Clear performance. Plays wired digital audio or streams via Bluetooth. Can be expanded to work with a wireless surround setup.
Lacking in bass depth. Expensive.
- Bottom Line
It seems likely that the Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+ soundbar would sound great with a subwoofer, but out of the box it's a little thin for the price.
The Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+ is a behemoth. It's designed to sit under large televisions, and can be paired to work wirelessly with a subwoofer and surround speakers. At $699, it's an expensive soundbar, but it boasts an insane number of drivers—11 total. Expandability is nice, but at this price you'd hope all those drivers are enough to deliver clarity and some solid bass response without adding a subwoofer or surround speakers. While the audio is definitely clear, we found the HW-MS750 Sound+ to be a little thin in the bass department. A subwoofer is sure to help, but that drives the price up even higher; Samsung's SWA-W700 is another $499 on top of the soundbar's own price tag.
//Compare Similar Products
Measuring a substantial 3.1 by 45.3 by 5.1 inches (HWD), the gray-and-black HW-MS750 Sound+ is also fairly heavy (13.9 pounds) and needs a sturdy surface to rest on. It can also be mounted, and brackets are included. The front face is all metallic speaker grille, as is the top panel. Both panels house drivers, though the front face houses the bulk of them: dual central midrange drivers, a pair of left midrange drivers, a pair of right woofers, and a center, left, and right tweeter. The other driver and tweeter are on the top panel, firing upward and spaced far apart. That's a total of six woofers and five tweeters.
There are lots of connectivity options on the bottom panel, including an optical input (a cable is included), 2 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output, a 3.5mm aux input, and a micro USB port for the wireless dongle (not included) that is necessary to expand the soundbar into a multi-speaker wireless system. The bottom panel is also where the power cable connects, and there's a power output for connecting the power cable of a Samsung TV, for use with wall-mount kits (also not included).
The included remote control runs on two included AA batteries. It has buttons for power, settings, source (for switching been wired sources and Bluetooth), volume, and bass, as well as Surround mode, Sound mode (there are several listening modes, like Movie, Music, and Sports), and Smart mode (which optimizes sound effect modes for the scene that is playing). There's also a central play/pause button with a multifunction dial surrounding it—you can use the outer buttons to perform simple but useful operations like switching the auto-on/off preferences (the HW-MS750 Sound+ can be configured to power up with your television), as well as track navigation.
Connecting to Bluetooth is quick and simple, as is switching between wired sources. As you scroll through options using the remote, whether they are sound modes or audio sources, a white LED readout on the right side of the front panel spells out your choices for you.
The second scene of Casino Royale allows the HW-MS750 Sound+ to showcase some strengths. In both Movie and Standard modes, with the Surround effect on or off, the soundbar delivers a solid, crisp audio experience. What's missing is the thunder you want for explosions or gunshots, though boosting the Bass EQ helps somewhat. The real issue here is that while the HW-MS750 Sound+ is a standalone soundbar, it ultimately seems designed to work with a subwoofer
It's a similar experience with multiple scenes from Pacific Rim. There's clarity and a richness to the lows when the bass is boosted, but if you really want the rumble of a subwoofer, it's not there. At high volumes, the bass feels more pronounced, but at low or modest levels, it's possible you'll find the sound a little lacking.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," the HW-MS750 Sound+ delivers a more powerful bass response, and doesn't distort at high volumes. But to truly experience the bass, you'll want to use the Bass button on the remote and max it out. This is rarely the advice I give, but the HW-MS750 Sound+ needs the help of the EQ in order to create legitimate depth. The good news is, boosting the lows doesn't make things muddy, and the overall performance is still balanced and clear.
Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the overall sound signature. The drums on this track can sound thunderous and unnatural on bass-forward systems, but that's never an issue here—with the Bass button maxed out, the drums still sound fairly modest. It's Callahan's baritone vocals that sound the richest, which tells us the bulk of the boosting occurs in the lows and low-mids, and the speaker doesn't really reach too far down into sub-bass territory.
The same can be said for Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild"—without the bass boosting, the track can sound a little thin. Even with it, the thump of the drum loop and the sub-bass synth hits is modest. This is a sound signature devoted to clarity in the high-mids and highs. Switching between Standard and Music sound modes alters the sound signature noticeably, but it seems to mostly impact the low-mids and high-mids.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, probably sound the most natural through the HW-MS750 Sound+, provided you boost the bass slightly. The speaker has no issue providing the crisp clarity most orchestral tracks depend on, so the higher register brass, strings, and vocals are bright and present, while the bass boosting is subtle enough to push the lower register instrumentation forward in the mix without overdoing it.
As a standalone soundbar, it's hard to get wildly excited about the Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+, which might feature a dazzling array of 11 drivers, but doesn't offer much bass push. Once you add in the optional subwoofer, the HW-MS750 Sound+ starts to make a lot more sense, but that setup is going to cost a whole lot more. Simply put, if you're just looking for clarity from a soundbar, you can spend less and get it, and if it's bass you're after, there's not a lot of rumble here. Consider instead the Sonos Playbase, the Sony HT-NT5, the Zvox SoundBase 570 , or the LG SJ7. All are solid options, some with subwoofers sold as part of the bundle, with the ability to bring the bass and match it with high frequency presence.
By Tim Gideon Contributing Editor, Audio
Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. He specializes in reviewing audio products, and is obsessed with headphones, speakers, and recording gear. More »
More Stories by Tim
- JLab Epic Air
The JLab Epic Air headphones deliver strong bass response, a gym-friendly build, and the best batter… More »
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio headphones are a classic that are still relevant thanks to excellent … More »
- Mpow M3
The Mpow M3's most alluring feature is its price, but there are better-balanced Bluetooth headphones… More »