LG PN7 XBOOM Go Wireless Speaker Review

Boom, boom!

Hi-Fi Review

10

Recommended
LG PN7 XBOOM Go Wireless Speaker Review
SRP: £119.99

What is the LG PN7 XBOOM Go?

The LG PN7 is part of the company’s recently launched XBOOM Go range of portable water-resistant Bluetooth speakers. The PN line-up is composed of the PN7 and the PN5, with both sporting similar specs, aside from the PN7 being larger and having more power.

Both models in the PN Series use proprietary Meridian technology, and include DTS Stereo Plus. They also include dual action bass with woofers at each end, a sound boost mode, a remote app, a party link for adding up to 100 units, and party lighting.

These speakers work with Google Assistant (Android) and Siri (iOS), plus if you own a 2020 LG TV you can even use two of the same model as surround channels. The PN7 costs £119.99 as at the time of writing (October 2020), and is available exclusively at Currys/PC World.

Design, Connections and Control

The LG PN7 XBOOM Go isn't exactly a looker, with a strangely angular shape that's dominated by the handle along the bottom front of the cabinet. There's a mesh grille at the front, with a pair of drivers behind and lighting in the centre that illuminates them. The cabinet is black with a textured finish, and there are silver-coloured bass drivers at either end. The PN7 is water-resistant, which might come in handy when you're on the move, and the overall build quality is generally good.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go controls

At the top you'll find a battery life indicator, along with a selection of rubberised control buttons. From left to right these are the power on/off button, the Bluetooth pairing button, the volume up and down buttons, the play/pause button (which also handles skip forwards and backwards, and handsfree receive and disconnect), the voice command button (which doubles for changing the lighting settings), the DTS Stereo Plus button, and the Sound Boost button.

 

The design might be something of an acquired taste, but it's robust, portable and water-resistant

The main method of connection is obviously Bluetooth, although LG is decidedly vague about exactly which version of Bluetooth the PN7 is using. There are also some physical connections at the rear of the speaker, behind a removable cover. Here you’ll find a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and a USB-C connector for recharging the battery. There are also buttons in this rear section for setting up the dual mode, and resetting the unit.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go front view

The PN7 supports the XBOOM remote app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. There's a home page from which you can access all the available controls and setup options, such as Wireless Party Link, Sound Effects, and Lighting Effects. You can also access music and playlists from your device, as well as a Settings submenu, where you can change the Multi Play Mode from Private to Party, access the User Guide, turn the Auto Power Management and Beep Sounds on and off, and update the firmware.

Video Review

Meridian Partnership

Meridian is a British audio brand that’s been developing high-end digital products and solutions since the 1970s. The company has spent decades pioneering digital signal processing, psychoacoustics, surround sound technologies, system tuning and room equalisation. Meridian has also formed strategic partnerships with other major brands, and the latest is with LG.

Meridian’s philosophy is to create authentic, lifelike and natural sound. This is based on an understanding of psychoacoustics and how people actually hear. To deliver these goals Median concentrates on electronics, digital signal processing (DSP), drive units and mechanical design. Meridian has worked in conjunction with LG engineers to bring these technologies to its products.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go side view

These technologies include drive unit design and selection, acoustic performance, electronic design and DSP. Meridian has been pioneering DSP for over 25 years, and forms the basis of all its products. It’s now part of LG’s products, giving complete control over the audio signal. DSP is based upon three key elements: system design; Meridian technologies; and tuning and voicing.

The system design combines crossover filters and phase alignment to create an optimised baseline. Meridian’s proprietary technologies include image elevation, which uses psychoacoustics to create a sense of height, and bass and space, which increases the perceived soundstage and improves bass response. Finally, Meridian fine tunes its products, and applies EQ to voice the overall sound.

Setup and Operation

The LG PN7 XBOOM Go is a cinch to setup, just charge the battery and press the power button to turn the speaker on. After a beep (which you can silence), the front drivers light up (thankfully this can also be turned off), and the Bluetooth pairing indicator flashes. Then it's just a case of pairing your phone, after which you'll be asked to download the XBOOM App if you don't already have it.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go right hand side

When charging the PN7 you'll see a red battery light, which will change to green once the battery is fully charged. You can check the battery status by holding the power on/off button for two seconds: green is over 70%, amber is less than 10%, and flashing red means the battery needs to be charged. You can also see the exact battery status on the home page of the remote app.

You pair the PN7 with another device by holding the Bluetooth button down for two seconds. The volume up and down buttons are fairly self-explanatory, as are the DTS Stereo Plus and Sound Boost buttons. Indicator lights show when either of these modes are engaged. The Voice Command button allows for hands-free control via Google Assistant or Siri, depending on your smart phone.

 

There are controls on the speakers, but the easiest way of setting up and controlling it is via the remote app

The Voice Command button also doubles as the control for the Mood Lighting, hold it down for two seconds and you can cycle through Party, Water, Forest, My Style and Off. The playback controls are based around the play/pause button. Press it to play or pause a track, press it twice to skip forward, and three times to skip backwards.

At the rear, behind the removable panel, is the reset button and the Dual mode, which allows you to pair two PN7s to create left and right channels in a stereo setup. However, the chances are that you'll never use most of the buttons on the speaker itself, because the XBOOM App is a well-designed and easy to use controller that allows for quick and easy setup.

LG PN7
LG XBOOM App

Using the app you can access the Wireless Party Link submenu, and either setup the Dual mode to create a stereo pair, or the Multi mode to connect multiple speakers together. You can also access the Sound Effect submenu, and choose between the Standard, DTS Stereo Plus and Sound Boost settings. Finally, the app is easily the best way to change the lighting effects, and the only way to create a customised setting (My Style).

Performance

The LG PN7 XBOOM Go proved to be a better-sounding speaker than you'd perhaps expect given it's aimed at the portable and party market. This sonic prowess is undoubtedly in part due to the involvement of Meridian, which brings its expertise to bear on this speaker's performance. As a result, there's a precision and balance to the overall soundstage that makes this a good speaker for critical listening as well as more social usage.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go left hand view

The PN7 has a clean and detailed delivery, with an excellent midrange and a treble that's free of sharpness or sibilance. The bass is also impressive, giving the opening chants The Greatest Showman soundtrack a pleasing low-end kick. This is undeniably a good all-round speaker that can produce an engaging and enjoyable sound field regardless of what you're listening to or, for that matter, where you're listening.

There's also a decent amount of amplification built-in, ensuring the PN7 has sufficient power to handle a reasonably sized room or outdoor location. So if you do decide to use this speaker at a party, you can rest assured it will be able to entertain you and your friends. The dynamic lighting won't be for everyone, but it will liven up a social event and when simply using the speaker on your desktop, you can thankfully turn the pyrotechnics off.

 

This is a great-sounding portable speaker, with plenty of bass and a DTS Stereo Plus feature that really works

If you feel you need an extra kick at parties, there's also the Sound Boost button. This feature expands the audio, and especially the bass, to create a wider sound field. This added low-end is evident when listening to Hans Zimmer's percussively dominated theme to Man of Steel. This is fine for parties, but tends to smother the finer details in the audio. So for more critical listening, or just when you're at your desk working, I'd recommend keeping this feature off.

However, I'd definitely recommend pressing the DTS Stereo Plus button instead. This feature applies proprietary DTS processing that's designed to produce a taller and wider soundstage, with enhanced vocal clarity, and no distortion at maximum volume levels. I was initially sceptical, but I have to say the results were actually quite impressive, with the PN7 producing a greater sense of stereo separation that seemed much larger than the actual distance between its left and right speakers.

LG PN7
LG PN7 XBOOM Go front view

As a result, the stereo imaging on This is Me from The Greatest Showman soundtrack is excellent, with the processing drawing out the lead vocals from the chorus and laying down a solid foundation of bass. The soaring vocals, piano and strings of Never Enough are delivered with crystal clarity and, even at high volumes, the audio never feels strained or brittle. When combined with the speaker's innate abilities, this feature definitely brings out the best from your favourite recordings.

This speaker has been designed for use on the move, hence the carry-handle, but it is fairly large so bear that in mind if you're planning to take advantage of its portability. You can also get up to 24 hours from the battery, but you'll need to turn off the dynamic lighting and keep the volume at the halfway point or lower. The water-resistant nature of the chassis may also come in handy if you're by the pool or get caught in the rain, making the PN7 a cracking all-round portable speaker.

Verdict

Pros

  • Big soundstage
  • Plenty of bass
  • DTS Stereo+ highly effective
  • Well-made and portable
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Effective remote app

Cons

  • Not exactly a looker
  • Bluetooth only

LG PN7 XBOOM Go Wireless Speaker Review

The LG PN7 XBOOM Go is an impressive effort and the company's ongoing partnership with audio specialists Meridian continues to pay dividends. This is undeniably a great-sounding speaker that benefits from some solid engineering combined with cutting-edge tech. The result is a clean, detailed and balanced sound that's sure to please, regardless of where you use it or what you listen to. The DTS Stereo Plus feature is genuinely effective, producing a bigger and more immersive soundstage.

The PN7 also has sufficient power to handle a reasonable sized room or outdoor setting without becoming swamped by ambient noise. It's not a looker, but the carry handle makes transporting this fairly large speaker easier, while the water-resistance will come in handy when outside. At parties, the dynamic lighting and Sound Boost mode are sure to be hits, but both are best left off by those wanting a more relaxed listening experience – that's when DTS Stereo Plus comes into its own.

The LG PN7 isn't perfect, it's a bit pricey for a speaker that's limited to a Bluetooth wireless connection, and there's also no shortage of competition at this end of the market. However, it does manage to have its cake and eat it, with a delivery that will sound excellent while you listen in your study or bedroom but is also capable of handling larger rooms and outdoor spaces. Throw in some fun features and you've got a portable speaker that covers all the bases.

Recommended

Scores

Build Quality

.
9

Connectivity

.
.
.
7

Sound Quality

.
9

Ease of Use

.
9

Features

.
.
8

Value for Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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