How the Corsair HS80 Headset Changed My Relationship With Gaming

Pricey, but truly immersive

Key Takeaways

  • The Corsair HS80 gaming headset sounds fantastic and offers an immersive experience.
  • It works with PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
  • It's priced at $149.99 and available in Carbon Black.
Corsair HS80 resting on top of a PS5 controller and on the ground

Lifewire / Jen Allen

I've never been entirely sold on the need for dedicated gaming headphones until I started using the Corsair HS80 gaming headset. It's a relatively high-end gaming purchase, but one that's actually changed how I play games for the better. 

Backtracking a little, multiplayer gamers may recoil in horror at the thought of not seeing the point in dedicated gaming headphones. I don't mean you guys. When trying to sneak up on someone in a multiplayer session of something, being able to hear everything around you is incredibly important. No, I mean for single player gaming. I've always been content with my TV speakers or—more recently—a high-end soundbar, instead. However, Corsair's latest headset, the Corsair HS80, has changed all that.

Designed for the PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5, it's a premium gaming headset that lives up to its reputation. Corsair always has made high quality headsets and it's excelled here. It's a pricey addition to your gaming setup, but a real game changer. 

Getting Into the Routine

The Corsair HS80 takes seconds to get started with. The headset comes with a dongle rather than relying upon Bluetooth, but it's unlikely you're short on spare USB ports on your PC, laptop, or PlayStation 4/5. In many ways, using a dongle is easier than setting up via Bluetooth, as I found both laptop and PlayStation 5 instantly figured out what was going on. For the lazy gamer, it's a good starting point. 

Corsair HS80 held over a Lenovo laptop

Lifewire / Jen Allen

Wearing them is equally convenient. With big ear cups, they easily cover your ears in a snug way that never feels overly sweaty or hot. And believe me, I've used them during a rare British heatwave, so the heating side of things was certainly put to the test. 

And that's about it for setup. It's possible to set up some cool user-configurable RGB lighting via Corsair's iCUE software, but that's far from essential. All you really need to be aware of here is the power button, volume wheel, and, potentially, the ability to move the microphone around. Conveniently, the mic automatically unmutes anytime you bring it towards your mouth. Another nod towards Corsair considering how to make things a little easier for the lazy gamers amongst us. 

Immersing Yourself in the Magic

I've tried and tested plenty of headphones over the years when listening to music and the gulf in quality can be huge. The Corsair HS80 is magical. My first port of call was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the PC and I felt truly lost in the world for a bit. It almost felt like a form of mindfulness because the Corsair HS80 kept me distracted from the noises of the outdoor world. 

I found myself paying more attention to what I'm playing and less likely to sneak a look at my phone or work email.

These headphones may not offer Active Noise Cancellation, but they block out a lot of surrounding sound thanks to their decent size and useful features. While playing Skyrim, I noticed relatively subtle footsteps nearby and heard incidental conversations that I wouldn't have ordinarily noticed. I felt as though I was part of that world, and somehow, an hour vanished in no time. 

It was a similar story when connecting the dongle to my PlayStation 5 and diving into Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. I felt like a kid again, sitting too close to my TV and enjoying the magic. 

The Technology Behind the Magic

The Corsair HS80 uses a two pronged attack to provide good quality sound. On PC, it has Dolby Atmos support, meaning you'll hear sounds "above" you as well as around you. While Dolby Atmos normally requires extensive speakers scattered around you, the Corsair HS80 uses virtual Dolby Atmos to offer a spatial audio experience without the complexities of rearranging speakers.

Corsair HS80 resting on a Lenovo laptop

Lifewire / Jen Allen

It won't be as accurate as a full Dolby Atmos setup, but it’s considerably cheaper and more convenient. You won't really notice the difference either with the soundstage feeling wide and welcoming. That's assuming you're playing a game that supports it, of course, but a growing number do.

Switch over to a PlayStation 4 or 5 and you'll lose out on Dolby Atmos, but there's still spatial audio. The headphones are powered by a pair of custom-tuned 50mm high density neodymium audio drivers, and while that might not mean much to you, you'll soon recognize how rich and detailed the sounds are. 

Changing How You Game

Having spent many years trying different gaming hardware and different ways to play, I rarely experience something that makes me rethink how I'm doing things. That's changed with the Corsair HS80 headset. 

It's kind of meditative. I found myself paying more attention to what I'm playing and less likely to sneak a look at my phone or work email. More importantly, I'm enjoying the games more. It's converted me to gaming headphones once more, right down to the fact I've ended up buying a gaming headset for my Xbox Series X, too. 

After all, who wants to miss out on that level of immersion when you've switched consoles?

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