New LG Soundbar Boasts Meridian Tech and Atmos

LG is no stranger to partnering with other audio companies when it thinks it can improve the performance of its products. Nearly ten years ago they teamed up with famous audio designer Mark Levinson to improve sound quality, and more recently they work with Harman Kardon on some headphone designs. Waaaaay back on December 18, 2017 LG announced a new partnership with famed British audio manufacturer Meridian Audio. The press release announced “a partnership to bring high-performance audio to more consumers around the world. LG’s award-winning, innovative consumer electronics coupled with Meridian’s unrivaled sound technology will deliver unique solutions to consumers and a supreme entertainment experience.”

Today, I experienced one of those first collaborative designs in the form of the new SK10Y Dolby Atmos enabled soundbar.

Tim Alessi, LG’s head of product marketing, said, “Our partnership with Meridian is an example of LG’s commitment to creating premium audio systems that rival the best in the business,” and after hearing the SK10Y I’d have to agree. What made the bar’s immersive audio even more impressive is that it was being played back in a room with ceilings that would normally be considered far too high for Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers to reflect sound optimally. That it could perform so admirably in such a room gives high expectations for real-world operation.

Unfortunately, specific details on the bar were scarce, such as how many drivers it included and their sizes, the size of the sub, or the exact number of inputs. What I was able to glean is that it would have a total of 550-watts in the soundbar alone (not including the powered subwoofer), it would be a 5.1.2 configuration, it was expected to have 4 HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 inputs and 1 output, as well as 2 USB. And while the bar will handle high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz audio, I couldn’t get a clear answer on whether it would process Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) files or not. (A Samsung representative in the audio demo booth said it was, but, let’s just say that English was not his first language and I’m not sure he totally understood what I was asking.)

What I can attest to was massively impressive audio quality, with a huge front soundstage, and height effects that clearly emanated from overhead. This speaker has definitely benefitted from Meridian’s DSP knowledge as well as Meridian’s Height Elevation technology. The single subwoofer also delivered a ton of impact and SPL without any noticeable distortion.

For true surround sound operation, the SK10Y can also support wireless rear speakers. The optional wireless surround kit will include a receiving module that features a 150-watt amplifier and two rear speakers. (Price not available) Also, following the trend of Google connectivity at CES, the SK10Y will work with Google Assistant and support Chromecast.

Availability was being touted “around March” with a price in the $1200-plus range.

Thomas J. Norton's picture
A rep from LG in their soundbar demo revealed to me that the Meridian audio features are non functional with any Dolby (and presumably DTS) digital source.