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LG SC9S Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed May 09, 2023 at 08:27 am
Latest change: Writing modified May 09, 2023 at 08:27 am
LG SC9S Picture

The LG SC9S is a 3.1.3 setup released in 2023. Similar to the manufacturer's 2022 models, this soundbar has a unique design with three up-firing channels— two are designed for Dolby Atmos content, while the third acts as an up-firing center channel to elevate voices in the mix. It's designed for easy integration with compatible LG TVs, with an included bracket that pairs the bar right underneath your television screen for a sleek look. Dolby Atmos support allows you to take advantage of more immersive audio formats on your favorite streaming platforms and Blu-rays, too.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The LG SC9 is very good for mixed usage. This 3.1.3 bar has two center channels to ensure that dialogue is clear in the mix with both movies and TV shows. A dedicated subwoofer brings the thump and rumble in action-packed scenes as well as bass-heavy music. With lots of customization options, you're able to switch up the sound to your liking, too. That said, the bar has to downmix surround sound formats like Dolby Digital into stereo, resulting in a less immersive experience. You'll have to add on a separate rear speaker kit to improve its surround sound.

Pros
  • Lots of sound customization features.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround sound.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The LG SC9 is great for dialogue-centric TV shows and podcasts. It boasts a unique design with not one, but two center channels, each designed to improve the quality of vocal reproduction in the mix. Dialogue is clear and accurate, and the Clear Voice Pro dialogue enhancement mode is a great way to make voices even easier to follow. With relatively low latency, you don't notice issues with lip-synching, either.

Pros
  • Lots of sound customization features.
  • Relatively low latency via ARC, HDMI In, and Optical.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
N/A Music

The LG SC9 is great for music. As with most premium models on the market, it has a room correction tool to automatically optimize its sound to your room's unique acoustics. Plus, it has bass and treble adjustments so you can manually adjust its sound. That said, out-of-the-box, its sound is already balanced enough to be suitable with most genres. Voices and instruments are clear and detailed in the mix, and its sub brings plenty of rumble in the low-bass.

Pros
  • Lots of sound customization features.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
N/A Movies

The LG SC9 is good for movies. It supports many of the audio formats commonly found on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays, such as Dolby Atmos. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, and there's enough rumble in the bass to bring action-packed scenes to life. However, it has to downmix 5.1 surround sound content into stereo in order to play it, which doesn't sound quite as immersive.

Pros
  • Lots of sound customization features.
  • Gets loud.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround sound.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated May 09, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated May 04, 2023: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The LG SC9S is available in Black. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

As always, if you run into a different version of this soundbar, don't hesitate to let us know in the forums so we can update this review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The LG SC9 was released as part of the manufacturer's 2023 lineup. It's a more premium alternative to the compact LG SE6, also released in 2023, with more features as well as a dedicated subwoofer included in the box to bring out the thump and rumble in the bass range. Both models are designed for easy integration with certain LG TVs, as the included brackets let you attach them right underneath. This bar is one of the few LG models with a second center channel as well, designed to improve the quality of vocal reproduction in the mix. Sure enough, dialogue is clear and easy to understand, but you won't notice much of a difference between this bar's performance and that of other bars with only one center channel.

You can also check out our recommendations for the best LG soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best soundbars for movies.

LG S90QY

The 5.1.3 LG S90QY is better than the 3.1.3 LG SC9S. They're both unique setups from the manufacturer that include an additional up-firing center channel for better vocal reproduction in the mix. However, the S90QY comes with additional side-firing surround channels, meaning that it doesn't have to downmix this content into stereo like the SC9S. The resulting sound is more clear and real with this content.

LG S80QY

The LG S80QY and the LG SC9S are both 3.1.3 setups, but the SC9S is the newer model. It offers a better overall performance, too, with a more balanced sound, especially in the treble. Its unique mounting bracket is designed to attach the bar to a compatible LG TV, which you may also find useful. Plus, it has a better stereo soundstage.

LG S75Q

The LG SC9S is better than the LG S75Q. The SC9S comes with more features, including a room correction tool to calibrate its sound based on your room's acoustics, as well as Wi-Fi, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay capabilities. It has a better stereo soundstage, too, and it has a better low-frequency extension to bring more thump and rumble to the mix. Plus, there's an additional up-firing center channel, designed to improve vocal reproduction in the mix.

Samsung HW-S800B

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-S800B or the LG SC9S. The Samsung is a 3.1.2 model, while the LG SC9S is a 3.1.3 model— meaning that it comes with LG's unique up-firing center channel. The result is a bit more elevation for vocal content in the mix, but there isn't a dramatic difference in the overall sound. Also, the LG has eARC support, unlike the Samsung, as well as an HDMI In port for video passthrough. It doesn't come with a full graphic EQ like the Samsung, but you can still adjust its sound with its bass and treble adjustments.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The LG SC9S is a fairly simple and nondescript soundbar designed to blend into your home decor. It has a plastic build with metal grilles covering the drivers in front, as well as the up-firing center channel on top of the bar. Touch-sensitive buttons on top of the bar let you adjust some basic features.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked
Enclosure
Locked

The LG SC9's sub looks quite different from last year's models. It's mostly made of plastic, with tight fabric over the front and the sides. The port is located on the rear of the sub.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
Locked

Satellites aren't included. However, you can purchase a compatible model from the manufacturer separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The bar is fairly wide and doesn't fit easily between the legs of a 55" TV stand. Since it's not very tall, it shouldn't obscure your TV screen, unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The sub's size is comparable to an average desktop computer. It connects to the bar wirelessly, but you'll need to plug it into a power outlet to get it to work.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Locked
Bar Brackets Included
Locked
Mountable Satellites
Locked
Satellite Brackets Included
Locked

There are some mounting brackets included, but they aren't designed to mount the bar to your wall. Instead, they attach the bar to certain compatible LG OLED TVs. You can see an example of how it looks here, but essentially, the bracket connects into an opening at the back of the TV. The bar then sits underneath the screen, as you can see here and here.

N/A
Design
Build Quality

The LG SC9 has a great build quality. The bar itself is mostly made of plastic, which feels quite solid and durable. The metal grille in front helps to protect the drivers within, including the up-firing center channel. Meanwhile, the sub has a similar solid feel, thanks to its plastic build. The fabric covering the front and the sides has a tight fit, so it doesn't seem like it could rip easily. That said, it's likely to collect dust and debris over time.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Screws for brackets
  • Remote with batteries (2xAA)
  • HDMI cable (1.5m / 4.9 ft)
  • Adapter for soundbar (1.5m / 4.9 ft)
  • 2x power cables (0.9m / 3 ft and 1.5m / 4.9 ft)
  • Spacer for bracket
  • TV Synergy Bracket (Front)
  • TV Synergy Bracket (Rear)

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
3.1.3
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The LG SC9S has a great stereo frequency response. It comes with a room correction feature designed to automatically calibrate the bar based on your room's unique acoustics, which is common for premium models. The sound profile is quite neutral and balanced, making it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. The sub brings solid low-frequency extension too, though it does struggle a little with low-bass. In songs like 'Stay' from the Interstellar soundtrack, you notice less deep rumble and thump. That said, this isn't as noticeable in content without a lot of bass mixed in, such as vocal-centric TV shows and podcasts.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
Lock
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

If you prefer a sound similar to our target curve with stereo content, we recommend using the bar's default settings.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

This soundbar has a good stereo soundstage. The soundstage is perceived to be a little bit wider than the bar itself, though it doesn't have any tricks to make it extend to the walls of your room. Still, it has very good focus, so sound effects are accurately localized to pinpoint locations in the space around you. For example, an instrument meant to come from the left side of the room sounds like it's coming from the left.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

The LG SC9 gets loud enough to fill larger and more open rooms with sound. Even when you push it to max volume, there isn't much compression, either, so audio reproduction stays clean and pure.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

At normal listening volumes, distortion falls within good limits. That means that audio reproduction says clean and pure, without any noticeable distortion. As with most bars, of course, there's a small jump in distortion at max volume. Still, it's quite hard to hear with real-life content, so it's not a huge deal unless you're a very astute audiophile.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

This 3.1.3 bar has a unique design that's similar to LG's 2022 models. It adds an up-firing center channel in addition to its traditional front-firing center channel to improve the overall quality of vocal reproduction. Sure enough, vocal reproduction is clear and consistent, and you easily follow along with dialogue in movies and TV shows. That said, the extra up-firing center channel doesn't make a huge difference in the overall sound, especially compared to other bars with only one front-firing channel. Voices seem a touch more elevated in the soundstage, so it's a bit more immersive, but you have to focus to notice much of a difference.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

On its own, the LG SC9 downmixes 5.1 surround sound content like Dolby Digital into stereo. The resulting sound is less immersive than what you get with a discrete setup. Sound effects aren't as clear and real in the space around you. For example, a car racing past on screen seems like it's just coming from a speaker placed in front of you, rather than speakers positioned all around you. You can always add on separate satellites from the manufacturer if you want to improve its performance.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

Like the LG S80QY and the LG S90QY, this soundbar comes with three up-firing channels. It's important to note that only two of these are designed for Atmos content, while the third is an up-firing center channel only. The two up-firing height drivers bounce sound off the ceiling to create the illusion of height in your listening experience. While we registered a significant dip in the high-bass to low-mid during our tests, with real-life content, the lack of bass isn't noticeable at all. We performed the tests a second time to confirm our results, and sure enough, the lack of bass was registered a second time. It's possible that our tests picked up an issue in the hand-off between the bar and the sub, which is why the results are inconsistent with the real-world experience.

Our subjective impressions of the bar with Atmos content found an overall enjoyable listening experience. The bar reproduces sound effects with clarity and detail, providing a more clear and real sound. As expected, without satellites, you don't notice as much sound in the areas beside you, or above you. Instead, the sound is more focused to the front and center of the room, but you aren't missing any part of the action.

N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

Like most premium bars, the LG SC9S comes with a lot of different customization options. You have more traditional bass and treble adjustments as well as lots of different preset modes: Standard, AI Sound Pro, Cinema, Clear Voice Pro, Sports, Music, Game, and Bass Blast. The AI Room Calibration tool automatically adjusts the bar's output based on your room's unique acoustics, too, which is great if you aren't interested in adjusting the sound manually. Adding on compatible satellites also gives you access to a surround level adjustment feature.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI ARC
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked
Subwoofer Output
Locked

You can connect the LG SC9S to your TV over an HDMI or Optical connection. Also, its HDMI In port means that you can use the bar as a hub between different devices like your PC and your TV for video passthrough.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Locked
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X (eARC only)
Locked
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Locked
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Locked
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Locked

Whether you watch from streaming platforms or Blu-rays, this soundbar supports many commonly-used audio formats via ARC. It supports 5.1 surround sound formats such as Dolby Digital, as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
DTS
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
5.1 PCM
Locked

Via HDMI In, the LG SC9 supports many different audio formats. It can play back common 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked

Over Optical, this soundbar can playback common 5.1 surround sound formats such as Dolby Digital and DTS. Dolby Digital is considered to be the most popular 5.1 format, so you'll run into it on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays. DTS is the fallback for the higher-quality DTS-MA format that's also quite common, especially with Blu-rays.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
LG SC9S Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
Lock ms

With relatively low latency, this soundbar is suitable for watching videos and movies. Overall, the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see on screen, and there aren't lip-synching issues. Latency is measured a bit higher over ARC, but we didn't notice any issues with real-life content. Of course, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary. If you download the LG Sound Bar app, you can always use the AV Sync feature to manually adjust the delay for a better experience.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi Playback
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked
Spotify Connect
Locked

You're able to wirelessly stream content from your mobile devices to the bar over a wide variety of platforms.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Locked
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked

You're able to use the LG SC9 as a 'hub' between different devices, such as a TV and a gaming console. Gamers who use consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S can take advantage of 120 frame-per-second signals, as well as virtual refresh rate technologies like HDMI Forum for a tear-free gaming experience. Without HDMI 2.1 support, it can't support a 4k @ 120Hz @ 10-bit signal, though. That said, it can passthrough some higher resolutions, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision, both of which are common on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

While there isn't a display, a few LED lights on the front right side of bar give you some indication of the bar's status. They turn different colors and flash different patterns depending on what you adjust, and the manual provides a full list so you can understand what it means. There's also some audible feedback when you change certain settings, like switching to a new input or a new preset mode.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the bar, there are a few touch-sensitive buttons that let you adjust some basic settings. You can power the bar on/off, change the input, adjust the volume, play/pause your audio, and activate Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi. If it's more convenient, there's also a remote included, as well as the LG Sound Bar app to adjust the bar from your phone.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is fairly simple, and it lets you control the bar's basic functions. The LG Sound Bar app is also available if you want to control the bar from your phone, and you can see a video of it here.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked
Microphone Mute
Locked

While there's no built-in voice assistant support, you can always attach a third-party Amazon or Google device to control the bar with your voice.