Corsair HS1A ReviewnVidia_Freak - March 6, 2011
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The HS1A packaging is identical to that of the original HS1, right down to the color of the cardboard. The information packet is rather flaccid because it lacks a driver CD; the HS1A relies on the computer's sound card and not its own hardware. Inside the quick start guide, Corsair clarifies that they have indeed not included donuts with the HS1A, but synthetic leather earpads. Their reasoning is sound (pun intended); they're there should you prefer the comfort over the standard fabric earpads and to accentuate bass. Indeed, pleather, being more solid than fabric, provides a tighter seal that not only prevents frequency loss, but also isolates outside sound just a little more.
Color scheme aside, the HS1A is the splitting image of the HS1. There's still a fine fabric sheet covering the inside of each baffle housing to keep debris away from the driver, and the earpads are still removable should they require a thorough cleansing. The headband still has the Corsair name and logo etched into it, the microphone is the same, and it exhibits the same variety of motions and adjustments. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
What is different is the control pod. Whereas the HS1's control pod was oval-shaped and featured LED back-lit buttons, the HS1A's control pod is fairly standard in every way. From its curved, bulbous shape, to the potentiometer trimmer volume control, to the microphone mute switch, it is entirely forgettable. It is, however, a good two and a half feet down the cord, meaning there's enough cable to let the control pod rest on one leg or the other. The control pod on the original HS1 was unique and easily visible in the darkest of places thanks to the LED back-lit buttons, and was certainly a part of what made it a cool headset worthy of the 'Gaming Headset' title. Its absence, then, is a mild letdown. One of the major differences between the HS1 and HS1A is the method of connectivity. As can be seen, the HS1A uses 1/8" TRS plugs, also known as mini-plugs. The standard green for headphones and pink for the microphone input applies here.