HyperX Cloud: The Headphone/Headset That Keeps Me Coming Back
I’ve owned three pairs of HyperX Cloud headphones.
The first was the Cloud II, in Gunmetal Gray. I loved almost everything about it, except the giant carrying bag. One night, I tested it against every other headphone in my collection. Many of them were more expensive.
The Cloud II came out as my favorite-sounding.
I eventually sold that Cloud II, as the only way to stay sane on my headphone odyssey is to regularly sell off headphones as I acquire new ones.
When the CloudX came out, I knew I had to have one. HyperX didn’t add a removable cable…but they did include a hard case instead of the big bag. Yay!
Unfortunately, as I rolled on through other headset reviews, headphones, and video games, the CloudX got lost in the shuffle. I was intrigued by the quality of its bigger brother, the Cloud Revolver, and in a battle of either/or in another round of paring down the collection…I chose the Revolver.
Don’t get me wrong, the Revolver is exceptional.
This week, I bought another CloudX…and this time I’m not making the mistake I’ve made twice now. I’m keeping it forever. Or until I wear it out totally and have to buy a new one.
In spite of selling two of them, I have no doubts about the quality of the HyperX Cloud. It’s exceptional. I recommend it all the time. It’s near or at the top of every category that matters, and one of the best values for the money in audio gear, period.
Whether you’re looking at Innerfidelity’s objective measurements, or just listening to them compared to other headphones, there’s no denying it: the Clouds sound very good. They’re based on the Takstar Pro 80, a studio headphone strongly inspired by the classic Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80. I once tried to pick which one was better between those two.
The sound is pleasantly neutral, with some emphasis in parts of the sound signature to make it a bit fun. It’s not a completely flat sound, but essentially no headphone has that.
You can rest safely knowing that you’re hearing the sound more or less as it was originally mixed. The slight notch in the measurements at 4k isn’t borne out in the actual listening experience, and the highs might be a touch too grainy and sparkly for some. But they’re not fatiguing. And I really like them. Bass is low and impactful, but not as punchy or intense as certain popular consumer headphones. It’s just nice and warm and present, as it should be.
If you need a baseline sound to compare other cans against, the Cloud is a wonderful choice. And it’s good enough you might just find over time, like me, that it has your favorite overall sound signature.
With the default leatherette pads, the HyperX Cloud isolates hilariously well. Not quite as well as an active noise cancelling pair, but close enough that you won’t really care. The velour pads included in several models do an okay job, but are not as good as Beyerdynamic’s trademark velour pads.
Still, you can use these in a loud environment, no problem. This is great for pro gaming, outdoor use, or coffee shop writing. I imagine they’d even acquit themselves okay on a plane, the proverbial home of ANC headphones.
Soundstage is not the widest, considering these are closed-back headphones based on a studio design. But imaging is still nice, and more spacious than you’d probably expect.
HyperX didn’t pick the name Cloud on a whim. These are astoundingly comfortable headphones. They’re in the top tier of comfort, right alongside the $300 Sony MDR-1A, the $350 Bose QuietComfort 35, and the $80 Steelseries Arctis 3. (If you’re looking for the most comfy headphones, pick one of these four).
Comfort is so important to headphone use…and so often seems like an afterthought to manufacturers. I don’t know why this is. HyperX gets it right. Comfort is where the Cloud deviates the most from the original Takstar Pro 80 design. HyperX beefed up the ear pads and headband with big, supple memory foam. It’s luxurious, and nicer than the padding in more expensive headphones.
If you care about padding quality and long-wearing comfort, you can’t go wrong with HyperX headphones. I’d also say the same thing about many Bose and Sony products…but there you’re gonna pay a lot more. Steelseries achieves the same level of comfort in a very different way in a similar price bracket with the Arctis line. But, you might not like their non-traditional design as much.
The HyperX Cloud has a classic look that’s very much in line with other iconic studio headphones. Fortunately, they’re also subtle enough to be worn in public without looking silly.
Design is another area where HyperX has taken the Takstar base headphone and improved it in every way. The cable is nicely braided (though not detachable). The headband is lined with high-quality stitching, and the HyperX logo is stitched into the top of it. This stitching is a premium touch you almost never see at price points this low. The backs of the ear cups are aluminum, with HyperX logos. This is both nice to look at and touch, and good for the sound quality, as it provides a nice rigid structure for the speaker driver housing.
The ear cups are held in place by really thick and sturdy aluminum forks, and the headband is aluminum inside as well. The headband detents for adjustment are a little bit less clickly than I usually like…but that’s pretty typical for this sort of headphone design. The Beyerdynamic cans suffer from this same thing. The ear cups don’t rotate horizontally like many other headphones…but this doesn’t cause fit problems thanks to the ample padding and some flexibility in the headband.
Sure, they don’t have the fancy new design touches of the Steelseries Arctis. But they do take a classic design and execute it very well. They’re a lot like the DT770 but with oval ear cups and some nice fit-and-finish touches.
I like that when you place the headphones down on a desk, the little bits that attach the ear cups to the headband keep the ear pads from touching the desk. So, if your pads are sweaty after a long session, you aren’t now putting all that sweat on your desk. It’s one of those little details other headphones often overlook.
If the cable were removable, this would be a completely untouchable design. Oh well. Nothing is perfect. :)
(The SoundblasterX H5 has a similar design and a removable cable…but also a very different sound)
The HyperX Cloud is technically a gaming headset. It comes in a variety of flavors: There’s the Cloud Core, the Cloud, the Cloud II, and the Cloud X.
All models come with a detachable noise-cancelling microphone. It’s not the absolute best microphone in the gaming headset world (That’d be Razer’s digital mic on the Kraken 7.1 V2), but it does the job really well and is still better than 80 perent of gaming microphones. As a nice touch, a rubber plug is included to fill in the microphone port when you’re not using the mic. So you can use these as headphones and people would never notice that you’re using a gaming headset.
The Cloud Core just includes the base headset and the mic. You can find it for like $60-$70. That’s nuts. I mean. That’s just crazy for the level of quality you get here. That’s a better deal than the Arctis. If price/performance is your thing, the Cloud Core is a great buy.
Though really, if you want to step up to the other models, the most expensive ones are only $99 MSRP. And they’re often on sale. With the Cloud and Cloud II, you get a carrying bag and an extra set of velour ear cushions. The Cloud II adds a USB surround sound card. The CloudX is officially licensed for Xbox, and it includes an extension cable, an in-line volume and mute control, the extra velour pads, and a hard carrying case.
I think the CloudX is the cheapest headphone you can buy that includes its own hard carrying case. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!
You’re getting a ton of stuff with these headphones for not very much money. I’m guessing HyperX just said screw it, let’s take slightly lower margins and make everyone else look really bad. The only headphone line that comes close to matching the value here is the Arctis series, which would be better if you want a brighter sound.
You can’t really beat these headphones. I’ve tried soooo many over the last few years, and dollar-for-dollar, these are still my personal favorites. They’re the ones I keep coming back to over time. Sure, the Arctis is just as compelling a value, and there are other more expensive headphones with equal levels of comfort, or “better” sound quality…but the Clouds are so good you guys.
I’ve just essentially re-reviewed this product because writing a medium post that just said “The HyperX Clouds are so good you guys” seemed a bit silly.
If you’re thinking of asking me which headphone is the best, make sure you’ve tried a pair of HyperX Clouds first. If you have super-spendy headphones and you’ve never heard the Clouds, pick up the cheapest ones and give them a listen…I bet you’ll be surprised at how close they come to your super spendy cans.