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Gadget of the Week

Gadget of the Week: LG
Sound Bar feature-packed

The LG Sound Bar is a satisfying addition to a home entertainment set-up, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

What is it?

The LG S95QR is a high-quality soundbar system that includes a subwoofer, designed to provide immersive sound for home entertainment. The soundbar has two speakers that direct sound upward to create a three-dimensional audio experience, especially for movies and shows that support Dolby Atmos technology. Rear speakers have channels that send sound both forward and upward for an enhanced surround sound experience. 

Technically, the LG S95QR is a 9.1.5 soundbar system, with 17 speakers, including three upward-firing Dolby Atmos drivers and a centre-mounted Atmos driver, while the rear speakers consist of front-firing and up-firing height channels.  In a 9.1.5 channel system, one has nine main audio channels, one subwoofer channel for low-frequency sounds, and five additional channels for height or overhead effects, resulting in a more expansive and immersive “soundstage”.

The soundbar offers useful features like AI Room Calibration, which adjusts the sound to match the acoustics of your room, and TV Sound Mode Share, which improves sound quality when connected to a TV.

The soundbar arrives in well-designed packaging, ensuring a hassle-free unboxing experience. The inclusion of identical cables simplifies the plug-and-connect process for the subwoofer and side speakers, even without consulting the setup manual. 

The only cable that connects to the subwoofer (from the subwoofer to the power outlet) is identical to the cables that connect each side speaker, and to the main soundbar, to the power outlet. This simplified the plug and connected tasks for the subwoofer and each side speaker, even before reading the set-up manual. 

Once the 4 pieces (soundbar, subwoofer, and two side speakers) were connected, we immediately tried to test them by opening Netflix, but only audio from the soundbar played. The “simple manual” quickly set us right: it was necessary to download the LG Sound Bar app and connect it to the system via Bluetooth. 

The soundbar itself is relatively lightweight, making it easy to connect power and HDMI cables, despite some minor flipping around of the device. The system may require additional adjustments, such as switching inputs or using the app to ensure proper audio playback through all speakers.

At times, you will probably have to read the dreaded manual, but it is a pleasant surprise. It

features helpful images and a Wall Bracket Install Guide. 

Once familiarised with the app’s settings and messing about for a while, optimising the audio experience is straightforward. Overall, the setup process is user-friendly, even for those new to soundbar installation, but expect some trial and error.

The S95QR excels in mixed usage scenarios, delivering an impressive audio experience across TV shows, music, and movies. The sound emphasis is on the bass, but it can readily be customise with bass and treble adjustments. Dialogue is clear and balanced, while action movies and bass-heavy music benefits from the rumble in the bass. 

The soundbar supports a wide range of audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and IMAX Enhanced. It comes with a remote control that makes it easy to adjust the settings and choose from different sound presets, depending on the type of content playing.

One of the best things about the S95QR is its versatility. It sounds great with everything from movies to TV shows to music. Overall, it is an excellent soundbar that offers a satisfying and immersive sound experience in a home theatre set-up.

What does it cost?

Recommended retail price from LG is R21,999.

Why does it matter?

The LG S95QR soundbar offers an immersive sound experience that is not possible with a traditional TV speaker system, thanks to a 9.1.5-channel setup with 17 speakers. This allows the soundbar to create a wide “soundstage” that makes the listener feel as if they are surrounded by the sound. It also supports a wide range of audio formats, and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including TVs and streaming boxes.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • Setup process is straightforward, but requires more steps than usual, like app installation and adjustments.
  • It’s a space hog, requiring one to clear away other home entertainment accessories. “Bar” is a misnomer, as it comprises four pieces.

What are the biggest positives?

  • Excellent sound quality with versatile mixed usage scenarios.
  • Relatively straightforward to set up and use, if one follows the instructions.
  • Supports a wide range of audio formats, including Dolby Atmos. 

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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