LG Soundbar SC9S Review with Subwoofer

LG Soundbar SC9S an upfiring driver in the middle is a nice addition, but other bars have better features. Dolby Atmos soundbar market, it’s tough to be out of the crowd. LG’s latest gambit is the addition of a third upfiring driver in the center of soundbars like the new LG Soundbar SC9S.

The idea is to make better dialog and accentuate the overhead effects that help Dolby Atmos and other 3D formats create an immersive “dome” of sound.

LG Soundbar SC9S Review with Subwoofer

By that size, the design is a success. Dialog is simple and the phantom channel seems to increase the potency of overhead effects. The thing is, even though Dolby Atmos titles are becoming extra common, there are only so many effects happening above you.

A lot of the action happens on the ground, and the LG Soundbar SC9S doesn’t include the side-firing speakers that make models from Sony, Sonos, and Bose so effective at creating an immersive soundstage from a single unit.

The LG Soundbar SC9S does pack an impressive feature arsenal, including the facility to work in conjunction with the latest LG C-series TVs via its Wow Orchestra system.

Folks with any TV will get plenty of other latest features, too, such as versatile audio format support, next-gen gaming features and an included wireless subwoofer, which many rivals lack. However is that enough to make this your Atmos bar of choice?

Features of the Soundbar

The LG Soundbar SC9S comes in a very large box, with a lot of space reserved for its special mounting bracket to pop beneath a C2/C3 OLED TV. The general setup is quick enough, but you do have to follow the order mentioned inLG Soundbar SC9S’s mini instructions: Connect the HDMI cable to your TV’s HDMI ARC/eARC port, then plug in the subwoofer and (if relevand) rear surround speakers.

I missed the memo and plugged in the LG Soundbar SC9S first. Then had to join the wireless subwoofer manually to get it working. I tested just the basic bar and sub. If you want to join the rear surrounds, they’ll come to you a few hundred bucks and, unlike most other brands, require a separate amplifier that wirelessly connects to your TV.

Otherwise, setup is a relative breeze withLG Soundbar SC9S’s Soundbar app. I connected the bar to Wi-Fi and updated it to the latest firmware within minutes. That includes the AI Room Calibration mode, which is very loud and, to my ears, did not really seem to change the sound much.

Sound Holding Capacity

One of the LG Soundbar SC9S’ most touted features is its Wow Orchestra integration that contests bar with the onboard sound from  LG’s C2 and C3 TVs. Such ecosystem-specific features are becoming extra common in the A/V space, especially with LG Soundbar SC9S’s Korean rival, Samsung, whose Q-Symphony features similarly integrates its flagship bars with newer Samsung TV speakers.

The  LG Soundbar SC9 goes further, including a special (and great) mounting bracket for those evo C-series TVs right in the box. The idea is that you’ll buy the bar when you buy the TV, however of course, that isn’t always viable when you’re stuck with several grand already.

Regardless of your TV, the  LG Soundbar SC9S supplies an impressive selection of cutting-edge features, including HDMI 2.1 passthrough via its spare HDMI port. This lets you plug in the newest gaming consoles and PCs to utilize high frame rates and features like VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALL (auto low latency mode).

Sony’s HT-A5000 is the only likewise priced rival to support these options, while the Sonos Arc (9/10, WIRED Recommends) and Bose Smart Soundbar 700 don’t offer HDMI inputs at all.

The  LG Soundbar SC9S also supports just about every major sound format. You can use Dolby Atmos with a subwoofer, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X, and DTS-HD Master Audio, among a body of others. You will also get streaming features like AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect and of course Bluetooth.

The bar is compatible with smart assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant, but only through the app. Speaking of the app, it’s by far the easiest way to control settings like chief EQ, sound mode swapping, and all channel level adjustments.

It’s not as loaded as apps from Sonos or Bose, which let you stream music and group other speakers, but it’s pretty inbuilt and also proved quite stable in my testing.

Using the included remote is extra tedious, with only a few LEDs and a loud robot voice to convey you as you scroll through the many options. If you’ve got the  LG Soundbar SC9S C2 or C3 you can use the onscreen menu, but the app offers a much deeper suite of settings. Otherwise, any TV remote lets you control the basics when connected over HDMI eARC/ARC.

Three Channel Limit of LG Soundbar SC9S

The marvel of some of the best Dolby Atmos with subwoofer soundbars is how musical, full and natural they can sound. It’s no easy task to make a singular bar sound extra like a full sound system. While the  LG Soundbar SC9S certainly has its skills, it doesn’t quite cross over the hill to the special side for a couple of reasons.

The bar’s overall sound signature is dilute and lighter than rivals like the Sonos Arc and Sony HT-A5000, and less musical than Bose’s Smart Soundbar 900. There’s better final detail, but film soundtracks and music alike feel lacking when it comes to meaty dynamics and midrange muscle.

Brighter instruments like crash and symphonic horns, and even lighter dialog and effects can come off with an icy touch. More notably, without the aid of side-firing drivers, the  LG Soundbar SC9S’s soundstage falls shy of delivering the kind of near-magical good surround sound immersion found in top rivals.

You can account for this by adding true surround speakers in LG’s SQ8-S local speakers and proprietary wireless amplifiers for $200 (or less on sale). But apart from the cost, this may not be viable for those with solid listening rooms.

The soundstage did ramp up when LG sent over a C3 TV to test  LG Soundbar SC9S’s Wow Orchestra feature, which utilizes both the TV speakers and the soundbar at once. The sound field provides extra depth and feels large on the vertical plane.

But the TV speakers also tend to accentuate the bar’s lighter tone color, making things all the rook. Openly, I’m just not sure about the current of soundbars in conjunction with the limited speakers in most TVs.

That’s not to say the LG Soundbar SC9S doesn’t offer some compelling skills. Thanks to its higher height speaker, Dolby Atmos with subwoofer films and TV shows are rendered with excellent overhead effects, from pouring rain to buzzing helicopters.

This helps to grow the sound beyond the bar’s frame, mainly above you, which can create a sense of cinematic breadth. The system also does well rendering rich dialog from well-crafted dramas and films, providing crisp delivery that accentuates the fine details.

The LG Soundbar SC9S excels when it comes to bass response in strong action scenes, from the pounding pop of Ant-Man’s flying ants to the booming blast in Skyfall. The addition of a wireless Dolbby atmos with subwoofer gives the bar a notable edge in the very deepest frequencies over standalone Atmos soundbars.

That alone could make it valuable for some folks, as you’ll pay hundreds more to get the same low-frequency rumble from many competitors. With compelling features many lack—including a spare HDMI 2.1 input, support for DTS:X 3D audio, gaming addiction like VRR passthrough, and the all-important wireless sub—the LG Soundbar SC9S provides solid value.

If those features are important to you, it’s worth considering whether you own a newer LG C-series TV or any other models. Otherwise, when it comes to pure sound standard and immersion, you’ll find finer action for your Jacksons from our best soundbars list or one of the other options above.


We hope you find the LG Soundbar SC9S within your budget. On the other hand, when it comes to pure sound standards and immersion, you can buy the bar of your choice from our best soundbar list or all the others above.

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