The LG S95QR rights a few past wrongs, introduces some genuinely useful innovation in the shape of a new up-firing center speaker, and best of all delivers a fantastically dynamic and immersive experience that’s almost as at home with music as it is with full-blooded movie mixes.
Delivers a true surround sound experience
Extremely powerful and dynamic sound
No 4K 120Hz or HDR10+ passthrough
Dialogue occasionally sounds over-exposed
The soundstage can sometimes feel distant
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LG S95QR: Two-minute review
The LG S95QR stretches the definition of a soundbar by including four separate speaker units and delivering a channel count that would embarrass most separates-based systems.
The LG S95QR's unusual 9.1.5 channel configuration points to a new innovation for this flagship 2022 soundbar: an up-firing center speaker. This essentially pushes upwards the same sound that’s also coming out of a more traditional forward-facing center speaker on the soundbar’s front, in a bid to make dialogue sound more like it’s coming from the people talking on your screen.
Until now, even the best soundbars have maxed out at four upfiring channels, but LG is pushing things further – we already saw this new central height speaker on the LG S80QY, and it impressed us there. Now LG is taking it further.
The LG S95QR has been designed in conjunction with high-end speaker maker Meridian, and includes a special Meridian music mode that reconfigures stereo music to take advantage of more of the S95QR’s channels.
The S95QR is easily LG’s best-performing soundbar to date, combining phenomenal amounts of power and room-filling impact with a huge dynamic range and an impressively complete soundstage that builds movie soundtracks literally all around you – including above your head – to compete with the best Dolby Atmos soundbars available today.
The S95QR is surprisingly musical too, leaving as its only issues an occasionally too-distant feel to its surround-sound staging, some over-prominent dialogue at times, and its slightly steep £1,699 / $1,499.99 / AU$1,749 price. If you want this kind of surround experience for a lot less, take a look at the Samsung HW-Q930B.
LG S95QR review: Price & release date
- Launched in June 2022
- Official price: £1,699 / $1,499.99 / AU$1,749
The LG S95QR was released in June 2022, at prices around the world that place it very much in the premium tier of the soundbar world. This seems fair enough, though, for a soundbar that posts such extreme numbers as a claimed 15 real (rather than virtual) channels, 810W of power and four separate speaker units. A simple single bar with two or three channels the S95QR most certainly is not.
If you spotted the trio of prices at the top of this section, though, you’ll have noticed that the S95QR’s UK price looks markedly higher (once exchange rates have been taken into consideration) than its prices in the US and Australia. This is because the soundbar has recently received fairly substantial price cuts in several non-UK countries, while in the UK it’s still selling for its initial launch price at the time of writing.
LG S95QR review: Features
- 9.1.5 channels of sound
- Comprises four separate speaker boxes
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
Despite still being compact and tidy enough with its design to justifiably be called a soundbar, the S95QR packs some serious audio heat into its four speakers.
The main soundbar, for instance, manages to cram in front left, front right, front center, side left, side right and three up-firing drivers. Premium Atmos soundbars typically only carry two up-firing drivers, but LG has added a third that essentially repeats the sound coming out of the more regular forward-facing center channels speaker below it.
The rear speakers feature three drivers each: two angled drivers on the front to deliver a splay of sound right across the rear of your room, and one up-firer each to ensure that the system’s overhead sounds don’t only occupy the front half of your room.
LG’s 9.1.5-channel designation for the S95QR is questionable, perhaps, when you consider that the extra center-channel up-firing driver repeats the output of the front center speaker, while the two angled drivers in the front of each rear speaker also only play the same sound, just at slightly different angles. LG maintains, though, that the impact of these drivers still delivers what feels like a 9.1.5 experience. As we’ll see later, it has a point.
Joining the multi-channelled main bar and rears is a meaty subwoofer boasting an 8-inch side-firing driver and a wide port on its front to help it shift tons of air as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
As you’d hope with such an expensive soundbar, the S95QR can play Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (including IMAX Enhanced versions) ‘object-based’ soundtracks that provide the premium surround sound experience from most movies and, in Dolby Atmos’ case, a growing number of music tracks these days.
There’s support for a wide-range of music file types over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi too, including all the key high-resolution formats, while LG’s connection with high-end audio brand Meridian means there’s a Music preset that deploys specially designed Meridian ‘secret sauce’ processing to remix stereo music into something more multi-channel.
As with last year’s LG soundbars, the S95QR can handily take advantage of the AI Sound Pro processing carried by LG’s recent TV generations, enabling it to modify its sound on the fly to optimize it for different types/genres of sound content.
The S95QR’s connections are a cut above those of most soundbars, too. For one thing, it’s compatible with LG’s optional extra WowCast audio dongle, which enables the transmission of Dolby Atmos soundtracks wirelessly from eARC-capable TVs. Unlike the similar wireless audio casting feature introduced by Samsung as an option for its soundbars this year, moreover, the WowCast system can handle lossless rather than compressed Atmos mixes.
The S95QR’s HDMI passthrough handles both variable refresh rate gaming and automatic low latency mode (ALLM) switching signals from games consoles. Having gone that far, though, it’s a shame that the gaming support doesn’t extend to 4K at 120Hz. Gamers wanting to enjoy 4K 120Hz gaming can, though, connect their console or PC directly to their TV and pass a game’s audio, including Dolby Atmos soundtracks, on to the S95QR via HDMI’s ARC/eARC feature.
The S95QR’s HDMI passthrough also supports 4K high dynamic range signals in the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision formats, but frustratingly stops short of the HDR10+ format.
- Features score: 4.5/5
LG S95QR review: Sound quality
- Massively powerful
- Genuine surround sound experience
- Enjoys music as well as movies
Audio channels: 9.1.5
Audio format support: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Quoted speaker power: 818W
Connectivity: 2x HDMI inputs, 1x HDMI eARC, optical digital audio input, USB port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0
Extra features: Passthrough support includes 4K, Dolby Vision HDR, VRR, ALL; hi-res audio file support and Meridian Music mode; AI sound processing sharing with LG TVs
It doesn’t take long listening to the S95QR to tell that it’s comfortably the best soundbar LG has ever made. In fact, for movies and gaming in particular, it’s one of the most satisfying home theater soundbars we’ve seen from any brand, period.
Three things stand out in particular with a variety of our favourite film soundtracks: how powerful the sound is, how huge the soundstage is, and how much dynamic range it can produce without distortions or imbalance.
Looking at these in turn, the soundbar’s immense power can be felt – literally – in the impact potent soundtrack moments have as they explode into your room, blowing your hair back with massive cinematic intent on the one hand, while also deftly defining even the subtlest details on the other. All without harshness or thinness, and all while simultaneously pushing the sound from every channel to the furthest extremes of your living room.
This ability to project the sound so far from all four of the soundbar’s physical elements really is exceptional, creating such a successful three-dimensional sound space around you with Dolby Atmos mixes that you forget the speakers are there. Which is pretty much the perfect Dolby Atmos scenario.
As for the dynamic range, the newly designed subwoofer pumps out deep bass that underpins big action scenes with great presence and heft, but which is also both more willing to chip in during more delicate sequences than LG subwoofers of old, and more flexible when it comes to adjusting its weight and depth to keep up with subtle shifts in a scene’s dynamics.
At the other end of things, shrill sounds are delivered without sounding peaky or sibilant, and with enough full bloodedness to ensure that they aren’t drowned out by the heavy bass.
As you’d hope, a dynamic range as extreme as that of the S95QR provides ample mid-range room for the main part of a film soundtrack to express itself. This ensures that there’s an extremely open, well-rounded and expressive feel to even very dense soundtrack moments, while dialogue remains clear at all times.
Looking past these most obvious charms, the S95QR is also very impressive at accurately placing sound details. If a sound is supposed to come from high and to the left, you hear it high and to the left. If a vehicle overtakes down the left side of the picture, you hear its sound transition down the left side of your room. Best of all by soundbar standards, if an aeroplane flies overhead, you hear it actually pass over your head.
The twin angled drivers on each rear speaker hook up to create an impressively complete-sounding rear soundstage, while the upfirers on both the main soundbar and the rears just about manage to join up somewhere above your head. Even if the sound they produce is inevitably not as precise and detailed as it would be if you had actual speakers in your ceiling.
The extra up-firing dialogue channel plays its part well in most respects too, clearly lifting vocal sounds vertically to make them sound more convincingly attached to the onscreen action.
It’s a relief, too, to find the new channels LG has provided seemingly helping the S95QR avoid the sometimes rather vague and unbalanced staging that we’ve experienced with one or two LG soundbars of the past.
There are a couple of areas where the S95QR’s movie performance doesn’t quite sound absolutely right. First, dialogue can every now and then sound slightly too clean, drawing slightly too much attention to itself, maybe due to the double drivers the center channel gets. Second, the sound can occasionally push actually a little too far away from your seating position, leaving you feeling a little like you’re sitting in the peaceful eye of a storm circling around you, rather than being caught up in the actual stormy action.
Neither of these issues occurs consistently enough to be seriously distracting, though, leaving all the good things the S95QR does overwhelmingly to the fore.
While the S95QR is at its meaty best with thumping film soundtracks, it’s also surprisingly musical for a powerful four-piece soundbar package.
The key thing is that with music its power is used to create an open, clean, dynamic and detailed sound, rather than pushing for the bombast and impact it feeds into with movie mixes. The subwoofer continues to impress with its nimbleness, too, sounding better timed and much more tightly attached to the bottom end of the main soundbar’s mid-range than we often hear during music with soundbars of this sort.
Vocals are staged well, sitting nicely at the heart of a strong stereo soundstage without sounding forced or exposed. The scale of the sound works particularly well with orchestral or ‘live’ recordings, but the sound adapts nicely to pretty much any genre.
Meridian’s ‘upmixer’ (available with the Music sound preset) for enabling stereo recordings to use more of the soundbar’s channels is a big improvement on 2021’s version too, if you’re not too much of a purist to try it. Certainly it greatly expands the sound, giving it a vertical as well as enhanced horizontal dimension, helping you feel more like you’re sitting in a recording studio with the artists.
I still personally preferred in the end to listen to most music in regular stereo mode, as the Meridian Music mode slightly muddies bass lines and can flatten some of a high quality mix’s detailing and atmospherics. But it’s worth at least experimenting with.
- Sound quality score: 4.5/5
LG S95QR review: Design
- Four-piece system
- Main soundbar fits under most TVs
- Designed to match LG TVs
The S95QR’s main soundbar is strikingly compact for something capable of making so much noise. At just 63mm high it should fit beneath most TVs, and while it’s pretty lengthy at 1.2m wide (so is suitable for TVs of 55 inches and up), it’s solid and evenly balanced.
The rears are also strikingly compact for items capable of producing three channels of sound a piece, and enjoy the same neat brushed finish for any of their bodywork that isn’t a felt speaker cover that the main soundbar and subwoofer get. Their angled fronts given them more style than your average rear speakers, too.
The subwoofer is, rightly, more about function than form, but with its rounded edges and appealing finish it’s less necessary to hide it down the side of a sofa or under a side board than it is with most subwoofers.
The S95QR’s remote is a little plasticky and over-glossy, and its layout and button labels aren’t as useful as they might have been.
The S95QR is styled to (vaguely) match LG’s own range of TVs, such as the LG C2, which joins with its ability to share LG TVs’ audio processing features in making the soundbar more appealing as part of a full LG-branded home entertainment package.
If you’re motivated by green factors in your product purchases these days, it’s worth pointing out that the S95QR is ‘eco-certified’ thanks to its use of recycled plastic for its main bodywork; polyester jersey fabric speaker covers made from recycled plastic bottles; slimmer boxes for reduced shipping emissions; and recycled pulp packaging.
- Design score: 4/5
LG S95QR review: Usability & setup
- Wireless rear and subwoofer speakers
- Works with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
- Controllable via app or remote
Despite comprising four different speaker elements, the S95QR is pretty much effortless to set up. As soon as the system was switched on for the first time each wireless speaker almost instantly and stably hooked up with the others.
Day-to-day use is pretty straightforward – though I’d recommend that you use the LG Sound Bar app rather than the remote control for anything more complicated than just turning the volume up or down or switching between audio inputs.
If you’ve got an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, you can also use that to control the S95QR just by talking to it.
The S95QR comes equipped with a very effective built-in Autocalibration system to make sure the sound is optimized to your specific room conditions, and one final helpful touch is the presence on the front edge of a bright, clear LED display to help you track inputs, sound modes, volume levels and so on.
- Usability & setup score: 4/5
LG S95QR review: Value
- More expensive than key rivals
- Offers a full surround experience for its money
- Good set of features at this price
It’s a pity that LG in the UK has not at the time of writing reduced the S95QR’s price like it has in other territories, since as it stands it’s significantly more expensive than the similar Samsung HW-Q990B. The Q990B arguably slightly outguns the LG with movie soundtracks too, and offers even more channels of genuine sound – though the S95QR is more musical.
But there's also the Samsung HW-Q930B, which offers 9.1.4 channels of sound (so almost the same as the S95QR), and is much cheaper than the LG.
The S95QR’s power, speaker/channel count and convincing Dolby Atmos experience, though, still make it an excellent and compelling addition to the sound bar world – especially anyone looking for a soundbar to go with an LG TV.
If you’re looking for a super-powerful soundbar capable of filling a large room with a potent, well crafted, detailed and fully surround sound Dolby Atmos soundstage, the S95QR is exceptionally well qualified.
- Value score: 3.5
Should you buy the LG S95QR?
|Features||Lots of speakers and audio support, but no 4K 120Hz||4.5/5|
|Sound quality||Precise Dolby Atmos effects in a massively powerful soundstage.||4.5/5|
|Design||Not too big, and works well with LG TVs||4/5|
|Usability and setup||Great control app, and no hassle at all to get working||4/5|
|Value||Pricier than rivals, but still good value overall||3.5/5|
Buy it if…
You want a full Dolby Atmos experience
With its 9.1.5 channel count and four separate speakers, the S95QR is one of those rare soundbars that delivers a fully formed 3D ‘hemisphere’ of Dolby Atmos sound.
You’ve got a recent LG TV
The S95QR is able to take advantage of recent LG TV AI audio processing systems to deliver automatically optimized sound.
Don't buy it if…
Cheaper Samsung options sound good enough for you
It's not just the elaborate Samsung HW-Q990B that's less expensive even while delivering more sound channels – the Samsung HW-Q930B is much cheaper but still features almost the same number of channels.
As we've mentioned, this offers 9.1.4 channels of sound, so matches the LG except for lacking its unique extra upfiring channel… but it's much cheaper. You still get both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support too, and HDMI passthrough of both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ at 4K.
Like the sound of this, but think four boxes and surround is a bit much? This Dolby Atmos soundbar and subwoofer package loses the rear speakers, but keeps the third upfiring driver, so you're getting the 'lite' version of the S95QR in many ways.
For a little less than the LG, you can get even more surround channels – this is an 11.1.4 system, and it's incredible with movies, though a little weaker than the LG with music.
- First reviewed: October 2022
- How we test: explore TechRadar's review guarantee
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.