Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
Testing audio products by ear is a difficult task. There are subjective parts to testing by ear, which unfortunately cannot be eliminated. My taste or preference will bleed into the results. However, taking the time and putting the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless through its paces will hopefully eliminate or at the very least reduce as much of the subjectivity possible in these types of tests. There is extremely expensive equipment attempting to come to some sort of objective measurement, but it is still a challenge, since every person will pick up a pair of headphones and experience it slightly differently. With that in mind, I will do my best to provide an objective measurement through extensive tests and with a good understanding of my reference pair of headphones. I am testing the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless primarily as wireless headphones using the provided USB receiver, as they are marketed as wireless headphones, so they will be tested as such. I will indicate in the review whenever I use the cable to plug the headphones into a USB port on my motherboard.
When it comes to the tests in question, I listened to uncompressed and high-bitrate audio tracks. This ensures the music are of good quality, helping us to isolate testing mainly to the headphones. The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless is a gaming headset, and I tested it in a few games as well; namely, VALORANT, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and DOTA 2. In each of these games, spatial audio is a crucial part of the game. Being able to pinpoint where a sound is coming from is critical to accurately identifying where opponents are at.
Often, the bass in gaming headphones is the most boosted part. In the case of the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless, that is not true. The bass is definitely present and distinguishable from the rest of the frequencies, but it lacks punch. It seems slightly muted instead of having that deep rumble in the background, which you feel more so than hear. The bass is round, but overall is just not deep enough. It almost seems far away as if it has lost most of its power and energy. A wired connection makes a bit of an improvement. The bass is a bit deeper and fuller. Overall, the bass is serviceable. It is present and can be heard well, but needs extra punch. In gaming, the bass was present in footsteps, and thanks to it being easily distinguishable, it meant it was easy to pick out where footsteps were coming from.
The midrange frequencies are the best out of all three. They are warm and full. Vocals came through clearly and accurately, while the acoustic guitars sounded natural. It was articulate and detailed, especially when there were multiple voices coming together. The midrange was thick is probably the best way to say it. Overall, I had no complaints about the midrange. It is definitely standout in its quality compared to the other two frequencies. This performance continued in the wired mode as well. As for gaming, the same holds true. Voices or dialogue were clear and detailed.
The treble was a bit disappointing. It lacked the sharpness that comes with great headphones. The treble can be described similarly to the bass; it was just dull. The brightness of these high tones was darkened. It was not entirely bad though, as the different instruments were easily distinguishable, and overall, the sound was full. Being able to distinguish so well between the different sounds is important to gaming. Unfortunately, the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless lacked the energy, which would have improved it. Again, this segment is serviceable like the bass, but there is room for improvement.
Soundstaging and imaging was great for its context. Throughout all the tests, each sound source could be easily distinguished. The soundstage was reasonably wide and deep, which is exactly what you want from a gaming headset. The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless definitely earns its gaming name through these results. I think the 50mm drivers were allowed to shine to accomplish this feat. The imaging was also detailed and clear. There was required depth and all the instruments in music and sound effects in games did not feel as if they were squished together on a stage. This carries on into the layering. Detail was kept throughout, ensuring a clean sound in all the games. The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless never muddled anything or distorted it to a noticeable extent. Overall, the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless did great in gaming.
A microphone test was done using Audacity and exporting to an MP3 file. The microphone really is excellent. Voice comes through clearly and it limits external noise, which may bleed in. Often, an integrated microphone can sound quite muddled or muffled, but in this case the microphone is quite good. The biggest drawback is the lack of being able to adjust the microphone closer or further away from one's mouth. Otherwise, it does well to facilitate voice chat in games, which is its main intention. The ability to also quickly move the microphone arm up to mute is incredibly helpful as well.
Corsair promises the HS80 RGB Wireless has up to 20 hours of battery life, and I think that is a stretch even if you just leave it on at idle for 20 hours. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless warned of low battery after 6 hours of use, this included just gaming sessions, and died completely at 7 hours. The RGB LEDs were set to on at 20% power in my case. I assume the 20-hour rating is with the RGB LEDs off, but having them on at 20% should not affect the battery life that much, especially considering the LEDs are quite small and the volume was set to also 20% only. Normally, the rated battery life is at 50% volume. As I have mentioned on the previous page, this is very poor compared to the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX, tested at over 108 hours, and the Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX, tested at almost 47 hours. Corsair also claims the range is 60 feet. I did not find this to be true either, even with the USB transceiver directly in line-of-sight with the headset. The sound starts cutting out to an unusable level at around 20 feet. It was not a big deal, as I rarely need more than the few feet that I am sitting away from my computer, but if you require to being able to walk around in your house with your headphones on, there are better options.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis