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Kingston HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset Review

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Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

The Kingston HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset was tested with a variety of games, music and movies/TV shows. Since sound perception is very subjective, for my testing I decided to focus primarily on the perceived sound quality as well as the functionality of the features listed on Kingston’s website for this headset. This headset was tested with World of Tanks, Battlefield 4, Titanfall, and Guild Wars 2 for 30+ hours respectively. I also tested the headset with my cell phone (Galaxy Note 4), a Surface Pro 2, and my computer utilizing a 3.5mm female to 2 male headphone and mic splitter adapter.

Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z87
  • System Memory: Corsair XMS3 4GB x 4
  • Processor: Intel i7-4770K Haswell @ 3.5 Ghz
  • Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty
  • Video: XFX Double Dissipation R9-290X (4GB)
  • PSU: Corsair HX Series 1000HX
  • Monitor: Dell UltraSharp U2412M IPS 24? x 3 @ 5760×1200
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)

Results

Virtual 7.1ch Effect: While this effect of course cannot rival that of a true 7.1 surround system with individual speakers, it should have more depth than a stereo headset. Unfortunately, just like the GAMDIAS Hephaestus I reviewed back in July, the depth of this headset was virtually non-existent. I was not able to accurately identify where a sound came from with this effect, so maybe we’ll refer to it as “enhanced stereo”.

Digitally enhanced noise-cancelling microphone: Noise cancelling microphones are a must and common on virtually every headset. Is it “digitally enhanced”? In a word, no. It is mainly considered noise cancelling because of the outer housing around the microphone and the wind sock that is on the outside, the phrase “digitally enhanced” is marketing fluff.  The microphone does, however, have a better frequency response than it’s predecessor. The mic on the Cloud II has a frequency response of 50Hz-18,000Hz, while the original cloud microphone was only 100Hz-12,000Hz.

Advanced USB audio control box with built-in DSP sound card: This feature works and it works fairly well for sound reproduction. Does it perform better than using the 3.5mm plug? No, not really, at least it was not discernible to my ears. But, for the folks out there using older on-board sound, I’m sure it would be a welcomed upgrade. It is nice, however, having the option and versatility of an in-line USB sound card. Software to fine-tune this feature would have been a welcomed upgrade.

Multi-device support: During testing, I used this headset with my Note 4, where it performed as to be expected, I could hear people easily and they could not discern that I was using a headset. Using the headset with my Surface Pro 2 is where things got very interesting. The Surface Pro 2 has both full-sized USB port AND a 3.5mm heaphone/microphone port. So with the Surface Pro 2 I was able to test both types of connections, 3.5mm and USB. The 3.5mm connection provided very nice sound and voice clarity. But when switching to the USB input during a Hangouts Video call, people reported that my voice became slightly distorted and quite a bit lower in volume. Raising the microphone gain on the in-line DSP made the distortion worse. This could be an issue of the Surface Pro 2, Windows 8.1, or the headset itself. I’m leaning towards it being a Surface Pro 2 problem as my listeners did not experience a similar problem when testing this on my main PC.

splitter-for-stereo-headphones-and-microphone

This simple adapter is the key for people who prefer to use their own sound cards on their PC.  These run about $6 on Amazon, but  their cords are not very long, so if your PC is on the floor and greater than 1 meter away from you, this adapter will prove to be frustrating and you’ll either have to purchase an extension or just use the in-line USB control box DSP.  Nonetheless, with this solution you can utilize your very nice sound card and bypass the USB restriction for computer usage.


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6 comments

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  1. Phillip

    Do you know if for sure the usb connection will work on the PS4 to allow for the 7.1 surround? If not, then I am definitely going to go for the first HyperX Cloud.

    1. Jason Vaught

      According to Sony, after patch 1.60, all USB headsets should be supported by the PS4, including 7.1ch surround headsets both wired and wireless.

  2. Vinny

    Some sources have stated the HyperX Cloud 1’s will perform better with a headphone amp and DAC, since the Cloud II’s share the same specs, does the USB DSP plug provide adequate power to move those drivers in the headphones?

    1. Jason Vaught

      Yes, the USB does provide adequate power to the drivers. The headset also performs well via 3.5mm plug on internal sounds card, external DAC, and even pocket headphone amps (altoid amp).

  3. InfidelGastro

    I like this gadget but Kingston should offer it in two variants… 1. As it is now 2. With a longer cable and only with 3.5mm jacks. I would definitely jump at the latter. The USB 7.1 DSP is a deal breaker for me, it’s trash, 7.1 simulated sound is a gimmick and I don’t want it so I wouldn’t pay for it.

  4. Jason

    If I use a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter, will the headset work on my xbox 360 controller?

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