LG SL8YG Soundbar review: 3.1.2 Channel Dolby Atmos sound with Google Assistant

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LG SL8YG Soundbar with remote

The LG SL8YG made a big difference in the sound quality and enjoyment of watching both TV shows and movies, as well as playing games on the Xbox One X.

9.5/10 rating

Let’s face it, even higher-end TVs typically lack on the sound end and deserve external speakers. However, not everyone has the space for a full 5.1, 7.1, or Atmos setup. That’s where soundbars come in. Over the past few years, soundbars have not only gotten better with audio format options but have also started adding in digital assistants. Our LG SL8YG Soundbar review takes a look at a 3.1.2 channel soundbar with Dolby Atmos support and Google Assistant with Chromecast built right in.

Specifications

The LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar with Meridian Technology & Dolby Atmos has the following features and specifications:

  • 3.1.2 Channel 
  • Dolby Atmos®: Originally created for the cinema, Dolby Atmos sound technology creates powerful, moving audio that seems to flow all around you, even overhead (Dolby Atmos requires HDMI passthrough from a Dolby Atmos-compatible source device).
  • Google Assistant built-in: Just say “Ok Google” and give a command to control your sound bar, entertainment and smart home.
  • Chromecast Built-In: Cast your favorite music wirelessly from your phone’s streaming apps, such as Pandora® or Google Play™ Music. You can even group Chromecast-enabled speakers for a whole-home audio experience.
  • High-Resolution Audio (24bit/96kHz): Leading audio processing technology provides sound quality that surpasses CDs and allows you to enjoy a stunning 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution — as close to original sound as you can get.
  • Wireless Rear Speaker-Ready: Feel audio from every direction with wireless rear speaker compatibility.
  • 4K Pass-through enabled: 4K pass-through ensures a full home theater experience when passing through HDMI connections from an external source, such as a 4K Blu Ray player or streaming device.
  • Bluetooth: It’s so easy to wirelessly pair your LG soundbar, you’ll feel like an audio expert. Bluetooth® 5.0 provides range and reliability to connect your LG soundbar to your TV or device, or you can connect via LG Sound Sync.
  • Channels: 3.1.2
  • Total Power: 440W
  • Front Speakers: 2x 50W
  • Centre Speaker: 40W
  • Top Speakers: 2x 40W
  • Subwoofer: 220W
  • Product Highlights: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Google Assistant Built-in, High-Resolution Audio, 24-bit Upsampling, Hi-Fi DAC, 4K Pass-Through (HDCP 2.2), Group Play Mode (Chromecast), Easy Setup with BLE, Chromecast Built-in, Wireless Surround Sound Ready, Bluetooth Streaming, Meridian Audio Technology, USB Playback
  • Sound Modes: ASC (Adaptive Sound Control), Standard, Music, Bass Blast, Bass Blast+, Movie, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos
  • Audio Format: LPCM, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS:X, FLAC (up to 192kHz), OGG (up to 48kHz), WAV, MP3, AAC, AAC+
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wireless Active Subwoofer, Bluetooth 5.0, LG TV Sound Sync (Optical), Optical Input (1), USB (1), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) Out (1), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) Input (1)
  • Soundbar Power Consumption: 45W
  • Soundbar Standby Power Consumption: <0.5W
  • Subwoofer Power Consumption: 38W
  • Subwoofer Standby Power Consumption: <0.5W
  • TV Matching: 49” and above
  • Sound Bar (W x H x D): 1060 x 57 x 119mm/41.7” x 2.2” x 4.7”
  • Subwoofer (W x H x D): 221 x 390 x 312mm/8.7” x 15.4” x 12.3”
  • Soundbar Net Weight: 4.4kg/9.7 lbs
  • Subwoofer Net Weight: 7.8kg/17.2 lbs
  • Limited Warranty: 1 Year Parts & Labour

What’s in the box

  • LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar with Meridian Technology & Dolby Atmos
  • Subwoofer
  • Remote Control
  • Batteries (AAA)
  • Optical Cable
  • Wall Mount Bracket
  • Cable Management
  • Warranty Card
What's included with the LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar
What’s included with the LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar.

Design

The LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar has your fairly typical soundbar design. Rectangular in shape with rounded corners, the top edges are nicely bevelled for a simple, yet sleek, look. The soundbar itself is just over 2-inches high, just over 4 1/2-inches deep and just under 41 3/4-inches wide.

The top panel is finished with a brushed aluminum look while the back panel is a matching grey plastic. The top has a round 3 1/2-inch speaker grille on either side. Centered in the middle of the top is your touch control panel which is indicated by printed icons. These icons are (from left to right) power, function, volume, play/pause, microphone mute toggle, and Google Assistant toggle. Below the icons are two holes for the microphones. As far as branding is concerned, the LG logo is printed on the lower right corner of the top panel while “with Meridian” is printed on the lower left corner.

The touch controls on the top of the LG SL8YG Soundbar
The touch controls on the top of the LG SL8YG Soundbar.

The entire front and sides, as well as the back corners, is finished with your typical metal speaker grille. If you shine a flashlight on the grille, you can make out the two front and center speakers, as well as the offset LED display. The LED display is located just to the right of center and displays the current source, volume as your adjusting it, as well as four dots underneath which indicate whether or not the Google Assistant feature is listening or not.

The back of the soundbar is where you’ll find your inputs. The main input array is located on the left side (when looking at the back) and consist of your HDMI Out (TV ARC), HDMI IN, Optical In, and your 5V/500mAh USB port. Located further down the soundbar towards the right side is your round power adapter port.

The inputs on the back of the LG SL8YG Soundbar
The inputs on the back of the LG SL8YG Soundbar.

Finally, the bottom of the soundbar has two rubberized strips that run the depth of the soundbar from front to back for added grip while it is sitting on your shelf.

The LG SL8YG also comes with a subwoofer. A bit larger, it is just under 8 3/4-inches wide, just under 15 1/2-inches high and just over 12 1/4-inches deep. The top has a smooth grey finish while the front and sides are wrapped with black fabric. While you can’t really see it, there is a 7-inch woofer inside the front and if you press against the fabric lightly, you can just feel it. On the back of the speaker, you’ll find your power cord port as well as the standard port tube. The bottom of the subwoofer has four rubber pads for added grip when set on the floor or shelf.

The included remote control is fairly small, 5 1/2-inches tall, 1 3/4-inches wide, and about 3/4-inches thick. The top two-thirds of the remote house your button array. The power button sits in the upper left corner. Underneath that is your volume +/- and beside that are your F for function and volume mute buttons. The next row of round buttons are your Sound Effect, Google Assistant, and microphone mute buttons. Finally, below that is a single pad with nine buttons on it. These are for playback control, surround sound toggle, info, night mode, repeat, and folder scrolling. The back of the remote is mostly ribbed with a small clasp to remove the battery cover, exposing the two AAA batteries inside.

The remote included with the LG SL8YG Soundbar
The included remote didn’t get much use between the LG SM8600 remote and Google Assistant functionality.

Setup

Setting up the LG SL8YG is pretty easy and straightforward. We were fortunate enough to have the 55″ LG NanoCell SM8600 to review at the same time so we, of course, connected it to that. You have a number of different options to do so, the two most common will be through optical or HDMI (ARC). For optical, connect the soundbar to your TV using the Optical Out on your TV and Optical In port on the soundbar. HDMI (ARC) is similar except it’s HDMI (ARC) In on your TV and HDMI (ARC) Out on the soundbar. Depending on which option you choose, go into your TV settings and set the appropriate audio source to Optical or HDMI (ARC). I will note that if you have both connected, HDMI (ARC) will take priority of the optical audio.

Next, place the wireless subwoofer near a power outlet, plug it in, and then turn on the soundbar. The subwoofer and the soundbar should automatically pair (our review unit did just fine) and the LED on the subwoofer should turn green.

The SL8YG Soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer
The SL8YG Soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer.

Next, you’ll need to install the Google Home app, make sure your smartphone is on the same network the soundbar will be on, then set up the soundbar using the Google Home app.

Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. Setup is definitely straightforward and relatively simple.

Ease of Use

Once set up, the LG SL8YG Soundbar is pretty simple to use. You can, of course, use the remote for power, volume, and other features. You can also use Google Assistant to control the soundbar, get information, or control any of your other connected smart home devices.

Control is as easy as saying “OK Google” or pressing the Google Assistant button on the remote then asking various questions or giving various commands. If you are connected wirelessly or via Bluetooth, you can use the OK Google command. If you are using any other source, like HDMI, Optical, ARC, or USB, you’ll need to use the button on the remote.

Depending on your set up, you can ask it to turn your TV on or off, skip to a different track, adjust volume, or ask it simple things like what’s the weather or what’s on your calendar.

Between traditional methods of controlling volume and power coupled with the Google Assistant voice control, the soundbar is super easy to use once it’s set up.

Sound

As far as sound goes, the LG SL8YG Soundbar provides 3.1.2 channels of sound and features Dolby Atmos support (the .2). It’s definitely better than the onboard speakers you get on a TV and it does get quite loud. Depending on your content, you can definitely make out some of the Dolby Atmos effect. While watching Transformers, for example, you could hear the spatial sounds during key battle scenes and the subwoofer pumped out the explosions as well.

The front LED indicates your current audio source and status of Google Assistant
The front LED indicates your current audio source and status of Google Assistant.

While the soundbar does offer up 3.1.2 channels of sound, you are missing the rear element for the true surround Dolby Atmos experience. For even better sound, you can add always two wireless rear speakers for a fuller sound stage. Of course, this will depend on your living space and whether or not you have room for it all.

When watching regular shows or listening to music, the soundbar performed equally well with fairly balanced sound and enough bass for those impromptu dance parties. Even at lower volume levels, the sound was clear and crisp and voices, for the most part, are easy to hear and make out.

As far as soundbars are concerned, I was pretty impressed with not only the sound but the additional spatial awareness presented by the 3.1.2 channels of the SL8YG.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of US$799.99/CA$999.99, the LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar with Meridian Technology & Dolby Atmos is definitely going to up the cost of your home theatre system. When compared to other 3.1.2 soundbar systems, the price is about average when it comes to the competition.

As mentioned, we tested this out with the 55″ LG NanoCell SM8600 which will set you back $999.99/CA$1399.99. So, on that note, you’re almost doubling the price of your home theatre setup. That being said, if you have limited space and watch a lot of TV, sports, movies, or play video games, you’ll likely find value in this system.

The LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar set up with the LG NanoCell SM8600 TV
The LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar set up with the LG NanoCell SM8600 TV.

On the price front, the LG SL8YG can be found for as low as CA$749.99 (on Amazon) and is currently 25% off, bringing the price down to US$599.99, from LG.com for U.S. customers.

Wrap-up

We reviewed the LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar at the same time as we reviewed the LG NanoCell SM8600 TV so some of the features were redundant. However, it definitely made a big difference in the sound quality and enjoyment of watching both TV shows and movies, as well as playing games on the Xbox One X. If you’re lacking the space for a full-blown 5.1(.2) or 7.1(.2) setup and have the funds to spare, the LG SL8YG will definitely add to your home theatre entertainment enjoyment.

*We were sent a review unit of the LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar with Meridian Technology & Dolby Atmos for the purposes of this review. In some of our articles and especially in our reviews, you will find Amazon or other affiliate links. Running a website does take money, along with time. Any purchases you make through these links often result in a small amount being earned for the site and/or our writers.

LG SL7YG 3.1.2 Channel Soundbar

US$799.99/ CA$999.99
9.5

Design

9.5/10

Setup

10.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Sound

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Easy set up
  • Google Assistant on board
  • Wireless and BT options
  • Decent, powerful 3.1.2 channel sound
  • Wireless subwoofer, option to add wireless rear speakers
  • Multiple audio format support

Needs work

  • Might be pricey for some at regular price

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