For the last week or so, I’ve been trying out the HyperX Cloud headset from Kingston. I’ve gone from movies to games to the PC, and as a whole the headset works out splendidly. Let me break down each stop for you and try to bring some perspective on what you can expect from these $89.99 headsets.
Movie – Need for Speed
As a reviewer of all things entertainment, and I do mean all things, I was fortunate enough to get Need for Speed in at the same time as the headset. If you know nothing about Need for Speed, or you’re a judgmental boob, it is a solid revenge film that people are mistaking for a Fast and Furious rip-off. Based on the game of the same name, the film focuses on super cars with very loud and rumbly engines that go fast – that is pretty much 80% of the film. In other words, you get some great car chases that bode well for audio fanatics.
What a great time to try out the headset, right?
The first thing I noticed when putting these suckers on is that nearly all the audio outside of the movie was completely canceled. I’m not going to outright say it was canceled, but it certainly did a great job of muting my wife and children, who tried to speak to me multiple times during the viewing – and I happily pointed to the headset, shook my head and shrugged my shoulder. Thank you for that Kingston.
Anyway, the panning of the headset audio was highly accurate. I’m a stickler when it comes to proper panning and this headset certainly did the trick. As Aaron Paul and crew sped through the country trying to make it to San Francisco in time for a secret race for revenge, his car properly whipped from right to left in my ear cups when shifting on the screen. You would expect to hear it like that in the headset and the HyperX Cloud did not disappoint.
As for the bass/treble balance, thankfully the headset wasn’t too bass-y or treble-y – it was balanced in its distribution of each. One of the big problems I have with the Astros (as well as Turtle Beach and Logitech) is that there is a heavy bass presence. Sometimes it drowns out good sound and makes the experience uneven. The HyperX Cloud did a great job with not too much heavy bass coming through. The roar of the super car engines in Need for Speed certainly could have killed the dialogue through the HyperX Cloud, but it didn’t. It was nice and even, though occasionally there was some flatness to the audio. For $89.99, it did the trick.
PC – BioShock Infinite and The Binding of Isaac
MMMM. BioShock loved this headset. An action-oriented first-person shooter that has a solid story and phenomenal dialogue was a great test for the HyperX Cloud. The footsteps of the characters, the rumbling from the guns and the yelling back and forth between enemies from afar seemed to fit the bill perfectly as it came through the headset. The distance and cross-range between the enemies was particularly impressive. You could hear exactly where the enemies were coming from, as they were barking orders at each other. I was very impressed by what I was hearing through the headset in BioShock and couldn’t have asked for a better audible gaming experience.
Much like Need for Speed, I was expecting a lot of bass-y overflow to the sound. If you hear it through a 2.1 speaker setup, generally bass drowns out the treble pretty easily. Thankfully, you’re delivered a good balance and a great experience.
As for The Binding of Isaac, and I know what you’re thinking, ‘Really? The Binding of Isaac is a good test?’ and my answer is yes. The Binding of Isaac delivers a high-pitched amount of treble. It’s mimicking games from the 80s, so the audio is very limited to almost a LucasArts-esque MIDI flavor found in ‘Point and Click’ adventures from the good old days. I wanted to see how the headset handled that and if it, on max volume, would be annoying to listen to for a period of time. Pleasantly, it was good. It might have been a bit flat in some areas, but the range was certainly solid enough to create a good balance where it didn’t feel like someone was screaming into my ear drum.
In short, BioShock and Isaac were solid in the HyperX Cloud test.
PS4 – Battlefield 4
While the results of the bass/treble were the same as the other games previously mentioned, the one big test for this headset was the mic in Battlefield 4. First, the mic I used on the Turtle Beach headset (Black Ops II special edition) I received years ago at a review event, was dreadful. Sometimes it sounded fine, sometimes it cracked here and there, and other times it simply didn’t work. I’m particular about my mics. Having communication going in a first-person, multiplayer environment is essential for a headset’s survival in the gaming industry. If you don’t do the job well, you get replaced.
Anyway, so I chatted up a good friend of mine during our multiple matches and about two minutes into our battle at Rogue Transmission, he said (and I didn’t ask him) that he was impressed in regards to the clarity of the headset. There wasn’t any interference, no issues with other sounds in the room (such as my son asking where the Wii U power cord was) – it simply worked as advertised. I didn’t have one issue with it, not one. I’m still shocked that an $89.99 piece of equipment could do this.
If you’ve ever played BF4, you can understand the chaos of sounds that come through during online battle. Hearing someone perfectly is a bit of a challenge, but apparently the mic kept out the noise and brought the clarity.
So, the mic test was perfect.
The HyperX Cloud headset is impressive, sporting 53mm drivers that doesn’t make the headset overly bass-y (as I’ve mentioned before) and do a good job with bringing a nice balance. I know people out there love the bass, and if so, this isn’t the headset for you. Of course, you probably can’t hear anymore, so it wouldn’t matter anyway.
I am also enormously impressed with the level of comfort these bring to the table. Having worn these for three straight hours in between movies, PlayStation and PC games, the nicely padded ear cups (and different size ear cups) help keep your sound holes as comfortable as possible. I have big Dumbo ears, so it was nice not to have to re-adjust them as the minutes ticked by – the headset includes bigger ear cups for people like me.
The mic itself is detachable from the headset, though you better have a good place to put it, as it can get lost pretty quickly. It’s a sturdy mic that doesn’t brute its way into the 3.5mm hole on the headset (unlike Turtle Beach headsets). Kingston even includes a nice tab to put over the mic hole for aesthetic purposes. That sucker is easy to lose, though, so be careful.
The only issue I have with this headset, and I’m not sure that it can help it, is how many detachable wires it has with it. The headset is geared towards everyone (sans the Wii U) – PC/Mac/PS4/XB1. Naturally, some of those devices don’t have the same inputs as others, as the PC has separate mic/headset inputs, while the XB1 and PS4 have just one input for both (3.5mm stereo jacks). The HyperX Cloud headset has a split wire for mic and headset running out of its right ear cup. To use it with the PS4, you have to run those into the mute/volume controls and run that into a female-to-male Y-splitter. That is three things (total) connected from the headset. That’s a lot of connections, and they can get in the way (I sat on that poor mute button multiple times during BF4), but they’re necessary to use and have. I’m not sure how in the world Kingston could simplify it better, but they should figure out a way. Not to mention, detachable items are easily lost, especially with kids in the household.