Best LG S80QR Soundbar Reviews: Dolby Atmos with subwoofer

The LG S80QR Soundbar is a high-end (£1,099) package designed in partnership with high-end audio brand Meridian that includes a main soundbar, a subwoofer and a pair of rear speakers.

Best LG S80QR Soundbar Reviews: Dolby Atmos with subwoofer

It uses these parts to deliver a total of 620W of power pushed through 5.1.3 channels of audio sound, and by including physical back in the box it marks a significant departure from LG S80QR soundbar’s previous second-rung free.

What is the LG S80QR Soundbar?

At first glance the £1,099 LG S80QR soundbar looks like a logical step up from the brand’s impressive flagship S95QR soundbar. After all, even though it takes the channel countdown to 5.1.3, it still offers the same unique-to-LG three up-firing drivers; It still benefits from a lot of design. Closer inspection.

However, it reveals that this seemingly logical configuration is actually somewhat odd. For starters, rears ship with an external wireless receiver where they have to be hard-wired to work. The wireless rears included with the flagship S95QR require no such external wireless box.

The S80QR is also unusual in being the first step-down soundbar from LG to include physical rather than virtual rear speakers. It’s certainly a welcome move, although with the odd external wireless receiver arrangement for the rear speakers.

You can’t help but feel as if the S80QR has been ‘put together’ a bit by boxing a new LG soundbar and subwoofer two-piece. Previously with what would be a separately available optional rear speaker upgrade.

Completing this ‘bundled’ feel is that if you’re not using the S80QR’s rears, you’ve actually got the brand new S80QY two-piece soundbar, which can be bought separately for £999.

A little confusing though the S80QR’s aspects may appear, however, any of its oddities won’t matter in the slightest if it turns out that its various components manage to make sweet music (and movies) together.

Design and Connections

The LG S80QR soundbar is reasonably attractive by standards. The main soundbar has a crisp, no-nonsense rectangular shape and sits low enough (63mm high) to tuck under most TV screens without getting in the way of their picture or IR sensors.

Its tidy brushed finish and considerable depth (135mm) give it a sense of importance and authority, although it’s not particularly heavy and measures just 1000mm wide versus the S95QR’s 1200mm. The top end of the main soundbar stands out from the crowd by sporting three large circular up-firing speakers. More on this topic later.

Rears are less promising. They’re much smaller (100(w) x 140(h) x 100(d)mm) and lighter than the rears you typically find with premium full-soundbars, raising the immediate question if they’ll partner relatively successfully with meaty front soundbars.

Also, despite featuring a felt cover that wraps around them on three sides, they only carry a single 3-inch driver; There are no up-firing or side-firing drivers to enlarge the rear soundstage.

Compared to the rears you get with LG’s S95QR flagship system, these are much larger and have both up-firing drivers and two angled drivers in the front.

The wireless receiver is a black box with zero design flair for talking to the rear speakers, so you’ll probably want to try and keep it out of sight if you can – unless you’re disrupting its wireless connection.

This connection should be pretty hard to break, though, as the unit’s wireless reception is rated to maintain a 30m-plus travel distance.

The subwoofer is, as you’d hope, the most unapologetically chunky of the LG S80QR Soundbar’s components. It is just a tall black oblong with an airport at the bottom of its front side and a pleasingly large 8-inch driver firing out of its side.

As usual you can to some size position the subwoofer in a relatively out of the way place, however obviously you should have the driver facing out into the room sooner than pressed up against furniture or walls.

The LG S80QR soundbar’s connectivity takes in one HDMI input, one HDMI output, an optical digital audio input, and the now expected Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options.

A second HDMI input power has been nice on a soundbar at north of £1,000, however the HDMI output does support the eARC HDMI system for receiving no loss of Dolby Atmos and DTS : X sound on your TV.

You can control the LG S80QR Soundbar using a small handset, your voice via Alexa or Google Assistant, or LG’s soundbar app. The handset is a small random in its layout, but its limited number of buttons means you soon work your way round.

With this in mind it is a guilt the app verifies is rather flakey for me, dropping connection with the soundbar on a number of occasions for no apparent cause.

Power and Port

The up-front attention grabbers of the LG S80QR Soundbar are its 620W of power, 5.1.3 channel count, three rather than the usual two up-firing speakers, and taking inside of physical rear speakers.

The channel count numbers start with two surprising truths. First, aside from its trio of up-firing drivers, the main soundbar part only features and specification front left, front center and front right channels.

There’s no trying to integrate side or front side speakers. Second, the third ‘center’ up-firing channel is there not to add more real up-firing effects, but to physically lift the position of dialogue so that it appears to be coming from the pictures on the screen the LG S80QR soundbar is setting underneath.

As noted timely, the rears also only feature one forward-firing driver each, so will not deliver the sense of height and width associated with the flagship LG S95QR Soundbar’s rears.

Sound format support includes Dolby Atmos Features, DTS:X and even the IMAX Enhanced version of DTS:X if you have any 4K Blu-rays or can access any streaming services that carry it.

On the music front, there’s a mode designed by Meridian for upconverting music to take advantage of the LG S80QR Soundbar’s higher (than stereo) channel count.

The HDMI loop through joins that of the LG S95QR Soundbar in supporting 4K at 60Hz, as well as variable refresh rates and Auto Low Latency Mode converter for gamers.

Having gone that far on the gaming front it’s perhaps a pity the loop through does not also support 4K at 120Hz, especially as we’re ultimately starting to see one or two rival soundbars.

Gamers wanting to enjoy 4K 120Hz graphics with the LG S80QR Soundbar’s sound will have to go the eARC route. Which is absolutely excellent unless your ARC setup proves to be one of those that can cause lip synch issues.

The loop also conveys HDR video, including the Dolby Atmos Vision system. There’s no support for the HDR10+ system designed as an ‘open source’ rival to Dolby Vision.

Though which is a pity when Samsung’s rival soundbar’s support both Dolby Atmos Vision and HDR10+. It’s true that there is much more Dolby Vision content out there than HDR10+, but it would still be nice to feel that a £1,000-plus soundbar can support the best status video possible with any source.

The soundbar support’s a wide range of audio files, including AAC, AAC+, FLAC, OGG, WAV and MP3, and can draw content wirelessly from Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2 and Tidal. It is also compatible with LG’s dramatically named WOWCast system.

You attach an optional more (£100) wireless sender to any TV that supports ARC or eARC, and have it beam full lossless Dolby Atmos sound to the LG S80QR Soundbar. This avoids the requirement for an HDMI cable to run between your TV and the soundbar to enjoy a key good of eARC functionality.

One other useful bit of connectivity is the capacity to have the soundbar take advantage of the powerful AI Sound Pro processing systems built into many LG TVs over recent years. This will result, it is claimed, in a clearer sound that’s extra optimized for the type of content you’re listening to (game, movie, TV etc).

Setup Port and Connectivity

The need to hard wire the two rears into a Wi-Fi receiver ‘middleman’ adds a small extra level of faff during set up, but it’s not a big deal.

You can also use the app to manually adjust the relative volume of each of the LG S80QR Soundbar channels if you’re not happy with the auto call results.

Day-to-day operation is pretty easy, regardless of whether you stick with the LG app or the given remote control. The latter opts for a very limited button count, which leaves you needing the app heavily to access one or two relatively deeply set-up features, but in most cases its stripped-down feel is more of a help than a hindrance.


Given the little size of the main soundbar and rears and the way the rears appear to be more of a generic optional extra pack rather than something designed and tuned specifically for the LG S80QR soundbar  system, LG’s step-down holds up surprisingly expertly.

The first thing that beat me, actually, was how effective the little rear speakers are – mostly once you have run the Auto Calibration system. They really are able to make their company feel, adding a much more effective combination of specific ‘it is behind you!’ effects and general spatial ambience than I would have imagined possible judging them by their aspect.

The rears are not shy, either. By which I mean that they do not only kick into gear when a soundtrack in fact gets raucous; they’re there for relatively quiet, subtle moments too, ensuring that the surround effect they help to create feels ever-present sooner than part-time. This sort of unity is essential for any sound system that wants to create a properly immersive sound level.

The rears also surprise by not sounding seriously weedy or shrill, balanced with the sound coming from the main soundbar. I’m not saying there is perfect parity; loud sounds traveling from front to back in a Dolby Atmos. But it is much less of an issue than I’d expected when I saw how small the rears were.

While the backs are quite strong, detailed and willing to engage, there is an inevitable limit to their dynamic range given their size. They don’t extend down into the pleasing mid-range like the main soundbar.

But, I found I was able to limit the impact of this limitation by making sure that the subwoofer was positioned somewhere slightly behind my seating position.

The subwoofer is actually a pretty fearsome bit of kit, capable of delivering serious amounts of low frequency sound by soundbar standards. The massive bass drops of Blade Runner 2049’s score.

The rumbles of the alien spacecraft passing over the moon at the start of Independence Day and the monstrous footfalls of any number of T-Rex footfalls over the Jurassic Park years all hit with properly cinematic contact and power.

The bass isn’t the nimblest I’ve heard in terms of the inequality in depth and relative volume it can deliver. Its timing is better, though, and strangely, despite it being slightly all or nothing feel.

It seldom if ever floods the rest of the speakers or draws too much attention to itself. Not least because it does not bottom out, descend into distortion or drop out fully during even sustained bassline rumbles.

Particularly impressive, especially given the issues some past LG S80QR Soundbar Have suffered with in this respect, is how much force and forward drive. it manages to inject into large impact sounds.

All those other powerful staples of big movie soundtracks erupt from the LG S80QR Soundbar politely with real venom. But, at the same time, they do not sound so sharp that they become detached from the rest of the mix.

Despite its willingness to go in hard when required, the LG S80QR Soundbar delivers lots of subtle and not so subtle detailing too, to ensure that movie mixes always sound lively and engaging. And the tone of that detailing, as discussed fast, harmonizes surprisingly ably for the most part with the diminutive rears.

The focal soundbar’s mid-range is exceptionally open and dynamic, getting surprisingly close to that of the flagship LG S95QR Soundbar despite the final system’s larger size in its ability to hit the low bass level without distorting or losing it is balance. It survives pretty well with very dense content, too, despite only having 3 non-height channels.


While the LG S80QR Soundbar joins its flagship LG S95QR Soundbar sibling in feeling like it would benefit from being £100 or even £200 cheaper, it is undeniably a high-class performer – mainly with films.

Especially pleasing after one or two slightly vague releases in recent times. It is how focused and accurate it is. it is when painting three-dimensional Dolby Atmos sound stages – but it also excels with its competency and bass heft.

Even the slightly clumsy and little rear speakers pull their weight surprisingly well. Though as with most of the finest ‘full local’ movie soundbars, the LG S80QR Soundbar’s music performance is probably better described as an acquired taste.



  • Better value than its LG S95QR and LG S80QY neighbors
  • Creates a powerful, detailed sound stage
  • Rears are more effective than expected
  • VRR and ALLM support via HDMI loop


  • The vocals don’t quite sound right with the music
  • Seems a bit expensive
  • No HDR10+ pass-through

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it right to buy LG S95QR Soundbar?

The LG S95QR Soundbar is a high-end soundbar that is expected to fit well within your budget, so it’s worth buying.

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