Introduction and Specifications
HyperX the gaming brand of Kingston has a whole range of gaming components and peripherals from Ram and SSD’s to Mice, Keyboards, and Headsets. A highly regarded brand they operate at various price points offering a wide range to suit tastes and budgets.
I have swapped out my main headset with the HyperX Cloud Stinger for the past few days, to get a feel for it and to go through the usual uses for a gaming headset. Will it be able to do justice to its price bracket? Let’s see…
Included in the box:
1x HyperX Cloud Stinger Headset
1x Adapter cable 1.7M long from 3.5MM combo jack to two standard 3.5MM mic & audio connections.
1x Quick Start Guide & Product Card
The technical specifications are:
Driver diameter 50mm
Impedance 30 Ohm
Rated Power 30mW
Max Power 500mW
Magnet Type Neodymium
Frequency response 18Hz-23000Hz
Sound Pressure Level 102 ± 3dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion <2%
Cable Length 1.3M
Element: Electret condenser microphone
Polar pattern: Uni-directional, Noise-canceling
Frequency response: 50Hz~18,000Hz
Sensitivity: -40 dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
A Closer Look
Now we have the specs out of the way, let’s take a good look at what is on offer with the HyperX Cloud Stinger headset.
Starting with the packaging, the headset is supplied in a sturdy box within a glossy cardboard sleeve, the front of the packaging showing a rendered image of the Cloud Stinger along with some features and compatibility.
The rear of the packaging shows more rendered images along with a few further details on the specifications and capabilities of the headset. What I do feel is missing here are technical details of the Cloud Stinger’s capabilities, such as frequency range and sensitivity. While these can be found on the website, this would be inconvenient if out shopping in a retail setting.
Opening up the box, we find the headset neatly embedded in foam preventing any bashing around during transit, a quick start guide and a thank you card from Anders Willumsen the general manager of HyperX, which is quite a nice touch.
Taking the Cloud Stinger out of the packaging, it is a fairly lightweight mainly plastic affair, initially the plastic feels like the type to break easily under pressure, however, some flexing to test shows that this is a pretty robust headset, which was actually quite surprising, the earcups are large and I think designed to encompass the entire ear.
Popping the Cloud Stinger on the stand, you can see the thick headband holding a strong set curve, the earpads are quite soft and squishy with I would say a little less foam in them versus the competition. The microphone stem, while looking quite solid is actually made of a rubberised material and is positionable. The microphone is attached to the left earcup and swinging it to an upward position gives a click feedback to let you now the off switch has been activated. Under the right earcup, there is a volume slider for audio playback only, this does not affect the microphone.
Spinning the headset around to see the left-hand side you see the abbreviated HyperX logo in red as just HX, you can see the metal internal band as I have pulled the drivers away from the headband for adjustment. The microphone mounting point shows us also that it is a fixed part and not exchangeable without some serious disassembly, which is to be expected at this price point. At the bottom of the driver, unit is the hardwired connection for the first 1.3m of cable.
Around the right-hand side, we again see the abbreviated logo with no other parts other than the volume slider underneath. There are no lights on this headset which is preferable to some. The swivel capabilities of the earcup and driver unit enables the headset to be pulled down headband behind the neck with the drivers resting at the top of the chest, this is actually much more comfortable than having the side edges pressing against you.
Quality and Performance
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is competing at just above budget level, against the likes of Logitech’s G430 and Steelseries Siberia 200 offerings. With these and many other popular favourites for HyperX to match or beat, the build and performance have to be at top of their game to succeed.
The first 1.3m of the cable ends with a mobile phone style stereo+mic connector jack, which is a great option however I cannot see this headset appealing to commuting use. The excellent 1.7m extension splits the connector down to two traditional jacks, giving ample cable length for routing around the system. I think they could have got away with a straight 3m cable here.
The build quality is very sturdy, there is some flexibility but the headset will spring back to hold its solid shape. The microphone switch has a firm and audible click to it which makes me feel that it will last a long time.
Comfort from the Cloud Stinger is going to receive a mixed response from users, the sturdy build means that the headset clamps on to my head with a fair bit of pressure and even after adjustments the headband puts pressure on three points on top of my head, which does become a little uncomfortable over time. This is all down to head shape, so I would definitely try these on before deciding to buy as a quick test with friends got some agreeing and some differing on the comfort level. The earcups cover my entire ear and are very effective at blocking out external noise, unfortunately for me the pressure of the Cloud Stingers’ grip makes my ears get quite warm over time, the earcups are completely closed so there is no ‘breathing’.
So enough of the build and fitting how do these 50mm Driver endowed Cloud Stingers’ perform?
In my previous review, I built up a selection of tunes that I thought would challenge a headset due to their large audio ranges from deep bass to high synths along with a broad range of vocal styles. Playing back without any artificial sound shaping and at a minimum of 320kpbs bitrate, I look for excellent reproduction, the kind that can make your hairs stand on end. Phibes’ Bust That Rhythm with its deep bass and high trumpets was fairly well played by the Cloud Stinger, I was struggling to find ample volume from the deepest bass, but the rest of the soundstage sounded clear and accurate. Other tracks from my collection displayed the same behavior, clarity is good but I have heard better bass at this price point. Luckily there was no other issue, high end sounds were kept well under control so I didn’t have to squint my eyes at the loud screechy points.
Gamers are most definitely the target market for HyperX with the Cloud Stinger, so I gave the headset a really good week long run as my main gaming headset.
Starting here with Discord, our preferred chat service of the moment, my friends noticed that I was very quiet, I had to further adjust the microphone closer to my face along with increasing its boost in audio settings. Once I was coming through loud and clear, people also noticed that it picked up quite a bit of background noise, suppressing this in settings helped a little, but did not stop it completely, I will say though that really good background elimination usually requires a more expensive microphone. All in all, I had no problem communicating using this headset throughout my gaming sessions.
Overwatch was first up, sound quality in the game was admirable, the audio range of this game doesn’t require much deep bass reproduction, so the headset handled itself perfectly with the audio offered up. Positional awareness is very good enabling me to have the audio version of peripheral vision, this is impressive considering this is not a surround sound headset.
Next up, Rocket League, the music in this game does have some deeper bass so that was a little lacking as with my tunes earlier, otherwise the Cloud Stinger is an excellent performer, conveying all my little rage moments down the microphone.
Last game to test this headset is a big favourite Counter Strike Global Offensive, this game doesn’t have any really deep bass so sounds were reproduced faithfully offering familiarity and allowing me to be as awful as normal Footsteps are crucial in CS: it’sGO and the excellent positional reproduction of the Cloud Stinger did not disappoint.
Reaching up to adjust audio volume during gaming on the right earcup, was not to my liking, I much prefer to have a cord volume controller or use the system settings on the PC.
Over longer gaming periods my ears did get very warm and the headband mitspresence known constantly with those three pressure points.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is fighting in a fiercely competitive £50 price bracket. Many big names compete trying to get the best performance out of just above budget components.
The sturdy build of the HyperX Cloud Stinger will certainly appeal to those who have had a headset disintegrate on them, that point after a few months when a budget set just falls apart, the build of the Cloud Stinger gives me the feeling that there won’t be a worry about that happening.
Comfort is going to be down to the individual wearer, there are some more universally comfortable designs out there, especially where an elasticated sub-headband is present to keep a lighter touch on top of the head, so definitely a try before you buy situation here.
Sound quality could be better, it doesn’t quite match some of the competition at the same price and the microphone required some audio adjustments to make it more acceptable, adding complexity to what should be a plug and play experience.
Overall the HyperX Cloud Stinger, is a solid offering, with good looks, a nifty on-off mechanism for the microphone and a price tag that won’t break the bank, just make sure you are comfortable with the fit before buying.
I think the HyperX Cloud Stinger deserves a good Silver award for their efforts.
- Very sturdy build quality
- Positional audio accurate
- Closed Earcups Block out external noise
- Clever microphone on/off mechanism
- Long 3m total cable
- Earcups lay flat when headset worn around the neck.
- Sound can lack bass
- Fitting can be uncomfortable over time for some
- Microphone requires audio adjustments and picks up background noise
- Priced a little high for this level of headset