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Samsung's audio lab

Inside Samsung's anechoic chamber

The microphone

Hemi-anechoic chamber

Speaker cone testing

Computer mapping of frequency response

Full-range tweeter

Further test equipment

Listening rooms

Samsung HW-K950

Founded in 2014, is the Samsung audio lab has been responsible for several new products from the company including the Samsung HW-K950 Atmos soundbar and the Radiant360 speaker . The facility is based in Valencia on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and now employs 20 scientists and engineers.

CNET visited the facility recently and found it includes some unique testing capabilities. Its founders say the lab will help the company become one of the biggest names in audio, in addition to its dominance of displays.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Samsung has not one but two separate anechoic chambers for testing audio components. An anechoic chamber is designed to prevent audio reflections and is used to test the frequency response of components; in this case, for freestanding and stand-mounted components.

What's it like being inside an anechoic chamber? It's a little weird because you can't hear your voice reflecting off walls. It's like having your ears filled with toilet paper.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The calibrated microphone is mounted on an arm which can move up or down. The mount is covered in a fiberglass batt to absorb reflective interference.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Samsung's second anechoic chamber isn't a walk-in like its partner, with only one chest-high door allowing access.

The hemi-anechoic chamber is designed to test wall-mounted products, including TVs and sound bars. It features a VESA mount on a hinged door and the movable microphone monitors how speakers interact with the wall behind it.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Using this speaker cone mapping system the Samsung engineers are able to monitor a speaker's frequency response in real-time.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

One of the drivers designed in the lab is Samsung's new "full-range tweeter." This is essentially a tweeter with holes in the side to port out low-frequencies. The engineers claim the response is more linear than other types of drivers, especially the kevlar drivers from Bowers and Wilkins.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters supervise testing in this part of the lab.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury

In addition to anechoic chambers, the facility is also used for subjective listening tests. The revolving wall pictured here is pretty unique. It allows the staff to mount four different TVs (or sound bars) on a revolving platform and toggle between them. In order to enable true "double-blind" listening, the wall is masked by an acoustically transparent screen.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Samsung's HW-K950 Atmos receiver is one of the first products from the audio lab and features the full-range tweeter designed there.

Read more about how Samsung plans to be the next Bowers and Wilkins.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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