LG S77S 3.1.3 400W virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar (sound review)
The LG S77S 3.1.3 is a 400W soundbar with Dolby Atmos decode and WOW Orchestra. Simply put – marry it with a compatible LG TV, and it also uses the TV speakers for a better sound experience.
What is the LG S77S soundbar?
It is a 3.1.3, all-in-one soundbar comprising nine speakers plus a Sub-woofer.
- Left front-firing 30W 6 Ω, 10% THD plus left front-firing tweeter (this is a simple frequency cross-over tweeter to reinforce high treble)
- Right front firing 30W plus right front-firing tweeter – ditto
- Centre front-firing 30W
- Left up-firing 30W
- Centre up-firing 30W
- Right up-firing 30W
- Sub-woofer 7” 220W 3 Ω, 10% THD claim 35-160Hz
Don’t let the 400W total RMS power fool you. That is over ten speakers with over half in the sub-woofer. It won’t be any louder than any typical soundbar.
It can decode Dolby Atmos’s (DA) 128 sound channel metadata and downmix to the soundbar’s capability. DA does not yet recognise the centre up-firing channel, so it is seen as 3.1.2. The centre up-firing ensures clear voice comes from the screen, and it does that well.
No 3.1.2 all-in-one soundbar can produce a Dolby Atmos sound experience.
They lack any side-firing surrounds (or it would be 5.1.2), dedicated rear surrounds (7.1.2), or up-firing surround speakers (7.1.4). We use the term ‘virtual’ to describe all-in-one soundbars as they rely on psychoacoustics to bounce sound off adjacent walls and ceilings to give a limited, usually very front-centric spatial effect.
WOW Orchestra compatible
WOW Orchestra uses compatible LG TV speakers to fill out the sound signature and widen the sound stage. No, it does not make a 3.1.3 soundbar 5.1.3 or 7.1.3 (as some retail salespersons will tell you).
The additional effect depends on the TV’s speaker setup. For example, the LG C3 OLED Evo at 2.2 (down-firing) and the LG G3 OLED Evo at 4.2 (down and side-firing) have different sound outcomes. The C3 smooths out the frequency response, and the G3 does that and slightly widens the sound stage.
All LG soundbars are TV brand agnostic – they will work very well on HDMI ARC/eARC and Optical In.
LG soundbar positioning
- S95QR 2022 810W, 9.1.5 $1999 LG S95QR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos soundbar – ultimate sound for every TV – WOW compatible. This is superb, and everyone who wants genuine DA should buy this.
- SC9S 2023 400W 3.1.3 $1499 LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra for C2/3 and G2/3 OLED. This did not rate as well and is dependent on using WOW Orchestra.
- S90QY 2022 570W 5.1.3 $1499 (can have optional $299 rear speakers) LG S90QY soundbar – terrific 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos all-in-one – WOW compatible and rated well as an entry-level DA soundbar but buy the optional rears to make it 7.1.3.
- S80QY 2022 480W 3.1.3 $1099 (can have optional $299 rear speakers see LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar – a real Atmos soundbar. WoW compatible. Good, but again, buy the rears and make it a 5.1.3.
- S77S 2023 400W 3.1.3 $999 WOW compatible.
- SH7Q 2022 800W 5.1 $799 LG SH7Q soundbar 2023 – 800w of brute 5.1 power
- S75Q 2022 380W 2.1 $799 WOW compatible.
- S65Q 2022 420W 3.1 $599 (This is excellent for adding clear voice to any TV)
- SN5Y 2020 400W 2.1 $479
- SN4 2020 300W 2.1 $349
- SQC1 2022 160W 2.1 $299
It is very similar to the SC92 without the ‘smarts’.
Review: LG S77S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra.
|Price||RRP $999, exclusive of any seasonal or event discounts (seen as low as $880 plus delivery)|
|From||LG Online Harvey Norman, Domayne, Joyce Mayne, Retravision, Videopro, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Appliances Online.|
|LG||LG (formerly Lucky-Goldstar from 1983 to 1995) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate. It makes electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products.|
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We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass(able) rating that is not as good as it should be and a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. You can click on most images for an enlargement.
First Impression: Pass+
The LG S77S has nicely rounded lines and perforated black metal speaker grills. The soundbar is quite svelte at 890 (D) x 126 (W) x 615mm (H) x 3.6kg. The subwoofer has a passive front port that really pumps the air to help low-bass. It is 195 (D) x 361 (H) x 280 mm (W) x 5.7kg.
It has a remote control, HDMI cable, and wall mount brackets.
LED lights – impractical – Passable
There is the ‘dreaded’ three LED stack on the front that replaces an alphanumeric display, and you need to have the manual handy to understand the codes.
These can be On (White, Orange, Blue, Purple, Green, Yellow, Red), Off or Blinking. The problem is that there are well over 40,000 permutations😒so keep the manual handy.
Remote – looks simple, but it is complex. Pass
Ditto. The remote has an Up/Down/Left/Right arrow ring and an OK button (which is hard to use if you have long fingernails).
It deceptively simply looks hide a series of button presses and arrow directions. Ditto for the manual.
The LG TV remote (and most brands) can control volume and power if connected to HDMI eARC/ARC.
App – Pass+
The LG Soundbar App makes setup easier as you don’t have to watch those damned LEDs
Feature set – Pass
- WOW Orchestra with some recent LG TVs
- Dolby Digital (5.1 surround), Dolby Digital Plus (7.1 surround), Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos (7.1.4 spatial), DTS Digital Surround (5.1 surround), DTS-HD HRA, DTS-HD MA, DTS:X (spatial), PCM (mono to 5.1)
- Can adjust the volume levels of each speaker but no auto room tuning.
- Can play 24-bit/96kHz high-res if your host device supports it.
- Upmix 2.0 stereo to 3.1.3 (not recommended for music).
- Room tuning
- Voice activation
Sound pre-sets – Pass+
- AI SOUND PRO: Artificial intelligence selects the optimal sound settings to suit your content. It decodes up to 7.1.4 channels DA and downmix to 3.1.2
- STANDARD: You can enjoy optimised sound.
- CINEMA: Play content with 3D sound similar to a movie theatre.
- CLEAR VOICE: Voice sounds clear, improving the quality of voice sound.
- SPORTS: Sound like in a stadium.
- MUSIC: Optimised for music.
- GAME: Optimised sound for the game.
- BASS BLAST (BASS BLAST+): Bass sounds are enhanced by recessing mid and treble
- Nighttime reduces the general sound volume but raises the volume of soft and delicate sounds. This is useful when enjoying music or a movie late at night.
Ports – Pass+
- HDMI 2.1 eARC
- HDMI In 2.1 will pass through 4K @ 120Hz YCbCR 4:2:0 at 8-bit (compressed). We suggest you connect games consoles directly to the TV.
- USB-A 5V/.5A/2.5W audio only flash drive FAT16/FAT32/NTFS (not exFAT)
- Optical In (can sound share with TV speakers)
- BT 5.1 SBC and aptX codecs.
Wi-Fi, which means no multi-room speaker or voice assistant support.
Power – Pass+
Up to 55W in full Dolby Atmos but averages around 20W for FTA and SDR TV.
Sound quality. Pass+
Pretty good. It reaches 85dB, but you must back off to <80dB decibels to control harmonic distortion. The low- bass really pumps from 30Hz – a stiff wind comes out of the front passive port! You may need to back this off slightly for SDR viewing.
For the most part, its sound stage approximates the TV.
How does it sound – Pass+
If you have a WOW TV (tested on LG QNED86), then the gold line bass builds solidly from 30Hz to 70Hz, where the frequency flattens (good) to 7kHz, dips slightly to avoid treble harshness and is flat then to 20kHz.The TV speakers don’t affect bass but help smooth out some of the choppy mid-and-late-mid and treble, making for very much more pleasant TV listening.
If you just have a standard HDMI TV, it is the same for bass, but there is no smoothing some of the choppy mid-and-late-mid and treble. It is not unpleasant, but a trained ear can hear the frequency clipping.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X – just passable
Remember that this is an all-in-one soundbar with no side-firing surround speakers, so it is pretty front-centric. It relies on psychoacoustics (bouncing) for 3D Height effects but does not have surround effects (or it would be 5.1.3).
What it does pretty well is sound phasing to simulate left/right movement.
CyberShack’s view – The LG S77S is a 3.1.3 soundbar that improves clear voice, but it is not really a Dolby Atmos champion.
Compared to the QNED86 2.2 speaker setup, this was heavenly. It has a far clearer voice, more volume, and a good sound stage. While we cannot recommend it for Dolby Atmos, it is a good soundbar to improve TV sound.
LG S77S competition
View this in two ways.
First, If you have a WOW-compatible LG TV, the competition is other LG WOW soundbars. If you want better Dolby Atmos effects, it is the S95QR (my preference) or S90/S80QY with the optional rear speakers. You can’t beat the centre up-firing speaker for clear voice either.
Second, if you pay $999 and want better Dolby Atmos, the JBL Bar 800 5.1.2 True Dolby Atmos with dedicated rear speakers is superb. Read JBL 2023 soundbar range – 5 new Bar models with Dolby Atmos. TCL has a $995 X937U 7.1.2 True Dolby Atmos (not reviewed, but should be good).
LG S77S 3.1.3 ratings 79/100
- Features: 85 – WOW compatible, DA decode to 3.1.2 (front-centric), and clear voice centre up-firing speaker.
- Value: 70 – Unless you need WOW compatibility, there are better true Dolby Atmos soundbars available.
- Performance: 80 – decent sound signature, especially with a WOW connection.
- Ease of Use: 75 – The LEDs drove me crazy. The remote was not much easier. The App was easy enough to use. There is no room calibration, which we think is necessary for DA soundbars.
- Design: 85 – nice clean svelte lines.
LG S77S 3.1.3 400W virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar$999
- Improves any TV’s free-to-air and streaming experience
- WOW Orchestra uses TV speakers with select 2022/23 LG OLED and QNED
- Good clear voice to help hearing impaired
- Overly complex LED and remote-control setup (Use App)
- Need to switch modes to match content – AI Sound Pro is not there yet
- Expensive compared to other true DA offerings