The HyperX Cloud Stinger Review

HyperX released the HyperX Cloud Stinger gaming headset last month. It is a comfortable and inexpensive headset widely available for under $50 which is designed primarily for gamers.   dscn2230We received a evaluation sample from HyperX and have been using the Cloud Stinger for music listening as well as to completely play through the single player campaigns of Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.   Using these games, we have compared the Stinger with the original HyperX Cloud headset and with Grado’s SR60e headphones.

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The HyperX Cloud Stinger (bottom) and the original Cloud (top right) are both closed design gaming headsets, while the open design Grado SR60e (top left) is designed for accurately reproducing music.

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a closed design headset which features HyperX comfortable memory foam and 50mm directional drivers to deliver high-quality gaming sound for under $50.  At this price, there isn’t a lot of choice for gamers as this price tends to bring either comfort or decent sound, but generally not both.  HyperX has addressed this lack of choice by attempting to bring a similar high quality gaming experience of their more expensive HyperX Cloud flagship into an entry-level gaming headset.  Did they succeed?

The Grado SR60e is a $79 entry-level audiophile open design headphone which is designed primarily for accurate or critical listening to music.  The original HyperX Cloud is a much more expensive headset from 2014 which is still available and priced at Newegg for $79 which we recommended to BTR readers last year.  The original Cloud uses more expensive parts than the Cloud Stinger – harder more scratch resistant plastic, more metal parts, a detachable mic boom, braided wires, and a slightly larger and more full-range speaker. The original Cloud boasts a frequency response of 15Hz-25,000KHz whereas the Stinger claims 18Hz-23,000KHz.  We will try to pinpoint the differences in the practical sound quality between the Cloud and the Stinger when used for gaming.

One thing a gamer may notice is that the Stinger is slightly louder at the same levels since its speakers are more efficient than the ones used in the Cloud.  This is actually a plus for using a mobile device or a motherboard’s integrated audio as most competitive gamers do.  The Stinger is analog, so we tested using our ASRock Z7170 motherboard’s Realtech audio and integrated headphone jack.

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The earcups on the Stinger can lie flat whereas the original Cloud cannot.

The Cloud Stinger weighing in at just over a pound (275 grams) is actually almost 3 ounces lighter than the Cloud (at 320 grams).  The Stinger is built with 90-degree rotating ear cups which can lie flat for travel which is a plus over the older Cloud whose large ear cups cannot lie flat.  The Stinger uses 50mm directional drivers compared to the Cloud’s 53mm, but both are positioned to result in a broader soundstage providing more accurate in-game sound.

The HyperX Cloud Stinger also offers a convenient set of features for gameplay, including a swivel to mute the microphone by flipping the boom up, and an adjustable steel ear cup slider for long lasting durability.  In addition, there is a convenient volume control on the headset’s right ear cup.

With decent audio performance and sound quality, the HyperX Cloud Stinger enables positional audio to help gamers gain a spatial sense advantage across any gaming platform. The HyperX Cloud Stinger has compatibility with the PC, the Xbox One, the PS4, the Wii U, and with other mobile devices.

From the HyperX website:

HyperX Cloud Stinger Key Features:

  • Lightweight Design – Minimal weight for enhanced comfort
  • Audio Precision – Optimal audio performance and sound quality
  • Adjustable Steel Slider – Long lasting durability and stability; high-quality build
  • Volume Control – Easily accessible volume slider to adjust audio on the headset
  • Noise-Cancellation Microphone – Clear voice quality; conveniently flip the microphone to mute
  • Multi-Platform Compatibility – Enjoy comfort and enhanced audio experience on PC or console; plug into a mobile device and wear the headset on the go

Additional HyperX Cloud Stinger Specifications:

Headphone

  • Driver: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type: Circumaural; closed back
  • Frequency response: 18Hz-23,000Hz
  • Impedance: 30 Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 102 ± 3dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • T.H.D:  ≦ 2%
  • Input power: Rated 30mW, Maximum 500mW
  • Weight: 275g
  • Cable length and type: Headset (1.3m) + Extension Y-cable(1.7m)
  • Connection: Headset – 3.5mm plug (4 pole) + extension cable – 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs

Microphone

  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern: Uni-directional, Noise-canceling
  • Frequency response: 50Hz~18,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: -40 dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

The  Stinger is powered by the audio jack for PC and Mac to amplify audio and voice, as well as stereo compatible for PS4 and Xbox One.  It has a 1.3m cable to provide stereo input and an extension cable that is 1.7m long with dual 3.5mm stereo and microphone plugs.

For the HyperX Cloud and the Cloud Stinger, the ear cups and headband are 100-percent memory foam to provide maximum comfort when gaming for hours.  The Cloud Stinger is backed by a two-year warranty and by HyperX reliability.

We have used the original HyperX Cloud headset as headphones – thanks to its easily detachable mic boom – for many months.  This has included traveling with them, and especially for long waits at dentist and doctors offices. If we used the Grado’s open design instead, we would irritate those around us.  It is not a large exaggeration to state that the Cloud headset’s closed design has saved our sanity when benching 290X CrossFire with the reference fans running at 100% for many hours.  We have also given the Stinger a thorough comparison through many hours of gaming to see how it compares with the original Cloud which has been our go-to gaming headset.

One thing that is important to realize is that both the HyperX Cloud Stinger and the original Cloud are gaming headsets and not audiophile headphones.  They serve a different more all-around purpose than headphones as they are primarily designed for online gaming, each with a microphone boom so you can coordinate with your team or just chat.  The HyperX Cloud and the Cloud Stinger are designed to be extraordinarily comfortable for long hours of LAN or online gaming.

The HyperX Stinger, although not as impressive looking as the original Cloud, looks good and better than most generic plastic-looking headsets in the under-$50 price range. However, it is important that a headset sound decent – one does not expect audiophile quality for $50, nor should one expect thundering bass and shimmering transient highs.

Headsets are a great way to experience both music and gaming.  Well-built headsets tend to last a long time and one should buy one that is not only pleasing to the ears, but to the eyes. Comfort is also critical for anyone who listens to music or who plays games for more than a few minutes.

The closed-design Hyper X Cloud Stinger – like the original Cloud – excels in comfort as its headband and ear cups are well-padded and do not pressure the head or ears.  The open design Grado SR-60e are also very comfortable but they tend to annoy anyone around the listener as the sound leaks out.  It also means that the Grados need to be used in a quiet room – unlike the Cloud or Cloud Stinger which can be worn in a noisy LAN situation.

However, what about the sound of the Cloud Stinger compared with the more expensive Cloud and with Grado headphones? Head to the next page as we unbox and audition them.