LG SP11RA Soundbar Review: Supreme cinema audio at home
When you are spending a premium on your sound bar system, there are certain things you expect the product to offer — a multi-speaker 7.1 channel system, support for Dolby Atmos, and wireless support speakers as well as wireless subwoofer. LG tries to fulfil most of these demands with its LG SP11RA sound bar home theatre system. At the moment, you can get the entire system at a price of Rs. 89,990, which is quite some price for a 7.1 channel sound system. However, the experience this home theatre system delivers is top-notch.
Since this is the flagship home theatre system from LG, you are getting all the best bits LG can throw at you. The sound output is rated at 770W and it gets support for 7.1.4 channel speakers. Other than support for Dolby Vision, and Atmos, and DTS: X surround sound, the system also gets the Meridian tuning. There are lots of smart features baked into the system as well, although they do not necessarily work that easy all the time (more on it later)
To find out whether the LG SP11RA home theatre is worth its asking price, we have been using it for two weeks and here is our experience penned down.
LG SP11RA Design and Build
Unlike most high-end sounder systems, LG has gone for a simplistic design and clever choice of materials. The sound bar unit is a big fat slab with two speaker vents on the top to give that premium experience. It is as wide as a 65-inch flat-panel TV; hence, make sure your wall or table has enough space for the sound bar. The unit also gets a touch control panel for the basic functions, although you get a full-fledged remote controller system. I am not so sure about the choice of materials considering the unit picks up household dust easily. The ports are positioned behind and since I had it wall mounted, it was difficult to reach. The sound bar unit also has a small display unit with a monochrome LCD screen that looks out of place on a premium soundbar system — LG could have gone for colour display, or some better implementation — it doesn't look nice in dark conditions.
Along with the sound bar, you get a wireless sub-woofer and two wireless rear speakers. All these units require their own power sockets but they connect to the main sounder unit wirelessly. This is a mega convenience, considering you don't have to care for wire management, even for the sub-woofer. Hence, the area around my TV system was comparatively cleaner than most other sounder systems I have previously experienced.
LG provides all the basic wires and cables required for connectivity except for the HDMI cable — this is something you expect to be a part of the standard package in a high-end audio system. Since I had a HDMI 2.1 cable around, I connected the system to my TV for getting HDMI ARC functions.
Note that the sound bar system is huge and heavy, and hence, you should wait for LG personnel to install the system at your place.
LG SP11RA Audio Performance
For a loaded sound bar system like the LG SP11RA, I did not expect anything less than mind-blowing audio performance. And sure enough, it satisfied on those fronts. When set up right in a compact bedroom, the LG SP11RA produces a magical audio experience that I have only experienced in theatres prior to this.
The soundstage is simply mega — whether its extreme low-end audio of rustling leaves or wind noise, or the strange mids of music instruments, or the highs of a speech, the LG SP11RA system blew me away with its supreme ability to handle all those frequencies with ease. And at no time did it chew any of them, or mixed them up — the audio output is simply amazing; truly a theatre-like experience.
The sounder itself doesn't sound meaty but it is good at throwing the audio in all directions. Once the sub-woofer kicks in along with the rear speakers, the sounder almost becomes “invisible to the ears” — it all acts like a single unit creating. 3D space of the best quality sound around you. Whether I was watching movies or listening to music, the audio experience has been simply superb.
And when you watch Dolby Atmos supported content, you can truly appreciate the 7.1.4 channel system and all the engineering that has gone behind this. In fact, as long as I had the sound bar system with me, I made it a ritual to watch/re-watch Dolby Atmos movies or shows daily. At times, I felt the rear speakers could have been stronger but then, my bedroom isn't ideal for acoustic ergonomics. If you set it up in a well-adjusted living room, you are likely to get a much finer experience.
LG lets you choose from several audio modes to make the most out of the system. The AI mode is fine but tends to suppress the audio, while thematic mode amplifies the low-end beats for an impactful listening experience. I, however, stuck to the Standard mode for the best overall experience. Even in the standard mode, you are going to get that thumping bass effect from the subwoofer (I could feel the vibrations while on the bed).
LG SP11RA Smart features
This is where I was left looking for more, especially considering the price tag. Let us start with the basics — the LG SP11RA is compatible with the LG Soundbar app on iOS and Android devices. With the app connected, you can tune the acoustics based on your room layout, and even set it up to activate its Apple AirPlay support — thanks to the in-built Wi-Fi. Sadly, in my two weeks of use, I was unable to pair the system to the app on both Android and iOS — the app simply refused to connect to the system. I reached out to LG and they are yet to get back on the issue. If there is a revert, we will update it here; keep an eye for the updates.
However, without the app, the LG SP11RA continues to work like a conventional sound bar system. I was able to pair my iPhone and iPad via Bluetooth connectivity, while the TV controlled the system via the HDMI ARC functionality. You can also get it connected by Optical port and regular HDMI port but I recommend using ARC port for the most convenient experience.
Due to the absence of the app, I had extensively relied on the remote controller that LG offers. This is a minimalist controller with only the necessary buttons to control the system. Note that the controller relies on an IR sensor to send signals and hence, you will need to point it at the system to issue commands; LG could have given a Bluetooth remote controller here.
At Rs. 89,990, the LG SP11RA sound bar home theatre system is among the most expensive ones you can buy today. However, if you are crazy for the best audio experience in your home theatre system and are willing to go the distance, I think this is worth the premium. The audio output is certainly on the same levels as you get in cinemas, and with support for Dolby Atmos, you may want to devour as many supported movies as you can. The smart features are there too, although they aren't very reliable, especially the app. Moreover, the sound bar's design mixes up easily with most home decors but considering this is the flagship model from LG, it won't be too much to expect fancier aesthetics.
Nonetheless, if you are seeking a supreme home theatre system with uncompromised audio performance, wireless connections, and a lot of smart features to gel with your smart devices, the LG SP11RA sound bar home theatre system is definitely worth a look.
- Amazing audio performance
- Wireless connections for subs
- Smart features iffy
- Understated design
Sound formatsDolby Atmos, DTS:X
App SupportiOS and Android