A pretty impressive second act, literally, figuratively, and audibly
We awarded Corsair’s HS1 USB headset a 9 verdict last year, remarking that its huge 50mm drivers, solid and comfortable construction, and $100 price tag added up to a surprisingly good value for a freshman effort. The one element that denied the HS1 a Kick Ass award was its uninspired—nay, downright ugly—industrial design.
Corsair’s new flagship USB headset, the Vengeance 1500, retains all the strengths of the HS1 and eliminates nearly all its weaknesses. The Vengeance 1500 packs the same gigantic drivers as its predecessor, providing top-notch sound quality for this price range. The circumaural design and thick, squishy padding make for a tight seal around your ears that isolates you from the pollution of ambient noise.
The Vengeance 1500 sounds every bit as good as Corsair's earlier HS1 USB headset, and it looks a whole lot better.
While it doesn’t deliver the level of quality that some higher-end products provide—Sennheiser’s PC 333D G4ME, for example—the Vengeance 1500 does provide respectable dynamic range and bass response that’s perfectly suitable for both games and movies. And while nothing can compare to an actual surround-sound setup, Corsair does deliver Dolby Headphone. This software algorithm upmixes stereo and 5.1-channel sources to simulate a 7.1-channel speaker system wrapped around your head, delivering better positional awareness than stereo phones are capable of providing.
Build quality as compared to the HS1 has also improved significantly. The struts connecting the ear cups to the headband feature an attractive brushed-aluminum finish, and the cups themselves swivel to lay flat against your chest when the headset is resting on your neck. They might feel odd if you’re transitioning from an on-ear headset, but after many extended gaming sessions, we’ve found the Vengeance 1500 to be one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve tested. They are quite large, however, so they might not be the right choice if your head is particularly small.
Corsair’s HS1 is a solid headset; the only reason we wouldn’t recommend it today is that the Vengeance 1500 is even better. If you’re looking for a serious gaming headset and can afford to spend 100 bones, you won’t go wrong with this one.