LG SP9YA Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 20, 2021 at 10:18 am
LG SP9YA Picture
8.0
Mixed Usage
8.2
Dialogue/TV Shows
8.2
Music
7.7
Movies
Channels
5.1.2

The LG SP9YA is a 5.1.2 soundbar that's the next generation of the LG SN9YG. It comes with some more features and EQ presets, including support for Apple AirPlay. There are also some features we don't test, like the 2021 LG TV AI Processor, which lets you sync the bar with compatible LG TVs for a more immersive sound. With its AI Room Calibration feature, it offers a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. It doesn't offer a very immersive surround performance, but you can also purchase satellite speakers separately.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

The LG SP9YA is great for mixed usage. With its room correction feature, it offers a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. It comes with lots of sound customization features, too, including bass and treble adjustments as well as EQ presets. However, while it supports Atmos and surround content, it doesn't offer a very immersive listening experience.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Room correction feature.
Cons
  • Poor surrounds performance.
8.2 Dialogue/TV Shows

The LG SP9YA is impressive for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its discrete center channel and balanced mid-range, voices are reproduced clearly and accurately. It comes with a dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices clear and crisp and an auto-volume mode to balance the volume level across different programs. There are many wireless playback options, too, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts from your phone to the bar.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Auto-volume mode.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
8.2 Music

The LG SP9YA is impressive for music. It comes with an AI Room Calibration feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the acoustic characteristics of your room. With this feature turned on, it has a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of music genres. It also comes with lots of sound customization features, including EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Room correction feature.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
7.7 Movies

The LG SP9YA is good for movies. Its neutral sound profile can reproduce dialogue clearly and accurately, and its extended low-bass helps you feel the deep rumble in action-packed scenes. Unfortunately, while it supports Dolby Atmos and surround content, it doesn't provide the most immersive listening experience since it lacks discrete speakers.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Room correction feature.
Cons
  • Poor surrounds performance.
  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 8.2 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 8.2 Music
  • 7.7 Movies
  1. Updated Aug 04, 2021: Added more information about auto-off and app device casting features.
  2. Updated May 20, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated May 17, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG SP9YA is a 5.1.2 soundbar from 2021 that's the next generation of the LG SN9YG. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content, 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-Q850A, the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers, and the LG SN10YG.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The LG SP9YA has a simple design. It's mostly plastic, with a metal grille that goes around the sides. On top, there are two round metal grilles, as well as the touch-sensitive controls.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is made of plastic, and 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 48.1" (122.2 cm)
Height 2.3" (5.8 cm)
Depth 5.8" (14.7 cm)

The LG SP9YA is a wide soundbar. It likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV. That said, it also 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 to the bar wirelessly, so you can place it anywhere in your room as long as it's connected to a power outlet.

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 and an opening for the inputs. There are also universal holes on the underside that let you mount the bar on the wall.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the sub has a plastic port, as well as the input for the power cable.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The LG SP9YA has an impressive build quality. The bar itself is mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. The metal grille around the sides helps to protect the drivers, too. While the sub is also made of plastic, unfortunately, 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)

  • Manual with mounting template
  • Optical cable
  • 2x mounting brackets
  • 2x screws
  • Power cable for subwoofer
  • Remote with batteries (2xAA)

Sound
8.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.26
Std. Err.
2.22 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The LG SP9YA has an impressive 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 neutral, balanced sound profile with a touch of extra punch and boom in the bass range. 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.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-1
Suggested Treble Setting
1
Slope
-0.06
Std. Err.
2.18 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

With its bass set to '-1' and its treble set to '1', this soundbar has a great stereo frequency response. Its sound profile is more neutral and balanced, making it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.14 dB

The LG SP9YA has a good stereo soundstage performance. The soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it sound wider than that. It also has very good focus, so sound objects like voices and footsteps seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location rather than a general area.

7.9
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
91.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.92 dB

The LG SP9YA has a very good stereo dynamics performance. It doesn't get as loud as some of the other bars we've tested, like the Samsung HW-Q850T. However, there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume, so it's suitable for turning up the volume at parties.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.65
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.19

The LG SP9YA has a decent 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. This may not be noticeable with real-life content, though.

7.7
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-1.47
Std. Err.
3.95 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
86.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.10
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
7.83

The LG SP9YA has a good center channel performance. This 5.1.2 setup comes with a discrete center channel, which helps to reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately in movies and TV shows. Its frequency response is also quite balanced in the mid-range, so voices are clear and present, though they may also sound a bit dark.

4.8
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
1.67
Std. Err.
7.19 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
92.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.85
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
7.18
7.1 Rears
No

The LG SP9YA has a poor surrounds performance. It uses side-firing speakers to create a phantom localization, so sound objects like voices and footsteps aren't as accurately localized in the soundstage. Audio can seem like it's coming from in front of you, rather than from speakers placed all around you.

5.2
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.12
Std. Err.
5.73 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
79.4 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
2.00
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.29

The LG SP9YA has a disappointing Atmos performance. It uses its two up-firing speakers to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you to create the illusion of height. However, the localization of objects can seem diffused, and it doesn't sound as real as down-firing speakers found with home theater setups.

9.8
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
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The LG SP9YA has an incredible selection of sound enhancement features. It comes with several EQ presets to help you customize its sound, including 'AI Sound Pro', 'Standard', 'Music', 'Cinema', 'Clear Voice', 'Sports', 'Game', and 'BassBlast'. The 'Cinema' preset doubles as a virtual surround feature advertised to help create a more 3D sound. You can also turn on the auto-volume and AI Room Calibration features and adjust the surround level using the app.

This soundbar is advertised to come with some sound enhancement features, which 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. However, you may need a subscription to access some of these services, like Tidal.

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 SP9YA comes with several physical inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port that lets you use the bar as a hub between different devices, and you can also plug in a USB port to playback audio. However, there isn't an AUX port, which can be disappointing if you want to connect older devices.

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 SP9YA has incredible audio format support over its HDMI ARC port. It supports Dolby Digital, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming services. You can also use it to playback lossless and object-based surround 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 SP9YA also has fantastic audio format support over its Full HDMI In port. It can play back all the formats we test for, including Dolby Digital, commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

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

The LG SP9YA also supports Dolby Digital and DTS content via Optical, which is useful for listeners who want to watch content from streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs.

7.5
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
82 ms
Optical
66 ms
Full HDMI In
75 ms

The LG SP9YA has a good latency performance. It has fairly low latency over Optical and Full HDMI In, so your audio and video are mostly in sync when you watch movies. However, you may notice a bit of a delay when watching videos over ARC. 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 has incredible wireless playback connectivity. It supports all common formats, letting you wirelessly stream audio from your mobile device to the bar over the connection you prefer.

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 SP9YA can passthrough the highest quality bandwidth signals. You can connect the bar to your TV and another device like a PC, and text on the screen appears clear and crisp.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly. You just need to plug it into a power outlet to get it to work.

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

There's a small display screen that shows the volume level and the input you're on. It also shows you when you change a setting using the remote or the app. However, it's a small screen, so you may need to wait for it to scroll through longer messages.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are touch-sensitive controls located on the top middle of the bar. You can use them to power the bar on/off, change the input, adjust the volume, play/pause your audio, and connect to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is simple and lets you control the bar's basic functions. Since it isn't a universal remote, 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 SP9YA doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. It supports Google Assistant and Alexa, but only when you connect the bar to another device that supports these features, like a Google Home or an Amazon Echo. 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 acts as a remote and lets you control all of the soundbar's settings. You can use it to turn the Dynamic Range Control and the auto-volume mode on and off, and also to use the dialogue control feature with DTS content. The app lets you control the AI Room Calibration feature. There's even an AV sync feature to help with video latency, but we don't test for this.

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 SP9YA goes into standby mode after fifteen minutes without an input signal from external devices. It also supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control its basic functions.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The LG SP9YA comes in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

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

Compared To Other Soundbars

The LG SP9YA is a 5.1.2 soundbar that you can upgrade with satellites, sold separately. It's the next generation of the LG SN9YG, and it comes with more features, including Apple AirPlay, more EQ presets, and the 2021 LG TV AI Processor. Like other soundbars in the SP lineup, it comes with built-in Meridian Technology, advertised to help with audio reproduction.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best 5.1 soundbars, and the best LG soundbars.

LG SP8YA

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.

Sonos Arc

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Arc or the LG SP9YA. The LG comes with a dedicated subwoofer that reproduces a more extended low-bass. Also, it comes with EQ presets for sound customization. However, the Sonos has better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. Also, it can be upgraded as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers.

LG SN9YG

The LG SP9YA is the upgraded version of the LG SN9YG, and it has a better overall performance. The SP9YA has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder. It also comes with more features, including more EQ presets and an LG TV AI Processor advertised to create a more immersive sound with compatible LG TVs. It supports Apple AirPlay too. That said, some users may prefer the SN9YG's built-in voice assistant support, while the SP9YA requires a third-party device to use the voice assistant.

Samsung HW-Q800A

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the 3.1.2 Samsung HW-Q800A or the 5.1.2 LG SP9YA. The LG comes with a room correction feature and more wireless playback options. It also uses side-firing speakers to create phantom localization for its surround channels, while the Samsung has to downmix surround content into stereo. The Samsung also comes with a graphic EQ, and it gets louder, albeit with more compression at max volume.

Samsung HW-Q900A

The Samsung HW-Q900A is a bit better soundbar for mixed usage than the LG SP9YA. The Samsung gets louder with less compression at max volume, and it has better center, surround, and Atmos performances. It also comes with built-in voice assistant support and a graphic EQ, unlike the LG. That said, the LG is better built with more wireless connectivity options.

Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is a better soundbar than the LG SP9YA. The Samsung is an 11.1.4 setup that comes with dedicated satellite speakers and offers better surround and Atmos performances. It gets louder, too, and it even comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization. That said, the 5.1.2 LG is better-built, and it supports more wireless playback options.

LG SP11RA

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the LG SP11RA or the LG SP9YA. The SP11RA is a 7.1.4 setup that comes with discrete satellite speakers. It's a better choice for movies since it offers better surround and Atmos performances. However, some listeners may prefer the SP9YA's more neutral default sound profile compared to the SP11RA's slightly bass-heavy out-of-the-box sound.

JBL Bar 9.1

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL Bar 9.1 or the LG SP9YA. The JBL has better soundstage, center, surround, and Atmos performances. However, the LG has a slightly more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it comes with more sound enhancement features, including dialogue enhancement and bass and treble adjustments.

LG SN8YG

The LG SP9YA is better than the LG SN8YG. The SP9YA is better-built, and it has better soundstage and surround performances. Unlike the SN8YG, it also supports Apple AirPlay. That said, the SN8YG has a better Atmos performance and built-in voice assistant support.

Samsung HW-Q700A

The LG SP9YA is better than the Samsung HW-Q700A. The LG is a 5.1.2 setup that reproduces a more extended low-bass. It supports more wireless playback options, and it comes with a room correction feature. It also has a better surrounds performance. However, the 3.1.2 Samsung comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization.

LG SN10YG

The LG SP9YA is a slightly better soundbar than the LG SN10YG. The SP9YA offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer over the SN10YG's more bass-heavy sound. Also, the SP9YA supports Apple AirPlay connectivity. That said, the SN10YG offers better surround and Atmos performances.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the LG SP9YA or the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module. The Bose is better built with discrete satellites. It has better soundstage, center, and surround performances, and it has built-in voice assistant support.  That said, only the LG supports Dolby Atmos content. It has more wireless playback options and a Full HDMI In port for high-quality passthrough.

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

The LG SP9YA is better than the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. The LG supports Dolby Atmos content, unlike the JBL. It also has a better soundstage and more sound enhancement features, like bass and treble adjustments as well as dialogue enhancement. That said, the JBL has a better surround performance.

Samsung HW-Q800T

The LG SP9YA is a bit better for mixed usage than the Samsung HW-Q800T. The LG is a 5.1.2 setup with better soundstage and surround performances. It supports more wireless playback options, and it comes with a few more sound enhancement features, such as room correction and auto-volume mode. That said, the 3.1.2 Samsung has a graphic EQ for sound customization, which some listeners may prefer.

Samsung HW-Q850A

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-Q850A or the LG SP9YA. The Samsung comes with discrete surround speakers that offer a better surrounds performance. It also comes with a graphic EQ and gets louder, albeit with more compression at max volume. The LG has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, a room correction feature, and supports Chromecast built-in.

LG SN11RG

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the LG SN11RG or the LG SP9YA. The SN11RG is a 7.1.4 setup that comes with dedicated satellites and offers a better surrounds performance. Some users may prefer its bass-heavy default sound profile compared to the SP9YA's more neutral default sound profile. The SP9YA is a 5.1.2 setup that supports Apple AirPlay.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a bit better for mixed usage than the LG SP9YA. The Vizio comes with discrete satellites, and it has a better surrounds performance. It also has better stereo soundstage and center channel performances. That said, the LG is better built with more wireless playback options. It also comes with room correction, unlike the Vizio.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

The LG SP9YA is better than the standalone Bose Smart Soundbar 900. The LG comes with a dedicated sub, which helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has more sound enhancement features, too. Unlike the Bose, it has DTS support and a Full HDMI In port for high-quality passthrough. That said, the Bose is better built with better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. You can also upgrade it with a sub and satellites for better performance.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The LG SP9YA is better than the standalone Bose Smart Soundbar 700. The LG comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. Unlike the Bose, it supports Atmos content, and it has a Full HDMI In port for high quality passthrough. It also comes with more sound enhancement features like EQ presets. However, the Bose is better-built with a better soundstage. It also has built-in voice assistant capabilities. You can even upgrade it to the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module for a better performance.

Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

The Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers is a better soundbar than the LG SP9YA. The Sonos comes with discrete surround speakers that offer a better surrounds performance. It's also better-built, with better soundstage and Atmos performances. It gets louder, too, though it has more compression at max volume. However, the LG has a more neutral sound out-of-the-box, and it comes with EQ presets, a Full HDMI In port, and more wireless playback options.

Samsung HW-Q950T

The Samsung HW-Q950T is a 9.1.4 setup that's better than the 5.1.2 LG SP9YA. The Samsung comes with discrete satellites that offer a better surrounds performance. Also, it gets louder, and it comes with a graphic EQ. However, the LG is better built, and it has room correction and more wireless playback support.

Vizio Elevate

The Vizio Elevate is a bit better for mixed usage than the LG SP9YA. The Vizio comes with discrete satellite speakers, and it offers better soundstage, center, surround, and Atmos performances. It also has a unique design with sides that rotate upwards to enhance its soundstage, which some users may prefer. That said, the LG has a few more sound enhancement features like room correction, and it supports Apple AirPlay.

Samsung HW-Q900T

The LG SP9YA is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-Q900T. The LG is a 5.1.2 setup that's better-built and supports more wireless playback options. Also, it comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction and auto-volume. However, the 7.1.2 Samsung has a graphic EQ, and it gets louder, albeit with more compression.

+ Show more

Discussions