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LG 2022 Dolby Atmos soundbar line-up: everything you need to know

LG Dolby Atmos soundbar S95QR
(Image credit: LG)

Along with a whole new TV lineup, LG also has a host of new soundbars set to launch in 2022. What's more, there's a lot of interesting new technology involved, including up-firing centre channels, wireless Dolby Atmos sound and six-driver surrounds.

The South Korean tech giant may dominate the world of OLED TVs but it still has something to prove in the realm of elite-level soundbars. Encouragingly, alongside some of the more exciting sonic innovations in store for this year, the company also claims to have taken a step forward in terms of core sound quality and functionality.

So far, we only have details of the top three models, all of which will be hi-res audio-certified, offering lossless playback at 24bit/96kHz, and feature HDMI eARC connections as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility. These soundbars also feature LG's AI Room Calibration, which uses 'spatial awareness technology' to measure a room’s dimensions and match the soundbar’s audio settings to the characteristics of the space. Elsewhere, last year's Eclair will continue as part of LG's 2022 soundbar lineup.

Want to know everything there is to know about LG's 2022 Dolby Atmos soundbar range? Allow us to run through all of the tech highlights and break down the details of the individual models.

Upgraded sound quality and wireless performance

Starting with the core components, LG has made improvements to speaker design, increasing the dimensions of its racetrack drivers and increasing the size of the driver in its wireless subwoofers from 7 inches to 8 inches. The subwoofer cabinets have also been revamped to add volume for increased sound pressure and bass quality. LG claims these changes will yield an extra 5dB average SPL in both sub and soundbar performance.

The wireless subwoofers included in all of LG's premium soundbar packages will also benefit from enhanced wi-fi connectivity, courtesy of a new FEM amplifier that will boost the signal between the wireless circuit and antenna. This apparently means that both wireless subwoofers and surrounds will have greater stability, while improved signal sensitivity and an increased transmission distance from 62 feet to 101 feet will make speakers more flexible in terms of positioning.

WOWCAST Wireless Dolby Atmos

If the thought of an unsightly wire dangling from your super-slim TV to your equally snazzy soundbar offends your aesthetic sensibility, then LG has you covered in 2022.

WOWCAST (Wideband audio On Wireless) is a small, black box around the size of a deck of cards that connects to your LG TV's eARC port and sits hidden behind your screen. Unassuming though it may be, WOWCAST is capable of transmitting up to 11 channels of wireless audio, including lossless Dolby Atmos, from your TV to your soundbar without so much as a visible cable.

WOWCAST works with compatible models from 2022 and legacy models from 2021 (SP11RA, SP9YA, SP8YA, SPD75YA) and 2020: (SN11RG, SN10YG, SN9YG, SN8YG SNC75). 

Audio format support includes bitstream passthrough for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS:X and DTS-HD Master Audio.

WOWCAST was launched last year in the UK priced at £100 (around $135, AU$188), and is currently available at a discount if purchased with an LG soundbar.

Up-firing centre channel

LG's 2022 Dolby Atmos soundbars will be the first in the world to feature upward-firing centre channels. In addition to a traditional front-facing middle driver, the S95QY, S90QY and S80QY will have a second centre speaker mounted flush to the top face of the main unit. Unlike the left and right height drivers, this speaker will not deliver Atmos effects. Instead, LG says it will help raise the overall image for better dispersion and increased dialogue clarity.

4.0.2 surround speakers

As well as adding drivers to its main soundbar, LG is also cramming two more speakers into its 2022 surround units, which now have an apex front-face design. LG claims the rear speakers will distribute sound more evenly across a 135-degree space to give you greater flexibility when it comes to placement, particularly if you live in a more awkward,  not symmetrical space.

Similarly to last year, the premium six-channel surrounds will be included with the flagship S95QR package. The S90QR and S80QR meanwhile do not include surrounds but can work with optional SPQ8-S speakers.

LG 2021 LG soundbar breakdown

So that's what LG has in store in terms of broad soundbar technology, but what about the specific 2022 soundbar models? We've go you covered there, too:

LG S95QR

(Image credit: LG)

Superseding last year's SP11RA soundbar is the S95QR. LG's flagship package now boasts 9.1.5 channels (compared to 7.1.4 in 2021) and comprises a soundbar, wireless subwoofer and two wireless rear speakers, with the system producing 810W of power in total. It features larger woofers than LG's previous efforts, as well as wireless rear speakers with six channels instead of four. The whole package features five up-firing channels in all – three on the soundbar and two on the separate surrounds – which should help considerably when it comes to adding height to the audio output.

The soundbar supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technologies, and Meridian Audio's Horizon technology is on board too, enabling the soundbar to up-mix two-channel audio to 7.1 channels in music mode.

It also supports gaming features such as variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto low-latency mode (ALLM), though it can only handle 4K HDR signals up to 60Hz.

There's Bluetooth, Spotify Connect , Airplay 2 and Chromecast onboard and you can control your streaming service, adjust the volume and change sound modes with your voice, though, thanks to support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can also pair it with the new LG WOWCAST audio dongle (sold separately), to enjoy lossless multi-channel audio wirelessly.

When paired with an LG TV, you can use Sound Share to allow the TV's more sophisticated software to take over processing and also benefit from using just one remote to control both the TV and soundbar.

LG S95QR specs:

  • Channels 9.1.5
  • Up-fiing centre channel Yes
  • Power 810W
  • Rear Speakers 4.0.2  (included)
  • Wireless sub with 8-inch driver (included)
  • Dolby Atmos Yes
  • DTS:X Yes
  • IMAX Enhanced TBC
  • eARC/ARC eARC
  • Optical Yes
  • 4K pass through with Dolby Vision Yes, 2 HDMI ports
  • Hi-res audio Yes (24bit/96Hz)
  • Meridian Audio Yes
  • Voice Assist Works with Google and Alexa 
  • Streaming Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast
  • Bluetooth Yes 
  • Soundbar mode control Yes
  • TV sound mode share Yes
  • WOWCAST compatible Yes

LG S95QR price:

  • £TBC /$TBC / AU$TBC

LG S90QY

The S90QY drops down to a 5.1.3 system and does not include surround speakers, though they are available to purchase separately. It retains the upward-firing centre channel, improved subwoofer and WOWCast compatibility.

LG S90QR specs:

  • Channels 5.1.3
  • Up-firing centre channel Yes
  • Power 570W
  • Rear Speakers Not included, 4.0.2 surrounds available separately
  • Wireless sub with 8-inch driver (included)
  • Dolby Atmos Yes
  • DTS:X Yes
  • IMAX Enhanced TBC
  • eARC/ARC eARC
  • Optical Yes
  • 4K pass through with Dolby Vision Yes
  • Hi-res audio Yes (24bit/96Hz)
  • Meridian Audio Yes
  • Voice Assist Works with Google and Alexa
  • Streaming Airplay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • TV sound mode share Yes
  • WOWCAST compatible Yes

LG S95QR price:

  • £TBC /$TBC / AU$ TBC

 LG S80QY

The LG S80QY supersedes the 3.1.2 SP8YA, adding an upward-firing centre channel. It also sports the modified subwoofer and WOWCAST support of the LG S90QY but loses two front-facing channels. As with the S90QY, there are no surrounds included, though they will be available to purchase separately. 

LG S80QY specs:

  • Channels 3.1.3
  • Up-firing centre channel Yes
  • Power 480W
  • Rear Speakers Not included, 4.0.2 surrounds available separately
  • Wireless sub with 8-inch driver (included)
  • Dolby Atmos Yes
  • DTS:X Yes
  • IMAX Enhanced TBC
  • eARC/ARC eARC
  • Optical Yes
  • 4K pass through with Dolby Vision Yes
  • Hi-res audio Yes, 24bit/96Hz
  • Meridian Audio Yes
  • Voice Assist Google and Alexa compatible
  • Streaming Airplay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • TV sound mode share Yes
  • WOWCAST compatible Yes

LG S80QY price

  • £TBC /$TBC / AU$ TBC

LG Eclair QP5

LG QP5 Éclair

(Image credit: LG )

One of the most intriguing (and disappointing) soundbars of last year, the LG Eclair continues in the 2022 line-up.

Designed with apartment-living in mind, the super-small 3.1.2 channel soundbar measures just 11.7-inches (30cm) long, is two inches tall, and comes in a choice of black or Sonos-esque white.

Inside the Eclair are five drivers: a centre, left and right (positioned at 45-degree angles to widen the soundstage), plus two up-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X height effects.

A matching, wireless "small space-friendly" subwoofer featuring bi-directional drivers is included to provide low-vibration bass.

Read the full LG Eclair QP5 review

LG Eclair QP5 specs:

  • Channels 3.1.2
  • Power 320W
  • Rear Speakers No
  • Wireless sub Yes (included)
  • Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Yes
  • eARC/ARC eARC
  • 4K pass through with Dolby Vision Yes
  • Hi-res audio No
  • Meridian Audio Yes
  • Voice Assist No
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Streaming No
  • Soundbar mode control No
  • TV sound mode share Yes

LG Eclair QP5 price:

£700 / $600 / AU$820

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Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre.