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Kingston HyperX Cloud 2 gaming headset review


Kingston HyperX Cloud 2 gaming headset review

TOP FEATURES

- 53 mm drivers
- 7.1 surround sound
- USB DSP connector

Gaming, watching media, and consuming music has become a very large part of our day to day lives. With movies increasingly being associated with names like THX and Dolby in the race to provide the most immersive sound. Video games are taking surround sound engineering to new levels with 3D positional audio. Yes, not to mention, everyone loves explosions. A new breed of headphones is on the rise. That of the 7.1 surround sound USB headset which lets you fully experience all of this and more. 

Kingston's HyperX Cloud II is about to enter the fray, lets see how it fares. 

Build quality
This aspect of headphones is a double edged sword. More durable materials usually weigh a lot more and as a result cause neck fatigue. So manufacturers have to use cheaper plastics which are lighter, but less durable. The Cloud II's build quality is fantastic, with a thin metal band as the frame, going around the headband and holding up the ear cups in a horseshoe hold with rotators at each end. The headband is clad in comfortable leatherette red stitched accents and Hyper X logo emblazoned on the top of the headband in fabric. All of this, and the unit is still pretty light. 

 

On the whole the unit is very sturdy. With the cups in a nice matte finish hard plastic. The leatherette cups feel plush. If you get sweaty eared with leatherette, then there's also fabric cups you can easily swap out. The cord is thick and braided ending in a four pole headphone jack. The mic comes as a separate attachment and can be inserted into the slot above the wire. 

 

While the unit's style may not be as good as that of the Corsair Vengeance series or the Sound Blaster Tactic 3D range, it still looks decent. Plus the Cloud II packs a lot more in the box, which, incidentally is big, red and doubles as a storage unit for the headphones. A good move considering most manufacturers save costs by packing the units in disposable boxes. Also, what's worth mentioning is that you get a nifty carry bag with your Cloud II's. 

Comfort and ergonomics
The Cloud II's ergonomics are very comfortable. The cups are large and over the ear, with the ear pads made of memory foam. So rather than press your ears down so the cartilage pains after long hours of listening, the Cloud II's ear pads mould themselves. In the process cutting out external sounds. Which works fantastic. Isolating outside sounds so you can fully appreciate the 7.1 immersive audio. There was no sound leakage at all in normal conditions, with normal traffic and day to day work ambient noise around. 

What also increases the comfort is that the headphones do not pinch the head. The metal band has enough play in it to stretch, but enough taut in it to hold the headphones in place without pressing down. Which made long gaming or music listening sessions possible. 

 

That said, the Cloud II is fairly small, and is designed for small to mid sized heads in mind. The ear cups can extend quite a bit, but not enough if you have a large head. An aspect which Coolermaster's CMStorm and Asus's Strix line have nailed. Though, those who have small to medium craniums, will really feel the comfort the Cloud II offers. 



Performance
In the Cloud II's closed ear cups are large 53mm neodymium magnets with a frequency response of 15 hz to 25,000 hz. Providing powerful clear sound. The unit's 4 pole connector can be easily connected to any laptop, tablet, smartphone and most importantly your Playstation 4's DualShock 4 controller. 

Without the USB DSP sound card connected, the sound quality was fantastic. The music sounded great, with the closed cup design, with a great dynamic range of sound. Playing Bloodborne on the PS4 with the headset on was superb, and it handled the surround sound from the game very well. There was a density to the sound, though there were times where the bass would bubble up with the mids in a low whoosh. It could be BloodBorne sound design though. Far Cry 4's world of Kyrat on the PS4 was clear, crisp as you can hear the ambient sounds perfectly. The passive noise cancellation did help a lot. 

 

With the USB DSP Soundcard on PC added the 7.1 surround sound. Installation was just a simple plug and play. No fiddling with drivers here. The sound quality was a little better, with the mids and highs moderated nicely by the USB unit. Which is also handy with the volume buttons for mic and headphones, as well as the surround sound on and off. The 7.1 worked really well with Battlefield 3 and 4, with the wartapes option on. The war just explodes in your head, with pretty accurate 3D positional audio at work. Was pretty easy to hear tanks creeping up on you or get the general direction of distant firefights in progress. 

No complaints on the mic front, tested on Skype as well as in game. The other person could hear me clear, without any background interference. 

Conclusion
While it may not be the best looker on the block, Hyper X has nailed the comfort level and ergonomics of the Cloud II. With superb sound quality, very comfortable ear cups and lots of freebies packed in the box. The Cloud II does not have an official price as yet, however it's pegged to be sold between Rs 7500-8000 putting it right at the price point of the Strix DSP , Sound Blaster Tactic3D and a bit lower than the Corsair Vengeance. Highly recommended for those who want good audio from their games and movies with really good comfort. 
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