Kingston Goes Cloud High with Their HyperX Headset!
Kingston is a world renowned, and also probably the most popular memory manufacturer around the globe. They have almost everything. Memory kits, SSDs, Thumb Drives, Card Readers, and pretty much any accessories that has a storage on it. You name it. Now Kingston, over the course of years, have invested a lot into the gaming industry with the advent of their HyperX branding that started with pre-overclocked “gaming” memory modules. Eventually, the branding expanded to SSDs, Flash drives, and then partnerships with gaming gear companies such as SteelSeries and Qpad.
The Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset is the product on our spotlight featuring the collaboration between Kingston and Qpad. It is a full sized circumaural headset, featuring 53mm drivers at both ends of the cup. Now we all know that 40mm drivers is the current standard of headphones since they present great value for producing audio while taking size into account. With a pair of 53mm drivers, the HyperX Cloud should deliver rich and full bodied bass. Since the HyperX Cloud is also a gaming headset, we shall put it to the test to check out if it’ll pass with flying colors. Will it send my senses cloud high? Let’s see!
FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS: CLICK HERE
- Transducer type: dynamic Ø 53mm
- 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 with microphone and cable: 350g
- Cable length and type: 1m + 2m extension + 10cm iPhone
- Connection: mini stereo jack plug (3.5 mm)
PRESENTATION & BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:
The HyperX Cloud came in a rather huge packaging that screams gaming all over the place. There is a huge image of the headset itself at the front, and some tidbits about its features on the side.
The back part is a walk-through of the headset’s features. Nothing extra special here but it helps gamers to check out what’s in store for them should they decided to check the product on a shelf.
Kingston knows that first impressions lasts so they decided to up the ante when it comes to the presentation. As you can see below, they decided to go with a molded foam for the headset’s inner packaging with a cover that has a letter and the signature of Kingston HyporX’s General Manager, Anders “G8V1k1ng” Willumsen. Overall a nice touch.
The HyperX Cloud’s presentation doesn’t end with a premium looking box alone, as Kingston goes all the way with the bundled accessories. Basically what you will get with any versions of the HyperX Cloud are the detachable mic, braided volume/PPT control hub, an airplane adapter, extender, join for mobile audio port, and a lovely extra set of pads in breathable velour.
The cables, though not all of them are braided, has a slight premium factor in the form of their gold plated plugs. I however, do not like the control hub’s aesthetics let alone knowing the fact that when used, it’s going to be hard to reach.
Kingston also added a nice breathable pouch where you could store all your HyperX Cloud goodies including the headset. Nice addition to the already plenty bundle of accessories.
DESIGN & COMFORT:
The Kingston HyperX Cloud is an incredibly well built headset. That has to be said since out of the box and into the hands, it really feels solid and has this premium appeal courtesy of its soft cup coating, aluminum driver cover and adjustable metal band. The HyperX Cloud is actually, a Qpad QH-90 drabbed in HyperX clothing. It also closely resembles the budget yet good sounding Takstar Pro80 with an additional support for mic input. The HyperX Cloud is a closed back, circumaural headset that should provide ample amount of passive noise cancellation.
The headband also had some HyperX touch as seen below. The logo is neatly stitched, along with the white stitching of the band’s edges. There is enough padding to the faux leather headband to make up for the headset’s 350 gram weight.
The band is fully adjustable, with a decent side way tilt and good vertical tilt for both the cups similar to what the Beyerdynamics has to offer on their high end HiFi cans. The cables for both left and right channels are exposed but braided so they wont snap easily unless forced to. The cups features a good amount of distance between your ears and the 53mm drivers so I am expecting a decent soundstage and probably better imaging. But lets see.
The detachable condenser mic is attached via a custom 3.5mm port. It articulates very well, and has an windscreen cover to eliminate unwanted noise. Let us check it out later.
Overall I like the aesthetics anbd build quality of the HyperX Cloud but, what’s the use of aesthetics if you can’t wear it properly? Comfort-wise, the HyperX Cloud passed with flying colors. At least for me. Now there are two faces of the Cloud when it comes to comfort, and that’s when you pick the pad of your choice. The leatherette / faux leather pads with memory foam is a much more comfortable setup if we are going to talk about the balance between isolation and clamping pressure but it poses serious threat from sweat. The velour pads on the other hand features breathable environment for your ears at the expense of leaks / less isolation and a slightly higher clamping force. I find the velours personally better though.
TEST SYSTEM & PROCEDURES:
Audio stuffs such as speakers, headsets, headphones, earphones, IEMs, and pretty much whatever they are as long as they produce audio output, are very subjective to be tested. That is true, in a sense that no pair of ears are the same, and there is a lot happening between you, and the headset for example. That said, your experience will most likely differ from ours.
The packaging’s pouch compartment doubles up as a headphone stand
We start the testing after we burn-in or wear-in the drivers. Usually, 48-72 Hours of continuous burn-in will do for most. This is to ensure that the audio solution is already delivering what an end user would actually experience in the long run. As for the audio setup, we are going to use the on-board solution found on our motherboard. It is a Realtek ALC898, far from the ideal solution we wish we had but rest assured, there’s no equalizing done, so everything is flat. Sampling Rate is maintained at 24-bit, 48000Hz. Below is the test system’s specifications.
|CPU||Intel Core i5 4670K|
|CPU COOLER||Cooler Master Seidon 120XL|
|MEMORY||ADATA XPG [email protected] 16GB|
|GRAPHICS CARD||GIGABYTE GTX 750 OC 2GB|
|INT. STORAGE||Kingston HyperX 120GB & SSDNow V+200 120GB|
|PSU||Cooler Master Silent PRO Hybrid 1300W|
|DISPLAY||ASUS VX279H AH-IPS|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Updated)|
|SOUND CARD||On-board (Realtek ALC898) + ASUS XONAR Essence One|
|EXT. STORAGE||2TB Western Digital My Passport|
We would like to thank GIGABYTE, and Western Digital for providing our test equipment for this review.
SOUND QUALITY: MUSIC PLAYBACK
First and foremost I would like to tell you guys that this headset needs a considerable… no, make that a huge amount of burn-in time around 144 hours. Tis true since the test unit Kingston sent us practically needs some intimate time with our playlists to loosen up a bit. Other wise, you’ll find it hard to enjoy due to the initially unimpressive muddy bass, along with a piercing mid-end and top-end. We also had it specially tested with ASUS’ XONAR Essence One courtesy of our friends from ASUS Philippines.
Note: There is no point in buying the HyperX Cloud if you wont pair it with a decent source / audio solution. Get a DAP, DAC, an AMP or maybe a motherboard with a decent onboard sound chip to maximize its potential. That 60 Ω of impedance is a no no for mobile devices.
LOWS: 53mm drivers are usually big on the low end and the pair that comes with the HyperX Cloud stayed faithful to what a 53mm driver could do. That said, bass goes really low with a great extension yet masks the midrange with a more pronounced upper-bass on certain tracks. general low-end quality is good, with a tight albeit laid back sounding presentation. You’ll find this headset enjoyable with hip-hop and EDMs where good bass quantity and quality is needed the most. Unless you’re a casual. Nah, just kidding.
MIDS: The HyperX Cloud has a laid back and controlled mid-range presentation, being slightly under powered by the upper bass and top-end at some tracks. The upper mid-range however though revealing, lacks my desired transparency as unnatural sibilance tends to ruin vocals on our tracks. I don’t find this coloration detailed as it is leaning toward to a tad brighter presentation. Still, better than most headsets on its price bracket.
HIGHS: Similar to the midrange, the treble features a bright presentation. It aint articulate at best, but’s it’s not smeared either which is decent for music playback unless you favor vocals and metal tracks heavily than anything else. It is by no means a huge con on my list since others find headphones or headsets with a brighter sound signature more lively and enjoyable to listen to. Personally I find it fatiguing for an extended time of use even with a moderate volume level but I guess that’s just me.
With minor personal flaws aside, I still like the HyperX Cloud. Though it may be sibilant, a tad bright and harsher at times, it is still an enjoyable headset to play your favorite tracks. As a matter of fact, forget those, as what I really love about it is the surprising soundstage it provides regardless of its flaws. Yes, it’s a closed-back but the spacing is just great for what it is. Imaging however is decent. Decent, because the brightness of the cans when the audio frequency is hitting the ceiling ends up smashing everything up like a messy salad bowl. I would love to see an open-back design Kingston. That might improve the headset’s soundstage, imaging and probably make the bright signature to go a notch lower.
SOUND QUALITY: MOVIES
Generally, movie playback is enjoyable with the HyperX Cloud where comfort is also a huge factor specially if you’re going to watch a 2 hour movie in one sitting. See music playback for more details on how this set of cans truly sounds.
SOUND QUALITY: GAMING
Battlefield 4 is our game of choice here as sound cues are indispensable allies to those who know how to wield them. If you’re playing the game, spotting is a matter of life and death, and this is where a good audio solution comes into play. I.E. spotting a T-UGS (motion detector) and a spawn beacon of the enemies. Without a good audio solution, finding these pesky gears in-game is a pain in the arse.
Remember the bright sound signature? Well this is where it comes to play for both immersion and using the environment / sound cues to your advantage. With a very sensitive upper mid-range and top-end presentation, the HyperX Cloud is able to spot distant sound cues better than most gaming headsets out there. Seriously, you could hear a T-UGS (motion sensor) beeping far away, when someone used the elevator and even when your enemy is walking on a floor with pieces of shattered glass all over the place. Thing’s like an unfair gaming advantage. As for immersion, the bass quality makes up for it, delivering what a gamer should expect for a gaming headset. This thing goes seismic when needed.
SOUND QUALITY: MIC INPUT
Decent is the word here as we find nothing special about the audio input quality of the articulating condenser mic.
VALUE & CONCLUSION: THE BEST GAMING HEADSET UNDER $100?
Most probably it is. Oh if only I could write the conclusion as short as that. Simply put the Kingston HyperX Cloud is all that you wanted for a gaming headset considering the price point. It is incredibly well built, has a capable 53mm drivers that will drive your ear nuts with good amount of bass while taking game changing factors into account. I mean it’s practically an unfair advantage when used. Enemies will surely have a hard time sneaking on you.
As far as presentation goes, the HyperX Cloud also receives my approval in this category. What you will basically receive coupled with a fantastically built headset is stupidly far from its price. I don’t know how Kingston and their partners made it possible but they just did.
All in all I love the Kingston HyperX Cloud. It’s great for bass heavy tracks, stupendously presented, and has all the bells and whistles you need for gaming at around 100 USD or 4400 Pesos. You however, need to note its bright sonic character and the 53mm drivers that needs a good source in able to maximize your well spent dollar. For gaming alone I will totally recommend this set of cans.
The Kingston HyperX Cloud retail for around 100 USD and is backed by a full 2 year manufacturer warranty.