LG Explodes at CES with XBOOM and Soundbars Galore

As usual, LG kicked off the 2019 CES press day with a bang. Or should we say XBOOM? In addition to showing off some amazingly cool new soundbars LG launched a series of exciting audio products in the XBOOM product line. Both the soundbars and XBOOM products reflect LG’s devotion to great sounding products with innovative features.

Designed to blend seamlessly with their new TV line, LG announced an array of new soundbars that take advantage of LG’s collaboration with Meridian Audio including a number that support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The new soundbars integrate Meridian’s Upmix technology that takes a two-channel stereo signal and creates discrete multiple channels and an immersive listening experience.

The high-end SL10, SL9 and SL8 soundbars offer AI smart connectivity and have built-in Google Assistant for a variety of uses - both simple, such as controlling the volume, or more informative, such as being able to ask what song is playing. The soundbar can also interface with other Google smart devices throughout the home, so you can ask Google Assistant through the soundbar to start your LG robotic vacuum cleaner. Fun with AI.

The SL9 takes design to another plane - literally. A built-in gyroscope detects the orientation of the 57mm-deep unit that can be mounted flat on a wall, or facing up on a flat surface. The unit will adjust the directionality of the sound based on the position.

“LG’s 2019 soundbars deliver amazing performance tuned in close partnership with Meridian Audio with the convenience of smart AI connectivity,” said Kim Dae-chul, head of LG Home Entertainment Company’s audio and video business. “The high-quality sound and versatility of our newest lineup takes home entertainment to a whole new level and satisfies a growing demand for premium soundbar solutions that provide impressive listening experiences, greater convenience and stylish, modern aesthetics.”

Unlike the clean sleek lines of most LG TVs and appliances, the XBOOM product line is big, bold and pretty much in-your-face. As you would expect, they’re loud, but maintain the level of quality expected from the brand.

The XBOOM product lineup includes Go portable Bluetooth speakers, AI ThinQ smart speakers, mini components and all-in-one sound systems, including the flagship CL98 with a massive 3,500-watt output and compression horn for an impactful bass response.

In a new collaboration with Meridian Audio, the XBOOM OL100 outputs 2,000 watts through a folded “Blast Horn”. The OL100 has “Meridian Mode” that creates clearer vocals and is said to provide a more responsive bass. This all-in-one has easy-grab handles and casters so it can easily move to wherever the party is.

New XBOOM Bluetooth speakers support aptX HD codec that streams lossless hi-res audio, and the speakers can be linked to provide stereo or multi-room functionality.

Other new products include LG’s DJ app with DJ Star, Cross Fader, and Party Accelerator designed to let even the most basic amateur turn out creative DJ mixes. For the amatuer performer, there’s also Karaoke Star that claims suppress the vocals on almost any track. It also comes with 18 vocal modes and a light-display feature.

The XBOOM Go PK speakers are the new LG portable options. Featuring an aptX HD codec, they support lossless 24-bit audio.

“LG will continue to expand its XBOOM lineup to provide powerful sound that helps users create an enjoyable atmosphere, whatever the occasion,” said Kim Dae-chul. “We are excited about the present and future of the LG XBOOM brand and will continue to strengthen our offerings and our position in the party-audio market.”

It’s exciting to see a company that was so firmly entrenched in TV and appliances making such a bold statement with this XBOOM launch and truly gorgeous soundbars. We can’t wait to see what else is coming from LG.

YourMainDude's picture

Hopefully Sound & Vision does a comprehensive review on the SL10.

There has been an astounding number of complaints about Dolby Atmos and the 'Movie' preset sound mode performance with respect to their prior SK10Y model release. During highly active or dynamic sound events, dialog gets squashed and shoved into the back of the sound field. LG released a firmware patch and update to their mobile app which introduced a 'Center Channel' control. Unfortunately, object oriented sound decoding doesn't work on a basis of center - left - and right - channel levels and if one is to follow the prescribed remedy (by LG) to jack the center level up to a max of 6, it doesn't help the Atmos dialog presentation by any appreciable amount and it introduces obvious issues outside of dedicated Atmos playback. There is a wealth of Atmos material that demonstrates the issue with the SK10Y - 'Game of Thrones' being a prime example for A B testing. Any of the battle field scenes show just how poorly the dialog objects are treated amidst the entire soundscape in Atmos mode. Equally, there are a number of "super hero" movies that also employ Atmos and are great demonstration sources. This DSP handling issue can also be forced with the programmed 'Movie' mode - one of the built-in DSP sound field presets available on the SK10 - that also creates significant attenuation in dialog content when used on non-Atmos audio that encompasses complex sound fields. All of this points to some serious DSP shortcomings.

The SK10Y is sort of 'water under the bridge' now - with the announcement of these new models at CES. But little to no professional attention from sites such as this one or other professional review venues have given the SK10Y the critical attention it sorely needed regarding dialog performance.


Hopefully Sound & Vision gets it hands on a SL10 and thoroughly reports on the Atmos and matrix 'Movie' modes in this regard.

It's a key area of review and everyone should agree that dialog handling is probably one of - if not the - most important metric of a high dollar sound bar system.