New Lucid Bluetooth Headset Also Controls Ambient Sounds

REVIEW: The Lucid Neck-band is unusual in that it offers the ability to adjust and customize everything a user hears in and outside the headset.

We're seeing innovation being stepped up in just about every part of the IT industry--enterprise and consumer alike. Applications, chips, servers, storage, networks, connected devices and security (although we're still a long way from solving most of the biggest problems) have seen major improvements.

Even batteries, which were innovation-agnostic for decades, are being improved on a regular basis.

However, one product type that really hasn't seen a lot of innovation is in hearware. Sure, we're now seeing more fancy shaped and colored earbuds to go with high-end Bose, Beats (Apple) and Bang & Olufsen (HP) audio headsets. Apple EarPods, though trendy, are merely another version of of high-end wireless earbud.

Enables Multiple Sound Controls

But while these all represent incremental improvements on a conventional approach, there is now a fundamental change in functionality of these items now coming into the market. A new audio product, Lucid's Amped Bluetooth Neck-band, enables the user to control not only the music or phone conversation coming into the headset but also all ambient sounds in the immediate environment. This granular, multi-level control of sound has been unheard of until now.

[To see a larger view of the photo at upper left, right-click on the image and select "View Image.]

There are two volume controls on the unit, so the user can adjust either up and down as needed.
The Lucid Neck-band is unusual in that it offers the ability to adjust and customize everything a user hears: You can hear music yet also hear sounds of nature, a friend talking or sirens coming down the street while riding your bike or running.

On the other hand, a user can completely block out all ambient noise just about as well as the most expensive regular headsets available. I own an excellent Bose headset, but I personally was amazed at how effective the Lucid unit was in delivering nothing but quiet jazz and classical music while sitting near a highly trafficked street during rush hour.
Lucid Neck-band also is an efficient way to conduct hands-free voice conversations. It connects via Bluetooth to virtually all smartphones, thus its hands-free functionality is useful while driving, running or riding a bike. Because it is worn around the neck, the device doesn't interfere with anything worn atop your head.

Two Versions Now Available

There are two versions of the Lucid device now available. The second one comes with a separate Wireless Audio Streaming unit, which can turn a television or other device into a Bluetooth-enabled audio machine for targeted plug-and-play usage.

This can be explained in a personal use case: While testing two of the Lucid devices, we gave the one with the Wireless Audio Streaming unit to my hard-of-hearing mother-in-law, who's 91 and always requires the family room television to be at a high volume for her to hear anything. Using her Neck-band with its Bluetooth connection to the TV, she was able to turn up her own personal volume and hear everything on the TV very clearly while the volume was at a normal level; the rest of us didn't have to plug our ears anymore for having the volume cranked up too loudly.

This feature alone might be worth the price of a unit for many families. Thus the Lucid Neck-band can serve as a functional hearing aid in some cases and bring peace to a family television viewing session.
Key Product Facts and Features
--Retractable ear buds
--Low-latency Bluetooth connectivity
--NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) 24 dB

--Sound-activated compression: Utilizing a sound-activated compression circuit, the Amped Bluetooth Neckband instantly shuts down loud harmful noises from gun shots, concerts, and construction work while also amplifying regular conversational sounds up to 9 times the amplification.

--Powered by rechargeable battery for 10 hours of normal use

--Hi Gain omni-directional microphones for clear sound enhancement on both the left and right sides: The high gain omni-directional microphones provide clear sound enhancement for enjoyable conversations on your phone or with someone while running or working out.

--HD speakers/drivers in the ear buds for wide range audio quality
--Multiple earbud tip styles/sizes included
--AC wall adapter and USB charging cable included
--Available in black rubberized and white/gray color options
--Price: $129; $179 for device that includes the additional Wireless Audio Streamer unit.

Go here for more information.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...