Corsair HS65 Surround: Two minute review
The Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset is the company's new high-powered and cost-conscious gaming headset that delivers exceptional 7.1 surround sound performance for PC gamers.
The 50mm Neodymium audio drivers provide exceptionally clear stereo audio and 7.1 Surround sound virtualized audio, and with the audio in the best PC games becoming increasingly sophisticated, this headset will let you hear battlefield carnage exactly the way that the developers intended.
The headset microphone offers an incredibly crystal clear response with an omni-directional polar mic pattern. Anyone who knows microphone polar patterns might be worried that the omni-directional pattern (as opposed to a cardioid pattern) would pick up too much ambient noise while you’re using the mic. Thankfully this hasn’t been an issue during Counter Strike: Global Offensive sessions or chatting over Zoom.
The surround sound capability of the headset requires you to download Corsair's iCue software off the company's website. Once installed, simply plug your headset into the USB to 3.5 mm adapter and connect it to a USB port on your PC or Mac.
There are sure to be other 7.1 Surround Sound gaming headsets hitting the market over the next few months, but keep the Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset at the top of your wishlist. It is a fantastic, versatile headset that will please any serious gamer on a budget and is easily one of the best PC gaming headsets around 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 available now
- Where can you buy it? You can get it in the US, UK, and Australia
The Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset comes in at $79/£79/AU$119, and is available globally. This is a good bit cheaper than some competing gaming headsets like the Razer Kracken V3, which is about 20% more expensive, while still offering the same audio quality.
Corsair HS65 Surround: Design
- Outstanding comfort
- Adjustable mic
The Corsair HS65 Surround is exceptionally built, featuring an adjustable headband that fits comfortably on any gamer’s head.
The ear pads and the head cushion both feature soft and comfortable memory foam underneath breathable leatherette material. Even after wearing this headset during ten hours of continuous game playing and then three more hours of intense FPS play after a break, the HS65 Surround stayed comfortable throughout.
The headset looks great, stays comfortable, and the closed ear headphones reject distracting noise. The frame is machined out of high quality aluminum and other materials to provide a strong and robust device that will last you for years. A volume control wheel is positioned on the left ear cup for quick volume level adjustments as well.
The microphone boom arm is adjustable and can bend to suit your face. It stays in place once you have set it to your liking. A quick flip up on the boom arm mutes the microphone and a quick flip down unmutes the mic, making muting and unmuting incredibly intuitive in the heat of the moment.
Corsair HS65 Surround: Features
- iCue Equalizer presets pretty intuitive
- SoundID not worth the effort
- 7.1 Surround only available through USB
The iCue software itself has three functions to play around with: Equalizer, SoundID Personalization and Device Settings. The Equalizer function allows you to choose between five EQ presets as well as create your own. Unless you know what you’re looking for, set the EQ to “Pure Direct”, as this preset suits everything well.
If you are curious about the EQ presets, the presets are self-explanatory and very intuitive to work with. Presets such as “FPS Competition” will sound great for your competitive shooters like Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Valorant, while “Clear Chat” sounds exceptional during Zoom or Teams meetings.
Drivers: Custom 50mm Neodymium
Driver Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Mic Polar Patterns: Omni-directional
Mic Frequency Response: 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 function is underwhelming. The SoundID technology attempts to create a customized EQ setting for the user based on how the user rates their enjoyment of certain sound clips. Once you go through the SoundID setup process, you should have a customized EQ preset for your optimized listening preferences.
However, multiple attempts – including a full reinstall with the latest iCue software – resulted in EQ presets that often made the audio worse. Audio for games will usually be recorded and mixed by professional sound engineers anyway, so all the EQ and volume levels should already be optimized for the user’s experience. Fortunately, this isn't something you really need to dabble with. The safest bet is to just choose “Pure Direct” under the Equalizer function in the iCue software and jump right into the action, which otherwise sounds amazing.
The final function in the iCue software would be the Device settings. This is where you can enable Voice prompts, boost microphone response and change the Case color of your headphones within the iCue software. The only option that is useful here is “Mic Boost”, which gives your microphone some added sensitivity. Otherwise, this rounds out the features of the iCue software.
Corsair HS65 Surround: Performance
- 7.1 Surround Sound is outstanding
- Great bass response
- Great mic performance
These drivers on the Corsair HS65 Surround have no problem pushing sound through the 20hz-20khz audio range while its bass frequencies carry real weight. The mids and highs of dialogue and various sound effects come through incredibly clear.
The headset mic captures frequencies from 100Hz to 10 kHz, and while this seems like a limited range of frequency response, it is tailored specifically to capture the human voice really well.
The 7.1 Surround Sound capability is accessible through Corsair's iCue software with Windows Spatial Sound active, found under the properties menu of your output device in Windows' sound settings.
Any media that was recorded and mixed for 7.1 Surround will play exceptionally well over the HS6 Surround. Thankfully, most games and shows presently record for 7.1 Surround Sound, but keep in mind that not all games or media are or have. 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 stunning.
Since the iCue program itself is what creates the 7.1 Surround Sound virtualization for the headset, you can't access that feature on PC or Mac without it.
The Corsair HS65 Surround stands up well against competitors like the Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense and the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Many competing headsets offer options which you don’t really need, like detachable mics or the Kraken V3 Hypersense's haptic functionality. These options aren't high on the list of necessities with gamers, so why pay more for options you don’t need?
Older devices, monitors, and gaming consoles almost always have a 3.5mm input jack, but not every gaming headset does. With the HS Surround, you can plug in and at the very least get crystal clear stereo audio, even if you have to skip the surround sound feature.
There are exceptions, though, where you can get 7.1 Surround Sound with modern next-gen gaming consoles. The XBox Series X utilizes Dolby Atmos and the Sony PS5’s Tempest 3D Audio virtualizes the sound of 7.1 Surround Sound through the gaming console itself, and the Corsair HS65 Surround easily supports the audio capabilities of both of these consoles, making it a winner for PC gamers and beyond.
Should you buy a Corsair HS65 Surround?
Buy it if...
You want the best 7.1 surround sound
7.1 surround sound for your PC or next-gen gaming consoles never sounded so good.
You want a 3.5mm headset
This headset bucks the trend away from 3.5mm and still provides a USB adapter if needed.
You want a headset that will be comfortable for hours
Between the closed back ear cups and adjustable headband, this headset can keep up with the longest gaming sessions.
Don't buy if...
You want a wireless headset
The HS65 Surround is a strictly wired affair with no wireless or Bluetooth options.
You have more money to spend
While this headset offers fantastic sound for the price, you can get better 7.1 surround sound in more premium (and expensive) headsets.
Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense
One of the best haptic headsets on the market that also provides a terrific audio experience in 7.1 Surround Sound and colorful RGB features. It is more expensive though, even when you skip the haptics.
Read the full Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense review
HyperX Cloud Alpha
A strong contender in the surround sound headset space, it features a detachable microphone and amazing virtual 7.1 Surround Sound, but costs a bit more as well.
Read the full HyperX Cloud Alpha (2022) review
Astro A50 Gaming Headset
A premium gaming headset that features Dolby virtual surround sound. As a wireless option, it comes complete with a charging station and while the audio performance is outstanding, it has problems canceling noise. It's also more than three times the price of the HS65 Surround. If you've got the money to spend though, definitely give it a look.
Read the full Astro A50 Gaming Headset review