I'm not sure how else to describe the Lucidsound LS30 besides calling it "the gaming headset for normal people." That's not a shot against nerds like me; it's just that the LS30 does an excellent job looking like a premium pair of headphones while also providing the rich, accurate audio that hardcore gamers crave. Couple that with cozy ear cups, a clear mic and the ability to work on just about any console or mobile device, and you've got one impressive wireless headset whose great features outshine a few frustrating flaws.
Studio Headphone Looks, Gaming-Ready Features
The LS30 is so slick, I had a hard time believing it was a gaming headset and not a pair of studio headphones. This is absolutely something you can wear on your daily commute, thanks to its curvy aluminum frame and shiny outer ear cups that take more than a few design cues from the iconic Beats logo. I dig the subtle black-and-silver of our review model, but there's also a white-and-gold version for those with gaudier tastes.
In addition to looking awesome, the LS30 features some incredibly well-placed on-ear controls. Each outer ear cup features a volume knob and a mute button — the left ear controls game volume, the right button adjusts chat audio. The power and EQ buttons are just behind the left and right ears, respectively, making them just a thumb's reach away with the headset on. As a result of these smart touches, adjusting the LS30's audio on the fly felt natural almost immediately.
The only thing that didn't immediately wow me about the LS30 was its fit — the headset felt slightly snug at first, and its padded headband still feels too stiff for liking. Fortunately, the headset eventually grew on me, largely thanks to its thick and soft faux-leather ear cups and lightweight 12.5-ounce frame. I still would have liked just a bit more breathing room for my big ears, which would occasionally get a little sweaty after long sessions.
The LS30 adjusts pretty easily to your dome, with a headband that can be raised or lowered about a 1.5 inches and ear cups that tilt up and down. Once you're done gaming, you can swivel the cups to lay them flat on your desk.
Connecting the LS30 to both my PS4 and Xbox One was a breeze (it also works with PS3 and Xbox 360). You simply have to plug the included wireless receiver into your console's USB port, and connect the receiver to your console's optical audio jack via a short cable.
Once I got to gaming, Lucidsound's headset proved impressive for just about every genre. I had an easy time pinpointing enemy footsteps and gunfire in Halo 5, and the sounds of blaster fire and thermal detonator explosions in Star Wars: Battlefront were rich and full.
The LS30 made it easy to hear exactly where the ball was in the car-soccer action of Rocket League. Smashing the ball with my car created a satisfying thud, as did juggling my helpless opponent during a match of Killer Instinct.
The headset's EQ button lets you switch between normal, bass boost and treble boost modes, which each make a subtle but noticeable difference. Bass boost was especially useful for adding extra oomph to the sound of stuff blowing up, while treble boost made enemy footsteps sound clackety and extra-easy to hear.
The LS30's included 3.5mm cable allows it to double as a perfectly good pair of wired headphones — no charging required. Music generally sounded crisp and balanced on Lucidsound's headset, giving equal shine to the noodly guitars, bouncy bass and snappy drums of Tiny Moving Parts' frenetic math-rock.
The thumping low-end of Kendrick Lamar's "King Kunta" poured out of the headset like thick molasses, causing me to involuntarily head-bob immediately. You won't get to use the LS30's EQ modes when using its analog cable, but you likely won't want to tweak the sound quality anyway.
Microphone and Cables
The LS30's removable boom microphone is especially flexible, and allowed my online pals on both PS4 and Xbox One to hear me loud and clear. I'm especially fond of the headset's built-in mic monitoring, which allows you to hear your own voice so you don't have to shout over game noise. There's also an integrated mic built right into the ear cups, which allows you to chat on your smartphone with the headset plugged in.
In addition to its mic, the LS30 includes just about every cable you could need for connection to Xboxes and PlayStations new and old. There's a charging cable, a special cord for Xbox 360 controllers, and a 3.5mm wire for Xbox One pads and mobile devices.
That brings me to my biggest gripe — despite being wireless, the LS30 still needs to be plugged into a controller for chatting on Xbox One. That problem isn't exclusive to the LS30, but it's one that other Xbox headsets (such as the higher-end $299 Turtle Beach Elite 800X) have solved. Fortunately, I enjoyed fully wireless chat when using the LS30 on my PS4. The only other feature I wish the LS30 had was Bluetooth, which would allow for easy wireless use on mobile devices and PCs.
Lucidsound's headset is rated for 15 hours of battery life, which seems pretty consistent with my playtime. After a weekend of on-and-off use, I didn't get a low battery warning until late Sunday evening. By comparison, the $169 Razer ManO' War is built for 14 hours of play, while Logitech's $199 G633 is designed to last 12 hours.
If you want a good wireless gaming headset that can double as your music headphones, the LS30 is made specifically for you. Its sleek looks won't raise any eyebrows on the train. And once you get home, it won't skimp on the kind of crisp, directionally accurate audio you'll need when you start gaming. The headset's EQ modes are a nice (if subtle) touch, and since it works on older consoles, it's a good investment for those who might upgrade soon.
The LS30 has some strong competition in the form of Razer's $169 ManO' War, which is cozier and has customizable lighting but is limited to PC and PS4. HyperX's excellent Cloud II has a similarly unassuming design and is just $99, but lacks wireless. Overall, if you're a console player that values style as much as good sound, you can't go wrong with the LS30.