In the last couple of years Samsung has taken to building valves – aka vacuum tubes – into some of its higher end lines of audio gear. The HW-F751 ‘Crystal Surround Air Track’ is the company’s top of the line surround bar and subwoofer combo, so it indeed incorporates a pair of values.
The valves are not for final amplification, but are in the pre-amplification stage. We’re not sure that there is any major way that they could improve the sound, but they sure look nice, glowing orange right in the centre of the soundbar.
Incidentally, the ‘Crystal’ in the title refers to Samsung’s use of a separate in-house technology, ‘Crystal Amplifier Pro’.
The bar is 943mm long and is a good match for many a panel TV, not least Samsung’s own models which can connect to it wirelessly using the company’s SoundShare protocol, which piggybacks on Bluetooth. The unit also supports Bluetooth, of course.
It is finished in a finely perforated aluminium shell which is very classy indeed, especially with those valves and a small set of touch controls at the centre.
You can orientate the unit so that the wider (120mm vs 57mm) face is vertical or horizontal. The former is how it will go if you wall-mount it. An orientation sensors makes major changes automatically depending on which face is vertical.
The display – which is hidden behind the aluminium – switches to the appropriate face so see its pale blue dot matrix pattern coming through the visible perforations. In addition, there are two sets of speakers, one on each face. The amplifier output switches to whichever ones are pointing forwards.
At any one time, there are six drivers in use in the soundbar (the other six are dormant unless you change its orientation). All are 90mm by 38mm units. There are three each at the left and right hand ends of the bar.
In the centre at the back is a HDMI input, optical and 3.5mm analogue audio. There’s also a HDMI output.
The unit doesn’t offer an OSD: the output is provided to pass on the source’s video to your TV. The sound bar itself deals with the sound.
There’s also a wireless subwoofer. This is has no controls except for a trigger for the pairing function, nor any connections. It has its 165mm driver and a bass reflex port at what is clearly intended to be the rear, so it needs to be out a little from a wall or a corner so that it can operate freely.
While the wall mounting bracket is provided, the unit also works on a bench top, which is where we installed it. The subwoofer was relegated to the corner of the room where subwoofers work best.