Headset manufacturer LucidSound announced today that they have partnered with Microsoft to produce officially licensed products for both the Xbox One and Xbox One S later this year. The first officially headset will be released by March LucidSound confirmed via press-release today.
Speaking about the Xbox brand’s presence within the gaming space, CEO of LucidSound Chris Van Huban said:
“The Xbox brand is synonymous with premium gaming and delivering experiences unmatched in interactive entertainment. We can now specifically develop and engineer audio products for the Xbox family of devices, and couldn’t be prouder to be partnering with Microsoft to deliver the next generation of audio to eager fans,”
LucidSound released their first commercial headsets – the LS30 Wireless Universal Gaming Headset, the LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset and more recently the premium LS40 Wireless Surround Universal Gaming Headset. We reviewed the LS20 headset this past summer after the company’s showing at E3.
More information about LucidSound’s Xbox supported products is expected to be revealed soon, possibly at CES.
This Year at E3 I had the pleasure of meeting up with Alex Verrey of LucidSound, and he gave me a pair of their brand new LS30’s to take home and use. Since then I have been using them, and these are my impressions from use since then.
If there’s one thing that defines the LS30 gaming headset from Lucid Sound, it’s a wide range of unadvertised and understated features. First of all, the headset is advertised as working with consoles, the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4, and mobile phones. However, the LS30 works extremely well with PCs, a fact that isn’t mentioned anywhere on Lucid Sound’s site or packaging. This is rather unfortunate, because the LS30 is a near-perfect companion for PC gaming, whether you’re using voice chat software or playing a game with built-in voice chat.
The Box in Question, Notice it does not mention PC
Standard Wired Mode
The LS30 can be operated in two different modes. In the first mode, the LS30 operates as a normal wired headset with no special features. This is the mode that you have to use with a mobile phone. In this mode of operation, none of the other special features of the headset work. What comes out of your phone is what goes into your ear, and what comes out of your mouth is what goes into your phone’s microphone input. This is done via the standard 3.5mm 4-pin “TRRS” combined microphone and headphone jack. The LS30 can be used with standard 3-pin PC 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, or any other analog setup if you get the correct adapters. In this straight in, straight out mode you wont get any of the fancy bells and whistles but you do get a perfectly good mobile ready headset with a microphone.
The White Model has very pretty champagne colored accents
Wireless gaming mode
However, what really shines on the LS30 are all the wireless digital features. In this mode the LS30 uses a USB stick as a wireless digital transmitter and adds various features such as mute, microphone monitoring, microphone monitoring mute, three different equalizer settings, and on-ear volume controls. Wireless mode is strong, and has perfect performance as long as you are in the same room as the headset, or one room away. I was able to listen to clearly even on a different floor from the transmitter, as long as I stayed in a room that was above the room with the transmitter. I would guess the maximum range on the wireless transmitter to be around 100 feet in a circle around where the transmitter is placed.
When using the transmitter, volume can only be controlled by the on-your-ear volume control. In some ways, this is good because it simplifies the number of volume controls that might be accidentally turned down. I have often had to check the volume control in a game, the volume control in my OS, and the volume control on my speakers to figure out which one was turned down so I could get sound back. The LS30 eliminates the OS volume control from the picture. The volume on the LS30 ranges from uncomfortably loud to not-quite-quiet-enough. You can turn the volume all the way down to 0 using the ear-knob, without muting, and it acts exactly as a mute, but the step above that, while very quiet, might not be quiet enough for everyone or every situation.
The mute functions play two different tones to indicate which function is being muted (the monitor or the normal audio) and whether it’s being muted or unmuted. No matter what the volume is set at, the in-ear tones the LS30 plays to tell you that it’s muted or unmuted are always the same volume, which can be a little startling if you have the volume down. Unfortunately, because the mute buttons are on your ears, this makes the headset hard to use while lying down with the ears against a pillow because the mute button will get triggered accidentally.
The three different equalizer settings are for normal, enhanced bass, and enhanced treble, and can be switched with a small button on the right ear of the headset. In normal mode, the headset sounds perfectly adequate, definitely high-quality sound, though it doesn’t match the quality of a pair of high-end studio monitor headphones. This can’t really be held against it, because such headphones would cost as much if not more than the LS30, and would come with none of its features, let alone a microphone.
LucidSound claims that the audio is transmitted wirelessly uncompressed, and I certainly didn’t notice any compression artifacts. Listening to music, the LS30 sounds like a pretty neutral pair of headphones, with possibly a little less bass than would be preferred for some genres of music. But the LS30 of course has a mode to fix that, the bass enhancement mode. When in the bass enhancement mode the bass becomes noticeably more pronounced but not obnoxiously so. In treble-enhancement mode, the sound of the LS30 is, quite honestly, terrible for listening to music. However, it could be useful for some purpose such as listening for the footsteps of enemies in a game.
Since the LS30 is wireless, it does have a built-in battery which lasted for over 15 hours in my testing. While this is definitely enough for a full day’s worth of non-stop gaming, the LS30 can also be charged while in use by simply connecting the standard micro-USB port to a USB charger. The headset also gives you plenty of warning when you’re running low on battery, playing two beeps into your ear every few seconds to warn you.
One of the biggest features of the LS30 for me is its ability to monitor the microphone output. This means you can hear yourself talk while you use the headset. This is important because it helps prevent awkward situations where the microphone is either too close or too far away, and suddenly your teammates are either annoyed or can’t hear you at all. This also prevents the issue of having over ear headphones and it dampening your voice. This can cause unfortunately loud screaming or other noise which can be disruptive to others.
This feature gives you an accurate representation of how you sound and how much background noise coming through. It is common for games or other software to provide this functionality also, but in games and other software (such as Teamspeak, Mumble, Discord, Skype, etc.) there is a tiny delay between when you say something and when you hear it. That tiny delay can be aggravating and makes most people talk strangely and slowly, but it does not exist in the LS30. Therefore, using the LS30’s built-in monitoring is far preferable to using software monitoring.
On top of that, the LS30 has two microphones. One, is a boom mic, that has a rich, warm sound, as long as you’re not speaking directly into it. The boom mic has a LED on it which lights up when the mic monitoring feature is disabled. It is also removable, and when you remove the boom mic, another microphone mounted on the left ear takes over which also has an excellent sound quality, but it’s position is not adjustable.
A better view of the side plates, and mic attachment point
I do have a few nitpicks however. First of all, on my unit the audio mute and the monitor volume were on the left side whereas the monitor mute and the audio volume were on the right side. I don’t know if every unit is like that or if mine was just cross-wired on accident at the factory. Second, the included USB cable is far too short to charge the LS30 while it’s being worn, even though the headset itself supports that feature. The headset does not remember your volume, mute, or EQ settings when you turn it off and turn it back on again, which is slightly annoying but not a big deal.
I found using the Lucid Sound LS30 headset very enjoyable. It’s for sure one the best gaming related headset’s I have ever used. The wireless features of the LS30 make it a very liberating to use. I can get up and move around, and even walk to another room while still being connected. Since both major consoles and PC now have much more than gaming involved, you could for example take a Skype call with you to the kitchen, or bathroom with out ever hanging up. It has intuitive controls. The ear mounted plates are simple to use, turn one way for up and one way for down, press in to mute. Its as simple as it gets.
The sound is great both for me and my teammates. If you are in a noisy environment the microphone will get your voice relayed to your teammates, and the drivers in the headset ensure you can hear your teammates. This is hugely important, because in my experience, most headset mics are plagued with issues such as being too quiet where the LS30 is not. In addition, it’s comfortable for long periods of wear. I will be happily using the LS30 as my personal headset because of its excellent sound quality and the freedom it gives me to game all day while still getting up and walking around without losing contact.
Prices and where where to get it
At the time of writing the LS30 can be found for $120-$150 in the US which is an excellent price given the rich feature set and wide-ranging compatibility. You can currently buy it Game Stop, Best Buy, New Egg, or Game if you are in the UK. The LS30’s are available in black and white with champagne accents.
A brand I keep coming back to is Logitech. I was a die-hard fan of their mouses until Mad Catz’ R.A.T. series won me over, and I’ve had numerous headsets and webcams from them as well.
Today I wanted to review one of my favorite gaming products by Logitech, the Logitech G930 wireless headset. This headset has treated me very well over the last 5 years I’ve had the pleasure of owning it. I’ve had it longer than any boyfriend I’ve ever dated!
As both a gamer and game developer, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, so having a comfortable headset is key. The padded headband and adjustable lengths help make the G930 easy to wear. Usually the adjustable parts of headsets are prone to breaking, but the G930 has study metal where most headphones merely use plastic, helping this pair far outlast any other adjustable headset I’ve owned.
The ear cups of the G930 are well sized and fit well over my ears. This is an odd rarity nowadays with many headsets preferring a circular ear cup that is often too small and clips the top of the ear.
Unfortunately, over the years and hundreds of hours of use, the plastic coating on the ear pads has begun to flake off, leaving little black bits of rubbery material in my hair and around my desk. While replacement pads are only $6 on Amazon, I wish that better material choices were made for such a high-use product.
The sound of the G930 is crisp and clear, featuring Dolby 7.1 surround sound, and has a great range. While my Sennheisers handle bass a bit better than the G930, the G930 does a good job and covers the other ranges with sharp clarity. Though I keep my volume at a level that doesn’t cause my ears to bleed, the G930 can reach a volume high enough that I’ve used it as a speaker while quickly showing a video to friends.
The mic on the G930 captures sound clearly and is slim and out of the way. While temporarily using another headset, I found myself irritated with the mic picking up pops and being constantly in my vision. Being able to rotate the mic up while not using it is a great feature, though I wouldn’t always trust the auto-mute. While rotating the mic up is supposed to mute the mic, a friend of mine had an incident while using the restroom on a Skype call where the position did not mute his mic, much to his own embarrassment.
The combination charging-cable/USB extender that comes with the G930 is very convenient and has an impressive cord length. I feel like I should have made better use of this cable, because I brutalized the dongle thoroughly enough when using the headset with a laptop that I bent the connection between the USB connector and circuit board, which may be part of the cause of the headset disconnecting randomly during use. This was not an issue when I first bought the headset.
The volume control, mute button and programmable buttons on the headset are extremely convenient. The volume control wheel is well-sized, strudy and scrolls easily. Muting the mic also lights a small, red LED on the microphone, which can be glanced at quickly without removing the headset to check the state. Unfortunately, the mute does not seem to work with all applications. While the mute button works for Skype, vent and many other programs, Discord still picks up audio when the headset is in muted mode.
My absolute favorite part of the G930 is its wireless capabilities. The headset has an impressive range, allowing me to keep connection while anywhere in my apartment, and the battery holds a hefty charge, allowing hours of use between charges. Being able to pop up and grab a glass of water without missing out on conversation or pausing a song I’m enjoying is great. I’ve gotten so used to being able to get up and walk away from my computer with my headset on that I almost tore my head off walking away from my PC while using a wired headset!
Overall, this is a comfortable, well-rounded, quality headset that I would recommend to any gamer or active PC user, especially those who would enjoy and benefit from its wireless capabilities.
The SteelSeries Apex M500 mechanical keyboard is a good mechanical keyboard at an excellent price. $99 buys you a full-size backlit mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX red switches. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options: you can have any keyboard you like as long as you like blue blacklighting and Cherry MX red switches. The Cherry MX reds are mechanical key switches with zero tactile feedback and zero audible feedback, unless you count the feeling and sound of the key hitting the end of its travel, or “bottoming out.” There is zero feedback when the keys actuate or make electrical contact and send a signal to your computer that a key was pressed. Because of this, we found ourselves pressing the keys down all the way all of the time just to be sure. Many people prefer this type of key for gaming, especially in first-person shooters, where you aren’t typing as much as holding down keys for precise amounts of time to move in the game. However, it isn’t considered optimal for typing by most people, so if you plan on spending any significant amount of time typing this keyboard might not be the best.Read More
Headset maker Turtle Beach has announced the availability of two brand new headsets – The PX24 and the 60P. Both of these headsets aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg or even a whole pile of cash – so they’re budget friendly regardless of your gaming platform of choice.
The Ear Force® PX24 is compatible with multiple consoles through its 3.55MM Jack, supports surround sound, has a Bass Boost feature and a built in Mic-Check feature! According to Turtle Beach it will MSRP for $79.99 USD.
Here’s a full feature breakdown that they provided us:
Multiplatform Compatibility– The Ear Force PX24 works with the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and mobile/tablet devices with a universal 3.5mm jack.
Amplified Audio– The PX24‘s innovative battery powered in-line SuperAmp offers fingertip controls and amazing amplified sound from any connected device.
Superhuman Hearing– This Turtle Beach exclusive audio preset gives players the competitive advantage of hearing enemies before they come into view. Hear everything. Defeat everyone!
Surround Sound– Experience Turtle Beach Virtual Surround Sound on PS4, Xbox One, PC and mobile/tablet devices.
Variable Bass Boost– Via the SuperAmp, users can enhance the PX24‘s powerful, rumbling lows to their preference.
Variable Mic Monitoring– The PX24‘s SuperAmp lets players hear their own voice in the headset to avoid shouting when talking to other players online.
Full-Range Audio– Large, high-performance 50mm Neodymium speakers deliver immersive audio, with deep, thunderous lows and crisp, sizzling highs.
Mic Check– An adjustable, high-sensitivity boom mic picks-up your voice loud and clear and can be folded up out of the way when not in use.
Comfortable Design– Modeled after the X12 and PX22 – two of the best-selling console gaming headsets of all time – the PX24 features a lightweight design and fabric/mesh ear-cups for hours of comfort.
Their second brand new headset is the Ear Force P60 which is aimed at owners of Sony’s PlayStation 4.It connects directly to the PlayStation 4 via provided USB connector but can also be used on a PS Vita with a provided 3.55MM jack adaptor. Like the PX24 it also includes a Mic-Check feature. It will retail for an MSRP of $49.99 USD.
Here’s a full feature breakdown provided by Turtle Beach:
Highly Versatile– The Recon 60P connects directly to the PS4 via USB and PS3 via RCA to deliver amplified sound and Mic Monitoring, and features a detachable 3.5mm jack for connecting (not amplified) to the PS Vita™, PC, Mac, mobile/tablet devices and Xbox One controllers.
Mic Monitoring– When connected to the PS4 and PS3, the Recon 60P‘s Mic Monitoring lets players hear their own voice in the headset to avoid shouting when talking to other players online.
Comfortable Design– Weighing-in at just seven ounces, these super lightweight and comfortable over-ear headsets and are perfect for hours-long, marathon gaming sessions.
Great Sound– The Recon series gaming headsets feature large, full-range 40mm Neodymium speaker drivers that deliver sizzling highs and thunderous lows while the synthetic leather-wrapped ear-cups provide improved bass response and noise isolation.
Convenient Controls– In-line controls place Mic Mute and Master Volume conveniently at your fingertips.
Mic Check– An adjustable, high-sensitivity boom mic picks-up your voice loud and clear for in-game and online chat, and can be removed when listening to music and watching movies.
A great headset can make all the difference during a long immersive gaming session in all honesty! What headphones do our readers use?