Which sound bar brand?
LG sound bars rated
By Daniel Nissenbaum
Article 3 of 8
Interested in an LG sound bar? Don’t part with your cash until you’ve read our expert guide to find out whether the brand is right for you.
LG is among the biggest-selling sound bar manufacturers and launches around seven models a year. Some are styled to complement the South Korean firm’s extensive range of LED and plasma TVs, but also work and look good with TVs from other brands.
All LG sound bars provide a way to play music from a smartphone, tablet or laptop; all let you do this by connecting a cable, either a USB ('portable-in’) or 3.5mm mini-jack, while some also include Bluetooth or Bluetooth NFC to let you stream music wirelessly to the sound bar.
In the table below, we've rounded up some of the key facts about the brand to help you decide whether an LG sound bar would be right for you. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts in the table.
|LG sound bars overview table|
|Number tested in the past three years||15|
|Number of Best Buys|
|Average test score|
|Brand reliability rating|
|Customer score (%)|
|Should I buy one?|
|Table notes||Average test score based on results of models tested that are still available in shops. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2016 of 146 LG sound bar owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 5 June 2017.|
How much do LG sound bars cost?
An fairly typical amount for a sound bar. The average LG model costs around £270, compared with £300 for all brands. Entry-level models are styled to suit 40 to 42-inch TVs and can cost £70-£170, while top-end models come with extras, such as a wireless subwoofer and media streaming features; these can cost £350-£600 and are styled to suit big-screen TVs 46 to 55-inches or larger in size.
Choosing the best LG sound bar
LG's entry-level sound bars are a single unit that don’t have a separate subwoofer speaker. Mid-range and top-end LG sound bars usually come with a separate external subwoofer which adds extra bass and links using either a cable or wireless connection. Stylish and slim, they’re generally designed for big-screen TVs and to sit snugly alongside on a surface or wall. The LG LAP205H is the only soundbase in the LG range; small and large TVs can stand on top of its deep reinforced case, which has all speakers built in.
LG was the first manufacturer to offer a 'Smart TV' sound bar which adds LG's smart hub services to the TV when connected by an HDMI cable. It connects to the internet using built-in wi-fi or an Ethernet cable, and adds apps, social media and games similar to those of LG's Smart TV range, including access to catch-up TV and on-demand services, such as BBC iPlayer and YouTube.
LG surround-sound processing
Like many brands, LG offers a choice of sound modes on its sound bars including a surround-sound effect. Most models process Dolby Digital and DTS sound as found on many DVD and Blu-ray soundtracks. Other settings, such as the 'night mode' are designed to help watch films quietly, reducing the volume of loud sounds and amplifying quiet sounds. 'Auto Leveller' automatically balances the sound, and the 'AV Sync' mode corrects any delay and lip-sync issues.
All LG’s models include optional 'sound effect' modes, such as Bass & Sound Enhancement, Natural, Bass, Game, MP3 Upscaler and Loudness. Clear Voice (CLRVOICE) is designed to enhance speech clarity for everyday viewing. You can choose to select these preset modes to suit what you’re watching, eg ‘Bass’ for a film. It’s down to personal taste whether you use presets - in our tests we find the effects can sometimes sound unnatural, but you can select 'By Pass' to hear original sound without extra processing.
Some sound bars do a great job with stereo and moving horizontal sound, such as a car speeding from left to right, but it’s hard to beat a surround-sound system for hearing a pin drop behind you. To learn more, read Sound bar vs home cinema vs surround sound system: which is best?.