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Great Sound from a Great Value Soundbar
on 11 January 2015
This is a quite compact (94 cm), great value soundbar + subwoofer sound system that works very well with modern flatscreen TVs and other devices that can use Bluetooth or digital optical sound connections. We have found it very easy to use once we got the setup sorted and the sound is a major improvement over the built-in speakers on our flatscreen TV.
(UPDATE: After almost a year we’re still very pleased with the HW-H355, but it might now be worth looking at the new 2015 model HW-J355)
There are various sound modes (standard, music, voice, movie, etc.) and simple +/- adjustment of treble and bass. The soundbar stores all settings when off, except volume which seems to start at 20 each time. The sound is clear and distortion-free with good bass, we've watched various classical performances over the last month and it sounds far better even than the large speakers on our previous non-flatscreen TV.
This system is `wireless' but not all Samsung TVs will connect to it wirelessly - our TV is a new 2014 model but it seems only the largest screen sizes have SoundShare / SoundConnect even though the TV *does* wirelessly connect to networks - but does not support Bluetooth, so check your TV specifications carefully if wireless connection with the soundbar is important to you. The subwoofer plugs into the soundbar so that's one lead you'll have anyway, plus the power cable!
You will probably need to synchronise the soundbar with your TV if you want to use both sets of speakers together; using the remote you can adjust the delay in 25ms steps, a speech programme is easiest to hear when you've got it right as the `echo' effect will stop when both sets of speakers work together. The setting is stored from then on.
We used a digital optical lead (not included with the soundbar) to connect our TV, very easy to set up with a firm `click' plug at each end, then select `D In' on the soundbar remote and that's it. TV sound will play through the TV speakers (unless you turn the volume down of course) and also the soundbar system. If you want the soundbar to turn on automatically when the TV is turned on, select the `Auto Power Link' option on the remote. It turns back to standby a few minutes after the TV is turned off.
The disadvantage of using a digital optical lead to connect is that you cannot control the soundbar volume from your TV remote, only the soundbar remote. However, there is a real advantage, which is that the soundbar can only pair with one Bluetooth device at a time - so if you connect to the TV with a digital optical lead this leaves the soundbar free to also connect by Bluetooth to your tablet or phone for playing music tracks etc.
To pair your Bluetooth device:
1.Press `BT' on the soundbar remote
2.On the device you want to connect, scan for Bluetooth devices and select `[Samsung] Soundbar'.
3.The paired device name will appear on the soundbar front display.
To have the soundbar turn on when your paired device connects every time, after pairing, with the soundbar turned off, press and hold the F+ button on top of the soundbar until the soundbar displays `Bluetooth Power On'. From then on the soundbar will turn on in Bluetooth mode when you activate the connection from your phone or tablet. This is so useful for playing music tracks from my tablet I was pleased I'd connected the TV with a lead, not with Bluetooth.
After a month of general use, we are very pleased with the sound, quality and ease of use of this soundbar system.
(According to the manual, to pair with a SoundShare / SoundConnect compatible TV use the F+ button on the soundbar to change to `TV' mode, then scan for the soundbar from your TV. After pairing, the soundbar should turn on in `TV' mode whenever the TV is turned on.)