Corsair HS80 Max Wireless Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware and Software

From a physical perspective, it should be no surprise the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless looks exactly the same as the HS80 RGB Wireless. The whole headset is finished with a matte finish that is somewhat resistant to fingerprints, unless you are in the middle of eating something or sweating heavily. This is a mostly gray color around the headset, but a white version of the HS80 Max Wireless is also available. Corsair branding is present with their logo on each side, as well as a thin "Corsair" wording at the top of the headband. The sails logos are also where you will see some flashy lighting, similar to what we had with the HS80 RGB Wireless. Appearance-wise, the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless is generally pretty clean, but it definitely still looks targeted at the gaming audience.

The construction of the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless is also similar to its predecessor. This means we have the same mostly plastic build, but it does not feel cheap by any means. There are no signs of creaking or cracking when we pull or adjust the HS80 Max Wireless, which is great. This is because the connection point between the ears and the headband is made out of metal, and this is where all of the moving areas are. There is an internal metal frame inside to further help with rigidity. Other materials we can see here include a fabric suspended headband with some elasticity and a fabric covering over the earcups.

Attached to the right side is a microphone that swivels. While this means we cannot disconnect the microphone from the HS80 Max Wireless, they have implemented the mute functionality based on swiveling. I really appreciate this for an easy and fast way to mute yourself. At the end of the microphone, there is an LED light that indicates the microphone status. When muted, this shines red as a visual indicator, while it shines white all other times. With iCUE active, when you mute the microphone, you will also hear a corresponding voiceover. You can also turn off the white status light if you so desire. As for the microphone itself, it is omni-directional with a frequency response of 100Hz to 10kHz and an impedance of 2.2kΩ. It has a sensitivity of -38dB. The arm holding the microphone is not exactly the most flexible. It can be slightly shaped to face your head, but it also slowly moves back to a neutral position.

At the top, we have a closer look at the headband on the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless. Rather than extending the arms, this strip of fabric naturally adjusts based on the size of your head. It also has a bit of give and elasticity, so it is not as stiff in moving. Ideally, this sort of suspension will make it so users do not feel the top of the headset while also reducing the amount of foam required. There is still some extra padding where it will make contact with your head. The suspended fabric is attached via Velcro straps on both sides so you can adjust the tension. Each side also has a plastic tab at the end, so the strap does not fray and provides users an easy anchor points to grab and adjust.

Taking a look at the ears of the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless, you can see the cups are covered in a fabric with memory foam underneath to increase the comfort. These are over-ear headphones, so the ear cups sit around your ears rather than pressing on them. These cups unfortunately cannot be removed from the rest of the headset, so those looking for leather or leather-like options will have to look elsewhere. I personally did not find them to be too warm, although I did test the HS80 Max Wireless during the coldest time in Calgary, so the ambient temperature was lower than what my colleague Ben may have seen with his HS80 RGB Wireless when he reviewed it. Underneath, we have 50mm high-density neodymium drivers, which have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. This matches the typical human hearing range. The headset has a sensitivity of 119dB and an impedance of 32kΩ. Otherwise, these ears swivel about, so you can wear the headphones on your neck comfortably.

In terms of comfort, the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless is not bad. With its weight of 356g, they are not exactly the lightest headset we have used. I did find the foam under the ears to not have as much give as I have seen from other headsets, but it is still decent. Between fabric and leather or leather-alternative cups, there are trade-offs. Fabric cups are more breathable as they do not create as much of a seal on your head. On the other hand, this means sound isolation and leakage are also sacrificed. I personally like fabric more for comfort, even if it means more sound leaks in and out. The clamping force on the HS80 Max Wireless is alright, as I felt like I had to really shake my head before the headset would come loose. I found the whole experience comfortable, but fit and feel will vary from user to user. If possible, I recommend trying the headset before purchasing it.

All of the controls of the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless can be found on the back of the ears. On the left side, we have two textured inputs. The top is a power button that activates once you hold the button down. Once turned on, the headset will automatically connect to the USB transmitter. Next, we have a notched dial that has some of the best tactile and audio feedback I have felt on a pair of headphones. It controls the system volume when the headset is attached. You can also press the volume dial down, which, by default, changes the equalizer settings. Underneath, we have a small LED light, which is used for indicating battery life during use and charging. When in regular operation, it blinks green when it is at full battery, orange when it is in the middle, and red when it is low. When it is charging, it pulses these colors until it reaches full charge and changes to a solid green light. At the bottom, we have a USB Type-C input for charging. Do note that the wired connection is only for charging and you cannot use this as a way to transmit audio. On the right ear, we have a single textured button with a Bluetooth logo. This is used to swap between the wireless USB transmitter and Bluetooth for connectivity. Unfortunately, we cannot stream audio from multiple sources simultaneously.

As you might expect from Corsair's products, the HS80 Max Wireless works with their iCUE software. This all-in-one utility is used for basically all of Corsair's products. Currently, they are on version 5 . It is readily available from the manufacturer's website and the download is a 3.2MB executable. Once you plug in the USB transmitter into your computer, iCUE will automatically install the necessary modules. For the HS80 Max Wireless, it will install two modules, one for the transmitter and another for the headset. The transmitter's module is only used for updating the firmware.

Otherwise, the module for the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless provides a few pages for changes. The first is Key Assignments, which allows you to change what pressing on the volume dial does. You can assign basic headset functionality, including microphone mute, or other keyboard or mouse commands. Under Lighting Effects, you can change the color and effects of the RGB LED-illuminated sails logo on both sides. Under NVIDIA, you can install an additional module to work with NVIDIA Broadcast. This lets you filter out noise and room echo based on hardware built into your graphics card. As such, you need to have a GeForce RTX 2060 or higher GPU for this to work. Next, we have Equalizer, where you can change the equalizers and create your own preset. You can change the microphone and sidetone volume too. Next, we have "SoundID Personalization", which launches in a smaller window in the iCUE application. This lets you take a series of sound comparison tests to assess your preferred sound and change the equalizer settings accordingly. If you do activate SoundID, it will disable the manual equalizer settings. Finally, under Device Settings is all of the other miscellaneous changes that do not necessarily fit into the other pages. I am not a huge fan of how they organized these miscellaneous settings, especially as some of these could have been put on other pages. Otherwise, the iCUE app is pretty easy to use, even if it can feel a bit resource heavy at times.

One thing that comes with the Corsair HS80 Max Wireless is Dolby Atmos support, which includes a hardware-locked license with the wireless receiver. On Windows computers, you can download the Dolby Access application from the Microsoft Store. Once set up, you will see the headset recognized in the application. From here, you can change the surround settings, as well as set up even more equalizers. This includes presets for different use cases, as well as three custom sets that you can save. Personally, I found the Dolby app to be adequate and I do appreciate that the license is hardware-tied so you can use this on multiple PCs with no concerns while it is plugged in. Once again, activating this Dolby Atmos for Headphones will deactivate any other equalizer you have set up in iCUE.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis
4. Conclusion