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on July 7, 2012
Sound System: Samsung HW-E550 2.1 Channel 310-Watt Sound bar
TV: Samsung UN46C7000 46-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D LED HDTV
Cost: $359 on sale at Sears
Room Size: 12ft X 12ft

The picture on my TV is fantastic but I've been dealing with sub-par sound for almost a year and a half. The two small rear facing speakers that I have on my TV are about 1/2 inch from the wall and they sound terrible. It was time to do something about the crappy sound I was receiving.

I wanted to stick with the Samsung product line and wanted something that would be near the size of my 46" TV so I picked up the HW-E550 Sound Bar. The price was pretty good ($359 @ Sears), I didn't want to run wires and my room isn't very large. A better sound system (5.1+) would have been a waste in my opinion as I sit against the back wall in the small room.

When I returned home with my new sound system I promptly opened the box and laid out the contents. I discovered there was some "extra" stuff because I wanted to wall mount the system not shelf or stand mount it. After figuring out what I need and what to put back into the box I got started on the assembly of the system.

While putting together the sound bar I discovered a few things.
1 - The only wire that comes out of the Sound Bar is the power cable. There are no extra wires to connect to the Sound Bar. The sound bar should be pre synced with the subwoofer, if it isn't you'll need to press the ID Set button on the back of the sub woofer.
2 - When screwing the 4-6 small screws into the back bracket of the sound bar make sure to stand the bar up on end or screw on a level hard surface. Do not do this on a bed or sofa as you may damage the connection point of the sound bar.
3 - Be careful when screwing in the 4-6 screws mentioned above. I cross threaded 2 of the 6 screws I used. The first one I didn't notice until it was too late. With the second one I was aware of the issue but was unable to thread the screw correctly. The threads seem pretty soft to me.
4 - It's harder to level and center the bar then it is to put it together. I had two friends hold the bar about two inches from the bottom of my TV. I then grabbed a pencil and traced the bottom of the mounting bracket on the wall so I knew about where I wanted it mounted. We set down the sound bar and I grabbed the mounting bracket. There was an arrow on the sound bar mounting bracket so I aligned that with the "S" in "samSung" on the bottom of my TV and used the pencil line above to get it where I wanted. I marked the drill holes through the center of the mounting bracket holes with a pencil, removed the bracket, pre drilled for anchors and mounted the bracket with my anchor screws. I'm not sure if it should have but my kit didn't come with screws or anchors to mount it to the wall. The mounting process was pretty straight forward.

When putting together the Subwoofer this is what I discovered.
1 - My Samsung TV has an HDMI "ARC" connection on the back of it. As per the instruction manual you can only use the TV's Samsung provided remote with the sound bar if you have the subwoofer connected to the sound bar via the HDMI ARC port on the TV on an Anynet+ compatible TV.
If you don't have ARC than you need to use the remote that came with the sound bar.
2 - I have the HDMI (ARC) port on my TV connected to the HDMI Out port on my subwoofer.

Turning it on and setting up the TV options.
1 - In the setup (Menu > Application > Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) > Setup) there is an option for "Auto Turn Off". This feature turns off the sound bar when you turn off your Samsung TV with your Samsung TV remote. That feature is pretty straight forward.
2 - Unfortunately I could not find any good way to turn the sound bar when the TV is turned on. The sound bar will turn off when you power off the TV but it will not power back on when the TV comes on. I thought that was pretty lame. I hope to see a firmware update with the TV or sound bar to correct this.
3 - You can turn on the receiver manually, with the receiver remote or through the TV options ("Menu > Application > Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC)" and make sure "On" is showing next to Receiver).

Sound Bar Settings.
The bar has a built in scrolling LED screen to give you feedback on the options you choose. When compared to stand alone receivers this sound bar definitely isn't feature rich. It has 6 sound effect presets or you can turn it off. I find that I normally keep it on the Music setting. This system also has 3D sound but it doesn't work for my setup as I sit on the back wall. If I stand in the middle of the room It sounds surround'ish. It mostly sounds like you have a Front Left, Center and Front Right system. I really like the auto dimmer function for the LED screen. If you choose to, the screen will turn off after maybe 15 or 20 seconds. There are other options and features of the system that I'll let you explore and discover.

Subwoofer.
I find that I am constantly reaching for the remote and changing the Subwoofer Level on the sound bar. At low volumes the woofer doesn't "woof" very much. At higher levels + the correct sound preset + bumping up the SW level the woofer starts to woof around volume level of 15. The last movie I watched on Blu-Ray was Transformers and it sounded great with the Subwoofer. We watched the movie on a volume level of 25 and a woofer level of 5 and it sounded pretty awesome. The woofer level goes up to 6.

Final Thoughts.
At the full price of $400 this system is a little expensive for the lack of options that you receive. At the Sale price of $359 this system is a little more reasonable. In my opinion this is a $349 system that should go on sale for $299 from time to time. The system was easy to setup and mount, it's compatible with my Samsung TV and it fills my little room up with some great sound and bass. The setup instructions were a bit lacking but that didn't bother me as it was all very easy to figure out. Unlike other users my sound bar doesn't lose the settings. Also, I don't use a Harmony remote and I don't have the issues that another reviewer did. This sound bar can get very loud. The volume goes up to 50 but I have never had a need to go above 30. At 40 the sound starts to degrade and is VERY loud. I can also use my iPod / MP3 player, USB and Bluetooth to listen to my music how I choose. It's nice to be able to turn on my phones Bluetooth and pipe the sound right through my sound bar.

If you don't have a want / need to setup a 5.1 and don't care about the true surround experience this may be the setup for you. This Sound Bar is 5,000% better than my TVs built in speakers. For me, in my little room, this is a great setup. I'll give it 4/5 stars.

For more information check out the HW-D550 reviews. The HW-E550 is nearly the same as the HW-D550.

Good luck,
-R. Sadler
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on August 12, 2012
I was looking for compact home theaters for a really long time. My requirements were the following:
- great sound quality, of course
- no wires running all over my living room
- wireless connectivity to play music from my ipad ( air play or bluetooth)
- more recent model, preferably 2012 one
- hdmi or optical connectivity
- seamless integration with my tv and switch between dish network cable programming, netflix, vudu apps without additional buttons to press
- look elegant and match my new 46" led tv
- reasonably sized subwoofer (not like the ugly Bose ones)

I did a lot of research, looked at compact home theater systems and sound bars, including Bose cinemate, Energy Power Bar elite, Polk audio, Boston accoistic sound bars, and other stanadard Sony, LG ones, and finally settled on this.

Pros:
- meets all my requirements listed above (this was in fact the only system that did)
- as a bonus, I could split the sound bar into two separate towers with attached base- looks awesome
- sound bar remote automatically operates my Samsung tv- another bonus feature

Cons:
- expected Samsung to provide better instructions to asemble. Took quite a while for me to figure out the optimal connectivity. Bluetooth connection with my ipad was easy and I could wirelessly listen to my Pandora staions immediately. But for seamless integration with Tv, I figured out after some google searches that I should use the HDMI-ARC port in my TV. ARC stands for Audio Return Cable.
- unit turns off with my tv when using my tv remote, but does not turn on. Have to use the sound bar remote to turn it on.

Overall I am pleased with the functionality, sound quality and the looks, and would highly recommend this product.
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on June 15, 2012
I had recently purchased a new Samsung TV and wanted to add a good solid sound system to it. I wanted to avoid wires all over the place but wanted to still get at least decent enough surround sound. When I saw that this included "wireless" connectivity between the speakers, I figured this was perfect. It was just "ok". First, the instructions that come with it are not that terribly helpful. They were even confusing as to choice of layouts and how to best set up based on those layouts. If you dont have the right tools, nearly impossible to put in the screws in the right places to hold these things up. And "wireless", hardly. Everything made it sound as if the large bass base unit was "wireless" when it is not. That is not so bad, unless you were hoping to move it away from everything else. The bass all devices (2) must be connected and then the bass must be connected to the television. So that limits where you can put it or else you end up with wires all over the place, the one thing I wanted to avoid. The seperate speakers can be put together into one "unit" but the sound basically sucks, and for $400 I expected something better. I know there are systems that sell for a lot more with fantastic sound, and I wasn't paying for that. But still, at $400 I did expect it to be better. So I split the speaker bar up and again, unless you want wires showing every place, you can not really seperate them at that far. I did place them on the tv stand on either side of the television and the surround sound is better. My other complaint is that the system doesn't seem to remember my settings. So each time I turn it back on, I have to change the surround sound settings and some other ones to get it the way I like it. A hassle but ok. I wanted to give this a better rating, but it is just ok. One of these days I will have to spend a lot more to get what I had hoped this would deliver.
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on February 8, 2014
Huge difference between TV speakers and the sound bar. One minor irritation- I set it for HDMI 1 or 2 and it switches to digital. After 2 false switching, it runs stable. Like the display of sound level setting on sound bar. I also like that HDMI input to woofer, links wireless to sound bar.
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on February 21, 2013
I was looking at the other sound bars but decided on this one because it showed you could split the speakers versus having one long sound bar, which was better for my living room. This system works very well with my Samsung TV. I would say the remote could be much better designed and integrated into other Samsung device but I was buying a sound system not a fancy remote. This system puts out good deal of bass and has a compact size. It says wireless sub but that seems a bit misleading as all of the connections plug into the sub and the speakers are wireless.
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on May 23, 2013
I love the look of the sound bar and the sub-woofer. I bought this system after reading the reviews thinking I'd have a different experience, turns out I was wrong.

The Good:

The system looks great, it has LED display behind the speaker grill that I think just looks awesome. The can be split into to two separate speakers or can be connect together to rest on you TV stand or it can be easily be mounted on a wall. When you change the controls by remote a light displays on the right side of the speaker to let you know that a command was recognized, a very nice touch. The subwoofer's shape looks good and it has a nice piano black finish to boot. The remote has very simple layout and can control Samsung branded TVs. The sound quality is decent in my opinion, it's clear and the bass is solid and not overpowering.

The Bad:

The design, I have to say wasn't fleshed out enough. All of the ports and I mean all are on the subwoofer which requires an outlet. Which causes the subwoofer to stay very close to your TV. Is it wireless, Yes, that's if you go all bluetooth! As for that, the bluetooth feature didn't work well across all my devices that well. With my iPhone it worked perfectly, my iPad not so good for some reason, and with my PC it was unplayable. Basically the signal or connection would constantly drop in and out causes the audio to skip heavily or disconnect. The speaker itself also requires an outlet, if you want to split the speaker in two you will have to run a speaker cable. between the two which is very tacky looking. Also, bluetooth aside, the audio had syncing issues from using my digital optical cable which is pretty much my preference of audio cable. I discovered the same issue with the HDMI passthrough connection. After tinking around a bit, I found that the best solution was to use a audio cable, the one that are used for PC speakers or headphones to hookup to this device. That's the only way to get a solid performance from it.
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on November 18, 2012
This soundbar is awesome. It's worth every penny. The subwoofer boomed when I watched the Dark Knight Rises, and all the sounds were crisp and clear. So why only 4 stars? It doesn't come with all of the parts you might need. My (Samsung, ironically) TV is digital sound output only. What that means is that I can't connect it with an auxillary jack, or an HDMI cable. This is a big problem with most of the reviewers. You really need to read up on what your TV does before you buy these speakers because you might not have the necessary qualifications from your TV to work this.

To summarize, make sure that your TV can hook up properly with a sound system before you buy, and if you configure everything properly, you won't be disappointing with the results.
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on December 10, 2012
I went back and forth on whether this was worth $329. Then I saw it was advertised on NewEgg.com for $279 on 12/8. I got it from BestBuy and they price matched NewEgg's $279 price (though I just re-checked NewEgg on 12/10 and no longer see that price). When I walked into BestBuy, they had Christmas music streaming from Pandora playing through the HW-E551 and it sounded great. The sound really carried and decent bass. For $279, definitely worth it. I looks so much sleeker than the HW-E450 model, which is priced around $230-$250 right now. Not as good of sound as some other systems (like the Bose Cinemate II), but for the price it is a great compromise.

Just to alleviate confusion, the HW-E551 and HW-E550 are the same item, just silver and black, respectively. I have a 55" Samsung LED TV and it works awesome. After plugging in the soundbar and subwoofer to their respective power plugs, and running a single HDMI from the subwoofer (HDMI out) to my Samsung TV (HDMI ARC port), everything synced automatically. My Samsung Blu_Ray still works fine being HDMI'd to the TV. I didn't have to run the BluRay HDMI to the subwoofer as the instructions lead you to believe. Like I said, I haven't exhausted all of the potential configurations (I have a 3 year old, so I was limited in time). If you already have a late model Samsung LED Smart TV and Blu-Ray player, this soundbar will work nicely with your system.

Blue-toothed music from my Samsung Galaxy S3 to the HW-E550 no problem. Though it was randomly pausing and skipping tracks at first when I was using GooglePlay or PlayMusic apps. But I switched to RocketPlayer app on the phone instead of GooglePlay/Playmusic and didn't have this problem. Not sure why this was happening. But anyways, music sounded great. It passed my Rage, Tool, Korn test. Bass sounds decent.

Other reviewers have pointed out that you definitely need to either run a HDMI or optical cable from the TV to the subwoofer. If this is true, then this is a HUGE difference between the HW-E450 and HW-E550/E551. The HW-E450 has no (zero, none) cable inputs on the subwoofer and instead connect the system to the TV via an HDMI connection between the soundbar and the TV. Whereas the HWE550/E551 has many ports on the back of the sub (2 HDMI in, 1 HDMI out, 1 digital audio (optical) in, AUX in, USB). So it would seem that the E450 and E550/E551 models differ in which component is cabled to the TV. I have not experimented yet with other cabling configurations, but as of right now things are working great with one HDMI cable going from subwoofer (HDMI out) to the ARC HDMI on the TV.
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on March 12, 2014
My son bought this for his new Samsung TV he absolutely loves and loves the sound quality he said it's one of his best purchases yet.
Easy to put together his fiancé even did it when he was at work works well looks great what work could you want
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on January 2, 2014
We purchased a new smart tv and the sound on them is like listening to a tin can. We purchased the speakers and what a difference. The sound quality is great and they look great as well. We hooked ours together in a cylinder and it sits in front of the tv.
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