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Speakers

Samsung's flute-like sound bar a play to gamers

Samsung has revealed its HW-N650 sound bar features a series of holes across the top, and also announced an update to its high-end HW-K950 Atmos model.

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The Samsung N650

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung is appealing to the lucrative gaming market with its new HW-N650 sound bar, which uses a unique series of holes designed to lock sound effects to the screen better. In addition the company is announcing its first hardware update to 2016's HW-K950 Atmos sound bar.

The HW-N650 features a line of over 50 openings across the top which Samsung calls "Acoustic Beam" technology. The sound bar is designed to be wall-mounted, and the company says the imperceptible holes make left-to-right effects more seamless. The speaker comes with a wireless subwoofer and, as you'd expect for console-centric system, it includes a dedicated gaming mode. We've seen gaming sound bars before, including the Polk N1 and the Sound BlasterX Katana, but thankfully the HW-N650 is less revolting to look at than most "gamer" accessories.  The $499 N650 will be available in April with Australian and UK pricing and availability to be announced. Expect around £499 and AU$1,000 though.

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Samsung is also rereleasing the CNET Editor's Choice-winning HW-K950 in June with a couple of new tweaks. The main difference is that the main 'bar now includes side-firing speakers on each end, which are supposed to add to the sense of immersion with surround effects or Dolby Atmos. On the software side, the sound bar will now feature DTS:X support -- something the existing model doesn't have.

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The HW-K950, like most recent Samsung sound bars, comes in a huge range of gunmetal

Sarah Tew/CNET

Otherwise the hardware stays the same with a wireless subwoofer in addition to upfiring front and rear speakers (via wireless surrounds). The new additions are going to increase the US price, Samsung says, to over $1,500. While the changes are welcome we would have liked to see a new model number to lessen confusion. The existing HW-K950 is priced at $1,499/£1,299/$1,999.