I’ve used a lot of gaming headsets over the years, most of which have been on the “less expensive” side of the spectrum, with my most recent headset (purchased sometime in 2013) as my first high-end headset. I had a chance to look at LucidSound’s LS-30 headset at PAX East and peeked at the yet-to-be-released LS-20 & LS-40 models during E3. Let me tell you: LucidSound is onto something.
The love-hate relationship I’ve had with gaming headsets over the years could fill buckets with my tears of frustration and rage. Adapters that stop working. Cables that fray. Design that is either nonsensical or just plain ugly. And, especially if we’re looking at the headsets that range under $100, sound quality that leaves a lot to be desired.
Traditionally, gaming headsets are used at home or at tournaments. They’re all plastic angles and bizarre functionality that no one really needs. Functional, yes. Useful, sure. But they rely on old paradigms, like the dangling volume controllers, and just push out more of the same for under a hundred bucks.
These affordable headsets — you know, the ones where you have infuriatingly reach down and fiddle with the volume down by your belly button in the middle of a boss fight — are built with a mass-market consumer in mind. They fill needs that are much simpler: can it play the game’s audio and does it enable me to use voice chat? Older gamers — those of us resting firmly in Gen-X or early Millennial generations — care about sound quality, user experience, aesthetics, and ease of use. We’re willing to pay a little more for a headset that will look as gorgeous as it functions.
Enter LucidSound: a company formed out of a collective love of audio engineering, innovation, and video games.
LucidSound has managed to enter the affordable gaming headset market with a product line that is unlike anything I’ve ever used. Wireless headsets that provide the clear, uncompressed, and shockingly resonant sound like the LS-3o headset usually are priced closer to the $300-$400 range. The LS-30 headset? $150. Straight up, no bull: it’s $150.
Though I’ve loved my Sennheiser PC 350 headset for the last four years, I can’t take it out of my apartment. It’s big and dorky and I don’t want people to look at me like I’m crazy because I have a boom mic tucked up near my temple. The LucidSound LS-30 headset, on the other hand, is a testament to innovation in engineering meets aesthetic. Its stylish design is more than just good lucks — it’s intelligent design.
The volume controls are cleverly located in the ear cups; one is used for controlling the chat volume and the other for the speaker volume. Tapping the cups will either mute the speakers or deafen the chat. The included boom mic is detachable and the headset also has a built-in mic, which means that it’s compatible for use with mobile phones. Its wireless adapter, which works for both PC and Mac OS X, as well as the PS4 & Xbox One, transmits uncompressed audio to the headset. Yes, uncompressed. I know, I did a double-take too. And that clear, resonant sound works in three equalizer modes (Normal, Bass Boost, and Treble Boost).
The LS-30 headset works natively with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 using the wireless adapter, with optical cables that are also compatible with the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
I slipped my LS-30 headset shortly after I got it, switched on my bass-heavy Spotify playlist, and delighted in the uncompressed audio streaming from my laptop to my ears. I can’t wait to see how beautifully the headset works for multiplayer on both my PlayStation 4 and PC.
(Original Post: The Daily Crate)