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LG SP9YA Soundbar Evaluate: Setting A Excessive Bar For Dolby Atmos


LG SP9YA Dolby Atmos soundbar

“The LG SP9YA Soundbar turns any room into an immersive, Dolby Atmos-powered house theater.”

  • Superior and immersive Dolby Atmos
  • Simple setup
  • Chromecast and AirPlay 2
  • Degree and EQ controls
  • Hello-res audio capabilities
  • Hardwired energy wire
  • No entry to community music libraries
  • Just one HDMI enter

LG has a very good observe document of creating feature-loaded soundbars that additionally produce spectacular, room-filling sound. Its $1,000 SP9YA is the corporate’s newest effort on this house, persevering with the 9-Collection’ legacy of placing a ton of audio functionality (like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) into only one soundbar and one wi-fi subwoofer. For people who need large, cinematic sound and a easy setup, it’s a horny possibility.

Curious to know what LG has modified with the brand new SP9YA and the way it performs? We’ve received the entire particulars proper right here.

What’s new?

The SP9YA picks up the baton from 2020’s SN9YG. Although the 2 merchandise are almost equivalent, LG has made two small however necessary adjustments:

  • The SP9YA ditches the 9YG’s Google Assistant-based good speaker operate, although it stays Google Assistant-compatible.
  • The SP9YA is AirPlay 2-enabled, in addition to Chromecast-enabled. The 9YG solely supported Chromecast.

What’s within the field?

LG SP9YA Dolby Atmos soundbar box contents.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Inside the large transport field — which makes use of totally recyclable supplies each inside and outside — you’ll discover the soundbar, a wi-fi subwoofer with an influence cable, two mounting brackets and screws, a wall-mount template, a distant management with AA batteries, an optical cable, and a few very fundamental quick-start paper supplies.

Why LG consists of an optical cable however not an HDMI cable stays a thriller, however you’ll need one with the intention to get the very best audio out of your TV.

Design

Like its predecessors, the SP9YA is a giant, 48-inch-wide soundbar that may look nice sitting in entrance of a 50-inch or bigger TV, nevertheless it may simply dwarf a smaller display. Due to its comparatively quick stature (simply 2.24 inches tall), it’s unlikely to obscure the decrease portion of any TV, large or small.

LG has stored the brushed aluminum look of the highest floor on each the soundbar and the subwoofer, a sensible alternative in that it minimizes the looks of what’s a reasonably large set of audio system. The one factor that interrupts the in any other case seamless design are the round up-firing driver grilles. I want Dolby Atmos soundbars that conceal these peak drivers, just like the Sonos Arc and Vizio Elevate, however that’s actually a matter of non-public style.

A set of contact controls for quantity, energy, supply choice, play/pause, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi are conveniently situated on the highest of the bar, however they’re barely noticeable. In reality, apart from the forward-facing LED show hidden behind the metallic grille (which dims however by no means completely turns off), the SP9YA virtually completely disappears in a darkened room.

The wi-fi subwoofer makes use of a front-firing design, which I discover typically outperforms down-firing items of the identical energy ranking.

My one concern is the soundbar’s hardwired energy wire — it may make some installations actually tough, particularly if it’s essential to route the wire by means of cabinetry openings which can be too small to accommodate the dimensions of the wall plug. Whereas LG’s TVs have removable energy cords if you happen to first take away a concealment panel, I see no approach to do that with the SP9YA.

Inputs and outputs

LG SP9YA Dolby Atmos soundbar ports.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

On the again of the SP9YA, you’ll discover simply 4 ports: A 4K/Dolby Imaginative and prescient-capable HDMI enter, an HDMI ARC/eARC output, an optical enter, and a USB port for storage-based music playback. I’d want to see extra HDMI inputs at this value, and I’m stunned there’s no analog enter or Ethernet jack, however these aren’t deal-breakers.

Primary setup of the SP9YA is a breeze. Seize the distant and also you’re good to go for TV sound.

The excellent news is that, in contrast to some soundbars that deal with the HDMI and optical inputs as a single enter (that means you should use one or the opposite however not each), the SP9YA considers these ports as discrete inputs. You may connect a streaming media participant, cable field, or Blu-ray participant to the HDMI enter, whilst you use the optical port for an audio supply like a CD participant or a Sonos machine. Every will be chosen as its personal supply, providing you with a fairly first rate number of linked gadgets.

Setup and configuration

Primary setup of the SP9YA is a breeze. Simply plug the soundbar into your TV through HDMI or optical cables, plug the wi-fi subwoofer into the wall, then do the identical with the soundbar, and switch it on. The soundbar and subwoofer mechanically create a wi-fi connection, confirmed by a stable inexperienced mild on the again of the sub. Seize the distant and also you’re good to go for TV sound.

Nonetheless, there’s a a lot deeper set of choices obtainable utilizing the distant in addition to the free LG Sound Bar app.

The very first thing you must think about doing is utilizing the A.I. Room Calibration characteristic. The bar emits a sequence of take a look at tones over the course of some seconds, and the 2 built-in mics decide how your room’s acoustics have an effect on efficiency. Conveniently, the app allows you to hear earlier than and after sounds so you may resolve which one is healthier. I didn’t discover a giant distinction however which may merely be a operate of the actual room I used to be utilizing.

At any time, you may change the soundbar to Bluetooth mode and pair it with a telephone, pill, or different Bluetooth gadgets. However if you’d like a number of higher audio choices and deeper settings, it’s value connecting the SP9YA to your Wi-Fi community.

When you do, you’ll be capable of add the soundbar to Google Residence, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, use Spotify Join, after which stream audio to the system through Chromecast or AirPlay 2. I’ll focus on why it is a must-do in a second.

Contemplating that the SP9YA presents Chromecast and Google Assistant compatibility, it’s superior that LG doesn’t pressure you to finish the Wi-Fi setup from throughout the Google Residence app — one thing we’re seeing rather a lot on Chromecast gadgets just like the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage. You may all the time add the SP9YA to the Google Residence app if you’d like, nevertheless it’s as much as you.

Likewise, Apple’s AirPlay 2 is out there as quickly as you connect with Wi-Fi — no extra configuration wanted.

Ease of use

LG SP9YA Dolby Atmos soundbar remote control.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The SP9YA’s included distant is well-designed from an ergonomic viewpoint — it’s comfy to carry and straightforward to make use of — nevertheless it isn’t backlit, making it rather less straightforward to work in a darkish room.

In the event you’re linked to your TV through HDMI ARC/eARC, most TV remotes ought to be capable of management the soundbar’s quantity and mute features. I additionally discovered that streaming media gadgets linked to the soundbar’s HDMI enter may additionally management these features (I attempted it with an Apple TV 4K and an Nvidia Defend TV). Usually, TVs linked through the optical cable received’t be capable of management the soundbar’s quantity — except you personal an LG TV, wherein case enabling your TV’s Sound Sync possibility ought to offer you this skill.

You need to use the distant for superior features, too: A four-way directional pad allows you to navigate deeper settings like speaker ranges. However the LG Sound Bar app is so good, I extremely advocate utilizing it for these superior settings as an alternative of the distant. It allows you to see the entire obtainable channels (subwoofer, heart, facet, overhead, and many others.), together with slider controls for each.

The SP9YA is an extremely potent system for each films and music.

The one space the place usability is missing is music playback. As a Wi-Fi-connected speaker, there must be a strategy to entry your private media saved on a pc or onerous drive linked to your community, however the Sound Bar app lacks this feature and there’s no strategy to do it utilizing the distant management both.

On the similar time, if you wish to play music from a USB storage machine, you’ll have to navigate its contents through the distant management — the app can’t see or management that music.

Sound high quality

LG SP9YA Dolby Atmos soundbar.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The SP9YA is an extremely potent system for each films and music. Once I’m not reviewing soundbars, my regular system is a Pioneer Dolby Atmos receiver linked to a 5.1.2 set of discrete audio system, together with ceiling-mounted audio system instantly over the listening space. The SP9YA is the primary soundbar I’ve examined that will get near this setup by way of immersion.

No, it’s not a direct alternative, however given its value and ease, it’s a really engaging various.

Dolby Atmos is the star of this present. I believe the soundbar does nicely with all audio codecs, however if you happen to purchase the SP9YA, you owe it to your self to search for films on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or different sources which have an Atmos soundtrack.

Whether or not it’s high-speed automobile scenes in Mad Max: Fury Street, Ford v Ferrari, or John Wick: Chapter 2, or the superhero motion in a Marvel film, the SP9YA has the sheer energy wanted to recreate movie show pleasure, whereas its height- and side-channel drivers ship convincing 3D results. The wi-fi sub does an outstanding job delivering low-end bass that you may really feel in your chest, nevertheless it’s additionally a refined efficiency that by no means overpowers the remainder of the soundtrack.

In the event you reside in a apartment or share a wall together with your neighbors, you may as nicely invite them to observe with you as a result of they’re going to listen to and really feel these explosions, too.

Professional tip: Use the Sound Bar app to crank up the extent of the overhead channels. That is the important thing to listening to the sounds that make Atmos, nicely, Atmos-y.

When taking part in Atmos content material, the non-compulsory sound impact settings (of which there are eight to select from) are inactive. However when taking part in non-Atmos audio, settings like Music, Cinema, or Sport can profoundly have an effect on the sound you get. As a substitute of counting on LG’s labels by assuming that Cinema is greatest for films, I recommend you strive all of them. LG’s AI Sound Professional setting is meant to mechanically detect what sort of audio you’re listening to and decide the perfect setting accordingly, however I discovered it wasn’t all the time to my liking.

For example, Sport mode proved to be a better option when streaming music than the precise Music setting. Likewise, the Bass Blast mode — meant to spice up low-frequencies — appeared to do the precise reverse.

Label quirkiness apart, I had no drawback getting the SP9YA to ship satisfying audio outcomes from TV exhibits, films, and music. In the event you’ve been serious about a soundbar to enhance dialogus readability, the SP9YA is a stable alternative. I discovered speech to be very intelligible even with the default settings, and I used to be capable of make it extra pronounced with each the Clear Voice mode and by boosting the middle channel output.

For music, I can’t advocate utilizing Wi-Fi strongly sufficient. Bluetooth is useful for when you’ve gotten company over they usually wish to shortly play one thing from their telephones, however for pure audio high quality, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are orders of magnitude higher than Bluetooth.

Our take

LG’s SP9YA delivers wonderful immersive sound from a single soundbar and subwoofer, making it one of many best methods to get pleasure from Dolby Atmos films and music at house.

Is there a greater various?

Discovering a direct various to the LG SP9YA is difficult. Not many soundbars provide a full 5.1.2 channel configuration from a single speaker plus subwoofer.

The $799 Sonos Arc is nice for Dolby Atmos and a extra versatile alternative general, as it could double as an Alexa or Google Assistant good speaker along with providing the perfect streaming music and multiroom capabilities within the trade. However you may solely use it with a Sonos Sub — a really costly $699 wi-fi speaker. That combo places you nicely over the SP9YA’s $1,000 value. The Arc additionally lacks an HDMI enter, making it much less handy for these with a number of HDMI supply gadgets.

The $1,000 Vizio Elevate might be the perfect comparability. It has glorious Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound and probably the greatest soundbar remotes, however you’ll have to cope with the additional encompass audio system, that are hardwired to the wi-fi subwoofer. It’s additionally a better option for films than for music — there’s no assist for lossless hi-res audio or Apple AirPlay 2.

We haven’t reviewed Samsung’s new $1,300 2021 HW-Q900A 7.1.2 soundbar but, however given its specs and our opinions of earlier Samsung soundbars, it might be the SP9YA’s hardest competitor.

How lengthy will it final?

Audio gear like soundbars are inclined to final for a few years. They don’t get moved round a lot after they’re put in, and warmth buildup (the reason for many electronics failures) isn’t an issue. The one unknown is how lengthy LG will proceed to maintain the SP9YA up to date with new software program. It ought to nonetheless work high quality with out updates for TV audio, however some options, like AirPlay streaming, may lose assist over the long term. LG backs the SP9YA with a normal one-year guarantee.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. In the event you’re able to make the leap into immersive Dolby Atmos audio and have entry to streaming films or music that use this 3D format, the LG SP9YA is a improbable alternative.

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