Corsair has been making top quality peripherals for 25 years. They have recently transitioned their focus to equip gamers, e-sports athletes, and other game enthusiasts such as streamers. From mechanical keyboards, to precision mice and wireless headsets, Corsair is going all in on the gaming economy. Today we are here to discuss some of their gaming headset options, specifically the HS series headset.
The HS series gaming stereo headsets come in multiple levels of quality from the starter level HS50, to the medium range HS60, and the high end HS70. All three of these headsets have excellent build quality and design, so the differentiators are going to come down to the individual qualities and features.
Build & Design
All three of the Corsair HS headsets have the same overall design with the minor exception of the HS70 being wireless. The headset itself is the same, the microphone attaches to the left earphone and extends out.
One quite useful feature of the microphone is that it is fully detachable, so if you do not plan to utilize the HS mic, you can detach it and store it for later use. True to form, Corsair’s build quality is top notch with their structural components being made out of metal for extra durability and a more rugged stability.
Each of the headsets have on-ear control for easy access to adjust volume or mute the mic if needed. The earcups on all three are the same plush memory foam material and are adjustable to fit your head. What is nice about the earcups on all of the HS series headsets, is that they fully surround your ear instead of laying on top of the ear and pressing it against your head.
This minor feature goes a long way to increase comfort and avoid ear pain from long periods of use. This can be compared to a traditional top of the line gaming headset like the Turtle Beach Stealth 300 that has memory phone earcups that do not surround your ear entirely and end up causing soreness with extended use.
The headset dimensions for all three are as follows:
- Height: 155mm / 6.1”
- Width: 100mm / x 3.94”
- Depth: 205mm / 8.07”
- Weight (w/o accessories): 330.5g / 0.73lb
As mentioned previously the microphone on the HS series is fully detachable and the same hardware across all three. Aside from its convenience it is also a very high-quality unidirectional noise cancelling mic. It has an impedance level of 2.0k Ohms. Impedance is the AC resistance and the lower the impedance the more resistant a mic will be to sound degradation.
The microphone has a sensitivity level of -40dB (decibels). For sensitivity levels the closer the number is to zero the more signal is sent to the input terminals, so a microphone with a sensitivity of -40 dB would be more sensitive than one with a rating of -60 dB for example. What this translates to for you is the closer to zero the more sensitive the microphone is to sound. When combined with the unidirectional mic you see reduced ambient noise and enhanced voice quality.
You start to see some differentiation between the levels of the headsets when it comes to sound quality. Naturally the lowest level HS50 scores the lowest on sound quality though it is by no means low quality when compared to most other headsets on the market. The HS50 has a 50mm neodymium speaker driver. The driver unit is the element inside the headphone that converts the signal into sound.
The neodymium is the speaker magnet and if you do not know how the magnet affects a pair of headphones the gist of it is as follows: An electromagnet is paired with a natural magnet in a magnetic field and an alternating current is run through the electromagnet allowing it to change its polarity.
The natural magnet is then able to push and pull the electromagnet to the flow of the alternating current which pushes the speaker cone, vibrating the air and generating sound.
That same neodymium speaker driver is in both the HS60 and HS70. What sets the HS60 apart and above the HS50 is the included USB adapter that enables a conversion to the virtual 7.1 surround sound with multi-channel audio.
It is important to note that the 7.1 surround sound is only compatible with PC audio as you cannot plug the adapter into your gaming console due to required software drivers needing to be installed. So with regard to gaming consoles the HS50 and HS60 tend to be on par and the HS60 only out performers the HS50 when PC audio is compared.
The HS70 is essentially just the HS60 but wireless. They have the same exact specs across the board and perform identically outside of the ability to be wireless. The HS70 even has the virtual 7.1 surround sound as the USB adapter that makes it wireless also has the sound conversion drivers built in.
For those of you that do not know what 7.1 surround sound is, it is the common name for an eight-channel surround audio system. This is the same audio system that is often found in home theater configurations. The 7.1 surround system actually splits the surround and rear channel speakers into four different channels maximizing your sound experience.
Battery Life & Other HS70 Details
This specific section only pertains to the Corsair HS70 headset because it is the only one out of the three that is wireless. Due to it’s wireless functionality it also has a few other physical traits. To start, there is a charging port at the base of the left ear and a status LED light right next to it.
After that you will find the regular mute and volume control buttons followed by the power button that is unique to the HS70. The LED light will turn green once it reaches over 90% charge and will be amber if it is at 89% or below.
The HS70 is a wireless headset but not in the same way that you might expect your Bluetooth headset to be. That is because it was designed with gaming in mind and so it uses a USB wireless transmitter to connect to your PC. Transmission occurs through a low latency 2.4 GHZ signal. Because of the utilization of 2.4 GHZ you can get ranges of up to 40 feet from the USB adapter.
The use of a USB adapter and the required drivers does mean that the HS70 is the only headset out of the three that is not compatible with Xbox or Playstation. Essentially you get locked down to utilizing the HS70 with a PC or laptop though for many people that will not be a problem.
The only exception to this is that is has plug-and-play compatibility with the PlayStation 4 specifically. So for you Sony fanboys out there you can chalk this up to a win over the Microsoft Xbox only players.
Finally, with regard to battery life you get up to 16 hours of usage between charges. So as long as you are charging between sessions, and you sleep like a normal human being, you should not have to worry about running out of charge.
Another quick note is that the HS70 has compatibility with the Corsair iCUE software that is used to manage all Corsair peripherals. In the iCUE software you are able to adjust all of the equalizer presets for various sound elements and fully customize your settings to your own individual liking. This includes bass boost, pure direct, and even sidetone control.
It is important to note here that the HS60 also has compatibility with the Corsair iCUE software due to the utilization of the USB 7.1 surround sound adapter. For the HS50 you can still utilize sound control software but it just will not have direct compatibility with the drivers installed since the HS50 does not require any additional drivers to be installed in order to use them as it does not have the virtual 7.1 surround sound adapter. This wont make much of a different to you if you already manage your sound with some other sound equalizer software that you prefer.
If you want a multi-functional headset that you can use on PC, consoles, or even your mobile device, then the only two options you have are the HS50 and HS60. The HS70 was designed for PC gamers and they went all in on making the best quality headphones for that specific market.
If you fall into that target market then the HS70 is your best bet as you get the top quality of the three plus you do not have to deal with getting tangled in excess cabling. Here at NerdTechy we are cable management enthusiasts and the fewer cables you have to manage the more beautiful your setup will be.
If however, you find yourself as someone that wants a headset you can use with everything you do, then the HS60 is the one you want. The HS50 is the least expensive out of the three however the tiny bit of extra cash you have to deal out to get the upgrade to 7.1 surround sound is well worth it.
The microphone quality on all three is phenomenal and despite having the same mic, we did get slightly better quality on the HS60 and 70 though we were unable to isolate the exact reason behind this.
The final verdict here is that for all PC only (or playstation 4) gamers the HS70s are extraordinary and should top your list. For all others including those that want additional compatibility for use with their mobile devices or Xbox gaming console, the HS60 is the way to go. At the end of the day there is no real reason to choose the HS50 other than its lower price point.