Samsung M5 review

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Samsung M5
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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Distinctive design
  • Full-bodied sound with crisp detail
  • Easy-to-use smartphone app

Cons

  • Occasionally overwhelming bass
  • Not enough of a step up from the M3
  • No audio inputs

Key Features

  • Single speaker or multiroom use
  • DLNA, Bluetooth, NFC and TV SoundConnect support
  • Spotify, Deezer, Napster, 8tracks, Murfie, Qobuz, Tunein Radio and Rdio
  • MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, WAV and FLAC playback
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £229.99

What is the Samsung M5?

The M5 (or WAM550) is the middle man in Samsung’s range of wireless speakers, sitting between the entry-level M3 – which scooped Best Wireless Speaker in the TrustedReviews Awards 2014 – and the top-end M7. There’s a £70 premium on the price of the M3, but it’s around £100 cheaper than the M7.

The M5 can be used as a single wireless speaker for DLNA or Bluetooth streaming, but the beauty is that you can buy additional speakers to create a multiroom system, or team up two or more speakers in a stereo/surround setup – all orchestrated by Samsung’s smartphone app and Wi-Fi hub.

This flexibility is what we loved about the M7 and M3, as well as their impressive sound quality and stylish design, and we’re hoping the M5 can follow in their footsteps.

SEE ALSO: Best Wireless Speakers Round-up

Samsung WAM550

Samsung M5 – Design

The M5’s distinctive design is identical to that of the M3 and M7, with a groovy triangular shape that’s meant to look like a play button. But the main difference between the three is size – at 342mm wide, the M5 is the ‘medium’ model, while the smaller M3 measures 250mm wide and the M7 measures 402mm. The compact shape makes it easy to accommodate on furniture or shelves. The cabinet is solid and weighty, although the glossy top panel feels plasticky.

It’s designed to be lie horizontally when used as a single speaker, but in a two-channel or surround system you can place it on its side using the supplied stand. When you do so, a built-in sensor switches the speaker to mono. The M5 can also be mounted on the wall using the threaded hole on the back.

Samsung WAM550

With a button-free fascia, curvy corners and a glamorous gloss-black finish, the look is sleek and minimal – it’s likely to be quite the talking point. An LED shines through the front grille in different colours to denote status, while a few touch-sensitive controls on top allow you to select internet radio presets, pair Bluetooth devices, adjust volume and activate TV SoundConnect. There’s no power button, but it goes to sleep after a while, or you can force it into a snooze by holding down the Mute button.

Samsung WAM550

It’s a wireless speaker so don’t expect many sockets – the recess on the back houses a USB port for service use and an Ethernet port for those who prefer a wired connection to a router. There are two buttons, one for WPS Wi-Fi setup and another that you press when adding the speaker to a multiroom system. It’s slightly disappointing that you can’t hook up non-wireless devices but not a deal-breaker.

Samsung M5 – Features

Despite its modest appearance the M5 is bursting with functionality, much of which is located within Samsung’s brilliant Multiroom app. It allows you to stream music from a variety of online services – Spotify, Deezer, Napster, 8tracks, Murfie, Qobuz – plus Internet radio from Tunein and Rdio.

We’ve touched upon Bluetooth and DLNA, but there’s also support for NFC (not found on the M3) and TV SoundConnect, plus playback of MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, WAV, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF (up to 192kHz/24-bit). The M5 is equipped with two 56mm drivers and an 80mm woofer, driven by digital amplifiers. Samsung hasn’t quoted a power rating for the amps.

Samsung M5 – Setup and Operation

Some wireless speakers can be a pain to setup, but the M5 is a piece of cake, particularly if you invest in Samsung’s £50 Hub (WAM250), which acts as a go-between for your router and the M5. Connect the Hub to your router using a LAN cable and it creates a Wi-Fi network to link up all your M5s.

Samsung WAM550

Samsung WAM550

The Hub is a compact black box with three illuminated icons on the front indicating power, Wi-Fi status and Ethernet connection. There are two LAN ports on the back and USB port for service use.

If you’re only using a single M5 you can connect it to your home network without a Hub using the WPS Wi-Fi button on the back or by connecting it directly with a LAN cable. But the Hub certainly makes installation easier, and you’ll definitely need one for multiroom use.

When you power up the M5, it connects to the Hub automatically. If not, pressing the Speaker Add button should prompt it to do so. Once everything’s connected, you need to install and run Samsung’s Multiroom app on a smartphone connected to the same network.

Samsung WAM550

Fire up the app and it finds any M5s on the network, presenting each one in its own box with a series of options along the bottom. ‘Source’ lets you choose where to pull music from (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or TV SoundConnect); ‘Surround’ lets you arrange multiple M5s in a stereo or surround layout by dragging them to the right place on the diagram (a sexy female voice confirms your choice); while ‘Group’ lets you play the same music through several speakers at the same time – just tick the speakers you want to include.

Samsung WAM550

You can rename each speaker (helpful for labelling them by room) and tweak the bass, treble, balance and DRC. In Surround mode you’ll see a single box that lets you take control of the whole system.

Samsung WAM550

To select music, tap the name of the speaker and you move to the content selection menu. A row of tabs along the top lets you browse music stored on the phone or jump to Tunein or Spotify (you’ll need a premium account for the latter).

Samsung WAM550

The Devices option lets you explore any connected DLNA servers. The menus are clear, thoughtfully sequenced and attractively decorated with cover art and groovy graphics. During playback you can see the track list by dragging the screen up from the bottom, plus you can easily adjust volume, skip tracks and select playback modes. It really is a joy to use.

Samsung M5 – Performance

The M5’s strong and stable wireless connection allowed us to stream music for hours without any drop outs or interference. If your M5 is too far from the Hub, you can use another Hub to act as a repeater and expand wireless coverage (although obviously that’ll bump up the cost considerably).

Its sound quality is superb. Like the M3 and M7 before it, the M5 is remarkably powerful for such a compact unit, flooding the room with a big, full-bodied sound. Deep bass gives music a feeling of warmth and solidity, which works particularly well when playing uptempo tracks with thumping drums and pulsating basslines, although it can seem a little too thick at times – if that’s a problem, you can always tweak the EQ within the app.

Also impressive is the M5’s high-frequency reproduction, which makes songs sound detailed and lively without over-stressing hi-hats and percussion, even when you turn the volume up loud. It teases out delicate sounds like shakers and tambourines and gives strings and vocals a silky, natural quality.

If you pair up two M5s in a stereo setup you get an even bigger sound with a slight step-up in volume and presence over the M3. The two-channel stage is spacious and expertly organised – sounds pan between the two speakers seamlessly and vocals are locked in the middle. Fans of a leaner sound might find the bass levels a little full-on but otherwise the sound is highly enjoyable.

Pair a Samsung TV with an M5 via SoundConnect and its fulsome output effortlessly brings scale to movies and programmes, bulking up the bass and sharpening up speech. And with an M5 either side of the TV you get a massive movie soundstage that puts some soundbars to shame.

Samsung WAM550

Should I buy the Samsung M5?

Like its two stablemates, the M7 and M3, the M5 is a terrific wireless speaker that boasts tons of functionality, a chic design and simple, flexible operation. Setting up and orchestrating a multiroom system is remarkably easy thanks to Samsung’s slick smartphone app, while support for Bluetooth, TV SoundConnect and a wide range of audio codecs is a bonus.

It’s an impressive performer too, filling the room with a big, beefy sound and digging out plenty of detail. Some might find the bass a bit full-on but it does ensure that the sound has plenty of depth and punch. For these reasons, the M5 is definitely worthy of your hard-earned cash – although at £70 more than the similar-sounding M3 it doesn’t quite offer the same value for money and therefore just misses out on full marks.

SEE ALSO: Best Soundbars Round-up

Verdict

Samsung shows its rivals how multiroom should be done with its slick, stylish and user-friendly wireless speaker.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 9

LeeTronix

January 19, 2015, 5:01 pm

Looks very Sonos-ish which does not surprise me with samsung. I am not convinced about the build quality let alone the sound quality from what I am reading, however I am sure it aims the sound possibly at the all base only type people who just want to hear noise over quality.

Would be interested to note if anyone has these and and can also compare them with other equivalent products.

John

April 27, 2015, 6:51 am

Would be interested to know if you have compared this to the overprices Sonos. You know, the Sonos that does not have bluetooth or TV Connect. The Sonos that has not changed in the last 10 years, besides the price going up and up.

LeeTronix

April 27, 2015, 11:41 am

Would be interested to know what you use and what you like?

If price is your issue or the issue then Sonos is not the right gear for you and is priced about right for this type of equipment, and that is why Sonos does not use bluetooth as it compromises sound quality considerably. When you use other devices like tv connect or play through - again you lose quality as the sound production degenerates. Utilising a lan and or wifi or both connectivity at least ensures as best a constant acceptable signal with minimal loss and integrity.

Samsung make cheap gear and use cheap components then try either charge silly premium prices or try to pitch themselves against products like the Sonos who are in a much different league in order to promote their products and not cheap but quality, unfortunately you pay for what you get.

When you consider you pay say 199-229 for one of these speakers that will not deliver anything like a Sonos then paying 225 for the Sonos 3 or 100 more for the Sonos 5 is not a big difference when comparing the quality.

As an example I use the Sonos system and I also use a lot of Naim Audio equipment as well as having a professional music studio full of gear etc and I am happy with the Sonos a lot considering the costs then are 1000s in difference for sound quality.

Like I said in my original opinion and maybe a tad sarcastic and not intentionally coming across as a music snob, but seriously if your in to boom boom base sounds as the most important thing then something like the samsung will do just fine, but it will not deliver on the full range of balanced harmonics like the Sonos.

John

April 28, 2015, 1:52 am

It took you 300 words to say you have not tested the Samsung multi-room speakers, nor have you compared them to the Sonos.

But you did make quite a few claims.
You state the the SOnos is priced right for this type of equipment. WOW, how on earth do you know that? So, according to you, only Sonos is pricing it right. But not only that, Sonos' high price is the right price. How absurd.
Secondly, whether Bluetooth compromises quality or not is not the issue. The issue is that Sonos does not give the user the option to use Bluetooth. And hey, ever heard of AtpX? Maybe you should read up on that to realize that Bluetooth does not compromise sound quality. Your claim is now shown false.

The problem with the Sonos is that it does not even support high resolution files (e.g.mp3, FLAC, AIFF, AAC, WMA, OGG, etc.). So not even the Sonos Wifi/LAN mesh compromise sound quality. At least Samsung supports high res files, and Bluetooth! The Samsung supports TV Connect which is a bluetooth implementation to connect their speakers wireless to their TV's. And hey, it supports Dolby Digital, DTS, etc. How is the possible if you claim bluetooth compromises sound quality?
Unlike Sonos, the Samsung does not force you to use an App to operate the speaker.
Oh, and the Sonos needs to copy all your files first before it can play with - remembering their is a limit how many songs the Sonos can upload. How absurd.

How do you know Samsung uses cheap components? Can you evidence that claim?
Also, what makes you think Sonos uses expensive components? What makes you think Sonos does not use the same components in their 2015 products as what their did in their 2005 products?

Dude, Here is Sonos prices compared to the Samsung ones:
M3: $179
M5: $249
M7: $329
HW-H750 Sound-bar & Sub: $649

Play1: $199
Play3: $299
Play5: $399
Playbar & Sub: $1398 ($699+$699)

So, no, the SONOS is way more expensive. And you have not even listened to the Samsung ones, so how on earth can you claim the Sonos sounds better? It is way more expensive, so you would expect it to sound better. But does it? Sound quality is subjective, so what is your basis for saying that a more expensive products sounds better and therefore is the better valued product?

How can you claim the Samsung sounds boom boom base when you have not even heard it play?
How can you claim the Sonos has more balanced harmonics compared to Samsung when you have not listened to the Samsung and have not defined what 'balanced harmonics' is.

You are a Sonos owner and therefore will defend your purchase. That is called confirmation biased, you are guilty of it.

I owned both, and objectively the Samsung outperforms the Sonos. And by outperform I mean:
sound quality
connection options
looks, ergonomics, aesthetics
price
support
innovation
software App

You have never owned the Samsung, yet you claim to know the Sonos performs better. How pathetic.

LeeTronix

April 28, 2015, 9:30 am

Such hateful aggression why you just want to pick an argument and justify with sarcastic replies for reasons beyond me. So...."Dude"....

I know this reply will be wasted with you but I will reply in the manner you instigated.

You entire response is just wrong - simply put.

I own a Sonos system, I own Naim Audio, I own a heap of sound equipment and Samsung equipment and your point is???

First of all how do you know I have not heard it play? As a matter of fact I have. Do not make assumptions about people as it is embarrassing when you are wrong.

All the sound issues you say the Sonos does not support is correct and so very wrong at the same time.

The sound file itself passes through speaker system and it is not supported from the Sonos itself, it is from the direct source or file as copied, this is what is passed through. In simple terms (e.g.mp3, FLAC, AIFF, AAC, WMA, OGG, etc.) It then allows Sonos to replicate the songs as a playlist so you get the exact sound it was originally purposed. You also mention that the it does not support DTS etc actually it does and it uses an optic cable through the sound bar to achieve this and then utilises what the system is it is playing from. In respect of just using the Play speakers without the bar then you are quite correct but you would use a bar if it is home hifi for surround sound.

I am not going to assume you have not heard the Sonos unlike you, but in terms of sound quality it has a clearer sound and this is to do with hz the sound is generated at through the speaker cones and how source of the sound is key to passing it through. When I say the Samsung is a boom boom sound I mean does not carry the harmonics in laymen terms the base is more top heavy than the Sonos. It does not mean it does not sound bad it means it is geared for deeper base at lower volume and at higher volume the Samsung speakers cannot cope with that range. The Sonos speakers are constant and rich at all levels and have a more sophisticated sound balance.

When you quote what devices support what you just have to understand what that means, why and how it works. It is as dumb as wanting a phone because it as a bigger ram or higher numbered chipset when it does not mean it is going to be a better phone. It is a common retaliation with people who just see a spec and not the quality.

As for the looks aethestics Sonos had designed this style long before Samsung and other copy cat manufactures and for me I am glad it is not as deep as it is wide how uncomfortable looking that is and glad I have a quality build name of Sonos on it with it's sleek design than all the buttons and busyness of the Samsung. Oh dear I know this infuriates you because I do not agree with you sorry about that - NOT.

The prices albeit your quoting dollars is not that far out at all according to your list! As for the sound bar I agree it is more expensive but it is simply far superior and you do not need the sub with the bar. You either have one or the other as having both would be stupid.

As for Samsung using cheap components I agree that was a bad comment from me and I should know better so I agree with you for my stupidity in saying that.

If the Samsung is a sound you like then good for you and that is what matters.

Enjoy your preferred sound system.

John

April 28, 2015, 11:25 pm

The point is you do not own any of these Samsung Multi-room speakers, Ironically, you have not played these in your room to compare them with your crappy overpriced Sonos. Therefore can not comment on any comparison of the Samsung and Sonos.

The difference between you and me is that I have both systems. And the Sonos is rubbish compared to the Samsung. But here you are, rubbishing the Samsung just because of your confirmation biased. How absurd.

And no, you still have not defined what you mean by quality.
And the Sonos is way more expensive than the Samsung. Gee, you pay $1398 for a Sonos Playbar & Sub compared to the Samsung Soundbar & Sub is $649. The Sonos is double the price! That is significant!

You are now assuning that Samsung and others have copied Sonos. How pathetic. According to your logic, Sonos copied speakers from Samsung since Samsung sold speakers long before Sonos started (they were founded in 2002). Sonos does not even have 300 employees! LOL.

Sonos does not support high resolution playback. It only supports 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. Source: "Supported Audio Formats - FLAC Details". Sonos. Retrieved 11 September 2012.

16 bit / 44.1 kHz is only CD quality.
Sonos system supports WAV and AIFF files but only up to uncompressed CD quality.

High-resolution audio files usually use a sampling frequency or 96kHz
or 192kHz at 24-bit, but you can also have 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz files
too.

Samsung does support high res, 24-bit/192Khz. Something that the Sonos can't. Source: http://www.cnet.com/au/product...

And you need an optical cable to connect the Sonos Playbar to your TV. So much for wireless, pffff.

Sonos is expensive.
Sonos uses and proprietary (not standards based or open) technology.
Sonos has no bluetooth or NFC, so you can't let your friends connect.
Sonos forces you to play through their askew app; prevents many features from normal Sportify, Pandora, etc. You can't play your playlist directly from you connected device.
Sonos does not do stereo, but only offers simulated stereo.
Sonos has bad build quality.
Sonos has only average sound.
Sonos does not offer a rechargeable battery, you need to wire each speaker to power.
Sonos has no aux input, so no way to have sound for youtube, movies, games, etc
Sonos needs the internet connection all the time. How restrictive is that!
Sonos: yesterday's technology at tomorrow's prices.No thanks.
There are much better systems avoidable at a fraction of the cost.

John

April 28, 2015, 11:27 pm

The point is you do not own any of these Samsung Multi-room speakers, Ironically, you have not played these in your room to compare them with your crappy overpriced Sonos. Therefore can not comment on any comparison of the Samsung and Sonos.

The difference between you and me is that I have both systems. And the Sonos is rubbish compared to the Samsung. But here you are, rubbishing the Samsung just because of your confirmation biased. How absurd.

And no, you still have not defined what you mean by quality.
And the Sonos is way more expensive than the Samsung. Gee, you pay $1398 for a Sonos Playbar & Sub compared to the Samsung Soundbar & Sub is $649. The Sonos is double the price! That is significant!

You are now assuming that Samsung and others have copied Sonos. How pathetic. According to your logic, Sonos copied speakers from Samsung since Samsung sold speakers long before Sonos started (Sonos were founded in 2002, Samsung was founded long long before that). Sonos does not even have 300 employees! LOL.

Sonos does not support high resolution playback. It only supports 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. Source: "Supported Audio Formats - FLAC Details". Sonos. Retrieved 11 September 2012.

16 bit / 44.1 kHz is only CD quality.
Sonos system supports WAV and AIFF files but only up to uncompressed CD quality.

High-resolution audio files usually use a sampling frequency or 96kHz
or 192kHz at 24-bit, but you can also have 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz files
too.

Samsung does support high res, 24-bit/192Khz. Something that the Sonos can't.

And you need an optical cable to connect the Sonos Playbar to your TV. So much for wireless, pffff.

Sonos is expensive.
Sonos uses and proprietary (not standards based or open) technology.
Sonos has no bluetooth or NFC, so you can't let your friends connect.
Sonos forces you to play through their askew app; prevents many features from normal Sportify, Pandora, etc. You can't play your playlist directly from you connected device.
Sonos does not do stereo, but only offers simulated stereo.
Sonos has bad build quality.
Sonos has only average sound.
Sonos does not offer a rechargeable battery, you need to wire each speaker to power.
Sonos has no aux input, so no way to have sound for youtube, movies, games, etc
Sonos needs the internet connection all the time. How restrictive is that!
Sonos: yesterday's technology at tomorrow's prices.No thanks.
There are much better systems avoidable at a fraction of the cost.

Jay

May 18, 2015, 6:51 pm

I am quite surprise at the scores given! Myabe this is due to it being best of the worst! So I use a samsung tv and 2 M5's and the bridge.. viola! I find that the tv can only work with one of the M5's not 2 - in 2.1 mode So why pay 500 pounds for a pair of speakers which cannot work with each other in tandem? oh.. you need the M7's to make them work that way! Oh so its a software quirk? I would not waste my money on M5's better get 2 M7s and M3's for the rear if you must! Does not deserve 2 for value!! 0 for features, sound quality is bad. probably 5, performance!! :) 5

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