Not all wireless speakers are created equal and Samsung has demonstrated a number of differences from the competition both in terms of design and audio quality with its R Series of multiroom speakers.
Samsung has gone away from the traditional box-shaped speaker for the R Series and adopted a cylindrical shape that allows the music to be enjoyed in equal quality no matter where you happen to be in the room.
The R Series consists of the R1 ($299), the R3 ($499) and the R5 ($649) and for this review we took a listen to the R1 and the R5.
The design and sound quality are the product of Samsung’s new audio labs in Valencia, on the outskirts of Los Angeles where Tech Guide visited last year during the development of these products.
So we feel like we know these products pretty well even before we got them home to hear them in our own environment.
The Samsung R Series speakers shape makes it possible to provide 360-degree sound.
And the flat top panel makes it easy to control the volume and navigate your music using taps and swipes on the device’s surface.
A lot of thought went into the R Series to make it sound great anywhere in your home.
Samsung has succeeded admirably.
The secret sauce of the R Series design is the radiator ring technology that can channel the sound generated by the tweeters and woofers above it in all directions.
Onboard the R Series speakers is both wi-fi and Bluetooth so they can be connected to your home network as part of a multiroom set-up or paired one to one with a single device.
Out of the box the speakers were really easy to set up.
For our review we used the Samsung Multiroom app on our iPhone to connect the speakers to our network.
No matter where in the house we placed the speakers it was simply a matter of typing our network’s password to complete the connection with the R1.
The R5 was just as easy to connect through the app and we had access to both speakers.
We could even re-name them based on their location or any other way you want to be able to distinguish them.
It’s possible to stream music throughout the house and play different music in different rooms or the same song throughout the house.
With the Samsung Multiroom app you can also access streaming services like Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Milk, Deezer, Rdio, Pandora, Tidal and many more.
There were occasions when the units wouldn’t connect right away. We’d select the Samsung speaker as the device on Spotify for example and nothing would happen.
We’d have to close down Spotify and the Samsung app and start again and it would work. This only happened two or three times in all the time we were using it.
Sound quality of the Samsung R Series speakers is outstanding. Unlike other traditional speakers where the best place to hear them is when you’re sitting directly in front of them, the Samsung speakers have got you covered no matter where you are.
Thanks to the clever cylindrical design, no matter what room the speaker is located and no matter where in that room you happen to be – the sound is consistently good.
The audio quality is rich and warm with plenty of detail.
What impressed us was the quality at the high and mid levels so we can could hear every note and nuance of our music.
The R5 (22W of power) had a lot more power and depth and an even greater range from the high and mid levels,
But the real surprise packet was the bass. The units have a down firing woofer and even the R1 had an impressive punchy low frequency output.
So much so we could feel the vibration when we had the R1 (10W of power) positioned on our desk. In the end, we had to move it away to another spot in the room.
The bottom line is the music sounds great and there was no need to optimise the sound for your room because it sounds good in every direction.
At high volume the speakers played clearly with the R1 showing a little distortion while the R5 sailed through without missing a beat.
Controlling the volume through the app had different results with Samsung Multiroom app allowing users to have more control.
But we found when the app directed us to the Spotify app, for example, we found volume levels was harder to finesse.
One press down on the volume button had the music too low and then a press up on the volume key was too loud.
We had to go back to the Samsung app which was still streaming the music through Spotify to more accurately control the volume.
But overall the experience of being able to control your music in your home with the Samsung R Series speakers was exceptional.
The Samsung R Series speakers are a revelation and combine excellent design with excellent sound.
Audio quality has taken a real step up here – a result of the company’s investment in its own audio labs – and these speakers can easily compete with other similar high level speakers wireless multiroom speakers from Sonos and Bose.