Compared to other gaming-audio manufacturers, LucidSound is a very new company, having been around for less than a year. Its first product, the LS30 wireless gaming headset, shipped in March 2016. The company was started by someone with plenty of audio experience. Chris Von Huben, who we spoke at PAX South, founded accessor-maker Triton before eventually selling it to MadCatz in 2010. After leaving Triton in 2014, he founded LucidSound.
LucidSound headsets are different from other gaming headsets in two ways. First, they look much nicer than other similar headsets. According to Von Huben, the typical headset flair of RGB lighting is impractical because the person wearing the headset can't see it. Inspired by Beats, LucidSound wants its headsets to be fashionable and cool rather than bulky and cheap looking.
Second, LucidSound headsets have easy-to-use, natural controls. You won't have to worry about in-line controls or fumbling around on the headset to find buttons. Simply twist the outside of the ear cup to adjust volume. Tap the outside of the ear cup to mute. The entire panel — not just some tiny portion of it — is a clicky, non-capacitive button. On the whole, the controls are easy to use and don't interfere with the great visual design of the headset.
We checked out all three of LucidSound's current headsets at PAX South. They're listed here, in order of cheapest to most expensive.
LS20 powered headset
The LS20 is a wired on-ear headset rather than an over-ear one. The advantage is size. This one is sleek and lightweight, perfect for people who find regular gaming headsets too bulky. It was designed with comfort in mind, too.
Like all of the LucidSound headsets, the LS20 features a removable boom mic, so you can wear it outside of the house as headphones without looking (too) silly. It also has presets for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that ensure the best possible audio levels with each system.
- Amplified headset with rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- 40mm speakers for booming bass, crystal-clear highs and bass boost.
- Memory foam ear pads for enhanced comfort and innovative easy-to-use controls.
- Playback and call controls for use as a mobile headset.
- Solid metal construction for added durability.
The LS20 retails for $99.99, but you can find it for less at Amazon.
LS30 wireless headset
The LS30, LucidSound's first headset, comes in two styles: black and silver, and white and gold. The gold is my favorite, and one of the sexier headsets I've seen. Both the LS30 and LS40 are over-ear headsets, but you can hardly accuse them of bulkiness.
One advantage the LS30 has over the LS20 is individual control over chat and game volume. These controls are mapped to the outer ring of each ear cup, so you just twist the appropriate one to adjust audio levels. On the LS20, you'd perform these adjustments through the Xbox One system menus.
Note that the LS30 is completely wireless for game audio, but Xbox One and PlayStation 4 voice chat still requires a cable to connect to the controller. They draw game audio via a wireless dongle that connects to the console's optical audio output.
- Comfortable memory-foam ear pads and quilted head rail padding for extended game-play sessions.
- Fresh design with premium materials and build quality.
- Rechargeable, built-in lithium-ion battery delivers 15 hours per charge.
- Variable mic monitoring lets you hear your own voice without shouting.
The LS30 retails for $149.99, but you can find it for less at Amazon.
LS40 7.1 surround headset
The LS40 is the cream of the LucidSound crop, with full DTS Headphone X surround sound audio. Many surround sound headsets utilize Dolby Headphone, an older standard that doesn't stack up to DTS. DTS headsets include several standard audio profiles.
LucidSound makes additional enhancements within DTS's guidelines, even fine tuning its own drivers so the LS40 provides a different, better gaming sound than other DTS Headphones. Playing Battlefield 4 with the LS40 at PAX South, I was impressed by the directionality and quality of the sound the headset produces.
Comfort is the name of the game with the LS40, as the ear cushions feature protein leather on the outer shell and velour on their inner portion. Inside, they use a special memory foam that has been treated to reduce heat and sweat. They're extremely comfortable. The padded headband also has color cross-stitching that looks quite cool.
- DTS 7.1 Surround Sound Wireless headset with rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- 50mm speakers with booming bass, crystal-clear highs, and Multiple EQ/Surround presets.
- Innovative easy-to-use controls.
- Removable boom mic and internal mic with 3.5mm connection for use with mobile devices to manage phone calls, music and videos.
- Universal Compatibility (Xbox Live requires included chat cable).
The LS40 retails for $199.99.
Future fully-wireless Xbox headsets
All three of the LucidSound headsets I tried at PAX South are fantastic, but the wireless ones have one thing in common: they still require a cable to connect to Xbox One controllers for voice chat. That's a necessary design requirement for universal headsets, and the existing LucidSound crop works with PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, mobile and PC, as well.
But wireless lovers needn't fret. Earlier in the month at CES, LucidSound announced a partnership with Microsoft. This will enable the gaming-audio manufacturer to produce Xbox-specific headsets in the future. These won't need PlayStation support, so they can potentially be fully wireless on Xbox One. Expect new product announcements at E3 in June. We'll definitely keep an eye on whatever new Xbox products LucidSound has in store.
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