Following its introduction in the late 1990s, soundbars have become almost essential consumer appliances for amplifying audio from devices like TVs and gaming consoles. Soundbar technology has also advanced exponentially over the last two decades. In recent years, we have gotten soundbars equipped with Dolby Atmos, improving audio quality.
Dolby Atmos is a technology that helps create 3D sound and surround sound. It means your audio experience remains the same regardless of where you are seated in a room. This is different from the past, where you had to sit in specific positions close to the soundbar for the best audio experience.
LG is one of the leading manufacturers of soundbars with Dolby Atmos. The company offers several options at different prices, but there are some important things you have to keep in mind before buying one.
Let’s review LG Dolby Atmos soundbars, taking a look at their history, specifications, features, and performance so you can be armed with knowledge.
LG Dolby Soundbars: the Basics
|Manufacturer||LG Electronics, Inc.|
|Initial Release Date||Mid-2017|
|Price Range||$299 – $1,699.99|
|Multi-Dimensional Sound Features||Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS:X|
|Connectivity||HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB|
|Speakers||Multichannel, wireless subwoofers|
History of LG Dolby Atmos Soundbars
Dolby Laboratories introduced Dolby Atmos technology in 2012. Initially, only cinemas incorporated the technology into their systems. However, several years later in 2016, consumer electronics manufacturers started incorporating Dolby Atmos in their devices, such as TVs, home theater systems, gaming consoles, and smartphones.
LG was not the first consumer electronics company to include Dolby Atmos support in soundbars. LG’s rivals, like Samsung, were among the first to release Dolby Atmos soundbars. However, by taking the time to release its Dolby soundbars, LG was able to learn from its rivals’ mistakes and improve its devices.
As a result, LG’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar, the LG SJ9, was a far better introduction to Dolby Atmos technology’s capabilities than its rivals’ debut Dolby soundbars. With the LG SJ9, the company produced a better-designed, lighter, and cheaper Dolby Atmos soundbar than its competitors. Since then, LG has gone on to manufacture multiple soundbars models that support Dolby Atmos.
What’s Included When You Buy an LG Soundbar with Dolby Atmos?
Our review of LG Dolby soundbars also highlights the hardware and software features of the most affordable, mid-range, and best premium models. That is because LG currently offers over ten soundbar models with Dolby Atmos. The affordable model highlighted is the LG SPM7A, while the S75QR and SP11RA are the mid-range and premium models, respectively.
However, before we look at the hardware and software features, let us look at the other things (aside from the soundbar) that you’d get with your purchase. Regardless of the price, all LG Dolby soundbars come with a remote control, an optical cable, a wall bracket mount, a warranty card, and a pair of batteries. The batteries are double A (AA) or triple A (AAA), depending on your purchased model. Lastly, LG provides a one-year warranty for all models. The warranty covers parts and labor costs.
LG Dolby Soundbar Hardware
|LG SPM7A||LG S75QR|
|Soundbar Dimensions||35.04″ x 2.6″ x 4.7″||35.1″ x 2.6″ x 4.7″|
|Soundbar Weight||8.2 lbs||8.4 lbs|
|Subwoofer Dimensions||7.1″ x 15.4″ x 11.5″||7.1″ x 15.5″ x 11.4″|
|Subwoofer Weight||17.2 lbs||12.8 lbs|
|Speakers||3.1.2 channel||5.1.2 channel|
|Power Output, Including Subwoofer||380W||520W|
1 Optical Input Port
1 HDMI Out
1 HDMI In
1 USB Port
1 Optical Input
1 HDMI 2.1 Out
1 HDMI 2.1 In
1 USB Port
|Soundbar Dimensions||56.8″ x 2.5″ x 5.8″|
|Soundbar Weight||15.9 lbs|
|Subwoofer Dimensions||8.7″ x 15.4″ x 12.3″|
|Subwoofer Weight||17.2 lbs|
|Power Output, Including Subwoofer||770W|
1 Optical Input
1 HDMI 2.1 Out
2 HDMI 2.1 In
1 USB Port
LG offers Dolby Atmos soundbars with superb variety. The costlier the device, the more the consumer gets in terms of hardware. The most significant differences are in the surround sound system. The premium option, the LG SP11RA, has double the channel arrangement of the budget option, the LG SPM7A.
The LG SP11RA also has more than double the power output of the LG SPM7A. Regarding dimensions and weight, the higher-priced soundbars tend to be larger, presumably to fit in more speakers and connectivity ports.
LG Dolby Soundbar Software
|Standard Features in LG Dolby Atmos Soundbars|
|Audio Processor||AI Sound Pro|
|Audio Formats||Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, DTS:X, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus|
|Smartphone App||iOS/Android OS|
Aside from the standard software features highlighted above, LG includes some aspects in its mid-range and high-end soundbars you will not find in entry-level Dolby soundbars. For example, the flagship LG SP11RA supports several features you will not find in the LG SPM7A, like Amazon Alexa, Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect. However, one should expect the variation in software specifications to justify the price differences.
Review of LG Dolby Soundbars
Having highlighted some of the hardware and software features one can expect to experience while using different LG Dolby soundbar models, you may have several questions about certain aspects of the soundbars.
Below is an analysis of factors that may influence your decision to buy or pass on an LG Dolby Atmos soundbar.
LG has always strived to be ahead of the pack in designing its Dolby soundbars. The company’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar, the SJ9, set the stage and defined LG’s design philosophy regarding soundbars. The company aims to provide soundbars that combine form and function.
LG Dolby soundbars have polished but minimalistic designs, which speak to their build quality but do not attract too much attention in a space. The soundbars have reasonable dimensions that allow them to fit on small shelves. LG Dolby Atmos soundbars also come with a wall mount bracket that securely supports them against walls using rubber to prevent vibrations that can disrupt sound. After all, no one wants to be distracted by a soundbar while enjoying a movie, TV show, or sports event.
The minimalistic design elements also extend to wireless subwoofers and surround speakers. The intention is for viewers to hear the impact of the additional speakers rather than be drawn to them. Occasionally, LG presents a Dolby soundbar with design elements outside the ordinary, like the LG Eclair QP5. As the name suggests, it resembles the shape of a cream-filled pastry, while some may see it as an enlarged pill-like shape. However, even the Eclair QP5 can blend into its environment due to its small size.
LG Dolby Atmos soundbars are known to punch above their weight in this category. LG soundbars offer excellent sound output at every price point with few limitations.
The entry-level Dolby soundbars produce surprisingly excellent and accurate sound despite having few sound channels. The mid-range soundbars produce captivating and powerful sound aided by increased surround sound options. Lastly, the high-end option creates realistic, natural, and immersive listening experiences that draw you in and shift how you perceive sound. Many buyers often assume premium soundbars are overpriced with little to show for their price tags. However, playing audio using even entry-level LG Dolby soundbars will change your mind.
The impeccable performance of LG Dolby soundbars is due to the company’s clever integration of technology into their devices. For example, every Dolby soundbar has at least five sound modes that affect sound output. The most significant is the music mode, as selecting it activates Meridian Audio Technologies, like Master Quality Authenticated, which enhances sound quality when streaming music.
However, the most considerable influence on sound quality and performance in LG Dolby soundbars is Dolby Atmos, which guarantees surround sound production. As a result, the high-quality sound produced by the devices engulfs the listener from all directions and heights. The technology provides an immersive life-like experience that makes you feel like you’re in on the action in your movie.
LG’s AI Sound Pro audio processor is the most significant software feature in LG Dolby soundbars. The processor allows LG soundbars to enhance sound output by directing sound to the appropriate speakers. Some soundbars also have AI Room Calibration, which analyzes a room’s dimensions and properties using spatial awareness features and then equalizes the audio settings to generate authentic sound.
The soundbars also support Chromecast, allowing you to cast content from your smartphone or PC from compatible platforms like Netflix. Some LG Dolby soundbars also support Spotify Connect, Apple Airplay 2, and Google Assistant, which facilitates voice commands. Lastly, LG has an app to help users control their devices via smartphones, available on iOS and Android OS.
Connectivity and Compatibility
LG Dolby soundbars offer several connectivity options depending on the soundbar’s price. The options include HDMI ports, USB ports, an optical input port, and Bluetooth. These ports will likely meet all your connection needs. For example, the USB port supports playing music from flash drives. Similarly, you can use the optical input port to send audio signals using a fiber optic cable and lasers. HDMI ports support audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and visual formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision. In addition, the soundbars have LG TV Sound Sync, which supports wireless connections between LG TVs and soundbars via Bluetooth. This allows you to maintain a neat setup instead of using wired connections that could make your space look untidy.
However, despite the multiple connectivity options, entry-level and some mid-range LG Dolby soundbars have one significant disadvantage: they have only one HDMI input port. Some buyers find this disadvantageous as it limits them to connecting to one device at a time. For an LG Dolby soundbar with multiple HDMI input ports, consumers must spring for costlier options — a factor that can dissuade some buyers.
Another connectivity issue with LG Dolby soundbars is their inability to pass HDR10+ content. Consequently, this puts LG at a disadvantage over its competitors, like Samsung, who incorporate HDR10+ passthrough in its devices. Luckily, there is still limited HDR10+ content, meaning most buyers will compromise on the feature and settle for LG soundbars. However, LG must account for the feature in future models to remain competitive in the premium soundbar market.
LG remains dedicated to creating appliances that appeal to consumers across different income levels. As such, the company’s soundbars appeal to more than one socioeconomic demographic, unlike other brands specializing in making high-end soundbars like Klipsch, Sonos, or Sennheiser.
Even compared to other brands that make soundbars for mass appeal, like Samsung, LG soundbars still manage to edge them out in terms of pricing. As a result, LG Dolby soundbars offer more value for money than most notable soundbar manufacturers.
Should You Buy an LG Dolby Atmos Soundbar?
LG is no stranger to making high-quality consumer electronic goods. Though the company was not the first to foray into the manufacturing of Dolby Atmos soundbars, it has undoubtedly become one of the best.
Buying an LG Dolby soundbar offers advantages like affordability, value for money, excellent sound quality, and compatibility with numerous devices. However, there is still room for improvement through software upgrades to support more content formats, including HDR10+.
Overall, LG Dolby Atmos soundbars guarantee value for your money. You must only ascertain that the soundbar you choose ticks most of your boxes.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©BobrinSKY/Shutterstock.com.