Sound bars are a simple way to improve the sound of our television. They do not require complicated installations by passing cable throughout the room. We simply place the sound bar in front of the TV and connect the subwoofer to the light (if the bar includes it). But, as is often the case in everything, we have sound bars of many kinds. From the very cheap ones that little or nothing improve the TV speakers, to the high-end models that even come with rear speakers. The LG SL8YG that I have had the opportunity to test could be considered high-end, although it is not as expensive as other competing models.
And we're talking about a sound bar that features 3.1.2 a system of channels and supports DTS and Dolby Atmos: X . With a really beautiful design, the LG SL8YG also allows us to listen to Hi-Res music or do it from the most popular streaming applications thanks to the Chromecast function. In addition, it has an HDMI input and output that supports the passing of Dolby Vision signals. We can even control it with our voice, since it has the integrated Google Assistant. Sounds good right? Well that is precisely what I have wanted to verify during the two weeks that I have been testing the LG SL8YG.
|Speakers||3.1.2 channels (3 front speakers + subwoofer + 2 height channels)|
|Surround technology||Dolby Atmos and DTS: X|
|Rear speakers||Compatible with SPK8-S speakers (not included)|
|Connections||One HDMI input and one output, one optical input|
|4K pass-through||Yes, Dolby Vision compatible|
|Supported audio formats||Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, DD +, Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, DTS, LPCM|
|Wireless connectivity||WiFi and Bluetooth|
|Subwoofer||Yes, wireless (included)|
|Others||Standard, Music, Bass Blast, Cinema, Night and Adaptive mode|
|Dimensions||Soundbar: 106 x 5.7 x 11.9 cm (W x H x D)|
Subwoofer: 22.1 x 39 x 31.3 cm (W x H x D)
|Price||600 euros (official price)|
A slim soundbar with a premium finish
Since we took the LG SL8YG out of its box we see that we are facing a premium sound bar. In addition to a large subwoofer, we find a sound bar with a brushed aluminum upper area . The front area and the sides are covered by a curved metal grid around the edges and it looks really nice.
On the front, under the aforementioned grille, it has a small 15-character LED display right in the center. The screen shows us which source we have selected, if we are playing in Dolby Atmos (the rest of the formats do not appear), which menu item we have chosen and, of course, the volume level when we press the corresponding button.
Although the upper part of the bar is metallic, we have two circles at the ends of metallic acoustic mesh . This is because the bar has two channels in height, located in this area.
Also at the top we have the few buttons that the LG SL8YG has. They are touch controls and from them we can switch the bar on and off, change the source, control the volume, pause / resume playback, deactivate the microphone and call the Google Assistant.
As for the rear, it doesn't have too much mystery. The connectors are tucked into a small square cutout so that we do not have problems with the cables. The bar has an HDMI input and output, an optical input and a USB port . Nothing else.
The HDMI input supports Pass Through of 4K HDR signals with Dolby Vision . And the output has ARC technology to send the sound from the TV with just one cable. Of course, it is not compatible with eARC. Considering its price and the type of audience it is aimed at, I think LG should have included at least two HDMI inputs.
The soundbar is 106 centimeters long , so it will suit 49-inch TVs and up. It is only 5.7 centimeters high , so as soon as the TV stand raises the panel a little, we should have no problem putting it in front of the TV. If we want to hang it there is no problem, since the LG SL8YG includes the wall brackets.
Along with the bar we receive a wireless subwoofer . This is 22.1 cm wide and 39 cm high , so we can place it comfortably anywhere in the room. Mind you, it is an active subwoofer, so it needs to be connected to power.
The subwoofer is black and is made of wood. It has an acoustic cloth that covers the front and the two sides , although in the latter there are no speakers and they have a wooden plank under the cloth. The upper part is made of wood, while in the back we have the usual exit port.
Under the acoustic fabric we have a 7-inch speaker driven by an amplifier that offers 220W of power . According to LG, its frequency response ranges from 35Hz to 160Hz, with the soundbar taking over frequencies up to 40kHz (± 3dB).
Finally comment that, although they are not included, the LG SL8YG is compatible with the SPK8-S wireless speakers . If we decide to buy them we will have a 5.1.2 system, increasing the power by 70W more and getting real surround speakers.
Considering the design, it is worth reviewing what the LG SL8YG offers us on a technical level. We are facing a soundbar that has 3.1.2 channels (three front channels, a subwoofer channel and two upper channels). The upper channels are based on speaker drivers aimed at the ceiling that bounce the sound back to the listener. So the flatter and closer the roof is, the more effective they will be . In addition, we can expand the system to get 5.1.2 channels with the commented optional surround speakers.
Inside the bar we have a total of eight controllers. Each of the three front channels features a 0.8-inch silk dome tweeter and a 1.6 x 3.9-inch woofer . On the other hand, it has two 2.5-inch drivers for the top channels . The left and right speakers offer a power of 50W each, while the center and top speakers have 40W each. As we will see later, I think it would have been more appropriate to place a center channel with the same power as the left and right channels. The reason is that this channel is responsible for reproducing most of the dialogue, thus becoming the most important channel of all.
In terms of formats, the LG SL8YG supports PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS . In addition, it also supports digital audio up to 96 kHz / 24-bit in WAV and FLAC formats . In other words, it is compatible with practically any current format.
To reproduce the content, the LG SL8YG offers us several sound modes: Standard, Music, Bass Blast, Cinema, Night and Adaptive mode . Adaptive mode analyzes sound and modifies settings in real time to always deliver the highest quality. I have tried it and it only convinces me to watch television, with news or entertainment programs.
The LG SL8YG offers a surround function that mixes all input signals, regardless of your native channel settings . This feature has been developed by Meridian, but can be disabled. If we do, the bar will reproduce the input signals as close to the original channel layout, but only in ASC, Standard and Music modes. In Cine and Bass Blast modes, everything is mixed at 3.1.2 channels, even with the surround function disabled. All these modes are disabled when we play soundtracks in Dolby Atmos.
Through the HDMI input that the bar includes, we can reproduce all the commented formats. However, if we use the return channel (ARC) we will have to settle for the Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Atmos formats in their streaming version . By not having eARC we will not be able to transmit HD audio from the TV to the sound bar.
To all the aforementioned we must add the ability to play via USB memory, via WiFi, via Bluetooth and even via Chromecast . In addition, the LG SL8YG offers voice control via the Google Assistant . As you can see, it is a really complete soundbar.
Born to play Dolby Atmos soundtracks
I have done several tests with the LG SL8YG during the month that I have been able to enjoy it and I have verified two things. On the one hand, the soundbar does a great job with the height channels if we are close to it, around 1.5-2 meters . If our listening position is further away we will lose part of the surround effect.
On the other hand, it is a soundbar born to play soundtracks in Dolby Atmos or DTS: X . It is with this format that this LG sound bar looks the most. I do not mean to say that it is not a good soundbar to play tracks in other formats, but it is with Dolby Atmos that it takes its full potential.
Still, the LG SL8YG produces a very good sound with the vast majority of material . Of course, in my opinion the best mode for everything is the Cinema mode, since it offers a more balanced sound. The only "but" I can put is that, as it comes from the factory, the subwoofer "eats up" the sound a bit and the voices do not sound clear. So the ideal is to lower the volume of the subwoofer and slightly raise the center, since for most content we will appreciate it.
Conclusions and price
The LG SL8YG is a really complete soundbar . With Dolby Atmos tracks, and especially if we are close to the bar, we will have a very good surround sound field with a clean and clear sound. We will also enjoy soundtracks that are not recorded in this format, but I recommend you make a small configuration and adjust the volume of the channels to your liking. If you don't, you will notice an excessively "congested" sound.
To its performance as a sound bar for cinema we must add its functions as a smart and wireless speaker. It has a WiFi connection, Bluetooth, Chromecast and the integrated Google Assistant .
As aspects that we could call negative, I would put the incorporation of a single HDMI input and that the HDMI output is not eARC . But otherwise, I think this is a really interesting soundbar.
The LG SL8YG is for sale in Spain with an official price of around 600 euros . However, I have reviewed some of the best known online stores and you can find it with a much more adjusted price. And if you are thinking of getting this soundbar, I would recommend also purchasing the SPK8-S surround speakers , since they are not excessively priced and we can gain a lot in terms of surround sound presence.