Skip to content

The Ultimate Guide to the 6 Best LG Dolby Atmos Soundbars

As a digital technology expert passionate about home theater, I know how transformative upgrading your audio setup can be. And when it comes to immersive, cinematic sound, Dolby Atmos soundbars are one of the most exciting developments in recent years.

By adding height channels and advanced processing, Atmos creates a bubble of sound that elevates every aspect of your entertainment. And as a leader in both audio and visual tech, LG‘s Dolby Atmos soundbars are some of the best ways to experience this cutting-edge audio format at home.

Whether you‘re watching explosive blockbusters, atmospheric shows, or playing immersive games, an LG Dolby Atmos soundbar will put you in the center of the action like never before. And with a range of models catering to different needs and budgets, there‘s an option for every setup.

After countless hours testing the top contenders and analyzing the latest innovations, I‘ve put together the ultimate guide to the 6 best LG Dolby Atmos soundbars available today. I‘ll dive deep into the features, specs, and performance of each one, offer comparisons to other top brands, and provide tips to help you choose the perfect audio upgrade for your space.

Why Dolby Atmos is a Game-Changer

Before we get into the products, let‘s talk about what makes Dolby Atmos so special. Developed in 2012, Atmos started as a surround sound format for commercial cinemas. It introduced the concept of height channels, allowing sounds to be placed and moved anywhere in a 3D space, including above the listener.

This was a huge leap beyond traditional surround sound, which was limited to a flat plane. Atmos increases immersion by rendering audio objects in real-time based on your speaker layout. It can handle up to 128 discrete objects and 64 speaker outputs, an unprecedented level of precision.

The result is an incredibly lifelike and seamless soundscape. When implemented well, Atmos makes it feel like you‘re inside the movie or game, with effects whizzing overhead and environments coming to life all around you.

Dolby Atmos Sound Dispersion Pattern
Dolby Atmos allows sound to be placed anywhere in a 3D space, including overhead. (Image: Dolby)

In 2014, Dolby Atmos expanded to home audio, first in high-end receivers and speakers, then in more affordable soundbars. By using up-firing drivers to bounce sound off the ceiling and sophisticated digital signal processing, soundbars could recreate the Atmos experience with fewer speakers.

Over the past few years, the number of Atmos soundbars has exploded as more brands aim to bring immersive audio to a wider audience. LG has been at the forefront of this trend, thanks to its expertise in both audio and visual technology.

Choosing the Best LG Dolby Atmos Soundbar for You

With such an impressive lineup, any of these LG soundbars will be a major upgrade over your TV speakers. But there are a few key factors to consider when deciding which one is right for you:

Room Size and Acoustics

The size and layout of your room will impact how effective the virtual Atmos effects are. In general, larger rooms can benefit from more channels and more powerful output. Soundbars with dedicated surround speakers like the S95QR and S80QR will provide the most convincing sound field in bigger spaces.

For smaller rooms or apartments, the virtual surround and up-firing speakers in bars like the SP8YA and S80QY can be surprisingly effective. And for the most space-saving setup, the compact QP5 Eclair is unbeatable.

Pay attention to your room‘s acoustics too. If you have a lot of hard, reflective surfaces like hardwood floors and windows, you may want a soundbar with room correction like the SP9YA to tame harsh reverb. Conversely, if your room is very absorptive with lots of soft furnishings, you may need to crank the volume or invest in acoustic treatments for the best results.

Connections and Placement

All of these LG soundbars support HDMI eARC, which is the ideal way to connect to your TV for Atmos content. But if your TV doesn‘t have eARC, look for a bar with an additional HDMI input like the SP9YA or S95QR for the most reliable Atmos performance.

For wireless connectivity, all of the bars support Bluetooth for easy music streaming. But if you want to integrate a smart assistant or multi-room functionality, you‘ll need a bar with WiFi support like the S95QR, S80QY or S80QR.

Consider placement too. All of these bars are designed to sit in front of your TV, but some are better suited for wall-mounting. The GX soundbar is the most low-profile when wall-mounted, while the S95QR and S80QR have optional rear speakers that need to be factored in.

Budget and Value

These LG soundbars range from around $500 up to $1800, so budget is naturally going to be a big factor. But the great news is that you don‘t have to spend a fortune to get a fantastic Atmos experience.

The SP9YA is my pick for the best value. At $799, it delivers a flagship-level Atmos performance and feature set for considerably less than the top-end S95QR. You still get up-firing drivers, a beefy subwoofer, hi-res audio, and plenty of streaming options, just without the auto-calibration and surround speakers.

For an even more affordable entry point to Atmos, the SP8YA is a steal at $399 on sale. You‘ll sacrifice some power, the up-firing drivers, and a few features, but the core Atmos experience is very convincing for the price.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you‘re willing to invest in the absolute best, the S95QR‘s 9.1.5 channels, 810W output, and comprehensive feature set justify the premium for uncompromising home theater enthusiasts. It‘s the closest you‘ll get to a true Atmos cinema setup from a soundbar.

Choosing the Right Audio Settings

Once you have your new LG Dolby Atmos soundbar set up, there are a few key settings to pay attention to for the most immersive experience:

  • Make sure Dolby Atmos is enabled on your source device and in the soundbar‘s sound settings. This may be called "Dolby Surround" or "Movie" mode on the remote.
  • Set your source device (Blu-ray player, game console, etc.) to bitstream out Atmos over HDMI. This will ensure the bar is receiving the full Atmos signal.
  • If your soundbar has EQ presets, experiment with them to find the balance that works best for your room. Bass and treble adjustments can have a big impact.
  • Don‘t be afraid to crank the volume. Atmos soundtracks are designed to be played loud, so you may need to turn it up more than you‘re used to for the full effect. Just be mindful of your neighbors!
  • If your soundbar has a night mode or dynamic range compression, this can be helpful for late-night viewing sessions to maintain clear dialogue without waking the house.

Expand Your Atmos Library

To make the most of your new LG Dolby Atmos soundbar, you‘ll want to seek out content that takes full advantage of the format. Fortunately, Atmos is supported by most of the major streaming services:

  • Netflix has the largest library of Atmos content, with hundreds of movies and shows like Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Bird Box. Look for the Atmos logo on the title page.
  • Disney+ has a growing selection of Atmos titles, including most of the Marvel and Star Wars movies. The IMAX Enhanced titles on Disney+ also feature Atmos sound.
  • HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Prime Video each have a few dozen Atmos movies and shows, mostly originals. Atmos titles are marked with a badge on the description page.
  • Hulu and Vudu also offer Atmos on some titles, but the selection is more limited.

On the physical media side, Blu-ray is still the most reliable way to get Atmos soundtracks. There are over 1000 Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs with Atmos audio, including most major releases from the past few years. Look for the Atmos logo on the back of the case.

Gaming is another fantastic way to experience Atmos. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S both support Atmos for gaming, as do many PC titles. Some standout Atmos-enabled games include Forza Horizon 5, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Resident Evil Village.

Atmos Blu-ray Library
Building an Atmos Blu-ray collection is a great way to experience the format.

Comparing LG to Other Atmos Soundbar Brands

LG isn‘t the only brand offering Dolby Atmos soundbars. So how do its offerings stack up to the competition? Let‘s compare some key models:

LG S95QR vs. Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is the S95QR‘s closest competitor, with a similar 9.1.4 channel configuration, 616W output, and wireless rear speakers. In my testing, the S95QR had a bit more punch and clarity in the Atmos effects, while the Q950A had slightly better surround integration. But both are exceptional performers.

The Q950A has a few unique features like Q-Symphony (which uses the TV speakers for extra height), SpaceFit Sound+ room correction, and built-in Alexa. But the S95QR fights back with IMAX Enhanced, a larger subwoofer, and a more comprehensive set of streaming options.

Ultimately, you can‘t go wrong with either of these elite Atmos soundbars. The S95QR gets my vote for its superior up-firing Atmos performance, but the Q950A is a close second.

LG SP9YA vs. Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a popular premium Atmos soundbar with a 5.0.2 configuration and 11 drivers. It‘s priced similarly to the LG SP9YA at around $800. In head-to-head testing, the SP9YA had more convincing surround and Atmos effects thanks to its two additional side-firing drivers and up-firing center channel.

The Arc pulls ahead in music performance with its Trueplay room correction and excellent stereo imaging. And if you already have Sonos speakers, the Arc integrates seamlessly into a whole-home audio setup.

But for pure home theater performance, the SP9YA is the better value in my book. You get more powerful, precise Atmos sound, HDMI connectivity, and a wireless subwoofer without sacrificing too much on the music side.

LG QP5 Eclair vs. Bose Smart Soundbar 300

If you‘re looking for a compact Atmos bar, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is the QP5 Eclair‘s main rival. At just 27" wide and 2" tall, it‘s similarly tiny but squeezes in four drivers plus a tweeter compared to the QP5‘s three drivers.

Both bars rely on digital processing rather than up-firing drivers to create the Atmos height effect, and both do an admirable job. The Bose bar has a slight edge in the width of the soundstage, while the QP5‘s subwoofer gives it more low-end oomph.

The Bose bar also has WiFi, Bluetooth, and smart assistant support, while the QP5 is limited to just Bluetooth. But the QP5 fights back with a sleeker design, HDMI eARC, and hi-res audio support.

For a compact Atmos bar under $500, I give the slight nod to the QP5 Eclair for its fuller, more cinematic sound and versatile connectivity. But if you prioritize WiFi music streaming, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a strong alternative.

The Future of Dolby Atmos Soundbars

As impressive as the current crop of LG Dolby Atmos soundbars is, the technology is still evolving rapidly. Here are some of the most exciting trends I see shaping the future of immersive audio:

  • More channels: While 5.1.2 seems to be the sweet spot for most Atmos soundbars today, I expect to see more bars with four or more up-firing drivers for even more precise height effects. Rear surround speakers may become more common too.
  • Smarter room correction: Room calibration is already a key feature on high-end bars like the S95QR. In the future, I anticipate this tech getting more advanced with 3D mapping and dynamic adjustments based on content.
  • Tighter TV integration: HDMI 2.1 enables features like eARC and VRR (variable refresh rate) that improve audio and video syncing. As more soundbars and TVs adopt this standard, we‘ll see even smoother, more seamless performance.
  • Streaming service support: Dolby is working with streaming services to make Atmos content more accessible. I expect to see Atmos become the default for most new original series and movies on the major platforms within the next few years.
  • Lossless Atmos: Dolby TrueHD offers lossless, 24-bit Atmos audio on Blu-ray discs and some streaming services. As bandwidth increases, I anticipate more soundbars supporting this higher-quality format for the ultimate Atmos experience.

Closing Thoughts

Dolby Atmos is one of the most exciting developments in home theater audio in years. And with its diverse lineup of Atmos-enabled soundbars, LG is leading the charge in bringing this immersive technology to a wider audience.

Whether you‘re looking for a high-end 9.1.5 setup, a compact all-in-one solution, or something in between, there‘s an LG Dolby Atmos soundbar to fit your needs and budget. The SP9YA hits the sweet spot of performance and value for most people, while the S95QR sets a new bar for uncompromising Atmos sound. And if space is at a premium, the QP5 Eclair proves you don‘t need a massive setup for convincing Atmos effects.

As the technology continues to evolve, I‘m excited to see how LG and other brands keep pushing the boundaries of immersive home audio. With more streaming content, better room correction, and higher-quality formats on the horizon, there‘s never been a better time to invest in an Atmos soundbar.

So if you‘re ready to take your home theater setup to the next level and experience movies, shows, and games like never before, an LG Dolby Atmos soundbar is an excellent place to start. Your ears will thank you.