We’ve seen plenty of soundbars with four upfiring drivers in the past couple of years, but LG’s upcoming 9.1.5-channel soundbar with five—count ‘em, five—upfiring drivers is a novelty.
LG SP9YA soundbar
Showing it off in advance of CES next month, LG says its new S95QR soundbar comes with three upfiring drivers in the main soundbar unit for the left, right, and center channels, along with two more in the left and right surround speakers.
That upfiring driver for the center channel marks the first of its kind we’ve seen in a soundbar, and it could help to boost the clarity of dialogue, particularly in setups where the soundbar is installed below the TV.
We haven’t heard the LG S95QR in action yet, so we’re curious to compare it with soundbars that have more typical “.4” configurations, with upfiring drivers for the left, right, and surround channels but not the center channel.
Besides the new upfiring center driver, the LG S95QR’s features larger woofers for “deep, resonant bass,” while its wireless surround speakers deliver six channels of sound (including two horizontally firing drivers and a height channel for each surround speaker) rather than just four. LG says it will eventually offer the upgraded surround speakers in an upgrade kit for its other compatible soundbars.
Naturally, the LG S95QR will support object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats, and it can also upmix stereo audio content to 7.1 channels courtesy of Meridian Audio’s Horizon technology.
Another bonus for LG S95QR users is its support for the IMAX Certified format, which just rolled out on Disney+ for a variety of Marvel movies. While you can watch IMAX Certified movies without special equipment, you can get additional audio and video enhancements by using IMAX Certified components, including enhanced DTS:X audio.
In video passthrough mode, the LG S95QR will support VRR (variable refresh rate) and auto low-latency mode, which should help deliver smooth and responsive gaming visuals.
LG is also touting a new, optional “Wowcast” Wi-Fi audio dongle that can transmit multi-channel audio to the soundbar without cables.
LG has yet to reveal pricing or availability for the S95QR soundbar, but we’re sure to hear more details coming out of CES in Las Vegas next month, so stay tuned.
Updated on December 21, 2021 to note that LG’s upgraded surround speakers will only be available for the LG S95QR initially, but that the newer speakers will eventually be available in an optional kit for LG’s other compatible soundbars.