For those looking for a great mid-range headset, the LucidSound LS30 may not be on your list of choices. The relatively new company only launched the headset earlier this year, and while its primary target is the gaming market, the headset does so much more than that for the $149 price tag. However, it’s also not without its quirks. The LS30 Wireless Headset is one of the better headsets on the market and should be on the list of any discerning audio buyer looking within that price range.
So what does the LucidSound LS30 do well? Well, a lot of things. First off, the headphones are sleek and not like the bulky pieces of plastic many other headsets in this price range are built with. The elegant design really stands out, and it’s one of the few headsets I felt comfortable walking outside wearing. Typically, I prefer earbuds because I dislike the look of bulky headsets; the LS30s are anything but bulky. The earcups are also some of the least restricting and more comfortable I’ve ever worn, molding perfectly around my glasses, yet not putting any added pressure onto them. This is a massive key feature, as many headsets don’t properly take into account glasses, so many times I find myself when using my other headsets that I’m taking them off just to give my head a break. Not so with the LS30s. In the two weeks I’ve tested, I’m not sure I’ve taken the headset off because they were uncomfortable.
The LucidSound headset comes with a myriad of cables and attachments, such as a S/PDIF optical cable, removable boom microphone, the USB wireless base station, micro USB charging cable, an Xbox 360 chat cable, and a standard 3.5mm audio cable. The headset works on a variety of devices, such as game consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as a passive mode while connected to your phone. One of the design features of the LS30, and really the whole line of LucidSound headsets such as the LS20 and LS40 they showcased at E3 2016 last month, is the ability to control the volume simply by using a dial built into the earcup, which is intuitive. Tapping the earcup will mute the game audio, and the other side will mute the microphone.
The microphone, however, is the headset’s major flaw in my opinion. It’s not that the microphone is bad, per se. Like everything else the LS30 does, it’s done well enough. However, it’s incredibly hot. And while you can adjust the chat volume, there seems to be no way to adjust the sensitivity of the mic itself. When hooked up to my Xbox One, I could clearly hear everything happening in my house through the microphone as clearly as the game I was playing. Adjusting the microphone settings in the Xbox dashboard seemed to have no effect, as well as adjusting the mic sensitivity in Windows when connected to my PC. The microphone is clear and crisp, however, so the sound quality is there. I just wish there were a way to adjust the sensitivity properly.
The real beauty of the LS30 headset is the audio quality. The 50mm neodymium drivers really sing, giving each note or sound effect its own voice. Nothing in the LucidSound LS30 sounds muddled, whether it’s a video game or a triplet passage by a double-bass in the background of a classical piece of music. And that is key to why the LS30 is such a phenomenal headset. The somber tones of Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor (K. 626) had new life, while the lows and highs of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Icarus’ Dream Suite Opus No. 4 were clearer than they’ve ever been. While the headset is simply stereo, the way the drivers are tuned, it feels as though the headset is surround sound. Every note, every sound seems as though it takes up real space and has a purpose. The LS30 really lets the action in your game shine as well. Whether I played The Banner Saga 2 or Far Cry: Primal, the worlds sounded more alive than they ever did. The notes of Austin Wintory’s Banner Saga 2 soundtrack had exquisite clarity and weight, lending itself well to the mood of the story. The sound effects of Star Wars: Battlefront sounded more defined and robust, the excellent audio engineering of both the game and the headset working in harmony.
For those looking for a great headset, the LucidSound LS30s should be near or at the top of your list. Compatible with all of your gaming devices (it even worked natively hooked up to my Steam Link for late night PC gaming from my couch), the headset breathes new life into what has become a rather stale and saturated market.
[Featured image via Joseph Bradford]