Earlier this year, Korean multinational LG teamed with high-performance audio technology manufacturer Meridian Audio to enhance the sound produced by selected LG home entertainment products. IFA marks their first international outing
WHEN YOU HEAR MORE, YOU ACTUALLY FEEL MORE.
According to LG, the aim of its collaboration with Meridian Audio is to “raise the bar on acoustic performance, using natural and authentic sound derived from rigorous research and development”. At IFA, the electronics giant is unveiling its expanded lineup of XBoom audio products, which now includes XBoom Go portable Bluetooth speakers and XBoom AI ThinQ smart speakers. The XBoom brand’s appeal to a young party-going demographic has contributed to its 35% world market share among mini components and all-in-one audio.
In this its 60th anniversary year, LG’s audio R&D strategy sees it focusing primarily on sound quality. UK-based Meridian’s technology features in LG’s XBoom range.
Meridian is a leader in the development of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and advanced psychoacoustic technologies, including the Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) system used for high-resolution audio streaming. “Really, IFA is the first chance to show the fruits of the partnership so far,” Meridian CEO John Buchanan told IFA International. “The SK10Y soundbar and the ThinQ WK7 speakers, these came to market as a result of our collaboration and the desire to bring better sound to more people. Meridian has always been about authentic emotions and experiences with sound, whether it’s audio music, movies – wherever you want to listen, even in your car. And in collaboration with LG’s innovation and access to the widest electronics market, we want to deliver high definition audio.”
Meridian created the world’s first in-car 3D surround sound system. It was the company behind the world’s first digital active loudspeaker and the industry’s first audiophile quality compact disc player. The company has also played a key role in the development and implementation of revolutionary audio technologies including Master Quality Authenticated. “Considering all of that, out of all the high-end audio brands, LG made a decision to begin the collaboration with Meridian,” LG’s chief R&D expert Hyun Seung said. “The products that LG makes for its customers are fantastically innovative and the idea was to make better sound,” Seung said.
“And using our fundamental understanding of psychoacoustics – a branch of neuro-science that concerns how humans perceive sound – and our unique Digital Signal Processing (DSP) expertise, those elements come into play when we come together with LG. With the soundbar, for example, if LG wants the customer to believe while they’re in an immersive experience, the sound has to come from the human face on the screen rather than from below the screen,” Buchanan said. “So we’re building in sound height. We’ve developed a lot of technology over the years we’re still researching and developing more to bring to this partnership with LG. It’s about thinking differently, starting with the experience we want to deliver, rather than just having one way of producing sound and forcing that into different applications.”
Seung said that producing convincing sound that draws in the listener was a key consideration behind the partnership with Meridian. “A very important factor when playing music is the stage and the position of instruments and singers,” he said. “And what decides these two are phasing and timing. Meridian already had the experience and knowledge of how to adjust the phasing and timing, so we were able to tune our sound to make it more balanced.”
As for how the partnership might change the business direction for each company, Buchanan said that it will help with his Meridian’s mission to offer “authentic experiences” to its customers. “LG provides us with a much bigger stage with which to show consumers that when you hear more, you actually feel more.” For Seung, “The [TV] panels are getting thinner and the speakers are getting smaller, but actually Meridian can break through this problem in our industry. It has the know-how to solve the problems and correct errors that can happen during digital processing. Our direction from now on will be to make authentic sound,” he said. ”We are not making and selling expensive products and we would like our products to go to a wider audience”.
Hyun Seung – Chief R&D expert, LG Electronics,
John Buchanan – CEO, Meridian Audio and
Katy Bradshaw – Director of Marketing, Meridian Audio