One of the best things about conventions is trying things you don’t normally get to try. The amount of headphones, chairs, keyboards and mouses on display is a fantastic way to see a lot of products, without having to obtain them. One product that really surprised me was LucidSound. Their headphones were on display at a couple booths and managed to make a lasting impression, so naturally I was excited to see what the LS41’s had to offer.
Right off the bat, LucidSound does a fantastic job conveying what these headphones can do with their updated box art. The front looks like a more traditional pair of gaming headphones, with the back containing helpful information. Unlike a lot of products, they make it clear these wireless headphones can do it all on the PlayStation 4 and PC, with Xbox users having to connect a 3.5mm cable to the controller. It makes it easy to understand what you can and can’t do, with plenty of room for all the neat things built into the product itself.
Upon opening the box, the presentation is not quite as nice as the LS20 unit I had, though it’s certainly effective. The headphones and all the accessories come in a branded pouch, which is surprisingly good quality. I’d go so far as to say it beats the included pouch found in the Audeze Mobius and 1More Spearhead VRX units. After opening the hook-and-loop fastener (Velcro), you’ll find the headphones, with another small pouch, with another hook-and-loop fastener, containing all the cords.
Set up was relatively simple. Plug in the included USB dongle and turn on the headphones. Console users will need to connect the provided optical cable to the system, with Slim owners needing to connect to the television itself. Please note, the optical cable is just long enough to easily connect it to the back of a console, so slim owners might need to obtain a different cable. It’s also important to keep in mind that you might need a 3.5mm mini optical adapter to achieve the required range.
As for the headphones themselves, they have fantastic build quality. They feel sturdy enough to match the price, without being so solid that it feels like I’m going to break them. The metal accents not only give it a nice look; they feel like something that is going to last long term. The only real downside in construction are the volume knobs.
What initially piqued my interest in LucidSound’s offerings were the volume controls. Instead of using off-headset buttons, multiple inputs on a single side or something else, you simply turn the wheel surrounding the left and/or right side. One side controls game volume, where as the other is vocals, with the center part muting the opposite sound. I don’t know why one side can turn up or down vocals and mute game sound, with the other doing the opposite, but once you realize this they work surprisingly well. However, going back to my previous point, even when I maxed out my Sony NW-A45 digital music player, I could clearly hear the plastic turning. It isn’t a major concern or even a problem, just something to be aware of.
In terms of actual use, I found the sound fantastic. Sure, it couldn’t beat Mobius’ on 3D mode but it could certainly keep up with them with it off and match other higher price headphones. I had no real issues making out minor sounds, something that came in handy when playing online shooters or simply enjoying God Eater 3’s lovely score. Best of all, I experienced no issues with them connected wirelessly, giving me the confidence to use them whether it’s the big game or I’m just doing a Trial with friends.
In fact, due to the simplicity of the volume controls, I found I was better able to keep up with my activities, since there was less to think about. When I needed to pay attention to callouts, I could easily adjust on the fly and when the game came first, I knew what to do.
When talking to others I found both mics worked surprisingly well. When I was on the go or didn’t have a chance to connect the included boom mic, the built in discreet mic did a serviceable job. Sure, I wouldn’t rely on it for something important but for making a phone call, a casual talk or low-pressure situations, it will work. When you need the additional clarity, the included boom mic does a great job. Though, for many, either would probably work without a hitch.
Outside of gaming I found the LS41 performed quite well. As I previously mentioned, I tested them with my Sony NW-A45 digital music player and they sounded quite nice. Good enough where I could see using them instead of a dedicated pair of music headphones, though not to the point where they could replace a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Overall, the LS41 is more than able to compete with other similarly priced headphones. They’re comfortable for moderately long game sessions and more than able to perform in most situations. With the easy to use volume controls, solid construction and low price, they’re a fantastic pair of headphones for anyone looking for good quality without breaking the bank. And, with the solid bag to hold it all, it makes them easy to listen at home or on the go.