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Corsair's HS60 Haptic gaming headset is ready to rumble

And rumble indiscriminately it does.

Lori Grunin/CNET

A far more expensive version of Corsair's $70 HS60 Pro 7.1 surround USB gaming headset -- though it's only $50 at the moment -- the $130 (£120, AU$200) HS60 Haptic throws the extra dough at an expanded frequency range that makes the earcups vibrate. It's not as much extra as you'd pay for the Razer Nari Ultimate, currently about $170, but that model is wireless. 

I'm about to split a hair; technically, what the Taction "Haptic Bass" technology in the HS60 does isn't haptic. It converts low-frequency sound -- as low as 15Hz -- into earcup vibrations, not provide vibratory feedback in response to specific actions or events. 

But that's a pretty important hair. It means the headset can't differentiate between the rumble of a drum on a soundtrack, the rumble of tank and the rumble of an explosion. So Doom Eternal vibrates constantly, becoming less a demonic hellscape than a heavy metal...hellscape. Nor can it sync with controller vibrations, causing a weird disconnect between head and hands. You can control the intensity of the vibration via a scroll wheel on the right earcup, but can't, say, limit it to sound effects or just to specific frequencies for a particular game.

Read more: Best Xbox gaming headset for 2020

True, Doom Eternal is an extreme case and your mileage will definitely vary depending upon the game and probably the game's implementation of Windows Sonic for the headset's surround sound rendering. I don't find the haptics deliver any more of an immersive experience or faster response than no haptics. But once again, that's an individual preference.

Otherwise, the HS60 Haptic is a pretty standard gaming headset: comfortable memory foam cushions, not too heavy (though not lightweight at 14.8oz/420g), detachable noise-cancelling microphone, with decent sound from its 50mm neodymium drivers and reasonable quality from the mic. Gray camo isn't the fashion statement I prefer to make, but it should keep you hidden if the colors seep out of your world. And the metal construction makes it feel sturdy.

Corsair's basic iCue software lets you adjust volume and equalizer parameters for the audio and sidetone amount (to hear yourself talk) for the mic. The left earcup has a volume wheel and mute button; the latter is a little flush with the surface, but has a different texture and shape so it's not as difficult to find as it might be. Still for the price I'd expect more controls in the software or on the headset, such as game/chat balance or easier game profile creation and management. And there's no lighting on the headset. Sad.

Unless you really want the rough rumbling in the headset -- and even if you're on the fence -- the price feels too high for what you get. Especially given the plethora of options to choose from.