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Samsung HW-F751 - Setup, Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung HW-F751

Summary

Our Score:

9

Samsung HW-F751 - Setup

The Samsung HW-F751 is extremely easy to set up. The only real difficulty comes when cramming all the cables into the back and getting it to lie flat. Of course, wall-mounting is a little more involved, but with all the bits in the box it should be a breeze for anyone who’s handy with a drill and Rawlplugs.

Samsung HW-F751

Optimising the sound is easy. Using the supplied mic to measure test tones, the ASC system tweaks the levels and EQ of the soundbar and sub according to the listening position. The process takes about two minutes to complete. If you decide not to use it, manual audio adjustments are easily accessible – the remote has dedicated subwoofer level and audio sync controls.

The other potential banana skin is the subwoofer, which communicates with the soundbar using a 2.4GHz wireless system. But the two devices are already paired and should link up as soon as you turn them both on. If not, there’s a pairing button on the that you hold down for five seconds. We also had no trouble pairing the Samsung HW-F751 with our Bluetooth-equipped iPod Nano.

Samsung HW-F751

The remote is easy to use thanks to its ergonomic shape and thoughtful button layout. All of the keys are clearly labelled and the direction pad for controlling menus even glows in the dark. There are buttons for all the main features and sound modes, and it’ll also control Samsung TVs. A source button lets you toggle through inputs, with each one clearly displayed on the OLED panel.

Samsung HW-F751 – Performance

As soundbars go, the Samsung HW-F751 is sounds fantastic - it even gives regular home cinema systems a run for their money with its potent, room-filling sound. It’s a loud, entertaining listen with both TV and movie material, and will surely make you wonder why you put up with your TV’s speakers for so long.

Key to its success is the use of a vacuum tube amp, which makes movies sound richer and deeper than many soundbars. The Samsung HW-F751’s sound is warmer and beefier than a mug of Bovril and it's bolstered by a competent active subwoofer that has the welly to engulf the room.

Samsung HW-F751

Its talents are forcefully demonstrated while watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray. The Samsung HW-F751 lends a remarkable sense of scale to the film’s relentless action scenes – the Stone Giants battle is conveyed with astonishing power for such a slim unit.

And as the dwarves battle their way through an army of Goblins, the gang’s footsteps have satisfying weight on the wooden bridge, and they thump foes aside with a tight burst of bass. When the Goblin King stops them in their tracks, the Samsung HW-F751 really makes you believe his size and heft, while the pounding score has plenty of warmth and grandeur.

But it’s not all about power and bass. There’s crisp detail in the mix too, from the metallic chink of swords to the creaking wooden bridge, while the robust midrange makes it easy to pick out dialogue amid the action.

Its soundstage is also immersive, but that’s due more to the power and scale of the speakers than clever virtual surround processing. With 3D Sound Plus engaged, there’s no obvious relationship between the sonic ‘movement’ and 3D pictures, but it does lend extra width and fullness to the soundstage.

Samsung HW-F751

The subwoofer does a great job, subtly blending with the soundbar without drawing undue attention to itself. Bass notes are muscular without being too flabby, although you shouldn’t set it any higher than 1 as it starts to shudder a little.

The Samsung HW-F751 isn’t entirely comfortable at loud volumes, either. Push it past the 30 mark (the max is 40) and The Hobbit’s boisterous scenes start to sound sharp and shouty, particularly when creatures start shrieking and roaring. You’re not likely to listen at this sort of volume unless you want to damage your ears, but volume junkies should bear it in mind.

The HW-F751 also makes a good fist of music via Bluetooth, lending more of that irresistible warmth to the sound and topping it off with twinkling detail, although it still lacks the finesse of a good hi-fi separates system.

Verdict

The Samsung HW-F751 is Samsung’s best soundbar yet. The use of vacuum tube amplification lends a warmth and richness to movie soundtracks that’s all too rare among soundbars, while its impressive power and detail handling contribute towards an thrilling home cinema experience.

The feature list is also full of nice surprises, but it’s the design that really seals the deal. With gorgeous metal bodywork, nifty flourishes and flexible installation, it’ll turn heads in any living room.

The downside? This cool functionality, snazzy styling and exciting sonics will set you back a hefty £600, which is higher than your average soundbar – but then, the Samsung HW-F751 isn’t your average soundbar.

CHEAP ALTERNATIVES: Best Surround Systems under £250

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 10
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 7

Sillypollas

April 23, 2013, 8:03 am

Good review. I am very tempted to buy one of these soundbars for my lounge. There is so much choice now I am not sure which would work with my home setup. I have a projector and an HTPC behind the sofa and would like to install a wireless soundbar across the other side of the room below the projected image. If I installed a bluetooth stick on my HTPC would it be able to connect to the soundbar and transmit the audio? If not, is there a soundbar out there that would work wireless?

Marshall1000

April 23, 2013, 9:19 am

Good review, but Im surprised theres no mention of musical performance. A lot of people would want to use this both for movies and music playback.

Evan

April 23, 2013, 11:25 am

That's an excellent point. We'll add it to the list to ensure it gets covered in more detail in future.

Kruger

April 23, 2013, 4:25 pm

How does it compare to the SONOS PlayBar? I know the PlayBar doesn't sport HDMI or DTS/Dolby Surround. Plus the PlayBar itself is almost as expensive as this Samsung set.

Prem Desai

April 24, 2013, 3:07 pm

Valve amplifier - with tinny speakers and this budget ?? Surely not.

Connections that you struggle with to use decent cables (which you would for a valve amp).

I'm sure this soundbar is good, but it looks more of a tick-box exercise than anything else.

There's a reason why the B&W and Sonos cost more.

Jess Degenkolw

April 29, 2013, 12:10 pm

I'm curious on how it works with auto turn on and off. I have the 450 model from Samsung and It does not turn on automatically when I turn on the Samsung ES8005 TVset. Will this model do that?

Damian Brooks

April 29, 2013, 2:42 pm

Hi Jess, this will turn on with your TV using HDMI (arc) but also I think using Soundshare

Jess Degenkolw

May 25, 2013, 10:35 am

Now I bought it. I will NOT turn on :(( It does not turn off with Soundshare and the there is a high pitch noise when using soundshare.. Bommer.

TIMOTHY KIM

July 1, 2013, 5:02 am

I am using F751 soundbar for two mondths. The 3D plus modes are amazing for every movie, every TV drama and for "some" musics. For musics such as piano solo, guitar solo and vocal sounds are good in 3D plus movie or music modes but not enough for concertos and symphonies. For Symphonies and concertos, it would better to listen to music with other audio system. The music, Drama, cinema modes without 3D mode sound flat and useless. That's why I always use 3D plus movie mode.

Examples of 3D plus sound modes are.....

(1) Movie

-Dark Knight rises: When you watch the first "The Bat" flying scene, you can feel vertical surround effect from bottom to ceiling with such a huge woofer sound.

(2) Musics in 3D pluse move or music modes

-Claude Ciari: when you listen to this guitar music, this is a reference for music. I recommend you to enjoy "Le premier pas". The guitar sound spreads to ceiling just like sitting in a concert hall.

-George Winston: Thank giving and Canon etc. are good for listen to.

-Beethoven symphonies and Chopin's piano concertos: For such musics I could not enjoy with the soundbar. The detailed sound couldn't be expressed.

-Rock: Any rock isn't good................I mean "bad"

So the soundbare is "not" good for "every" music if you want to enjoy classics and rocks.

But when you choose this soundbar for watching movies and TV dramas, It will be one of the best choices replacing multi-channel home theaters.

If you want to enjoy music also, it's also good but you have to be generous and ready for give up "detailed sound of instruments" when you listen to classics.

Soundbar is a soundbar not a component audio system.

Wishing you a good choice for your life.....

TIMOTHY KIM

July 1, 2013, 5:23 am

Hi Mark.
If you have devices bluetooth available, you can easily access to this soundbar through bluetooth. I also use bluetooth connection for my smart phone or computer. You can transmit the audio through bluetooth.

Andrew Katz

September 8, 2013, 6:59 pm

I've had one of the these for a couple of months: I got it with a Samsung 7000 series TV in a deal from John Lewis.

On the plus side, it's extremely easy to set up, and works well straight out of the box. It syncs with the TV perfectly including going into standby when the TV does. It really is set-it-and-forget-it. It's reasonably easy to connect it to a an iPhone, for example, through bluetooth, although I had problems with the range - I was line of sight in the next room through open double doors about 6 metres away and the signal kept dropping (I realise that this is at the upper end of bluetooth range, and it may be an issue with the iphone, but even so, it's annoying). (If you have been listening using bluetooth you do have to remember to set the sound back to TV when you listen to TV again - hardly a major issue, but unless you only use it with the TV, you will need the supplied remote from time to time).

The other irritating thing is that in order to ensure instant gratification when you turn it on, the valve heaters are powered up on low power permanently. This means that even on standby, the valve cover gets hot. It must be using at least 5w on standby the whole time (which I thought was illegal under EU rules, but maybe they haven't implemented that bit yet). I for one would be happy to wait a few seconds for it to warm up, or, at minimal cost, they could have put in some solid state circuitry to do the valves' job until they have warmed up. (The valves are probably a bit of a gimmick).

Sound quality: there's no way this thing is a patch on a proper discrete setup. My previous system consists of a set of Mission M-Cubes powered by a Denon 1709 receiver (reasonably high-end speakers, and budgetish amp). The Denon/Mission combination is miles ahead of the Samsung soundbar in terms of musicality, soundstage and immersiveness.

Having said that, the Samsung is far from bad. I've tried all the different modes, and found that the custom DSP modes were far too bass heavy - I've turned the sub down as far as I can and now I'm a lot happier with it. It works a lot better with TV and video (including movie) material than it does with music. For a soundbar, it's pretty impressive. For a soundbar.

If you want something discreet and easy to set up, then the Samsung pretty good. If you want good sound quality and you're prepared to locate some speakers and their associated wiring, then a proper separates system will beat this fairly easily, especially for music.

Nils Wachter

January 15, 2014, 10:35 pm

Hello, could you please tell me how loud the subwoofer is on the lowest volume? Is it still too lould with neighbours above, under and next to my flat? I recently bought an onkyo ls3100 and the subwoofer was way too loud and unnatural even at the lowest volume (-10). Is it possible to nearly mute the sub of the samsung soundbar or is it quiet loud even at low level? How is the understanding of voices when watching movies? On the onkyo they were very bad implemented in the soundstage. thanks for your answers

Alain Pierre

July 30, 2014, 12:01 pm

Dear all. Can I install this sound bar below or on top of my mounted flat screen? Which would be best, and why?

Daniel Noormohamed

August 30, 2014, 10:48 am

it needs very close to your listening angle. mines on the bottom of it and sounds really good. i will wall mount it soon

Daniel Noormohamed

August 30, 2014, 10:50 am

its most probably the same as the Onkyo. i have a room connected to my lounge without a dividing wall so i just placed it in the other room. sounds the part now.

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