There are still plenty of people out there who remain unconvinced about the virtues of using a gaming headset, and yet, obviously, they’re wrong. Unless you’ve been particularly unlucky – like you’re playing a JRPG with the English dub turned on – almost every single game you install on whatever device you have is going to be improved by playing with a set of headphones. I’m willing to accept that most of the Resident Evil games will be 150% more terrifying though, so perhaps it’s not for everyone.
LucidSound are a company that have obviously been putting their design team through the wringer as the LS31 is one of five headsets that make up the company’s 2018/19 lineup. As with the LS25 that we recently covered, the LS31 exhibits LucidSound’s commitment to creating gaming headsets that look as good as they sound, with the added advantage of wireless connectivity on top of a good old 3.5mm connector.
While the LS25 was almost too bold, the LS31 is remarkably unassuming for a pair of big cans, and you could probably wear them beyond the confines of your home with little more than an admiring glance from passers-by. The large LucidSound branding across the headband looks smart and stylish, assuming that you don’t mind being a walking advert for the brand, while the rest of the unit is a combination of sweeping brushed metal and deep grey cloth and plastic.
The twisted metal frame around the earpieces is LucidSound’s main connecting feature across their whole range, and it looks as good here as it ever has. There’s the obvious sense of deja vu – this is the third LucidSound headset I’ve tested – but it’s nice to see the design tie all of their products together. The biggest difference from the LS25 is that the LS31 is 60g heavier, presumably due to the wireless tech and battery contained within, and that puts it on a more or less even pegging with Astro’s Generation 3 A50. They’re far from the heaviest sets out there, but they could be more noticeable if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing.
That said, you’d be missing out on what is once again a fantastic sounding offering from the Californian company. Their 50mm drivers have been tuned to provide well-balanced, beautifully detailed audio whether you’re connecting them up by the 3.5mm jack or wirelessly. There’s three different EQ settings to choose from as well, found via the unusually well-labelled ‘EQ’ button, though you’ll need to be using the headset wirelessly in order to have access to any of the controls – even the volume dial.
Once again, LucidSound offer a remarkably assured approach to headset design, and most of the controls are housed within the shiny branded dials on each earpiece. The right dial controls the volume and mic muting while the left dial controls mic monitoring and audio muting. Besides that there’s the power and EQ buttons strung out around the edges, as well as ports for the detachable mic, charging, and a 3.5mm cable.
The headset’s wireless connectivity comes via a USB dongle, and in a huge improvement from the previous year’s efforts it’ll actually fit into any of the USB slots on your consoles. Besides working fantastically on PC and Xbox One where you’ll have access to surround sound via Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos, the LS31 is more than happy to work on PS4 with this dongle, and even Switch if you bung a 3.5mm jack into the dongle to ‘fool’ it. Sadly Xbox One owners get saddled using a chat cable if they want to chat, but if that’s your main or only console the more expensive Xbox One flavoured LS35X that is utterly aimed at Microsoft’s monolith and fully wireless. Whatever you attach the LS31s to, the audio that’s fired through is crystal clear.
Any modern gaming headset needs a microphone, and the LS31 doubles up on them in order to give you some excellent mic monitoring and noise reduction. While there’s a built-in pinhole mic that’s serviceable, and useful if you’re plugged into your mobile phone, there’s a detachable mic arm designed for keeping your online pals up to date on your every move/thought/bodily movement. It’s a good clear mic that’s perfect for the task asked of it, with the adjustable mic monitoring a huge boon.
In the £100-150 price bracket – currently available for around £130 via Amazon – the LS31 gives you substance to match its style, pipping plenty of its main competitors to the punch for wireless connectivity in this range. The fact that it’s able to work with all platforms makes it a great choice if you’re looking for a headset that you can use everywhere, and the closest for the range of features will be the Arctis 7, though only if you are lucky enough to find that headset for a discount.
LucidSound have a wireless winner on their hands with the LS31. Thanks to its styling, comfort, universal compatibility and mid-high end price point, it’s one of the best headsets out there.