LG S95QR review: a full 9.1.5-channel Dolby Atmos setup in a box

LG's flagship one-box soundbar package has everything to get you started in full surround and can be set up in seconds

LG S95QR placed on stone floor in home setting
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Equipped for 9.1.5-channel sound, the LG S95QR offers a one-stop surround package that enhances 5.1 sound...but doesn't quite match up to its $1,800 price tag.

Pros

  • +

    Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible

  • +

    Seamless wireless connectivity

  • +

    Easy to set up

  • +

    Powerful 5.1 sound

Cons

  • -

    Mediocre sound quality from sub and surrounds

  • -

    Limited height sound

  • -

    Flaky LG SoundBar app

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LG S95QR: Specifications

Price: $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,049
Colors:
 Gray
Ports: 2x HDMI in; 1x HDMI out (eARC/ARC); Digital optical; Speakers: 17 (Specified: 2x left/right stereo; 1x center; 1x center height; 2x surround side; 2x rear; 2x rear height; 2x front height; 1x subwoofer; 2x rear surround side)  
Audio channels: 9.1.5
Audio formats: Dolby Atmos; Dolby Digital; DTS-HD; DTS:X
Power output: 810W
Wireless: AirPlay 2; Bluetooth SBC, AAC; Chromecast; Spotify Connect
Smart assistant: Alexa; Google Assistant
Subwoofer: Dedicated
Dimensions: 47.2 x 2.5 x 5.3 inches (soundbar); 6.3 x 8.8 x 5.6 inches (surrounds); 7.9 x 15.9 x 15.9 inches (subwoofer)
Weight: 11.1 pounds (soundbar); 22.1 pounds (subwoofer); 9 pounds (each surround)
Wall mountable: Yes

The LG S95QR Dolby Atmos soundbar is a complete surround solution packaged with a soundbar, wireless subwoofer and surround speakers in a single (and some would say rather large) box. As the company's flagship soundbar solution, it is packed with immersive tech to handle the latest surround audio formats, and claims plenty of power to give movie soundtracks a boost. It is a significant upgrade over pervious models and unsurprisingly comes at a higher price of around $1,800. 

It's a significant departure from the budget soundbars that are grabbing the headlines right now, as models like the Sonos Ray (possibly partnered with a Sonos Sub Mini) are offering a significant boost to TV sound for a very reasonable outlay. 

The LG S95QR Dolby Atmos soundbar, therefore, has a lot to prove: it needs to offer big sound — especially in the height channels — to warrant the extra cost, and not skimp on the features that other soundbars like the Sony HT-A7000 and Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 (which made our best Dolby Atmos soundbars list) provide.

Can the LG S95QR live up to the task? Read on to find out if the LG S95QR does enough to justify the price tag.

LG S95QR on stone floor show top view of all components

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Price and availability

The LG S95QR is available finished in gray and priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,049, and we have seen it discounted to $1,499 on LG’s website (opens in new tab) and via several online retailers but at the time of publishing these offers were no longer available. Make sure you keep up to date with our best Amazon deals page for the best prices.   

At the MSRP of $1,799, the LG S95QR looks like a costly flagship soundbar. But when you consider that the is a complete surround speaker package incorporating four active wireless components, it begins to look a bit more competitive — and even more so if the $299 discount previously being offered by some retailers returns. 

By way of comparison, the Sonos Arc (one of our best soundbars) will set you back around $1,946 with a Sonos Sub and 2x One SL speakers, while a Sonos Beam with Sub Mini and 2x One SL speakers is around $1,211. Typically, Sonos components are priced individually, but these 'packages' are available from the Sonos website (opens in new tab) and at the time of writing are offered at discounted prices.

LG S95QR review: Design and build

  • Low-profile design and wall mountable
  • Ideal for 55- to 65-inch TVs
  • Looks and feels cheap compared to rivals

The low-profile design of the main soundbar speaker is slim and elegant, measuring 47.2 x 2.5 x 5.3 inches (L x H x D). Its height is unlikely to foul the bottom of a TV screen, and LG says that it is ideally suited to match with TV sizes of between 55 and 65 inches. The powered subwoofer measures 7.9 x 15.9 x 15.9 inches, while each of the surround speakers measure 6.3 x 8.8 x 5.6 inches. 

All the components are finished in a gray; there is no alternative finish option. Build quality feels satisfactory enough, but isn't anything special, and the S95QR package doesn't quite have the kind of luxe finish or styling that typically befits a model sat at the top of the company's soundbar line-up.

Showing wired port connections on LG S95QR

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Connectivity

  • Recessed connectivity panel
  • 2x HDMI ports compatible with 4K60
  • HDMI out with eARC/ARC

On the soundbar underside there's a recess for hardwired connectivity and includes two HDMI 2.1 input ports, and one eARC/HDMI output, capable of handling 4K @60Hz with Dolby Vision, and HDR10 signals. There's also a digital optical port and a USB port.

In terms of wireless connectivity, you can connect via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and there's AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, as well as Spotify Connect. Hi-res streaming is supported via over Wi-Fi using Tidal or even direct from a networked HDD music library or connected to the USB port. 

Despite its hi-res handling capabilities, Bluetooth codec support runs to bog standard SBC and AAC, and there's no aptX Adaptive or LDAC support to achieve better quality audio streams — although this may be addressed in future firmware updates.

LG S95QR main soundbar on a white surface in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Configuration

  • 17 speaker drivers
  • Dedicated subwoofer
  • 2x surrounds with built-in height speakers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats

A 9.1.5-channel configuration, the flagship LG claims to use 17 speakers throughout the speaker package (although I can only count 15), including dedicated wireless rear surrounds and a wireless subwoofer. 

The main soundbar itself employs three up-firing height speakers (which includes a brand new up-firing center driver), plus there are two further up-firing drivers on the top surface of the wireless rears. All woofers in the S95QR have been upgraded over previous flagship designs to larger models said to deliver deeper bass notes for a movie theater experience in the home. 

Left surround speaker for LG S95QR soundbar package

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The wireless rear surrounds carry two full range speaker drivers firing rear effects out at approximately 30 degree angles, while a single up-firing speaker handles the height elements in appropriate soundtracks. It's an enhanced configuration over previous designs that is said to distribute sound evenly across a wider area (approx 135 degrees), and facilitates flexible speaker placement for a more immersive sound experience no matter what size room they're placed in. 

Active subwoofer from LG S95QR soundbar package on stone floor at reviewer's home

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The wireless subwoofer is fairly large front ported design measuring 7.9 x 15.9 x 15.9-inches and rated at 220W power output. 

The main soundbar and rear surround speakers can each be wall mounted. As a wireless setup there are no speaker cables linking the rear speaker and subwoofer to the main unit, but as powered speakers each needs to be connected to power outlet and comes with its own power cable.

LG S95QR soundbar package showing all components together

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Extra features

The LG is packaged with plenty of setup smarts, including AI to automatically optimize sound output levels to your particular room and surroundings accessed via the LG SoundBar control app.  

As with several of its most recent soundbars, the audio output of LG's 2022 soundbar lineup has been tuned by Meridian Audio. The British audio specialist has also contributed its Meridian Horizon tech, which converts two-channel stereo sound into a multi-channel audio experience for surround sound speaker setups. 

There's also auto low latency mode (ALLM) for gamers who value in-sync onscreen action and audio, and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voices assistants are also supported.

Additionally, a new LG add-on called Wowcast (opens in new tab) ($99) enables wireless lossless multi-channel audio connectivity from any TV with an HDMI ARC/eARC port to the Wi-Fi-enabled S95QR soundbar.

Remote control supplied with LG S95QR soundbar package

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Controls

The LG SoundBar control app is most likely be the go-to for adjusting speaker levels and selecting sound presets to fit whatever content is playing. It's fairly straightforward to use once I managed to get the app to see my home network and connect to the wireless soundbar, but it took some time and the lack of clear instructions didn't help.     

Additionally, you'll find touch-capacitive control buttons at the centre of the soundbar itself. There's a small display on the front to provide visual feedback to show that the soundbar is decoding an audio signal, but it is rather limited as it only shows a few characters at a time, and you have to wait for three or four letters to scroll by at a time to know what format is being decoded or what sound preset is selected. 

A traditional handheld remote control is included (batteries are supplied), and can also control Apple Music playback app for Play and Skip controls, which I found rather neat. I also found that my Samsung TV remote worked for quick overall volume level adjustments.

LG S95QR soundbar showing closeup of speakers with LG logo at bottom right corner

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LG S95QR review: Sound quality

  • Immersive and impactful surround with 5.1 soundtracks  
  • Poor dialog clarity with standard TV broadcasts
  • Surround speakers can sound thin and lacking LF

LG claims 810W total power output for S95QR, which should easily be enough power to drive most mid- to large-sized rooms. On the face of it, the power output claim seems reasonable given that it is split between soundbar, subwoofer and surround speaker channels. It is important not to equate power claims with sound quality, though, as in terms of overall sonic performance, the S95QR isn’t the all round powerhouse entertainment system I hoped for. 

As a multiple speaker home theater system, though, it is reassuring to know that the LG's strengths lie in delivering 5.1 movie soundtracks either streamed from services such as Netflix and Amazon (or hooked up to a Blu-Ray disc player), where it delivers its best performance. 

Top Gun: Maverick turned out to be the perfect showcase for displaying the LG's talents, with high-octane effects, bags of roaring bass from the the fighter jets and the roaring Kawasaki Ninja H2 motorcycle engine, and that great soundtrack that opens with the original Top Gun anthem by Harold Faltermeyer. It's an atmospheric and immersive opening sequence as the bell chimes ring out and slowly decay, filling the room with sound. But the system begins to show its weakness as the Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone" track kicks in and the vocal spits and fights for attention among the rest of the soundtrack.

As the movie powers on, I realized the frequency handling of the LG soundbar and partnering subwoofer aren't very well integrated. Some lower-mid frequencies appear to be missing entirely, resulting in a less than smooth transition as the subwoofer kicks in with the bass frequencies. There's no way to adjust the crossover or compensate for the frequency handover deficiencies.

The bad news continues with the surround speakers, which sound 'thin' thanks to a lack of bass support integration from the sub. As onscreen objects transition out of frame and the sound pans from the soundbar beneath the TV screen to the speakers behind my seating position on the sofa, I can clearly hear the sonic character of the moving object shift as it moves to the thin-sounding speakers at the back of the room. Bass support is nowhere to be heard, making the impact of action movie surround effects sound weak and weedy.

As observed with the Kenny Logins' vocal, dialog clarity is generally poor, too. Female voices in TV drama or low-quality outside broadcasts on news programs, say, typically sound thin and lack the kind of fullness and gravitas to make them sound natural and convincing. While male voices are too bass heavy and over boomy during studio broadcasts.

The issue appears to be the subwoofer tuning, where the frequency handling should ideally integrate seamlessly with the lower frequencies produced by the soundbar. Also, despite being a sizeable subwoofer model it doesn’t actually dig that deep, and lacks the impact I’ve heard from other system subs. 

Lastly, it is very easy to hear the frequency deficiencies from the LG soundbar as the subwoofer takes so long to kick in. It only seems to recognize that there's an audio signal present some ten seconds or more after the soundbar is playing. 

LG S95QR soundbar showing Meridian audio partnership branding

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Despite partnering with British audio specialist Meridian and claiming 24-bit hi-res support, the LG isn't a speaker system to make the most of your music collection. Music mode is apparently the preset option that’s benefitted from Meridian’s tuning expertise, but it does little to bring music tracks to life. There’s plenty of bass boom but no real sense of rhythmic energy or pace other than the same one-note thump that's applied to the beat of most of the tracks I played. 

Stereo soundstage was pretty narrow and didn't stretch beyond the physical confines of the soundbar itself. The good news is that vocal clarity is in some ways better than movie dialog, which may seem strange but I imagine has been aided by Meridian's music tuning expertise.  

Sound presets run to AI Sound Pro, Standard, Music, Cinema, Clear Voice, Sport, Game, and Bass Blast. With the exception of the Standard for movies and Music for listening to stereo music, all other presets are best avoided. If you must play a music track in Cinema mode, you’ll hear what I mean about the surround speakers having a very different sonic character to the soundbar.

LG S95QR review: Verdict

On the one hand the LG S95QR looks like a value Dolby Atmos soundbar package. It is full to the brim with the latest surround sound format handling capabilities for what looks like an attractive price when you consider the WiFi connectivity tech between active speakers and the considerable power output claims. It nearly works, too, especially if you stick to high-octane 5.1 movies. 

Ultimately, the lack of sonic integration between the main soundbar, subwoofer and surround speakers results in an uncomfortable sound balance that does little to enhance a regular viewing experience beyond a TV's built-in speakers. With a little more sonic synergy this soundbar package could be a great one-box solution for all your entertainment needs. As it stands, though, the LG S95QR soundbar flagship package needs further work to be a top contender at the price.

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.