JBL Bar 1300X vs Samsung Q990C

JBL Bar 1300X vs Samsung Q990C: Which sounds better?

The JBL Bar 1300X is the most powerful soundbar currently available from JBL which comes in a 11.1.4 channel configuration with a massive 1170W of total system power. This soundbar is designed to deliver a massive 1170W of total power output with 650W of power just in the soundbar alone, which is much more compared to the Q990C’s soundbar which delivers up to 384W excluding the subwoofer. Just in terms of specs and wattage, the JBL Bar 1300X is clearly the more powerful option and comes with a subwoofer that delivers much deeper bass than the Samsung Q990C.

The Samsung HW-Q990C, although not as powerful as the JBL Bar 1300X, also features a similar 11.1.4 channel true Dolby Atmos sound configuration. This home theater system comes with 11 front-facing speakers in the soundbar, 1 subwoofer and 4 up-firing channels for a true Dolby Atmos experience. One of the advantages that comes with the HW-Q990C sound system is that it supports Q-symphony, which seamlessly pairs with your Samsung TV for smooth surround sound listening experience. Both speaker systems also support Wi-Fi with AirPlay and built-in voice assistants which make them intuitive and convenient to use especially if you are streaming music from Spotify or other apps.

Now down to the main question – which sound system sounds better? In our tests, we felt that the JBL Bar 1300X delivered an all-around better sound performance with much deeper bass and punch than the Samsung Q990C sound system. The Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar system felt more refined and felt slightly clearer and crisp in terms of dialogue, but does not come with the low-end punch that the JBL Bar 1300X’s subwoofer have to offer. Let’s take a deeper look at the specs.

Comparing the Specs

FeatureJBL Bar 1300XSamsung HW-Q990C
Channels11.1.4 channel11.1.4 channel
Power Output1170W total system power656 watts
Soundbar Output Power650W384 watts (9 speakers in soundbar)
Surround Speaker Output Power2x 110WNot specified
Subwoofer Output Power300W200W
Soundbar Transducer6x racetrack drivers, 5x tweeters, 4x up-firing full-range drivers1 x center speaker, 2 up-firing speakers, 2 side-firing speakers
Surround Speaker TransducerRacetrack driver, tweeter, up-firing full-range driver, 2x passive radiators2 rear wireless speakers
Subwoofer Transducer12” (311mm)Not specified
Frequency Response33Hz – 20kHz (-6dB)28 Hz to 19 kHz
Audio Inputs1 Optical, Bluetooth, USB2x HDMI In, HDMI Out, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, Optical In, Bluetooth (SBC), WiFi
Surround Sound TechnologyTrue Dolby Atmos®, DTS:X, MultiBeam™ Surround SoundTrue Dolby Atmos Sound, Q-Symphony, SpaceFit Sound Pro
Wireless ConnectivityBuilt-In Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Alexa MRM, Chromecast built-in™Wireless Dolby Atmos, Q-Symphony, Bluetooth, WiFi
Additional FeaturesDetachable battery-powered surround speakers, 12″ Wireless subwoofer, HDMI eARC with 4K Dolby Vision passthrough, Easy sound calibration, PureVoice Dialogue Enhancement TechnologyDolby ATMOS Music, Dolby MAT, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Night Mode, Voice Enhance Mode, Surround Sound, Game Pro, Standard, Adaptive, 4K Video Pass, HDR 10+
Dimensions (Soundbar)1376 x 60 x 139 mmMain speaker: 1232.0 x 69.5 x 138.0 mm

The Samsung HW-Q990C has a total power output of 656W and comes equipped with a total of 22 speakers, providing an immersive surround sound experience with Dolby Atmos and other advanced audio technologies like Q-Symphony and SpaceFit Sound Pro​​​​​​. The JBL Bar 1300X, by contrast, is a more powerful system with a total power output of 1170W – the soundbar comes with four up-firing drivers (inside the main soundbar) and two more speakers in the detachable speakers. The JBL Bar 1300X also comes with a 12” wireless subwoofer which delivers 300W of output power and deep bass response.

The Q Series Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar with subwoofer

Sound Performance Comparison

When we tested both sound systems, you can tell that the JBL Bar 1300X has a deeper tonal range with a more powerful subwoofer that delivers a deep low-end rumble during cinematic scenes. We watched Batman: The Dark Knight Rises on this setup and you can really hear the deep low-end bass with the hovering plane flying overhead which you just can’t get with the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar system. Movies seemed to have much more depth on the JBL Bar 1300X and you can hear atmospheric depth and impact with movie scenes. You start to hear things in the movie that you might not have picked up, such as the subtle sounds of footsteps around the corner or the sound of rain drops which sound much clearer on this soundbar.

The only thing we would say about the JBL Bar 1300X is that the bass can be overkill at times and a little too powerful – you will need a large room with plenty of space and air for the sound to travel through – it’s definitely not the kind of soundbar that you would use for a smaller room setup. This soundbar packs enough power to rattle your windows or walls, and you will need to find space around your room to place the rear soundbar speakers for optimal sound projection. Having said that, the JBL Bar 1300X supports True Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and supports easy sound calibration which automatically calibrates the sound according to your room environment.

In comparison, the Samsung HW-Q990C also sounded pretty good but lacks the low-end depth and bass that the JBL Bar 1300X delivers. The sound from the HW-Q990C sounds more refined and you can tell that Samsung spent a lot of time calibrating these speakers to make it sound just right. In terms of frequency response, these speakers sound more flat and neutral than the JBLs but they have an added dimension of clarity. This allows you to pinpoint where each sound is coming from during action-packed movie scenes. The dialogues on the HW-Q990C also sound crystal clear and slightly more forward-leaning than the JBL Bar 1300X, which can make them sound more present.

The JBL Bar 1300X soundbar comes with detachable rear speakers which can be controlled wirelesssly

When we listened to the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar system, the biggest difference seems to be that the HW-Q990C soundbar has a much wider soundstage and listening field, and can make your listening space sound slightly wider. This is great if you are using this setup in a smaller living room space, as it can make your home theater setup sound spacious with 3D sound dispersion and Dolby Atmos. While the JBL Bar 1300X sounds more focused at a particular sweet spot (depending on how you angle the rear speakers), the HW-Q990C has the ability to make cinematic scenes sound more spacious and wider.

Personally, I don’t think that this would make much of a difference though – it really depends on how your room acoustics is setup and while the sound performance of the JBL Bar 1300X seems more “in your face” compared to the wide soundstage that the HW-Q990C has to offer, I must say that the bass on the HW-Q990C’s subwoofer sounded pretty underwhelming. The subwoofer on the JBL Bar 1300X adds much more depth and bass to movie scenes, and it really makes sound effects come to live. The HW-Q990C’s subwoofer, by contrast, sounds much more muted and the bass lacks the kind of depth and gusto that you would expect from a True Dolby Atmos sound system.

Comparing the Specs

In terms of specs, it’s pretty clear that the JBL Bar 1300X is the more powerful option here at 1170W compared to the HW-Q990C’s 656W. The JBL Bar 1300X soundbar comes with four up-firing drivers in the main bar and two more inside the detachable speakers, and it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X together with multi-beam for an enhanced 3D surround sound experience.

As for the two detachable battery-powered surround speakers, all you need to do is to detach them from the soundbar and place them behind you to get instant rear audio. Personally I find this more convenient as you minimize the amount of wiring that you need to do in your living room which can reduce clutter. Like the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar system, the JBL system also supports built-in Wi-Fi with AirPlay and allows you to access all your favorite audio content easily.

Perhaps the biggest draw factor of the JBL Bar 1300X is the 12” wireless subwoofer. This subwoofer delivers tremendous amount of bass that feels tight and very deep, and really makes cinematic movie scenes feel realistic with a lot of depth. They are much better than the Samsung HW-Q990C’s subwoofer which pales in comparison to the bass that the JBL subwoofer has to offer.

The JBL Bar 1300X is the overall more powerful home theater system with 1170W of output power and a much more powerful subwoofer

The Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar system, like the JBL Bar 1300X, is also a 11.1.4 channel true Dolby Atmos sound system and comes with 4 up-firing channels for true Dolby Atmos. This system supports automatic pairing with any Samsung TV using Q-Symphony, and is fully wireless which allows you to setup the system without HDMI cables (although we would still recommend using HDMI because the wireless connectivity may lag sometimes). One of the key aspects of the HW-Q990C is that it comes with game mode pro which automatically adjusts the sound performance for an intuitive gaming experience with PS5, which can be a convenient feature if you want to use the sound system for gaming.

Although the Samsung HW-Q990C comes with a less powerful 200W subwoofer compared to the JBL Bar 1300X’s subwoofer, the entire system as a whole delivers a wider soundstage and listening field and helps you appreciate finer details in the music with great spatial imaging. They excel in delivering clarity – it allows you to pick up where each individual sound is coming from  and the dialogues are rich and clear.

The Verdict?

If we had to pick between the JBL Bar 1300X and the Samsung HW-Q990C, we would go for the JBL Bar 1300X sound bar system. This is because both sound systems are at a relatively similar price point, but the JBL Bar 1300X delivers so much more in terms of surround sound depth and bass. The main difference between both systems is that the JBL Bar 1300X is much more powerful and the subwoofer delivers much deeper and punchy bass that makes cinematic movies sound like a true Dolby Atmos mini home theater. While the Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar has a wider soundstage and delivers slightly more clarity in the dialogues, we definitely preferred the low-end authority and depth that the JBL Bar 1300X delivers which makes movies sound really good with Dolby Atmos and with better depth.

At the end of the day, you won’t go wrong with either sound system but if you want more power and bass depth in your movies (which is definitely something we would recommend if you are getting a Dolby Atmos sound system), the JBL Bar 1300X is clearly the better choice here.