Corsair...audio equipment?

Over the past few years, Corsair has gradually leveraged a strong brand identity in the memory market to introduce new product lines elsewhere. Corsair RAM begat flash drives, begat solid state drives, and over time they've also added power supplies and cases to their lineup. Each introduction has gone swimmingly, with Corsair power supplies generally regarded as among the best quality you can put in your machine and Corsair cases commanding high price tags and mostly earning them, going toe-to-toe with entrenched competitors like Antec and Cooler Master. I'm not sure what the most logical next step would have been, but a set of gaming headphones? That was a little unexpected.

Yet here we are, with the Corsair HS1 gaming headset in hand. The fundamentals aren't too remarkable: the ear cups are circumaural, fully enclosing the ear to block out ambient noise, and there's heavy padding on the cups and bridge. An adjustable microphone stems out from the top of the left piece and can be raised or lowered on a single axis. The HS1 is a wired affair, using a single cable with an in-line volume control and microphone toggle that ends with a USB connector.

Where the Corsair branding and attention to quality come in is the overall build. The ear cups are surrounded in soft felt and extremely well-padded, and the bridge is also soft enough that it doesn't feel like it's driving an indentation into your head. Inside the phones Corsair has installed 50mm drivers, which they claim substantially improve the quality and range of sound the headset can produce. Finally, the audio cable is braided, and naturally there are blue lights on the volume controls that will flash at you incessantly until you install the included sound driver.

On the whole the HS1 at least looks and feels comfortable and well-made. I wear glasses and have had a history of being picky about headphones. Ear buds aren't comfortable and generally don't do a great job of blocking out ambient sound, regular on-ear phones just never fit right, and so while I've always preferred circumaural headphones, I've also had to deal with them jamming the sides of my glasses into my skull. As a result, the only headphones I've ever used and been happy with have been (cue the audiophiles screaming) a pair of Bose. They're cheaply made and break if I so much as look at them funny, which is utterly unacceptable for the pricetag, but they produce crisp sound and strong lows, and most importantly, it doesn't hurt to wear them.

So with that said, Corsair seems to have made every effort to address those of us cursed with having to wear glasses. The HS1 fit gently but snugly, and believe me when I say they block out everything. At the very least, from quality and comfort standpoints you can be reasonably certain that the HS1 is a good investment.

The HS1 in Practice
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  • Kaboose - Saturday, November 06, 2010 - link

    If you stopped reading at "bose" then you missed the writer explaining why he has them and that "cue the audiophiles screaming" was meant to stop people like you from assuming he is "ill-informed" he clearly understands bose are over rated crap and he has them for comfort, calling him "ill-informed" is not only rude and disrespectful but inaccurate. I personally have a pair of Denon AH D-2000, and I use the mic on my logitech webcam for my main mic. Total cost was ~$300 I dont reccomend this because of the price but for good audio quality you have to pay for it. However, for most people must having a $50 headsets will suffice and. Reply
  • Amart - Monday, November 08, 2010 - link

    There are better choices in headphones - even from a Comfort perspective.

    Denon, ATH, Sony, Sennheiser... you have so many decent choices.

    I like the AD700 specifically because they added some weight distribution and they don't get uncomfortable over time. Sennheiser has their street style headphones that are just as light and comfortable as the BOSE, but are 1/3 the price and have superior sound quality. Your Denon set is probably not any less comfortable - but it's superior in every other way.

    Yeah, I'm rude and disrespectful, I'm tired of the unprofessional reviews of gaming equipment that enables manufacturers to scam uneducated consumers.

    Why can't AnandTech reviews contain the same level of depth as a Head-Fi forum post? Why did no one pick up on ESReality's MouseScore?
    Reply
  • Amart - Monday, November 08, 2010 - link

    P.S. Where do you pull the $300 from?

    $15 shipped for a clip on mic (or the cheapest headset mic from a $1 store)
    $80 to $100 for Decent Headphones (with good options at $15, $35, and $60).
    The entry level to "Audiophile" aka Not-Terrible sound quality is $20. Koss KSC75 + $1 Microphone. Probably still better then BOSE even at that price.
    Reply
  • Kaboose - Tuesday, November 09, 2010 - link

    ~$300 was for my setup about 200 for the Denon's and then another 80 or so for the webcam mic combo. i know it can be done for cheaper i was only stating about 300 for MY setup. Reply
  • faxon - Sunday, November 07, 2010 - link

    first things first, AUDIOPHILES ARE SCREAMING! read the first paragraph and was thinking "this guy needs to get his priorities in line"! i actually picked a pair of wireframe glasses out that make me look like a major nerdgeektard but are comfy no matter what headphones i wear. use a pair of sennheiser PC350s for my headset, and ultrasone PRO 2500s for my audiophile grade listening, and while my UGA frames (swedish designer frames) ram into my head like a vice with whatever i wear, i have some old ass wireframes i have had for a decade that i keep the lenses updated in as well, which i cant even feel on my face when wearing the same headphones. just a thought, but you might want to consider investing in a pair of cheap wireframes just for your computer use. if you can afford to buy audiophile grade headphones for $300+ a pop, with an external DAC and amp, then surely you can pay for a $150 pair of shitty ass frames that fit right with them :) Reply
  • Kaboose - Sunday, November 07, 2010 - link

    +1
    I luckily don't need glasses except for distance so I take them off at the computer, but I also bought a cheap pair of wire frames for when I want to watch a movie on the tv with my headphones.
    Reply
  • audiophilleee - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    these are better, and a lot cheaper. who wants to pay $100 for "simulated" surround?

    www.driverstorer.com/zalman1
    Reply
  • hangtoks - Monday, April 11, 2011 - link

    I have used quite a few different gaming headsets but, the best resource I found to get an impartial view on them can be found at http://www.gamingheadsetreport.com, they are constantly adding new headset reviews. Reply

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