Samsung’s HW-Q990C was the best overall soundbar I tested last year, mostly due to its great audio and the fact that it comes with a subwoofer and rear speakers. The company hasn’t changed much for the 2024 version, the HW-Q990D, but one tweak provides a feature that last year’s model should have had: HDMI 2.1. There are also some new audio modes, but you can find them on other Samsung sound bars. The Q990D is as powerful as ever, but it’s still expensive 2000 dollars. If you’ve already purchased the Q990C, the company hasn’t given you a reason to upgrade yet.


The biggest addition to the Q990D is a feature that Samsung’s flagship soundbar should already have.


  • HDMI 2.1
  • All-in-one surround setup.
  • Excellent, immersive audio
  • Convenient features

  • Dear
  • Not a huge update over last year’s model

$2000 at Amazon

The biggest addition to the Q990D is HDMI 2.1. With this, Samsung answered my main criticism of the Q990C, which debuted last year at a time when much of the competition had already adopted the standard. HDMI 2.1 provides 4K passthrough at 120fps, which will improve visuals if you connect your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X directly to the soundbar.

The Q990D also arrives with new audio modes. Private listening turns off all front drivers and uses only the rear satellite speakers. It’s essentially an extended version of the night mode that many companies offer on soundbars, aimed at reducing booming bass when the family or roommates may be sleeping. My house has an open floor plan and my TV faces the hallway to the bedrooms, which means any soundbar will emit noise in that direction. Private Listening sends the audio in the opposite direction, and although you have to sacrifice some overall quality, it’s good enough for all the times you need to be quieter.

There’s also a new Party Play mode that provides a more balanced sound between the soundbar and rear speakers for a better experience when hosting a rager. When this is active, you get the full audio range, not just the channels specifically programmed for the speakers behind you. I actually flipped the speakers and faced the living room to project the retuned audio into other common spaces. This makes a bigger difference for movies and TV because music is now played from the rear speakers at more balanced levels.

These two modes are not unique to the Q990D; the rest of the 2024 Q-series range will also be able to use them. However, this is the first time I’ve tested them, and it’s noticeable that they actually work well on Samsung’s most expensive soundbar.

Samsung Q990D soundbar on the left side showing the side actuated driver. Samsung Q990D soundbar on the left side showing the side actuated driver.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The combination of a soundbar with drivers, a large subwoofer and more powerful rear speakers creates an immersive sound that envelops my living room. Whether you’re listening to music or the soundscape of Dune, the Q990D retains the sonic power of its predecessor. Dolby Atmos content from Disney+ is as immersive as ever. I could hear the finer details of Knowhere in the opening scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, including the realistic reverb of Radiohead’s “Creep” played through a speaker. The directional sounds of the city, including the bustle of people moving around, make it seem like you’re standing right there.

For music, there’s deep, booming bass when the song calls for it, and that crisp detail I hear in movies is here too. Of justice Hyperdrama shows off the Q990D’s range, with the driving low end of tracks like “Neverender” accompanied by textured synths. Quieter genres like jazz are also a blanket of sound with albums like Miles Davis Kind of blue offering subtleties that make you feel like you’re in a studio.

The thing I like most about the Q990D is that everything you need for a full surround sound setup is included in the box. The subwoofer and rear speakers come with the soundbar and do not require an additional purchase. These satellite speakers also contain up- and side-firing drivers, which is not always the case with comparable accessories from the competition. And setup is as easy as turning everything on, because pairing with the rest of the system is automatic.

One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sits on a wooden table. One of the rear speakers for the Q990D sits on a wooden table.

Billy Steele for Engadget

The all-in-one setup is great, but it also means the Q990D is expensive. At $2,000, it’s a significant investment, even if you get everything you need in the package. The Q990D is currently on sale for $1,750, but we don’t know how long that discount will last. By comparison, Sony’s upcoming Bravia Bar 9 costs $1,400. The cheapest subwoofer and rear speakers you can get for it are $400 and $350, respectively, making your total cost $2,150. Of course, with Sony you have two options for subs and backs, and you don’t have to buy them all. LG offers some respite if you want to go that route with its S95TR, which costs $1,500 and includes a subwoofer and rear speakers with speakers.

The overall size of the soundbar is something else to consider. The Q990D has 11 front speakers, two speakers and a subwoofer. All of these components need space, and placing them means that this soundbar ends up being quite large at 48.5 inches wide. While this isn’t a deal breaker in itself, it does require some planning, so just know you’ll need plenty of room.

Like sound bars from other companies, the Q990D has some handy features that are reserved for Samsung TVs. For example, Q-Symphony, which uses your TV’s speakers in addition to the soundbar to expand audio capabilities, requires a compatible 2020-2024 Samsung TV. The Q990D sounds great without it, but just know that you won’t get the full set of tricks unless you also have a supported TV.

Unless you’re into the latest HDMI standards, Q990D doesn’t offer a huge upgrade over last year’s model. Their design and feature lists are nearly identical, except for two new sound modes and 4K/120 passthrough. And some of these additions are available on more affordable Samsung sound bars. So if you’ve already got your hands on last year’s Q990C, there’s probably not enough reason to make another significant investment. If you don’t already own a flagship Samsung soundbar, the Q990D offers booming, immersive sound in an all-in-one package that now has all the modern conveniences you need.