Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

LG has announced a new 9.1.5-channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbar with a new upward-firing center speaker that bounces dialogue from the cells to your ears so you can hear clearly. While up-firing drivers are a big part of how soundbars generally produce surround sound – it’s one of five here – LG claims the up-firing center is a world first. The soundbar also includes a pair of wireless rear speakers that can now additionally send audio to the side walls of the room, which could also increase audio immersion.

It’s important to note that the new upward-firing center speaker still has the same channel as the regular center speaker, but adds to the clarity of the dialogue. The same goes for the two additional side-firing drivers of the rear speaker pair; it’s the same channel as the soundbar’s side speakers. LG claims that its AI Room Calibration can automatically configure the timing of each speaker and synchronize everything.

This new LG soundbar (model S95QR), the rear speakers and the included wireless subwoofer together have a power of 810W. With both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the LG S95QR positions itself as a premium soundbar and successor to the 7.1.4-channel LG SP11RA soundbar.

Unfortunately, the new soundbar – like its predecessor – still doesn’t support 4K 120Hz with HDR passthrough. If you have a newer 4K HDR TV and a Series X or PS5, you may not want to plug your game console directly into the bar. However, you should still take advantage of variable refresh rate (VRR) support.

A visual representation of LG’s 7.1.4 channel soundbar configuration. To get to 9.1.5, imagine a third wave coming up from the soundbar (center) and two waves blasting from the rear speakers to the left/right walls.
Image: LG

The soundbar also supports Auto Low-Latency Mode (ALLM) and can be controlled by smart devices with Google Assistant, Alexa and “other AI assistants”. The older LG SP11RA soundbar had AirPlay 2 support and could be controlled with Siri, but it’s not clear from LG’s press release whether the new soundbar will have it (but we’re hopeful).

LG also says it has support for its Wowcast Wi-Fi audio dongle, which was originally released last fall and is available on LG’s UK page. The Wowcast is a device that makes the soundbar wireless, for situations where laying a cable between the TV and the soundbar would be difficult. It mounts behind your TV and can stream an HDMI eARC connection between it and the soundbar. LG says the Wowcast will be sold separately, so we expect a US release alongside the new soundbar.

However, LG did not share a price or release date for the new LG S95QR. The soundbar will be one of the company’s first products to be announced and showcased in the virtual CES 2022 booth.

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