Taking advantage of the built-in Blu-Ray player, we took the opportunity to further test out the audio capabilities of the Samsung HT-E8200 with high definition content. Our usual routine includes going through our Blu-ray version of Superman Returns.
First under scrutiny was the opening sequence of the movie. The whizzing particles of the shattered remains of Krypton allow us to gauge the adequacy of the soundstage, which we found to have good width. However the height for the soundstage was lacking. In a surprising twist from our prior experience, thin bass prevented the explosion sequence from making the required impact. On our previous MP3 Testing track, Elements of Life we found the low registers to be loose and rumbly. For Blu-ray playback however, they were almost entirely absent.
In fact the main shortcoming of the Samsung HT-E8200 throughout our viewing of Superman Returns was the almost non-existent low registers. Low frequency reproduction is an essential component of the movie watching sequence and is absolutely pivotal for the rendering of sound effects. The fact that the lower frequencies are not properly handled really hurt the score for the action sequence at the 33-minute mark of Superman Returns. The sound effects for the airplane crash came across as anemic and much like the sound effects from the opening sequence, failed to make any impact.
Seeing that sound effects are not the HT-E8200’s, it is somewhat redeeming that dialogue is clear and comes across well. The action packed Superman Returns was not justice, but performance for dialogue intensive movies was marginally better.
Using MP3s for checking the audio capabilities of a speaker allows us to get a quick baseline reading on its capabilities. But using Michael Jackson’s This Is It lets us thoroughly explore all the different nuances of the audio output.
With the first track Wannabe Startin’ Something, the sound from the HT-E8200 had an extremely strong central channel. The mids had strong presence and were tight. But like what we experienced in the Blu-Ray movie testing section, the bass was almost non-existent. Even after bumping the bass settings on the EQ provided, we were unable to hear the funky low registers of the track. Our opinion is that this Samsung sound bar probably has some serious cross-over problem with its circuitry.
On Jam, the highs were slightly muted and vocals were subdued. The decent width of the soundstage helps the device render the atmospheric elements well. But lack of verticality restricts us from classifying the soundstage of the HT-E8200 above average. Drums on this particular track also sounded thud-like, which points to a subpar transient response.
The performance on They Don’t Care About Us double confirms the bad transient response. This percussion heavy song sounded off and the color of the various components such as the drums and marching beat did not come across as natural or lifelike.
Our last track was the Michael Jackson classic Beat It. The signature distortion guitars sounded good and the proficiency of the HT-E8200 with mid-range frequencies meant the overall rendering of this song was not bad. We would have preferred more attack to fully enjoy the iconic guitar solo, but all in all the performance of the sound bar for this track was solid.
|This Is It - Michael Jackson||Score|
|Wannabe Startin' Something||7.0|
|They Don't Care About Us||6.5|
|Airplane Scene [33:00 mins]||6.5|