2023 LG Soundbar Lineup
2023 LG Soundbar Lineup
2023 LG Soundbar Lineup

2023 LG Soundbar Lineup

In 2023, LG Electronics is releasing new soundbars. In this article, we’ll take a look at the specs of the 2023 soundbars and learn about new features such as Smart Up Mixer, Clear Voice Plus, Triple Level Spatial Sound, AI Room Calibration Pro, WOW Orchestra. It will also talk about the XXL update for models available from 2022.

LG Soundbars 2023 – SC9, S77, SE6

In 2023, there will be only three new models of soundbars from LG Electronics. The reason is easy to explain. After all, last year’s models are still relevant. They will be updated with a comprehensive firmware update with new features. For now, let’s focus on the soundbar innovations that LG manages to fill in the gaps in its existing lineup and offer new acoustic upgrade technologies.

LG SC9 (SC9S)

This soundbar has already been exhibited at CES 2023 along with the C3 4K OLED TV. The SC9 has been developed to complement the top-selling LG C2 (2022) and LG C3 (2023) TVs. The basis for the interaction of the two components, of course, is the HDMI 2.1 interface.

It can not only process audio signals via eARC (Advanced Audio Return Channel ), but also play 4K@120Hz including HDR, VRR or ALLM. The SC9 comes with two mounts. In the first case, the combination of OLED TV and soundbar can be mounted on the wall.

The second mounting option connects the soundbar and TV together to form a stand. In both cases, the interaction seems to be a single entity. The distance between the soundbar and the display is optimally chosen so that there are no problems with sound reproduction. If desired, you can use the SC9 soundbar with other TVs.

The SC9 soundbar has a lot to offer not only acoustically but also in terms of features. Also, the SC9S soundbar provides 3.1.3 sound with a maximum output of 400W. Even this compact version uses a mid-mounted tweeter.

This should allow audio formats like Dolby Atmos , DTS:X , or IMAX Enhanced to be handled even better. This separates the sound objects into surround and pitch levels. The optional wireless subwoofer reproduces low frequencies.

With the new Triple Level Spatial Sound feature, even the third sound level switches between surround and high levels. When the combination of soundbar and subwoofer is optimally tuned using Ai Room Calibration Pro (also new), the listener is offered a clear localization of sound objects.

In addition, the device has a new Smart Up mixer, Clear Voice Plus, support for MQA streams (Spotify, TIDAL) and WOW Synergy with a compatible LG Smart TV. WOW Synergy provides the user with a clear user interface on the TV that can be used to set up the soundbar. The latter can be done using the Wow Orchestra feature. For even better sound, combine the soundbar with the TV’s built-in speakers.

LG Soundbars 2023 - SC9, S77, SE6

LG S77 (S77S)

If we compare the list of equipment and functions of S77 (S77S) and SC9 (SC9S) described above, we can find many parallels. This is the same 400W system with 3.1.3 (3 height speakers) for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, etc. The differences here lie in the target group and therefore in the details.

While buyers of the SC9S are usually looking for an acoustic companion for their C2/C3 OLED TV, the S77 (S77S) soundbar is actually a match for any TV. LG has scaled down the soundbar a bit and tried to make it more inconspicuous and at the same time attractive. The wireless subwoofer will also play the visual effects of the soundbar.

Since the S77 soundbar is aimed more at the “general masses”, LG deliberately removes features that, as a rule, are simply not needed. For example, the S77 lacks the ability to wirelessly connect to end devices. Therefore, it is not possible to wirelessly transmit audio from the TV to the soundbar via LG WOWCAST.

There is also no support for voice assistants, AirPlay 2 or IMAX Enhanced audio tracks. Support for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio streams via Spotify or TIDAL Connect doesn’t work either. The system supports 4K 120Hz pass-through, VRR, ALLM and eARC via HDMI 2.1. There are new Triple Level Spatial Sound, Smart Up Mixer and Clear Voice Plus features, as well as WOW Synergy with WOW Orchestra.

LG SE6 Eclair

The latest addition from LG Electronics is the SE6 (SE6S) Eclair. The Korean electronics manufacturer is using the catchy term “Eclair” for the second time. In 2021, the company has already released an extremely compact soundbar under this name. The model was delivered with an external subwoofer and, despite its small size, convinced with good, surround sound.

The “successor” SE6 Eclair continues this philosophy and develops it further. Customers choosing the old Eclair were primarily annoyed by the external subwoofer, which simply didn’t fit the “compact” design. Now, LG Electronics is installing a subwoofer directly into the SE6 Eclair Soundbar and is trying to take on the quality competition of all-in-one soundbars.

In any case, the manufacturer is satisfied with its concept and offers the buyer an attractive sound solution in the upper middle class. With four large drivers and a 25mm tweeter, the soundbar should outperform many competitors.

With a total power of 100W, the soundbar won’t destroy any walls. At the same time, it should offer the user improved acoustics compared to the TV’s built-in sound solution.

XXL update for 2022 soundbars

LG will use most of its existing soundbar portfolio in 2023 as well. This is understandable, as many devices continue to move with the times, and exchanging them for a new model or model number can be confusing.

The premium models S95QR (9.1.5), S90QY (5.1.3) and S80QR (5.1.3) are still available, as are the mid-range models S80QY (3.1.3), S75Q (3.1.2) and S65Q ( 3.1). Entry-level soundbars S60Q, S40Q and SH7Q with 2.1 or 5.1 sound will also be released.

As part of a major firmware update scheduled for summer 2023, six models will receive new features. The most impressive new feature that LG will introduce to the 2022 soundbars is the ability to transmit video signals at 4K resolution, 120Hz, active VRR and ALLM.

Previously, the maximum combination of resolution and refresh rate was limited to 4K@60Hz+VRR. LG is, so to speak, unlocking HDMI 2.1 functionality that was dormant in soundbars. The table below shows which models will receive new features with the firmware update.

New features and specifications of LG Soundbars 2023

Let’s start with the feature that LG Electronics is likely to care about the most. With WOW Synergy, the Korean electronics manufacturer is trying to increase the synergy between TV and soundbar. Customers should be aware of the benefits of WOW Synergy so that they not only choose an LG soundbar but also a compatible smart TV of the same brand.

WOW Orchestra

WOW Orchestra is a feature that combines room-filling TV sound with pure sound reproduction. This means that WOW Orchestra, LG Soundbar and LG Smart TV work hand in hand to improve the sound quality. The sound stage will be expanded, and high and low frequencies will be better developed. By the way, Samsung’s analogue of this function is called Q-Symphony.

WOW interface

Compatible soundbars that are used in conjunction with matching smart TVs from LG Electronics can now also be controlled directly on the TV via the WOW interface. The “dashboard” functionality goes far beyond the usual CEC-HDMI function.

All functions that the soundbar offers to the user must be able to be set, activated or deactivated. Users are sure to get even more value out of their sound solutions thanks to the intuitive user interface.

WOWCAST

The third feature listed in WOW Synergy is WOWCAST. This is a solution for wireless transmission of audio signals from a TV to a compatible soundbar. WOWCAST is actually supported by all 2022/2023 LG soundbars that have wireless features.

However, to work with WOWCAST, additional equipment is required – the WOWCAST WTP3 wireless transmitter. It connects to the HDMI output using eARC and is powered via USB. When connected to an LG Soundbar, audio signals can now be transmitted wirelessly. Lossless audio streams such as Dolby Atmos will also be supported.

WOWCAST connection

4K@120Hz, VRR, ALLM

One of the biggest surprises was the 120Hz feature, which not only the new soundbars have, but also some of last year’s models. The HDMI 2.1 chipset has likely been dormant in the 2022 soundbar hardware for almost a year, and it will now be activated after a major summer 2023 update.

From now on, 4K video signals will go through the soundbar to a compatible TV at 120Hz, HDR, VRR and ALLM. This is perfect for owners of high-end gaming PCs, PlayStation5 or Xbox Series X. What is the advantage? On the one hand, the user gets a smoother image with a resolution of 4K through 120 Hz.

On the other hand, you only need to use one HDMI input on your TV instead of two. Without the upgrade, the PC/console and soundbar had to be connected to the TV separately to be able to provide 4K@120Hz+VRR+HDR and audio playback via eARC. This is a big plus for new and existing customers.

Clear Voice Plus

Clear Voice Plus offers optimized sound mapping for dialogs, messages and the like. This feature has already been used in a modified form in LG’s AV product line.

In 2023, it was again improved. Dialogue adaptation combined with background noise, music, etc. should work even better depending on the content. The function is certainly optimal for films and series in the original English language, since the dialogues here are often not very mixed.

Triple Level Spatial Sound

Some 2022/23 soundbars are now equipped with Triple Sound technology, i.e. three speakers pointing upwards. In 2023, LG wants to take full advantage of this conceptual advantage with its Triple Level Spatial Sound technology.

An additional virtual audio layer (virtual middle layer) is added between the surround and height channels through channel analysis using an HRTF-based 3D engine. The end result should be a convincing sense of space, thanks to which sound objects can be even better positioned in the vertical plane.

Smart Up Mixer

The Smart Up mixer is probably one of the important additions, along with the 4K@120Hz functionality. On paper, at least, the technology sounds downright mesmerizing. Regardless of the source material (from 2.0 stereo), the upmixer analyzes the audio signal, optimizes it and adapts it to the existing sound system.

A simple stereo signal can also be used for a 9.1.5 system. There is a suspicion that the upmix here is performed at the channel level or at the layer level (surround sound, 2nd layer + height channels). It will be very interesting to hear this feature in action.

AI Room Calibration Pro

The soundbars are adjusted according to the room conditions with LG AI Advanced Room Calibration by analyzing the audio output signal. This results in higher sound fidelity in the low frequency range.

In addition, the frequencies of the front channels are separated to improve the overall balance, clarity of vocal performances and cinematic dialogues, as well as the fidelity of the sound image. Other AI modes provide intelligent spatial adaptation by recognizing genres and adjusting appropriate frequency ranges for better sound reproduction.

MQA support

High-quality sound reproduction is important not only for movies and TV shows. Many users no longer want to do without high-quality sound in music. With MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) support for Spotify and TIDAL Connect, LG Electronics provides an additional reason to indulge in acoustics more often.

DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced

Another innovation is the IMAX Enhanced technology found on select LG soundbars. The format is passed through a DTS:X container and is intended to offer listeners an even better 3D audio experience.

A new feature appears just at the right time. Disney+ has announced that it will provide content not only in enhanced IMAX picture format, but also in enhanced IMAX audio. Unfortunately, LG TVs cannot directly encode DTS audio sources, but can redirect the signal from built-in apps to the soundbar.

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