Everybody needs a soundbar. Having tested a few of late, that’s my basic starting point for everyone who owns a TV.
You see, no matter what the manufacturer tells you about their certified this and quality that – the sound from a super thin modern TV can never really give you the full sensation.
So taking things up a notch, I’ve installed the latest LG SJ9 Soundbar in the man-cave – and my life has changed.
Prior to this, I’ve had Sonos speakers. Now, they are good! I run an Epson projector, so yeah, I need some form of “external” sound.
I’m lucky to have tried and use the Samsung Dolby Atmos soundbar also – and while it’s in theory on a whole other level to this, they are in fact similarly priced and will be competing head to head in major retail stores.
First up, there’s something very nice about the rounded design of the LG. Please note, I’ve not installed the cables through the walls here, so it’s not the “prettiest” installation – you would run those through the wall if you did a wall-mount installation in the loungeroom (or risk divorce).
The wall mounting was so simple, I was amazed. A simple paper profile comes included and you mark the spots then screw the two mounts into the wall. SJ9 soundbar sits atop these with one screw on each side holding it in.
Sadly, the two speakers on the top of the unit do not go up and down like they do on the soundbar that comes with the LG Signature W OLED TV – when you see that in-store, ask them to turn it off and see them retract.
That said, they are there for a reason – pointing up to assist with the Dolby Atmos capabilities.
With a large subwoofer down on the floor, you hear and feel the bass from the get-go.
The SJ9 ticks all the audio boxes. Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio, and it does 24-bit upscaling too. That combined with the 4K passthrough mean you won’t be left wanting on this one.
I was able to run my HDMI splitter into the unit with four inputs. Sadly I had to use HDMI standard pass through, not optical audio from my Foxtel box as my Projector is not HDMI ARC compatible – but on an LG TV (or another brand) you’d get the full capability of that.
Chromecast is also built in, so audio streaming your music such as Spotify is a breeze, and with line-in, Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities (via the LG Music Flow app) honestly, I’m not sure what more you need.
As for the sound, boy oh boy, I really pumped this up when the family were out, and it’s glorious. In Bass Blast mode you get the full sense of the subwoofers power, while the other modes like Music and Movie enhance what you’re listening too.
I know these units claim to offer a virtual surround sound, but I do think you can’t beat the dedicated rear speaker setup of a surround sound system.
My man-cave has acoustic foam buffering (for my Podcast recording) so I didn’t get the full sense of Dolby Atmos either, but in a small or medium lounge room this would work a treat.
At $1,699 it’s at the high end of soundbar prices – but strewth, the sound was deep, rich and powerful – no-one is going to complain about this one, except perhaps the neighbours.
Great for your music if you’re entertaining or having a party, great for regular TV watching or Saturday Night 4K movie.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.