Kingston HyperX Cloud II Headset Review
Kingston HyperX Cloud II
Solid construction quality
Super comfortable ear cups
Loud speaker drivers with 60 Ohm impedance
Natural sounds with no artificial boosting or attenuation
Very great performance vs price ratio
Cable is a little short unless you are using the USB sound card.
HyperX is popular for their PC parts such as RAM modules and SSDs. They are not that popular for having audio products because they are quite new into this area of the consumer market. The previous version of the HyperX Cloud headset was a huge hit and customers definitely welcomed a newer, improved version of the headset. The first version of Cloud headset had a majority of 5 stars and 4 stars on Amazon while only a small percentage of less than 3 stars, that is enough to prove that HyperX has been delivering well tested quality products to their customers. Update: For more portable headphones that have a variety of different uses, head over to the Focal Listen Wireless review.
The HyperX Cloud II is due to be released on the 9th February 2015 in both, the US and the UK markets. HyperX has made sure to send out some headphones to reviewers for them to post their experiences on the internet.
The box itself is made from good quality card paper with the headset and some of the text appearing glossy. The graphics on the box make it feel premium and definitely raise our expectations. At least by the looks of the box, it gives the primary satisfaction of money well spent. Upon opening the box there is another, bright red coloured box with HyperX printed on it. Inside this box is our precious Cloud II headset sitting on a piece of moulded foam. Along side it is the detachable microphone and USB sound card for enabling 7.1 surround sound support.
You also get cloth bag for storing the headphones and an audio splitter to separate out the microphone and speaker terminals. Upon examining further, the cables appear to be quite strong and would not seem to break any time soon. You can either plug your headphones directly into your audio source or use an in-line USB sound card that obviously sources the audio through USB.
The foam on the ear cups is soft and comfortable. The headband is made from high quality material and the stitches just make it all the way more appealing. The ear cups and the head band are connected with a piece of flexible metallic connection. You cannot swivel the ear cups 90 degrees. On the bottom of one of the ear cups is the 3.5mm jack for attaching the microphone supplied.
Ear cup foam is something that will wear out after a few months of rigorous use and therefore HyperX has provided a pair of extra ear cup foam. It might also happen that you desire to have a different shaped foam, thus the foam attached out of the box and the additional pair are of different shape. Anyway, both the foams are quite comfortable and soft ensuring a comfortable experience to the user.
The unboxing process itself will be enough to raise your expectations and satisfaction, making you excited to test the audio performance as soon as possible.
Audio performance and comfort
Reading the tech sheet
One of the factors that might have made you buy this headset is the technical specification. According to the tech sheet, the nominal impedance of the speaker drivers is 60 Ohms, which ensures that you will definitely hear loud audio. In addition to this, the frequency response of the speaker drivers lie between 15 Hz up to 25 kHz covering more than the audible range. This will allow us to hear a deep bass and crystal clear treble. The drivers can handle a maximum of 150mW of power. Most headsets handle on average of 80 to 100mW max, 150mW is an overkill and way too loud. Nevertheless, it is always good to have more as compared to having less.
Distortion in sound is minimal and you will experience no problem with the audio what so over. The headset behaves exactly according to what is mentioned in the specifications. There is no artificial bass boosting or attenuation at any frequency, thus, you experience a truly natural sound from the headset.
HyperX Cloud II headset is meant for gaming, so let us focus slightly on that part as well. The stereo panning is very important while playing games. While panning in-game, the audio must change from one speaker to the other. For example, you should hear the sound on your right speaker more if the sound source inside the game is on the right side of the screen and you are panning towards right, eventually you should hear equal sound in both speakers when the sound source is in the front. My description may not be so great, but you should get an idea by now.
In case you connect your headphones directly into the 3.5mm jack, the stereo panning is taken care off by the graphics card or the on board DAC. If you are using the HyperX USB sound card supplied with the headset, the experience will be slightly different. In addition to stereo sound, you can also take advantage of the virtual (emulated) 7.1 surround sound.
Some physics about virtual surround sound
The way virtual surround sound works is on basis of delaying and advancing certain audio channels so that you get an effect of surround sound. While in reality, there is only one speaker in each ear cup. The difference between the delayed sound waves can cause a little distortion and sometimes a little change in the pitch as well. The combination of delay, change in pitch and the distortion affect the way we perceive sound. In short, we are tricking our ears to make it think that the sound it just heard came from, say for example, somewhere behind you.
Due to amazing frequency response of the drivers, explosions and gun fire sound very realistic and shattering.
In the version one of the HyperX Cloud headset, the microphone was very poor. There was static and noise all over in-game recordings and team chat, that annoyed a lot of gamers. Fortunately, Cloud II has a better microphone with a better overall performance characteristics.
HyperX Cloud II uses passive noise cancellation, which depends solely on the seal that the foam creates with your head. The ear cups have a memory foam which takes shape of your ears making a good seal with environment. The result is that you cannot hear whats going on around you.
The version one of the Cloud headset had great comfort level. You can listen to music and play games for hours together and you will not feel any sweating or pain. This has not changed and you still get that awesome comfort experience. Getting the right headset is difficult, because at a price range of $114 (£74.99) most of the time we have to make a compromise between performance and comfort. That is not the case with the HyperX Cloud II.
Just everything about this headset is awesome. You will not get anything better than this at such a low cost of $114. Do not hesitate at all, just buy it! HyperX Cloud II puts a lot of other reputed headset manufacturers to shame.
The ear cushions are not only comfortable they also exclude a significant amount of external sound. They are not active noise cancelling, but for me the fit was good enough to provide a really first class exclusion of external noise.
I have never used a set of headphones that offer the same level of value and functionality as these. I have owned most of the premium brands that are available over time and I would not normally have selected these purely on branding.
The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset delivers a whole lot of love for the money. Very highly recommended.
- Transducer type: dynamic Ø 53mm with neodynium magnets
- Operating principle: closed
- Frequency response: 15Hz–25,000 Hz
- Nominal impedance: 60 Ω per system
- Nominal SPL: 98±3dB
- T.H.D.: < 2%
- Power handling capacity: 150mW
- Sound coupling to the ear: circumaural
- Ambient noise attenuation: approx. 20 dBa
- Headband pressure: 5N
- Weight: 320g
- Weight with microphone and cable: 350g
- Cable length and type: 1m + 2m extension
- Connection: single mini stereo jack plug (3.5 mm)
- Transducer type: condenser (back electret)
- Operating principle: pressure gradient
- Polar pattern: cardioid
- Power supply: AB powering
- Supply voltage: 2V
- Current consumption: max 0.5 mA
- Nominal impedance: ≤2.2 kΩ
- Open circuit voltage: at f = 1 kHz: 20 mV / Pa
- Frequency response: 50–18,000 Hz
- THD: 2% at f = 1 kHz
- Max. SPL: 105dB SPL (THD≤1.0% at 1 KHz)
- Microphone output: -39±3dB
- Length mic boom: 150mm (include gooseneck)
- Capsule diameter: Ø6
- Connection: single mini stereo jack plug (3.5mm)