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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  • jav6454 - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    any data on how the headphones hold up to highs and lows without distortion? Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    I think the first page of the article explained that he (Dustin) doesn't believe these headphones warrant the purchase of equipment capable of delivering the data you are requesting. From what I understand, his reasoning is that they are too cheap to reveal excellence under testing scrutiny.

    Whether or not you agree with that reasoning is another matter.
    Reply
  • liweifr - Friday, August 05, 2011 - link

    never use it .<strong><a href="http://www.headphonesfashion.com">Headphon...
    <strong><a href="http://www.headphonesfashion.com">Best Headphones</a></strong>
    Reply
  • liweifr - Friday, August 05, 2011 - link

    http://www.headphonesfashion.com Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    Unless you have distortion from an integrated sound card, I think anyone would be much better off with $90 Sony MDR-7506 plus a separate mic. Same price, eons better sound quality. Reply
  • Amart - Saturday, November 06, 2010 - link

    Good advice, I forgot about it in my comment - but that's another good option. That Sony model is superior to any BOSE product. Should have good Soundstage too. Reply
  • Bseic - Monday, November 08, 2010 - link

    Let's be honest, anything in that price range from any reputable headphone manufacturer is going to be a far better option... AT, AKG, Beyer, Grado, Senn, we could name them all. At the end of the day almost all 'gaming' headsets should be avoided. Unfortunately it seems the majority of customers are sold by the marketing, and why wouldn't they be, without any prior knowledge '7.1 SURROUND SOUND' headphones seem very appealing. Reply
  • Theguynextdoor - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    I wonder how this stacks up against Logitech's G35's and G930?

    I've had teh G35 for over 2.5 years now and absolutly love it with a few minor quirks.
    From the pics I can already see one quirk with the HS1 and that's the controls are still on the cord which is annoying, thus why I leaned towards the G35 when I made my purchase years ago. I like them ON the headset.

    But the price seems attractive I'll probably get some for friends and family.
    Reply
  • Will Robinson - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    Yes,its better to have the controls on the headset where you can see them while you are gaming...oh wait....;)
    Actually I agree,in line controls tend to screw up after the cable's been yanked a few times taking the headset on and off.
    The Creative Arena headset is a better choice.
    http://us.store.creative.com/Sound-Blaster-Arena-S...
    Reply
  • Sufo - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    Nice to see a headset review. Any chance we could get a few more of these? The Sony DR-GA500 particularly interest me. They also claim to be able to simulate 7.1 and i'd be interested to find out if they fulfil those claims. Reply

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