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On The Bench: Corsair's HS1 USB Gaming Headset

On The Bench: Corsair's HS1 USB Gaming Headset
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You probably know Corsair best for its memory products, power supplies, and SSDs. But now the company is jumping into the crowded headset market with an unassuming entry that’s both affordable and capable of offering great sound quality.

Corsair isn’t the first company that jumps to mind when it comes to audio, but the Fremont, California company aims to change that with the release of its HS1 USB gaming headset.

You might think that motherboards or graphics cards would be a logical next move, given the company's forays into PC cases and power supplies, coupled with the manufacturing experience gained from its bread-and-butter memory products. But motherboards and graphics cards force tight margins and high support costs. Given VP of marketing Jim Carlton’s roots in Creative Labs and Logitech, it’s probably not a big surprise that Corsair is moving into the audio space, though. Still, there are a ton of good headsets on the market. So, Corsair decided to focus on two things: price and audio quality.

The result is a headset that won’t (pardon the pun) turn any heads for its looks, but will please your ears your wallet. The HS1 offers 50 mm drivers built into fully circumaural, close-backed cups. Completely surrounding the ear and closing the backs made the challenge of designing this headset a little easier, while simultaneously masking outside noises better than cups that partially cover the ears. The boom microphone is of the now-common noise cancelling variety, and rotates out of the way.

The inline volume control is quite large, and easy to find in the dark. The controls couldn’t be simpler: microphone mute and large, tactile buttons for increasing or decreasing volume.

Building headphones, much less a complete headset, using 50 mm drivers can result in a heavy unit with the potential to be fatiguing over long periods. The padded headrest is comfortable enough, but the cups are what set this headset apart. The ear pads are made of cloth-covered memory foam, which is easily user-replaceable. Corsair says it will be offering replacement pads directly from its Web site.

We wore the HS1 for extended listening periods (six hours in one case), and it proved to be one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve ever worn. Of the three headsets mentioned in this review, Corsair's was the only unit that didn’t actually rest on part of an ear, which made it more comfortable right out to the box.

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  • 12 Hide
    7amood , September 16, 2010 9:49 AM
    I see no graph... just words describing what the reviewer feel.
    I only see general pictures of the headphones...
    this is not the quality review i'm used to see from tom's...
    total disappointment, but still interested in the headphone.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    amk09 , September 16, 2010 6:07 AM
    corsair? really? well i guess i'll have to try these baby's out.
  • 4 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 16, 2010 6:25 AM
    $99 it looks like it's in competition with the G35...
  • -8 Hide
    crazybaldhead , September 16, 2010 7:07 AM
    Nice advertising, Loyd.
  • 0 Hide
    agnickolov , September 16, 2010 7:26 AM
    No technical data provided here, so I had to look it up on Corsair's web site. The dynamic range is 20Hz-20kHz, which is a very solid showing in contrast to all the other sub-par gaming headsets reviewed here on Tom's Hardware. However, it's still no match to a professional gaming headset like the Sennheiser PC 350 (10Hz-26kHz). I couldn't find HD 580 on Sennheiser's web site (discontinued I suppose), but the updated model HD 600 has a dynamic range of 12Hz-39kHz, so it's a different ball game again. In the author's defense, it's very hard to discern audio quality differences beyond 20kHz and many humans cannot do that.

    I'd say for its price of $100, this headset is a great value. For comparison, the MSRP for the Sennheiser PC 350 is $250, while it can be found online starting at $125.
  • 8 Hide
    DavC , September 16, 2010 8:54 AM
    agnickolovNo technical data provided here, so I had to look it up on Corsair's web site. The dynamic range is 20Hz-20kHz, which is a very solid showing in contrast to all the other sub-par gaming headsets reviewed here on Tom's Hardware. However, it's still no match to a professional gaming headset like the Sennheiser PC 350 (10Hz-26kHz). I couldn't find HD 580 on Sennheiser's web site (discontinued I suppose), but the updated model HD 600 has a dynamic range of 12Hz-39kHz, so it's a different ball game again. In the author's defense, it's very hard to discern audio quality differences beyond 20kHz and many humans cannot do that.

    i dont think there's hardly any people who can hear above 20kHz (or below 20Hz). i remember we tried it in a science lesson at school, out of a class of about 30, there was only me and one other person who could hear a tone upto just over 18kHz.

    I've always been under the impression 20Hz - 20kHz is the full range of human hearing. anything above or below that is pointless measuring, and of no use what so ever.

    Anyway, this headset looks good. i've never done gaming with a proper headset before, and am rather tempted by this one.
  • 12 Hide
    7amood , September 16, 2010 9:49 AM
    I see no graph... just words describing what the reviewer feel.
    I only see general pictures of the headphones...
    this is not the quality review i'm used to see from tom's...
    total disappointment, but still interested in the headphone.
  • 0 Hide
    nanonyous , September 16, 2010 10:22 AM
    That 'easy to use' control panel is the standard C-Media control panel, which leads me to believe the audio controller employed in the headphones is a C-Media derivative, if not a C-Media chip.
  • 2 Hide
    Collie147 , September 16, 2010 11:26 AM
    I thought the Psykos were 5.1 and not 7.1???
  • 5 Hide
    precariousgray , September 16, 2010 12:50 PM
    "But that capability is there, so if you’re a man who plays female characters in MMOs, you can now sound like one as well."

    Only good/interesting/informative part of this "review."
  • 1 Hide
    ares1214 , September 16, 2010 1:34 PM
    The more products corsair releases, the better if you ask me. And for those who wanted more graphs or pictures, audio quality is something very hard to do that with. Sure, he can do a dB chart, dynamic range chart, which he already said, but thats about it. This should have been a lot of opinion, and it was, which is good. Not everybody might thing they are comfortable or not. Same with audio quality. A 20Hz-20kHz is the official hearing range of humans. VERY few can hear below/above, and those who can likely cant tell the difference. It would be a waste of money to make them go any further.
  • 0 Hide
    fozzie76 , September 16, 2010 2:34 PM
    Same thing I always ask.. size of the ear cuffs please? I used the V2 now for a while but it's starting to hurt my right ear. I may have to switch to this. Thanks!
  • 3 Hide
    fozzie76 , September 16, 2010 2:40 PM
    "There are not sellers currently available for this product" -- from Corsair's website. You should give the one you tested away... to a loyal reader.. with big ears.. that purchased the V2 after you reviewed it.
  • 4 Hide
    fausto , September 16, 2010 3:20 PM
    headset reviews are a scam. give me 3 or 4 price ranges and compare 20 headsets and tell me which are better and why.


    best headset i've tried is the original fatal1ty usb headset from creative. could it be better? yes...but haven't see anyone else do better.

    all the surround headsets suck...nothing but a gimmick.
  • 0 Hide
    restatement3dofted , September 16, 2010 4:31 PM
    That this headset offers audio quality comparable to the Sennheiser HD-580s is really impressive, especially at that price point. Been looking for a replacement for my current Turtle Beach X1s, looks like I'll have to see if these are available anywhere for a test drive.

    Do wish they were compatible with my 360, so I wouldn't have to keep using a sub-par headset when playing console exclusive games, but c'est la vie, I suppose.
  • 0 Hide
    -713king- , September 16, 2010 5:20 PM
    Can this be match with Astro's mixamp??
  • 1 Hide
    ekidhardt , September 16, 2010 7:01 PM
    Why anyone would get a simulated 5.1 surround sound, or 7.1 with "emulated" positioning when you can get the REAL thing with the Turtle Beach HPA2, is beyond me.

    All simulated headphones, regardless of the quality are simply just inferior alternatives.

    The HPA2 is cheaper too.

    e

  • 0 Hide
    pinkfloydminnesota , September 16, 2010 8:06 PM
    Grado Sr 60s are the best sounding headphones, period. For anything.

    Get a microphone and tape on it.
  • 0 Hide
    Morgan3rd , September 16, 2010 8:17 PM
    Not particularly happy with my Megaledons, but I got Shure se530s when I really wanna rock out or kick back and drift into bliss.

    They get the job done though... I'd give the megaledons a 4/5 stars.
  • 0 Hide
    DokkRokken , September 16, 2010 8:56 PM
    Loreena McKennitt?! The gentleman has exquisite musical taste!
  • 0 Hide
    wolfram23 , September 16, 2010 10:10 PM
    At that price you should be comparing to, say Logitech G35 and SteelSeries 5H V2. I had a pair of 5H V2s for two days but hated them, picked up some Sennheiser PC350s, and have been in audiophile heaven since. I doubt that these Corsairs compare to HD 580s when you're also comparing to SteelSeries Siberia V2... But, whatever.
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