung HW Q950A
The Samsung HW Q950A is an improvement over its 2020 model, the Q950T. It is a huge soundbar and goes the extra mile to cram in almost everything on a savvy buyer’s wish list. It is as close as it gets to a powerful discrete sound system and the $1,500 plus price tag reflects that. You get a really good sound that you would associate with that of full-throttle traditional speakers inside a very discrete package. It has an industry-leading Dolby Atmos immersion. It is also DTS: X compatible with Q-Symphony and an Alexa Assistant.
Its slim and trim design packs in more speaker drivers. It’s a Dolby Atmos 11.1.4 soundbar with up to 11 channels, a single subwoofer as well as 4 up-firing channels. You will get room-filling and cinematic sound out of these soundbars for the best in audio entertainment experience. The four-piece design not only features sliding side-firing drivers in both the soundbar and the wireless surround speakers.
The Samsung Q950A is a Q-Symphony soundbar with excellent compatibility with your Samsung TV for the perfect audio synchronization that will immerse you into the scene. Enjoy perfect harmony in cinematic surround sound when enjoying your favorite movies or TV shows. The Q-Symphony function is enabled by connecting the soundbar to the Samsung TV via HDMI. It gives you raw audio power but the sound is well-tuned.
However, due to its gigantic size, the Samsung HW-Q950A will require some considerable effort to set up. It requires several accessories for its operation such as batteries and a wand-style remote, a wall mount kit, an HDMI cable, as well as power cables for both the soundbar and the subwoofer. It doesn’t feature any optical cables so you can only interface it with a Dolby Atmos source via am HDMI eARC/ARC.
- Premium-end soundbar with a cinematic sound
- A Dolby Atmos/ DTS: X compatible that fully immerses you into the audio experience
- Q-Symphony compatible
- Powerful sound
- Voice assistant support
- Bluetooth support
- Sound is customized to suit your listening spaces thanks to SpaceFit Sound which also has excellent compatibility with the Samsung QLED TVs.
- It is expensive
- It is a huge soundbar which can both be a disadvantage and disadvantage depending on space considerations.
- Requires elaborate setup and configuration
- Alexa Voice feature requires Amazon Echo to work
- Can’t be mounted to the TV and must be mounted on the wall
- Q-Symphony is only available via an HDMI cable connection
- Q-Symphony only supports QLEDs from 2020 onwards
Like the Samsung HQ Q950A, the Vizio Elevate is also a Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible soundbar that delivers a powerful cinematic sound. It is $500 cheaper than the Q950A so pricing will certainly be a consideration when comparing these two. What are you getting for $500 less?
The Vizio Elevate is a great choice if you are shopping for a top-quality soundbar that includes both a subwoofer and separate surround speakers. Like in the Q950A, you get a dynamic and immersive sound with this soundbar. However, the voices don’t have the kind of clarity that you get in the Samsung soundbar above.
This soundbar has two motorized front speakers which will turn upward automatically to deliver the rich sound effects to the ceiling when you are streaming from a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content source. The rear speakers that it ships with also feature their built-in upward-firing drivers for an immersive and cinematic audio experience. The sound that emanates from the Elevate is quite enveloping although you will notice the voices won’t be as clear as in a premium soundbar such as the Q950A. So, this soundbar might deliver on the sonic envelopment front but not necessarily on dialogue clarity.
It also includes an 8-inch wireless subwoofer which delivers a low-bass output but it is not as punchy on the upper bass.
The Elevate includes a constellation of features that would be on any knowledgeable buyer’s wish list such as two HDMI inputs, Chromecast music streaming as well as Bluetooth connectivity. It gives you lots of sound adjustments as well as a dedicated signal-sensing input that you can interface with an Amazon Echo Dot to transform your soundbar into a smart speaker.
- Powerful and punchy bass
- Get an enveloping sonic performance
- Offers you good connection options
- Bluetooth support
- Subwoofer and surround speakers included
- Adaptive height speakers for an optimal audio experience
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility for truly cinematic sound
- Weak on dialogue clarity
The Samsung Q950A is a pretty heft soundbar with a height of 2.7 inches, a width of 48.5 inches, and a depth of 5.4 inches. It also has a subwoofer measuring 15.9 x 8.3 x 15.9 and surrounds that measure 8 x 4.9 x 5.6. It is also heavy. The soundbar weighs 15.7 pounds, the subwoofer weighs 21.6 pounds and the surrounds weigh 4 pounds. It is designed with a total of 22 speakers, 15 of which are in the soundbar while each of the surrounds has three speakers. It has all this in addition to an 8-inch subwoofer. The soundbar has an amplification of 245v watts, the surround speakers belt out 210 watts, and the subwoofer 160 watts.
The Samsung Q950A also supports various wireless connections including Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, and Spotify Connect. It has both HDMI ARC/eARC and optical wired connections. Finally, the speaker features a built-in Alexa voice assistant. All of these make for a very hefty setup. It is not for nothing that the monstrous Samsung HQ Q950A is often referred to as the king of the soundbars. Its sheer size means you can’t easily place it under an unmounted TV.
The Vizio Elevate doesn’t disappoint either. Like the Samsung soundbar, it packs a monster 8-inch wireless subwoofer. However, it is much smaller in size with dimensions of 4.45 x 20 x 2.19 inches. The soundbar is also lighter in weight, weighing just 12 pounds. This is, therefore a soundbar that you could easily place under an unmounted TV. The design features a total of 18 speakers and includes Adaptive Height Speakers for immersive surround sound. It includes many of the bells and whistles in the Samsung HW-Q950A such as HDMI and optical digital inputs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, Voice Assistant support, Bluetooth support, and a remote.
You will get a more thunderous bass from the heftier Samsung HW-Q950A which gives a powerful immersive sound even without some extra speakers. Paired with a QLED Samsung TV, the Q950A can elevate the listening experience to a whole new level of immersion for the most authentic surround sound. This is the superior choice between the two but it has the price tag to match.
With its subwoofer and dedicated surround speakers, the Vizio Elevate also delivers a dynamic and immersive listening experience. However, the clarity may not be as good as what you’d get with the Q950A with its Q-Symphony. Still, the Elevate is a great surround speaker which is more than enough for your living room.
The HW-Q950A is the king of soundbars and undoubtedly offers you everything that you need for realistic, immersive, room-filling sound. It has dual HDMI ports, optical digital connections, Bluetooth connectivity, voice assistants, Q-Symphony function, and Dolby Atmos sound. If you are feeling like splurging on a monster soundbar that is totally worth the price, this is it.
If you are looking for a soundbar that largely packs many of the features in the Samsung HW-Q950A but for much less, then for the Vizio Elevate. It is a value-packed soundbar with a good surround sound and many of the features and connections that you’d find in the Q950A. You don’t get the same punch and audio clarity as in the Samsung soundbar but still good enough.