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Corsair HS65 Surround
May 5, 2022
Headset: 190 x 210mm
50 x 85mm
TRRS cable: 1.8m
Corsair’s HS line has a wide variety of headsets for gamers of all kinds. The Corsair HS65 SURROUND is on the higher-priced end of this line of headsets, with software that allows for sound customization and surround sound.
We spent a week with the Corsair HS65 SURROUND and found out everything you need to know before you buy.
Editor’s note: this Corsair HS65 SURROUND review was updated on October 28, 2022, to expand the list of buying options and to address the HS55 SURROUND as an alternative.
What’s it like to use the Corsair HS65 SURROUND?
The Corsair HS65 SURROUND is relatively lightweight at 282g (9.9oz), with comfortable memory foam ear pads covered in leatherette. The ear pads don’t fully seal around my ears, with a gap at the bottom that doesn’t close with headband adjustment. Nevertheless, it’s comfortable and feels lightweight, and the ear pads never press too hard against my glasses. Each headphone folds flat, so you can store the headset easily.
The headset itself has only one physical control, a volume wheel on the back of the left ear cup. The headset has a microphone that mutes when you flip it up. You can adjust microphone volume and sidetone in the Corsair iCue software (more on that later).
Compatibility-wise, the Corsair HS65 SURROUND works with any console or device with a 3.5mm jack or a USB-A port. This means you can use it with PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, phones, and PCs, just to name a few. But since the headset has software features that are tied to PCs, the Corsair HS65 SURROUND is best utilized on Windows or macOS, since those are the only places you can install iCue.
Should you use Corsair iCue for the HS65 SURROUND?
Corsair iCue is worth downloading if you want to access the software features specifically for this headset. iCue is available on PC and Mac, and lets you enable 7.1 virtual surround sound, change your sound profile, adjust mic levels, and more.
iCue has EQ presets, and you can also set a custom EQ using the 10-band equalizer. The presets have distinct sound profiles, like bass boost, which is ridiculously bassy, and FPS competition, which boosts mids and highs so you can hear environmental sounds and footsteps better. There’s also a feature called SoundID that takes you through a variety of different sound profiles and makes you choose between one or the other until you have a personalized sound, but I don’t find it that useful.
Enabling surround sound is done by just pressing the little button in the bottom left corner that says “Stereo” initially, and it will change to “Dolby” once pressed. The surround sound is a fun but gimmicky feature, and doesn’t make me much better at gaming.
How do you connect the Corsair HS65 SURROUND?
The Corsair HS65 SURROUND connects using a 3.5mm TRRS connection, but it also has a 3.5mm to USB-A adapter to be able to use the software features in iCue. In order to use the microphone with the headset on PC, you’ll either need to use the USB adapter or plug in the 3.5mm connector into a headphone/microphone combo jack.
How well does the Corsair HS65 SURROUND attenuate noise?
In our testing, we found that the Corsair HS65 SURROUND isolates sound above 2kHz pretty well, but lower-pitched noises aren’t blocked out well. You will definitely still hear speech, cars, and other loud things like a vacuum cleaner.
When I wear the HS65 SURROUND, I can tell isolation is lacking a lot because the ear pads don’t fully seal around my ears, allowing outside noise to come in through the gaps. This is probably due to the shape of my head and upper jaw, and I expect that someone with a wider face or jaw may have little to no issues here.
How does the Corsair HS65 SURROUND sound?
The Corsair HS65 has a very bass-heavy frequency response compared to our target curve, and it also has a big emphasis on the highs between 2-11kHz. This is fine for gaming, where boomy bass can be a fun addition, but for music, it isn’t the best.
When I play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch, sounds like the clanking of Link’s sword and shield, raindrops, and wind all feel a bit too loud. On the other end, the low rumbling sound of a Stone Talus rising from the ground is also disproportionately loud coming through the Corsair HS65 SURROUND, though I don’t necessarily find this unpleasant, just a bit overwhelming. The music in the game also has some sound issues with this headset, with bass tones and high tones being a bit too loud, while the mids are comparatively quiet.
Playing CS:GO on PC, I find low-frequency sounds are much too loud, since the game already emphasizes bass a ton. The relatively emphasized high-end works great for listening to precise movements and environmental noises though. If you’re going to play CS:GO with this headset, I recommend using the FPS competition EQ preset, or using a custom EQ with low frequencies de-emphasized. When I play Splitgate, the emphasis isn’t as overwhelming, but it’s still noticeable. High sounds sound totally fine in this game, and the sound profile of the headset doesn’t do it a disservice.
Lows, mids, and highs
When I listen to Vroom Vroom by Charli XCX, the high-pitched percussion is definitely emphasized throughout the song, but the bass boost isn’t too noticeable because the song puts more emphasis on sub-bass, which isn’t overrepresented in this headset.
Listening to In ár gCroíthe go deo by Fontaines D.C. with the Corsair HS65 SURROUND, the hi-hats and snare come through more than they usually do, even more so than the bass line, which is also loud due to the bass frequency boost the headset lends. The high-range emphasis also makes the higher elements of Grian Chatten’s voice more noticeable, like breaths and other mouth sounds.
How good is the Corsair HS65 SURROUND’s microphone?
If you love to use Discord or chat with people in-game, the Corsair HS65 SURROUND has an excellent microphone for that. I’ve seen “Discord certified” applied to many mediocre microphones, but this time, it’s well deserved. Voices sound great, and incidental noises around you won’t interfere with your voice. The mic can handle some echo and reverberation caused by room reflections too—it’s not completely eliminated, but it won’t sound ridiculous if you’re in a fairly empty room. Take a listen for yourself:
Corsair HS65 SURROUND microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Corsair HS65 SURROUND microphone demo (Office conditions):
Corsair HS65 SURROUND microphone demo (Reverberant conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Corsair HS65 SURROUND?
For $80 USD, the Corsair HS65 SURROUND is a perfectly fine choice for gamers who want surround sound and adjustable EQ options for under $100 USD. The default sound profile is just okay, and shouldn’t impede your gaming too much on other platforms, but PC gamers will benefit the most from this headset given the ability to choose EQ it. The biggest selling point is the microphone, which is great for Discord and in-game chat. Otherwise, this is just an okay headset that doesn’t really stand out.
If like HS65 SURROUND but want something a bit more affordable, the Corsair HS55 SURROUND is a fine alternative. It has a similarly boosted bass and treble response, but it’s not quite as exaggerated as the HS65 variant. With the HS65, you get better build quality, but functionally, these gaming headset are very similar. Plus, the Corsair HS55 SURROUND costs less ($41 at Amazon).
What should you get instead of the Corsair HS65 SURROUND?
If you like the sound of the Corsair HS65 SURROUND, but don’t want to spend the full $80 USD on it, the Corsair HS60 PRO SURROUND is only $62.59 at Walmart, and has the same iCue software for surround sound. Similar to the HS65 SURROUND, this headset isn’t exceptional, but if you want surround sound, it’s an option to consider.
For $49 at Amazon, the Razer Kraken X has 7.1 virtual surround sound support through Razer Synapse. The headset is also comfortable and the ear pads have channels for glasses. It has a pretty bassy frequency response, so make sure you like that sort of thing before purchasing. We’ve seen the Kraken X go on sale for as low as $29 USD. If you want RGB on top of that, the Razer Kraken V3 has just that plus the surround sound option in Synapse. It also has a good mic and better sound profile than the Kraken X. It’s $63 at Amazon, so it’s closer to the range of the HS65 SURROUND, but is much better in my opinion.
The HyperX Cloud Flight S is a great wireless option for surround sound enthusiasts, and the surround sound feature is actually built into the hardware of the headset rather than a software feature. It has a battery life of about 35 hours, has a better sound profile than the HS65 SURROUND, and it connects using a USB RF dongle for lag-free wireless gaming. At just $279 at Amazon, this headset is a good one to consider for those who want surround sound.
Frequently asked questions about the Corsair HS65 SURROUND
No, you cannot detach the TRRS cable or microphone from the Corsair HS65 SURROUND.
A TRRS cable is a 3.5mm cable that has a tip, two rings, and a sleeve, meaning it works with audio input to the headset, as well as outputting microphone audio. To be able to use the microphone over 3.5mm TRRS on this headset, you need to make sure your headphone jack is a combo jack. If not, you’ll need to use the USB-A adapter or buy a splitter.