LG S95QR Soundbar
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LG S95QR Soundbar

Dec 27, 2023

I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way, but with the combination of 43 different streaming services available at the touch of a button and that period of time when we were locked up in our houses because of Covid, visits to the cinema don't seem to be as popular as I remember. Well, I’m about to add another reason as to why it's better to watch movies at home, and it's not because a ticket costs R4000. Although it is still quite expensive. The LG S95QR 9.1.5 Meridian soundbar with wireless surround speakers. Let's go through all the specs before I dig into my experience of having the soundbar in my lounge for the past few weeks. The S95QR is the flagship model for the LG range of soundbars, so you know it's going to come with every feature under the sun. It includes Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, iMAX Enhanced DTSX, ALLM, VRR, OK Google, Alex and Apple Airplay. It has 810W of system power split between the front sound bar, wireless woofer and two wireless surround speakers. It has two HDMI in ports, which can support up to 60 frames at 4K resolution, one HDMI output with supports ARC/eARC, an optical in, and USB-A port which can be used to power smaller USB devices that run on less than 0.5 amps. It also has WiFi connectivity on both the 2.4 and 5GHz spectrums and is Bluetooth 5.0 compatible.

It claims to have 17 speakers throughout the whole system, with the woofer and 2 surround units being completely wireless, except for power of course. On paper, the soundbar sounds like an absolute monster of a sound system but did it live up to its expectations?

The room that I had the unit set up in is 5 metres long by 4 metres wide, it has a double door archway that has no doors on it on the one side and a single doorway, with a door, on the front of it. The roof is around 3 metres up. Whether that's big or small to you is your own decision to make, but that's the size of the room, ok? The box that it came in was quite big, almost as big as a TV box, which is not the L-shaped box advertised on the website, but hey, I’m not allowed to throw this box away anyway so it's fine if it's big. Opening up the soundbar was an exciting experience, I mean who doesn't love opening things? On the inside were the soundbar, the woofer, the two surround speakers, a box with all the accessories, these being the manuals, the power cords, the HDMI cord, the controller and its batteries and some wall brackets. I currently use a 5.1 Samsung system that some might consider "old". It has a lot of the fancy stuff that these new jobbies have, like eARC, so I could just unplug the one HDMI cable from that system and pop it into the eARC port on the LG. I then plugged in all the power cords for the rest of the wireless speakers and decided to do a little test to see if everything was working. I had already picked out what I thought was a pretty bassy song from my playlist and was ready to get complaints from the neighbours. It was loud. So loud, loud enough for me to reminisce about my dad running out of the house at 5 AM, yelling at me to turn the music down, but it wasn't bassy. Ok, well it was bassy, but it wasn't as enveloping as it is when I listen to the same song in my car. Not in a bad way, the song was clearer and had a fuller overall feel to it, but I was honestly hoping to start a bit of a nightclub in my lounge and for that I need bass. Things quickly changed when I fired up the TV and decided to find a movie to test out the sound. I opted for Inception, I feel like it's a good combination of loud noises, booms, bullets and chit-chat. I’ll say this, I was literally blown away, in fact, I instantly messaged Len and jokingly asked how long we’re allowed to keep the soundbar because I might need it for a few more years. Sitting on my couch, comfortable and cosy, I was instantly transported to a movie house. The sound was as loud and enveloping as it would be sitting in one of those isles with a box of overpriced popcorn in my hand. When I showed it off to Len he did bring up a valid point, and that was that it can be difficult to hear the conversation between the cast. You would have to turn the volume up quite a bit to fully hear what they were saying and this did mean that other parts of the movie could come across as way too loud, like the more action-involved scenes.

I did a bit of digging around and using the soundbar app on my phone, I re-calibrated the system using the auto-calibration and then manually increased the volume of the top centre speakers that sit on top of the soundbar. I found it helped quite a bit and I was back to smiling from ear to ear. Before the recalibration, I did find that the highs were a bit weird from the rear speakers, but afterwards, I found them just right. Providing a full surround sound experience with chatter in the background or bullets ricocheting off of walls behind me. Overall, I would say that it's one of the best sound experiences I’ve had and I just keep putting on more and more movies just to enjoy the sound, but there's a big problem that I’ve yet to mention.The system costs around R22,000. While I absolutely enjoyed having this system in my house, there's no way that I would spend that amount of money on it. I suppose this isn't necessarily a jab at the S95 system itself, as I probably wouldn't spend that amount of money on any soundbar, but the problem still exists. Another niggly thing that I found with the soundbar is that, without the app, it's not that easy to access its array of features unless you’re connecting it to an LG TV. Yes, the system literally started working by just connecting one HDMI cable, but for me to be able to tweak it I had to use the app, there was no on-screen menu that I could use to make any adjustments, only when it was connected to the LG C2 did it have an on-screen display. This isn't really a deal-breaker in my eyes as I had absolutely zero issues with the app itself and I’d rather not have to waste any HDMI inputs on my TV, but for some, it might be an issue.

An added bonus to having the soundbar with an LG TV is that the system will also utilise the TV's speakers in its array, which can allow for a fuller sound experience. Personally, I didn't pick up much of a difference here as the system on its own was already outstanding.

When it boils down to it, I had an amazing time with the system, I don't have all the tools to test specific sound outputs or dB levels all over the place, but for me, sitting on my couch and watching a movie with my wife, it was incredible. Would I spend the money to get it though? No. Maybe if I had spare cash lying around for these kinds of things, but at this cost, this one is squarely aimed at a high-end market.