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LG’s 2021 soundbar line-up explained

LG has revealed its soundbar range for 2021, but what are the differences between each model? We’ve gone through each one to explain the details.

At the top of LG’s soundbar range is the full-fat wireless surround sound system, and as you precede down the range features are lopped off and the footprint is reduced. However, a number of features remain consistent. If you’re looking for a soundbar, specifically an LG one, here’s what you need to know.

A large chunk of the 2021 soundbars feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, so you can expect a sense of height and width to a soundbar’s presentation all the way down to the Eclair. 4K Dolby Vision pass-through is supported with compatible sources and TVs, while LG’s 2021 soundbars are compatible with the SPK-8 wireless speaker package, so you can purchase a single bar effort and upgrade to a wider surround sound presentation later.

Meridian Audio’s partnership with LG continues with its Meridian Horizon technology. Horizon serves to up-mix two-channel stereo into an immersive multi-channel presentation, irrespective of the listener’s position or location of the soundbar. A number of the models are Hi-Res Audio certified for lossless 24-bit/96kHz playback and in terms of connectivity eARC, USB playback and Bluetooth streaming are supported across a number of models.

New for 2021 is the AI Sound Pro feature, supported with compatible LG TV’s. It works by outputting audio to the soundbar via TV Sound Mode Share, which utilises the AI Sound Pro mode to optimise audio for more clarity and consistency. The sound modes on the soundbar now match those on the latest TVs too, so users can switch easily between the soundbar and the TV with the remote.

Multiple voice assistants are supported, adding a degree of flexibility for whatever digital ecosystem you’re in, plus there’s AirPlay 2 streaming from iOS devices.

Other smarts include AI Room Calibration, which uses spatial awareness technology to measure a room’s dimensions and then customises the soundbar’s audio to match the space. The aforementioned AI Sound Pro feature automatically adjusts the frequency range and sound field extension depending on what you’re watching (news, music or cinema, etc).

To reduce environmental impact and waste further, LG has adopted friendlier packaging that uses recycled molded pulp as well as less EPS foam and plastic than in previous years.

What does this mean for you? The piece of mind knowing that the flashy soundbar you’ve just bought contains fewer hazardous substances, emits less air pollutants with packaging that offers a high degree of recyclability. You’ll also notice that the packaging is shaped like an ‘L’ so more units can fit into fewer trucks, reducing CO2 emissions in the process.

At the summit of the LG soundbar range is the SP11RA, taking over the 2020’s SN11RG. The concept remains the same; 7.1.4 channels of action, a wireless subwoofer and rear / upward-firing speakers that expands the audio hemisphere. If you want an enveloping surround sound system with the convenience of wireless connectivity, the SP11RA is the LG soundbar to get.

  • £1499 / May 2021
  • 770W
  • 7.1.4 channels
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Meridian Horizon support
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Google / Alexa / AirPlay 2 / Chromecast / Spotify Connect
  • AI Room Calibration
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Wireless subwoofer

Next down from the SP11RA is the SP9YA. In terms of features the SP9YA stands up well to the SP11RA, but doesn’t feature rear upfiring speakers, so its performance is more front-heavy in terms of Atmos and DTS:X. It does, however, support the option of adding rear speakers with LG’s SPK-8 speaker package.

  • £899 / May 2021
  • 520W
  • 5.1.2 channels
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Meridian Horizon support
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Google / Alexa / AirPlay 2 / Chromecast / Spotify Connect
  • AI Room Calibration
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Wireless subwoofer

Below the SP9YA is the SP8YA. The profile of the soundbar is slightly more rounded but the design aesthetic remains the same with the grilles on the top plate to denote the up-firing speakers. Again, features match the bars above it, so the drop-off is in terms of channels and power: 3.1.2 channels and 440W, respectively. In terms of the channels, expect the width of the soundstage to not be as wide as the options above.

  • £599 / May 2021
  • 440W
  • 3.1.2 channels
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Meridian Horizon support
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Google / Alexa / AirPlay 2 / Chromecast / Spotify Connect
  • AI Room Calibration
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Supports SPK-8 rear speakers

Like the 2020 GX soundbar, the G1 is expressly designed for use the LG G1 TV. That means a very slim and sleek design for wall-mounting purposes. You also get a wireless subwoofer, but the G1 misses out on the Meridian Horizon up-mixing audio technology, AI Room Calibration and doesn’t bear any smarts in terms of Google / Alexa assistance, AirPlay 2 and the ilk. The G1 is only compatible with the 55-inch G1 OLED, and not the 65-inch version.

  • £TBC / July 2021
  • 360W
  • 3.1 channels
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Supports SPK-8 rear speakers

The SP7Y is where the design starts to diverge away from the looks established by the premium models. It ditches the sleek, glossy look for a fabric covering from textile masters Kvadrat, so this soundbar has more of a lifestyle appeal. There’s no upfiring speakers in this bar so you’ll have to settle for virtual surround sound where the SP7Y creates a hemisphere of sound through digital processing. This is a bar for those who aren’t concerned with flashy audio or smarts, but like their audio equipment to match the décor.

  • £399 / June 2021
  • 440W
  • 5.1 channels
  • DTS Virtual:X
  • Meridian Horizon support
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • HDMI ARC

The Eclair serves as the ‘tasty’ offering in the line-up for those in need of a compact, apartment-friendly soundbar. Despite its size it supports Atmos and DTS:X through 3.1.2 channels of sound. It does not support the wireless SPK-8 rear package and it also drops of the smarts and LG TV integration seen on higher models. The subwoofer is described as ‘low vibration’, so if you’re someone who doesn’t want the powerful low end to disrupt your neighbours and space is at a premium, that’s where the Eclair fits in.

  • £TBC / July 2021
  • 320W
  • 3.1.2 channels
  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Meridian Horizon
  • 4K Dolby Vision passthrough
  • ‘Apartment friendly’ wireless subwoofer

We come to the bottom of the announced LG range with the SP2. Again there’s a lifestyle aspect to the design, with a big change compared to previous years with the grey fabric finish and sand/wood coloured edges. Smarts are depleted, there’s no Hi-Res Audio or 4K Dolby Vision passthrough. This bar is a wooferless effort, which means the subwoofer is built-in.

  • £TBC / May 2021
  • 100W
  • 2.1 channels
  • HDMI ARC
  • 30W built-in woofer with passive radiators

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