LG SP11RA review: Can this premiere soundbar withstand the competition?

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(Pocket-lint) - The LG SP11RA is the company's flagship soundbar for 2021, which builds connected the earlier SN11RG by adding AirPlay 2 and a mode that utilises the processing successful LG's latest TVs.

All the erstwhile features are besides contiguous and correct, meaning a 7.1.4-channel talker layout including wireless rear speakers with built-in upward-firing drivers. There's besides Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio decoding, fancy AI country correction for optimum sound, and more. 

But there's a small occupation erstwhile it comes to compatibility with Dolby Atmos passthrough for immoderate players. Does that clasp the SP11RA backmost from its different immersive sonic greatness?

Design

  • Soundbar: 1443 x 63 x 146mm; 7.2kg
  • Subwoofer: 221 x 390 x 313mm; 7.8kg
  • Rear speakers: 130 x 212 x 191mm; 5.2kg

The LG SP11RA uses precisely the aforesaid furniture arsenic the SN11RG, with the aforesaid sleek frame, curved corners and debased form-factor that shouldn't artifact your TV's screen. The width volition accommodate larger surface sizes, and there's a prime of placing the 'bar successful beforehand of your TV, oregon wall-mounting it utilizing the included template and dedicated brackets.

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The plan aesthetic is minimalist, with a coagulated physique quality, and a acheronian grey finish. There's a full-length wrap-around perforated metallic grille hiding the front- and side-firing speakers, a brushed aluminium apical sheet with a brace of circular metallic grilles for the upward-firers, and a 5 quality show connected the beforehand right.

The included wireless progressive subwoofer uses a 7-inch front-firing operator with a rear port, it's well-made and finished to lucifer the main unit. The aforesaid goes for the compact rear speakers, which see upward-firing drivers, and travel with mounting brackets. The sub and rears should brace automatically erstwhile archetypal turned connected – though if not, there's a fastener for manual pairing.

Connections and control

  • 2x HDMI input; HDMI output with eARC
  • Optical integer audio input; USB
  • Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz); Bluetooth 5.0; Chromecast; AirPlay 2

The LG SP11RA sports a brace of HDMI inputs, an HDMI output with eARC, a USB port, and an optical integer audio input. In presumption of wireless connections there's a prime of built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, positive Chromecast and AirPlay 2 – with the past of these being caller for 2021.

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All the HDMI ports tin walk 4K/60p and HDCP 2.3, positive there's enactment for ALLM, VRR, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. And if that's getting a spot acronym dense for you past travel the explainer links below, which assistance breakdown wherefore these adaptable refresh complaint and precocious dynamic scope passthrough features matter.

While the deficiency of HDR10+ passthrough isn't a surprise, the SP11 suffered compatibility issues during our investigating erstwhile it came to Dolby Vision. We were incapable to walk DV contented utilizing a Panasonic 4K disc player, though determination were nary issues with an LG spinner and the Apple TV.

There are plentifulness of power options, including touch-sensitive buttons connected the apical of the main portion for powerfulness on/off, input, measurement up/down, play/pause, and pairing Bluetooth devices.

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The abstracted distant has been fixed a overmuch needed makeover, and present looks much similar the glossy achromatic zappers included with LG's TVs. The caller signifier is simply a definite improvement; it's bigger, much comfy to hold, and easier to usage with 1 hand. The fastener layout has besides been simplified, truthful it's much intuitive with on/off astatine the top, and the volume, mute and input prime keys underneath. There's besides a fastener for pairing Bluetooth devices, navigation controls, and keys for accessing the dependable modes and settings menus.

LG besides offers an effectual soundbar app (for iOS and Android devices), which provides entree to each the controls recovered connected the distant and a fewer other ones: Dynamic Range Control, Auto Volume Leveller, and AI country correction. Those connecting via HDMI-CEC tin besides usage the TV distant to set the volume, positive there's constricted dependable power via Amazon Alexa oregon Google Assistant.

Features

  • 7.1.4-channel configuration
  • 770W of built-in amplification
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding
  • Meridian Technology
  • AI country correction
  • Hi-res audio (192kHz/24-bit)
  • TV Sound Mode Share

The LG SP11RA doesn't disagree hugely from the earlier SN11RG exemplary erstwhile it comes to the features, which are inactive headlined by the fully-immersive 7.1.4-channel talker layout. This is comprised of front-firing near and close speakers, a centre channel, side-firing width drivers, upward-firing beforehand tallness channels, wireless rear speakers with up-firing drivers, and a wireless subwoofer.

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As with erstwhile generations the 2 forward-firing speakers and the centre transmission are each composed of a 40x100mm woofer and 20mm silk dome tweeter, portion the rear speakers each usage a 40x100mm woofer. The 4 upward-firing speakers astatine the beforehand and rear usage 64mm woofers, and the bass reflex subwoofer uses a 178mm (or 7-inch) driver.

There's plentifulness of powerfulness to thrust each these speakers, with 50W of built-in amplification for each of the front, centre, side, rear and upward-firing channels, positive 220W for the subwoofer – resulting successful an awesome 770W of grunt. The SP11 surely has nary occupation delivering a room-filing soundstage with standard and measurement to spare. 

The soundbar decodes the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio formats, producing a three-dimensional hemisphere of dependable that genuinely immerses. It tin besides grip each the different Dolby and DTS variants, on with LPCM, and adjacent usage upscaling algorithms to marque afloat usage of each those speakers with non-immersive soundtracks.

The AI country correction diagnostic utilises 2 mics built into the soundbar to measurement assorted trial tones to find the acoustic properties of your room. The algorithms past configure the soundbar to compensate for the antagonistic aspects of the acoustic environment, improving the wide sonic performance, and producing distortion-free audio.

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New this twelvemonth is TV Sound Mode Share, which allows the SP11 to instrumentality vantage of the upgraded 2021 Alpha 9 AI Processor successful LG's newer TVs to nutrient amended audio. The soundbar accesses the TV's accrued processing power, allowing the AI Sound Pro mode to dependable clearer and much accordant erstwhile analysing audio signals on-the-fly. There are a fig of different dependable modes, too, each of which are reasonably self-explanatory, including Standard, Music, Movie, and Bass Blast.

In presumption of record support, there's precocious solution audio with a 192kHz/24-bit DAC and enactment for MP3, WAV, AAC/AAC+, AIFF, OGG, and FLAC record formats. There's besides Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect built-in, allowing for streaming contented from different devices. Finally the SP11 works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, adding other talker smarts.

Sound quality

The LG SP11RA is an undeniably awesome performer, and its usage of existent drivers to make its 7.1.4-channel talker layout instantly sets it supra competing soundbars that bounce dependable beams each implicit the store oregon use psychoacoustic trickery. We simply played immoderate trial tones and tin confirm: the sounds emanate from the close locations.

LG

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The wide strategy produces a three-dimensional bubble of sound, and the object-based decoding ensures that audio effects are placed successful abstraction oregon steered astir the dependable tract with singular precision. The side-firers assistance springiness the beforehand soundstage greater width, portion the 4 up-firers bounce sounds disconnected the ceiling to make the illusion of overhead channels. The effectiveness of the second volition beryllium connected your ceiling – truthful the much reflective, the better.

The dedicated centre talker ensures dialog remains wide and focused connected the screen, portion the rears adhd plentifulness of situation effects down you. Finally the subwoofer lays down a coagulated instauration of bass that's amended integrated than past twelvemonth and correctly applied to the different channels.

The AI country correction does an fantabulous occupation of ensuring there's a cohesion to the full system, which means dependable effects determination seamlessly from 1 talker to another. The inherent powerfulness of the wide strategy besides means determination is plentifulness of standard to the soundstage, making this soundbar a bully prime for larger TV screens and bigger rooms.

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As a result, whether you're catching-up connected your favourite TV show, watching a movie, listening to music, oregon indulging successful a marathon gaming session, the SP11 tin present the sonic goods. There's a warmth and richness to the sound, combined with a composed and assured transportation that produces an engaging and hugely entertaining experience.

The 4K Blu-ray of Chaos Walking boasts 1 of the champion Atmos soundtracks to date, with extended usage of the overhead channels. In the movie, mens' thoughts are really audible and visibly interval supra their heads successful a fugue that's called 'The Noise'. The object-based premix allows these sounds to virtually interval successful three-dimensional space, hovering implicit the soundstage.

The soundbar's sides and rear speakers are besides utilized efficaciously to situation you successful the sounds of the wood satellite connected which the communicative takes place. The sub deftly handles the large bass moments with powerfulness and poise, portion the centre transmission ensures that nary substance however analyzable the premix becomes, dialog is ne'er mislaid successful the cacophony of 'The Noise'.

The LG is arsenic arsenic accomplished with DTS:X soundtracks, and watching Atomic Blonde connected 4K disc allows the soundbar to uncover is philharmonic strengths, spreading the eclectic premix of 80s popular songs crossed the beforehand of the room. The enactment is besides suitably visceral with punches and kicks enjoying a boost from the sub, and gunshots are delivered with a percussive thump. 

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With TV shows the acquisition is nary little immersive, and the Atmos soundtrack connected the Netflix bid Shadow and Bone is simply a existent treat. This is particularly existent erstwhile radical participate The Fold and the oppressive quality of the acheronian is enhanced by an enveloping dependable mix.

Verdict

The LG SP11RA is simply a coagulated offering that builds connected its predecessor, resulting successful a well-designed strategy that produces an enjoyably awesome soundstage, careless of the whether it's TV, movies, euphony oregon gaming that you're listening to.

Thanks to the 7.1.4-channel talker layout, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio sounds peculiarly good, creating an immersive hemisphere of dependable with a heavy instauration of bass. The transportation is powerful, and acknowledgment to the AI country correction feature, setup is easy.

It's a bully wide effort, with lone the inability to walk HDR10+ and immoderate Dolby Vision compatibility issues with definite root players spoiling the different immersive sonic party.

Also consider

JBL

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JBL Bar 9.1

For those connected a budget, this bundle is hard to bushed acknowledgment to its charismatic terms and genuine 7.1.4-channel experience. There's a shapely main unit, wireless subwoofer, and detachable and rechargeable wireless rear speakers. There's enactment for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, on with eARC, and an car setup feature. There's lone 1 HDMI input, and nary HDR10+ passthrough oregon distant app, but different it's an fantabulous performer and large worth for money.

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Samsung

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Samsung HW-Q950A

If you tin spend the SP11RA, past you should truly see the Samsung HW-Q950A instead, due to the fact that this 11.1.4-channel strategy is the champion and astir immersive soundbar connected the market. Not lone bash you get an exceptional Dolby Atmos and DTS:X performance, 2 HDMI inputs, eARC, Hi-Res Audio, and built-in Alexa, but caller this twelvemonth is AirPlay 2 and car country correction. Throw successful afloat passthrough of HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, and you've truly got the implicit package.

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Writing by Steve Withers. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 3 August 2021.

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