Arh Gaming. It’s one of them passions many of us have. Some of us are casual players, others are more serious, pro gamers. It can be rather frustrating when you come across those “pro” players who always seem to have that edge. Over the past few weeks we have reviewed some great products to give you the edge you need to start beating these pros. Well here is another of those products. Corsair don’t have a long standing reputation in the gaming peripherals market, but are known world wide for their fantastic Computer memory winning them hundreds if not thousands of awards. Corsair’s HS1 USB Gaming Headset is their first entry into the audio market, does it live up to it’s competitors or does the HS1 fall short? We find out…
Please note the Reviewed item is the Corsair HS1 USB Gaming headset, not the HS1a (Analogue) headset. However both are built roughly the same with only the remote, and software changing. The HS1a uses jacks so you can use your own sound card rather than the built in one so results can differ.
For those who want to see our video review head towards the end of this review however the written review usually is more in-depth so why not check out both?
Sound Quality –
Having the best possible sound when playing games is a must. Not only will it bring life to game but can also be a great aid when up against an enemy. When testing headsets we always look for those where we can clearly hear the quietest of sounds, like walking through grass, or footsteps on snow, wood, stone etc. We also listen to see if the headset helps us work out which direction the sounds come from! Also with that listening to how realistic sounds are and if the bass and trebles are perfect.
The Corsair HS1’s have some great technology inside them with 50mm drivers in each earpiece they are able to deliver and frighteningly accurate sound. Most gaming headsets feature 40mm drivers which are fantastic but Corsair were determined to go 1 better and they really have! In our test we could clearly hear every sound perfectly and work out each individual sound even when many were played at once. Most headsets we try are fine at playing individual sound but once many are merged for example gunfire, steps, running, explosions and even the odd chopper gunner in MW2, we find these sounds usually merge into more of a noise, but not with the Corsairs’. We could clearly hear each rich sound which not only made the game more realistic, it gave us the edge we had been looking for. With the 5.1 (7.1 virtual) sound too, we could hear things in every single direction! The only area that was a little lacking was the bass however with the fantastic software Corsair provides this was easily adjusted.
Microphone Quality –
The microphone in the Corsair HS1 was our biggest issue. It wasn’t the worse we had heard but it definitely wasn’t the best. We heard some whistling in the background when recording using the microphone. A lot of this was fixed with driver updates and software tweaks but it can be heard if the microphone is boosted too loud. We really hope that Corsairs next revision fixes the microphone issues as then this would be a “5 Cloud” product! For a sample of the microphone quality please see our video review.
Build Quality –
The Corsair HS1s’ are built to last. You can see that Corsair wanted to make a headset to impress and they do just that. So many headsets are flimsy and usually break after a couple of months usage, less for the pro gamer. Well these should last a while and Corsair have even stated the foam pads on the ears can be replaced, which is fantastic news too as these are often the first to go! The top headband is strong but padded in soft foam, the ear pads are made of cloth so they can be easily cleaned and replaced, and the rest of the headset is just sturdy and solid! The cable is a great length at 3 meters and is also tangle free!
Corsair have provided gamers with a in-line remote control with volume up and down buttons, plus a Microphone mute button. We loved how this lit up too, which is great for in the dark gaming however the lack of clip was a shame as it means corsair added the lights to help you see the remote but only when you can find it with it dangling around somewhere!
The software is great too, allowing you to turn on Dolby virtual 7.1 and other Dolby features, along with environmental controls allowing you to perfectly adjust the sound for the environment you are in and even the ability to tweak individual aspects of the sound. Overall we were really impressed with the software controls (see a walk through in the review video below). We aren’t sure exactly what software controls you have access to in the HS1a (if any) but this is designed for users with a sound card which usually comes with its own controls.
Overall we were really impressed with Corsairs first entry in the Audio Headset Market. For gamers this is a great headset with many others lagging behind in terms of sound quality. If your a gamer who wants the best sound and isn’t too bothered about a brilliant Microphone then this is a fantastic headset that is likely to give you the ultimate edge when playing games. We therefore award the Corsair HS1 USB Gaming Headset 4.5 Clouds!