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After talking with Corsairs audio product manager at CES I was really excited to see how the HS1A sounded. It’s rare to find a product manager that gets so excited when talking about any of his products. But with Corsair I think that kind of excitement is why they have been so successful. I only spoke with him about their SP2500 speaker set, but that doesn’t stop me from having high hopes for the HS1A in the audio department.
To put the headset to the test I went through a collection of music, movies, tv shows, and of course games to get an idea of its performance in different situations. A headset can sound amazing with music but lack the directionality or boom needed for movies and games, we have seen that even more with 5.1 and up headsets. Packing multiple speakers in each earcup doesn’t leave much room for good low range speakers.
My first test was with a little bit of music. Excited to hear how they sounded up put on a little AC/DC to get me fired up. Although the music was extremely crisp, it was lacking something right from the start. Almost no bass was heard at all. Over the years I have come to expect some headsets to have more bass than others, but this was noticeably less than any of the others. I thought right away that I must have opened up a defective file. I jumped into a little rap with more bass with the same results. Everything I listened to lacked the low end that you would expect but the mid’s and highs were amazing. Playing in my settings and turning up the base helped a little bit, but still a little off.
Anytime I can play games or watch movies and call it work I am the first to sign up. I selected a couple movies to watch including The Dark Knight and the 2009 version of Star Trek. Just like with my experience with music the lack of bass was obvious. But the highs and mids still made the movies enjoyable. A lot of movies incorporate booming lows to suck you in and make you feel like you are in the movie; the HS1A will struggle with this type of film. After experimenting with a few movies I found that this headset complemented musicals the most. The crisp highs and mids really helped bring out the singing. Unfortunately I am not a fan of musicals at all, in fact if my wife found out that I was watching one without moaning and complaining I would never hear the end of it. Because of that I quickly moved on to the gaming portion of my testing.
With my experience with the movies in mind I selected a broader range of games to play around with to fully test the HS1A (TF2, Crysis Wars, Dirt 3, and mafia 2). I was curious if the lack of bass would hinder my experience, or possibly help with directionality. As it turns out I was right on both counts. I found the HS1A to have amazing directionality in the shooters; the boosted mids and highs really help gunshots and footsteps to stand out. I still felt like the lack of bass left something to be desired in the movie like mafia 2 and with the throaty engine roar in Dirt 3. This headset is clearly made for a specific genre, and in that genre it excels.