Kingston is a brand best known for its memory modules and later SSDs but in the meantime they have ventured quite seriously in to gaming hardware waters. They use the HyperX brand for that and at the moment the offer headphones and mouse pads. One of our editors is using the first generation of HyperX Cloud headphones for some time and is quite happy with them but know we wanted to see what the second generation has to offer.
The packaging, appearance
Cloud II headphones come in a very luxury box that contains the headset, a detachable microphone, extra cables, a carrying bag and the manual. We were particularly pleased with finding two pairs of ear cups, one leather and one made from velour fabric. I prefer the leather ones but they can become problematic during warm summer months and again some people prefer fabric ear cups to begin with. Having a possibility of choice is a great advantage of the Cloud II headphones. The manufacturer also claims that leather ear cups provide more passive noise cancellation. The procedure of replacing the ear cups is easy and very practical.
The overall build quality of the headphones is very good, they seem durable yet they are flexible enough to sustain a good degree of twisting. The headband is covered in leather and fits very nicely to your head so wearing them for longer periods of time is comfortable. Some nice details like discrete HyperX logos or leather stitching give a nice impression, almost like you are handling something from a sports car. The variant we got to test is an attractive red and black color, but there is also the more discrete dark silver black and finally the ping white combination if you prefer that style. You can detach the microphone completely and the only problematic part is the small plastic that covers the hole which can be easily lost. But in all fairness even if you manage to lose this part the aesthetics of the entire headset won’t suffer that much. Cable is also covered in fabric which is a nice thing and on its end there is just one 3.5mm jack for both the headphones and the microphone. You can plug this in directly in to phones, tablets or newer laptops and this is a connector that is also used for Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles so the Cloud II is completely compatible with them. If you want to attach them to a regular PC with two jacks you can used the included adaptor. Also included is an adaptor for airplanes with two connectors on the end which is a nice thing if you travel a lot.
The sound quality
HyperX headphones were developed in cooperation with Trackstar so this model is based on a Trackstar Pro 80 with an added microphone. Considering that this model is greatly appreciated within the audiophile community the sound quality of these headphones is really remarkable, especially if you listen to music or watch movies. Even the bass is not that pronounced which is a good thing for someone wanting to make a compromise between gaming and everyday headphones. The directional microphone is very good for gaming communication and at its tip there is a sponge windscreen which helps absorb unwanted sounds.
Finally the HyperX Cloud II have a special DSP amplifier that brings a complete 7.1 surround sound experience. You just plug your 3.5mm jack in to a special adapter that later connects to a PC via USB and you get 7.1 sound. You can also adjust volume levels, mute the microphone or turn off the surround sound on this adapter. This is practically an entire external sound card packed in to something that looks like a little bit bigger volume controller on the cable. Of course not everybody needs 7.1 sound so you can use the headphones without the adapter in just stereo mode. It is interesting to note that Kingston still sells the original Cloud headphones and the only major difference between two generations is the 7.1 sound so if you don’t need it you can save yourself some money and buy the previous version.
The Kingston HyperX Cloud II builds on the previous generation adding the support for 7.1 surround sound. If you are looking for new headphones this headset offers comfort, good sound quality and surround sound at a reasonable price. However if you already own the previous generation there is no need to upgrade or if you don’t want 7.1 surround sound you can always opt for the cheaper first generation model.
|Model||HyperX Cloud II|
|Type||7.1 surround sound headphones|
|Connection||1×3.5 mm jack, 2×3.5mm via adaptor, USB for 7.1|
|Comfort||Leather headband, both leather and fabric ear cups|