Corsair VOID Surround Gaming Headset Review
Subjective Listening: Music, Movies, and Games
Not everyone hears the same as each other. People’s ears are different and preferences dictate our style. The subjective listening tests in our reviews not only compare the product with other gaming headsets, but also audiophile-grade headphones. Those who don’t regularly listen with higher-end equipment may not notice the sound quality deficiencies we are able to notice.
We will describe the headset and the USB dongle separately with the former being first. From the user quick start guide, Corsair encourages using a graphic equalizer to adjust the VOID Surround’s audio character. Indeed this headset responds well to equalization and users should make adjustments particularly for gaming. The inherent character is mostly neutral, however a particular emphasis on low bass suggests Corsair targeted a DJ headphone sound during development. Audio detail is rather good and it’s better than many other similarly priced gaming headsets.
The USB dongle is a surprisingly good output device for headphones and far outperforms what is expected from the VOID Surround’s $10 premium over the sibling VOID Stereo headset. The dongle outpaces motherboard audio and remarkably compares favorably against an effectively more expensive low-end sound card we use for headset testing. Notably, bass is satisfying delivered which complements the headset’s audio character and the USB implementation distances the dongle from interference from the system that could be heard as noise. It can also output a surprising amount power which provides substantial headroom for system volume adjustments. Despite all that, speakers connected to the dongle did reveal substantial gaps in the response which came off as fuzzy sounding music.
Film use audio judicially and usually isn’t overly complicated. As such the VOID Surround has little difficulty reproducing the speech, effects, and score of movies. The headset’s deep bass character does impart greater presence and broadness to low frequency sound effects including as the infamous gong-like sounds that have become popular in some productions.
Though Corsair has named this bundle the VOID Surround, we didn’t hear surround downmixing when using the the USB dongle on PC. As is typical with the many other audio devices we’ve tried out that have Dolby Surround, using that feature applies a filter that shapes the audio character to impart spaciousness, a simulated living room effect that degrades sound quality instead of improving it.
A good number of PC games have a setting for outputting a certain number of audio channels which made it easy to test surround sound with the VOID Surround. Disappointingly, we didn’t notice hardware surround to stereo downmixing when using USB dongle. Furthermore, turning on Dolby Surround did nothing to enhance positional audio. Equalizing the VOID for competitive gaming is recommended, even by Corsair, since the strong bass presence can negatively impact positional audio.
For PC users, the single 4-pole 3.5mm connector limits microphone connectivity options without an adapter. With the headset plugged into the included USB dongle, microphone recorded speech was crisp, but also tinny as the microphone doesn’t have a wide response. It can also be sensitive, necessitating volume adjustment to reduce ambient sounds and noise that may be captured.