Corsair HS65 Surround: two minute review
The Corsair HS65 Surround Gaming Headset is the company’s new, powerful and cost-effective gaming headset that delivers exceptional 7.1 surround sound performance for PC gamers.
The 50mm Neodymium audio drivers deliver exceptionally clear stereo and virtualized 7.1 Surround Sound audio, and with the audio in the best PC games getting more sophisticated, this headset lets you hear the carnage on the battlefield as the developers intended. †
The headset microphone offers an incredibly crystal-clear response with an omnidirectional polar microphone pattern. Anyone familiar with the polar patterns of microphones may be concerned that the omnidirectional pattern (as opposed to a cardioid pattern) will pick up too much ambient noise while you are using the microphone. Fortunately, this was not a problem during Counter Strike: Global Offensive sessions or chatting via Zoom.
The headset’s surround sound capabilities require you to download Corsair’s iCue software from the company’s website. Once installed, simply plug your headset into the USB to 3.5mm adapter and plug it into a USB port on your PC or Mac.
Other 7.1 surround sound gaming headsets are sure to be added in the coming months, but keep the Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset at the top of your wish list. It’s a fantastic, versatile headset that will please any serious gamer on a budget and is easily one of the best PC gaming headsets out there for 7.1 surround sound audio.
Corsair HS65 Surround: price and availability
- How much is it? MSRP is $79/£79/AU$119
- When can you get it? The Corsair HS65 Surround is now available
- Where can you buy it? You can get it in US, UK and Australia
The Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset costs $79 / £79 / AU$119 and is available worldwide. This is a lot cheaper than some competing gaming headsets like the Razer Kracken V3, which is about 20% more expensive while still offering the same sound quality.
Corsair HS65 Surround: design
- Excellent comfort
- Adjustable microphone
The Corsair HS65 Surround is exceptionally built, with an adjustable headband that fits comfortably on any gamer’s head.
The ear cushions and head cushion are both provided with soft and comfortable memory foam under breathable synthetic leather. Even after ten hours of continuous gaming with this headset and then another three hours of intense FPS play after a break, the HS65 Surround remained comfortable the whole time.
The headset looks great, remains comfortable and the closed headphones keep out disturbing noises. The frame is constructed from high quality aluminum and other materials to provide a strong and robust device that will last for years to come. A volume control is placed on the left earcup for quick volume adjustments.
The microphone boom is adjustable and can be bent towards your face. It will stay put if you set it up to your liking. A quick slap on the boom arm will mute the mic and a quick flip down to bring the mic back up, making muting and unmuting incredibly intuitive in the heat of battle.
Corsair HS65 Surround: Features
- iCue Equalizer presets pretty intuitive
- SoundID not worth it
- 7.1 Surround only available via USB
The iCue software itself has three functions to play with: Equalizer, SoundID Personalization and Device Settings. The Equalizer function allows you to choose between five EQ presets and create your own presets. Unless you know what you’re looking for, set the EQ to “Pure Direct” as this preset goes well with everything.
If you are curious about the EQ presets, the presets speak for themselves and are very intuitive to work with. Presets like “FPS Competition” sound great for your competitive shooters like Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Valorant, while “Clear Chat” sounds exceptional during Zoom or Teams meetings.
Corsair HS65 Surround Key specs
drivers: Custom 50mm Neodymium
Driver’s Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Microphone Polar Patterns: Omni-directional
Microphone frequency range: 100Hz – 10kHz
Compatibility: Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, PS5, PS4, XBox Series X | S, Nintendo Switch
Weight: 282 grams
cord length: Approx. 6 feet
Color: Black or White/Grey
The only real criticism here is that the SoundID feature doesn’t work well at all. The SoundID technology attempts to create a custom EQ setting for the user based on how the user rates their enjoyment of certain sound clips. After going through the SoundID setup process, you should have a custom EQ preset for your optimized listening preferences.
However, multiple attempts resulted in EQ presets that only made the audio worse. It was a lofty aspiration, but poor execution on Corsair’s part. Game audio is usually recorded and mixed by professional sound engineers anyway, so all EQ and volume levels should already be optimized for the user experience.
Anyway, the safest bet is to just choose “Pure Direct” under the Equalizer feature in the iCue software and jump right into the action.
The last function in the iCue software is the device settings. Here you can enable voice prompts, amplify the microphone response and change the color of your headphone housing in the iCue software. The only option that is useful here is “Mic Boost”, which gives your microphone some extra sensitivity. Otherwise, this rounds out the functions of the iCue software.
Corsair HS65 Surround: Performance
- 7.1 Surround Sound is excellent
- Great bass response
- Great microphone performance
These drivers on the Corsair HS65 Surround have no problem pushing sound through the 20Hz-20khz audio range, while the bass frequencies carry real weight. The mids and highs of dialogue and various sound effects come through incredibly clearly.
The headset’s microphone captures frequencies from 100 Hz to 10 kHz, and while this may seem like a limited range of frequency response, it’s specifically tuned to capture the human voice very well.
The 7.1 Surround Sound capability is accessible through Corsair’s iCue software with Windows Spatial Sound active, found under your output device’s properties menu in Windows sound settings.
All media recorded and mixed for 7.1 Surround will play exceptionally well through the HS6 Surround. Fortunately, most games and shows currently record for 7.1 Surround Sound, but keep in mind that not all games or media are or have that. With these older games and media, the headphones themselves won’t turn a game recorded in 5.1 surround into 7.1 surround, but it will still sound great.
Since the iCue program itself creates the 7.1 Surround Sound virtualization for the headset, you cannot use that feature on PC or Mac without it.
The Corsair HS65 Surround can compete well with competitors such as the Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense and the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Many competing headsets offer options that you don’t really need, such as detachable microphones or the haptic functionality of the Kraken V3 Hypersense. These options aren’t high on the must-have list for gamers, so why pay more for options you don’t need?
Older devices, monitors and game consoles almost always have a 3.5mm input, but not every gaming headset has one. With the HS Surround you can plug in and at least get crystal clear stereo sound, even if you have to skip the surround sound feature.
However, there are exceptions where you can get 7.1 Surround Sound with modern next-gen game consoles. The XBox Series X uses Dolby Atmos and the Sony PS5’s Tempest 3D Audio virtualizes the sound of 7.1 Surround Sound through the game console itself, and the Corsair HS65 Surround easily supports the audio capabilities of both consoles, making it a winner for PC gamers and beyond.