Though the LG SP8YA and LG SP9YA are approaching two years old (both launched in early 2021), these soundbars shouldn’t be counted out when you’re shopping for a worthy companion for your home theater system.
The quick down-and-dirty on these two LG-branded soundbars is the number of channels they have – the SP8YA sports 3.1.2 channels, while the SP9YA has 5.1.2 channels. The SP9YA is also more powerful, wattage consumption-wise (due to the added channels).
You’ll experience nearly the same audio and immersive experience, except the latter offers greater depth.
Let’s dive in and take a closer soundbar comparison of the LG SP8YA and LG SP9YA.
The SP8YA is the less robust sibling in this comparison, having 3.1.2 channels rather than the SP9YA’s 5.1.2 channels. As far as budget is concerned though, you might be better off with this soundbar model.
Both 2021 soundbar models are identical in appearance, with extra speaker openings on the side for the SP9YA. If you want to hear more than just your TV’s default speakers, then a soundbar is a great choice. The SP8YA is sleek and will look at home anywhere in your room, but the wise choice is the soundbar sitting directly below the TV with the subwoofer in close proximity.
The soundbar’s upward-firing channels are a superb introduction to those who haven’t heard it before.
- Affordable, upward-firing soundbar
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Supports Dolby Atmos
- Bluetooth can sometimes get wonky
- Customer support is slow
The SP9YA will surely impress even audiophiles with its distinct channels and upward-firing technology. However, this will cost you several hundred more than the SP8YA.
The LG soundbar shines in a nice home entertainment setup and if you’re looking to entertain guests at home. Pair it with a newer LG smart TV and the two will work together seamlessly. It doesn’t hurt that you get a nice black ensemble as well.
The SP9YA has the edge over the SP8YA in streaming music and similar content – the two channels add depth and make it seem like you’re physically there in the studio or concert venue.
Cheaper and fewer speaker channels, or more expensive with extra clarity and depth? It’s up to you to decide.
- Complements most home theater systems well
- Nearly 100 more watts than the SP8YA
- Superb Dolby Atmos sound
- Has a higher price tag
- Wi-fi connection sometimes turns off
LG stayed grounded when designing the SP8YA. If you’re a fan of minimalist, all-black boxes in your soundbar choices then the SP8YA will be right up your alley.
Other than the speaker grille protrusions for the up-firing channels and the LG logo on the sub and soundbar, there’s nothing to break up the monotony. You get a smooth plastic shell at the top and bottom, while the sides are surrounded by a metal grille. There are touch-sensitive controls such as volume up and down near the back.
The SP8YA soundbar unit is a bit thicker than the SP9YA, and the sides are curved. The subwoofer unit is plastic all-around, with the exception of three sides being covered with fine mesh fabric.
The SP9YA offers the same streamlined ‘for TV’ design- the soundbar is black and long, with only the two upward-firing channels breaking the surface with metal grilles.
The sides are wrapped in fabric for sound and to keep dust and fine particles from coming in. Its dimensions are a bit thinner compared to the SP8YA, and the sides are rounded but sport rather angular edges.
If you’d put the SP8YA and SP9YA’s subwoofer side by side you’d swear that they’re the same thing. Even the sound output is uniform (at 220 watts). Do note though, that the sub requires you to plug it into a wall for it to work.
As expected of a soundbar that came out in 2021, the SP8YA doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack nor aux cable options. Instead, you get modern connectivity ports such as optical and HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.2) for out and HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) for in.
The LG TV Sound Sync feature gets activated when you use an optical cable, while Dolby Atmos plays best when you plug the soundbar to the HDMI eARC. Make sure you have a stable home network as well, since the SP8YA soundbar and subwoofer won’t work unless it’s connected.
Wireless connections on other devices can be established several ways, including Bluetooth 5.0, via Alexa, Google Assistant, or AirPlay 2. With this setup you’ll be able to ask Google or Alexa to play your favorite music, or directly stream podcasts, audiobooks, and music using your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Spotify Connect is supported, and you can run a USB through the port and play the audio content as needed.
To get the most of your investment it’s recommended that you find the HDMI eARC port of your LG smart TV, then connect it to the HDMI at the back of the SP9YA. This gives you Dolby Atmos quality and a slew of HDMI-specific features such as HDR10 Passthrough and 4K Passthrough.
To get an accurate sync you can invest in an optical cable, although there might be several disadvantages with this setup, notably the need to use the soundbar’s remote to change sound modes.
Like the SP8YA you can connect your smartphone, computer, or tablet using Bluetooth 5.0 technology and control the soundbar via sound with Alexa or Google. AirPlay 2 is also supported, which means your Apple device will probably work here.
The bass and soundbar unit will talk to each other using your internet wi-fi, so if you don’t want to experience disruptions then you’d best put them in acceptable range. You can extend it when you switch over to 2.4GHz to get a consistent connection.
Pairing smart TVs with their respective soundbar brand is a universally accepted truth. It makes sense to get an LG soundbar when you have a newer-model LG smart TV, since the manufacturer offers seamless integrations and extra features with these kinds of setups.
The SP8YA is a classic example of a matching set, and this actually extends to interior design aspects. To the casual observer, the sleek, black lines of the TV and soundbar complement each other very well. With the LG Magic Remote, you’ll be able to control both your TV and your soundbar without having to hunt for the soundbar remote.
What we like about LG TV-soundbar pairing is the TV Sound Mode Share, where the soundbar taps into the TV’s processing chip to produce greater audio quality. However, it’s worth noting that this feature may vary depending on your LG TV model.
A single HDMI cable connected to the eARC port is all you need to enjoy Hi-Res content, higher bitrate and full Dolby Atmos support. Even those who are new to soundbars should have no issues setting up their home theaters in less than half an hour. After that, it’s just a matter of preparing your favorite snack and beverage, then sitting back and being immersed in your favorite movies, concerts, or TV shows.
Everything you need to get started is included in the bundle – the remote, batteries, an optical cable, and a wall mount bracket.
The SP9YA is an entertainment powerhouse not just for TVs but for parties and streaming music as well.
There’s the requisite Bluetooth 5.0 connection, and commanding Alexa or Google to play a rocking playlist via Spotify never gets old. If you want a more granular approach, you can control the playback thru an Apple product via AirPlay 2 and go from there.
The SP9YA’s true power lies in conjunction with a compatible LG smart TV. Plug the soundbar to the eARC HDMI port and you can effectively ditch the soundbar remote (keep it handy though, because you may need it in the future). Gamers will find a lot to like with the 4K Passthrough technology for lag-free and latency-free play.
Room-tuning is in full force here and done via app. You can also change the sound mode depending on what you’re watching, e.g., Music, Clear Voice, Game, Cinema, and Sports, just to name a few.
Like the SP8YA, the SP9YA also comes with an optical cable, a remote and batteries, and a wall mount bracket.
Quality soundbars like the SP8YA have the power to elevate your TV viewing experience. Upward firing height channels come into play superbly, giving you the feeling that explosions and music are happening around you at all angles.
The soundbar packs 440 watts of power divided evenly on all channels. There’s an option to add rear speakers for that true surround sound you’ve been dreaming of. Using the HDMI port brings out the soundbar’s best quality, including Dolby Atmos, high resolution audio, and 4K Passthrough.
Bass is pretty impressive, pumping out deep tones whenever the scene calls for it. You can maximize the subwoofer by going into Bass Blast+ mode and picking a bass-heavy song. The highs and lows are distinctive at close distance, but somehow lose integrity at greater distances and the higher the volume gets.
Run the Custom Room Tuning to get all those sweet spots and extended depth, along with an LG TV that supports Sound Mode Share for the best results.
The SP9YA’s 5.1.2 channel aspect comes to life the moment you turn it on and watch a blockbuster movie. Dialogues are clearer than ever, and the music is rich and thrilling. You’ll be tempted to run back all your favorite titles to experience them again!
We can’t get enough of the upward-firing technology and the experience it brings. Hardware-wise, the soundbar churns a powerful 520 watts sent through the sub and the channels alongside audio codecs. With Dolby Atmos, the SP9YA is competitive with its higher-end counterparts in the soundbar niche.
To keep a consistent connection with your home network, it’s recommended that you switch to 2.4GHz frequency which has a longer range and more consistent bandwidth. Some people complain about Bluetooth constantly disconnecting but then you should check all your Bluetooth devices and turn them off when you’re not using them.
Streaming through AirPlay 2 works very well, especially with songs that have a lot of highs and lows.
Choosing whether to get the LG SP8YA or the SP9YA model is work that’s already cut out for you. To get more audio clarity and range, the SP9YA is the soundbar to get. However, the bass experience is the same, and if you’re looking to save a few hundred dollars, then the SP8YA is the clear winner.