(Pocket-lint) - The Corsair HS65 Surround is a lightweight gaming headset that's designed to work with a variety of devices with 3.5mm and USB connectivity.
It's more affordable than the superb Corsair HS80, but that doesn't necessarily mean that this is a huge step down in quality.
With features like plush memory foam for superior comfort, a durable aluminium-reinforced construction, custom-tuned 50mm neodymium audio drivers and, most interestingly, personalised sound via Sonarworks SoundID, there's plenty to be excited about here.
For the most part, we like what Corsair has done with this headset. It's an affordable and accessible option that's multi-purpose and still manages to pack in some interesting features and specs.
It's surprisingly good value for money, we think, as you still get a premium feeling and things like the personalised audio via SoundID.
That said, we have a few small complaints about the microphone, and the sound isn't as good as the Corsair HS80 or the Corsair Virtuoso XT.
These factors don't mean that the HS65 Surround should be dismissed entirely, though. If you're a PC gamer on the hunt for an affordable headset, this could certainly be it.
Corsair HS65 Surround
- Lightweight design
- Comfortable padding
- Large earcups
- Custom sound
- Good value
- Mic has some hiss
- Sound quality isn't top-tier
Wired connectivity and custom sound
- 50mm Neodymium custom-tuned drivers
- 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
- Personalised sound via Sonarworks SoundID Tech
- Compatible with Sony Tempest 3D audio on PS5
- Dolby surround sound on PC
The Corsair HS65 Surround is a stereo headset that can connect to PC, Mac, PS5/PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices via a 3.5mm connector. But, like other offerings from the company, it works best on a PC when plugged in using the included USB adapter.
With that, you can not only activate Dolby surround sound, but also tweak the equaliser settings via Corsair's iCue software and personalise the audio with SoundID, too.
We tried both types of connection to see what difference it can make, and it's obvious that this is a headset designed with PC gamers in mind - even if that's not necessarily at the expense of the experience on other devices.
The Corsair HS65 Surround packs 50mm Neodymium custom-tuned drivers, as we mentioned up top, which is certainly loud enough for most gamers and this also works with Sony Tempest 3D for those playing on PC. We found the sound isn't as good as the Corsair HS80, and the headset doesn't offer the high-resolution audio you can get with the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT, but we wouldn't expect to at this price anyway.
That's not to say that the audio is bad, of course, it's just that the default sound lacks some bass and can feel a little hollow. Plugged in with 3.5mm, it's just stereo, too, and gives you far less functionality than it does via the USB dongle. Yes, you can still use the volume wheel to adjust the sound levels, but you can't have surround sound or sidetone that way.
On PC, the experience is much more pleasant. Plug the dongle into your PC and connect your 3.5mm cable to it, then you can launch the latest version of iCue and tweak a number of settings to enhance your sound. This includes turning Dolby on and off, picking from various EQ presets (or creating your own custom profile) and running through the process to set up SoundID.
SoundID works in a similar way to visiting your optician. When you go there and they give you various lenses to try and ask which one is better - the first or second - you pick whichever lens helps you to see more clearly. SoundID, instead, asks which audio tweaks sound better - in other words, which sound profile you prefer.
Running this test simply plays the same music track over and over while tweaking the way it sounds. You select which you prefer from each enhancement, then the final result is presented and your sound is personalised.
This might sound gimmicky, but it's surprising what a difference it can make to the audio. Everyone's hearing and personal taste are different, after all. We've experienced personalised sound with the Creative SXFI Air Gamer headset before, but that was based on ear shape and size. This is more based on personal preference, and it's certainly an interesting highlight of an affordable headset.
Plugged in this way, you can also access other things like sidetone settings. This allows you to hear your own voice via the microphone while you're talking, which is useful, as the earcups are a plush leatherette material that blocks out a reasonable amount of external noise.
- Flip to mute microphone
- 282g design with aluminium-reinforced headband
- Leatherette memory foam ear cups with soft fabric
- Padded headband
We're pleased to report that the HS65 Surround is a comfortable headset to wear. It sports soft and plush memory foam cushioning on both the earcups and the headband. These earcups are also large, and not as restrictive as the circular ones on the Virtuoso XT (our biggest complaint about the company's flagship headset), which makes them far more enjoyable to wear. They're reasonably deep, as well, but offer a nice mix of faux leather and soft memory foam cushioning that sits nicely on the head.
At just 282g, the HS65 Surround is also lightweight enough to wear all day. If you adjust it sufficiently once it's on your head, you'll find it sits comfortably for hours and hours. It has a good clamping force, but it also isn't too tight, so it feels nicely balanced for all-day comfort.
The headband also allows for a nice bit of tilt and turn in the earcups, which means it's simple to adjust the fit to suit your head shape, as well.
The ear cups are even removable with a simple twist and turn, meaning you should be able to replace them easily enough if you ever need to, which is a bonus.
One small complaint we do have about the comfort of this headset, though, is that the wire is a tad short. This will depend on how far your PC is away from you, of course, and it shouldn't actually be an issue if you're plugging into a controller, but it might be an annoyance for some.
The other complaint we have is the microphone.
- Omni-directional microphone
- 100Hz – 10kHz frequency response
- Mic Sensitivity -41dB (± 2dB)
- Sidetone via USB
With other Corsair headsets we've tested in the last few years, we've always been impressed with the broadcast quality microphones. For some reason, the mic here though is a bit of a disappointment. It's not terrible, as such, but it sounds a lot more compressed than we'd like.
It also has issues with a quiet but annoying electromagnetic hum or white noise that's painfully noticeable when you have the sidetone turned on. We found we could combat this by playing around with the mic volume and mic boost settings in iCue, but it seems difficult to eliminate completely and is one of those things that nags once you notice it.
However, it is a flip-to-mute microphone, so, if you're not planning on using it constantly, then you can simply pop it up and out of the way and turn it off.
Still, it's a shame that you don't get the same superb capture quality that was there with the HS80 or Virtuoso.
The Corsair HS65 Surround is a surprisingly good headset for the money. It's an affordable, premium-looking option with a number of nice highlights. We have a few small complaints about the microphone - and the sound isn't as good as the HS80 or the Corsair Virtuoso XT - but, for the money, this is still a good option.