LG Eclair QP5’s Tiny Dolby Atmos Soundbar – Bright Trinket or Exquisite Sound Delight? The soundbar market is very conservative and chock-full of products that are updated annually with minor changes. And to see a truly innovative product is a real event. The LG QP5, nicknamed Éclair, simply redefines the concept of a “compact” soundbar.
The device is so small that at first glance it might be confused with a portable speaker. But make no mistake: the company is asking us to believe that it offers performance worthy of a “full-size” soundbar. Its 3.1.2 acoustic design fully confirms this. In addition to the wireless subwoofer, the panel itself is equipped with two separate height speakers oriented towards the ceiling.
With these drivers, LG Eclair intends to bring Dolby Atmos and DTS: X surround tracks to life. What else a soundbar of such a small size is capable of, albeit paired with a bi-directional subwoofer, we will look at the LG QP5 Éclair review.
LG QP5 review
The 30cm wide QP5 is definitely a paragon of restraint. The small size of the panel is not the only thing that allows it to very discreetly fit into most interiors. It also benefits from its minimalist design, which is very well thought out and successful. The materials of the case (acoustic fabric and textured aluminum) are matt, which prevents stray reflections when watching a movie.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that distractions are completely absent. A bit of annoyance is the fact that the control LEDs on the front panel cannot be turned off during use. Meanwhile, the dimensions of the subwoofer are not as slender as the panel it accompanies. But the design is made in the same vein, which means that there will be a place in the interior.
While the LG Eclair includes a decent amount of modern features like eARC pass-through and 4K HDR, the lack of any networking capabilities seems like a pretty significant omission. And not only because of the lack of streaming. When using the LG app, which is the only way to access certain settings, you must first switch the Eclair to Bluetooth mode.
Therefore, if you are watching TV or a movie and want to make changes, you need to interrupt the sound and then manually connect your smartphone to the device before you can resume and use the app. Quick source input switching can be done either with a small remote control or with the buttons on the back of the speaker.
Beneath these are ports for HDMI, eARC, optical, and USB storage. The three color LEDs on the front of the LG Eclair provide a visual indication of changes made with the remote. There is also live voice confirmation.
The console also provides access to four Eclair sound profiles: Standard Mode with Meridian Tuning, Advanced Cinema Profile with Height Drivers, Game Mode and AI option, allowing the QP5 soundbar to automatically select a mode. Unlike other LG soundbars that have Music mode, the AI on the Eclair QP5 is not particularly accurate and often plays music in Movie mode.
It is possible to let the LG 2020/21 TV take over the processing functions with the “Sound Mode Sharing” option. But it’s worth noting that when watching Dolby Atmos or DTS: X content, all other sound modes are blocked.
As they say, there is nowhere more trite, but the QP5 soundbar is gaining points thanks to full support for the HDMI 2.1 standard. The output is eARC compatible. Therefore, the Audio Return Channel can ideally be used for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams, including of course their Dolby Atmos and DTS: X variants .
What’s more, the video transmission between HDMI input and output works smoothly with Ultra HD 120Hz signals, including HDR10 or Dolby Vision, and even variable refresh rate (VRR). This cannot but please the happy owners of the latest generation of game consoles or video cards. In terms of decoded formats, the panel supports almost all Dolby formats except the rare AC4, all DTS and LPCM formats up to 7.1.
It should be noted that in Bluetooth, the transmission latency is about 100ms. The resulting audio / visual mismatch is close to acceptable, but still distinctly perceptible. Therefore, it is better to reserve such a connection for a smartphone or tablet, and to connect to a TV, give preference to a wired connection (HDMI, eARC , or S / PDIF).
Given the very small width of the LG Éclair Dolby Atmos panel, it has to use trickery to create a soundstage that doesn’t feel squeezed in a piece of space. The solution is simple: the left and right speakers are tilted 45 ° to exploit the reflection of sound waves off the walls of the room. The result is surprisingly convincing: the soundstage has a completely satisfactory stereo base, without any noticeable acoustic “holes”.
But the opposite of this configuration is the lack of scene uniformity. The center channel radiates directly to the listener and has very distinct acoustic characteristics from the left and right channels. Consequently, an object crossing the scene from left to right, for example, suddenly changes its tone in the middle of a journey, and then reverts to its original tone on its way out.
The QP5 connectors are located on the rear of the soundbar. These include HDMI ports – 1 in and 1 out, a USB 2.0 connector, an optical input and a power supply plug.
To conclude our review of LG’s QP5, we reiterate that the Eclair is an unusually small soundbar that delivers a volume that exceeds its size. It’s a shame that cinematic sound reproduction is beyond the capabilities of such a miniature speaker. But the Eclair is undoubtedly of interest to those looking to see more creative and stylish designs in a home theater audio system.
|Amplifier output||100 watts|
|Amplifier output||220 watts|
|Inputs||1 x HDMI 2.1|
|1 x Optical TOSLINK|
|Outputs||1 x HDMI 2.1 eARC / audio / video port|
|USB ports||1 USB port (audio)|
|Wireless audio protocols||Bluetooth 4.0|
|Bluetooth codec support||AAC|
|Audio decoding||DTS Digital Surround, DTS-HD High Definition, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS: X, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, LPCM|
|Sampling rate||Up to 192 kHz|
|HDMI Compliance||ARC, CEC, eARC|
|HDR compatible||HDR10, Dolby Vision|
|Supported file formats||AAC, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA|
|Power consumption||30W (soundbar)|
|Standby mode||<0.5W (soundbar)|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Recommended screen size||40 inches and above|
|dimensions||29.7 x 6.1 x 12.4 cm (soundbar)|
|33.8 x 29 x 18.5 cm (subwoofer)|
|Weight||1.5 kg (soundbar)|
|7.7 kg (subwoofer)|