Having a 5.1-channel sound setup for your home entertainment system can really elevate your viewing experience. There’s just something awesome about hearing dialogue up front, laser blaster effects from their respective point of origin, and the rumble of racing engines making its presence felt on your couch or floor.
When shopping for a premium 5.1 soundbar you may have come across the LG S90QY and the Samsung Q800B. Subsequently, you could be wondering which soundbar is better. Should you stick to the brand of your TV to get inclusive features, or are the soundbars worth the crossover?
Let’s explore an LG S90QY vs. Samsung Q800B soundbar comparison to find out!
The S90QY soundbar is a 5.1.3 setup with wired Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology. It has a central up-firing channel for unmatched dialogue output, as well as a premium subwoofer for that deep bass and rumble. Touch-sensitive controls add an air of sophistication, and it’s AirPlay 2 compatible which is definitely a plus for Apple product users.
LG’s soundbar has three grilled speaker openings at the top, while the Q800B has only two. Upmixing is handled by Meridian Audio Technology while 4K Passthrough allows you to connect a Blu-ray player or gaming console to your smart TV and still achieve high-res video and audio.
Pairing with an LG smart TV unlocks several bonuses, namely TV Sound Mode Share and Soundbar Mode Control. With a compatible TV model, the soundbar ‘borrows’ the processor to add depth and quality to the audio, while the latter gives you greater convenience in switching between sound modes.
- The up-firing center channel is a superb highlight
- Excellent bass sound
- Supports Google Assistant and Alexa
- The LG soundbar app needs polish
- Sometimes switches to internal speakers
The Q800B soundbar from Samsung is also a 5.1 channel product, albeit it’s only 5.1.2 compared to the S90QY’s 3. Its claim to fame is the wireless Dolby Atmos you can achieve without needing to plug in an HDMI cable. 3D sound is effortless, and a throaty bass from the subwoofer rounds up the experience. You get a digital assistant in the form of AirPlay and Alexa.
SpaceFit Sound optimizes the room where your smart TV and soundbar are, while Q-Symphony is a nice feature if you own several other Samsung speakers. Optimized sound shines when you customize the EQ or try out different sound modes, including Active Voice Amplifier and Game Pro Mode.
There are physical touch buttons located at the top of the soundbar unit, and it’s not digital like the S90QY’s. Tap Sound is a neat feature to have if you have a compatible Samsung mobile device and the SmartThings app.
- All-around sound quality excellence
- Wireless Dolby Atmos is a game-changer
- Has built-in Amazon Alexa
- Bass may not be enough for some
- Sound sync issues with incompatible TVs
The S90QY conforms to most modern soundbars of today, with an all-black design, fabric covers and metal grilles for speaker openings. As for the subwoofer, it’s mostly made of a wood-like composite material and plastic around the back.
Build quality is as you’d expect from a premium soundbar. The plastic shell feels anything but, and the fabrics are nice and thick. The exception is the subwoofer – it’s slightly thinner and flimsier, so you should handle it with care. As a side tip, if you have children or pets it might be better to put the subwoofer in a corner or somewhere they can’t reach.
Touch-sensitive buttons are partially hidden at the soundbar’s surface, with the usual options to change volume, pause or play, input change, and Bluetooth or WiFi.
Samsung’s 5.1.2 soundbar, design-wise, is nothing to write home about. It has roughly the same dimensions and hardware specs. The soundbar is encased primarily in heavy plastic, with grilles strategically placed at the top, sides, and front. The edges are slightly angled and adds to the modern aesthetics.
The sub is made of wood with plastic backing. The whole speaker is wrapped in thin fabric, which is pretty easy to rip through. Again, we recommend putting the unit out of reach as it can fray and break in places. Other than that, build quality is superb, with special mention to the sub’s wood and the soundbar’s case.
Like the S90QY, the Q800B has its touch controls at the top of the soundbar. You can turn the mic on, adjust volume, and change input as desired.
LG didn’t do anything groundbreaking with its S90QY product. For connectivity to the TV, you can choose either HDMI or optical. Conversely, you can purchase the LG Wowcast so you won’t have as many wires on the back of your soundbar and TV.
The subwoofer acts as a standalone unit and requires a wall outlet for power. HDMI technology stands at 2.1 for both input and output, and if you want to maximize this feature then you’ll need to have a TV or game console that can support this.
As for wireless connectivity, you can change the soundbar’s settings through the app, or use the remote control that came with the unit. The S90QY offers Bluetooth 5.0, as well as AirPlay 2, Google Assistant, and Alexa.
Samsung follows the soundbar flow and has two general connectivity options – HDMI or optical. You won’t need to buy an HDMI cable since there’s one in the box. A USB input is visible in the soundbar, though it can only be used for software updates.
Like the S90QY, you’ll need the sub connected to a wall outlet. Keep a close distance to the main soundbar to eliminate intermittent disconnections. You can connect HDMI to ARC and eARC for the best sound experience.
The Q800B’s wireless connectivity is fairly robust. There’s the usual soundbar remote, the Bluetooth option, Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, and the Tap Sound for streaming music. Alexa can handle hands-free commands, and AirPlay will come in handy at some point for Apple users.
Headlining the list of features is the up-firing center channel coming from the main soundbar unit. In line with the subwoofer, you’ll be able to experience depth that’s largely absent from default speakers of your TV.
Meridian Audio Technology separates all the low frequencies and cues and sends them out through the appropriate channel to create 3D surround sound. Also, don’t forget about the soundbar’s AI Room Calibration Pro, which uses spatial awareness to detect the size and layout of the room, then changes the audio settings to fit the environment.
Calibrating the soundbar for room-filling sound may take a while since you’ll have to run it through the LG app, but it does make a significant difference. With a compatible LG TV you can use Sound Mode share to further heighten the sound quality.
Soundbar Mode Control eliminates the need to go to your TV’s audio settings to change the mode. The S90QY also manages to act like a gaming monitor with the inclusion of ALLM (auto latency mode technology) and Enhanced VRR (variable input refresh rate) to reduce lag.
The S90QY beats the Q800B with AirPlay 2 support (as compared to just the Q800B’s AirPlay).
Wireless Dolby Atmos is easily the Q800B’s distinction from the rest. Although there’s an HDMI cable included in the box, you can set your home theater system without ever using wires and still get exceptional sound from the main unit and subwoofer.
The Q800B also has up-firing channels, along with side speakers and the boom coming from the sub. SpaceFit sound is the counterpart of the LG’s AI Room Calibration Pro, and it also requires you to download the app.
Samsung’s soundbar doubles as a smart assistant, thanks to built-in Alexa. If you’re too tired to lift the remote or wish to impress a friend or guest, simply say ‘Alexa…’ and you can play music, get weather updates, and answers to hot topics and questions. The added value is a worthy consideration, especially if you’re thinking of getting a separate smart speaker or display.
Dedicated Samsung consumers will like the slew of brand-centric features, including Q-Symphony, Tap Sound, and the ability to add rear speakers. Quality of life gets nice improvements, such as playing music from your Samsung phone and having all the sound synced across supported Samsung speakers.
HDMI ARC is arguably your best option here, with formats such as DTS, Dolby Digital, and of course, Dolby Atmos being unlocked through this channel. The soundbar’s HDMI port does the same thing for lossless audio.
The S90QY supports passthrough technology when you want it to act as an in-between hub between your PC or TV, for example. Dolby Vision is also an option but it won’t be able to do 4K at 120Hz.
Sound enhancement is a noteworthy mention – there’s a slew of modes, including Clear Voice, Bass Blast, Game, AI Sound Pro, and Cinema, to name a few. Room correction makes the sound even better, and we like how bass-heavy music and explosions are well-represented.
Bluetooth 5.0 should be enough for music entertainment, with the soundbar churning an impressive 570 watts in total.
Like the S90QY, your bang for the buck lies in an ARC connection. Granted, you can also use the wireless Dolby Atmos, which sounds really nice in itself. Setting this up will prove to be easy, but you’ll want a stable internet connection running the show.
Audio format via HDMI is pretty great – if you have content that puts out Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital, they will be represented accurately in the soundbar and subwoofer. Passthrough is allowed, even on higher signals so you can connect it between your PC and TV and still get a clear picture.
Dolby Vision lets you connect but not at 4K at 120Hz. The Q800B gets a bit crazy when it comes to customizations – you can choose from EQ presets such as Game, Surround Sound, or Adaptive, or use the default as recommended by SpaceFit Sound.
The bass is more balanced than the S90QY, though it mixes in well with the rest. Total power for the soundbar and sub stands at 360 watts, and it’s enough to fill in a medium-sized room.
When choosing the right soundbar for your home theater you may want to consider pairing it with the same brand. The exclusive features may be too tempting to pass up on, but it’s still perfectly fine to choose a different brand if you know that the sound quality is top-notch.
Both S90QY and Q800B are nearly at the same price point, so it’s a matter of weighing the features of the soundbars themselves. Which feature is more important for you?
While it is an unsatisfying conclusion, we must admit that these two soundbars are quite similar. So rather than choosing a “winner,” we will leave the choice up to you.