LucidSound is the new kid on the block when it comes to names in the gaming audio market, but the company is looking to shake things up. Gaming headsets typically have a Tron style look, sharp straight lines and often on the bulky side. LucidSound is here to say you can have great audio and an elegant looking from the same headset.
While the company is relatively new, the LucidSound team has come together from some of the longstanding names of the market, such as Tritton, Turtle Beach and Mad Catz. The audio quality has followed the team but the usual bulky housing for the headsets has been left behind. There are three headsets in the current range the LS20, LS30 and LS40, increasing in price as you move up the range. Note that the latter, the LS40, is currently only available in North America. This being said LucidSound has revealed that they will be bringing the LS40 to UK and EU markets in the very near future.
We were fortunate enough to test out both the LS20 and LS30 headsets, across the holiday period. Both headsets setting the bar very high, for all the right reasons. The LucidSound team has previously commented they wanted to make “something beautiful” as well as offering “best-in-class audio”. The LS20 and LS30 both achieve this whilst being designed for two different sets of gamers.
The LS20 offers the top quality audio and the striking visual style of the LucidSound brand. Slightly smaller in design the LS20 is more portable than the LS30. Despite the lower price point of £89.99/$99.99, you can tell the quality of the device as soon as you open the box. Aside the visual design the headset feels lightweight, at the same time as feeling solidly built. Consequently, this is a headset you will not only be happily seen wearing, but one that is robust enough to handle being worn out and about.
When out and about the LS20 can be used even after running out of charge. In the unpowered mode the sound quality isn’t quite as rich. Nevertheless, the headset does a good job at remaining crisp and relatively bassy; naturally depending on your music choice. This is part of a threefold reasoning of why the LS20 is a great day to day portable headset. It can run unpowered, as mentioned above it is smaller than the LS30 and it is compatible with pretty much any platform you can throw at it. This hybrid headset doesn’t mind which side of the “console war” or smartphone operating fence you sit on. It works with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, iOS devices and Android smartphones.
Now onto the LS20’s bigger brother the LS30. The LS30 offers the complete LucidSound gaming audio experience in my eyes. Offering a completely wireless experience, for PlayStation 4 and PC, the LS30 elevates the brand to the next level. Allowing LucidSound to truly compete with the current recognizable headset brands. For Xbox One the experience is almost as good, with the small niggle of needing to be plugged into a controller for chat features. This is something a lot of gaming headsets stumble on for Xbox One, until you go well above the price point of the LS30, priced at £119.99/$149.99, so shouldn’t be looked at too negatively.
The functionality of the two headsets is the same but I felt like the LS30 was built for longer gaming sessions being enjoyed by more stationary gamers, shall we say. Both use the ear-cups themselves as input devices. Intuitively and in reach at all times are the volume controls, mute mic and mute output controls. Simply rotating the outer edge of the left ear-cup raises and lowers the volume of the audio. It is trouble-free control scheme that allows the user to efficiently adjust the volume of the audio on the fly, without having to search with their fingers for a button. This simple approach is then extended to the muting buttons. The left ear-cup has a central button on the outside of the ear-cup to mute output audio and the right ear-cup mutes mic input. Simple and very effective.
The build quality of the two headsets is impeccable. They come with the now standard option to fit the headset over your head comfortably by expanding the headband. The ear-cups also rotate: this allows you to place them flatter on a desk or in your bag. It also results in less pressure being applied to the frames of glasses, improving the comfort of the headsets.
I feel both headsets are let down by the included microphones. Often is the case when a headset down not come with a microphone built in, instead offering one to be jacked in by the user at their discretion. The concept and the build quality for this approach cannot be faulted however headsets with built in mics often deliver a fraction higher quality. This being said, when adjusted to the right height in front of the user’s mouth, for day to day gaming with friends the mic is almost crystal clear.
This is the first headset range to be released by LucidSound. This being said, the experience that the team has got collectively from the industry is firmly on show. As is to be expected of any top gaming headset the audio quality is incredibly crisp, with deep bass that satisfyingly rumbles on when listening to music. The design is what instantly separates the LucidSound range from its competitors and this is where personal choice comes in. They have been expertly designed for gamers whom don’t want the nerdier Tron style classic gaming headset look. Bearing this in mind, it is key to point out that neither headset has had to comprise audio quality for the sake of style.
For me, a gamer who spends most of his time in front of a PS4 or PC the LS30 is the way to go, yet that won’t be the case for everyone. Not considering the superb audio quality of the two headsets or the standout style of the LucidSound range there are a few ways to pick the right headset from the range.
I would recommend the LS20 to those looking for a solid, robust gaming headset that can also be used seamlessly on the move, without the hefty price.
I would recommend the LS30 if you are happy to pay that bit extra for a wireless headset, at which it is priced rather competitively, and a touch more comfort, as a result of the slightly increased size. Not only has it now become my personal gaming headset of choice, I can see many gamers picking these up throughout 2017 and they won’t be disappointed.