The LG S95QR sits at the top of the brand’s soundbar range, offering an impressive set of features and a highly immersive 9.1.5-channel speaker layout with a centre height channel.
This configuration delivers front left/centre/right channels, two side channels, two width channels, three front height channels, two rear height channels, surround channels, and wireless subwoofer.
Will the extra centre height channel make a difference, and does this flagship model justify it’s price tag to make it the best soundbar for LG TVs? Find out as our LG S95QR review reveals all…
LG S95QR: PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The LG S95QR sits atop the brand’s soundbar range, is available now, and comes with a premium price tag of £1,699/$1,499.
That may seem expensive, but makes sense when you consider the cost of replicating the immersive audio experience using an AV receiver, speaker package and subwoofer.
LG S95QR REVIEW: FEATURES & WHAT’S NEW?
The LG S95QR is a 9.1.5-channel immersive audio system composed of a soundbar, a pair of wireless rear speakers, and a wireless subwoofer. The big new feature this year is the addition of a centre height channel – which is a world’s first.
The speaker layout uses front, rear and height speakers to create an enveloping bubble of sound, and was developed in conjunction with the Meridian audio brand. As a result, the S95QR includes proprietary features such as Meridian Horizon, AI Room Calibration, and AI Sound Pro.
The soundbar is designed to seamlessly integrate with the latest LG TVs, and decodes Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced soundtracks. There’s also Hi-Res Audio support, along with extensive connectivity, and it works with Alexa and Google voice assistants for additional smarts.
The design is stylish, the build quality good, and the connectivity extensive, with some useful gaming support like ALLM and VRR. Only a lack of 4K/120 and HDR10+ passthrough disappoints, but in all other respects this is an impressive flagship model.
LG S95QR REVIEW: AUDIO PERFORMANCE
The LG S95QR is an impressive performer with a big and fully immersive soundstage. The AI Room Correction helps bring the numerous speakers together into a single cohesive system, while also eliminating the more egregious acoustic aspects of the environment. The delivery is clear and balanced, the amplification has plenty of headroom, and the bass is properly integrated.
A soundbar needs rear speakers to create genuine immersion, and the S95QR’s surrounds combine with the front and rear heights produce a hemisphere of sound that allows the processing to place audio effects around the room with precision. The result is a more realistic experience, as objects are steered seamlessly through three-dimensional space.
The overall soundstage is often huge, with the front and rear side drivers adding width, while the centre channel height driver helps create greater scale at the front of the room. The upgraded subwoofer is responsive, delivering extensive bass extension, while the amplifiers have sufficient power to ensure they never sound strained and distorted when you dial up the volume.
The dedicated centre channel makes sure dialogue is always clear and focused no matter how frenetic the mix, and the clean midrange and well-defined treble ensure musical scores are equally well served. As a result, while this soundbar is primarily aimed at audio fanatics decoding object-based soundtracks, but if you also want to enjoy two-channel or multi-channel music then the LG won’t disappoint.
The performance with Dolby Atmos is exceptional, with the comprehensive speaker layout allowing the S95QR to take full advantage of the format’s object-based audio heroics. The system makes full use of the height channels and subs to deliver a full-bodied and multi-layered presentation. The same goes for films using the less popular DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced formats.
LG S95QR REVIEW: DESIGN AND USABILITY
The LG S95QR is elegant, with a brushed metal top, wrap-around grille, rounded corners, and dark grey finish. There’s a total of eight drivers, powered by 350W of amplification. It’s a big soundbar, better suited to larger screen sizes, and measures 1200 x 135 x 63mm (WxDxH). It weighs in at 5.03kg.
The wireless subwoofer uses a front-ported design with a side-firing 8-inch driver, and is styled to match the soundbar. It has 220W of built-in amplification, measures 202 x 403 x 407mm (WxDxH), and weighs a hefty 10kg.
The wireless rear speakers each have forward-, side- and upward-firing drivers, with a total of 240W of amplification. They match the rest of the system, and are quite large, measuring 159 x 142 x 223mm (WxDxH) and weighing 4.08kg.
Connectivity is excellent with two HDMI inputs and an output that supports eARC. HDMI inputs are important for anyone wanting to enjoy DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced, while all the HDMI ports pass 4K/60p, ALLM, VRR and a number of HDR formats, including HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Sadly there’s no support for HDR10+ or 4K/120p, with the latter disappointing gamers.
The only other physical connection is an optical digital input, but wireless connectivity is well served with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay 2. There’s also support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, turning the S95QR into a smart speaker.
The remote control is as elegant as the soundbar, with a glossy black finish. The button layout is logical and intuitive, with all the controls you need to setup and operate the S95QR. Other options include LG’s remote ap or the TV remote, in addition to the above voice assistants.
If you’re looking to enjoy Dolby Atmos content there’s plenty available, with all the major streamers supporting the format. There’s even some Atmos-mixed music available from services like Tidal and Apple Music. Dolby Atmos can be found on Blu-rays and 4K discs, which is also the only current source for DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced soundtracks.
LG’s partnership with Meridian means the S95QR incorporates the latter’s Horizon up-mixing algorithm that turns two-channel into 5.1-channel audio. There’s also an automated and highly effective AI Room Calibration system.
The AI Sound Pro feature is designed to analyse the audio and automatically apply processing on-the-fly, thus optimising the sound for specific content. There are also a number of sound presets: Standard, Music, Game, Sport, Cinema, and Bass.
LG S95QR REVIEW: VERDICT
The LG S95QR is an awesome soundbar that generates a fully-immersive experience, with the new centre height channel helping create a wall of sound at the front of the room, while the rear speakers provide plenty of surround presence. There’s sufficient power to produce scale and slam, while the subwoofer adds extensive low-end depth. The result is a system that’s balanced and cohesive, with a clean delivery and precise placement of audio effects.
All the main film soundtrack formats are covered with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced, and thanks to Meridian’s involvement the S95QR is also very musical. There’s an extensive set of features, but unfortunately no HDR10+ or 4K/120p passthrough, with the latter disappointing next-gen gamers. But otherwise, this highly capable flagship soundbar delivers a fully immersive soundstage with maximum convenience and minimum fuss.
The obvious alternative is the Samsung HW-Q990B, which is available now and retails for less cash. The Samsung might not have a centre height channel, but its extra side drivers produce an 11.1.4-channel experience. It might also lack VRR support and IMAX Enhanced, but HDR10+ passthrough is a welcome benefit. Ultimately, this Dolby Atmos/DTS:X competitor is a very assured high-end option.