The 3.1.2-channel LG SN8YG soundbar ticks lots of our favourite bins, together with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based sound, eARC help for lossless audio, room calibration, and built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant.
More importantly, the $800 SN8YG doesn’t skimp on sonic fundamentals, paying particular consideration to the mid-range audio that too lots of its opponents are likely to gloss over. While its flat sound signature received’t enchantment to all tastes and it lacks soundstage-boosting side-firing drives, the LG SN8YG’s full, wealthy audio high quality nails the fundamentals.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best soundbars, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must think about when buying.
The LG SN8YG is a 3.1.2-channel soundbar that features the usual left, heart, proper, and low-frequency channels (the “3.1”) in addition to two peak channels (the “.2” on the finish) for immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound. If you would like, you possibly can flip the 440-watt SN8YG right into a full-on 5.1.2 system by including LG’s optional SPK8-S wireless surround speaker kit. (LG didn’t provide the SPK8-S for testing.)
The SN8YG’s left, heart, and proper channels every have one 40 x 100mm woofer and one 20mm silk tweeter dome, whereas a pair of two.5-inch drivers provide the sound for the peak channels. Finally, the wi-fi subwoofer homes a 7-inch driver.
The SN8YG’s upfiring drivers work by bouncing pontificate your ceiling, an appealingly straightforward and cheap different to putting in peak audio system in your ceiling. There is a catch in terms of upfiring drivers for 3D audio codecs corresponding to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, nevertheless: you could have the best ceiling. A flat ceiling between 7.5 and 14 toes is right, in accordance with Dolby, whereas vaulted ceilings will mar the impact.
The foremost soundbar unit measures 41.7 x 2.2 x 4.7 inches, a comparatively low profile that shouldn’t block the underside fringe of most TVs when the soundbar is sitting in entrance. Even with my 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV, a notoriously low-slung set, the highest of the SN8YG’s housing barely grazed the C9’s backside edge, not sufficient to offer me any trouble (and I’m a stickler for something that blocks the margins of my TV display screen).
The design of the SN8YG’s foremost housing is just about equivalent to that of LG’s 2019 soundbars, together with the SL10RG that I reviewed last year. Unlike some soundbars which might be lined in cloth, the SN8YG’s naked shell exposes each the entrance speaker grille in addition to the highest round grilles for the dual upfiring drivers. While the brushed prime of the SN8YG seems to be fashionable, it additionally tends to replicate shiny photos from the TV, though I by no means discovered the reflections to be unduly distracting.
Getting the SN8YG up and operating was, for me a minimum of, a painless operation. You can place the soundbar instantly in entrance of your TV or mount it on a wall; mounting brackets, a screw equipment, and a mounting information are included. I opted to easily place the soundbar in entrance of my TV.
The SN8YG is barely completely different from different soundbars I’ve examined in that its energy wire is available in two segments, with a comparatively cumbersome energy brick sitting within the center. While inserting the facility brick is likely to be awkward relying on the configuration of your TV setup, it additionally signifies that the two-prong energy plug isn’t saddled with a wall wart that blocks close by retailers.
The wi-fi subwoofer (which isn’t actually wi-fi, provided that it comes with a five-foot energy wire) comes pre-paired with the soundbar, and it seamlessly linked to the principle soundbar unit as soon as I powered each of them up. There’s additionally a guide pairing course of ought to the automated pairing fail for some purpose (maybe attributable to interference from a close-by wi-fi router).
Wireless setup and auto room calibration
Like LG’s different wi-fi soundbars, the Google Assistant-enabled LG SN8YG makes use of the Google Home app to connect with your wi-fi community, and the setup course of labored seamlessly for me.
When you energy up the soundbar for the primary time, Google Assistant instantly chimes in, prompting you to put in and run the Google Home cell app. Once you do, a “Set up LG SN Series ThinQ Soundbar” banner seems close to the highest of the app’s house display screen. Tap the banner, and the Google Home app steps you thru the Wi-Fi connection course of, from figuring out the soundbar and choosing a “room” for it to coming into your Wi-Fi password and and organising Voice Match, the Google function that lets Google Assistant establish your voice. The app additionally installs any obligatory firmware updates. Within 5 minutes or so, the SN8YG was linked to my Wi-Fi community with none noticeable hiccups.
Thanks to its built-in Chromecast Audio help, you possibly can stream audio to the LG SN8YG by way of Wi-Fi from virtually any Chromecast-enabled app, and you may as well stream tunes on to the soundbar utilizing Bluetooth. I attempted each Chromecast and Bluetooth audio streaming throughout my testing and didn’t encounter any points. There’s no AirPlay 2 help, sadly.
Last however not least, it was time to run the LG SN8YG’s AI-powered room calibration function, which can be accessible on LG’s different “premium” 2020 soundbars. The SN8YG’s room calibration function (which should be run utilizing LG’s Wi-Fi Speaker cell app) tweaks the soundbar’s audio in accordance with the approximate form of the room, which it detects by emitting a collection of loud beeps, blips. and tones; the soundbar then measures how lengthy it takes for the sounds to bounce again into its built-in microphone array.
While some superior room calibration techniques contain taking readings from as much as 32 microphone positions, the LG SN8YG solely takes readings from its twin built-in microphones. The LG Wi-Fi Speaker app does allow you to evaluate what the SN8YG feels like earlier than and after calibration, however the loud, muffled clips of nature sounds that it makes use of for the comparability makes it tough to guage whether or not there’s any precise enchancment. Still, any room correction performance is a welcome addition to a soundbar on this worth vary.
Inputs and outputs
As far as connections to your TV go, the SN8YG comes with one HDMI enter (which helps 4K HDR passthrough), an HDMI-ARC port (which may both cross video by means of to your TV, or settle for audio out of your TV by way of the Audio Return Channel protocol), and an optical (Toslink) enter.
The best strategy to join the SN8YG to your TV is by way of the HDMI-ARC port, which lets you join your varied video sources to your TV’s HDMI inputs after which ship audio again all the way down to the soundbar. Making issues even higher is that the SN8YG helps eARC, an enhanced version of ARC that permits for lossless audio codecs corresponding to Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, though the soundbar’s eARC help received’t matter in case your TV isn’t suitable with eARC, too (and until your TV was manufactured up to now yr or so, it possible isn’t).
If your TV doesn’t help eARC however you continue to need to hear lossless high-resolution audio over the SN8YG (usually from a Blu-ray participant), you possibly can join a video supply on to the soundbar’s HDMI 2.0 enter. Because the SN8YG solely has a single HDMI enter (in addition to its HDMI-ARC port), you’ll have to manually swap video sources if in case you have a couple of (until you could have an A/V receiver or an HDMI switcher).
While a lot of the soundbars I’ve examined up to now include an HDMI cable, the LG SN8YG doesn’t, which appears fairly stingy given the SN8YG’s $800 price ticket.
Besides the video inputs, the LG SN8YG additionally comes geared up with a USB Type-A enter that (refreshingly) helps media playback, together with MP3, AAC, OGG, FLAC, and WAV recordsdata.
Integrated buttons, distant management, app management, and Google Assistant
Along the highest of the principle SN8YG soundbar housing are touch-sensitive buttons for energy, enter supply (confusingly labeled “F,” for “function”), play/pause, and microphone mute. There’s additionally a five-digit LED show on the entrance of the soundbar that tells you the presently chosen enter and the detected audio format, whereas 4 stable dots instantly under the readout glow white when the soundbar’s microphone are lively and amber once they’re muted (usually throughout audio playback).
The non-backlit distant included with the SN8YG comes with a outstanding quantity rocker within the top-left nook, a second rocker for enter supply (“F” once more), and mute, plus a Google Assistant button within the center. A Sound Effect button cycles by means of the soundbar’s varied audio modes (which I’ll cowl momentarily), whereas a Settings button helps you to modify the sound ranges for the subwoofer, the middle channel, and the peak channels, together with treble and bass.
Nine smaller buttons for playback, night time mode, and varied different capabilities sit beneath the Google Assistant button and its flanking controls. Curiously, the useful mic mute button on the distant for final yr’s LG SL10RG soundbar is (sadly) lacking from the SN8YG’s distant.
The aforementioned LG Wi-Fi Speaker app helps you to management all the foremost capabilities and settings for the SN8YG, together with sound modes, sound ranges for the assorted audio system, the sleep timer, and energy modes.
Even higher is the built-in Google Assistant, which helps you to use voice instructions to regulate the soundbar’s quantity, change sound modes, energy the soundbar on and off, and extra. You also can ask Google Assistant something that you possibly can on a Google Nest Mini, a Google Nest Hub Max, or another Google sensible gadgets, that means you possibly can ask in regards to the climate, examine your calendar, ask trivia questions, or management suitable sensible house gadgets.
Google Assistant will maintain an ear out for the “Hey Google” wake phrase when the soundbar is idle or in standby mode; throughout video or music playback, you’ll have to press the Google Assistant button on the distant previous to giving a voice command.
Annoyingly, the quantity of Google Assistant’s voice can get method too loud relying on the present quantity stage of the soundbar. There needs to be a strategy to cap the Assistant’s most quantity. (Continued on the next page.)