[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Known as a memory maker, Corsair releases its first headset, the HS1. It is a 7.1 surround USB model good for gaming, listening to stereo music and enjoying DVDs and Blu-Rays with Dolby sound. We’re going to describe the product, analize its installation and see how it behaved during testing.

The HS1 is a big model, a circumaural headset with padded and cloth-wrapped ear cups. They rotate on their axis, making the gadget easy to carry around. The microphone can also be rotated to an upward position, an ideal setup for just listening to music and storing the headset in a drawer or backpack.

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 1: Corsair HS1

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 2: Microphone up

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 3: Ear cups spread

There is a 50 mm driver inside each ear cup, 10 mm bigger than the standard driver size found on headsets. It features a volume/mute mic control in the middle of the cloth-wrapped USB cord. It has a simple and objective design: two buttons to change de volume and one to mute the microphone. All three are backlit which is great to make it easier to find amidst a darkened room.

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 4: The ear cups

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 5: Volume/mute control

[nextpage title=”Installing the HS1″]

Since the HS1 is a USB headset, it’s necessary to install the configuration software. The application makes it possible to adjust the sound from 2-channel stereo to 8-channel (7.1 surround). Check if the game you’re about to play supports either six (5.1) or eight channels and select the right option prior to running the game. There’s an equalizer and even a simulator of different ambients (like the interior of a sewer pipe!). The program is very easy to use and it lets the user tweak the sound to his  or her liking.

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 6: Main menu

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 7: Equalizer and ambient selection

Corsair HS1 Headset ReviewFigure 8: Voice changer

For those who enjoy a good prank, the software features a voice changer. The selection of available voices is not great, but it’s still worth the practical joke during a Skype call or game chat session with your pals.

[nextpage title=”Using the HS1″]

We had a minor problem once we installed the HS1: during a Skype call for our buddies playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, everyone complained about how low our microphone was. We went and checked the software and it really lowered the microphone volume down to the mininum. You have to correct the volume level when making a call, which is a bore.

We used the suggested configuration – 7.1 virtual surround – when playing 3D games and run some  sessions of World of Warcraft, Black Ops and Battlefield Bad Company 2, which has the best sound environment on the market. The HS1 features good sound response over all frequencies, but no matter how we tweaked the equalizer, we didn’t get as much juice as with our trusty World of Warcraft Wireless Headset da Creative, tested here. The bass lacked more punch and high and mid-tones were not as intense as we had hoped. Still, it’s a pretty good result, the sound range is crisp and the feeling of isolation and immersion is great due to the large ear cups – but the overall experience lacked some wow factor. At least the HS1 is versatile and can be used for gaming, listening to music and watching movies on the PC.

Comfort level is high. The headband is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever tested and it really feels like a professional DJ headphone. We missed some calls because of the outside noise isolation.  However, in some particularly hot days, our ears ended up getting too hot after a few hours which doesn’t happen with ear cups covered with faux leather.

The HS1 is easy to be carried around or stored inside a drawer due since the ear cups and the microphone can be rotated. The volume control is easy to be found due to its size and being back-lit. It’s a really good idea for gamers who prefer to play in the dark, like us.

The USB connection makes the HS1 a versatile headset because it doesn’t rely on the quality of the user’s sound card to shine.

Although the sound wasn’t as lively as we expected, the price tag of USD 100.00 makes the HS1 a very good choice when you consider the comfort, immersion and easiness of equalizing.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Corsair HS1 headset include:

Headphones Specifications

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω at 1 kHz
  • Dynamic range: 93 dBA
  • USB power consumption: 250 mW
  • Drivers: 50 mm
  • Cable Lenght: 10 ft (3 m)
  • Connector: USB Type A

Microphone Specifications

  • Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser
  • Impedance: 2.2 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 200 Hz – 10 kHz +/- 2 dB
  • Sensitivity (1 mW, 1 kHz): -45 dB +4/-2 dB
  • More information: https://www.corsair.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 100.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Below you can see a summary of our impressions about the Corsair HS1 Headset.

Strong Points

  • Easy to transport
  • Good sound isolation
  • Comfortable headrest
  • Back-lit volume control
  • Long cable
  • USB connection makes it independent of the quality of the sound card
  • Versatile: good for music listening, gaming and watching movies
  • Reaches 7.1 virtual surround
  • Easy software

Weak Points

  • Well-rounded sound, but lacks intensity even after equalization
  • Software lowers the microphone volume at its volition
  • Cloth-wrapped phones make the ears run hot