Back in the days, gaming on a wireless device is considered taboo by many. Fast forward today, we’ve now got perfectly capable wireless keyboards and wireless mice for gaming – feats otherwise impossible 10 years ago. Now, what we have here is the Corsair HS70 SE Wireless. An RF interface headset with features directly aimed at the gamers.
The HS70 SE is one of the many gaming headsets introduced by Corsair this year. Refreshing their line-up with a more subtle exterior design while still maintaining the functionality. That includes 7.1 surround, a removable microphone, memory foam pads and Corsair CUE support – all under a familiar looking 50mm driven package.
|Connectivity||Wireless, 2.4GHz RF|
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
Presentation is kinda same with the Corsair Void Pro Wireless we’ve tested a few months ago. That said, it features the same box layout and the molded internal packaging made out of plastic.
Not a bunch of accessories here but we’ve got a data cable for charging and firmware updates. The wireless dongle is noticeably larger than some receivers too.
DESIGN, LAYOUT AND BUILD QUALITY:
The design elements of the Corsair HS70 SE follows the rest of the HS lineup. It is a medium sized headset by over-ear standards with a styling that is not intimidating to the eyes. This is actually a semi closed-back headset despite the fake meshed cup design. Accounting the battery and the microphone, the HS70 SE weighs in at 330 grams. That’s light enough compared to the VOID PRO at a staggering 375 grams.
The ear-pads are made out of thick memory foam pads with a stitched leatherette exterior. These are comfy medium sized pads but they are not that easy to remove – so good luck if you want to change them. There’s also a fabric filter which is nice, yet I am not sure about the bump near bottom of the driver housing. The HS70 is also designed with an exposed wiring. Not bad but I hope the glue could keep up with the elements.
The stitched headband is thick enough, but it is not as comfy as the memory foam pads. Lucky for us, the headset is light weight class so they don’t really bother me even for hours.
There are 8 levels of adjustments for the HS70 SE Wireless. I have no problem with this as the higher the range, the better fit for the majority of gamers. I just wished the cups could rotate more freely.
The removable mic is a 3.5mm variant with a proprietary locking mechanism. You could use the mic on any 3.5mm ports but it’ll be a challenge to fit other mics to the HS70 itself. Nothing to complain here though.
Now there are two tactile buttons on the HS70 SE Wireless: the power and the mic mute buttons. We also have the LED indicator here for charging and battery level status. That’s the only thing lighting up the HS70. No issues with the buttons but I must address the volume control here. It is way too easy to move which means grabbing the headset via the left cup could potentially adjust it. Corsair also needs to ditch the Micro USB port and go with a more modern Type-C port.
Comfort and flex are generally great for a medium sized headset – I could even wear glasses with this one. The memory foam pads on the other hand whilst providing good isolation, are not going anywhere near hot at all. Clamping force is I could say middle of the road but I couldn’t really fault it. Just a good fit for my small head, personally speaking. Durability? I already dropped this one twice so it is pretty much unbreakable at this point.
TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:
Our test setup relies on a system with a Realtek ALC892 Codec, tuned to output a flat sound signature. Microphone performance on the other hand is also evaluated by the same audio solution sampled on a 34dB environment. The headgear used to take cross reference sampling is a SONY MDR-7506 studio headphone – an ideal studio monitor for A/B testing. Note that we maintain the Sound Pressure Level at around 85dBA for the duration of the tests. Our main objectives are to put into detail the gaming and general performance of the headgear. The tracks, movies and games used for the subjective tests are outlined below:
- Caribbean Blue – Enya
- Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan
- Unfinished Sympathy – D2
- Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer
- Hotel California – Eagles
- Battlefield 4
- The Witcher 3
- Pacific Rim
- Mad Max: Fury Road
The vast world of headgears are subjective and is usually a heated debacle among avid listeners. Some may favor heavy bass emphasis while others may favor less bass and prefer a richer mid-range or higher frequency ranges. In short, a head gear might sound great from someone else’s perception while at the same time, it may sound awful to other listeners.
DRIVER QUALITY AND ISOLATION:
Headgears although mostly tested subjectively, could still be tested for basic objective measurements. Helping us to do just that is AudioCheck.net’s Headphones and Earphones Benchmarking Test Files.
|Frequency Response, Minimum||10Hz|
|Frequency Response, Maximum||20KHz|
The Corsair HS70 SE Wireless Gaming Headset passed with flying colors across all the tests. Isolation is rated at 54dB below full scale in spite of its semi-closed nature which is great compared to the VOID PRO’s 42dB result.
The Corsair HS70 SE is a bass-boosted headset out of the box, yet it hints a share of upper-mid and top-end flair. Mid-range on the other hand is flat. These factors should make its general sound signature a v-shaped one.
The lower frequency ranges of the HS70 features a good sub, mid and upper bass reproduction. Powerful, tight even – so it doesn’t bleed much into the middle ranges. This is one of the headset’s strong points after all.
The middle ranges on the other hand is flat. This is not a bad trait, since the bass doesn’t creep much onto this area. Making vocals sound really natural.
The upper-mid is a bit congested – just a little bit, though it never sounded harsh. Top-end on the other hand is free from unnatural vocal sibilance.
IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE:
Imaging is where we examine the spatial location of the audio sources, while soundstage is more about the depth and or range the audio solution could provide. Both are important to generally just about anything and are equally important on games too, where positional audio is king.
Imaging is excellent with the Corsair HS70 SE and I could to an extent, say the same to its soundstage. To “an extent”, since it really is not that far compared to let’s say, a true open-back headset. Still both the imaging and soundstage provided by the HS70 is more than enough to enjoy music and competitive gaming. Turn on the 7.1 surround sound to get a little bit more mileage to the soundstage and imaging.
The microphone quality of the audio solution is also tested. Helping us with this test is the Windows 10 Voice Recorder, with a microphone level at 100%.
Microphone performance is good for most part, though the HS70 could really use a pop-filter. I can’t really complain much when it comes to the microphone quality of the HS70 SE.
SOFTWARE, LIGHTING AND SPECIAL FEATURES:
The HS70 SE Wireless comes compatible with the Corsair CUE software. Here, you could check the battery status, update the firmware (which is recommended) and set your desired EQ settings – which is by the way, the HS70 responds very well. The 7.1 surround is also toggled here.
The CUE is recommended if you want to maximize your HS70’s capabilities. Using it also enables a female voice prompt over the default beep for headset changes. You may even change the auto-shutdown feature limit here. Fortunately, the Corsair HS70 doesn’t feature any lighting options.
The Corsair HS70 SE is not the first wireless headset I’ve tested so we have plenty of wireless gears as a benchmark of its performance. That includes the VOID PRO and my Philips SHP9500S with a Bluetooth adapter. Range wise, we are looking at a decently ranged 2.4GHz band wireless device. Decent, since the range is about 35 feet give or take. Go out of the LoS and we’re looking at 10 feet at most. As for the battery, it could last up to the rated 16 hour of run time so this headset is actually good for 2 days or more depending on your daily usage. Battery charges fast too with just an hour and a half required from zero to full.
Design and build quality wise, I’d like to say that the HS70 is astounding at the very least. I’ve dropped this (desk height) and it still works without any damage or creaks introduced. Now what I’d like Corsair to improve here is the volume control. A slider will do, or something similar to the VOID PRO’s rocker. Luckily, comfort is excellent – which is miles ahead over its bigger brother.
Performance again, is top-notch for a wireless device, provided that it only has a sampling rate of 16-bit/48KHz – a shame, but one of the best in class to be honest. The HS70 SE actually features the same 50mm driver with the VOID PRO yet isolation is so much better.
Now pricing is set around $100 USD for the HS70 SE Wireless Gaming Headset. A competitive price I must say for a fun yet feature rich and performance oriented wireless device.
Corsair HS70 SE Wireless Gaming Headset Review
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
BUILD QUALITY - 8/10
FEATURES - 8/10
AESTHETICS - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10
The Corsair HS70 SE questions the current wireless gaming audio landscape with its brute simplicity on top of its outstanding performance. Just an excellent wireless option for $100 USD.