LucidSound LS41 Gaming Headset Review — The Same, Only Better
When I reviewed the LucidSound LS40 last year, I concluded that it’s one of the best gaming headsets you can buy.
The new LS41 is a direct follow up to the same winning formula of gorgeous design and excellent surround sound that earned high praise for the LS40.
My only complaint was the middling bass response and the inability to use the microphone wirelessly on Xbox. So I was more than excited to review the LS41 almost a year later.
What’s changed? Read on.
LucidSound LS41 Gaming Headset Review
LucidSound has followed the mantra of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The LS41 looks identical to its predecessor, which is a good thing. It doesn’t look like your typical gaming headset. It eschews the angled edges, RGB lights and garish colours for an elegant and premium design.
A sturdy plastic headband with an etched LucidSound logo holds everything together. A foam padding with gorgeous cross-stitching ensures a light touch on your head. Two circular steel hangers connect the headband to the ear cups, where all the magic happens.
The ear cups are made of fabric which covers gel-cooled, memory foam for a very snug but comfortable fit. They aren’t as comfortable as the Razer Threshers which have an affordance for spectacle wearers like me. But, I’ve worn the LS41’s for 3-4 hour daily sessions with much less discomfort than the LS40.
Dial it up a notch
A unique thing about the LucidSound headsets is the rotating control dial on the outside of each ear cup. These allow you to control volume but can also be pressed to mute. Most other wireless headsets usually have tiny, ill-placed volume controls so this is a handy solution.
Speaking of controls, you will find the majority on the left ear cup. Your power button, power indicator, 3.5mm jack, microphone dock and Micro-USB charging port. The right ear cup has a single button for changing the different EQ modes.
This is all wrapped in a stunning bluish–grey finish with red cross-stitching that gives the LS41 a very premium aesthetic. It’s still my favourite gaming headset design to date.
Surround you with delicious sound
When I first switched on the LS41, I immediately noticed an improvement over the LS40; the bass. LucidSound addressed my main complaint about last years model and while the LS41 isn’t a bass–heads dream, it certainly thumps much better.
I’ve been playing a lot of Anthem since launch. Every time you silence a Shaper Relic or activate an Arcanist Rune found around the world, there is a deep rumbling sound. The LS41 delivers ina wonderful fashion that makes me smile every time.
Elsewhere, you can feel the gravitas of the mighty Colossus Javelin slamming the ground or firing off its triple nuke ultimate. The crackle of enemies being scorched by the Storms lightning strike is breathtaking!
The LS41 retains the same excellent surround sound of its predecessor and improves it! Utilizing Dolby DTS Headphone: X standard, the LS41’s output is very impressive. Spatial separation of audio elements is so distinct this I’m often sure what I’m hearing is in the room with me.
This helps to easily pinpoint enemies even in the midst of chaotic explosions and gunfire. It’s so easy to differentiate what’s around you, what’s nearer or further away and even above. No other 7.1 surround headset to date has impressed me as much as LucidSounds offerings.
Music to my ears
Listening to music, I tested last years LS40 with my go to bass-stress-tester. Killmonger from the Black Panther official soundtrack and it did not impress. The LS41 was a marked improvement. The bass came through powerfully although I did notice some slight distortion at a louder volume.
Turning to Passion from Kingdom Hearts 2 soundtrack, the reproduction was rich and enveloping. The same for Anthem’s Legion of Dawn theme. More traditional hip-hop thumps along quite nicely and music lovers will be pleased with the LS41.
LucidSound has some built in EQ modes that are accessible at a touch of a button on the right ear cup. For 5.1 or 7.1 input sources, you have Gaming Surround, Boosted Surround that mimic a full surround speaker set up.
For stereo only sources such as smartphones, you have Stereo, Stereo Wide and Stereo Front. These try to model a real life 2 channel speaker setup.
The LS41 are compatible with both Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic. This gives them a breadth of capability in a single package that’s hard to beat for the price.
Another complaint I had with last year’s LS40 was that the mic would not work on Xbox wirelessly. Users would have to use the wired connection. Unfortunately, this is still the case with the LS41.
LucidSound addressed this with the new LS35X which works with the Xbox wireless protocol. But PS4 and PC users will have no problems whatsover in using the LS41 mic wirelessly.
The LS41 mic is detachable which I find odd given that it’s size could easily accomodate a retractable one. Other manufacturers like Razer and SteelSeries Arctis do this very well.
It’s rather inconvenient to have to keep attaching and detaching the mic. That said, attaching the mic is very simple. Slot it into the port on the left ear cup, adjust the soft plastic to the best position for you and you’re good to go.
Here is a sample recording of the LS41 mic;
The microphone has good pickup but also there is an noticeable hiss in the background. I assumed it was because of the mic monitoring but turning it off didn’t change anything. It’s not a deal breaker but curious enough to note.
The LS41 mic monitoring means you can hear your own voice through the headset speakers along with the game audio. This means you won’t be that person who shouts because you can’t hear yourself.
The LS41 has a secondary mic built into the ear cup for this purpose. Using the control dial on the right ear cup, you can adjust the game chat volume or mute the mic. An LED light will let you know when the mic is muted or not.
Connect to everything
The LS41 connects wirelessly via a USB dongle. The dongle was redesigned from last years model to include a short extension cable. Apparently, PS4 owners had a hard time slotting it in due the consoles tight design. The cable makes it easier to connect.
The dongle is a slim slab the size of a pack of chewing gum sticks. It has a white LED indicator which shows connection status. It pulses when disconnected and stays steady when connected.
It’s surprisingly bright and I often worry my curious toddler will be drawn to it and yank it out of the console. Thank fully, that hasn’t happened yet so, fingers crossed.
Setting up the LS41 is easy as pie. Just plug the dongle into any available USB port on your console or PC and connect the optical audio cable. This is necessary to give the LS41 the necessary data to produce the surround sound.
Now although the documentation doesn’t say so, you can also connect the LS41 to a TV or Home Theatre system. It works well so you can enjoy private movie watching without compromise. This makes the LS41 an appealing option to non-gamers alike.
The wireless connection is good with a stated range of 40 ft. One weird observation is that moving around would sometimes make the connection drop out for a micro-second. Nothing game breaking because who plays games while walking around anyway?
It’s definitely not an issue of distance because I was always within 20 feet of the dongle when it happened. Usually, going to theBut making a cup of tea. But the connection would never drop out completely so, no real biggie.
When you can’t use a wireless connection, the LS41 will work with a wired connection as well. The 3.5mm standard audio cable works with the Nintendo Switch, smartphones or tablets. And as I mentioned before, this cable is also necessary for Xbox owners to use the mic.
All day battery
When it comes to battery life, LucidSound claims up to 20 hours which is an improvement of 4 hours more than the LS40. I’m happy to report this is true. I easily get five days of 3-4 hour play sessions.
Unfortunately, LucidSound has still not added any means to know how much charge is left on the LS41. All you have is the LED that blinks when the battery is almost depleted.
And when it does go flat, charging the LS41 is a breeze. Simply connect the bundled micro-USB cable to your console or PC and it will refill the battery in short order. I’m pretty sure any standard USB phone charger will work as well.
Should you buy?
The $299 AUD LucidSound LS41 is a fantastic headset. It takes everything that was great about the LS40 and improves it. The design may still be the same but it remains best–in–class.
The incredible surround sound is even better with better bass response. The gel-cooled ear cups very comfortable and the excellent battery life make these cans perfect for long sessions.
As an Xbox owner, the LucidSound LS35X is a better option thanks to the fully wireless and dongle free connection. But for everyone else, the LucidSound LS41 is a definite buy.
Three thumbs up!
The LucidSound LS41 headset was provided by LucidSound for the purpose of this review
Best in class Design and build
Impeccable surround sound
Great battery life
Detachable mic isn't the best