Home theater sound systems with sound bars have succeeded in creating immersive audio that transformed our living rooms into personal cinemas. Suddenly, the nightly news and the big game had the same booming, dramatic sound reproduction as blockbuster action movies. But sound bars aren’t simply a way to recreate a cinema sound experience in the home.

As audio technologies have leapt forward — to the point where tiny earbuds are capable of creating intense, highly tuned listening experiences — these sound systems have answered with spatial expansion and sweeteners to heighten our sense of sound. LG has risen to the top of the pack with massive sound that belies their compact, low-profile designs. Here are our picks for the best LG sound bars.

Best Overall: LG S95QR
Best for LG TV: LG SP9YA
Best Value: LG SP7Y
Best Under $300: LG SN6Y
Most Sustainable: LG S90QY

How We Picked the Best LG Sound Bars

Comparing multiple sound bars from a single manufacturer is a fair way to roll on these product comparisons. In many cases, the down-market models share designs and even some technology with the up-market models. Knowing that the sound bars we evaluate originate with the same foundation makes it easier to judge one against the others.

In deciding our picks in this comparison, first we looked at power ratings and speaker configurations, which gave us a baseline for each model. Then, we considered the numerous sound-shaping features and third-party additions, such as Dolby Atmos, that impact both sound quality and user experience. Since voice assistants are a big part of many households today, we considered them as part of that experience as well. Additional considerations include eco-friendliness, wireless connectivity, and other signal processing.

Best LG Sound Bars: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: LG S95QR 9.1.5 Channel Sound Bar

Best in Class. LG

Why It Made The Cut: Simply put, this is the Swiss Army Knife of surround sound in home entertainment.

Specs:
Total Output Power: 810W (watts)
Surround Type: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Surround Configuration: 9.1.5
Subwoofer: Included
Voice Platforms: Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect

Pros:
— Huge power
— 17 speakers covering nine positions
— AI room calibration

Cons:
— Pricey, but c’mon
— No flux capacitor

When you want to elevate your movie-watching experience so Thor or Thanos sound like they’re crashing right into your living room, the LG S95QR is the new sound system of record. This package’s 17 speakers, covering nine physical points, is the very definition of immersive, with psychoacoustic manipulation for heightened realism and 810 watts of full-body impact.

But while it’s capable of bringing to life all the beasts and action scenes of your favorite flicks — not to mention the nuances of music streamed from Tidal or Spotify — the LQ S95QR isn’t a one-dimensional superhero. A dozen sound modes, including presets for sports, gaming, Dolby Atmos, and more, help you dial in the tones you want with a push of a button. The accompanying app will even calibrate your system to the size and characteristics of your room.

Of course, the LQ S95QR has all the conveniences you would hope to find in a best-in-class surround system, like TV remote compatibility, auto volume leveler, Bluetooth, and a lot more. It may not be capable of miracles, but for audio reproduction it comes pretty darn close.

Best for LG TV: LG SP9YA 5.1.2 Channel Sound Bar

Sleek and Wireless. LG

Why It Made The Cut: Plays well with LG TV displays by unlocking sound-enhancing features and control options.

Specs:
Total Output Power: 520W
Surround Type: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Surround Configuration: 5.1.2
Subwoofer: Included
Voice Platforms: Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect

Pros:
— Integrates well with LG displays
— Many flavors of sound enhancement
— One-cable connection to TVs

Cons:
— Premium price

The LG SP9YA proves you don’t need a nest of wires to get your TV sounding like a million bucks. And that’s certainly a plus, because few things in the modern, tech-savvy home are as unsightly as a passel of patch cables dangling from speaker boxes and collecting dust on the floor. Wireless connectivity (in this instance, via Bluetooth 5.0) is a beautiful thing.

There’s no denying that aesthetic considerations rank high when choosing home entertainment gear, and this sound bar matches LG’s TV displays nicely. But it also fits into the LG ecosystem in other ways. Sound sync unlocks the ability to control the sound bar’s power, volume,  and sound modes remotely, while the TV sound mode share feature taps into the TV’s AI processor for sound enhancements. Elsewhere, the SP9YA’s five-speaker setup spreads up to 520 watts of sound around the room.

Best Value: LG SP7Y 5.1 Channel High-Res Audio Sound Bar

Allows for Sound Sharing. LG

Why It Made The Cut: You can’t have it all, but the SP7Y gives you a solid, affordable mix of audio features.

Specs:
Total Output Power: 440W
Surround Type: DTS Virtual:X
Surround Configuration: 5.1
Subwoofer: Included
Voice Platforms: N/A

Pros:
— AI Sound Pro tech
— Bluetooth connectivity
— High-resolution audio

Cons:
— No voice assistant support
— No room calibration

Looking for a sound bar that hits the sweet spot of features, sound quality, output, and affordability? The LG SP7Y might be your best bet. Armed with a solid mix of sound-shaping features found throughout the LG range, and outfitted with a stout power output of 440 watts, this system makes middle-of-the-pack sound more like top-of-the-line.

The SP7Y benefits from Meridian and DTS Virtual:X digital signal processing, which adds virtual height and surround, as well as enhanced bass and voice, to augment the 24-bit, 96 kHz high-resolution audio. Like its close cousin the SP9YA, this system also includes the TV sound share function, which taps a connected LG TV for additional processing power.

While it lacks voice control, room calibration, and additional extras featured on more expensive packages, the LG SP7Y hits all the high points of home entertainment at a price most can stomach.

Best Under $300: LG SN6Y 3.1 Channel High-Res Audio Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X

True Surround-Sound. LG

Why It Made The Cut: The middle of the road is often crowded, but this mid-range sound bar gives a lot for its sub-$300 price. 

Specs:
Total Output Power: 420W
Surround type: DTS Virtual:X
Configuration: 3.1
Subwoofer: Included
Voice Platforms: N/A

Pros:
— Expandable to 5.1 surround
— Night Time sound mode
— AI Sound Pro adapts to programs

Cons:
— Some compromises on tech and features

Sometimes, the universe gives you more than you bargained for. Although we’re trained to expect fewer bells and whistles as the price point decreases, that’s the way the LG SN6Y feels. And it’s largely true.

The LG SN6Y benefits from technology and features found in some of the higher-end LG sound bars. Loaded here are LG’s AI Sound Pro adaptive sound control and seamless Sound Sync wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. The system delivers 3.1 virtual surround-sound from eight audio formats, including the popular DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital, FLAC, WAV and AAC, and can expand with the addition of a rear expansion kit add-on for a true 5.1 surround-sound listening experience.

There’s no support for Dolby Atmos on the SN6Y, but you’ll get the DTS Virtual:X multidimensional audio processing and Bass Blast+ sound mode. In addition, Night Time mode reduces the sound intensity, so when the volume spikes with the sound of a car chase or other loud scene, you won’t wake up the house.

Most Sustainable: LG S90QY 5.1.3 High-Res Audio Sound Bar

Made with Recycled Materials. LG

Why It Made The Cut: LG did its homework and made a positive move toward eco-friendliness.

Specs:
Total Output Power: 570W
Surround Type: Dolby Atmos, DTS Virtual:X
Surround Configuration: 5.1.3
Subwoofer: Included
Voice Platforms: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Pros:
— Environmentally friendly materials and designs
— Up-firing center channel
— Support for Tidal, Spotify and Apple AirPlay 2

Cons:
—Does not include rear speakers

The LG S90QY has a lot to offer consumers who want to feel good about supporting environmentally sound changes in how electronics are made, packaged, and shipped without lowering their expectations for sound quality.

Reclaimed plastics, such as the plastic bottles used to make the system’s polyester jersey fabric covering, make use of existing materials and minimize the introduction of new plastics into the environment. Designers have also replaced the traditional styrofoam packaging materials and plastic bags with molded packaging made with recycled pulp. It also ships in a new L-shaped box, which reduces the amount of space the product takes up in shipping.

Now, about that sound quality. Like the flagship LG S95QR, the S90QY has a unique, up-firing center channel that enhances clarity in dialogue as part of the immersive 5.1.3 experience. On top of that, a dozen pre-configured sound modes are on hand to dial-in sound optimized for sports, music and more.

Things to Consider Before Buying an LG Sound Bar

Here are the factors you should weigh before purchasing an LG sound bar: 

Speaker Configuration: The number of speakers in your surround system usually correlates with sound quality and price. The more of them, the higher the performance and cost. But what about those numbers? Let’s break it down. The first number corresponds to the number of traditional loudspeakers in the system, while the second denotes the presence and quantity of a subwoofer, which supplies the low frequencies. When you see a third number, as in 5.1.2, the last digit counts the number of upward-firing speakers. The sound from these speakers is designed to bounce off the ceiling and back toward listeners.

Onboard Processing: Manufacturers have gotten light years better at creating tone-shaping tools since the days of traditional high, mid, and low adjustments and graphic EQs. Now, everything from psychoacoustic adjustments and AI-assisted calibration are all part of the mix. Dig into them before you buy. 

Command and Control Functions: Many of us have gotten cozy with the idea of having computers listen to us throughout the day, so why not use their powers for good? As described above, some sound bars now give you the ability to pair a voice assistant to control specific functions of the system. Others offer remote pairing — and, hey, one less remote control to keep track of is a nice consolation prize.

FAQs

Q: Which LG soundbar should I buy?

Our inclination is to recommend the best in features and sound quality, but others may be willing to compromise some on features for a lower price point. While we can’t make up your mind for you, we’ve given you a good start here. Happy hunting.

Q: Do LG soundbars work better with LG TV?

In some cases, yes. A selection of LG sound bar models have functions that are enhanced by tapping into an LG display’s internal processor.

Q: Which soundbar has the best sound quality?

Beauty, of course,  is in the eye of the beholder. That said, having a superfluous number of speakers won’t hurt sound quality — and it’s likely to add considerable sonic benefits.

Q: What is the difference between a 2.1 and 5.1 soundbar?

The first number corresponds to the number of speakers, while the second corresponds to the number of subwoofers. So, a 2.1 system has left and right speakers plus a subwoofer, and the 5.1 has five speakers to one sub.

Final Thoughts

While the sound-bar field is a crowded market, the latest LG lineup makes a convincing pitch for its spectrum of system offerings. The LG S95QR easily rose to the top, though, with its stacked feature set and comprehensive array of surround speakers.

Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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