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LG SP9YA soundbar evaluate: This 5.1.2 speaker has side-firing drivers

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Can a soundbar get a 5.1.2-channel billing with out separate encompass audio system? That’s the query LG’s SP9YA poses, which comes labeled as a 5.1.2 soundbar regardless of missing a pair of wi-fi encompass modules; as an alternative, the soundbar delivers its encompass cues with side-firing drivers in the principle speaker itself. The SP9YA isn’t the primary soundbar to aim this trick; the Artistic SXFI Service tries one thing comparable, and with equally combined outcomes. (LG does provide an non-obligatory rear speaker package for 7.1.2 audio.)

However whereas the SP9YA’s standing as a real 5.1.2 soundbar is debatable, its strong, full-bodied sound and vigorous Dolby Atmos and DTS:X top results are in little doubt, even when its encompass cues aren’t as distinct as they could possibly be. The SP9YA additionally packs an array of spectacular options, together with AI-powered room correction, eARC, built-in AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, in addition to assist for Alexa speaker teams and Spotify Join.

This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect soundbars. Click on that hyperlink to learn critiques of competing merchandise, together with a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to take into account when buying.

Specs

LG payments the SP9YA as a 5.1.2-channel soundbar, so it’s somewhat complicated once you open the field to seek out solely the principle soundbar unit and the wi-fi subwoofer, however no wi-fi encompass audio system. As I discussed earlier, LG counts the SP9YA’s pair of side-firing drivers as encompass channels, making it a 5.1.2 soundbar relatively than a 3.1.2 configuration. As we’ll see (and listen to) later, these drivers on the facet of the soundbar can’t fairly compete with separate encompass audio system. Happily, you possibly can improve the SP9YA utilizing LG’s $180 SPK8-S Wi-fi Rear Speaker Package for a full-on 7.1.2 setup, however LG didn’t provide us with the package for this evaluate.

In any occasion, the SP9YA incorporates a whole of 11 drivers, together with 10 in the principle soundbar unit. The left, proper, and middle channels every get their very own oval-shaped woofers (40x100mm) and tweeters (additionally 40x100mm), that are flanked by round 2.5-inch facet woofers that offer audio for the 2 encompass channels. On prime of the soundbar housing are two up-firing 2.5-inch drivers that ship top cues for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. Lastly, the wi-fi subwoofer has a 7-inch driver.

lg sp9ya side firing driver Ben Patterson/IDG

The LG SP9YA delivers its encompass results by way of side-firing drivers relatively than bodily encompass audio system.

The upfiring drivers provide Dolby Atmos and DTS:X top cues by bouncing hold forth your ceiling, a neater and extra inexpensive various to top audio system which are truly put in in your ceiling. However whereas upfiring drivers are a typical function of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X-supporting soundbars, they require a sure sort of ceiling to operate correctly—specifically, a flat, sound-reflecting ceiling that’s between 7 and 14.5 ft in top. You probably have ceiling beams or a vaulted ceiling, upfiring drivers for Atmos or DTS:X gained’t reduce it; in these instances, you could be higher off with a soundbar that employs virtualization for top cues.

 

Measuring 48 x 2.2 x 5.7 inches (WxHxD), the 13.9-pound SP9YA is sort of huge, stretching your entire size of the media cupboard that holds my 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV. That mentioned, the soundbar additionally has a reasonably low profile, permitting it to take a seat under my low-slung set whereas barely grazing the underside fringe of the display.

In the meantime, the 8.7 x 15.4 x 12.3-inch, 13.9-pound subwoofer is mid-sized so far as wi-fi subs go, which is to say that it’s not one thing you can (or would wish to) tuck discretely subsequent to your couch. As a substitute, it’s higher off someplace behind your TV, ideally not too near a wall.



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