When I recently reviewed the LG C9 OLED, I had asked the company to send along a soundbar to go with it. The company sent its SL9YG Dolby Atmos Soundbar ($999.99) that features a convertible design, you can operate it on a TV stand or wall mounted. It has Chromecast and Google assistant built-in, and perhaps most importantly it features Meridian audio technologies for superior sound reproduction.
The very first thing I noticed about the SL9YG Is that it skips the typical "guitar case" packaging for a more traditional rectangular box. It's a minor point, but I found it considerably easier to handle and unpack than most of the soundbars I've dealt with. The setup was super fast and easy; I placed it on a TV stand, connected to the TV using HDMI ARC, and powered it up. The connection to the subwoofer was automatic.
When it comes to the feature list, it's deep because this is a LG AI ThinQ product. But, I'm not going to delve into smart features and connectivity because you can read about all that on LG's website by following this link
. Instead, I'm to skip straight to the main point, which is how this soundbar sounds.
In terms of fidelity, it sounds quite fantastic. You can hear the refinement Meridian Audio brings to the table; I started my listening with music not movies and was immediately startled by the natural tonality and the legitimate soundstage presented by the soundbar. This soundbar sounds great. However, I also found—quite quickly I might add—that it was easy to "max out" the subwoofer.
The sub's limitations came as a bit of a surprise to me because recent soundbar offerings have had ever more powerful subwoofers as part of the package. But, my notice right off the bat, before I even listen to it, that the subwoofer that comes with the LG SL9YG is rather compact and not all that heavy. This is not to say that it does not sound good, because the bass it does produce is tight, and it's also clean right up until the point where the subwoofer can't deliver anymore.
So, a simple observation, if you are looking for bass you can feel, this system is simply not equipped with the sort of subwoofer that will generate physical impact. It is, instead, a system that is tuned to deliver a very accurate and neutral sound at modest levels. If you don't push it too far, the presentation is shockingly good for a soundbar. And a really key point is that the sound of the subwoofer was not localizable, allowing you to take advantage of its small size in terms of where it will fit.
I poked at the system using test tones from Room EQ Wizard and found that the system only starts producing bass from 30 Hz on up (unsurprising given the compact size of the sub) with strong output kicking in around 35 Hz. The crossover from the sub to the soundbar appears to kick in around 80 Hz, which accounts for the good integration.
More comments on sound coming soon, but the long story short is that this is a great sounding option that is not designed to play loud. It's the sort of soundbar that provides a logical solution to a urban apartment dweller. Whether it be London or New York or Seoul or Tokyo, someone who is looking to save space, get really good sound, and is simply not going to need "home theater" levels of output is going to be very happy with the LG SL9YG. It's really slender, and the fit and finish is excellent.
Okay, now comes the interesting part... This is a Dolby Atmos soundbar that is designed for both TV stands and wall mount. Now, when it's wall-mounted what it does is rather unusual because it bounces sound off the floor to create Dolby Atmos and DTS:X height effects. This surely seems counterintuitive but what I'm guessing is happening is that it's bouncing the sound off the floor first, and then off the ceiling, and then it's getting to you. What I do know is that the soundbar's form factor is perfect for reflected sound Dolby Atmos and DTS:X When it is in a horizontal orientation on a TV stand. The upfiring drivers are very robust and were able to produce overhead effects. The efficacy of the reflected-sound approach to Atmos and DTS:X definitely depends on whether you have a room that is suited for it; mine has a flat/reflective ceiling so it works.
Notably, you can expand on this soundbar's capabilities by adding an optional wireless "Rear Speaker Expansion" kit.