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LG SP9YA Soundbar Review

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While LG has consistently built a reputation for releasing top-of-the-line displays, the company has also been steadily reaching new heights in regard to audio devices. The company continues to push itself to be a top dog when it comes to the home theatre setup, which is where the LG SP9YA soundbar and subwoofer come in.​

Admittedly, a soundbar, speaker, or set of headphones really has to pack a punch in order for me to notice the intricate differences. Not being an audiophile myself, it didn’t matter when I turned on the LG SP9YA for the first time. The theatre-like quality and bass coming from the subwoofer were enough to knock my socks off from the get-go.

Of course, the SP9YA soundbar is best served as a high-end option for those that truly appreciate customization option for their music or while watching movies and playing games. For consumers who need a middle-of-the-road option as an alternative to their TV speakers, the LG SP9YA and its $1,299 CAD price tag may be a bit of overkill. Though, those that choose to invest will likely be pleased by the support of audio features and sheer quality the LG SP9YA brings to the table.

Out of the Box

The SP9YA soundbar and its included subwoofer make for a sizeable package for your home entertainment centre. The size of the unit is 48 x 2.2 x 5.7″, which makes it a perfect companion for a TV that is 50-inches or more in size. For reference, I reviewed the LG SP9YA alongside the 48-inch LG C1 OLED, and the soundbar did look a smidge out of place next to a display that was smaller than the length of the soundbar. The subwoofer features a similar design, making it match the soundbar. It’s considerably beefy with its 8.7 x 15.4 x 12.3″ size. Though, just like the soundbar, it doesn’t really stand out at all within a modern, contemporary home entertainment space.

The soundbar has an ultra-modern design with a clean brushed aluminum finish to it. Two speaker grilles land on the left and right sides of the soundbar. Depending on your design preferences, these can stick out a bit. I myself didn’t mind the look of them all that much, especially as I could not see them from my viewing location. It also has a set of touch controls to select the volume, power, play and pause functions, Bluetooth options, and WiFi. Built into the front is an LED display, which renders all aforementioned options. On the rear of the SP9YA you’ll find an HDMI port for 4K Dolby Vision support, HDMI ARC/ eARC output, an optical input, and a USB port for external storage. Unfortunately, there is no ethernet solution.

Installation of both the soundbar and speak is fairly straightforward. The soundbar is connected to your TV via the supported HDMI port in the back of the optical cable. The subwoofer is wireless so all it requires is a power source and to be turned on. I was surprised to see how intuitive the two audio devices were when they automatically connected to each other. Once the connection process is complete, the subwoofer displays a green light.

In Your Control

As mentioned, the LG SP9YA offers touch controls but realistically, getting up and adjusting the volume or Bluetooth options isn’t the best solution. Don’t worry as LG has included a surprisingly deep number of control options for you to use. Included in the box is the remote control, where you’ll find your standard control options.

Additionally, you can install the LG Sound Bar app on your iOS or Android device for free. This will also offer control functions. There are also more advanced functions that you can access via the remote and app. Though the app does make it easier to customize the settings for all available channels ie Sub, Centre, Side, Height, etc.

Smart Home Integration

The LG SP9YA does sport some surface-level smart home integration and casting options with Apple’s AirPlay 2, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa. To get ahead of it, the soundbar isn’t designed to work as a substitution or extra leg to your smart home device. Instead, Alexa and Google Assistant can merely interact with the soundbar per your voice commands. So, you’re able to ask Alexa to skip a track or command Google Assistant to control the volume.

You can cast your music using AirPlay 2 via a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, which is a phenomenal touch for an Apple household. Likewise, if you primarily use Chromecast, music or audio can be cast to the soundbar. Spotify Connect is also supported, which was a surprisingly nice touch.

Performance

As I began to test out the LG SP9YA, I was really impressed with how much fine-tuning and customization the soundbar does on its own before even settling in. LG includes the AI Room Calibration, which will emit a series of tones that will bounce off the walls and furniture of your entertainment space and determine the sound quality based on acoustics. The orientation of the soundbar will also play into this as it can be mounted to the wall with the speaker grilles pointed outward toward the viewer.

The more I began using it, the more I was blown away by how immersive the sound quality was. I found that swapping between the eight different preset modes depending on what I was watching or listening to drastically improved my experience throughout. If I was watching a film like ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ I switched over to the Cinema, which mixes all audio to 5.1.2, which helped bring me back to the first time seeing it in IMAX. When casting Spotify, I used the Music preset, which utilizes Meridian technology for optimization.

The immersion gave when playing games was amplified significantly on Xbox Series X thanks to the Game mode and Dolby Atmos integration. The audio coming from Forza Horizon 4 was punchier than I’ve ever experienced before. The sounds of the breaks hitting the pavement, and the bass of the engine rumbling across my floor were fantastic. When playing Call of Duty: Warzone, those small audio cues that play into the game became much easier to pick up. Enemy footsteps and where they were in relation to you were so much more defined.

Alongside the aforementioned, the SP9YA supports Standard, Sports, Bass Blast, Clear Voice, and AI Sound Pro. Again, it really depends on the content you’re consuming and what you’re looking to get out of the audio. If you’re looking to feel the weightiness of the bass when you’re listening to an album or watching a movie, the Bass Blast option is there for you. One of my favourite options, and something I wish more soundbars included, was the Clear Voice mode. This boosts the dialogue and spoken lines and is a great asset for content where the audio mixing could have been improved in production.

Final Thoughts

LG really delivered with its SP9YA. Even as someone who doesn’t obsess over audio quality, it was hard to not want to experiment and see what this soundbar can do. From an immersive standpoint, I was sucked into the content I was engaging in. Whether you’re throwing on a movie that’s built for these kinds of audio experiences or playing a contemporary game on console, you’ll notice the improvements in sound quality right away.

The SP9YA is a higher-end soundbar, built and designed for the household that really cares about their home entertainment space. It’s best paired with a larger 50+ inch display and can even be hung on the wall below your TV to really capture a modern and minimalist appearance. For $1,299 CAD, it’s an investment worth making if heightened audio quality and customization are of the utmost importance to you.

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