LG UltraGear GP9 assessment: The greatest gaming speaker you shouldn’t purchase

MSRP $499.00

“The LG GP9 is an incredible speaker that’s only as good as it price allows it to be.”

Pros

  • Excellent sound high quality for gaming
  • DTS:X and Hi-Res headphone assist
  • Wide sound discipline
  • Superb microphone echo cancellation

Cons

  • Way too costly
  • Weak battery life
  • Subpar music expertise

LG’s UltraGear model is understood for gaming screens, but it surely’s branching out. The GP9 gaming speaker is LG’s first try to determine UltraGear as a gaming model past the realm of screens, and hopefully get LG into the dialog in terms of the perfect gaming audio system. It’s a stable try, however one which’s sadly marred by nagging oversights and an astronomical $500 price ticket.

It appears LG designed the GP9 in a vacuum, outpacing options just like the Razer Leviathan and Panasonic SoundSlayer by just a few hundred {dollars}. On paper, the GP9’s options are what justify its increased worth — a built-in microphone for voice chat, assist for hi-res audio, and wi-fi operation on the built-in battery. In apply, nevertheless, these perks don’t add as much as match the value LG is asking.

Immediately after unboxing and organising the GP9, I used to be floored by its efficiency whereas gaming. This is among the many greatest gaming audio system, and there’s no strategy to deny that, but it surely’s laborious for the GP9 to stay within the dialog when audio system that price half as a lot sound nearly nearly as good.

Getting linked

Inputs on LG GP9 speaker.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The GP9 consists of three inputs and two output. For inputs, you possibly can join it by means of the USB-C connector, an optical cable, or Bluetooth. That’s a stable assortment of choices, although I’ve to think about most will default to utilizing USB, which is what I did all through my assessment.

Bluetooth is a pleasant addition, however I wouldn’t wish to use the GP9 as a Bluetooth speaker. It’s huge and hulking, for one, so it’s not the perfect journey companion, and it doesn’t have an IP or water-resistance score, so it’s not an awesome thought to depart it outdoors. Even with these points, the true killer is battery life.

The GP9 has a built-in battery that LG says can final for 5 hours, however even that’s beneficiant. During a morning with sparse utilization for video calls and the occasional YouTube video, the speaker held up for simply shy of 4 hours. Blink, and the GP9 is lifeless.

In addition to the the inputs, the GP9 features a headphone output. This port helps DTS Headphone:X for digital 7.1 encompass sound, however that is much less of a characteristic and extra of a plus. The GP9 is a $500 gaming speaker, in spite of everything, so it might be a disgrace to plug in headphones simply to make use of digital encompass sound.

Built for gaming

Using the GP9 for the primary time is the equal of placing on a pair of the perfect gaming headphones. The soundscape abruptly opened up, sound results felt like that they had impression, and music complemented the sport audio as an alternative of working towards it. If you’ve used a high-quality gaming headset, already know the expertise the GP9 gives.

LG GP9 speaker on a desk.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

In Deep Rock Galactic, the synth-ridden soundtrack completely overlayed the sound of the drill by means of stone, and the sound discipline appeared to stretch from one finish of the room to the opposite. My desk is in the lounge, however even nonetheless, the GP9 enveloped the house.

The default sound profile sounds nice. I took it out for a spin in just a few rounds of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Halo Infinite, and I used to be in a position to select footsteps, bullet sprays, and explosions throughout me. LG’s 3D Gaming Sound might appear to be a gimmick, but it surely works.

In addition to the default profile, the GP9 consists of an FPS profile and an RTS profile. The names are irrelevant, even when these profiles sound nice. The FPS profile has extra of a ahead presence with a variety of the sound transferring to the middle of the sound discipline, whereas the RTS profile pushes issues off to the perimeters, as if the ground dropped out from the frequency vary.

There’s no denying that the GP9 sounds glorious in video games.

The GP9 sounds nice for video games, expertly putting the smallest nuances across the sound discipline in a means that even separated 2.0 programs fail to handle. It’s powerful to disregard the fee, although. At $500, sound isn’t sufficient. The Razer Leviathan sounds nice, too, and it’s half the value, and it features a devoted subwoofer.

Movies and music take a again seat

The LG GP9 is a gaming speaker, and that exhibits by means of within the sound high quality in different mediums. It’s tuned for enjoying video games, not listening to music or watching motion pictures.

LG GP9 Speaker on a desk.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Music was the largest ache level for the GP9. I began with stressing the bass, loading up DNA by Kendrick Lamar and See You Again by Tyler, The Creator (which changed into a full hear of Flower Boy, because it typically does). For $500, I wasn’t impressed. The GP9 sounded wonderful, however no higher than a $200 Bluetooth speaker just like the Sonos Roam.

With music, the primary subject was constant bass. Songs with a constant low-end — resembling a metallic monitor like Circle With Me from Spiritbox — labored nicely, however any kind of dynamic low-end fell aside. The GP9 is topic to the compression that always comes with smaller audio system, with the high-end ducking out of the best way for only a second whereas the bass thumps.

And the bass thumps. The two passive bass radiators kick out some spectacular low-end for such a small speaker, even perhaps an excessive amount of. Sonically, it’s not too heavy on the bass, however the speaker persistently vibrated ahead on my desk whereas listening to music, even at round half quantity.

When watching motion pictures or listening to music, it was as if I used to be utilizing a totally totally different speaker.

On the opposite finish of the frequency spectrum, there are nonetheless points. The speaker could be very shiny, and it doesn’t separate the upper frequencies when the quantity is turned up. I couldn’t counteract the problem with EQ, solely uninteresting it. A few bigger satellite tv for pc audio system, such because the Logitech G560s, can deal with these increased frequencies with extra grace.

If you wish to hearken to music, persist with headphones. Through a flat pair of cans just like the BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pros, the quad DAC shines. It helps hi-res, lossless audio, and I might pick the intense top-end, heat bass, and large sound discipline in comparison with my PC’s sound card instantly.

LG GP9 speakers with headphones plugged in.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Movies have been higher on the speaker. I watched Dune and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Dune sounded nice. Moving from ambient to bombastic within the rating felt pure, and the soundscape, though slender, nonetheless felt a lot wider than the speaker. Shang-Chi introduced me again right down to Earth, with the sound seeming to funnel up within the harsh higher midrange.

Even with a shiny spot in Dune, this isn’t a speaker I’d use outdoors of gaming. When watching motion pictures or listening to music, it was as if I used to be utilizing a totally totally different speaker.

A purposeful built-in microphone

Microphone button on LG GP9 speaker.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

A perk of the GP9 over gaming audio system just like the Panasonic SoundSlayer is that it features a microphone, however the high quality isn’t nice. It’s solely barely above a laptop computer’s microphone, although it was capable of cleanly decide up my voice from just a few toes away.

What impressed me extra was LG’s noise canceling. LG calls it Clear Voice Chat expertise, which feels like nothing greater than a bullet level on a product web page. Thankfully, it’s extra. Even when listening at a cushty quantity, the microphone was capable of separate my voice from the speaker’s audio, and that’s powerful to attain.

The microphone is a voice chat answer, simply not an awesome one. Clear Voice Chat is a powerful addition, however I’d select most different microphones over the one contained in the GP9. You’ll get much better high quality with a $150 headset that has a increase mic, such because the Corsair HS80 Wireless.

The app: A case of compromise

App screens for the LG GP9.

The LG GP9 is designed for players, not by players, and also you don’t must look additional than LG’s XBoom app to see that. The app isn’t dangerous, and utilizing it to get the GP9 arrange how I preferred solely took a couple of minutes. But it’s absurd {that a} speaker designed for PC gaming doesn’t have a desktop app.

XBoom appears like a half-baked answer.

To hyperlink the speaker, it is advisable pop it over to Bluetooth, obtain the app, pair it along with your cellphone, after which swap again to your authentic audio supply. That took me about 30 seconds. Here’s the issue: Turn off Bluetooth, and it’s a must to repeat the method over again. It’s not bdeal-breaking, however XBoom nonetheless appears like a half-baked answer.

In the app, you possibly can alter the EQ curve, change the RGB underglow, and replace the firmware of the speaker, in addition to entry all the capabilities which are accessible on prime of the speaker as buttons. It’s not a nasty app, however a desktop model would go a great distance in rounding out the GP9’s record of options.

Our take

LG has pitched a pretty piece of equipment with the GP9. It’s a speaker that delivers on the expertise of a gaming headset with out the annoyances, match with a large sound discipline, built-in mic for communication, and a wholesome dose of RGB aptitude. At $300, I’d be singing the GP9’s praises. At $500, it’s a superb gaming speaker that you simply shouldn’t purchase.

It’s the most effective gaming audio system sonically, however sound isn’t sufficient for a speaker that prices as a lot as a brand new console.

Are there any options?

Dozens. The Razer Leviathan and Panasonic SoundSlayer are the obvious options, however there are a number of different choices for gaming. Those embrace the Audioengine A2+ audio system and Logitech G560 equipment, each of that are cheaper than the LG GP9.

How lengthy will it final?

Without utilizing the GP9 for years, it’s laborious to say how lengthy the speaker will maintain up. LG presents an ordinary one-year guarantee for elements and labor.

Should you purchase it?

No, except you will get one on sale. The GP9 is simply too costly for what it’s, and its optimistic qualities are outweighed by its worth. If you possibly can decide one up for round $300, although, it’s a superb choice.

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