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Dolby Atmos soundbars have been round for a number of years now, however every new iteration in some way manages to pack much more tech right into a even cheaper bundle. Nevertheless, it took till 2019 earlier than I used to be lastly capable of suggest an Atmos soundbar — one which provided each affordability and efficiency: the Vizio SB26512. Given the existence of the Vizio, does it nonetheless make sense to spend any greater than $500 on a soundbar? 

For higher-end patrons, sure, it does. Excessive-end Atmos soundbars nonetheless have a lot to supply, and primarily based on the efficiency of fashions just like the LG SL9 reviewed right here and the Samsung HW-Q70 (evaluation coming quickly) you do get an actual sonic improve over the Vizio by paying additional. And each bars handle to do it with out rear audio system, which the Vizio consists of.

The LG is just about the Swiss military knife of the 2 higher-end merchandise — it presents Atmos functionality in addition to Google Assistant onboard. It options audio tuning by hi-fi juggernaut Meridian in addition to an elegant fashionable look.  Whereas the Samsung presents higher sound and a less expensive worth, the LG is less complicated to make use of and extra versatile because of Assistant. The Samsung might get my vote as the higher of the 2 choices, however if you wish to spend greater than the Vizio, each of the Korean manufacturers supply a compelling cause to take action. 

The costs are continually shifting on the LG SL9YG ($599 at Amazon) nevertheless it often sells between $600 and $800. If you will get the LG for $100 lower than the Samsung, it might be value it.

Design and options 

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Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Whereas the LG SK10Y I reviewed earlier seemed like a Cadillac, full with its personal chrome grille, this yr’s soundbar appears to be like slightly extra austere. It is extra like a silvery slab of concrete — an elongated model of the Grasp and Dynamic MA770, maybe. 

As you’d anticipate from an Atmos speaker the SL9YG is full of drivers: two on the high, two firing out to the entrance and two to the edges.  These are protected in lined with a gray metallic grill and features a completely legible LED show (not a given in soundbars) within the center. At 48-inch broad bar and a couple of.2 inches excessive the bar ought to match beneath most TVs with out blocking the IR port. The LG comes with a mount within the field for fixing the soundbar flat on the wall.

Certainly one of my solely complaints concerning the design is that the top-mounted buttons are onerous to see — even after they’re illuminated — if there’s any type of overhead gentle. That is particularly tough should you do not stay in a cave. I ended up utilizing these buttons rather a lot since they supply the one method to disable the microphone.

The four.1.2 soundbar features a wi-fi subwoofer that’s 15.four inches excessive, 12.three inches deep and eight.7 inches broad. It incorporates a front-firing driver and a rear-mounted port. LG sells non-compulsory rear audio system (which I did not check) for $200. In the meantime, the distant is a cute sweet bar dimension that comes with a devoted Google Assistant button.

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The highest mounted show is sort of dim

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Options are likely to rise and fall in reputation, however voice management in audio system is right here to remain. It is type of tough to discover a soundbar or speaker as of late that does not embrace both Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The LG is especially suited to individuals who like smart-ifying their home (although doubtlessly dangerous information for the privateness aware). The LG consists of each Google Assistant onboard in addition to compatibility with Chromecast ($55 at eBay) for zooming content material round your house. 

Whether or not you are streaming from Netflix or a duplicate of Avengers Endgame on Blu-ray the LG is ready to decode each Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in addition to providing passthrough for 4K and HDR from the likes of Dolby Imaginative and prescient. 

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