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LG SP11RA Overview: Flagship sound


Verdict

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The SP11RA appears beautiful and sounds glorious with each movies and music, in addition to introducing some attention-grabbing new options to the soundbar world. It’s maybe a bit costly given what among the newest competitors is providing, nonetheless.

Execs

  • Highly effective, detailed sound with particularly good top results
  • Glossy, enticing design
  • Good for each music and flicks

Cons

  • Feels a bit costly
  • Some unhelpful presets
  • Sometimes lacks impression with movie soundtracks

Key Options


  • 4-piece soundbar systemThough described as a soundbar, it contains 4 separate items: the principle soundbar, two rear audio system, and a subwoofer

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playbackThe soundbar can decode and play by means of all of its 7.1.4 channels the most recent and best ‘object-based’ sound codecs, which place results right into a fastidiously constructed 3D sound area

  • Actual 7.1.4 channel outputThe drivers within the SP11RA’s numerous parts are able to delivering actual (fairly than digital, through processing) front-left, front-right, front-centre, side-left, side-right, rear-left, rear-right, and 4 up-firing channels of sound, plus a subwoofer for bass

  • eARC HDMI assistThis allows you to move lossless Dolby Atmos/DTS:X sound over HDMI from suitable TVs to the soundbar

  • 770W complete energyUnfold round all of the channels, this big energy output is definitely bigger on paper than that of the Samsung Q950A, regardless of that mannequin having extra channels to feed

The SP11RA is LG’s flagship soundbar for 2021. As with its 2020 predecessor, the SN11RG, it sports activities 12 channels of sound delivering 770W of complete energy, and may play each the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X premium sound codecs.

New for 2021 are a few intriguing new audio processing options: the AI Sound Professional system acquainted from LG’s TVs, and a brand new ‘Horizon’ music enhancement system from famed British Hello-Fi model Meridian.

As with LG’s premium soundbars of the previous few years, Meridian has additionally been closely concerned within the SP11RA’s core design.

Availability

  • UKRRP: £1499
  • EuropeRRP: €1599
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$1749

The SP11RA is extensively out there within the UK for £1499 – which, crucially, provides it a £100 benefit over the lately reviewed HW-Q950A from arch-rival, Samsung. Nonetheless, its value nonetheless locations it firmly in premium soundbar territory, which inevitably places stress on its efficiency. 

All four components of the LG SP11RA soundbar package.
The LG SP11RA soundbar system.

The SP11RA does reside kind of as much as premium soundbar expectations by comprising 4 separate enclosures – the principle soundbar, a big wi-fi subwoofer and two wi-fi rears. It additionally matches an unusually excessive variety of separate channels into three of these 4 enclosures. 

In Australia, the LG SP11RA goes for AU$1749 on the time of writing (though that is based mostly on a 5% low cost promotion). The soundbar isn’t but out there within the US. 

  • 4-component system
  • Two HDMIs, together with eARC assist
  • Up-firing drivers within the rears

The primary soundbar and rears of the SP11RA package deal are all handsome items. The soundbar enjoys a slim profile that ought to match comfortably beneath most of right now’s TVs, and carries a clean end to its prime edge that provides it a suitably premium really feel.

The way in which its two massive up-firing drivers sit flush with remainder of the highest edge appears good, too, whereas the entrance and sides use a tough grilled end that also feels opulent whereas offering a nice distinction with the smoothness of the highest. 

The rears are surprisingly compact contemplating they every have two drivers tucked away inside and, once more, characteristic a strong and modern (if not notably imaginative) end and form. They really feel heavy, too, elevating hopes of loads of energy with out you having to fret about them doubtlessly leaping off your sideboard.

Proper nook element of the LG SP11RA soundbar

The subwoofer is reassuringly massive, however slim sufficient when seen front-on to be comparatively simple to tuck down the aspect of a settee or beneath a sideboard. (Since bass is non-directional, the subwoofer doesn’t should be positioned in a selected location.)

Connections on the principle soundbar embrace two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, an optical digital audio enter, and a 5V USB port. The HDMI output helps eARC, which means that it will probably obtain lossless Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks again out of your TV, in addition to passing footage on to the TV once you’re utilizing a supply related on to the soundbar. 

The SP11RA helpfully sports activities an LED to trace quantity settings, inputs and so forth. And in contrast to the Samsung Q950A, the SP11RA’s LED helpfully seems on the entrance of the soundbar, the place you may really see it, fairly than being tucked onto the again of the highest edge.

Lastly, it’s price mentioning that lots of LG’s new 2021 soundbars, together with the SP11RA, are the primary within the business to obtain Eco Product Certification for his or her minimal setting impression from impartial Geneva-based product testing organisation, Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS).

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
  • 770W feeding into 7.1.4 channels of sound
  • Meridian Horizon and LG AI Sound Professional processing modes

The very first thing that establishes the SP11RA as a premium soundbar is its channel depend. The entrance soundbar carries left, proper, centre, left-side and right-side channels, plus two up-firing drivers designed to replicate overhead results in Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks off your ceiling. The rears have each forward-facing and up-firing drivers, whereas the subwoofer simply does its traditional ‘.1’ bass factor. 

The LG SP11RA soundbar’s connections.

This provides as much as a ‘actual’ (fairly than digital) 7.1.4 channel depend – a formidable quantity by the requirements of soundbars usually. That mentioned, it’s solely the identical quantity as was included on final 12 months’s SN11RG LG flagship soundbar, whereas Samsung’s newest flagship HW-Q950A mannequin has change into the primary soundbar to hold 11.1.4 channels. 

With LG not upping its channel depend for its 2021 flagship soundbar, we have to look elsewhere for enhancements over final 12 months’s mannequin. The primary ones are two promising new audio processing options: LG’s AI Sound Professional system, and a Meridian Horizon mode.

The primary of those brings the AI Sound Professional expertise that’s been out there on LG’s premium TVs to LG soundbars for the primary time. It robotically identifies the kind of sound being performed, and adapts the soundbar’s playback profile to make sure you all the time get the optimum playback outcomes.

The Meridian Horizon mode, which kicks in when you select the Music preset, goals to show two-channel stereo content material into multichannel audio for a extra immersive listening expertise.

Turning to extra common options, the HDMIs can move by means of 4K at 60Hz with HDR10 or Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR. 

There’s no assist for the HDR10+ system, although. Admittedly, HDR10+ content material – which provides additional scene-by-scene image data like Dolby Imaginative and prescient – will not be as widespread as its Dolby rival. Nonetheless, it’s definitely on the market, and never supporting it on the SP11RA’s HDMIs appears a bit churlish on condition that many different soundbars now – together with Samsung’s fashions – assist each HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient.

The wi-fi rear audio system supplied with the SP11RA soundbar.

It’s maybe a disgrace that there’s no assist for passthrough of 4K/120Hz with HDR now that the PlayStation 5, Xbox Sequence X and newest PC graphics playing cards can all output this game-changing format. Particularly since a lot of the newest AV receivers assist this. To be truthful, although, except for a pair of soundbars simply introduced by Klipsch, no different soundbars couldn’t carry the HDMI 2.1 ports crucial for 4K at 120Hz both.

You’ll be able to management the SP11RA utilizing your voice through Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri, whereas content material sharing is now supported through Apple AirPlay 2. Lastly, the soundbar is Hello-Res Audio licensed, supporting lossless playback at 24-bit/96kHz.

  • Creates a terrific sense of top
  • Forceful subwoofer
  • Can battle with laborious impression sounds

There are a lot of issues the SP11RA does exceptionally effectively. As an example, the way in which it creates a way of top with the object-based sound programs – particularly Dolby Atmos – is sort of uncanny. You’ll be able to hear the vertical layering deployed in good Atmos sound mixes, even all the way down to completely different parts of a rating rising at completely different vertical ranges.

In reality, the heights of particular results and vocals are positioned with a lot precision (to left and proper in addition to ‘up’) within the 3D sound hemisphere related to Dolby Atmos that you simply virtually really feel like you may attain up and contact them. 

In reality, full-on overhead sounds have extra presence and readability than they do with the Samsung Q950A soundbar, regardless of the SP11RA utilizing the identical ‘ceiling reflection’ system strategy that Samsung’s soundbar does.

The highest management buttons on the LG SP11RA soundbar

The extent to which the SP11RA’s sound swells out from the remarkably slim soundbar is superb, too. The forward-facing drivers push laborious into your room, however the sound spreads up, down, left and proper so instantly upon escaping the principle soundbar’s bodily physique that you simply virtually fully overlook the place the sound is coming from. 

Though this allows the SP11RA to tackle and fulfill even very massive viewing rooms, the built-in auto-calibration system additionally helps the system adapt effectively to smaller areas. In different phrases, except for rooms which have vaulted ceilings that may mess with the up-firing drivers, the SP11RA can adapt effectively to an impressively big selection of areas.

Dialogue stays ultra-clear and intelligible always, even throughout essentially the most ridiculously dense sound mixes. Left/proper and again/entrance sound-effect transitions are dealt with with conviction, and the system – particularly the principle entrance soundbar – has a severe expertise for bringing out even the tiniest element in a film combine.

The SP11RA’s subwoofer is impressively engaged with the motion, kicking in forcefully, willingly and fairly nimbly at any time when it’s required. There’s not one of the reluctance to become involved and flat-footed ‘bagginess’ that LG soundbar subwoofers suffered with a number of generations again.

The LG SP11RA soundbar’s distant management.

The SP11RA’s strengths be sure that it delivers not simply an enormous improve on any TV sound system, however a way more convincing full encompass sound expertise than the overwhelming majority of rival soundbars, no matter how huge your room is. That mentioned, there are limits to what it will probably do.

For starters, it doesn’t create as full a ‘hemisphere’ of sound because the lately examined Samsung HW-Q950A. You don’t sometimes really feel like there’s a substantial amount of sound down the edges of the room, and whereas the rears are good with top results, their ahead dispersal feels a little bit slim in contrast with the entrance sound staging created by the principle soundbar part.

Additionally, whereas the system can go critically loud with none of the audio system dropping out or distorting, and with none of the bodywork beginning to rattle, trebles can begin to really feel barely hemmed in and harsh throughout very dense moments. The identical treble situation can often make high-pitched voices sound shrill, too.

Subsequent, whereas dialogue is exceptionally clear, often it will probably sound a little bit trapped in and slim – as if it’s coming from barely under the image. Utilizing one thing to tilt the soundbar up a fraction will rectify the difficulty, however this additionally reduces the effectiveness with which the SP11RA delivers top/overhead results.

Full system shot of the LG SP11RA soundbar.

Whereas the SP11RA subwoofer could be very engaged with the motion, in the meantime, it will probably sometimes sound barely contained/boxed-in with very sustained, deep rumbles.

The place there’s an actual difficult mixture of voices or delicate results, the soundbar typically struggles to determine had been the main focus of the soundtrack lies. And eventually, laborious impression sounds don’t all the time hit with the efficiency they might. This is applicable each to heavy punching/firing sounds, and sudden eruptions of dense sound used to amp up leap scares.

Turning to LG’s new processing options, the AI Sound Professional definitely expands the sound stage when it comes to each its dynamic vary and the dimensions/scope of the sound, making a extra aggressive and ahead presentation, in addition to a bigger sound stage. It additionally creates a genuinely Dolby Atmos-like/object-based sound subject feeling from non-Atmos sources, and is best at retaining element and vocal readability with commonplace (fairly than X) DTS sources than leaving the soundbar in its commonplace playback mode.

As well as, AI Sound Professional usually makes films sound extra immersive and the soundbar seem extra highly effective than some other preset. Nonetheless, whereas these numerous skills make AI Sound Professional a worthy addition to the SP11RA, the mode may stress trebles considerably. Additionally, in a reversal of the AI Sound Professional state of affairs on LG’s TVs, results in AI Sound Professional mode on the SP11RA seem muffled and boring in contrast with how they sound with true Dolby Atmos supply soundtracks. 

Proof that Meridian has been closely concerned within the creation of the LG SP11RA soundbar.

AI Sound Professional isn’t as efficient with music as it’s with film soundtracks, tending to make your favorite tunes sound like a bunch of disparate parts fairly than an natural expertise.

That’s to not say that the SP11RA isn’t an excellent music performer in its commonplace preset, nonetheless. There’s a stunning stability between element, character and heat that creates a real hi-fi sensation, and the constraints often uncovered by essentially the most excessive trebles and rumbles of massive film soundtracks don’t manifest with even the starkest and hi-res music tracks. 

Bass generally is a little robust utilizing the out-of-the-box settings, nevertheless it’s simple sufficient to barely rein within the subwoofer to attain a extra even, immersive musical sound.

Given Meridian’s lengthy musical heritage, I used to be a little bit disillusioned by the outcomes of the brand new Meridian Horizon system accessed by selecting the Music preset.

Entrance element of the LG SP11RA soundbar

I admire that turning stereo into an immersive multi-channel expertise once you solely have restricted parts to work with isn’t simple. However whereas I loved some parts of the Horizon expertise – particularly its even, natural tone, and the way in which it delivers what looks like a room-filling ‘wall of sound’ fairly than a extra spartan stereo impact – the decrease finish of the sound tends to change into a bit muddy and thuddy, whereas delicate particulars lose readability and presence.

These points might be noticeable, particularly with very bass-heavy music, to make AI Sound Professional mode really look like a greater guess if you wish to convert stereo music right into a multi-channel expertise.

One final tip is that you simply keep away from the Bass mode with music, since this weirdly really ramps up trebles a lot that they change into horrifically sharp.

Let’s end on a good be aware, although, by stressing that in its commonplace mode the SP11RA is definitely a really succesful music participant certainly for a soundbar that clearly additionally loves residence theatre.

Must you purchase it?

It gives an enormous sound with films and music from a comparatively small soundbar Regardless of its modern design, the inclusion of fantastic high quality drivers all through the system and an enormous 770W of uncooked energy see the SP11RA system make any built-in TV sound system (and lots of rival soundbars) sound puny by comparability.

Lacks a little bit impression and staging at occasions There are soundbars on the market, corresponding to Samsung’s (barely costlier) Q950A, that ship a bit extra impression and a fuller hemisphere of sound for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.

Ultimate Ideas

The SP11RA is an excellent soundbar. As with its 2020 predecessor, it produces a robust, open, dynamic sound that’s notably good in terms of bringing out delicate particulars. Couple this with its impressively modern and compact design, and it’s a terrific improve on virtually any built-in TV sound system. 

FAQs

What sound codecs does the SP11RA assist?

Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS-HD Grasp Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, Stereo, Hello-Res Audio codecs.

Which HDR codecs can the HDMIs move by means of?

Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10.

What connections does the SP11RA carry?

Two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output with eARC, one digital optical audio enter, one powered USB port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2.

Specs

UK RRP

EU RRP

AUD RRP

Producer

Dimension (Dimensions)

Weight

Launch Date

Mannequin Quantity

Sound Bar Channels

Driver (s)

Audio (Energy output)

Connectivity

ARC/eARC

Colors

Voice Assistant

Audio Codecs

Energy consumption

Subwoofer?

Rear Speaker

Multiroom

Jargon buster

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and seven.1 soundtracks by including overhead channels. Sounds are known as “audio objects”, of which there might be as much as 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ might be precisely positioned inside a 3D soundscape. This permits soundtracks that assist the expertise to position sounds above and across the listener with suitable package.

DTS:X

DTS:X is an object-based audio format created in 2015 for the house. The premise is much like Dolby Atmos in that it creates a hemisphere of sound that’s extra lifelike and pure in its presentation.



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