At its original price of nearly £300, this soundbar and subwoofer combination was overpriced. However, now that it’s come down to £140 we would rate it as 3.9 stars, which means it narrowly misses out on The Grade seal of approval but is still a good purchase.
Sound wise, the middle and top range are excellent, and the bass is passable. While it won’t win any award for design, it won’t look out of place in a modern living room either. The big name brand is a plus too.
There are two bits to Samsung HW-K430, a soundbar and a subwoofer (that’s the more larger, more square box). The first you place by your TV and the second you place at the back or side of the room to give you a bit of bass and a surround sound feel.
The soundbar has excellent clarity and is really controlled. Samsung’s “clear voice technology” really does an excellent job both with TV and music (we tried it out on some Radiohead songs and were surprised how it made even the mumbly Thom Yorke audible). The sound quality was maintained even when we turned the volume right up to maximum.
Despite having no rear speakers (apart from the subwoofer) placed around the room, Samsung has packed in its “surround sound expansion” technology that tries to replicate a multi-speaker setup. It doesn’t quite reach the immersive sensation of a proper surround sound arrangement, but it can still provide a small thrill. It’s kind of like using Samsung Gear rather than Oculus Rift.
More problematic is the bass. We thought that if Samsung was going to go to the effort of supplying a separate subwoofer, then we were probably in for a treat. Those hopes were dashed as soon as we stuck on Die Hard. Explosions and gunfire carried on too long. It was only a fraction of a second each time, but it was enough to set the HW-K430 aside from truly premium models.
It also seemed to be quite reserved for most of the time, and for periods we totally forgot that we had connected a subwoofer – though this can come as a relief though if you have kids in bed upstairs!
If we were to be picky (and we are going to be) then we would also point out that at times the bass seemed a bit muffled.
If you’re after clarity, rather than neighbour annoying bass, then this could still be a good buy. It’s still definitely a jump up from the tinny speakers that come with most modern TVs and the sound is competitive against other speakers in the £150 range.
Setup is incredibly simple. If you have a non-Samsung TV then you just have to plug in a couple of wires and you are ready to go. The subwoofer can be paired up via Bluetooth (again, easy to do), which means you can position it anywhere you want in the room. Some other units have to be wired which can be really restrictive, so if you have a larger living room this could be a good pick.
NOTE: There is no HDMI connection – despite it being listed on certain sites as having this feature. If this is a deal breaker for you then look elsewhere.
If you have a Samsung TV that has SoundConnect you don’t need any wires at all. In our testing, this worked perfectly and there was no delay in the sound or an audible reduction in quality.
You can also connect your mobile via Bluetooth to the speakers and play your favourite playlists directly from your phone.
The design really is middle of the road, though not in an offensive way. Both parts are essential just black cuboids, with the Samsung logo being kept to a minimum. It’s roughly 90cm long, which translate to 35 inches. We would recommend it for a set between 35 and 50 inches.