LG UltraGear GP9 Overview: The Finest Gaming Speaker You Should not Purchase

21 0

LG UltraGear GP9 Review: The Best Gaming Speaker You Shouldn’t Buy

RRP $ 499.00

“The LG GP9 is an incredible speaker that is only as good as its price allows.”

advantages

  • Excellent sound quality for games

  • DTS: X and Hi-Res headphone support

  • Broad sound field

  • Excellent microphone echo cancellation

disadvantage

  • Way too expensive

  • Weak battery life

  • Below average music experience

LG’s UltraGear brand is known for gaming monitors, but it’s spreading. The GP9 gaming speaker is LG’s first attempt at establishing UltraGear as a gaming brand beyond the field of monitors and hopefully getting LG into the conversation when it comes to the best gaming speakers. It’s a solid attempt, but one that’s sadly tarnished by nagging oversights and an astronomical price tag of $ 500.

It seems that LG designed the GP9 in a vacuum, outperforming alternatives like the Razer Leviathan and Panasonic SoundSlayer by a few hundred dollars. On paper, the GP9’s features justify the higher price tag – a built-in microphone for voice chat, support for high-resolution audio, and wireless operation from the built-in battery. In practice, however, these benefits do not match the price LG is asking.

Immediately after unboxing and setting up the GP9, I was overwhelmed with its gaming performance. This is one of the best gaming speakers, and it can’t be denied, but it’s hard for the GP9 to keep the conversation going when speakers that cost half the sound are almost as good.

Establish connection

Inputs on the LG GP9 speaker.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The GP9 has three inputs and two outputs. For inputs, you can connect it using the USB-C port, an optical cable, or Bluetooth. That’s a solid range of options, although I imagine most of them use USB by default, which I have been doing throughout my review.

Bluetooth is a nice addition, but I wouldn’t want to use the GP9 as a bluetooth speaker. For one thing, it’s big and bulky so it’s not the best travel companion, and it doesn’t have an IP or water resistance rating, so leaving it outside isn’t a good idea. Even with these issues, battery life is the real killer.

The GP9 has a built-in battery that LG says can last five hours, but even that is generous. On a morning of sparse video calling and the occasional YouTube video, the speaker lasted just under four hours. Blink, and the GP9 is dead.

In addition to the inputs, the GP9 has a headphone output. This port supports DTS Headphone: X for 7.1 virtual surround sound, but this is less of a feature than more of a plus. The GP9 is a $ 500 gaming speaker, after all, so plugging in headphones just for virtual surround sound would be a shame.

Built for games

Using the GP9 for the first time is like putting on one of the best gaming headphones. The soundscape suddenly opened up, sound effects felt like they were having an impact, and music complemented the game sound instead of working against it. If you’ve used a good quality gaming headset, you already know the experience the GP9 delivers.

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

In Deep Rock Galactic, the synthesizer-imprinted soundtrack perfectly superimposed the sound of the drill through stone, and the sound field seemed to stretch from one end of the room to the other. My desk is in the living room, but the GP9 still envelops the room.

The default sound profile sounds great. I tried it out in a couple of rounds of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Halo Infinite and could make out footsteps, bullet splatters, and explosions around me. LG’s 3D gaming sound may seem like a gimmick, but it works.

In addition to the standard profile, the GP9 includes an FPS profile and an RTS profile. The names are irrelevant, even if these profiles sound great. The FPS profile has a more forward-looking presence, with much of the sound moving towards the center of the sound field, while the RTS profile pushes things to the sides as if the floor has fallen out of frequency range.

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

The GP9 sounds great for games and skillfully places the smallest nuances around the sound field, so that even separate 2.0 systems cannot cope. It’s hard to ignore the cost, however. At $ 500 the tone is not enough. The Razer Leviathan sounds great too, is half the price, and includes a dedicated subwoofer.

Films and music take a back seat

The LG GP9 is a gaming speaker, and it shows in the sound quality of other media too. It is set up to play games, not listen to music or watch movies.

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

Music was the biggest pain point for the GP9. I started with an emphasis on bass, loading DNA from Kendrick Lamar and See You Again from Tyler, The Creator (which, as so often, turned into a full listening to Flower Boy). For $ 500, I wasn’t impressed. The GP9 sounded good, but no better than a $ 200 bluetooth speaker like the Sonos Roam.

With music, the main problem was having consistent bass. Songs with a consistent low end – like a metal track like Spiritbox’s Circle With Me – worked fine, but any kind of dynamic low end fell apart. The GP9 undergoes the compression that often comes with smaller speakers, with the high-end getting out of the way for a moment while the bass booms.

And the bass is booming. The two passive bass radiators bring out impressive bass for such a small speaker, maybe even too much. In terms of sound, the bass is not too strong, but the speaker on my desk kept vibrating forwards while listening to music, even at about half the volume.

When watching movies or listening to music, it was like using a completely different speaker.

Problems still exist at the other end of the spectrum. The speaker is very bright and does not separate the higher frequencies when the volume is turned up. With EQ I couldn’t counteract the problem, only blunt it. A couple of larger satellite speakers, like the Logitech G560s, can handle these higher frequencies with more grace.

If you want to listen to music, stick with headphones. The Quad-DAC shines with a flat pair of sockets like the BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pros. It supports high resolution, lossless audio, and I could immediately see the bright peaks, warm bass, and massive sound field compared to my PC’s sound card.

LG GP9 speakers with headphones attached.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Movies were better on the speaker. I saw Dune and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Dune sounded great. The transition from ambient to bombast in the score felt natural, and the soundscape, although narrow, still felt a lot wider than the speaker. Shang-Chi brought me back to earth, the sound seeming to funnel into the rough upper mids.

Even with a bright spot in Dune, this isn’t a speaker I would use outside of games. When watching movies or listening to music, it was like using a completely different speaker.

A functional built-in microphone

Microphone button on the LG GP9 loudspeaker.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

One advantage of the GP9 over gaming speakers like the Panasonic SoundSlayer is that it includes a microphone, but the quality isn’t great. It’s just slightly above a laptop’s microphone, although it was able to pick up my voice cleanly from a few feet away.

What impressed me more was LG’s noise cancellation. LG is calling it Clear Voice Chat Technology, which sounds like a bullet point on a product page. Fortunately, it’s more. Even at a comfortable volume, the microphone was able to separate my voice from the speaker’s audio, and that’s hard to achieve.

The microphone is a voice chat solution, just not a great one. Clear Voice Chat is an impressive addition, but I would prefer most of the other microphones to the one in the GP9. You get far better quality with a $ 150 boom mic headset like the Corsair HS80 Wireless.

The app: a compromise case

App screens for the LG GP9.

The LG GP9 was designed for gamers, not gamers, and you don’t need to look further than LG’s XBoom app to see this. The app isn’t bad and it only took a few minutes to set up the GP9 the way I liked it. But it’s absurd that a speaker designed for PC gaming doesn’t have a desktop app.

XBoom feels like a half-baked solution.

To connect the speaker you need to connect it to bluetooth, download the app, pair it with your phone, and then go back to your original audio source. That took me about 30 seconds. Here’s the problem: turn off bluetooth and you’ll have to repeat the process all over again. It’s not bad, but XBoom still feels like a half-baked solution.

In the app you can adjust the EQ curve, change the RGB sub-lights and update the firmware of the speaker, as well as access all functions that are available as buttons on the top of the speaker. It’s not a bad app, but a desktop version would round out the GP9’s list of features.

Our opinion

LG has launched an attractive kit with the GP9. It’s a speaker that delivers the hassle-free gaming headset experience, with a wide sound field, a built-in microphone for communication, and a healthy dose of RGB flair. At $ 300, I’d sing the praises of the GP9. At $ 500, it’s an excellent gaming speaker that shouldn’t be bought.

It’s one of the best gaming speakers in terms of sound, but the sound isn’t enough for a speaker that costs as much as a new console.

Are there alternatives?

Dozens. The Razer Leviathan and Panasonic SoundSlayer are the most obvious alternatives, but there are several other options for gaming. These include the Audioengine A2 + speakers and the Logitech G560 kit, both of which are cheaper than the LG GP9.

How long it will take?

Without years of using the GP9, it’s hard to tell how long the speaker will last. LG offers a one-year parts and labor warranty as standard.

Should you buy it?

No, unless you can have one on sale. The GP9 is too expensive for what it is, and its positives are outweighed by the price. However, if you can pick one up for around $ 300, this is an excellent option.

Editor’s recommendations




Leave a Reply