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Test : LG SJ9 : the sound bar Dolby Atmos is the most affordable

One of the features most frequently requested by users of sound bar is the compatibility with Dolby Atmos. Although it is a format that is still young, this surround sound system has aroused the enthusiasm of the lovers of home cinema. If the 3D seems to have fizzled out, the Dolby Atmos and its for visual the HDR seem to be left for last.

The SJ9 with the LG sound bar Dolby Atmos is the most affordable that we have seen so far (778 euro). As a bonus, it provides features that are fairly complete, with a support of the box Chromecast, the management of the HDR 4K pass-through and the ability to add rear speakers.

If you like to watch action movies, the SJ9, you can. On the other hand, if you are a music lover, this is not a product that we recommend for you. Compared to its rival Samsung, the bar LG’s lack of nuance, which feels great with the music.

If you want to any price of the Dolby Atmos without breaking the bank, the SJ9 is a good option. But for most of the enthusiasts of this audio technology, the K950 Samsung will be more interesting.

The design

The SJ9 is a small side retro with its lower grille, which is reminiscent of the grille of a Cadillac. The bar itself incorporates a series of speakers directed towards the front and two speakers Dolby Atmos placed on top for effect vertical. Its dimensions are quite generous with 120 cm long, 14.5 cm wide and 5.8 cm thick. The tissue that covers the front facade hides an led display that lets you navigate the menu.

The bar comes with a wireless subwoofer compact enough to 200W. The small remote control supplied includes all the functions but you never use it, not likely once the installation is completed because the remote control of the tv will be more practical to handle the volume.

The functions

LG speaks of a system 5.1.2 but this is not technically accurate since there are no rear speakers. However, one can add, for example, at LG a pair of H3. Although the soundbar offers compatibility with Dolby Atmos for the atmospheric effects, it does not manage the format competitor DTS :X (and the same for the K950). It knows how to decode all the other Dolby formats, including TrueHD, but she is happy with the DTS Surround basic.

Thanks to its HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, it can handle 4K pass-through. It also has USB ports, Ethernet, a headphone jack 3.5 mm and a Bluetooth wireless connection and Wi-Fi.

The SJ9 is also one of the first bars of his having adopted the technology Chromecast of Google. This means that Android users and iOS can be used by compatible applications directly. Moreover, the Music Flow is LG allows you to access Spotify. The owner of a TV LG will also be able to associate the sound bar directly in your Bluetooth.

The performance

The two speakers Dolby Atmos sit proudly on top of the sound bar. They are actually contributing to amplify the sound stage in a way that does not allow the bars of his classics. On the Blu-ray ” Deepwater Horizon “, dedicated to the disaster from the oil platform, the power of the scenes where we see the men trying to contain the tsunami of oil, mud and water is very well rendered, while the dialogue remains clear. On the other hand, the bass delivered by the subwoofer lacked accuracy.

To test the qualities of the SJ9 in Dolby Atmos, we have to face two of the best sound bar : the Sony HT-ST5000 and the Samsung HW-K950.

For this comparison, we used one of our favorite movies, The Secret of the flying daggers. On the stage the drums in a circle, with the bass produced by the SJ9 were quite deep and powerful. But those produced by the Sony were better defined and the HT-ST5000 has shown overall to be more clear.

On scenes more quiet in the bamboo forest, the K950 Samsung was favoured by the presence of its rear speakers. The sound of insects coming from all directions was more striking than on the SJ9. The sound was much more immersive. However, by focusing only on the SJ9 with the film Transformers: Age of Extinction, we have clearly been able to appreciate its dynamic qualities.

For the music, the bar LG has provided us with a rendering quite correct on the acoustic album The Nashville Sound of Jason Isbell, the level of that of the HT-ST5000. But we have found that the subwoofer was very directional, which requires placing it close to the soundbar for better integration.

We then compared the SJ9 on the K950 listening to “Our Love” by Sharon Van Etten. The Samsung seemed more natural with more space around instruments and in the end a more accurate than on the LG.

Conclusion

If the SJ9 offers a sound of rather good quality, and has established itself as the bar Dolby Atmos is the most affordable, it is not as successful as its competitor at Samsung. Its main advantage compared to the K950 is its integration of the technology Chromecast. Moreover, it is significantly less expensive than the HT-ST5000 , Sony and the K950, which can make a good argument for all those who want to experience Dolby Atmos without breaking the bank.

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