Wireless connectivity is pretty much a given standard in gaming nowadays, whether it be in the way we connect our consoles to our home broadband or in the way our controllers connect to the consoles themselves. When it comes to communications, however, gamers are still very much tethered to their machines or at least their controllers, with the standard headsets for both the Playstation 4 and XBox One being strictly wired affairs. The discerning gamer looking for that perfect wireless audio experience will have to open their wallet a little wider and look to more expensive first or third party solutions – the LS-30 is one of those.
Coming in at a mid-range price (actual price is TBC but expect it to likely be “sub £100”, I’ve been told), the LS-30 is very much focussed on a strictly gaming and entertainment driven solution. Set up is very straightforward out of the box with nuances for each supported console (PS4, PS3, XBox One and XBox 360) – simply plug the provided optical cable into the back of your machine at one end and into a supplied USB dongle at the other. The dongle then goes into your console. This may seem a little convoluted at first however it provides an excellent, high quality audio source, albeit at the expense of a USB port. One connected, simply power up your console and turn on the headphones – they should pair with the dongle automatically. You’ll want to either isolate your audio at the TV or console to make sure that the headphones are the only source of audio – I use a soundbar with my PS4 so this was a doddle. Microsoft owners should, however, be aware that the headset still needs tethering to your controller should you want to use chat audio.
The cans themselves seem like they should be bulky and heavy but, once on your head, they’re nothing of the sort. The clams covered my ears nicely and blocked out most external noise while the strap sat comfortably on my head. I could happily use them for long sessions and forget I was wearing them. There is some very smart and discreet technology built into the phones. Chatty gamers have one of two options available – a built in microphone or a more focussed detachable boom mic which plugs in on the left hand side. Handy for those who are easily annoyed at having to constantly lift fixed microphones out of the way. Controls for volume are present in a smart dial mechanism around each clam – twist the left to control the audio volume and the right to control the mic volume. Want to mute things? Press down on the left or right clam to mute their respective source. It’s simple, intuitive and saves having to fumble for a separate control.
Audio quality is great with the speakers demonstrating a good clear range with some nice bass. There is an EQ with three presets that can be toggled through to tweak the audio to the individual users liking. Playing Bloodborne with the headphones was a great test – the moans and clanks of Yarnham were vivid and discernable from my hunters footsteps and the bloody splashes of each slice of his axe; the isolation only served to heighten the experience and drag me into the game even more. The phones are also perfect for the more passive experience of watching a film – popping a blu-ray into the PS4 and sitting back on the couch with the lights down, not only did I have to not worry about bothering the other, sleeping members of the house, I could also enjoy much clearer audio than I would were I straining to hear a lower volume across the room. Sure, I’ve done all this before with a pair of headphones wired into my controller, but the freedom offered by a wireless set is far more comfortable, made even more so by the excellent audio quality offered by the LS-30.
If you want to take the LS-30 on the road, however, you will find the headset somewhat lacking. While the box states that they can be used with mobile devices (phones, iPads, tablets etc) this is a strictly wired affair. The box comes with a 3.5mm cable which allows you to connect them to your device – sadly there’s no bluetooth here. This also means that the headphones run in an unpowered “passive” state in which the volume dials and mute buttons do not function meaning that this will have to be managed at a device level – not so good if your iPod is in a pocket or a bag, for example. However, this is advertised as a gaming headset first and foremost, and it does that job more than amicably.
If you’re looking for a one-size solution for every device under the sun, the LS-30 performs well but there are alternatives out there. As a strictly gaming and entertainment system device, though, it’s hard to fault the LS-30. A comfortable fitting headset with good sound quality and smart controls at a reasonable price, they’re very much worth considering.
Ed’s note: 2 pairs were provided on loan by LucidSound. I have been testing the other pair, and I agree with Andy’s review. However, the left earphone has stopped working on my unit, but the contact from the company has been great and they are getting these sorted asap)