LG has a good reputation for creating feature rich soundbars capable of producing impressive sound. The LG SP9YA Soundbar is the company’s latest development in this area, continuing the legacy of the 9 Series. It consists of placing a ton of audio capabilities (such as Dolby Atmos and DTS: X) in one soundbar and one wireless subwoofer.
For people looking for cinematic surround sound and easy setup, this is a very attractive option. In the LG SP9YA review below, we will take a closer look at the functionality and features of the new model.
LG SP9YA Review
Like all LG 9 Series soundbars, the LG SP9YA is a wide soundbar that will look great in front of a 50-inch or larger TV. But it can easily overshadow a smaller screen. Due to its relatively low height, the panel is unlikely to obscure the bottom of any TV, large or small.
Soundbar LG SP9YA retains the brushed aluminum look of the top of both the soundbar and subwoofer. This makes sense as it obscures the visibility of a fairly large array of speakers. The only thing that interrupts the impeccable design are the round speaker grilles on the sides. Some people like the completely enclosed design, but this is really a matter of personal taste.
A set of touch controls for volume, power, source selection, play / pause, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are conveniently located at the top of the panel, but they are barely noticeable. With the exception of the front LED display hidden behind a metal grille (which is dimmable but never completely turned off), the SP9YA soundbar almost disappears into a darkened room.
The LG SP9YA has an impressive build quality. The panel itself, like the previous SN9Y , is mostly made of plastic, which seems sturdy and durable. The metal grille on the sides also helps protect the speakers. Although the subwoofer enclosure is also made of plastic, unfortunately the fabric cover can easily tear or get dirty.
The SP9YA soundbar is an incredibly powerful system for both movies and music. In terms of immersion, it sounds like a discrete speaker system, including ceiling speakers. No, this is not a direct replacement, but given the price and simplicity of the soundbar, it is a very attractive alternative. Dolby Atmos is the star of this show. If you buy the SP9YA, you will simply have to search for movies on Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, or other sources with Atmos soundtrack.
Height speakers and side channel drivers deliver convincing 3D effects. The wireless subwoofer does a great job of delivering low frequencies that you feel in your chest. At the same time, their sound never overshadows the rest of the soundtrack. Optionally, you can add LG’s SPK8-S Wireless Surround Speakers for 7.1.2 sound. They will increase the sense of depth, but add nothing to the Dolby Atmos height channels.
When playing Atmos content, additional sound effect settings (of which there are eight to choose from) are disabled. However, when playing non-Atmos sound, settings such as Music, Cinema, or Game can significantly affect the sound you receive. The LG AI Sound Pro setting should automatically detect what kind of audio you are playing and choose the best setting accordingly.
If you are thinking of a soundbar for enhanced dialogue clarity, the SP9YA is a good choice. Speech is very legible even with the default settings. With the “Clear Voice” option, as well as due to the amplification of the output signal of the center channel, it becomes even more pronounced.
When it comes to music, we cannot recommend using only Wi-Fi. Sure, Bluetooth comes in handy when guests come and want to play something quickly from their phones, but for sheer sound quality, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast Wi-Fi are orders of magnitude better than Bluetooth.
Installation and configuration
The basic setup of the LG SP9YA soundbar is very simple. Simply connect the soundbar to your TV via HDMI or optical cable. Then plug the wireless subwoofer and panel into power and turn it on. The soundbar and subwoofer automatically establish a wireless connection as indicated by a steady green light on the back of the subwoofer. Grab your remote and you’re ready to receive audio from your TV.
There is also a much wider range of options available with the remote control as well as the free LG Sound Bar app. The first thing to think about is using AI Room Calibration. The panel emits a series of test tones for a few seconds, and the two built-in microphones determine how the acoustics of your room affect the sound quality.
At any time, you can switch the LG SP9YA speaker panel to Bluetooth mode and connect it to your phone, tablet or other Bluetooth devices. But if you want better audio options and deeper settings, it is worth connecting the SP9YA to your Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve done that, you can add it to Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, use Spotify Connect, and then stream the audio to the system via Chromecast or AirPlay 2.
The supplied SP9YA remote control is well thought out from an ergonomic point of view. It is comfortable to hold and easy to use, but it does not have a backlight, which makes working in a dark room a little more difficult. If you are connected to your TV via HDMI ARC / eARC , most TV remotes should be able to control the soundbar volume and mute.
Streaming devices connected to the HDMI input of the panel can also control these functions. Usually TVs connected via an optical cable cannot control the volume of the soundbar, unless you have an LG TV. In this case, enabling the TV’s audio sync feature should give you this option.
You can also use the remote control for advanced functions: the four-way multi selector allows you to navigate through deeper settings such as speaker levels. But the LG Sound Bar app is so good that it’s better to use it for these advanced settings instead of a remote. It shows all available channels (Sub, Center, Side, Height, etc.), as well as sliders for each one.
The only area lacking usability is in music playback. As a Wi-Fi speaker, the panel should have a way to access your personal media stored on a computer or hard drive connected to your network. But the Sound Bar app does not have this option, and there is no way to do it using the remote.
The SP9YA’s rear panel contains all four ports: HDMI input with 4K / Dolby Vision support, HDMI ARC / eARC output, optical input, and USB port for music playback from storage. For this price, more HDMI inputs could be accommodated. And it’s a shame that there is no analog input or Ethernet connector.
The good news is that SP9YA treats the HDMI port and optical connector as discrete inputs. Those. you can connect a streaming player, cable box or Blu-ray player to the HDMI input while the optical port is used for the audio source. For example, a CD player. Each of them can be selected as a separate source, which gives a pretty decent selection of connected devices.
Currently (July 2021), LG’s SP9YA can be purchased in foreign online stores for $ 900.
The LG SP9YA delivers stunning immersive sound, making this soundbar one of the easiest ways to enjoy Dolby Atmos movies and music at home. Finding a direct alternative to it is not easy. Not many soundbars offer a full 5.1.2 channel configuration with one soundbar and subwoofer. So if you’re ready to dive into immersive Dolby Atmos sound and access streaming movies or music in this format, the LG SP9YA is a good choice.