LG S80QY Soundbar review

LG S80QY Soundbar review

LG’s mid-range S80QY soundbar delivers solid sound and features for the price. Epblogs goal is to be the tech side of trust. We are proud of our independence and of our LG S80QY Soundbar review thorough testing methods, in which we take our time with a product. We regularly check our test reports for changes and thus keep them up-to-date over a longer period of time – regardless of when a device was released.guaranteed reviews. Trust our Epblogs comprehensive reviews. We tested the products over a longer period of time and were able to see how they cope with everyday tasks. This is how we help you to find the best product for your read our guaranteed reviews.

Epblogs verdict

LG’s S80QY doesn’t seem to have any features or specifications that would set it apart from the competition at first glance. However, its one distinctive feature—an up-firing center speaker—proves to be a strong innovation that sets it apart from other soundbar systems.

Quick Summary

LG’s S80QY is a conventional soundbar system with a unique feature: an additional up-firing center-channel speaker that helps make voices sound clearer and more naturally positioned.

Even though that might not seem particularly amazing on paper, it significantly outperforms several competing soundbars as well as the built-in TV speakers. Most people choose soundbars primarily for dialogue clarity, and the S80QY excels in this crucial area.

The S80QY is a 3.1.3-channel Dolby Atmos soundbar system that also has processing for DTS:X soundtracks. It also has a separate wireless subwoofer to deliver bass. Because of its excellent performance with movies and television shows, it can successfully compete with the top Dolby Atmos soundbars in its price range.

The S80QY’s feature set is solid for the price. Along with Bluetooth wireless streaming, you get Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2 support for casting audio from a phone or tablet. Its wired connection options are also more than satisfactory and include regular HDMI and HDMI eARC ports with 4K and Dolby Vision passthrough, along with VRR and ALLM support for gaming, which is better than most of the best soundbars offer. An optical digital audio input is also supplied for connecting to older TVs.

The S80QY has a lot of rivals in this pricing bracket, including the Sonos Arc. However, this mid-range LG soundbar is frequently found for a significant discount compared to its original price, unlike the Sonos flagship, which only sometimes sees a price reduction. Given the S80QY’s powerful combination of features and performance, it’s definitely worth looking into.

LG S80QY Soundbar Price and Release Date

  • Released in April 2022 
  • $899 / £749 / AU$999

LG’s S80QY was released in April 2022 for $899 / £749 / AU$999, though its street price has since dipped well below that amount.

Although it lies roughly in the middle of LG’s whole soundbar array, the S80QY is priced near the upper end of the soundbar market. The Sonos Arc, an all-in-one solution that adds angled drivers to produce virtual surround sound but lacks the wireless subwoofer of the S80QY, would be a direct rival.

The Samsung HW-S800B, a far thinner soundbar and subwoofer set with a 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker arrangement, is another product in the similar price range. Therefore, the S80QY is on par with its rivals.

LG S80QY Soundbar Design

  • Somewhat bulky form-factor 
  • Built-in power supply a plus 
  • Large-ish external subwoofer 

The design of the S80QY doesn’t deviate much from other LG soundbars past and present. At 39.4 x 2.5 x 5.3 inches (W x H x D) it pairs well with TV screen sizes 50 inches and up, while the 5.3-inch depth means it will jut out to a degree if you opt to wall-mount it below a similarly wall-mounted TV.

Otherwise, the bar’s dark gray plastic case has a solid and streamlined look, with gently rounded edges and a matching gray fabric grille wrapping around the front and sides. The up-firing drivers are each covered by a circular metal grille that spices up the design a bit to make it appear high-tech.

Importantly, the S80QY has a built-in power supply. For this reason, you’ll only need to plug in an AC cord for power rather than using an external power brick – something that earlier LG soundbars used. It also features a set of touch-sensitive controls on the top surface that duplicate basic remote control functions.

LG’s wireless subwoofer has almost the exact same dimensions as a desktop computer. Except for the presence of a large front-firing port, you might even mistake it for one.

  • Design score: 4/5

LG S80QY Soundbar Features

  •  3.1.3-channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound 
  •  HDMI eARC with 4K and Dolby Vision pass-through 
  •  Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2 wireless streaming 

The Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack formats are both supported by the 3.1.3 edition of LG’s soundbar. Additionally, it is IMAX Enhanced, however the advantages of that feature are unclear besides the fact that DTS:X processing is a must for IMAX. Its nine speakers may be amplified with 480 watts in total, with 220 watts going only to the subwoofer.

The S80QY is distinctive in that it has a third up-firing driver that is used for dialogue delivery in addition to its front-facing speakers (for the left, right, and center channels), subwoofer, and two up-firing drivers for Atmos overhead effects. As we’ll discuss in the Sound Quality section, this works very well to both enhance dialogue clarity and to “lift” voices to screen level where they will sound more  natural.

Both HDMI eARC and regular HDMI ports are provided and these support pass-through of Dolby Vision high dynamic range, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). There’s also an optical digital input for connecting the audio output of an older TV that lacks HDMI eARC or ARC.

Along with Bluetooth 5.0 wireless, the S80QY supports audio streaming using Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2. Another wireless connection option is LG’s Wowcast, which lets you stream audio wirelessly to the soundbar from a TV using an optional adapter that plugs into the set’s HDMI eARC output.

Built-in support for both Google and Alexa voice assistants is provided, giving you hands-free operation over basic controls, along with other smart speaker functions.

The S80QY’s sound processing modes are extensive, so you may want to visit them in LG’s SoundBar setup app and try them out before deciding which you like best. Of these, I found that Music – a mode developed with the help of high-end audio manufacturer Meridian – worked best for, you guessed it, music-listening, while Standard was a good option for everything else.

To upgrade the S80QY to a complete 5.1.3 system, LG offers an optional wireless surround speaker set (the $200 SPQ8-S speaker kit). Additionally, the soundbar is compatible with LG’s TV Sound Mode Share, which enables you to pair it with “the latest LG TVs to hear the full potential of your TV’s sound engine by tapping into the power of the TV processor to automatically improve sound quality.”

  • Features score: 4.5/5

LG S80QY Soundbar Sound Quality

  • Excellent dialogue clarity 
  • Powerful Atmos effects presentation 
  • Clean-sounding bass 

On the S80QY, movies and TV shows sounded excellent with almost any setup hassle. I didn’t do anything more than launch AI Room Calibration Pro; I just chose the Standard processing mode and let things run.

When watching movies and listening to music, the soundbar and subwoofer’s integration was seamless, resulting in deeper voices that sounded full and authentic. The S80QY’s subwoofer produced powerful, crisp bass. It didn’t have the low-frequency extension that a more expensive, custom-built subwoofer would have, but its output was dependably clear and had punch.

The LG’s overall performance was well demonstrated when I watched a scene from John Wick 3 that takes place in an antiques warehouse. In it, Wick is fighting off a gang of would-be assassins, and the sound of smashed glass display cases, gunshots, and fists and feet making solid connections with their targets, all had a dynamic quality. 

Dolby Atmos overhead effects were also clearly in evidence with the S80QY bouncing sound off my room’s flat, 9-foot-high ceiling. They could be heard in scenes from JW3 when rain is pouring down on the city streets, but I got an even better demonstration when I watched a scene from 1917 where a rat triggers an explosion in an underground bunker. In it, as the soldiers are engulfed by falling debris, the sound literally seemed to be coming from my ceiling – a vivid and somewhat frightening effect.

What most impressed me about the S80QY’s performance was its dialogue delivery. Voices in movie soundtracks and TV shows consistently sounded clear and natural, while the soundbar’s up-firing center speaker added a vertical dimension that “lifted” dialogue to screen level. This made it seem to be coming from actors’ mouths as opposed to a speaker located beneath the TV.

I usually don’t have high expectations for music playback on soundbars – the too-close arrangement of the individual speakers creates a “bunched-in” sound, and the processing modes used to expand it can make voices and instruments sound unnatural.

This was somewhat also true for the S80QY, despite the fact that the Meridian-designed Music mode turned out to be excellent for a soundbar. When it was turned on, the band and vocals in Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” sounded pure and unprocessed, and the kick drum had a strong effect.

If there was one significant shortcoming in the S80QY’s performance, it was the lack of any sense of surround sound immersion. However, you can fix this by integrating LG’s extra SPQ8-S speaker kit to make up for the system’s absence of surround speakers.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

LG S80QY Soundbar Usability and Setup

  • HDMI pass-through with eARC eases setup 
  • Room calibration feature improves sound 
  • Readable front panel LED display 

Setup of the S80QY is made simple by its HDMI eARC port, which is used to make a direct audio connection from your TV’s HDMI eARC or HDMI ARC output. I tapped both that and the LG’s HDMI input to connect an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and had no problems with 4K or Dolby Vision pass-through from the soundbar to the TV.

Setup of the system’s subwoofer is a snap: just place it near the soundbar, plug in, and it automatically makes a wireless connection with the soundbar. LG boasts of the subwoofer’s extended wireless range on its website, which will allow you to set it anywhere in the room you like. However, I find that the subwoofers that come with soundbars generally work best when the two are positioned close to each other.

LG’s’ Sound Bar app provides adjustments to do everything from setting dynamic range control (for late-night viewing) and individual woofer, center, overhead, and rear (when applicable) speaker levels to running LG’s AI Room Calibration Pro. That last feature helps quite a bit to improve the system’s sound quality, primarily by tightening up the bass output, and comes highly recommended.

LG’s remote control is a slippery plastic thing, but it has a simple button array and will let you do most things you’d want such as adjust volume and switch inputs and sound modes. You can also use it to make basic EQ and individual speaker level adjustments. Anything more complicated than that and you’re better off firing up the app.

When using the remote, any adjustments you make are confirmed by the S80QY’s alphanumeric LED display. This indicates volume and input selection, and it’s also used to make bass and treble adjustments – something you strangely can’t do in the app. I found that a -1 treble cut worked best for the S80QY in my room, though your results may differ.

  • Usability and setup score: 4/5

LG S80QY Soundbar Review Verdict

  • Value score: 4/5

The S80QY’s list price puts it at the higher end of the soundbar system price range where it faces competition from the Sonos Arc and Samsung offerings like the more compact and elegant HW-S800B. 

With its strong overall feature set, abundant wired and wireless connections, and powerful and dynamic sound, the S80QY in many respects competes favorably with those other options. Additionally frequently offered at a significant reduction from its retail price, LG’s 3.1.3 soundbar represents an even better value.

The S80QY’s up-firing center channel speaker, which significantly boosts dialogue clarity and the presentation’s naturalness, is what sets it apart from other soundbars. Therefore, you can raise our value rating by one star if you find that particular feature appealing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *