LG Electronics (LG) introduced Monday its Ultra Gear Gaming Speaker (model GP9), billed as the A/V manufacturer’s first-ever sound solution designed specifically for gamers.

The LG UltraGear GP9 speaker was designed as a companion to LG’s premium UltraGear gaming monitors, matching cosmetically while giving players deeper immersion into gaming action with three-dimensional, game-optimized sound, the company said. But it will work equally well with other displays and monitors.

Key features of the LG GP9 include easy control, seamless compatibility with PCs and gaming consoles, and a stylish design.

The UltraGear GP9 is due to hit retail shelves at a $499.99 suggested retail price in the United States in September. It’s also planned to arrive around the same time in South Korea and parts of Europe.

The company said the LG UltraGear GP9 Gaming Speaker is a key component in its strategy to expand its UltraGear ecosystem with new innovations for gaming.

“Leveraging its expertise in audio technology, LG’s first UltraGear sound solution product incorporated actual insights from real gamers throughout the development process. The result is a superb sounding product that frees users from headphones, a key component of the gaming experience that gamers identified as inconvenient and uncomfortable after marathon gaming sessions,” the product launch statement said.

The speaker supports LG’s proprietary 3D Gaming Sound technology which incorporates a specially-designed HRTF (head-related transfer function) algorithm to tailor a game’s audio according to genre. LG said this results in detailed virtual surround sound and a realistic sense of space, position and directionality, while freeing the gamer from the need of a headset.

The GP9 also features a Game Genre Optimizer with two modes that can customize game audio to match what the user is playing. FPS Mode allows first-person shooter games with subtle sonic details that can help gamers react more quickly to virtual enemies. RTS Mode is said to ramp up the realism with immersive spatial sound well suited to real-time strategy (RTS), racing and other games styles.

Adding support for DTS Headphone:X, the LG UltraGear GP9 Gaming Speaker will also provide a 7.1 virtual surround sound effect when using headsets or earphones.

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“The GP9 is a one-of-a-kind `voice chat’ gaming speaker that allows users to communicate with other players without the need for separate headsets or microphones,” the company said. “The built-in mics utilize LG’s unique echo-cancellation algorithm which can distinguish a user’s voice from game sounds and background noises.”

The advanced speaker will also act as a discrete sound card, allowing users to download professionally tuned EQ settings via a companion app while enabling users to share custom sound settings for specific games with other gamers.

The LG UltraGear Gaming Speaker is Hi-Res Audio certified for higher sampling rates and a richer, more complete reproduction of original sound during gameplay, the company said. The advanced audio performance is further support with a built-in Hi-Fi Quad DAC (ES9038PRO) that is typically found only in high-end audio equipment.

ESS Technology’s ES9038PRO chip (SABRE PRO Flagship 32-bit HypersStream II 8-ch Audio DAC) is a 32-bit Quad DAC featuring 132 dB DNR. It is designed for professional audio equipment and qualifies for the industry standard for High-Resolution Audio. With its multiple connectivity options, users can connect the speaker to other Hi-Fi devices via an AUX cable (connectivity via AUX cable may vary by Hi-Fi device).

The design meets the requirements of gamers with a sense for high quality form and function, the company said. This encompasses a clean, all-in-one understated form factor to avoid distracting users during game play.

The GP9’s top-mounted control buttons make it easy to change microphone, volume and sound modes on the fly. It even comes with customizable RGB lighting that can display 16.8 million different colors to create a more immersive environment and enhance the overall gaming experience.

The speaker offers a range of connectivity options for setup and use flexibility. These include: optical and USB-C cables or wirelessly via Bluetooth to supporting laptops, tablets or smartphones.

The UltraGear Gaming Speaker offers a unified aesthetic when paired with one of LG’s UltraGear gaming monitors, including dimensions that fit between the spread V-style base of the monitor’s stand. But the company adds that the GP9 will pair well with almost “any display.”

The unit’s cosmetics include a “tactical” matte black finish and understated metallic accents that will blend with most contemporary monitors and room design styles.

LG said the speakers was developed with regard to environmental responsibility, earning Eco-Product certification from SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA of Switzerland.

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By Greg Tarr

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