The LG SP11RA makes an excellent first impression. The truth that it contains 4 separate parts – wi-fi sub, wi-fi rears and the principle soundbar – instantly begins to justify its price ticket, as an example. Additionally, although, the design of the principle soundbar is severely engaging – slim sufficient to suit beneath most fashionable TVs, sleekly completed and robustly constructed.
The SP11RA hits the suitable notes with its options, too. The Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound codecs are each supported – help which extends to 4 up-firing audio system, two in the principle soundbar and one in every of the rears. These replicate their hold forth your room’s ceiling to ship overhead sound results.
There’s help for hi-res audio codecs too, in addition to a helpful built-in calibration system.
The SP11RA mainly differs from its SN11RG predecessor on audio processing, within the form of a brand new AI Sound Professional system, which routinely acknowledges completely different supply sorts and optimizes their playback accordingly, and an intriguing new Meridian Horizon processing system that seeks to enhance the remapping of stereo music to the SP11RA’s giant roster of audio system.
Sadly neither of those new processing choices show to be an precisely unmitigated success.
That doesn’t cease the SP11RA, although, from nonetheless delivering a big, dynamic, open and exceptionally detailed soundstage that brings movies and music to life in a approach few rivals can.
When you’re on the lookout for a soundbar that appears good, delivers a big, open and detailed sound stage and may flip its hand properly to music in addition to films, the SP11RA is a severely engaging possibility.
It lacks, although, among the focus and uncooked aggression with movie soundtracks you get with some rivals, and neither of the processing-based enhancements it provides to final 12 months’s SR11RG really feel like actually important additions to the LG soundbar combine. Definitely they don’t have as a lot influence on sound high quality as the additional two bodily rear facet channels launched by Samsung for 2021 in its dearer, 16-channel HW-Q950A soundbar.
LG SP11RA value and availability
- Obtainable now in Europe and Australia, with the US to comply with
- £1,499 / AU$1,695 / about $2,000
- That is LG’s flagship soundbar for 2021
The SP11RA is a worldwide product – although unusually, on the time of writing it hadn’t but appeared in US shops or on LG’s US web site. It’s broadly out there in different territories, although.
Its £1,499 / AU$1,695 (about $2,000) value is similar as final 12 months’s SN11RG, which at first look appears honest sufficient provided that the brand new mannequin provides a few probably helpful new audio processing choices.
The worth additionally will get you a ‘full’ encompass system, full with two rear and 4 up-firing channels in addition to a big subwoofer and a 7-channel fundamental soundbar.
Design and options
- 4-piece system comprising the principle soundbar, wi-fi subwoofer and two wi-fi rears
- LED learn out
- 12 channels of sound in a 7.1.4 configuration
Aesthetically we couldn’t detect any vital variations between the SP11RA and 2020’s LG SN11RG. That’s no unhealthy factor, although – particularly in the case of the principle soundbar.
Though that is wider than most of immediately’s soundbars, it additionally sits decrease than you may count on of a soundbar that carries two up-firing drivers on its high edge in addition to entrance and side-firing audio system round its entrance and left/proper edges. It ought to match beneath the overwhelming majority of TV screens with out getting in the way in which of the image or infra-red receivers.
LG SP11RA specs
Energy: 770W | Audio system: 7.1.4 | Dimensions: Primary soundbar – 1443 x 63 x 146mm/Subwoofer 221 x 390 x 312.8mm/Rear – 130 x 211.5 x 191.2 (W x H x D) | Connections: Two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output with eARC, optical digital audio enter, USB port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Subwoofer included?: Sure
The graceful darkish grey end of the soundbar’s high edge contrasts superbly with the textured, grille-like end of its sides, too, and it’s good to search out just a little LED learn out on the entrance that can assist you hold observe of quantity, chosen enter and so forth.
The end of the rear audio system picks up on the important thing design cues of the principle soundbar, too – although inevitably their form has extra in frequent with conventional bookshelf speakers.
The subwoofer is much less elegant than the remainder of the audio system – mainly only a chunky black field. Subwoofers will be tucked away beneath sideboards or in corners, although, so trying fairly issues a lot lower than being sufficiently big to pump out luggage of bass.
The SP11RA’s 7.1.4 channel depend is backed up by a colossal 770W of energy, in response to LG’s claims. Supplied the drivers are literally able to dealing with that a lot energy, it must be greater than sufficient to ship correctly potent and immersive experiences from the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks the soundbar is able to decoding.
The SP11RA can even play a variety of hi-res audio codecs, in addition to supporting community streaming by way of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
You possibly can management the SP11RA utilizing both the sparsely buttoned distant management, or use an app in your iOS or Android telephone. Handily there’s an possibility within the cell phone app for working a wise calibration routine that routinely balances the audio system to greatest fit your room setup. That is one thing that LG’s closest premium soundbar rival, Samsung, doesn’t provide, even on its newest flagship mannequin.
The SP11RA’s speaker system breaks down as entrance middle, left and proper, facet left/proper and two upfiring drivers in the principle soundbar, plus entrance and up-firing drivers in every rear speaker. The bass speaker, as normal, simply provides the low frequencies the principle soundbar can’t comfortably attain.
The SP11RA’s fundamental benefit over its predecessor comes with the addition of two new processing methods. First up there’s LG’s AI sound system. This analyzes incoming sound on the fly and seeks to optimize the way in which the soundbar performs it, taking into consideration each the kind of sound and LG’s intimate information of the strengths of the soundbar’s particular speaker setup.
The brand new Meridian Horizon processing, in the meantime, is concentrated on music. In reality, to get it to kick in it’s essential to choose the Music mode from LG’s record of audio profile choices. The thought behind it’s to transform stereo music right into a multi-channel combine capable of make use of extra of the SP11RA’s audio system.
That is hardly a brand new idea, after all. Nevertheless, different soundbars don’t have the huge musical information of a model like Meridian behind their music ‘upscaling’ efforts.
The SP11RA’s connections embrace two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, and an optical digital audio enter. The HDMI output helps eARC, too, the place lossless Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound mixes will be obtained from suitable TV eARC HDMI ports.
Avid gamers may need to observe, although, that the HDMI loopthrough system doesn’t be part of new soundbars from Klipsch and Sony in supporting go via of 4K/120Hz and variable refresh charge sport graphics.
You possibly can work spherical this in case your TV helps eARC by connecting your new console or PC to your TV instantly after which having the TV output the sport’s soundtracks to the soundbar. It is a comparatively sophisticated course of, although, and may generally trigger points with audio lag that you just don’t get with a typical loopthrough strategy.
The SP11RA’s HDMIs additionally don’t go via the HDR10+ HDR format. HDR10, HLG and Dolby Imaginative and prescient undergo wonderful, however HDR10+ sources are ‘downgraded’ to straightforward HDR10, with their additional scene by scene information gone.
It’s true that HDR10+ content material is far much less frequent than content material mastered in Dolby Imaginative and prescient. However many different premium soundbars help go via of each of the ‘superior’ HDR codecs, so it might be good if a soundbar as costly because the SP11RA did too.
There’s one different compatibility subject to report with the SP11RA. For some motive, it received’t go Dolby Imaginative and prescient via to suitable TVs from Panasonic 4K Blu-ray gamers. LG tells us that it’s conscious of the issue and is working exhausting to resolve it.
- Wonderful detailing
- Massive, highly effective sound stage
- Principally efficient Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
At first pay attention the SP11RA sounds nearly unfeasibly good. The facility and scale of the sound it produces immediately appears utterly inconsistent with the principle soundbar unit’s compact, elegant design. In reality, the soundbar is so good at throwing sound in all instructions, together with up, that the soundbar typically turns into nearly ‘invisible’ as a supply for the audio maelstrom happening round you.
The SP11RA doesn’t simply throw its sound to the 4 corners of your room – and above your head – with reckless abandon, although. The sound distribution is expertly managed to create a convincing and immersive sense of three-dimensional house. Particularly, as you’ll hope, with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X mixes.
Significantly hanging is how precisely the SP11RA locations particulars within the seemingly effortlessly giant soundstage it may well create. If a sound is meant to be coming from excessive and to the left, that’s the place it seems. If it’s alleged to be coming from someplace behind and above your proper shoulder, that’s the place it seems. Particulars are additionally all the time superbly clear and outlined.
The consequences placement is especially good versus most if not all rival Dolby Atmos soundtracks in the case of peak/overhead sound results. So lengthy, anyway, as you don’t have both a vaulted or closely beamed ceiling that may impede the way in which the upfiring drivers replicate their sound.
There’s some efficient layering of scores, too, each vertically and horizontally, and as you’ll hope with a system that’s so astute with its detailing, sound transitions as noisy objects transfer round a combination are dealt with expertly.
The rears are comfortably highly effective sufficient to face their floor towards the principle soundbar, whereas the subwoofer kicks in potently and enthusiastically each time it’s required.
Soundbars that excel with film soundtracks generally – typically, even – battle to sound notably musical. As long as you’re cautious which sound settings you employ, although, the SP11RA can sound reasonably good with stereo music. Clear, filled with dynamic vary, and convincingly staged, particularly the place vocals are involved.
The Music mode that prompts the Meridian Horizon processing doesn’t sound nearly as good as we’d hoped. It does a good job of tremendously enlarging the sound stage with out dropping the heat and core musicality of your favorite tunes, however it may well additionally make low frequency sounds a bit muddy and muffled, whereas common readability ranges additionally appear subdued.
The brand new AI Sound Professional mode truly proves extra fascinating than the Horizon processing. It, too, tremendously expands the soundstage and room-filling influence of stereo music, however sounds cleaner and extra detailed than the Horizon setting. The outcomes are a bit too aggressive at occasions, although, leaving the Commonplace mode as for me the perfect all-round music possibility.
With movie soundtracks the AI Sound Professional mode makes the soundbar sound louder, with a extra expansive dynamic vary. It additionally, unexpectedly, manages to make the sound stage really feel prefer it’s wrapped extra snugly round you. It additionally, although, doesn’t sound as pristine and detailed as the straightforward Dolby Atmos mode, and has an odd tendency to make trebles sound harsh.
There are one or two different niggles concerning the SP11RA’s efficiency, too. Aggressive, exhausting influence sounds, as an example, comparable to loud gunfire, sudden bursts of rating or ‘Hollywood’ punches can lack influence.
Additionally, whereas element ranges and results steering are each extraordinarily good, generally, maybe associated to the earlier subject, the sound stage turns into a bit imprecise – as if the soundbar doesn’t perceive the place the combo needs it to focus its consideration.
Extraordinarily heavy bass tracks can immediately make the normally nimble subwoofer sound a bit boxed in, and at last, whereas the SP11RA usually disperses its sound amazingly properly, generally voices can appear just a little locked into the soundbar, reasonably than sounding as in the event that they’re coming from the TV display above.
Ought to I purchase the LG SP11RA?
Purchase it if…
You need Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
The SP11RA helps the most recent object-based sound methods, that means you may take pleasure in the perfect soundtrack choices out there from any disc, stream or broadcast you play via it.
You need a notably slim soundbar
In case your TV sits fairly low on its desktop stand, the SP11RA’s unusually slim profile might are available in very helpful. Particularly given how giant and wealthy a sound it will get out of its slender body.
Music issues to you as a lot as films
Regardless of its apparent concentrate on film soundtracks, the SP11RA sounds surprisingly participating with music. As long as you’re cautious what preset you employ, anyway.
Do not buy it if…
You don’t notably want a soundbar
If the space-saving comfort of a soundbar isn’t all that essential to you, you could possibly put collectively a really stable separates system as an alternative of spending your cash on the SP11RA.
You want motion films to hit exhausting
Whereas the SP11RA excels on wonderful particulars in case your tastes favour subtlety, it suffers with a noticeable lack of assault and aggression with exhausting influence sounds and explosive soundtrack moments.
You might have a Panasonic 4K Blu-ray participant
On the time of writing, the SP11RA bizarrely can’t play Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR from Panasonic-branded 4K Blu-ray gamers. Although you could possibly probably work spherical this subject with the eARC characteristic.
First reviewed: August 2021
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