CORSAIR HS65 SURROUND Review| Surround sound and SoundID for less than 100 euros

 Corsair is once again sending a new opponent into the mass brawl called the gaming headset market. Almost everyone wants to get involved there, you will find a lot of mediocrity and only a few highlights. That's why every manufacturer thinks about how to stand out from the crowd. Corsair tries it with the HS65 with surround sound via USB and software, as well as the SoundID system for personalizing the sound image. And all that for a relatively meager 89.99 euros.


There are an insane number of headsets under 100 euros and an insane number of them don't even remotely reach mediocrity. At least when it comes to workmanship and wearing comfort, you don't have to worry about the Corsair HS65 Surround. The light (282 grams), aluminum-reinforced construction with the rotatable ear cups leave a good impression at first glance. Nothing rattles, nothing wobbles and that is by no means a standard in this price range.


CORSAIR HS65 SURROUND Review| Surround sound and SoundID for less than 100 euros

The design is appealingly minimalist with a matte black finish and quite appealing Corsair logo grilles on the side panels. Thanks to the spacious ear cups and pleasingly thick cushions, the wearing comfort is very good, further improved by the imitation leather cover and (kudos) the microfibre contact surface, which prevents excessive sweating.


In terms of controls, the HS65 is minimalistic. Except for the volume, you can't control anything directly on the headset. The connection is made via a fixed 3.5 mm jack cable and a suitable USB adapter. Due to the somewhat colorless sound in purely analogue mode via the jack, we strongly recommend that you primarily use it on a PC together with the iCUE software. After all, thanks to the jack, it can also be used on an Xbox or a mobile device if necessary.


The cable length is a bit negative - 1.5 meters is below the established standard of 1.8 meters and could lead to problems with one or the other setup. The microphone is permanently mounted as a folding microphone with a clearly noticeable switching point for the flip-to-mute mechanism, so it cannot be removed. The flexible arm is relatively easy to position. The microphone itself does a really good job for the price range and ensures clean, relatively unadulterated voice transmission.

CORSAIR HS65 SURROUND Review| Surround sound and SoundID for less than 100 euros

As with most headsets, the HS65 features 50mm neodymium speaker drivers rated at 20-20,000 Hz and 32 ohms impedance. The "pure" sound in analog mode is slightly bass-heavy, a bit weaker in the mids, but with decent highs. In principle, a relatively typical gaming mix, without Corsair overdoing it and letting the part degenerate into a boom machine.


In USB mode, together with the fairly clear iCUE software, you get plenty of setting options. You can adjust the microphone boost and sidetone. An EQ with various presets (Pure, Movie, FPS, Clear Chat, Bass Boost) along with the option of creating your own presets and changing the existing ones give you tools for sound improvement. The presets are quite okay as a basis for your own settings, but they don't knock our socks off.


The SoundID system from Sonarworks, which can be used to optimize the sound, is very interesting. You can choose a music sound loop for this. The loop is always played in two different sound images and you can choose which you like better. This happens several times and in the end, SoundID calculates the optimal sound for you from your information.


Basically a nice and interesting idea. The problem, however, is that playing music loops isn't necessarily suitable for ultimately getting a usable gaming sound, and as a music headset the HS65 isn't exactly the yellow of the egg. In addition, after activating SoundID, you can no longer make any further adjustments, for example fine-tuning with the equalizer. Ultimately a nice gimmick, but the benefit is limited.


Apart from that, you can enable Dolby Audio 7.1 surround sound in the software. You can do it, especially if directional perception is important to you. However, you have to accept some losses in terms of clarity and precision. The equalizer can also help a little here. However, you should not expect too much, the USB sound card in the adapter is not of high enough quality and ultimately the software cannot work wonders either.


Overall, however, the HS65 can be heard, especially if you make some adjustments and optimizations to your own taste with the EQ. Especially as a gaming headset, it shows a very solid performance without noticeably sagging in any area.


CONCLUSION

Rock-solid and without major quirks

The Corsair HS65 Surround joins the list of gaming headsets with which there is little to nothing to go wrong. The wearing comfort is just as convincing as the workmanship and is at a good level for the price range. In terms of sound, it offers a rock-solid, slightly bass-heavy gaming sound that can be pimped on the PC with equalizer, surround sound or SoundID thanks to the software. The surround sound brings with it the usual expansion of the soundstage, as usual at the slight expense of the overall clarity of the sound - I'm not a fan of that.


I have a somewhat divided relationship with SoundID. Because there are only pieces of music to choose from as sound loops, the end result is not necessarily a gaming sound that you would like to have. Nice idea, but I think it makes a lot more sense for headphones than for gaming headsets - the EQ does more. Anyway, for just under 90 euros you get a very solid headset that doesn't allow itself any major weaknesses.


Pros

  • solid processing
  • good wearing comfort – light and thick padding
  • good sound for the price range
  • Good setting options on the PC thanks to clear software
  • usable via jack and USB
  • comparatively good microphone

Cons

  • SoundID is only partially useful
  • cable fixed

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