LG SP8YA Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 17, 2021 at 09:49 am
LG SP8YA Picture
7.9
Mixed Usage
8.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
8.0
Music
7.6
Movies
Channels
3.1.2

The LG SP8YA is a 3.1.2 setup from 2021. It's the next generation of the LG SN8YG, and it comes with more EQ presets and a 2021 LG TV AI Processor that's advertised to sync up the bar with the speakers from compatible LG TVs for a more immersive sound, though we don't test for this feature. Also, its AI Room Calibration feature can automatically adjust audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of the room you're listening in. With this feature, it has a bass-heavy sound profile that adds some thump and punch to your audio. It can also support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content.

Our Verdict

7.9 Mixed Usage

The LG SP8YA is very good for mixed usage. With its room correction feature turned on, it offers a bass-heavy sound profile that adds extra thump and punch to your audio, so you feel the rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. There are also lots of sound customization features available, and it supports Dolby Atmos content. However, it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound very immersive.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
  • Lots of wireless playback options.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround into stereo.
8.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

The LG SP8YA is great for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel, it can reproduce clear and accurate dialogue. There's also a dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices clear and crisp and an auto-volume mode to help balance the volume level between different programs. It also offers lots of wireless playback options, so you can stream podcasts and audiobooks from your mobile device to the bar.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Lots of wireless playback options.
Cons
  • Some distortion at max volume.
8.0 Music

The LG SP8YA is great for music. It comes with an AI Room Calibration feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the space you're listening in. With this feature on, it has a bass-heavy sound profile that adds extra thump and punch to your audio. The rest of the range is still neutral enough to be suitable for lots of different music genres. There are also bass and treble adjustments as well as EQ presets to help you customize its sound.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
7.6 Movies

The LG SP8YA is good for movies. It gets loud, and its bass-heavy sound profile helps you feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed movie scenes. Thanks to its up-firing speakers, it supports Dolby Atmos content as well as DTS:X content. Unfortunately, it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound very immersive.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround into stereo.
  • 7.9 Mixed Usage
  • 8.3 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 8.0 Music
  • 7.6 Movies
  1. Updated Aug 04, 2021: Added more information about auto-off and app device casting features.
  2. Updated May 17, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated May 13, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG SP8YA is a 2021 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. It's the next generation of the LG SN8YG from 2020. It supports Alexa and Google Assistant when paired with third-party devices, and its built-in Meridian Technology is advertised to help with audio reproduction. The manufacturer also says that it comes with a 2021 LG TV AI Processor, which lets you sync up your audio with compatible LG TVs for a more immersive sound, though we don't test for this. Its main competitors include the Samsung HW-Q800A, the LG SN8YG, and the Samsung HW-Q600A.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The LG SP8YA is a simple soundbar with a similar design to the LG SN8YG. It's mostly made of plastic, with metal grilles covering the front of the bar and the up-firing speakers on top of the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is made of plastic. There's fabric covering three sides.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't come with satellites, but you can purchase LG SPK8 rear speakers separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 41.7" (106.0 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.6 cm)
Depth 4.7" (12.0 cm)

The LG SP8YA soundbar is fairly wide, so it likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV. However, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 8.7" (22.1 cm)
Height 15.4" (39.0 cm)
Depth 12.3" (31.2 cm)

The sub is about the size of an average desktop computer. It connects wirelessly to the bar, so you have some flexibility in where you place it in your room.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has an input for the power cable as well as an opening for the inputs. There are also universal holes on the underside, so you can wall-mount the bar.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the sub has a plastic port. There's also an input for the power cable.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The LG SP8YA soundbar has a good build quality. The bar is mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. The metal grilles help to protect the drivers, too. The sub is also high-quality plastic; however, the fabric covering seems like it could rip or get dirty easily.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Optical cable
  • 2x power cables
  • Adapter for the soundbar
  • Mounting brackets with screws
  • Remote with battery
  • Manual with mounting template

Sound
8.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.58
Std. Err.
3.43 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
31.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The LG SP8YA soundbar has a great stereo frequency response. It comes with a room correction feature called AI Room Calibration that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the room you're listening in. With this feature turned on, it has a bass-heavy sound profile that adds extra thump and punch to your audio, so you feel the rumbles in action-packed movies and bass-heavy music. The rest of the range is fairly balanced, making it suitable for dialogue-centric content like podcasts and TV shows. However, since room correction relies on the acoustic capacities of your room, our results may be unique to our testing room. There are also bass and treble adjustments as well as some EQ presets to help you customize its sound.

8.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.58
Std. Err.
3.43 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
31.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

We tested this soundbar with several different bass and treble calibration settings, but none of them brought the slope of its stereo frequency response closer to zero. As a result, we recommend its default settings if you prefer a more neutral sound.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.15 dB

The LG SP8YA soundbar has a decent stereo soundstage performance. The soundstage is perceived to be a little bit wider than the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it sound wider than that. The focus, however, is just decent. Objects like voices and footsteps seem to come from a more general area rather than from an accurate, pinpoint location. For a soundbar with a better soundstage performance, check out the LG SP7Y.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
93.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.19 dB

The LG SP8YA has a great stereo dynamics performance. It gets pretty loud, and there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume. As a result, it's suitable for turning up the volume for parties or listening in large rooms.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.53
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.59

The LG SP8YA has a satisfactory THD performance. At normal listening volumes, the amount of distortion falls within good limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. At max volume, there's a jump in THD, especially in the bass to mid-range. This may not be noticeable with real-life content, though.

8.5
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.13
Std. Err.
2.11 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.63
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.63

The LG SP8YA soundbar has an amazing center channel performance. This 3.1.2 setup comes with a dedicated center channel, which helps to reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately in movies and TV shows. Its frequency response is quite balanced, too, especially in the mid-range, so voices are reproduced clearly and with detail.

4.2
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-0.64
Std. Err.
3.44 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
93.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.47
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.53
7.1 Rears
No

The LG SP8YA has a poor surrounds performance. It has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, so sound objects like voices and footsteps aren't as accurately localized in the soundstage. Audio seems like it's coming from in front of you rather than from speakers placed all around you.

5.6
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.43
Std. Err.
5.06 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
81.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.01
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.29

The LG SP8YA has a middling Atmos performance. It uses two up-firing speakers on the bar to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you, which gives the illusion of height. However, the localization of objects can sound diffused and not as real as down-firing speakers found with home theater setups.

9.4
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Yes
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The LG SP8YA has an incredible selection of sound enhancement features. Unlike the LG SPD7Y, it has the AI Room Calibration feature, which automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of the room you're listening in. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize it using the bass and treble adjustments. There are also some EQ presets: 'Standard', 'Bass Blast', 'AI Sound Pro', 'Cinema', 'Sports', 'Game', 'Clear Voice', and 'Music'. The 'Cinema' preset doubles as a virtual surround feature, which helps to create a more 3D sound.

This soundbar is also advertised to come with some sound enhancement features that we don't test. The manufacturer says it comes with the 2021 LG TV AI Processor, which helps sync up the bar with the speakers on compatible LG TVs to help create a more immersive listening experience. It also supports Dolby Atmos Music, which enhances music on compatible services like Amazon, Tidal, and Blu-ray Music.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The LG SP8YA comes with several inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port, which lets you use the bar as a hub between different devices. However, it lacks an AUX port, so you can't plug in older devices to playback audio.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
Yes
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Yes
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The LG SP8YA has fantastic audio format support over its HDMI ARC port. It supports Dolby Digital and DTS, which are commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming services. Also, it supports lossless surround formats and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
Yes

The LG SP8YA also has incredible audio format support via Full HDMI In. It can play Dolby Digital and DTS content, which are common formats on Blu-rays and streaming platforms.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

This soundbar also supports Dolby Digital and DTS via Optical, which is useful if you like watching Blu-ray discs and content from streaming platforms.

7.5
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
74 ms
Optical
61 ms
Full HDMI In
98 ms

The LG SP8YA has a good latency performance. It has fairly low latency via ARC and Optical, so your audio and video are mostly in sync. However, you may notice a bit of a delay when watching content via Full HDMI In. That said, some apps and some TVs compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

10
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes

This soundbar supports all common wireless playback formats, so you can wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The LG SP8YA can passthrough the highest quality bandwidth signals. If you connect the bar to your TV and another device like a PC, text on the screen appears clear and crisp.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly. You only need to plug it into an outlet to get it to work.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The LG SP8YA has a small display screen behind the metal grille. It shows you the input you're on and the volume level. Also, it shows you when you adjust a setting.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On the top middle of the bar, there are several controls. You can power the bar on/off, change the input, adjust the volume, play/pause audio, and set up Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is fairly simple and lets you control the bar's basic functions. However, it isn't a universal remote, so you can't use it to control your TV.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No

The LG SP8YA doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. While it supports Google Assistant and Alexa, you need to connect the bar to another device that supports these features, like a Google Home or an Amazon Echo, to get it to work. Since this requires purchasing a third-party device, we don't test for it.

Additional Features
App
App Name LG Sound Bar
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts As A Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Yes

Update 08/04/2021: We added more information to mention that you can only cast files when a USB thumb drive is plugged into the soundbar. A window appears on the app that lets you see the list on songs on the thumb drive.

The LG Sound Bar app gives you access to all of the bar's settings. You can customize the bar's sound using the EQ presets as well as the bass and treble adjustments. The 'Dynamic Range Control' helps balance the volume level between different programs, and the 'Night Time' feature lowers the volume of your programs. You can also access the AI Room Calibration feature.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

Update 08/04/2021:Added more information to the text about the auto-off feature.

The LG SP8YA automatically turns off after 15 minutes without activity when it's not connected to an external device. It also supports HDMI CEC, which lets you control the basic functions of the bar with your TV remote.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The LG SP8YA soundbar comes in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The LG SP8YA is a 3.1.2 soundbar that's the newer generation of the LG SN8YG. Unlike its predecessor, it comes with more EQ presets as well as an LG TV AI Processor to help create a more immersive sound with compatible LG TVs, though we don't test for this. It has lots of sound enhancement features, and it also supports Dolby Atmos Music. While it supports Alexa and Google Assistant, you need to purchase a third-party device to operate the voice assistants with the soundbar.

See our recommendations for the best LG soundbars, the best soundbars with a subwoofer, and the best soundbars.

LG SP9YA

The LG SP9YA is a 5.1.2 soundbar that offers better performance than the 3.1.2 LG SP8YA. The SP9YA is better built, with a better soundstage performance. Also, thanks to its side-firing speakers, it doesn't have to downmix surround content into stereo to play it.

LG SN8YG

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the LG SN8YG. The SP8YA is the next generation of the SN8YG, and it comes with more EQ presets and supports Apple AirPlay. It also gets louder with less compression at max volume. However, while the SN8YG has built-in Google Assistant, the SP8YA requires a third-party device for its voice assistant support.

Samsung HW-Q700A

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the LG SP8YA or the Samsung HW-Q700A. The LG has a more extended low-bass out-of-the-box, with more wireless playback options and a room correction feature. However, the Samsung is better built, with a better soundstage performance and a graphic EQ for sound customization.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800A is a better soundbar than the LG SP8YA. The Samsung is better-built with a better soundstage performance. It gets louder, though it has more compression at max volume, and it comes with a graphic EQ. However, the LG comes with a room correction feature and Chromecast built-in.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the LG SP8YA. The Sonos is better-built, with better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. However, the LG comes with a Full HDMI In port and a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. That said, you can upgrade the Sonos as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers.

Sonos Beam

The LG SP8YA is better than the Sonos Beam. The LG comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also has a better surround performance, more sound enhancement features, and more wireless playback options. Unlike the Sonos, it also supports Dolby Atmos content. That said, the Sonos is better-built, more compact, and offers a better soundstage. Unlike the LG, it also has built-in voice assistant support.

LG SPD7Y

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the LG SPD7Y. The SP8YA has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it also reproduces a more extended low-bass. It comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction and some features that we don't test for like the LG AI TV Processor. It also supports more wireless playback options than the SPD7Y.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q600A. The LG has a more extended low-bass, and it comes with a room correction feature. It also supports more wireless playback features and has a companion app. However, the Samsung is better-built and comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization.

Samsung HW-Q800T

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-Q800T or the LG SP8YA. The Samsung is better built with a graphic EQ for sound customization. However, the LG has more sound enhancement features like room correction and auto-volume, as well as more wireless playback options.

LG SP7Y

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the LG SP7Y. The SP8YA is a 3.1.2 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content and comes with a room correction feature. It reproduces a more extended low-bass and offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. It also supports more wireless playback options. That said, the 5.1 SP7Y has better soundstage and surround performances.

LG SN9YG

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the 5.1.2 LG SN9YG or the 3.1.2 LG SP8YA. The SN9YG is better built, and it can play surround content without downmixing it to stereo. However, the SP8YA has more wireless playback options and it can get louder, albeit with more compression at max volume.

Sony HT-G700

The LG SP8YA is better than the Sony HT-G700. The LG has a better soundstage performance and it supports more wireless playback options. Also, it reproduces a more extended low-bass. It even comes with more sound enhancement features, such as room correction.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is better than the LG SP8YA. The Vizio is a 5.1.2 setup that comes with discrete satellite speakers, so it offers a better surround performance. It also has a better stereo soundstage. That said, the 3.1.2 LG has more wireless playback options as well as a room correction feature.

Samsung HW-Q70T

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q70T. The LG has a more extended low-bass to help you feel the deep thump and rumble in audio. It also comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction and auto-volume, and more wireless playback options. However, the Samsung is better-built and comes with a graphic EQ.

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

The LG SP8YA is better than the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. The LG has a better soundstage and more sound enhancement features. It also supports Dolby Atmos content, unlike the JBL. That said, the JBL is better-built, and it has a better surrounds performance.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The LG SP8YA is better than the standalone Bose Smart Soundbar 700. The LG is a 3.1.2 setup that supports Dolby Atmos content. It comes with a dedicated sub, so it can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also offers more sound enhancement features, like EQ presets, and its Full HDMI In port supports high quality passthrough. That said, the Bose is better-built with a better soundstage. You can also upgrade it as the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module for a better performance.

Vizio M Series M51ax-J6

The Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 is marginally better for mixed usage than the LG SP8YA. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that comes with discrete satellites, and it offers a better surrounds performance. That said, the 3.1.2 LG is better built with more wireless playback support. It also has a room correction feature, unlike the Vizio.

Sony HT-Z9F

The LG SP8YA is better than the Sony HT-Z9F. The LG reproduces a more extended low-bass, so you feel more thump and rumble in your audio. It also has a better Atmos performance, as well as more sound enhancement features like room correction. That said, the Sony is better-built.

Vizio M Series M51a-H6

The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is better than the LG SP8YA. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup with discrete satellites, so it offers a better surrounds performance. However, the 3.1.2 LG is better built with more wireless playback options. Unlike the Vizio, it also has room correction.

Samsung HW-Q900A

The Samsung HW-Q900A is better than the LG SP8YA. The Samsung is a 7.1.2 setup that has better soundstage and surround performances. It gets louder, and it has built-in voice assistant support. It even comes with more sound enhancement features, such as a graphic EQ.

LG SN6Y

The LG SP8YA is better than the LG SN6Y. The SP8YA supports Dolby Atmos content, and it offers more wireless playback options. It also reproduces a more extended low-bass. There are more sound enhancement features to choose from, too, including a room correction mode.

LG GX Soundbar

The LG SP8YA is a better soundbar than the LG GX Soundbar. The SP8YA is better-built with a more extended low-bass. It offers room correction and more wireless playback options. Unlike the GX, it doesn't have to downmix Atmos content to play it. However, the GX gets louder, and it has a better soundstage performance.

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