We’re taking a look at LucidSound’s LS25 headset, aimed primarily at the competitive gamer market with endorsements from several eSports teams.
It’s been a while since we took a look at LucidSound’s LS30 (which we did back in June of last year), and it’s been a bit of a wait for the LS25 to arrive on our desk as well. Previously released in the US, it’s getting its first run in the EU this year – which is where we do most of our hardware reviews. Luckily, the delay didn’t make the LS25 an outdated product, as the design choices behind it are as relevant today as they were upon the initial release last year – although this also means that its shortcomings in 2017 are back as well. The pros definitely outweigh the cons though…
Starting off with initial impressions, the LS25 looks like the LS30’s bolder and visually louder cousin. Trading in the sleek black and grey hues of the wireless model for an appearance with bright red elements, the LS25 certainly is a model that doesn’t blend into a crowd as well as the LS30 does. If you were planning on using it as a pair of regular headphones (one of the strengths of the LS30), then the new color scheme might be a little off-putting. If your main interest is gaming, or even streaming, then the reds definitely add a bit of character to the headset – which is nice for those who want their gear to be a bit more expressive.
Besides the color scheme, the LS25 is quite similar to the LS30, with the big difference that the LS25 is a wired model that’s priced a little cheaper than the wireless version. Both have comfortable over-ear cups and padded headbands, and have the microphone as an optional item so the headset can double as a pair of regular headphones.
The same handy controls are included in the LS25 as well – meaning you can adjust the volume by rotating the left ear cup forward or backward. It’s something I’ve enjoyed a lot since the days of the LS30, and I wouldn’t want to go back to fiddling around for button/dial controls on a cable at this point. A similar system’s used for the mic, though that serves mainly as an on/off (or mute) button.
Speaking of which, the mic works perfectly fine for everyday use but isn’t too great at delivering crisp audio when in a nosier environment – those who play in LAN environments and rely on a mic will want to take notice. This is true for the directional mic, but especially so for the built-in mic that’s hidden away in the ear cup – for obvious reason. Since I’m not a competitive gamer myself and just use headsets for regular music and gaming purposes, I actually loved the built-in mic – gone are the days of having to hook up a mic for that rare Skype call, as it works just fine for that.
When considering the LS25 for everyday use, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s quite comfortable to wear – despite looking a little on the larger side, as headsets tend to do. I never felt that way about the LS30, but I suppose that the color scheme adds a bit of visual volume to things as well.
The real star of the LS25, however, is the audio quality. As with the LS30, it’s a headset that produces excellent audio quality in both music and gaming applications. Its 50mm drivers produce great sounding clarify and range, though the large drivers definitely benefit from the extra oomph that a PC-based audio solution can provide (when compared to a mobile or handheld device). An amplifier or DAC could be a solution if that’s what you’re going for, but you’re probably not looking at the LS25’s affordable price range if you’re considering an external amp.
That’s really just nitpicking though, since the LS25’s intended use is clearly gaming with less of an emphasis on portability and use with mobile devices. The headset’s mediocre performance in loud environments (in terms of the mic) will ironically scare off some eSports enthusiasts, but for audio clarity and ease of use you still can’t do much better than LucidSound within this price range. If you’re a (competitive) gamer who mainly plays and streams online from the comfort of your home then the LS25 has very few drawbacks indeed, and is a great choice if you’re looking at serious gaming hardware on a budget.