CORSAIR HS80 RGB WIRELESS Gaming Headset Review

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅19-08-21

As noted, the HS80 RGB WIRELESS doesn’t require the iCUE software but it is recommended. Either the iCUE software or 3rd party tools can be used to set up custom equalisation profiles that will significantly change the texture of the audio as desired, but we defaulted to the Pure Direct (0dB EQ) profile in iCUE except when using the Dolby Atmos spatial sound virtualisation.

The first pleasing aspect of out time with the HS80 was how comfortable it was, despite weighing in at a hefty 367g. The approx. 30% more weight than the EPOS H3 we reviewed earlier this year was noticeable but it didn’t feel egregious through longer gaming sessions. Tension in the headband is relatively light, and with a soft foam cup surrounding the ear there was blessedly little compression to worry about even from day one.

The ~2.5cm cavity surrounding the ear was sufficient to keep them from rubbing against the driver assembly behind the fabric, maintaining comfort over time. Hopefully CORSAIR will offer earpad replacements in the long term, when general wear and foam compression could mean that’s no longer the case.

The elastic in the supporting band combines with the tension in the headband to make the headset feel like its matching your head movements with a hint of delay. It feels a little strange, even when simply walking or moving up/down a staircase, which could make it less suitable for the most active gaming sessions or gaming/listening to music while exercising.

Despite a nice, chunky tactile button, the HS80 (when in wireless mode) requires that it be pushed and held for a couple of seconds to turn it on and off (with a chime to indicate success on that score). That really isn't necessary, and could just as easily be a single firm push for on and off.

At default settings the HS80’s audio output is good, with distortion becoming audible only at very high volumes and when reproducing particularly complex musical pieces. The default soundstage was narrow, emphasising mid-tones and higher over a flat bass that clearly biases towards videogame sound composition and voice comms rather than music. The bass is however more punchy than the EPOS H3, even without biasing in that direction.

Games with the most subtle sound cues gain the most from this default EQ profile, helping the player pick out footsteps and ricochet pings, whereas those with more brutalist sound such as arcady shooters and racers tend to miss out. Any title where the soundtrack is a major factor in your minute by minute enjoyment will benefit from just a few tweaks to the EQ here and there for a fuller and richer audio landscape. Stereo separation was excellent, generating clearly directional sound without additional spatial virtualisation

Voice Comms however are crystal clear thanks in part to this default bias towards midtones. They cut through ambient noise well, but can turn a little mushy when overlaid on top of loud and busy sound in-game environments. It should be close to perfect for most home gaming situations, but competitive gamers may prefer a more lightweight design without wireless.

The headset had clear audible responses from the advertised 20Hz through to at least 13kHz, which is the effective limit of the reviewer’s hearing in a dirty sound environment. The age and gender of the user is a significant factor in determining the upper limit of your hearing perception, but advertising a frequency response of up to 40kHz when 20kHz is the generally accepted limit to human hearing outside of a sound isolation lab is curious to say the least.

When not playing sound the headset is effectively silent, with none of the low-frequency noise that can sometimes crop up in budget headsets and speakers. The volume dial meanwhile synchronises with the device OS sound levels rather than isolating to the headset itself.

Finally, the sound isolation is good, but not the best we’ve experienced. The fabric pads are just sufficient to let a small amount through without through deadening, and there’s no active noise cancellation integrated into the headset.


CORSAIR claim that the HS80 is equipped with a broadcast-quality microphone. Without such a microphone to hand we instead compared it to our trusty RODE NT-USB, a discrete microphone we’ve used in the past for video review voice-overs.

There was a problem however. When connected wirelessly there’s no means of setting a dB Boost level in Windows settings. The option was completely absent with the consequence that recording and voice communication software had to be run at 100% volume to pick up anything meaningful.

The Microphone Properties window doesn't have a Microphone Boost field when connected wirelessly

This is a known issue on previous generations of CORSAIR wireless headsets, and users have developed a work-around using Equalizer APO as a tool to proxy as a pre-amp boost for the microphone. Given how involved the process would be, and that something audible was still being produced, we utilised the headset in its standard configuration without 3rd party apps.

General voice clarity was quiet but good, but the tell-tale increased compression common to wireless headsets was still very much present. You certainly won’t be using this setup to record professional voiceover audio, but it’s easily clear enough for in-game voice comms. We did also notice that some of the sidetone came through with a little distortion that isn’t picked up in recording.

Those of us with a lisp or other speech impediment will be pleased to know that ‘S’s and ‘P’s don’t hiss and pop aggressively when speaking at normal volumes, indicating that the microphone has great filtering for an integrated microphone. It won’t eliminate your lisp, but nor should it accentuate it through post-processing.

The HS80’s microphone was however very sensitive to local environmental sounds, particularly mechanical keyboards and mouse clicks. That is the sort of issue which could become a problem when gaming, and might necessitate 3rd-party noise cancellation such as NVIDIA Broadcast if you want to spare your team-mates.

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