LG SN8Y Review: Cool soundbar with a lot of features
In recent years, LG has introduced highly competent and sometimes even outstanding soundbars, fueled by contributions from the British Hi-Fi brand Meridian. Therefore, the collaboration continues, and its latest fruit is the SN8Y soundbar. This compact LG music center offers a lot for its price. And all thanks to support for Dolby Atmos and the sound scheme 3.1.2. Also on board is Google Assistant, Chromecast and room calibration capabilities.
In the proposed LG SN8Y review, we will take a closer look at the soundbar functionality and its technical characteristics. And at the end, we will try to conclude whether the content matches its price tag.
In a series of annual changes in LG soundbar lines, it is sometimes difficult to notice innovations. Let’s put it simply: new soundbars tend to be very similar to their predecessors. LG’s industrial design language has barely evolved. This is not necessarily a flaw, it is just an observation. So in the case of the SN8Y, it’s not surprising or new that the soundbar is similar to the SL8YG .
But design staleness doesn’t disappoint. The SN8Y is no doubt well built and relatively invisible in the room (assuming you removed the huge logo decal, of course). There are also successful solutions.
It’s nice that LG puts a simple display behind the speaker grill, which dims after a while so as not to distract from watching movies. The SN8YG measures 106 cm in width, which is slightly less than many top models. SN8Y is a soundbar with a 3.1.2 configuration . Stereo radiators plus a center channel and two height channels provide a three-dimensional perception. The sound of the high-altitude channels is distributed by two speakers at the top of the unit. Therefore, it is better not to place this soundbar in a cabinet niche or completely under the TV so that the speakers look freely at the ceiling.
It can also be hung on the wall, the necessary mount is included. Like many Atmos soundbars, the SN8Y’s narrow side hangs against the wall, which is not very strong. The SN8YG can be expanded with a pair of wireless rear speakers, turning it into a 5.1.2 soundbar.
This soundbar doesn’t have many connections, which is quite natural for this price. In addition to the HDMI 2.1 port with eARC, there is an HDMI output for connecting to a TV.
You can connect another device to it (for example, a console or TV decoder). There is also an optical input that can be used for an audio device or a second game console. It is possible to play music files from a USB storage device, but this is not entirely practical. Better to use an audio player with your display. Streaming via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (Chromecast) is much more convenient. For audiophiles, there is the possibility of playing high-resolution PCM audio formats up to 192 kHz / 24-bit.
Configuration and management via Google
LG is a big fan of the Google ecosystem. Most soundbars from the past few years have come with Chromecast and can be customized using the Google Home app on a smartphone. The advantage is obvious – connecting to a WiFi network is very easy. We open Home and there is a possibility that the application immediately indicates the presence of a device for configuration. After a few clicks, SN8Y is already online.
LG soundbars are not only controlled via Google Assistant. They also have a microphone for direct communication with the smart assistant. SN8Y can understand voice commands even if the command is addressed to other smart home devices. Before a movie, for example, you might ask the soundbar to dim the lights in the room. It’s a bit out of the ordinary, but convenient and fun.
Chromecast built-in support is a huge benefit for those looking to listen to music. Support is built into the apps of almost every streaming service, including Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music. You can listen to your own music files by selecting them from the DLNA share in certain applications (for example, BubbleUPnP). Alternatively, this can be done via the LG Wi-Fi Speaker app.
The hallmark of the new LG SN8Y Soundbar is the AI Sound Pro feature. It determines which audio mode is most suitable for the currently viewed content. For example, when streaming music via Chromecast, the soundbar turns on the Music mode (of course, you can also select it manually). AI Sound Pro adds bass to movies. We can assume that after a while, viewers will completely trust the auto selection.
The SN8Y soundbar promises to improve the sound of music and movies while compensating for room acoustics. After all, these hard floors or giant curtains introduce a noisy tone to the sound that doesn’t match the intentions of the creators. Calibration software is available to correct this effect. Advanced solutions like Dirac can do a lot, but require a lot of knowledge and expensive devices.
The AI Room calibration that LG is unveiling this year is looking for a sweet spot. It does not burden the user with extensive manual measurements with special microphones that need to be moved in space. The feature can be installed via the LG WiFi Speaker app using a simple step-by-step plan.
AI Room Calibration is very fast. All test tones play back in about a minute. By the way, at a fairly high volume, it is better not to calibrate at 1 am. At the end of the measurement, you can play a test sound with or without settings to decide which one is preferable for you.
When watching some films, a slight imbalance of channels in space is noticeable. The center is too dominant. And the fact that you can tune individual channels through the LG app is a big plus. You can substitute the balance. In the case of TV shows and movies with stereo sound, really good results are more difficult to get.
The LG SN8Y soundbar, while representing the entry-level in LG’s premium soundbar line for 2020, has some pretty good specs. Stereo sound with a center channel is reproduced well. Decent front elevation channels provide impressive 3D immersion.
This results in a much more immersive and immersive movie experience than conventional TV speakers. Maybe expensive soundbars with more advanced settings and sound better. But that’s another price too. The LG SN8Y stands out with a host of advanced features like Chromecast, Google Assistant and powerful room calibration. So the “eight” is quite a worthy unit for its price.