LG Launches 2020 Sound Bar Line With Meridian Audio Technology
LG USA formally launched Monday its 2020 sound bar lineup that was developed in consultation with precision U.K.-based high-fidelity resource Meridian Audo Technologies, bringing advanced, immersive surround sound capabilities to flat-panel TV owners.
This year’s lineup features eight models ranging in on-board power from 380 to 770 total watts. The flagship of the series is the premium LG SN11RG 770-watt surround sound sound bar solution, with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-oriented 3D audio surround sound, that was a standout in the LG booth at CES 2020.
All eight models are promised to provide “easy connectivity, smart functionality and sleek designs that integrate with the LG OLED and LG NanoCell 4K and 8K UHD TVs.”
These models will be available starting this month through U.S. retailers nationwide, LG said.
Meridian’s techological contributions are present in this year’s top five sound bar models. This includes Meridian’s fine-tuning of bass, space and height elevation sound characteristics. Meridian’s engineering team also helped LG with driver selection, and developing acoustic chambers for the speakers in the sound bars themselves giving each model “a nice solid, high-quality feel.”
Most importantly, select Meridian-supporting models provide the U.K.-company’s expertise in sound calibration technology, helping to add a built-in sound-shaping system that automatically fine-tunes the output to the listening environment. The experience is said to deliver “a nice, pleasant audio presentation, regardless of the type of content being played, from music to movies, sporting events, video games, etc.”
The room calibration system uses artifical intelligence (AI) spatial awareness technology to measure the unique acoustic characteristics of each room and optimize the output to the listening sweet spot. It then balances the sound bar’s audio settings to the environment for an optimized immersive sound experience in keeping with the intention of the content creators. LG said Google Assistant AI technology will also enable the top four models in the lineup (SN8YG and up) to provide the convenience of AI smart connectivity and voice recognition without the need for an extra device.
Meridian also contributes to the package its up-mixer technology expertise so that even when listening to just basic 2-channel stereo music, the sound bars will output sound in 3.1, 5.1 or 7.1-channel configuration (depending on the sound bar model) utilizing all of the drivers in each unit to maximize the sonic experience.
Five new premium-level models (the SN11RG, SN10YG, SN9YG, SN8YG and SN7Y) will combine Meridian sound technology, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X and HiRes Audio (up to 24-bit, 192KHz) for more realistic audio performance. This year’s models also include up-firing speakers that help to produce “a bubble of sound providing a circle” around the listener, the company said.
Furthermore, with both Dolby Vision (dynamic metadata-based HDR) pass-through and Dolby Atmos built into the sound bars, viewers streaming supported content through Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime (and other sources) will be able to capitalize on those feature benefits using a connected supporting display. The top four models include support for 4K HDR pass through via HDMI.
Models SN8YG, SN9YG, SN10YG and SN11RG also feature advanced connectivity through enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), a new feature in the HDMI 2.1 spec, allowing for easy connection, better sound quality from compression formats requiring more bandwidth and convenient control with the TV remote.
As a bonus, all 2020 LG sound bars are compatible with LG’s optional SPK8 Wireless Rear Speaker Kit that will allow users to easily set-up and build out the surround experience from the back of the room further through the addition of speaker-wire-free discrete rear surround channels.
The flagship SN11RG includes separate rear surround speakers with up-firing drivers to further enhance the experience. This model maximizes the contributions from Meridian Audio in advanced signal processing and refined hardware design for the widest soundstage with the most dynamic over-head height channel experience.
2020 LG Sound Bar Models
The 2020 LG sound bar lineup includes the following models, at the listed prices and availability dates. Links are included for models available now or for pre-order.
(Pictured at top)
770 W, 7.1.4 ch. High Res Audio Sound Bar
with Dolby Atmos and included rear-channel surround speakers; eARC, Google Assistant and Chromecast, 4K pass-through, and a design optimized for wide, larger screen TVs
570W, 5.1.2 ch. Hi-Res Audio Sound Bar
with Meridian, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Google Assistant and Chromecast, eARC, 4K pass-through
$1,177 street retail
520W, 5.1.2 ch. Hi-Res Audio Sound Bar
with Dolby Atmos, Google Assistant and Chromecast, eARC, 4K pass-through
$852.45 street price
440W, 3.1.2 ch. Sound Bar
with Meridian, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, eARC, Google Assistant and Chromecast, supports 4K pass-through
$796.99 street retail
380W, 3.1.2 ch. Sound Bar
with Meridian, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
and Hi-Res Audio
429W, 3.1 ch. Hi-Res Audio Sound Bar
with DTS Virtual:X
$346.99 street retail
400W, 2.1 ch. Hi-Res Audio Sound Bar
with DTS Virtual:X
$226.99 street retail
2 ch. Optional Wireless Rear Speaker Kit
$162 street retail
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By Greg Tarr
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