LG S95TR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos 810W soundbar – a real spatial experience (AV review)

The LG S95TR 9.1.5 is one of the very few true Dolby Atmos soundbars using discrete three-way wireless rear speakers instead of vastly inferior virtual psychoacoustic faux Dolby Atmos. It is, frankly, outstanding.

At $1699 (often seen as low as $1250) and less when purchased as a bundle with an LG TV, the LG S95TR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos soundbar offers exceptional value for money.

This is the soundbar that every fan of Dolby Vision/Atmos or DTS:X content should consider. Its excellent 2.0 to 7.1 free-to-air TV or digital streaming sound upscale enhances your viewing experience.

How CyberShack judges a soundbar

It is primarily about fit for purpose. A 2.1 soundbar (left/right/subwoofer) will significantly enhance free-to-air TV sound. A 3.1 soundbar adds a centre speaker to enhance clear dialogue. A 5.1 to 7.1 soundbar adds surround sound, perfect for most digital streaming content. So, it is not about the number of speakers or cost but what you need it for.

Do you need Dolby Atmos (DA)?

DA is solely about accurately placing 120 3D sound objects in a room and accurately moving (phasing) them up/down/left/right and across it (3D spatial sound). Imagine a dinosaur growling behind you or an aircraft flying overhead. It is about the Dolby Vision/Atmos/DTS:X/Imax 3D movie experience. The better ones also upscale from PCM/Dolby Digital/DTS 2.0, 5.1 or 7.1 to provide a better surround experience.

In our experience, the entry-level is Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 with dedicated rear speakers. Any other all-in-one (no dedicated rears) uses psychoacoustics to create a virtual, faux DA experience by bouncing up-firing sound off the ceiling and surround sound off adjacent walls. Very few homes have good psychoacoustics, so you have a pretty miserable, front-centric (close to the TV) DA experience.

What we look for in a DA soundbar

  • At least 5.1.4 and preferably 7.1.4 (you can get up to 11.1.4)
  • Discrete rear speakers that do not rely on psychoacoustics
  • Volume at least 80dB with minimal distortion
  • Clear Voice (a dedicated forward-firing centre channel focusing on the 1-4kHz frequency range).
  • HDMI 2.1, 48Mbps eARC port for 4K@/100120Hz uncompressed 4:4:4 Dolby Atmos pass-through.
  • A wide range of decoding, including DTS variants
  • Room calibration via a smartphone App, remote control, or separate room mic
  • An App is not mandatory, but adding more customisation, an EQ, etc, is easier.
  • Voice Assistance is not mandatory (in fact, you can have too many voice assistants)

The LG S95TR 9.1.5 exceeds most of these parameters and, in our opinion, is a) the best of the LG 2024 range and b) presents excellent value for a fully-featured Dolby Atmos soundbar.

Read: Five tips for better TV sound – Dolby Atmos for beginners and How to buy a soundbar that meets your needs?

Australian Review LG S95TR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos 810W soundbar with WOW Orchestra

WebsiteProduct Page
User Guide
Manual
RRP 10/7/24$1699 but seen as low as $1250 and look for LG TV/soundbar bundles
FromLG Online, Harvey Norman, Domayne, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Bing Lee, Appliances Online and many quality CE retailers
Warranty1-year ACL confers consumer rights against major defects for an extended period.
Made inChina
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
CyberShack AV 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.

We are also tightening up on grading. For 2024 reviews, a Pass mark is 70+/100, with extra points added for class-leading and excellence. For 2023 reviews and earlier, deduct 10 points from them for reasonable parity.

First impression – Basic boring black! – Pass

The LG S95TR soundbar has a dark ABS finish and front and top speaker grills. The sub looks old-school, with a big side fabric speaker grill and a front bass port. The wedge-shaped 2.0.1 rear speakers are matte black.

There is nothing wrong with the style. We make this observation because more and more buyers want ‘décor’ elements like the stylish white Sonos Arc or glass-top Bose 900. LG could take a leaf from its excellent decorator, Signature food prep, and laundry appliance range and offer colour façade options.

It has a remote control and three LED indicators that I challenge even a rocket scientist to use. The app is a must.

Speakers – Pass+

The soundbar is 1250.0 mm x 63.0 mm x 135.0 mm x 5.65kg (includes speakers 1-5 and up-firing 1-3).

The Rears are each 159.0 mm x 223.0 mm x 142.0 mm x 2.04kg (includes speakers 6-9 and up-firing 4-5)

All are 35W RMS unless stated (woofer means 200Hz to about 10KHz. Tweeter means a cut-over at 10kHz+ and is not part of Dolby Atmos numbering)

  1. Left front-firing (woofer + tweeter)
  2. Right front-firing (woofer + tweeter)
  3. Centre front-firing (woofer)
  4. Left front surround side/angle firing (woofer)
  5. Right front surround side/angle firing (woofer
  6. Left rear forward-firing 40W (woofer)
  7. Right rear forward-firing 40W (woofer)
  8. Left rear surround side/angle firing 40W (woofer
  9. Right rear surround side/angle firing 40W (woofer)

In addition, there are two rear passive ports, presumably to assist bass.

Up-firing (all woofer)

  1. Left front
  2. Right front
  3. Centre front
  4. Left rear 40W
  5. Right rear 40W

Sub-woofer 220W

201.7 mm x 407.0 mm x 403.0 mm x 10kg. This can be placed anywhere on the floor but works best closer to the TV.

LG S95TR base specs

  • 9.1.5, 810W
  • PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS Digital 2.0 to 7.1 upmix
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X metadata decode
  • Bluetooth Rx only (no version disclosed – likely 5. x) SBC and AAC codecs
  • Can upscale from 2.0 16-bit/42,400Hz to 24-bit/96kHz
  • Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Apple AirPlay2 and Google Chromecast
  • Wi-Fi N 2.4 or 5GHz
  • Voice control: Alexa, Google Home (via external smart speaker) and Siri (via AirPlay 2)
  • HDMI eARC (LG confirms HDMI 2.0) and HDR10/Dolby Vision pass-through, VRR/ALLM/4K@100Hz (50Hz AU power)
  • HDMI in (LG confirms 2.0)
  • Optical digital in
  • USB-A 5V/.5A/2.5W
  • WOW Orchestra with compatible recent LG TVs.
  • AI Room calibration via the LG soundbar Android or iOS App 

Setup, Placement and Calibration

It is straightforward. Unpack, connect the soundbar eARC port to the TV eARC port via HDMI (see HDMI later), and manually select HDMI sound instead of TV sound. If you have a compatible LG TV, you can select WOW Orchestra.

The soundbar should fit under most TVs but may be too long for those with side legs instead of a centre pedestal. Wall-mount brackets are supplied.

You need to create a DA/surround sound envelope. Typically, that envelope is between 3 and 5 metres from a TV and focuses on where most people sit.

To achieve that, you must place the rear speakers at a seated head height, 45° angle, at least 1 metre behind the seating area. They are also wall-mountable but need power. You use the app’s autocalibration mode to compensate for the seating position and room acoustics.

After calibration, we found the rear speakers overpowering. The app allows you to adjust the volume of any speaker. Eventually, we managed to get the right balance of voice from the front and 3D effects from the rear.

The LG Soundbar App – Pass+

It enables sound calibration, firmware updates, and voice assistance and offers quick access to all settings. Use it instead of the remote control and LEDs. It does not have a TV on-screen interface.

PORTS and HDMI test – Pass

  • HDMI 2.0 eARC
  • HDMI 2.0 in
  • Optical In
  • USB-A 5V/.5A/2.5W

It advertises HDMI IN 4K@100Hz (AU 50Hz power) VRR/ALLM pass-through for Dolby Vision/HDR10 content, which indicates it should be HDMI 2.1, 48Gbps capable of passing through uncompressed Dolby Vision 4:4:4 and Atmos. But read the small print – HDMI pass-through supports up to 4K @ 100/120Hz YCbCr 4:2:0 at 8 bits.

LG confirms, and our tests show it is HDMI 2.0, 18Gbps, capable of supporting 25% of the uncompressed colour information 4:4:4.

Any gaming device, such as an Xbox or PS5, must connect directly to the TV’s HDMI 2.1 ports. A Blu-ray player is OK, as it does not need more bandwidth.

Sound Presets – Pass

  • AI SOUND PRO: Artificial intelligence selects the optimal sound settings to suit the content. It outputs 9.1.5 surround and true DA/DTS:X.
  • STANDARD: 2.1 optimised sound for FTA TV – no rears used. If the sound stream is up to 7.1, it is up mixed to 9.1.5.
  • CLEAR VOICE PRO: Improves the clarity of voices using the centre front-firing speaker and recessing bass and treble – not meant for music.
  • SPORTS: All sounds downmixed to 3.1, focusing on the commentator.
  • MUSIC: 5.1.2 (rears inactive) upscale of 2.0 optimised for music.
  • GAME: 3.1 optimised for game.
  • BASS BLAST (BASS BLAST+): 3.1 bass sounds are enhanced, but mid and treble are recessed.
  • SURROUND: Faux 3D sound regardless of the channels in the initially recorded content.
  • NIGHTTIME: Reduces the general sound volume but raises the volume of soft and delicate sounds.

WOW Orchestra – Pass

WOW Orchestra simultaneously uses the LG TV and compatible LG Sound Bar speakers to create a ‘fuller’ sound. My take on WOW Orchestra is that it adds a slightly fuller sound to a soundbar but can introduce a less-than-perfect sound when driven at higher volume levels.

It also depends on the LG TV model. We tested an LG C4 evo OLED with a 40W 2.2 speaker system, and there was a slight improvement.

The good thing about LG WOW-compatible soundbars is that they lose no functionality when used with a different brand.

How does LG S95TR sound? Exceed

It gets Exceed because of the wide range of pre-sets that can make a massive difference to what you hear. For the most part, you will leave it on AI Sound Pro.

With DA, the action happens all around—exceed. Sound objects come from above, sides, and behind. The bass has lots of rumble that help you feel the intensity.

With 5.1/7.1 surround—Exceed. There are no 3D height channels, but you are still bathed in directional sound, and the rears really add to the experience.

Hearing-impaired will appreciate Clear Voice, up-firing centre channel and night mode (together or separately. Pass+

Music lovers will appreciate Wi-Fi steaming or high-res BT music – Exceed.

The sound stage is a little wider than the bar, but with DA and DTS:X content, it reaches at least a metre wider. Objects feel accurately placed and have clear directionality. Exceed.

Deep Bass 20-40HzStarts at 30Hz
Middle Bass 40-100HzBuilds solidly to 60Hz, then flat
High Bass 100-200HzFlat
Low Mid 200-400HzFlat
Mid 400-1kHzFlat
High Mid 1-2kHzFlat
Low Treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzFlat
High Treble 6-10kHzDip to avoid harshness, then reasonably flat to 20kHz.
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzReasonably Flat
Volume85dB
 Continued
Sound Signature typeIt has a Neutral sound signature (the nirvana) and the audiophile standard. It neither adds nor subtracts from the original music. Being flat allows presets and an EQ to recess frequencies (which cannot add to a native signature) to focus on clear voice dialogue, night listening, music (where a warm and sweet signature may be better), and more.
Soundstage stereoIt is not much larger than the TV and matches the sound well with the image source.
Soundstage Dolby Atmos/DTS:XFull Dolby 360° 3D height and surround without using psychoacoustics.
CommentAn excellent 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos soundbar gives a decent DA sound stage of about 3-5m from the TV. You won’t be disappointed.
BT (headphones)BT SBC or AC codec is typical and crushes the mid-bass and high treble. Decent Left/Right separation.
ReadHow to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key – guide).  

Hearing-impaired – Exceed

Clear Voice Pro mode recesses bass and treble to focus on clear dialogue between 1-4kHz. It is excellent for voice but not for music.

You can alter individual speaker volumes to suit your tastes. There is also a night mode, which reduces general sound volume but raises the volume of soft and delicate sounds.

CyberShack’s view – LG S95TR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos 810W soundbar gives a real 3D sound immersive experience.

Let’s be clear—it is LG’s best offering, and if you can get it for less than RRP, it is a bargain. It is more than you need for real 3D Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound. Plus, it has that extra centre-up-firing speaker for excellent, clear voice.

Some brands offer 11.1.4, and Sonos has a unique 7.1.2 Arc soundbar + sub that can be paired with two 4.0.1 Era 300 rears—all for about $4,000. Read Sonos Era 300 as rears to the Sonos Arc – superb Dolby Atmos 7.1.4.

You can spend more if you wish, but it won’t give you much more.

LG S95TR rating 82/100

2024 ratings use a 70/100 pass mark.

  • Features: 80—It has everything you need but loses points for HDMI 2.0 pass-through.
  • Value: 85 – very competitive pricing
  • Performance: 85 – Excellent 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos sound envelope
  • Ease of Use: 85 – The app makes it very easy. A 12-month warranty is too short. Do not buy an extended warranty – Australian Consumer Law covers that. Read ACL Consumer tech warranty not a priority for the majority – it should be
  • Design: 75—Big black bars may be efficient but not stylish. A choice of white or a fashionable colour would make it stand out.

LG S95TR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos 810W soundbar

RRP $1699 but seen as low as $1250
8.2

Features

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Performance

8.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Design

7.5/10

Pros

  • True Dolby Atmos 360° sound envelope
  • Excellent music and movie quality
  • Centre up-firing speaker for clear dialogue
  • Room calibration
  • WoW Orchestra compatible with recent LG TVs

Cons

  • Horrible, horrible manual LED setup (use the App instead)
  • HDMI 2.0 - nice if it was HDMI 2.1
  • WOW Orchestra adds a little, but not enough to be a deal breaker for other brand TVs