There are not many soundbars with the length of the LG SK10Y. It measures a full 144 cm, the same as a 65-inch TV. The benefits are obvious. First, you have to place the speaker elements far apart, to create the widest possible sound image. Second, a larger cabinet volume will provide fuller and more powerful sound.
The downside is the space it takes up. In addition to the sound board being wide, it is quite deep. Brackets for wall mounting are included, but it is limited how elegant it will be. It may thus be more relevant to place it on a wide TV bench.
Sound of Meridian
A wide cabinet provides space for many speaker elements. In this case, we are talking five elements in front, where two of them are side-mounted and phase-shifted to reproduce surround sound. In addition, two elements at the top are directed towards the ceiling, which reflects the sound down again towards the sofa. These are to recreate the height of Dolby Atmos sound .
What is new is that all the speaker elements sit in separate chambers, rather than playing together in a common cabinet. This is to influence each other as little as possible, so that the dynamics are better and the distortion lower. LG has also approached high-end manufacturer Meridian to help with the sound.
The wireless subwoofer can be placed anywhere in the room, but sounds best near the soundbar.
As an option, you can buy separate rear speakers called SPK8-S, to get real surround sound. The speakers are not wireless, instead the sound is sent wirelessly to someone who connects to the rear speakers with regular wires. You can at least avoid cables across the floor, but we prefer wireless rear speakers such as the Samsung HW-K960 and Sony HT-ZF9 .
The soundbar has two HDMI inputs, a little small if you have many video sources. The solution then can be to connect all the HDMI sources to the TV and use the audio return channel (ARC) in the audio board’s HDMI output. This also supports higher sound resolution, including Dolby Atmos. DTS: X and DTS-HD are unfortunately not supported at all, but DTS does.
Built-in Chromecast lets you play music wirelessly over your home network. If you have a smart speaker in the network, such as an LG ThinQ speaker with Google Assistant voice control, then the soundbar can be operated and voice controlled from this. Several services are supported, such as Tidal and Spotify, but we did not get YouTube Music to work during the test period.
Setup and ease of use
The SK10Y can be connected wirelessly to the home network with the LG Wi-Fi Speaker app for iOS and Android. The soundbar has no on-screen menu, but provides an overview via a clear display in the front.
The remote control does not have many buttons. In a way, it makes things easier, but at the same time you sit and press a button several times to bring up the function you want. For example, we press the Sound Effect button a little too often to scroll to Movie or Music, depending on the source. On the other hand, there is a practical button for setting the sound level on the subwoofer, ceiling channels and rear channels, if these are connected.
The widest sound
With such a wide soundbar, you also expect a wide sound picture, and you really get that with the LG SK10Y. This is among the few soundbars we have heard that actually provide a usable stereo perspective on music. And with the subwoofer, you get deeper bass than a pair of compact speakers deliver. A well-made compromise to music, in other words.
Women’s vocals sound nice and open, and we like the rich reproduction of bass guitar, without being exaggerated. Maximum sound level could well have been a bit higher and the subwoofer even tougher, but all in all well over approved. The tonal connection is by the way the best we have heard from any LG soundbar.
Just make sure you have selected the Music sound mode. The standard mode sounds confined and colored, with a nasty hump in the upper bass. A woman’s voice is buried in the rumble from the box guitar, nothing sounds natural. Strange, because it’s in Standard mode LG boasts of working with Meridian. Someone has been sloppy here!
Movies work best in Movie mode. Except for movies with Atmos soundtracks, where you are locked into LG’s choice. But it works very well, the Blade Runner 2049 has a large enclosing sound picture, and even without the wireless rear speaker system you get a feeling of surround sound. Significantly better simulated surround than what the Sony HT-ZF9 can handle. Connect the rear speaker system, which is also cheaper than Sony’s, and the sound image grows in all directions. Suddenly, the impression of the roof ducts also becomes larger, as the whole becomes more welded together.
Compared to the Samsung HW-K960, LG has a bit left on the Atmos bit itself, much because Samsung also has ceiling channels embedded in the rear speakers. Besides, I often sat and watched movies with full sound level, so LG could have had even a little more to go on. The Sony ZF9 is noticeably more powerful, and also has a tougher subwoofer. In that sense, the LG board is not an equally good buy.
LG SK10Y: Conclusion
The LG SK10Y has separate speakers for each of the channels in 5.1.2 Atmos sound, and with separate chambers for all the elements, it sounds cleaner and better than LG has previously managed with some soundbar. And content with Dolby Atmos sounds very good, with a beautiful and holographic bubble of sound that surrounds us. Especially if you invest in separate rear speakers, which we clearly recommend.
Built-in Chromecast provides support for many streaming services, but we did not get YouTube Music to work.
We could wish for a slightly heavier subwoofer and a greater maximum sound pressure, but all in all it is more than acceptable. Some will probably miss DTS: X and DTS-HD.