Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset Review
Sticking it to HyperX yet again!
Now, Corsair is back with another relatively low cost gaming headset. When this new HS70 first went out to reviewers at the end of May, it had an MSRP of $89. But now that it’s widely available…it’s $99.
The Void Pro Wireless is also $99, which means that Corsair now sells two different wireless PC-focused headsets for $50 less than most of the competition.
With the HS70, it’s like they finally gave me the wireless Cloud II I’ve wanted for years.
The $99 Corsair HS70 is a closed-back wireless gaming headset with its own proprietary USB dongle that works with PCs, PS4s, and Macs. It offers no wired connectivity whatsoever, though you can charge it via micro USB and use it at the same time.
It comes in three colors: Carbon(Black), White, and…Special Edition.
Wait, what color is “Special Edition?”
Turns out it’s a nice cream/tan accent around a black frame. That’s the version I found, and it seems like it’s the main version that Best Buy is carrying in the US.
The microphone is detachable, and the battery is rated for 16 hours of use…though I think that’s slightly optimistic. There’s no RGB to speak of, but if you’re on a PC, you can download Corsair’s iCUE software and use their proprietary 7.1 virtualization tech, get full access to EQ profiles, and enable voice prompts inside the ear cups for different headset functions.
At the price point, this is a stupidly-compelling list of features, with a better battery life rating than the equally value-focused Void Pro.
In fact, the $99 price point of this headset makes the $159 price of the HyperX Cloud Flight seem all the more absurd.
Much like the HS50, the HS70 has a fun, energetic sound that also avoids most of the pitfalls of the stereotypical gaming headset. Bass frequencies are big and punchy, mids are natural in spite of being a little recessed, and the treble is detailed with only a hint of artificiality and harshness.
If you’re an audiophile listener, you’ll be bummed about the lack of refinement in the treble and the ever so slight recession of the mids.
But you’d have to be tremendously cynical not to enjoy the sound of these.
And if you’re that sort of listener you’re probably not considering this headset anyway, as you’re too busy telling people on head-fi to buy a pair of “Good” headphones with a dedicated microphone instead of a headset.
Their gentle v-shape is more fun and less fatiguing to listen to than pristine examples of this sound like the DT770 and the HyperX Cloud II. The resonant bass is as boomy as it can be without being clumsy, and it makes gaming/movie audio a whole lot of fun.
Compared to the Void Pro, I think the HS70 sounds much better.
The Void Pro has a muffled sound to it in its stereo mode and really only came to life with its Dolby Headphone processing turned on, whereas I could happily listen to the HS70 in stereo for hours.
The HS70 has a sound that’s perfectly tuned to split the difference between fun and serious, and honestly that’s right in line with my own personal tastes.
The harshness/edge that occasionally shows up in the treble is the only reminder that this is a cheaper audio product, and if you’re not used to analyzing audio, it probably won’t bug you.
SURROUND SOUND QUALITY
On PC, you can make use of Corsair’s proprietary 7.1 surround system. The headset shows up as an 8-channel audio device in Windows, so you shouldn’t have any issue with games sending the proper audio mix to your headphones.
This is my first experience with Corsair’s 7.1 surround software, which also appears in the HS60 and Corsair’s ST100 combo headphone stand/DAC.
I’m a big proponent of virtual surround.
A lot of folks like to say “well it’s not true surround because it’s only two speakers on your head,” and I guess they’re right. But you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish with those two speakers and binaural simulation software, and I like being able to access the full surround audio data that was created for a game without filling my small gaming room with speakers.
Corsair’s software is very good overall. It has incredibly convincing placement, creating a truly seamless ring of audio in the space around your head. It doesn’t offer the vertical or distance components of Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone X: 2.0, but it still offers a wonderful sense of dynamics.
The surround software has only one noticeable flaw, and I don’t think it’ll be a dealbreaker for all but the most ardent listeners.
Virtual surround usually processing adds lag to the audio system, as does wireless transmission. I think that, in order to combat some of this…Corsair is running their virtual surround software at a slightly reduced quality.
If you listen for it, you’ll be able to hear some digital noise in certain sounds and frequency ranges. This doesn’t always pop out, but when it does, it’s like listening to a song that was compressed at too low of a bitrate. It’s not immediately apparent, and it’s not present on every sound.
But it’s totally there.
Corsair’s system doesn’t have the hollow, echo-y sound that some other virtual surround systems can have, so if this occasional digital warbling is the price we had to pay to have this quality of processing at a low latency, so be it. But as I noted above, I’m a bit of a virtual surround apologist, so you might find this more bothersome than me.
In stereo mode, this processing noise doesn’t happen, and the lag is in-line with other high speed wireless gaming headsets. You won’t notice it at all.
Thanks to reasonably deep, though non-angled, memory foam-padded ear cups, and a nice dense headband, the Corsair HS70 is a comfy headset.
At least for me.
The flat insides of the ear cups mean that your lobes might gently brush the insides of the cups. Also, each cup has a small hard channel at the very bottom that hides some wires, and it might bump into your ears.
The memory foam padding on this headset is…weird.
To the point where at first it doesn’t feel at all like other memory foam ear pads. It doesn’t have that same trademark density that I’ve come to expect from other pairs. However, just like those models, this headset becomes more comfy over the first ten or so minutes of wear as the foam molds to your head.
So it is indeed memory foam, just with a different feel.
The headset has 8 clicks of adjustment for each side, which are numbered. I have a larger head and I still have three extra clicks of adjustment, so most people should be just fine.
Clamping force, much like on the HS50, is higher than average.
However, with a wireless headset that’s usually the norm. You don’t want the headset to go flying off during an intense gaming moment. The padding does a good job of distributing the clamp, but they’ll never disappear on your head. So if you’re averse to clamping force, these are not ideal.
Isolation is good. As always, I used these in a loud coffee shop near my apartment, and had no trouble hearing my audio without totally destroying my ears with volume.
The ear cups don’t fold flat, so this isn’t the most neck-able headset in the world.
The build of this headset is nigh identical to the HS50, with a few very small improvements. It’s a new take on the classic headphone design of the DT770, with two metal forks holding the ear cups to a big padded headband.
As far as improvements over the older wired models go, the ear cups are now a rubberized soft-touch plastic, which is nice. The metal grills are still present even though they’re not actually open backed. The metal-core headband is nice and robust, and feels pleasantly high-quality.
Aside from that rubberized plastic, the only other major change to the build is the material inside the ear cup.
The HS50 had a single piece of foam mesh that ran over the whole inside of the cup, but here there’s a harder material around the edge and a softer acoustic foam in the center over the driver. It’s a slightly nicer-looking design decision but doesn’t seem to have impacted sound quality.
My favorite design components of the HS50 also return in the HS70. Namely: the split rotation hinge and the small cable channels in the metal ear cup forks.
A lot of headsets use metal forks to hold their ear cups.
It’s a smart choice that increases durability. However, on the classic DT770 and HyperX Cloud, the metal fork has to serve double duty as the rotation mechanism.
Corsair has split the lateral rotation off into a separate plastic and metal hinge piece, allowing the fork itself to stay placed in one orientation. This just feels better and offers more adjustment for a better fit.
The other prominent drawback of the DT770/HyperX Cloud forks is the exposed loose cable that connects the two ear cups together through the headband.
Corsair solves that problem by cutting a very small channel into the fork itself that the cable can run through, meaning you never have to worry about catching this cable on something an damaging your headset. It also looks a lot nicer. Interestingly, the HS70 actually has two cables running between the ear cups.
The result of all this is a headset that has an iconic look with a few premium improvements.
The stitching along the headband is very nice to the touch, and the Corsair branding is minimal. It’s an exceptional-looking headset, and I think it has a significantly better industrial design than the Cloud Flight.
The microphone on the HS70 is competent. You can click here to listen to my quiet room and loud room tests over on my other site.
Noise-cancelling performance is solid, but overall tonality is a little nasally and artificial compared to other wired microphones in this price range. But this is a wireless model so it gets a little extra slack.
The battery life rating of 16 hours seems like a best-case scenario to me.
If you’re doing a lot of talking on the mic and listening at anything over half volume, you’ll get a couple hours less.
The analog volume wheel and mic mute buttons work very well, so no complaints about either. And I like that the wireless receiver is a more normal, less ridiculous size than the one that comes with the Void Pro.
Now some negatives. You don’t get a case and there’s no easy way to remove and replace the pads. I wouldn’t expect either of those things at this price…except HyperX set a proud precedent by offering both of those features for years on the Cloud II.
I normally loathe permanently attached pads and that seems to be the case here. I didn’t want to destroy my model and find out. The only reason I barely give these a pass is that the headset is bargain basement priced for its quality. If the pads wear out after 2 years or so (which seems typical for me)…I’d honestly be happy buying whatever the newest revision of this is.
I’ll be using these a lot so if the pads wear out fast then I’ll update this.
You can’t use these wired at all. So you’re limited to connecting via the dongle. Also, the charge port is micro USB in an era where USB-C is becoming more common. But at least you probably already have tons of old chargers and plugs lying around in case you don’t want to use a computer. Corsair ships a nice long USB cable in the box.
Corsair gave me the wireless HyperX Cloud II I’ve always wanted, and they incorporated some of the smart design updates from the HS50 in the process. And then made all of that available for $99, the same price as the classic Cloud II.
All of that has me giddy.
I’m less excited about the attached pads, the lack of 3.5mm support to add Switch/Xbox/Mobile users, and the weird digital artifacts that show up in the virtual surround from time to time.
But all of those are extreme nitpicks and not really fair to levy at a product that delivers this much value.
At their originally-planned $89 price these were an absurdly easy recommendation, and even after Corsair came to their senses and tacked on an extra 10 bucks I still can’t complain. If you’re looking for a wireless PC headset, start your search here. They look and sound better than the Void Pro, and have longer battery life. And they make the HyperX Cloud Flight’s $159 price point seem super dumb. Again.
Here’s some other stuff to click on: