I like to work with a clean desktop. So, I do my best to avoid leaving loose objects on my desk. One item that is particularly easy to store are my over-the-ear headphones. If you have a sturdy, well-built stand, you can simply hang your headphones on them. There are lots of options out there for headphones stands. Some are just a simple base with a hanger on the top while others have more features. While I’ve had more than one type of headphone stand in the past, I’ve never really found one that ‘stuck’ with me. I like to have devices that have more than one purpose, but I don’t want something that is overly complicated. That’s why I decided to take a closer look at the ST100 RGB Premium Headset Stand from Corsair.
The Corsair ST100 RGB Premium Headset Stand is a solid headphone stand first and foremost. It features solid aluminum construction with a rubberized base. The hanger on the stand has a small lip at the edge so that your headphones don’t work their way off the edge. The stand provides virtual 7.1 surround sound through its 3.5mm headphone jack. The sound from your computer will flow through the stand when it’s connected and then you can listen through corded headphones.
Speaking of connection to your computer, there is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Micro B port that is designed specifically for connecting to your computer. The Corsair ST100 RGB Premium Headset Stand also features USB 3.1 Type-A ports. There are two ports available to you — one is located directly below the hanging headphones on the top of the base while the other is on the side of the base next to the headphones jack. The headphone stand makes use of Corsair’s Utility Engine (CUE) software controls. When you connect your headphones to a Windows machine, you can access this software and sync your Corsair devices so that the RGB colors coordinate.
The box is well-suited for the headphone stand. It bears the Corsair branding and colors along with some basic details of the product. The stand comes packaged with a USB 3.1 Micro B cable, quick start guide, and warranty card. The stand is already assembled and ready to go out of the box. All the instructions are going to point you to a PC that is running Windows (7, 8, or 10), but you can use it on a Mac, too. The advantage of using the stand with a PC is that you can use the CUE software, which not only gives you the ability to control and sync your RGB lighting settings, but it will also allow you to update the headphone stand’s firmware and drivers.
After you pull the Corsair ST100 RGB Premium Headset Stand out of the box and find where it will live in your workspace, you will want to plug it into your computer. I was surprised to find that the quick start guide was so short. The guide is a small printed booklet and it contains several languages. The actual guide itself is only 4 pages long and two of those pages have full-page illustrations.
To be completely honest, one of the reasons this headphone stand caught my eye was because of the RGB light ring that glows around the base of the stand. I really like having interesting lighting in my office and adding this to my desk just made sense. The RGB lighting is completely customizable, but only if you have a Windows machine. I was integrating this into my desk setup, which includes a 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro, a 34-inch LG UltraWide monitor, and an OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.
Now, just because I’m using an Apple computer does not mean the headphone stand won’t work with my setup. When I first plugged it in, the base did not light up. My excitement was immediately deflated when I thought I wouldn’t be able to have the pretty lights on my desktop. I then realized that my computer wasn’t plugged into the dock. Once it was connected, the lights lit up and I’ve had RGB circulating lights on the base ever since. As it turns out, the headphones stand must sense a connection to a computer in order for the lights to work. If you have a Windows machine you can customize the way the RGB lights display.
Even though my MacBook Pro is my primary computer, I have access to our gaming PC, which is perfect for this type of testing. To download the software, you visit corsair.com/support/downloads and then you enter “ST100” into the search field at the top of the page. The CUE software for your device will become available and you can click the download symbol. The software package is about 213MB in size, but when you start going through the installation steps, there is a note that 495.85MB of free disk space is required.
When you open up CUE, you will see a dashboard with several different devices on it. If you have the headphone stand plugged in already, it will highlight it in the dashboard. After you select the ST100, you are taken to a setting page for the stand. There are three options in the left-hand column: Default, Lighting Effects, and EQ Presets. The Lighting Effects are broken into 8 different filters: Spiral Wave, Rainbow Wave, Color Shift, Color Pulse, Color Wave, Static Color, and Lighting Link. Inside each one of these filters, you can select different customization options. For example, under the Rainbow wave, you can change the speed and direction the wave travels. This is a pretty easy process and you can select just the right lighting effect for your space.
Now when it comes to the audio out options from the ST100, I would advise using the headphone jack sparingly. And, here is why. When I went to test it out, I found that the sound was a little garbled. It sort of sounded like the audio track had been sampled from an old VHS tape. It just sounded old. At first, I thought it might be because I was using streaming services to test out video and music. But, I used two separate sets of headphones (Bose and Master & Dynamic) and each one sounded that way. I plugged the M&D headphones directly into the PC rather than the headphone stand and the audio sounded perfect. All the cables were securely plugged in and double checked. Since I was having this issue, I decided to try to listen to audio through my Mac using the headphones connected to the stand. For whatever reason, the sound coming out of the Mac was perfect. I don’t know why this would be the case, but nevertheless, audio was garbled using the CUE software and the stand plugged into our PC. That said, the EQ presets and surround sound do work very well. I love the concept of the inclusion of the EQ in the headphone stand and CUE but think that somehow the quality of the audio gets diluted.
The final test I did was a power delivery of both USB 3.1 ports. The one on the top showed 4.87V/0.21A and the port on the side had a reading of 4.85V/0.21A. While these ports are more for connecting USB devices to your computer while you game or complete other tasks, you can use them to charge USB powered devices. Testing them out in this way shows that they are functioning and sending power outward.
CONCLUSIONS The Corsair ST100 RGB Premium Headset Stand is a wickedly awesome addition to any desktop. I love it for its colored lights, but I can see how gamers would like the additional USB ports and headphone connectivity as well. I was surprised about the audio quality being poor, but since I primarily use Bluetooth headphones, I wasn’t particularly worried about the headphone jack connection. I love how sturdy the stand is — it’s never moved from its place on my desk — and how bright the colors are. I can recommend it for any type of user.