The gaming-adjacent audio-accessory business has no shortage of choices, but despite the numerous companies competing in the space, I still feel like no one has made the ideal all-around headset with every feature at any price range.
But after spending extended time with the LS40 wireless surround-sound gaming headset from LucidSound, I think I’ve found the single headset that comes the closest yet to solving every possible audio need.
What you’ll like
Comfortable and smart
The LS40 shows the cleverness of LucidSound’s engineers. It’s a wireless headset that can turn into a wired unit at anytime and is also lightweight and easy to control. I have a big round melon for a head, but the LS40 was still always comfortable for me. Key to that is that it fit snuggly without squeezing my skull. It also stayed in place no matter how I moved. That makes it easy to forget that I’m wearing the headset, and I barely ever had to adjust it to make it feel right.
On top of that comfort, the LS40 has all of the extra features that I feel I must demand from a $200 headset these days. Most notably, it can switch to wired mode by plugging in the included 3.5mm cable, and it has play/pause controls built into the left earcup. I love this for a couple of reasons, but the main one is that if the audio cable breaks (which happens with most headset I use eventually), I can just buy a new one cheap, and I’ll still have the option to plug this into my phone and play (or pause) podcasts while I’m out for a walk. If I get a call, I can even take that by hitting the play/pause button, and I don’t even need the included detachable microphone.
The LS40 has a basic mic that is not visible, and it does a great job for things like phone calls. But if I want better audio for online gaming with my friends, I can plug in the included detachable microphone whenever I want.
LucidSound has also made a gorgeous-looking headset. It has a professional style with the brushed-metal look on the earcups and the red stitching along the sides and on the headband. It’s so cool, that I never hesitate to wear it outside the house.
Full, impressive sound
The LS40 pumps out detailed sound no matter what device you’re using it with. I can pick out the various instruments when listening to music on my phone, and the bass is enough to gently rumble the bones surrounding my ears.
But when I go wireless on the PC the LS40 sounds even better. This powered mode amps up the bass and the crispness across the entire audio spectrum.
In games, the 7.1 DTS Headphone X surround sound is on par with the best headsets in this price range. I was able to pick out the direction of enemy fire in shooters like Counter-Strike and Overwatch, and ambient environmental noises in an upcoming single-player sci-fi epic from Electronic Arts came to life through the 50mm drivers. And even though I was always playing games wireless, I never ran out of juice because it has 15-hour battery life.
What you won’t like
Powered audio doesn’t work with the 3.5mm jack
The LS40 is my new go-to headset for gaming and audio, but it isn’t flawless. Unlike the Logitech G933, which is also $200 and has many of the same features, LucidSound does not enable you to turn on the power of the LS40 to get amplified audio when you’re connect to a wire. The sound of the headset is more fleshed out when the power is on, and I would’ve liked to have the option to get that quality when I was connecting the device to my Xbox One controller or when I was jamming out to streaming music on my phone.
No on-board storage for the USB dongle
The LS40 connects wirelessly to your PC through a USB dongle, but unlike competitors like Razer and Logitech, you can’t store that dongle in the headset itself. That’s only annoying if you’re traveling a lot and still want the option to go wireless on the road. LucidSound did include a carrying pouch, but I never feel that’s an ideal solution since it just creates more things to lug around.
LucidSound has one of the better all-around headphones with its LS40. If you want a single headset for listening to music outside the house, for gaming, for communication, and everything else, the LS40 is a brilliant choice. It doesn’t simply get the job done in all of those circumstances, it excels. Its closest rival, Logitech’s G933 is the same price and includes amplified audio over a line-in, but I adore LucidSound’s design. It’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also well-engineered with the play/pause button built into the earcup as opposed to the audio line. For me, that makes the LS40 better for more situations and more reliable over time.
I highly recommend the LucidSound LS40.
LucidSound provided GamesBeat with a sample unit for the purpose of this review. The LS40 is available now for $200.