Articles

Corsair Gaming Audio Seriesآ™ HS1A Headset Review

Author:Earl Keim

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , April 14, 2011

Corsair is back with a new HS1A analog headset sporting massive 50mm drivers, closed-back ear cups, and memory foam ear pads primarily designed for gaming. But Corsair tells us that these do not sacrifice "precision audio response (for) your favorite media." Let's see if these hold up in gaming as well as movies and music.

Introduction

For sixteen years, Corsair has been a leading manufacturer of performance memory modules, stylish cases, and reliable power supplies in the PC peripheral industry.

In the last quarter of 2010, Corsair expanded its diverse product line to include audio products. We reviewed the company's HS1 USB 5.1 Gaming Headset in October and found it to be outstanding.

The product earned our Editor's Choice Gold Award for its excellent comfort, price, and performance with movies and games. Our music testing gave us mixed results though, as we felt music had to be up-mixed to 5.1 for the best sound performance with that headset.

One of the most common questions after our review, was that our readers wanted to know if Corsair was planning to release an analog version of the headset in the near future. Although the integrated USB sound capabilities of the HS1 were very good, users wanted to combine the sound signature of their own dedicated sound cards with the comfort and reproduction of Corsair's headset design.

It is certainly no surprise that, five months later, Corsair has released its Gaming Audio Seriesآ™ HS1A Gaming Headset.

This analog headset sound is dependent upon the quality of a user's sound card for both recording and sound input. Because of the HS1A's analog stereo connectivity, the headset is not capable of 5.1 playback. Today, we will evaluate the performance and features of the HS1A headset in comparison to the original HS1 5.1 headset as well as other 2.0 headphone solutions.

Product Pricing and Packaging

The Corsair HS1A is available from Amazon for $77.04 with Free Shipping and from Newegg.com for $79.99 after $10 MIR with Free Shipping. Newegg.com lists the original Corsair HS1 USB headset for $99.99 after $10 MIR with Free Shipping while at Amazon.com is the Corsair HS1 is $86.74 with Free Shipping.

The HS1A box's back and side panels contain product features and specifications in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. The HS1A's packaging highly resembles that of the HS1 USB model, so you should look closely when shopping for either product in stores or online. Corsair's familiar blue, black and grey color scheme is very distinctive on its own, but is a bit confusing when viewing the two different products side by side. OF course the big "A" on the part number will hopefully tip you off!

The HS1A is packed securely in the box and mounted on a cardboard frame so its headband does not lose shape. The back of the frame contains a square envelope that we initially thought would contain sound demos for the headset's playback; this is an analog headset and it does not require a driver CD. It instead contains a quick start leaflet, warranty guide, and a list of web and phone support resources.

The HS1A headset carries a very respectable two year product warranty. The Creative Labs' headsets and Audio-Technica headphones that we have reviewed in the past are only covered for one year by their respective companies. If you are a dedicated gamer, you certainly hope your gaming gear of choice lasts longer than one year.