Is this the new budget champion?
We check out the new $49 Corsair gaming headset
True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!
- Driver: 50mm Neodymium
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
- Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
- Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
- Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
- Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
- Weight: 319g
- Warranty: 2 years
- Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue
- Corsair HS50 STEREO Gaming Headset: $49.99, Amazon.com
Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones – not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.
The weight of the HS50 is 319 grams, or about 11.25 oz, which is a little lighter than the average headset, and the earpads and headband are surprisingly plush with a nice leather-like exterior.
The metal brackets (or, yokes) holding the earcups in place are made of alumium, and allow sufficient movement for a good fit against your head.
The earcups also swivel a few degrees in each direction:
The headband adjustment is generous, and each position has a slight “click” which stays in place nicely. These should fit most people without issue.
Overall I would describe the feel of the headset as quite comfortable – much more like a nice pair of headphones than a gaming headset. There is no creaky plastic feel to these at all, which is honestly what I would have expected from a ~$50 pair of gaming headphones.
An adapter cable is included to split the signal from the headset plug to standard audio and microphone plugs if needed:
I don’t have the instrumentation of Inner Fidelity (and now Rtings) to show measured frequency response, etc., but I can provide some objective impressions of the sound from this headset. First off, these sound far better than I would have guessed based on the price, and while they aren’t “audiophile” level they come pretty close. They have very powerful bass response, and an overall warm sound with good clarity. If you prefer smoother sound (not harsh) and plenty of bass, you will enjoy these.
To elaborate, the 50 mm drivers provide a lot of bass, and these lower frequencies sound noticeably elevated in the mix. I felt at times that the bass was a little “loose” – but they never sounded muddy. (As these are analogue the quality of your source will make a difference here as well). Mids and treble are not as prominent with these, though there is enough clarity to make these well suited to both game/movie soundtrack audio and music. Overall the most effective word to describe these was “warm” – which is overused, but applicable here.
The microphone offers above-average sound quality with good background noise rejection, and mic is more ‘full’ sounding than I expected with only a little of characteristic smaller mic sound. To describe the sound I’ll compare these to voice quality on a phone: think 3G voice, but not quite VoLTE.
The Corsair HS50 sets a very high bar for a budget-conscious gaming headset, trading surround effects for very high build quality (seriously, these are built like much more expensive headphones) and solid 2-channel sound. Add outstanding comfort to the mix and you have a compelling choice that feels like a bargain at $49.99. What's not to like?