Corsair HS60 Pro Review
A solid upgrade that doesn’t fit me as well
When I first saw the “Pro” update of Corsair’s HS headset lineup in the store…I thought it was just a new box design.
Upon closer inspection of this full refresh, Corsair improved the materials, tweaked the sound, and enhanced the microphone, all without raising the price.
These changes make a great headset a little bit better, with only one drawback that had me missing the old models.
The Corsair HS60 Pro is a closed-back, wired, surround sound gaming headset. It retails for $69 and frequently goes on sale. Surround sound is PC-only, using a USB dongle, and the headset is compatible with any device using a 3.5mm connection. Find its official product page right here.
If you don’t need a USB sound card, you could opt for the cheaper $49 HS50 Pro. If you’d like to go wireless, check out the $99 HS70 Pro. Just like the older versions, all three share the same performance and offer a few different colorways.
I bought my HS60 Pro at Best Buy. Here’s my review policy.
The sound was one of the best things about the original HS series, and the Pro lineup improves it a little.
This is a gently v-shaped headset. It has tasteful boosts in the bass and treble regions. The bass is creamy and pleasant, with neither the punch nor precision audiophiles want. The boosted mid bass makes the low end the most obvious feature of the sound. I think this sort of bass is fun for single player gaming and movie-watching, and not as great for competitive gaming or critical listening. I still like it, in spite of its lack of raw accuracy.
The mid range and treble received additional tuning in this new version. Both are more controlled and accurate than on the original model. The mid range is warm, making female vocals sound pleasant instead of harsh. The treble isn’t fatiguing to my ears even at higher volumes, though certain sounds might sound a bit sibilant to you depending on the material and your personal treble sensitivity.
For the low price these sound great. The boosts in the bass and treble are fine for a gaming product and less wonderful for music listening…but many listeners will enjoy them. This is one of the better-sounding headsets you can get for this price, especially if you’re okay with some bass thickness.
I could wear the older version of this headset with three clicks of adjustment headroom, a plus on my larger head. However, the ear padding and the headband padding were merely adequate, preventing the headset from “vanishing” over a long listening session.
Corsair made a go of fixing this problem with the Pro refresh, but took a step backwards as well.
The headband pad is, unfortunately, nigh identical to the original model. It might be the tiniest bit thicker, but that could also be down to production variances. The foam is thin and sits atop a hard, dense frame underneath. If you squeeze the top of a HyperX headset, you’ll feel nothing but nice memory foam. Here, you’ll just feel a thick bar.
The ear pads on the Pro are brand new. They’re much thicker, and the padding inside is of a higher quality, though it’s still a quickly-rebounding memory foam. The thicker pads have more room inside for your ears to sit, and the odds of your ears hitting the back wall of the cup are low. The drivers are angled, but at the same angle designed for the original pads. Even without the angling, I don’t think my ears would touch anything, such is the massive increase in pad thickness.
However, on my head, I now wear these with only one extra click of adjustment thanks to the thicker pads. That changes the weight balance of the headset and lowers the point of contact on my face, which I don’t like as much. The thick pads feel more obvious on the sides of my head than the originals, and when combined with the hard headband, this headset still doesn’t hit the magical comfort zone that other pairs aspire to. In fact, I start to develop a hot spot on top of my head after around an hour.
I’d have preferred it if the original slimmer profile was retained but with a higher-quality slower-rebounding memory foam inside the pads. The full pad redesign seems like overkill to me.
Build quality takes an objective step up compared to the older model, which already had an exceptional build.
The pads are still glued on. But nearly everything else gets an upgrade. The plastic cup sides are now covered in a soft-touch material. The headband stitching is color-accented even on the Carbon/Black models for a more premium look. The rubber cable is gone, replaced with a flexible braided version. The mic capsule is a little larger, and now includes a removable pop filter.
This design still screams “iconic headphone,” with none of the angular gaming headset design flair that makes you look like a geeky lighthouse in your local coffee shop. It’s nice!
If the cable were removable, I’d have nothing to complain about. But sadly, it’s still permanently-attached. There’s no excuse for this at any price point in 2020, and retooling production to add the soft-touch components and the braided cable was Corsair’s perfect chance to also make the cable removable. Oh well.
Mic performance doesn’t seem that different from the original version, in spite of the larger capsule. It’s a little bit thin and a little bit nasally, though the included pop filter makes positioning the mic easier and it’s sensitive enough for PC or console use.
Here’s a quick test I recorded, plugged into the surround dongle.
Corsair’s proprietary surround sound is great, but plagued by some weird digital compression that no doubt exists to help with latency. It’s like listening to a reduced-quality MP3. You’ll hear some digital warbling and other artifacts with surround turned on. If you can live with that, it’s a convincing multi-channel effect that properly supports surround data from games.
Or, you could just turn on Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos, both of which sound a little cleaner. As the spatial audio platform gains more support on both PC and Xbox, I think hardware dongles like this may slowly die out.
The Corsair HS60 Pro is similar to its non-Pro predecessor, but with thicker pads and slightly better sound. It’s not worth upgrading if you already love your older pair, but if you’re in the market for a well-built headset under $99, these are a strong contender.
The Cloud Alpha offers more comfort and a detachable cable, but costs more. The Arctis lineup offers more comfort and a detachable cable, but isn’t as exciting for bass lovers. The Cloud II offers more comfort and comparable sound, but the surround sound dongle isn’t as good.
The high price/performance ratio is still this headset’s best selling point. It’s impressive that Corsair spent money to improve this solid design, rather than just keep it or replace it. I hope that in the future they’ll take it even further.
In addition to launching this refresh late last year, Corsair also updated the aging Void Pro and launched the new Virtuoso, so it seems like they’re in the gaming audio space for the long haul. They consistently get enough right that I look forward to their future ideas.