Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset
Gaming Headset (Wired)
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Surround sound, when it comes to a gaming headset, is virtual. It’s predominantly driven by software simulating a 7.1 setup, which is why the quality varies from brand to brand. Audio drivers and frequency response and other factors come into play, but it’s mostly about the apps and other tools you’ve got installed because there aren’t seven speakers and a sub crammed into the earcups. The good news is that in recent years virtual surround has improved immensely, and here Corsair has implemented something well-worth switching from Pure Direct stereo surround to 7.1 Dolby on PC.
From its detailed surround through to comfort and iCue software support, the new Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset
definitely ticks many of the right boxes. And sometimes it’s just good to go back to a wired headset, if only to realise that there’s so much extra that goes into a wireless option you can forget that lightweight affordable wired headsets exist. Stuff that can deliver when it comes to both audio quality and versatility.
For one the supplied USB-DAC connection/adaptor makes PC performance uniform across any number of devices, with the added benefit of the ‘Surround’ found in the product title not being muffled by a, well, poor sound-card. This adapter can then be placed aside when connecting to a console like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (or smartphone or Nintendo Switch) to take advantage of things like Sony’s Tempest 3D Audio or a Dolby Atmos subscription. Or whatever console surround you might enjoy.
Being a relatively lightweight wired option, Corsair has opted to go the 50mm driver route as found in a number of its headsets - both wired and wireless. The increase in driver size allows for deep bass out of the box, with sub-bass frequencies given the oomph they need to really pack a punch. The Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset has been tuned for gaming and with surround both enabled and disabled that was made immediately clear when firing up games like DOOM Eternal, Dying Light 2, and more recently the Overwatch 2 Beta.
- Drivers: 50mm
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Weight: 282g
- Frequency response: 100-10,000 Hz
- Pick-up pattern: Omni-directional
Being tuned for gaming doesn’t quite mean what you think it might - the bass response and the mid-range and high frequencies here are all clear and crisp without any sort of noticeable bleeding. Throw in some great stereo separation (which is something that leads to great virtual surround) and the Corsair HS65s don’t require much in the way of configuration or customisation to get impressive results. When paired with a wide range of music you do begin to notice the difference between this and something you’d consider close to audiophile in terms of quality, in that the balance is good but not quite as detailed as you'd find there.
"From its detailed surround through to comfort and iCue software support, the new Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset definitely ticks many of the right boxes.”
But that’s something you wouldn’t expect at this price-point, and in the end the music performance and general media sound stuff is pretty good. What does perform a lot better than the price-point would have you guess is the mic and speech stuff, where Corsair has once again delivered something that can be used across gaming and other applications. Voice quality is crisp and clear, and that’s something of a plus for the Corsair HS65.
Design and Comfort
Weighing in at 282-grams it might not be the lightest gaming headset on the market, but it definitely falls into the lightweight category. In terms of the visual design and fit, the Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset is fairly compact in that it might be suitable for the larger head-sizes out there. Build quality is great, especially for the price-point, with comfortable memory foam cups and a robust and sturdy headband design. Without a bunch of RGB lighting you’re left with a mesh-pattern and logo on the ears and what’s generally a minimal look and feel. Which is great to see, because the trend towards a lifestyle look for gaming headsets is something we can get behind.
The microphone isn’t detachable, but raising and lowering the boom-arm to mute makes enabling chat a breeze. And straight up single-player gaming something you can enjoy without the mic being in the way. In terms of controls all you really have is a volume dial, with no buttons to enable or disable surround or go through profiles - all that is handled by the device or Corsair’s iCue software.
Corsair’s iCue is definitely up there in terms of features and functionality, but it’s also an all-in-one covering all Corsair products - from memory to PC cases to headsets and keyboards and mice. And with that the almost 1GB install file does mean it’s a chunky install, though the good news is that as a background task it’s super efficient. As for the control you get over the Corsair HS65 Surround Wired Gaming Headset there’s the equaliser, surround features, and even a calibration tool in the form of Sonarworks’ SoundID. An industry recognised reference tool that can shape the sound to suit what you like in terms of frequency response.
"Throw in some great stereo separation (which is something that leads to great virtual surround) and the Corsair HS65s don’t require much in the way of configuration or customisation to get impressive results.”
Game performance, overall, was excellent no matter if it was using SoundID, stereo, or Dolby. Testing mostly on PC, with titles like Overwatch and Dying Light 2 and many others, the Corsair HS65s also proved to be quite good when switching over to the PS5 - something that was made super easy as the 3.5mm jack can be unplugged directly from the USB-DAC. Thanks to the great drivers and out-of-the-box stereo sound, the results with Tempest 3D Audio were impressive. And when you factor in the affordable price-point, comfortable and sturdy build, with this versatility, Corsair has definitely created something you’d consider best-in-class.