Corsair HS75 XB – Design & Features
On the outside, the Corsair HS75 looks nearly identical to its PS4-facing predecessor. It looks tall and thin because of the high curve in its leatherette-coated top band, thick aluminum forks, and oval ear cups. The HS75’s aesthetic is more subdued: It sports a much smaller version of Corsair’s text logo on the top band, and no longer has the cross-stitched pattern on its head-top padding. It retains the intricate grill on the backs of the cups, which give the headset a distinctive, polished look.
The memory foam padding inside the cans looks firm, but is quite comfortable on-head. Likewise, the tall frame gives the impression that it may clamp hard, but I found it perfectly comfortable to keep on for long stretches of the day. At 379 grams, it’s also light enough to wear for many hours without making you feel weighed down.The hinges that connect the top band to the forks can pivot a little, providing a little give for comfort’s sake, but they don’t rotate a full 90 degrees to let you lay them down flat. It’s not a huge loss, but it does come in handy more than you think.
Let’s talk for a minute about what’s on the inside: Like the HS70, the HS75 features 50mm neodymium drivers, whose sound is digitally augmented with Dolby Atmos for additional clarity and 7.1 virtual surround sound. The HS75’s Atmos license – which gives you access to the service without a subscription fee – is the HS75’s most crucial feature. The HS75 provides solid, balanced sound on its own, but Atmos enhances everything, making audio in games and while watching video more vibrant and full.
Unlike most gaming headsets these days, the HS75 splits the buttons and ports across both cans. On the left, you have a general volume roller, a mic mute, a USB-C charging port, and the port for connecting the detachable wire mic. On the right, you have a second wheel for balancing gameplay and chat, and the power button, which you also use for pairing. On one hand, splitting the buttons on both faces makes it easy to navigate and find whatever you’re looking for. On the other, having an identically placed wheel on either side makes it easy to forget which wheel you need in those first few sessions.
As a licensed Xbox One headset, the HS75 links with your console via a 2.4 GHz wireless connection using Microsoft’s proprietary pairing format. Like your controllers, you pair them simply by holding the power/pairing button on the headset and the pairing button on the console at the same time. (You can also connect it to a gaming PC using Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless adapter). It’s incredibly easy and, once you’re paired, the headset will re-pair with your console automatically when you power it up.
Corsair claims that the HS75 should get better battery life than its predecessor – up to 20 hours on a single charge. I found that it fell a bit short, getting around 15 hours in a stress test. More broadly, I needed to charge it every other day during regular, daily use.
Last, but not least, the HS75 features a detachable unidirectional noise-cancelling wire microphone. It looks unassuming, as detachable wire mics have become the de facto standard form factor for gaming headsets. It’s easy to position, despite the fact that the pop filter technically covers all the indicators of what side should face your mouth. The proper position comes naturally, though: You just need to curve it naturally so the mic is in front of your lips. That said, while the noise-cancelling works well, I found that you can use the mic effectively even when it’s somewhat askew, which is good: Not everyone wants to take the time to set up a mic perfectly every time they play.
Corsair HS75 XB – Software
The HS75 XB is the rare console headset that supports configuration software. In this case, it isn’t Corsair’s, but the Dolby Access app, which you’ll need to download and pair with to activate Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Access allows you to select from a handful of game-, movie-, and music-optimized audio modes. The game modes skew toward enhancing positional audio, the movie modes enhance clarity, especially for dialogue, and the music modes seem to be focused on “power.” You also have the ability to make up to three custom EQ mixes. This is the most customization I’ve seen on a console-focused headset: If you want to make your sound perfect – or as close to it as possible – Access gives you some tools to play with.
I only had one small hiccup with Dolby Access, which I offer up as a tip, rather than a critique: If you’ve already downloaded Dolby Access prior to pairing the HS75, you’ll need to delete and reinstall the app to ensure that the app detects the headset.
Corsair HS75 XB – Gaming
The Corsair HS75 XB makes the audio elements of any gaming experience a delight. I tested it with both competitive games, such as Star Wars: Squadrons and Apex Legends, and more music-forward experiences like Streets of Rage 4 and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remake. I also threw in a few miscellaneous games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which served as a strong experiential surround sound test.
Across the board, the HS75 generated sound that was well-balanced and full-bodied. In Squadrons, you can feel the rumble of the engines in the bass, and the whirring of blasters as you weave through a tight dogfight (or, in my case, get shot down a lot). I found myself bumping along with Street of Rage 4’s synthy tunes more than usual because I could hear them more clearly and with more detail than ever.
Through Dolby Access, the HS75 XB offers a specific “performance” mode that highlights gameplay relevant sounds like footsteps, in addition to emphasizing positional audio, in general. In Apex Legends, I found performance mode offers a minor benefit, but was much more subtle than other versions of this mode that I’ve used. In general, I prefer Atmos’ general positional audio, which delivers both performance and quality sound, over Windows Sonic, the Xbox’ default surround sound tech, which highlights performance-relevant audio more, but in a way that impedes your immersion.
Given that, it may not surprise you to hear that my favorite test was with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which takes heavy advantage of the headset’s virtual 7.1 surround sound to create unsettling ambient noise. Having a headset with this level of fidelity truly upgraded the experience.
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Corsair HS75 XB – Purchasing Guide
The Corsair HS75 XB is available now for $149.99 through Corsair’s website, as well as digital retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Newegg.