LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra (AV review)

The LG SC9S 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.

LG really wants you to buy this with a 55/65/77” C2 or C3 OLED Evo TV (with 40W, 2.2 sound), even providing an LG Synergy bracket for a clean, seamless wall mount. There is also a 10% discount on the package if purchased before 31 October 2023.

How does WOW Orchestra work with compatible LG TVS?

WOW Orchestra is similar to using a Sony or Samsung soundbar with their compatible TVs. The additional effect depends on the TV’s speaker setup. For example, the LG C2 at 2.2 and the LG at 4.2 have different sound outcomes.

WOW Orchestra compatible TVs are 2022/23 LG C/G/Z OLED or QNED81/99. Soundbars include SC9S (this review), SE6S, S95QR, S90QY, S80QR, S80QY, and S75Q. Read LG 2023 Soundbar range – WoW intelligent sound.

Review: LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra.

WebsiteProduct Page and Manual
PriceThe price is RRP$1499, 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 – Confused – I was initially!

Before the review, let me be clear that LG soundbars are brand agnostic – they play well with any TV via HDMI eARC, ARC, or optical. When added to a WOW Orchestra-compatible LG TV, they also use the TV speakers. We like LG soundbars with a centre up-firing speaker as they aid clear voice for the hearing impaired.

But we must realise that LG SC9S 3.1.3 is really a 3.1.2 virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar. Why?

First, please don’t take this as a criticism of the LG SC9S. It is well made, excellent quality, a great addition to any TV and markedly improves the sound. We have no issues with this soundbar except that it does not provide a true Dolby Atmos experience. In short, NO 3.1.2 all-in-one with or without WOW Orchestra can.

Second, Dolby Atmos does not support a front centre up-firing channel (X.X.3) – just Left and Right (X.X.2). LG uses AI Sound Pro mode to extract the 1-4kHz clear voice frequencies (like a Tweeter Crossover but tuned for voice) and elevates the sound to the screen. The result is a better, clear voice.

Third, let’s define Dolby Atmos. This soundbar can decode Dolby Atmos metadata and downmix it to its three (Left/Right/Centre) forward-firing speakers, two (of three) front up-firing speakers and the sub-woofer – 3.1.2. LG has many AI smarts, including room calibration, upscaling 2.0 music, MQA Hi-Res, and AI Sound Pro – all improving sound quality over lesser soundbars. But its DA experience is not much different to any 3.1.2 soundbar.

Four, WOW Orchestra does not (as the salesman insisted) make a 3.1.3 soundbar into a 5.3.3 (C2/C3 have a 2.2 system) or a 7.3.3 (G2/G3 have a 4.2 system). It uses the TV speakers to reinforce the soundbar speakers, not as separate Dolby Atmos channels. It can give a slightly broader sound stage on the G2 and is well-integrated with the TV speakers.

Finally, 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).

Our review is in several parts – all tested with and without Dolby Atmos content.

  • LG C3 OLED Evo WOW Orchestra
  • LG G3 OLED Evo WOW Orchestra
  • Non-LG OLED (presents to as 3.1.2 plus centre up-firing for clear voice)

Size-wise, it is 975mm x 63mm x 125mm x 4.1kg, and the sub-woofer is 221mm x 390mm x 313mm x 7.8kg. It comes with a remote control and can use a basic App.

Ports – Pass

  • HDMI eARC – 2.0 4K@50/60Hz, 18Gbps supports WOW Orchestra
  • HDMI In – up to 4K@100/120Hz (50/60Hz)*
  • USB-A, 5V/.5A/2.5W, FAT16/FAT32/NTFS for audio MP3, AAC, and OGG codec support
  • Optical port (does not support WOW Orchestra)
  • BT 5.0 with SBC or AAC stereo codec is fine for low-res smartphone music streaming.
  • Wi-Fi N 2.4 GHz (for app use on Android or iOS – not compatible with ThinQ)

* LG claims up to VRR/ALLM/120Hz pass-through, but some international gaming reviews state that the HDMI 2.0 eARC port cannot pass through a 4K@100/120Hz@10-bit signal, and this reverts to 50/60Hz. Xbox X and S and PlayStation 5 owners should test this and negotiate a return if it does not work for them.

We would have expected HDMI 2.1 48Gbps and Wi-Fi 6 2.4/5GHz for the price.

Decodable audio codecs – PASS+

  • PCM 1.0 to 7.1 downmixed to 3.1.
  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD to 7.1 downmixed to 3.1.
  • Dolby Atmos Decode (we think to 7.1.4 or 9.1.4 with rear speakers downmixed to 3.1.2 or 5.1.2)

The addition of DTS:X and Imax nicely rounds out the codec support.

LED lights – impractical

There are three vertical-oriented indicator LEDs. These can be On (White, Orange, Blue, Purple, Green, Red), Off, or Blinking. The problem is that there are well over 40,000 permutations😒.

In reality, it is okay, but keep the manual close by.

Remote – looks simple, but it is complex.

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 App makes setup easier as you don’t have to watch those damned LEDs. It can join Google Home and be controlled by an OK Google speaker in a multi-room configuration. Chromecast audio is via the Google Home App. It has support for

  • AirPlay
  • Alexa
  • Spotify
  • Tidal connect

Energy Use – Pass+

It uses a DC Plug pack 23V/2.61A/25W. It draws a maximum of 240V, 45Wh (Watts per hour), most of the time between 15-20Wh. The sub draws 50-80Wh. Auto Sleep mode uses negligible power.

Test results – LG SC9S 3.1.3


The soundbar markedly improves the low bass and sound signature for a 2.0 free-to-air sound experience. For 5.1 surround or Dolby Atmos content, you get some Left and Right 3D height out to about 2 metres but no Left/Right surround (as it does not have side-firing speakers). Overall it is very front-centric.


It similarly improves 2.0 sound experiences. For 5.1 surround or Dolby Atmos content, you get some Left and Right 3D height out to about 2 metres and some Left/Right surround (as the TV has side-firing speakers).

Any DA effect depends on psychoacoustics – bouncing height (soundbar) and side speakers (G2) off adjacent ceilings and walls. You don’t get any sense of surround if you don’t have side walls.

Non-LG Dolby Atmos TV

It performed about as well as any 3.1.2 soundbar in the 2.0 Free-to-air and streaming. With DA content, it added some 3D front-centric Left/Right height but no surround.

Real Dolby Atmos needs 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 offer more than a slight sense of 3D height, and most give no sense of an increased horizontal sound stage or surround.

We make the point that a real Dolby Atmos experience, at a minimum, needs 5.1.2 channels and preferably dedicated rear speakers.

  • Left/Right/Centre front (3.X.X).
  • Left/Right (front or rear) side-firing psychoacoustic surround (2.X.X).
  • A sub-woofer (X.1.X) because you want to hear and feel the bass.
  • Front up-firing left and right (X.X.2).

Of late, we believe that 7.1.4 is the minimum for true DA adding:

  • Rear Left/Right side-firing surround (2.X.X)
  • Rear Left/Right up-firing 3D height (X.X.2).

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.

Surround – Fail

LG claims you can hear immersive 3D sound produced by multiple audio channels from the speakers, regardless of the channels in the original content. If you read the small print, it requires optional rear speakers.

  • AI Sound Pro will upscale 2.0 and downscale 5.1-7.1 to the 3.1.2 (+1) channels.
  • Standard mode (Good for clear voice but loses bass and high treble) disables left and right up-firing mode to 3.1.0 (the centre up-firing is not DA but reinforces the centre forward-firing). For 2.0 audio content, the centre up-firing is disabled.
  • Music mode disables left and right up-firing mode to 3.1.0 (plus centre up-firing). We found too much bass, solid mids, but the treble lacks definition and that feeling of being there. It can only play 24-bit/96kHz content via Wi-Fi (no ethernet).
  • Cinema (our choice for movies), Clear Voice, Sports, Game and Bass Blast+ modes use all 3.1.3 channels regardless of the source. Each has different EQ settings.

Sound Signature

Top Image – tested on AI Sound Pro, flat EQ at 100% volume with LG G3 TV and WOW Orchestra (can’t disable that).

Deep Bass 20-40HzIt starts at a very low 36Hz (excellent) for room-shaking bass and builds solidly to 50Hz
Middle Bass 40-100HzFlat (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 typeNeutral
SoundstageOn non-DA content, it is about the width of the TV.
Dolby AtmosWidens the sound stage slightly (G2 only)
Volume85dB – loud and reasonably acceptable THD at that level
Music UpscaleWhile it is undoubtedly a good listening experience, audiophiles will eschew this and use 2.0 or 2.1 mode only.
CommentAI Sound Pro works well, but I prefer cinema for movies.

Without WOW Orchestra – Non-LG DA TV

It is an almost identical sound signature and frequency response. Volume was 82dB, and the experience was more 3.1.2.

Can you upgrade it to dedicated rears?

Yes, it is compatible with the $299 SPQ8-S 2.0, 140W rear front left/right firing kit (also for LG S90QY and S80QY). That takes it to 5.1.2 (3 if you count the centre up-firing non-DA channel). We tried these on the S80QR 5.1.3, and it added rear surround but not rear height.

But again, that takes the price well over LG’s genuine DA offerings.

CyberShack’s take – LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decoding, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra is a good LG TV speaker

If you are looking for a true Dolby Atmos soundbar, you won’t have read this far because it is not what you want.

If you want to improve your LG C2/C3/G2/G3 and some QNED TV sound and are not worried about price, it makes free-to-air, streaming content and music sound good. It differs from the elegant and full sound I have heard from other LG soundbars. More work and firmware updates must be done to knock some rough edges off.

Would I buy it?

It is one of the few LG products I would not buy unless you have an LG 2022/23 C or G OLED and don’t care about true Dolby Atmos sound. It is acceptable as a 3.1.2 (3) soundbar, but at $1499, there are far better and lower-cost alternatives.

In our opinion, the RRP$1,999 (seen for $1,399) LG S95QR 9.1.5 Dolby Atmos soundbar – ultimate sound for every TV with dedicated rear front, side and up-firing speakers is what DA devotees need. If funds are tight, the $1,099 LG S80QR 5.1.3 Dolby Atmos soundbar – a real Atmos soundbar is an option.

And if you are looking for decent virtual Dolby Atmos, these produce equal or better DA experiences and have a centre channel for clear voice.

Rating: LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra

  • Features: 80 – it is, after all, a 3.1.2 DA decode soundbar. The WOW Orchestra benefits only come into play with certain LG TVs.
  • Value: 70 – The LGS95QR and LG S80QR are lower cost and offer vastly better DA performance. They are WOW Orchestra compatible as well.
  • Performance: 80 in WOW Orchestra mode; the combination of TV and soundbar is seamless and performs well for non-DA content. But in all other cases, it is no better than a 3.1.2 soundbar (the up-firing centre speaker works well for clear voice).
  • Ease of Use: 80 maximum. The LEDs drove me crazy. The remote was not much easier. The App was easy enough to use, but there are way too many choices for the average user.
  • Design: 80 – basic black metal soundbar and medium-density fibreboard sub-woofer.

LG SC9S 3.1.3, Dolby Atmos decode, 400W soundbar with WOW Orchestra








Ease of Use





  • 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


  • Soundbar and room calibration are very front-centric
  • 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 LG’s true DA offerings