Specifications, Features & Important Information
The HyperX Cloud/II is available in a red, gun metal, and limited edition pink, and has a modern design which delivers a clear and balanced sound for gaming or music.
The small high-performance speaker driver units cover the full-spectrum of sound down to mid-Bass at about 50Hz and these speakers can reproduce relatively clean midrange and treble frequencies to about 18KHz when measured according to industry standards. This solid headset of plastic and aluminum weighs 305 grams, which makes it a little heavy but not uncomfortable. Let’s unbox them and then audition the HyperX Cloud, the Setup, and the Sounds
Here is the HyperX Cloud box. On the box, ‘Professional’ and ‘Designed in Sweden’ are emphasized. Also pictured is the other side of the box which has the the speakers’ features in English and several other languages. Leather plus velour cups, and 53mm drives are stressed along with durability from its aluminum build and detachable mic boom.
The end flaps give you a further illustration of use and performance. The contents are well-packed for shipping and our Cloud Headset arrived in perfect shape and ready to plug in and listen to music. There is a quick installation guide which shows the end user how to set up.
The inside of the box states the HyperX commitment to gamers.
Inside the box is a nylon carry bag to hold the headset and all accessories along with a separate compartment for the boom mic. It also includes a second pair of velour-like earpads which do not seal out sound as well as the leather pads, but may be best for hot, sticky days. The Cloud also includes a two-plug airplane adapter.
Here are the contents out of the box. The microphone detaches from the headset which is a great feature, and a rubber plug is supplied to cover the hole when it is removed. The USB sound card module uses a 3.5mm port for the headphones and individual volume controls for the phones and mic. You can use the headset as a stand-alone pair of headphones by using any device with a 3.5mm audio plug.
Installing the HyperX Cloud is simple. Plug in the jacks, adjust the volume knob and play music, a movie, or a game. The Cloud is well-padded and the leather earpieces are incredibly comfortable. “Cloud” is a great choice of name. Check your setup and make sure that you have the highest quality sound available under Windows. The Cloud is well equipped for gaming and music, so let’s audition them critically.
For our listening tests, we used the HyperX Cloud almost daily since we got them for everything audio-related including hours of gaming. Playing certain video games which used audio clues for positionality, requires the gamer to constantly listen for audio clues. Sensing accurate sound directionality is crucial to surviving in games like Thief and to Splinter Cell series. Multiplayer in CoD and in BF4 also require being able to tell direction.
The Cloud and the Grado both are stereo phones using two drivers, one for each ear, and the positionality is decent but not the same as with 7.1 headphones using a 7.1 source. And for music, 7.1 needs to be switched off as a stereo source sounds muddy when it is used. Professional gamers usually choose a 7.1 capable headset while music lovers and casual gamers usually pick stereo.
For music, we used the well-recorded DVDs of Steely Dan and Carlos Santana that this editor is very familiar with. We did not run synthetic audio tests as they absolutely cannot tell you how either of the headphones actually sound when listening to music. That is what trained ears are for!
First up, we compared our Grado cans, the SR60. Sadly this is our last run for these headphones as the right speaker shorted out for the last time during our testing, and the driver itself has failed after nearly 15 years. First of all, these two headsets are quite different in design. Grado SR60 are “open” design, which means you can clearly hear what is going on around you, while the HyperX Cloud is “closed” which means your ears are sealed by the ear cups against even loud background noises. Both sets are remarkably comfortable, and both may be worn for many hours on end.
As headphones for music, the Grado are more accurate and sound better overall, depending on what kind of music that you play. If it requires heavy bass, then you would probably prefer the Cloud. For Jazz and for general listening, the open air Grados speakers were clear and not tiring, even over extended sessions. You can hear the transients and the shimmering detail of the high end of the Grados that are somewhat muted in the Cloud. The Cloud tends to emphasize the treble and the bass, while not deemphasizing the midrange too badly.
Both headphones gave a good stereo stage with fair imaging, and the Cloud gave more bass than the Grados, although Grado was more accurate as far down as it went. The SR60s were never strident nor shrill, and listening to music never got tiring. Likewise, the Cloud exhibited good audio characteristics, and listening to music never got tiring.
Although the HyperX Cloud headset is not primarily designed for music, they have a very decent and relatively accurate mid-bass response and fair imaging. The issue would be the 53mm drivers are all-purpose and a little too small for a truly full-range speaker, yet the bass is tweaked a bit to give the impression that it has a lower response for bass-heavy music, and the treble is slightly emphasized.
In contrast, the Grado SR 60s only use a 40mm driver and they have cut off the low bass, and as a trade-off, give a near-perfect mid-bass and midrange, and shimmering highs when the right album is played. The Grados were released in the mid-90s for $70, and they soon gained a reputation for being powered well by portable devices, as well as accurate, musical, and warm compared to most of the sonic junk that passed for headphones at the time.
The Grados have better imaging, yet the Cloud works overall better for gaming. It’s a matter of what a gamer wants. If you want “audiophile” and accurate music reproduction, you do not want a gaming headset at all. If you want a great sounding set of cans that include a decent mic and are wonderfully comfortable for a reasonable price, the HyperX Cloud/II should be at the top of your list. The Grado SR60 is still available for music lovers who want music delivered without the colorations and extra resonances that the Cloud adds, and Grado Labs have a new series of headphones, run by the same family.
Of course, neither of these headphones are “audiophile” although the Grados are much closer to high-end, yet both sets of these cans can reproduce music very decently – each over their range with no bad surprises. A gamer has no trouble distinguishing positional audio reasonably, and for music, imaging is good. For seventy dollars, the HyperX Cloud is a great-looking and super-comfortable headset, which also sounds very good.
However, what makes the Cloud stand out is their comfort over extended wearing sessions even for hours. It is absolutely amazing for a closed pair of phones. The Grados are very comfortable, but they are open design, which means you hear what is going on around you. With the Cloud, you are sealed off in your own world.
The ability of the Cloud to block out the world is amazing. When we benchmark 290X CrossFire, we need to run the reference design fans at 100% to eliminate throttling. The noise level is actually painful – it’s like sitting next to two hair dryers on high – and both of this reviewer’s dogs will go outside when 290X CrossFire fires up. Using the HyperX Cloud with no music being played blocks most of the irritating sound, and even on low volume it is possible to concentrate on the music or the game without being distracted or annoyed – by anything.
Of course, it might be necessary to hear what is going on around you, In this case, HyperX has included as less blocking but just as comfortable, an extra pair of pads which are slightly more breathable. As far as build quality goes, the edge definitely goes to the HyperX Cloud with its aluminum and plastic construction plus braided cables, yet the Grados survived for us well over a decade. Choose your headphones or headset carefully since a quality pair are usually expected to last a long time.