March 28, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
Samsung has built a good reputation for televisions over the past few years. The company’s best plasma and LED TVs do well in reviews and awards and are carried by many high-end home theater dealers (and frequently appear in our own Home of the Year winning installations). Now the company wants the same kind of respect for its audio systems.
Back in January we showed you the new tube-based stereo system Samsung had on display at the Consumer Electronics Show. Now that product, and a whole line of new audio gear, is hitting the streets. We were invited to a listening and info session in New York City to give the new effort a try.
First, some details. The products shown included the DA-E750 Audio Dock (SRP: $799.99), HT-E6500W Blu-ray 3D 5.1 Home Theater System (SRP: $799.99) and HT-E6730W Blu-ray 3D 7.1 Home Theater System (SRP: $999.99). Other speaker docks, including one inspired by a French horn, were also demonstrated.
There are two key parts to the premium audio strategy. First, tubes. Based one part on nostalgia impact and one part on sonic quality, tubes are included in all three of the above referenced systems. They use a hybrid amplification system that mixes in old-school analog vacuum tubes with new-school digital amps. The tubes, supplied by JJ Electronics from the Slovak Republic, are commonly used in guitar amps. The 12AV7 tubes (each system uses two of them) are dual triode vacuum tubes and are utilized in the preamplification stage. The tubes are said to last about 6,000 hours and can be replaced (by an authorized service agent). A digital amp is employed in the power amp stage. Samsung says the benefit of this system is that the tubes are able to create warm-sounding even harmonics. The digital amp is able to reduce distortion while producing volume.
Also new this year are glass fiber drivers with bullet-shaped phase plugs in the center. A built-in subwoofer supplies bass for DA-E750 system
Connectivity is also a part of the package. The systems include Apple’s Airplay, Bluetooth, AllShare and physical docking connections for portable devices like iPhones and Samsung Galaxy products.
Of course, for $799, you expect it too look good too, so Samsung offers the system in a real wood cherry or black finish with a glossy-piano surface. That, coupled with the subtle orange glow emanating from the tubes gives the system a distinctive appeal.
And it sounds good. I was played a variety of tunes from James Taylor and Justin Townes Earle (who also performed live for the event guests). Indeed, the system sounded very good. There was a rich, full, quality to the music with clear details at the mid and high ends and warm bass on the low end that didn’t sound too thick.
Samsung said it aims to take this product to high-end independent dealers, which makes sense considering that it’s quite a bit more expensive than most of the speaker docks at a typical big box store.
In addition to the main speaker dock, 7.1 and 5.1 home theater integrated systems (with 3D Blu-ray player/receivers) were shown. Those systems also featured Wi-Fi (for Samsung’s Smart Hub set), AllShare, and the same dual-technology amp system.
All these products will ship this Spring.
Check out the slideshow for more images of the Samsung’s tube-based audio products.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.