Samsung DA-E550 Operation
Setting up the Samsung DA-E550 is a piece of cake due largely to the lack of complicated stuff like network streaming. So whether you’re docking a Galaxy or Apple device, plugging in an external source or streaming via Bluetooth, you can get to your music in minutes.
General operation is easy enough, thanks to the supplied remote which uses large chunky rubber buttons with clear labels and symbols. It’s similar to the Samsung DA-E750’s remote, with the same size and layout, but it’s finished in black as opposed to silver. Oddly it’s actually nicer to use than the DA-E750’s remote, which has clicky plastic buttons.
You can use the remote to play, pause and skip tracks on Bluetooth and docked devices, as well as adjusting the volume and turning the Bass mode on and off. You can switch between sources using the Function button on the remote.
So far so simple, but the Samsung DA-E550 isn’t without niggles. The lack of a Menu button on the remote means you can’t skip back through menus on iPods and iPhones – you have to scroll through the menus on the device itself. There also need to be some indication of whether the Bass boost mode is activated – you can only tell by ear whether it’s on or off.
On a more positive note, setting up Bluetooth is easy – simply search Bluetooth devices on your device and up pops the Samsung. Connect and away you go. When you play music over Bluetooth, it takes priority over the other sources and switches automatically, but when you press stop it returns to whatever was playing before. Initially there were quite a few brief drop outs when streaming from a Blackberry phone but it seemed to calm down after a while.
Samsung DA-E550 Performance
As for sound quality, the Samsung DA-E550 is mightily impressive. It ticks all the boxes – crisp, sprightly high frequencies with no harshness? Check. Smooth, robust vocal tones? Check. Solid bass presence? Check. Whether it’s belting out hip-hop by Kanye West or tackling the gentle jazz strains of Miles Davis, the Samsung DA-E550 simply isn’t phased, offering a smooth, detailed sound that brings out the best in any genre.
Also impressive is the quality of music streamed over Bluetooth. With Love Is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse, for example, the hi-hats and the top-edge of the track’s big snare drums sound sharp and clear, while Winehouse’s vocal sounds as seductive as ever.
What lets the quality down slightly, however, is the over-eager bass output, which feels a little imposing at times and threatens to swamp the overall sound, particularly with the Bass mode activated. This has clearly been tuned to create a sense of depth and punch for casual everyday music playback, but fussier listeners might be after a more transparent sound with a little more restraint in the bass department.
Samsung DA-E550 Verdict
If you don’t have the funds for one of Samsung’s swanky 6 or 7 series audio systems then the Samsung DA-E550 makes a decent alternative. Sure it lacks the flashy features of the pricier models, such as AirPlay and USB connectivity, but with Bluetooth 3.0, a Galaxy/Apple dock and stereo input there are still plenty of ways to play your tunes. It’s also stunning to look at, with a envelope-pushing design that’s unlike anything else on the market, plus it’s easy to use (a couple of minor niggles aside) and delivers smooth, detailed music performance as long as you keep the Bass mode in check.