After using the Corsair HS65 Surround for a couple of weeks, I can confidently say that other gaming headsets simply lack style. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great looking gaming PC cans on the market, but companies tend to opt for edgy shapes and flashy RGB lighting. Thankfully, companies are starting to realise that you don’t need to infuse every product with a gamer gear aesthetic, and the Corsair HS65 Surround is proof that stylish subtlety can trump traditional design.
Coming in at $79.99, the Corsair HS65 Surround gaming headset doesn’t sit on a lofty premium perch. Yet, the complete package holds up against expensive rivals, offering remarkable performance for the price. Simply put, the HS65 Pro is a sub-$100 solution that avoids compromise, especially when it comes to its mic quality and audio fidelity.
That’s not to say the HS65 Surround is perfect, as Corsair has made a few questionable design choices. Nevertheless, it’s a gaming headset heavy hitter that’s lighter on the pocket, and that means a lot when you consider the overall costs attached to PC gaming today.
The Corsair HS65 Surround picks up where the HS60 left off, serving as a wired 7.1 surround sound successor. Just like its predecessor, the headset wield’s a pair of 50mm drivers, an omnidirectional mic, and 3.5mm connectivity. The new cans on the block may pack uncanny specs, but visual differences and technical refinement help them stand out within Corsair’s busy audio lineup.
Aesthetically, the HS65 Surround almost resembles a pair of on-the-go headphones, with cups that pivot flat. Corsair’s choice of materials also falls within this category too, with a blend of plastic and aluminium providing a middle ground between rigidity and flexibility. The white model specifically amplifies the headset’s subtle sense of fashion, which effectively lets it cosplay as something you’d wear outside.
Sadly there’s one thing stopping this headset from truly doubling up as an on-the-go accessory – its mic isn’t detachable. This isn’t a concern in terms of functionality, as we’ll talk about the device’s superb microphone performance in a bit. However, the fact it’s non-removable certainly cramps its style, not to mention it’ll be painfully obvious you’re wearing a PC peripheral if you venture outside.
Built-in mic aside, the HS65 is still one of the sharpest gaming headsets I’ve had the pleasure of wearing. While Razer managed to win me over with its RGB lighting on the V3 Hypersense, Corsair has created a product that’s just inherently pretty to look at. Again, that doesn’t mean everything else is ugly, but if you’re looking for something with understated elegance, this is the headset for you.
Physical headphone pizzazz is one thing, but the HS65 balances its fetching good looks with pleasing performance. Sure, audiophile levels of quality usually come with a premium price tag attached, but that doesn’t stop Corsair’s mid-tier contender from taking on expensive alternatives. In fact, the HS65 gives the EPOS H6Pro a run for its money – a considerable feat considering the latter comes in at $179.99.
|Corsair HS65 Surround||Razer Kraken||EPOS H6Pro|
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20 kHz||12Hz – 28kHz||10Hz – 30kHz|
|Connectivity||3.5mm | USB||3.5mm wired||3.5mm wired|
|Mic response||100Hz – 10kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||10Hz – 10kHz|
|Price||$79 / £79||$79 / £79||$179 / £149|
The HS65 doesn’t produce particularly thumpy bass, but its mids are clear and its highs sparkle. The headset’s FPS game abilities shine bright, as its 7.1 surround sound provided me with everything I need to detect enemy Spartan footsteps in Halo Infinite. Also popped the gaming cans on and dived into my Spotify playlist, and I reckon doing so helped me not hate the newly released My Chemical Romance single. Look, I know Corsair didn’t consider longstanding emo bands while designing the HS65, but I’m standing by my testing decisions.
To take advantage of the HS65’s surround-sound compatibility, you’ll need to use an included 3.5mm USB adapter. Including a breakaway USB solution in the box is a huge plus, as it maintains versatility with other devices while ensuring it can benefit from digital performance boons. Using the dongle also means you’ll be able to use the headset with Corsair’s iCUE SoundID, a tool I failed to get along with.
The concept behind SoundID is simple – it’s a smart equaliser that personalises its settings based on feedback. After choosing between various sound samples, the tool unveiled its EQ recommendations. The result? Well, let’s just say I didn’t really gel with the settings it assumed I’d like. Your mileage may vary with this potentially innovative way to tailor audio, but I’m not convinced it knows my ears better than I do.
Now that we’ve established the HS65 is a great sounding headset, let’s double back and talk about its mic. It’s worth mentioning that I expected Corsair’s mic to produce decent results, but it actually surpassed my expectations tenfold. As you’d perhaps expect, it’s not going to replace the best gaming microphone, but I reckon a Twitch streamer could use it without receiving any complaints. In other words, the HS65’s audio capture is worlds away from sounding like an old payphone call and is a testament to the abilities of compact audio capture devices.
If I absolutely had to pick on the HS65’s mic, I’d have to harp on about its flip to mute mechanism. First off, the microphone’s rubber stem rightfully leans in towards your mouth, but unless you bend it before pushing it up, it’s going to brush against the top of your head. The large gap on the headset’s mic hinge also gives me cause for concern, as it means dirt, dust, and grime could build up inside, which is both potentially gross and could affect its longevity.
I’m admittedly a fusspot when it comes to audio controls, but the HS65’s scroll wheel isn’t the worst I’ve used. Most of my criticisms lie with its lack of definition, with smooth controls and a narrow volume range adding frustration to the experience. It’s not unusable by any means, even if it’s not accurate enough to keep you from reaching for your Windows 11 slider.
It’s safe to say that the HS65 Surround is a fantastic headset that punches above its price weight. It’s flanked by the company’s budget and premium offerings, but it still manages to strike a triple threat balance between style, substance, and expense. I still think Corsair missed a trick by not implementing a detachable mic, especially since it almost doubles up a trendy pair of causal cans. That said, the headset’s small niggles are easy to ignore amid its impressive capabilities and commendable sense of style.
Looking for a cordless version? Our Corsair HS65 Wireless review takes a look at this headset’s new sibling.
Corsair HS65 gaming headset
The Corsair HS65 is a stylish headset that packs a punch, and it could put premium alternatives to shame.