For PC enthusiasts, the name “Corsair” is a familiar one. The company has long been producing many products to help us fill out our PC builds, including chassis, PSUs, SSDs and of course, memory. Recently, the company has launched yet another new category of product – audio – and the first product to grace it is the HS1 gaming headset.
Corsair has been slowly expanding its product range over the years. No more the simple memory company, it’s expanded into power supplies, water-cooling, cases, solid-state drives and USB flash memory. It may not come as a surprise, but a new item to the list will be audio, or in this case a USB headset.
Like many other companies, Corsair is really building up its brand name by tailoring towards gamers and pro-consumers. Thankfully, it’s going by the quality rather than quantity strategy… one only needs to look at its H50/70 water-coolers, 800D case and rock-solid power supplies.
Coming up, we’ll be taking a look at Corsair’s latest and first release into the audio segment of the gaming market with its HS1 USB Headset. At around $100, it sits in with a tough crowd, such as the Logitech G35 and Sennheiser PC330. The HS1 is a circumaural or over-ear headset with a closed-back design for passive noise cancelling.
The HS1 is also USB-based and thus uses its own drivers. For some this may be a problem since it will bypass your current soundcard and any CPU offloading and audio enhancements it may provide, but if you have a decent soundcard, you’d probably have a decent set of headphones already. The HS1 uses stereo 50mm drivers rather than the more common 40mm and yes, those extra 10mm really makes a difference to sound quality.
The HS1 also brings something rather unique to this price-range by using memory foam for the support pads. This evens out the pressure of the rather large 50mm drivers as well as conforming to your head shape with the headband also well padded. The pads are fabric backed rather than the more common pleather which has a habit of peeling and causing you to sweat.
The pads are also replaceable with spares being made available on the Corsair website at a later date with an estimated price of $10. The boom type microphone is of the noise cancelling variety and easily rotates out of the way.
The in-line volume control is of a simple nature, providing large buttons for volume and a small central button for microphone mute. For added convenience, the lights around the volume control change from blue for mic active, to red for mute. After a fair bit of use, you may notice it running rather warm.
The headset can partially collapse to reduce its foot-print for easier storage. These are not the prettiest things in the world, but they more than make up for it when it comes to audio quality as we shall find out with our subjective testing.