Review: LG SJ8

Let the sound flow

The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.

Karakter
LG SJ8
We think
The sound is crisp, with a clear dialogue on movies. The soundscape is huge, and we give a thumbs up for the network and streaming services.
It lacks power, and it can sound a little slim.
Specifications

Matches screen size: 55” and up
HDMI: 1 in, 1 out (ARC)
Digital in: Optical
Network: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Wireless: Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Chromecast
Analogue in: 3.5 mm AUX
Subwoofer: Wireless
W x H x D: 122 x 3.8 x 10.5 cm
Colour: Silver Grey
Website: lg.com/no

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LG SJ8 is the widest of the test and looks great with big TVs. It is sleek and elegant and is user-friendly with a clear and straightforward display in the front.
Besides the HDMI input that supports all video formats, SJ8 has both wireless and wired network functionality. Spotify customers can enjoy direct streaming with the Connect feature, and the built-in Chromecast provides access to several other music services, including Deezer.
High-resolution music files are also supported, although we don’t see quite the point of high-resolution sound from a soundbar, which will always be a compromise regarding sound compared to an actual stereo system.

Sound quality

The dialogue in the film sounds loud and clear. Perhaps a bit slimmed down in the mid range, but not too much. Simulated surround sound also works fine. Although LG does not attempt to make sound in the height dimension, the soundscape feels almost as huge as with Samsung and Sony. However, it does not quite reach Yamaha in this respect.
One criticism is that LG’s volume is not as loud as the most powerful soundbars. It can seem slightly lightweight in action movies, although the soundbar works fine for daily use.
Music in stereo works, but midrange is somewhat reticent. Lady Gaga’s voice in the acoustic Joanne has nice fullness down in the range, which not all soundbars can bring forth. At the same time, it lacks air at the very top. Compared with Samsung and JBL, the sound isn’t as clear, and the subwoofer is also slightly flimsy.

Conclusion

The LG SJ8 is a wide soundbar, and therefore looks best with somewhat larger TVs. It has built-in network features and streaming, which makes music more accessible with better quality than if you use Bluetooth. It also sounds quite good and sounds best for movies with clear and open sound. It’s no powerhouse, but it does the trick.

Also in this test

Klipsch RSB-6

Does not follow up

A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.

If you like the PA sound you know from concert halls and nightlife venues, you'll nod approvingly.
The soundbar does not have the power to keep up with the “tough” soundscape. It all sounds fairly flat, and Bluetooth sounds discouragingly bad.

JBL Bar 3.1

Powerhouse

No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.

No one in this class come close to this level of power. The subwoofer at 10 inches is especially impressive. In addition, it sounds good, and the soundbar is user-friendly.
There are those with higher resolution and even better cohesion in the tones. Does not support DTS

Samsung HW-N660

Perfect balance

The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.

The soundscape is great, and it works extraordinarily well on film and games. The soundbar has a very well adjusted timbre balance.
We would like more power, and the narrow display can hold way too little text, which is why it appears in a rolling manner.

Panasonic SC-HTB250

Small and half-hearted

The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.

The sound is powerful, with more oomph than we had anticipated. Quite a huge soundscape on film.
Bluetooth sounds miserable, and with the absent analogue input, you can therefore not enjoy music from a mobile phone.

Creative Sound BlasterX Katana

For gamers

Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.

The soundscape gets an okay feel of surround on film and games, and the subwoofer hangs well together with the sound from the soundbar. A straightforward display simplifies its use.
The overtones are rather taciturn, the dialogues in film sound somewhat woolly, and the music lacks a little spark. The subwoofer is not wireless, HDMI is missing as is support for DTS.

Yamaha YAS-207

Surprisingly huge sound

Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.

The soundscape is folded outward and upward. This soundbar does an excellent job in simulating true surround sound.
We miss a display, since LEDs provide limited visibility from a distance. The overtone area could be more airy.

Philips Fidelio B1/12

Better on TV than music

This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.

Very compact dimensions makes for a discreet soundbar, and it is also very easy to use. The sound is more powerful than you might think.
Does not sound as good on music as film, the bass is somewhat uncontrolled and the midrange could have had more energy. HDMI does not support HDCP 2.2 and thereby does not support 4K Blu-ray.

Sony HT-XF9000

Extra dimension in height

Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.

The soundscape is huge on film, and the dialogue is crystal clear. The subwoofer has also tolerable power.
It can sometimes sound a little crass in the overtones, and the subwoofer has a lot of energy in its upper range and less in the deep bass. Music in stereo is not great.

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