LG S95TR soundbar review: Dolby Atmos immersion done right

 LG S95TR in living room.
LG S95TR in living room.

LG S95TR Soundbar: Two minute review

LG S95TR in living room
LG S95TR in living room

I’ll cut to the chase: The LG S95TR is a fantastic soundbar system. In fact, it might be among the best soundbars available right now. And that’s without considering its first-party feature set when paired with certain LG TVs – something I’ll touch on but won’t dive into too deeply.

Overall, there’s very little to dislike about the LG S95TR. Just about everything that keeps it from being perfect, besides its high price, is due to how basic the LED display is or the fact that some features require opening the app. Having to reach for the phone to turn on “Night Time” mode is a bit of an inconvenience, especially when that setting could have been made available on the remote, for instance.

However, the positives here far outweigh the cons. Even though this is a 9.1.5-channel system, for example, setup and even calibration were about as streamlined as it can get when multiple units are involved. And the feature set is about as deep as one could expect from a system competing with the best Dolby Atmos soundbars. None of that matters if the sound quality isn’t there, but the LG S95TR delivers in that regard as well with its immersive, engrossing, and engaging audio.

In the grand scheme of things, the LG S95TR’s $1,499 / AU$1,699 (about £1,200) price is actually not bad when compared to the competition. And if you were to buy a separate Dolby Atmos speaker system with one of the best AV receivers, you would spend even more. So, despite the high asking price, the S95TR’s cost does seem reasonable when you put it in perspective.

Whether the LG S95TR is for you will depend on your needs. If you’re working with a small room or setup, this system is probably too much for you. You might be happy with something that only costs a couple hundred dollars. However, if you want to match the convenience of a soundbar system with the immersive performance of a true home theater speaker setup, you can’t go wrong here.

LG S95TR in living room
LG S95TR in living room

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Price & release date

  • Released in March 2024 (US and Australia)

  • $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200)

As part of LG’s 2024 AV lineup, the LG S95TR is fairly new. It isn’t even available yet in the UK, where the previous generation, the S95QR, is still on offer for £1,699. However, those in the US and Australia can get it right away as of May 2024 for $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200).

Considering that the LG S95TR is a 9.1.5-channel system, its price tag is not as exorbitant as it might seem. After all, a regular home theater audio setup can get much more expensive when you take into account the need for at least five quality speakers, a subwoofer, and an AV receiver. And, that’s even before accounting for the upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers (the “5” in 9.1.5).

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Specs

LG S95TR in living room
LG S95TR in living room

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Features

  • Some features meant specifically for LG TVs

  • Wi-Fi streaming and voice assistant support

  • AI Room Calibration is a revelation

Let’s first discuss the LG S95TR features that owners of the LG B4, LG C4, and LG G4 Series OLED TVs may enjoy. These include WOW Orchestra (uses the TV’s built-in speakers in conjunction with the soundbar system for an even fuller sound), WOW Interface (lets you use one remote for both the TV and soundbar, with setup available on the TV), and WOWCAST (lets you pair the soundbar with the LG TV wirelessly). I didn’t have access to an LG TV during my review and could not dig into those features. But even so, I found the LG S95TR soundbar still very feature-filled.

For instance, even if you can’t take advantage of WOWCAST, the rear speakers and subwoofer still pair wirelessly to the soundbar. So, outside of the power cables, the only wire you’ll see is the HDMI or optical cable connecting the soundbar to the TV.

The LG S95TR is also plenty room-filling without WOW Orchestra. Not only do you get full surround sound, but five upward firing speakers that work with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. It should also be noted that you can listen to stereo content as if it’s in surround sound. That’s not to say that the soundbar’s processing will remix the music so that a saxophone (if you listen to music with a saxophone) only comes from the back left speaker, but, you will get an immersive sound presentation.

Some other critical features include Wi-Fi streaming so you can play music from your favorite streaming service without having to use a lower-quality Bluetooth connection (though you can do that as well). You can also use Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.

My favorite feature, however, is LG’s Advanced AI Room Calibration. Speaker placement is critical for getting good sound, and a feature that can adjust how sound is projected based on speaker placement is key, especially when one of your rear speakers is literally sitting on an old chest. It’s a quick process as well that is available through the app.

My neighbor’s favorite feature, though they don’t know it, is the Night Time mode, also only available in the app. This feature makes everything sound a bit flatter as the audio gets compressed to keep sound peaks from getting too loud. It’s a useful feature for when you’re worried about waking someone up when watching a movie late at night.

  • Features score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR rear speakers on floor in living room
LG S95TR rear speakers on floor in living room

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Performance

  • Clear sound, even at low volume

  • Very good Dolby Atmos immersion

  • Slightly forward mid-range response

With 810 watts of power, the LG S95TR has more than enough volume on tap. Loudness doesn’t necessarily equal good sound, but thankfully the LG S95TR sounds very good.

When testing, I watched movies and shows including Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, Shogūn, and Psych, and listened to plenty of music. Also during testing, I used different audio modes including the AI mode from the room calibration feature.

When watching Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, the LG S95TR was in Cinema mode. Not only did I feel the rumble from the subwoofer every time there was some low-end information, but it came through clearly (some cheaper soundbar subs often produce a flabby bass response). And the same held even when I lowered the volume.

In fact, I did a lot of listening on this soundbar at a lower volume. Why? Because at lower volumes, TV audio is often uneven and tinny with some sound getting swallowed up. But the LG S95TR soundbar reproduced everything in a way that I could have the volume just above audible and still make out every sound and nuance.

The system’s surround and Dolby Atmos capabilities are very robust. Shogūn has a lot of dialogue inside traditional Japanese homes overlooking gardens. Watching it, I at first wasn’t sure if I was hearing anything, but when I put my ears to the rear speakers, I realized that there actually was a lot going on because I heard the ambient sounds of a garden and pond. The ambient sound also had a sense of dimension thanks to the upward-firing Atmos drivers in the rear speakers.

Night Time mode was effective in that if flattened the sound (it’s compressing the audio after all) but in a way that made everything still very audible. I had no issues hearing anything even with the feature on and the volume low. Compared to similar modes on TVs when using the TV’s built-in speakers, the S95TR’s Night Time mode was superior.

Lastly, the LG S95TR’s stereo up-mixing is a treat when listening to music. You still get a stereo image, but all of the speaker drivers on the soundbar and rear speakers are engaged. It’s not as detailed as what you would hear with audiophile speakers, but unless you’re deep down that rabbit hole, you’ll be very happy. As far as its overall frequency response, LG’s soundbar has a slightly forward mid-range, and it’s a profile that lends itself better to audio from movies, TV shows, and games.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR subwoofer on floor in living room
LG S95TR subwoofer on floor in living room

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Design

  • Discreet and mostly wireless design

  • LED indicators don’t provide enough information

  • Many features and controls require app

The LG S95TR soundbar’s looks aren’t going to wow anyone. It looks like a basic matte black soundbar with a subwoofer and two slightly strange-looking wedge-shaped rear speakers, all with some extra upward-facing grilles (well, except the sub). But even though it doesn’t have the mid-century chic of a Bang & Olufsen soundbar, which would cost almost twice the price, it fits in discreetly enough – something helped out by the wireless subwoofer and rear speakers.

However, any complaints I have about the LG S95TR will be in this section. Three LED indicator lights near the right side of the soundbar take the place of an LED display. You’ll see a red light when you power down, some green lights when adjusting the volume, and three blinking white lights when trying to pair with a Bluetooth source. Considering how many features are on hand here, there just isn’t enough information on the soundbar that's visible at a glance.

The remote, for instance, has a button to toggle through different sound modes such as Cinema, Music,Game, etc. But not only do you not know which mode you’re on, but you don’t know which one you’re switching to just by looking at the soundbar or remote, and the same goes for the volume level.

The only way to get that information is to download, pair, and open LG’s control app – my second bone of contention. The app itself is perfectly fine. However, some features, such as Night Time mode are only available in the app, when they could have had their own button on the included remote control. Overall, these are far from dealbreakers, but they still are little annoyances.

As far as ports go, the selection is pretty minimal, with two HDMI ports (one with eARC), a USB port, and an optical digital input. The HDMI ports at least support 4K 120Hz and HDR10 passthrough, something PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X gamers will appreciate.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

LG S95TR packaging on chair
LG S95TR packaging on chair

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Setup & usability

  • System is well packaged

  • Setup is quick and easy

  • App is intuitive to use

The LG S95TR is a soundbar system and not just an all-in-one soundbar, so getting it out of the box is somewhat overwhelming. The box is big, but that’s partially because of how well-packaged everything is. I also appreciate that LG didn’t use styrofoam for its packaging.

Once everything is unboxed, you need to scope out where to place the rear speakers and plug in the various speakers in the order specified in the manual. Interestingly, when I first plugged everything in, the soundbar announced via a voice prompt that the rear speakers were on the wrong sides. Plugging everything in took five or ten minutes, which is quite convenient compared to a standard home theater system.

With everything set up, using the system is very easy. With the soundbar connected to the HDMI ARC port, I could use my TV’s remote to control volume. The app is also very easy and intuitive from adjusting volume, switching modes and sources, to setting up the various features. You can even manually adjust sound settings per speaker, which is a nice touch.

  • Setup & usability score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR on table top surface shown
LG S95TR on table top surface shown

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Value

  • Pricey

  • Reasonable compared to high-end competition

  • Stiff competition from Samsung and JBL

Although the LG S95TR is pretty expensive, this is a 9.1.5-channel system, so you’re getting much more than just a soundbar. If you want detailed sound with some dimension but don’t care about a true surround sound experience, you can get a standalone soundbar and save money. Even the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar, which is still relatively pricey at £899 / $899 / AU$1499, will set you back much less (and take up less space).

Of course, if you want the rumble of a subwoofer and real surround sound – basically, the home theater experience – you’re going to have to spend more. For instance, the flagship Samsung HW-Q990D, a 11.1.4-channel soundbar system, retails for even more than the LG at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995.

Or consider the JBL Bar 1300X with its rechargeable rear speakers. At $1,699 / £1,299 / around AU$2,570, it also costs just a little more than the LG system but doesn’t have 4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough for gaming.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the LG S95TR Soundbar?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Also consider

How I tested the LG S95TR Soundbar

LG S95TR on table with subwoofer on floor
LG S95TR on table with subwoofer on floor
  • I used the LG S95TR Soundbar for a few weeks

  • Tested with both TV, movies, and music

I used the LG S95TR Soundbar regularly for a few weeks with TV, movies, and music. I compared it to just my TV’s speakers alone, listened to the different sound modes, and tested the various features.

As expressed in the review, this is a powerful, immersive system that delivers a true home theater experience in a convenient soundbar package.

I’ve tested a lot of tech gear over the years from laptops to keyboards and speakers, and use my expertise to give an honest, fair, and informed opinion on any product I test.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: May 2024