LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar – a real Atmos soundbar (AV review)

The LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar is identical to its S80QY 3.1.3 cousin with the addition of two rear speakers. It is LG’s lowest-cost way to have a real Dolby Atmos soundbar with dedicated left and right rear speakers.

Readers ask me why I am so definite on the need for dedicated rear speakers for Dolby Atmos. The short answer is that in tests, every ‘all-in-one’ soundbar that claims to give a Dolby Atmos (DA) experience does not deliver in a typical Aussie loungeroom. When tested with DA content, few all-in-ones offer more than a slight sense of 3D spatial vertical height, and most give no sense of an increased horizontal sound stage or surround.

Dear reader – please absorb Five tips for better TV sound – Dolby Atmos for beginners (guide) and How to buy a soundbar that meets your needs? (guide) before you spend a penny. To be clear – every all-in-one relies on psychoacoustics (bouncing sound off adjacent walls and ceilings) to virtualise DA – it is not true DA but more marketing hype to get you to buy.

The LG S80QR 5.1.3 soundbar is a REAL DA soundbar decoding DA metadata to its 5.1.3 speakers.

  • Front Left and right stereo forward firing (2 x 45W)
  • Centre forward-firing (1 x 40W)
  • Left and Right front up-firing (2 x 45W)
  • Centre up-firing (1x40W) – note this is not part of the DA standard – see later.
  • Sub-woofer 1 x 220W
  • Rear left and right 135° arc firing rears surround speaker (2 x 70W)
  • Total 620W RMS (at 4 Ω, THD 10 %)

Australian Review: LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar

WebsiteProduct Page and Manual
PriceThe price is RRP$1349 exclusive of any seasonal or event discounts.
FromLG Online Harvey Norman, Domayne, Joyce Mayne, Retravision, Videopro, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Appliances Online.
Warranty1-year ACL
LGLG (formerly Lucky-Goldstar from 1983 to 1995) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate. It makes electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products.
MoreCybershack LG News and reviews

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 – Basic Black – Pass

Not to be uncharitable, but basic black is so yesterday. Companies like Sonos and Bose at least offer white! It is time that LG took a leaf from its Objet Collection and offered some Snap-On colour options like white, timber grain, beige, pink, mint, silver, green etc. Come on, LG – take the lead and terminate boring black!

It is a mid-range – one step down from the S95QR flagship and several steps up from all-in-one bars.

Size-wise, it is 1000 x 63 x 135 mm x 4.5kg and has a remote control. The rears are a tiny 100 square x 140 mm high x 135g. These claim 135° dispersion but only have a single 90mm driver inside each. They are not up-firing like the LG S95QR – the best 9.1.5 DA soundbar you can buy.

The rear speakers connect via speaker cable to a 240V-powered wireless receiver, which is really an S80QY 3.1.3 soundbar with the rear upgrade. To be clear, neither soundbar has front, side-firing surround speakers.

The 202mm x 407mm x 403mm x 10kg sub-woofer requires 240-volt power and connects wirelessly. The rear speakers connect via speaker cables to a 240V-powered wireless receiver.

The soundbar should connect via HDMI ARC/eARC for full sound format compatibility. Other connections generally convert sound streams to PCM. It also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi N connections.

It has a CEC-compatible remote that can control all functions, although the App is way easier.

The real reason this is a good DA soundbar is that it has three up-firing front speakers – left, centre and right and separate left/right rears that make quite a difference to a standard 2-speaker up-firing bar.

The LG Soundbar App – Pass+

The LG Soundbar App for Android and iOS is quite intuitive and comprehensive. You don’t need it to use the soundbar. It has the room calibration function (very effective), Software update, surround sound on/off and the ability to tweak the sub-woofer, centre speaker, overhead (height), rear speaker levels, and a basic +/- 5dB Bass and Treble EQ. It also enables voice assistants. Highly recommend it as it can make a massive difference to the sound.

Ports – Pass

  • HDMI eARC port HDCP 2.3 – not specified but likely HDMI 2.0, 4K@60fps with VRR and ALLM
  • HDMI in port – ditto, but does not pass through HDR10+
  • USB-A 5V/.5A/2.5W – up to 32GB USB 2.0 FAT/NTFS (not exFAT) for audio only
  • Optical In (PCM only)

Sound formats – Exceed

  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (to 5.1)
  • Dolby Atmos (5.1.3)
  • DTS Digital Surround, DTS-HD HRA/MA, DTS:X, IMAX DTS, IMAX DTS:X
  • PCM mono to 5.1

This highly sound/TV ‘agnostic’ soundbar will work with any HDMI ARC/eARC-equipped TV, regardless of whether that has DV/DA. The surround and music upscale add depth and immersion to any TV program.

AI Room Calibration Pro – Exceed

The soundbar’s inbuilt mic is for room calibration and works via the LG Soundbar app. It makes a massive difference to the out-of-the-box sound quality. My only issue is that while it tunes for the room, it does not tune for the seating position.

Surround Sound – regardless of original content – Pass

It will up-mix to faux 5.1 (not DA) when the surround sound setting is enabled via the remote control (On-Surround). Otherwise, it is a 3.1 soundbar for music.

The Sound effect pre-sets (all via the remote) have different influences on the rear sound.

  • AI SOUND PRO: Artificial intelligence selects the optimal sound settings to suit the content.
  • STANDARD: Default
  • CINEMA: Play content with 3D DTS sound
  • CLEAR VOICE: Improves voice sound clarity
  • SPORTS: Realistic sound like in a stadium
  • GAME: Optimised for games
  • BASS BLAST (BASS BLAST+): Bass is enhanced.
  • Night-time: 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

Cinema is best for movies and surround. Clear Voice is great for TV news and podcasts.

Sound Tuning – manual adjustment via the remote or App – Pass+

Adjustable speaker ranges include

  • WF (Subwoofer): -15 – 6
  • C (Centre speaker): -6 – 6
  • OVC (Top speaker): -6 – 6
  • R (Rear Speaker): -6 – 6
  • TRE (Front speaker (treble)): -5 – 5
  • BAS (Front speaker (bass)): -5 – 5

Unfortunately, there is no on-screen TV display – you must use the cryptic LED readout. It is much easier in the App.

Power – Pass

It will auto-sleep after 15 minutes. The soundbar draws a maximum of 59W, sub 40W and rears 30W –129W/hr. We could not reach even half of these figures at 100% volume with DA content.

It draws about 50W, all up at a typical volume. Given that power costs about 30 cents per 1000W/hr, energy use is negligible.

Wall mount – Pass

It comes with wall mount brackets, but you must obtain suitable screws and plugs. The rears can be hung on a screw head.

Other – Pass

Compatible with an external speaker with Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay Siri/HomeKit and Alexa. It supports BT Chromecast audio streaming and has some audio streaming clients.

WOWCAST WTP3 $209 (not tested)

It supports LG WOWCast – a wireless transmitter that sends lossless Dolby Atmos sound from any brand TV with a spare HDMI ARC/eARC port to most late-model LG soundbars – it eliminates the HDMI cable.

It does not support audio/video passthrough on the second HDMI IN Soundbar port.

Sound – very good after tuning – Pass+

Overall, the sound is good to great, provided you run the App calibration first. Initially, we had a few issues.

First, the sound was constantly out of sync with the image. We would experiment with lip-sync delays of 20-40ms and seemingly get it right, only to change the TV channel, and it was wrong again. We tested with the LG 75” QNED91, and we are unsure if the TV or the soundbar is the culprit. This issue disappeared when we turned off the TV’s AV Sync and installed the App.

Rear sound initially only reliably worked with the Cinema setting despite the manual stating it works with all pre-sets. The cure is in the App – use it to set Surround On, and all the pre-sets work.

The rears are clear and frankly a little overpowering – you want the voice to come from the TV and surround from the rears. Again, in the App, you can back the rears off a little until the soundbar takes precedence.

Placement of the sub-woofer is more critical with these rears. While we would generally place it beside the TV, we found the bass infinitely more satisfying if placed behind the viewing position.

The sub is excellent, covering low and mid-bass before cutting over to the soundbar at around 90Hz.

Sound Signature – Perfect – Exceed

Tested on AI sound, flat EQ at 100% volume.

Deep Bass 20-40HzIt starts at a very low 26Hz (excellent) for room-shaking bass
Middle Bass 40-100HzIt is strong and builds to 70Hz (excellent)
High Bass 100-200HzFlat
Low Mid 200-400HzFlat
Mid 400-1000HzFlat
High-Mid 1-2kHzFlat
Low Treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzFlat
High Treble 6-10kHzSlight Dip at 8kHz to avoid harshness
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzFlat
Sound Signature typeIt is the nirvana – flat sound
SoundstageOn non-DA content, it is about the width of the TV
Dolby AtmosOn DA content, it is pretty expansive (see below)
Volume85dB – loud and reasonably acceptable THD at that level
CommentThe sound signature is a perfect blank canvas for music, movies, and voice. The AI Auto sound works very well. This audiophile standard does not add or subtract from the original music! The only issue here is garbage-in, garbage-out – the better the music quality, the better it sounds.

DA effect – Pass

Good, but no cigar! That is reserved for the excellent LG S95QR.

What we found is that the seating position dictates DA effectiveness. At 5 metres from the screen, there is a limited DA 3D height effect. At 3 metres, you begin to appreciate it as you are in the DA ‘envelope’.

When you are in the DA envelope, 3D height sound object placement is good – you can hear the directionality and object movement, and the soundstage expands past the screen limits.

Dolby Atmos does not recognise the centre up-firing speaker and uses AI to extract the voice frequencies (like a Tweeter Crossover but tuned for voice). From what we can hear, it accentuates the 1-4kHz clear voice range and elevates the sound to the screen.

In short, the effect is front-centric, and the rear speakers have no 3D height but do a great job on the horizontal surround.

Our recommendation for DA is a 3m seating position. If DA is not as important as 5.1 surround (which most streaming supports), you can sit further back. We suggest it works best with up to a 65” TV.

This is way better than any other so-called DA all-in-one soundbar.

Music – Pass+

This soundbar tries too hard can produce faux 5.1 up-mix from 2.0 sources. And AI sound tries to accentuate the voice. If you want music turn off the surround and treat it as a 2.1 stereo soundbar – it is impressive.

The bass is clear (thump instead of a wet whump), with crisp instrumentals and an excellent ‘air’ (directionality) as if you are in the studio/concert hall.

It supports Hi-Res audio content up to 24-bit/96kHz.

CyberShack’s view – LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar is good but not great

While the average untrained ear will love it, there is no comparison to the RRP$1749 LG S95QR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos soundbar – ultimate sound for every TV that scores 9.3/10. Especially as astute shoppers will find it for well under $1400. To be fair, the S80QR is under $1000 for those quick shoppers too.

And I admit that the problem is that I have heard both, but the S95QR is the only LG soundbar that delivers a fuller, more realistic, room-filling Dolby Atmos experience.

LG S80QR 5.1.3 Competition

Its real serious competition is its bigger brother, the LG S95QR. To our knowledge, there are no direct competitors from Samsung, Sony, or Sonos. JBL has an excellent Bar 9.1 (actually a 5.1.4) that is its closest competition.

Would I buy it? Yes, if music quality and value are the key criteria. No, if you can afford the S95QR.

LG S80QR 5.1.3 Rating Explanation

Features: 8.5/10 – only lacking rear up-firing speakers that would increase the DA soundscape

Value: 9/10 – if you are a savvy shopper!

Performance: 8.5/10 – after Calibration and sitting closer to the TV, it is very good

Ease of Use: 8/10 – You need to install and use the App, or you will get average sound and surround sound

Design: 8/10 basic black

 LG S80QR 5.1.3,LG S80QR 5.1.3, LG S80QR 5.1.3

LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar

$1349 but shop around







Ease of Use





  • Good performance for the price
  • Centre channel for clear voice – good for hearing impaired
  • Night-time listening mode is good for hearing impaired
  • Surround up-mix and dedicated rear speakers are great for TV (not so much music)
  • Use the App and Calibration Pro to get the best from this


  • DA effect is more front-centric, and you need to sit, say 3m, from the TV
  • Rear speakers can overpower, so back them off in the App