HyperX Cloud Stinger Core
Gaming Headset (Wired)
When it comes to headsets or headphones, price matters. At the audiophile end of the spectrum there’s simply no real option that one might consider budget oriented – premium sound usually costs a premium. But anything under a certain amount, usually less than several hundreds of dollars, things get a little more confusing. Sound, comfort, and build quality varies wildly - where one often needs to look at the goal or target market of a headset to form an accurate opinion. Which is a roundabout way of saying that the new console-focused Cloud Stinger Core headset from HyperX which happens to be the company’s cheapest offering is squarely aimed at more budget conscious customer.
But, for the price you get a surprisingly robust sound with the Cloud Stinger Core. One that although not entirely balanced across the frequency spectrum, offers an immediate and positive impression when connected to either a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
- Type: Closed
- Driver: 40mm
- Frequency response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 16 ohm
- Cable length: 1.3m + audio/mic cable
- Weight: 215g
- Microphone Pickup pattern: Noise-cancelling
- Frequency response: 50 to 18,000 Hz
The frequency response of the Cloud Stinger Core might sound identical to the more expensive HyperX range of Cloud headsets on paper, but the smaller 40mm drivers and overall balance seems to favour the bass and mid-range over higher-end frequencies. In execution what you get is a close but not-quite-there approximation of the clean stereo sound that has become par for the course with HyperX headsets. Now, where it gets interesting is the price. The Cloud Stinger Core can stand cup to cup with headsets almost double its price, which is a testament to HyperX’s commitment to sound quality over additional non-essential features.
From a pure technical perspective, you get a headset designed for impressive and immersive console use - which is also highlighted by the low-impedance. The sound itself seems best-suited for gaming or movies, but more-so the former. One of the surprise aspects of the Cloud Stinger Core is that HyperX didn’t simply place all its focus on delivering audio, as the microphone quality and integration is impressive. It may not be broadcast quality – but chat is both clear and clean. Again, especially when you factor in the price and compare it to cheap pack-in headsets people might use with a console. With a single input cable though, it’s a shame that a separate adaptor wasn’t included for PC – but as something aimed at budget-oriented console and mobile players, it’s hard to fault that oversight.
Design and Comfort
Here’s a hard truth that we wish a company out there would overcome or look to change-up – and that is the overall cheap plastic look and feel of most headsets that cost somewhere between $50 and $100. Now, that’s not to say that the new Cloud Stinger Core is uncomfortable and cheaply made to the point where it won’t fit most heads or fall apart in a few months. It’s to simply point out that the Cloud Stinger Core’s frame is mostly plastic with simple retractable steel sliders to adjust height. You can see where the costs were cut compared to the more expensive headsets out there, but thanks to the overall lightweight feel and comfortable cushioning it’s easy to dismiss any concerns after a few minutes.
And that is because the Cloud Stinger Core is both flexible and comfortable, even after extended use. If we had to fault the design in any way, considering the price and not wondering why the cushions don’t feature some sort of advanced memory foam, would be with the ear cushions themselves. In that they’re not being as soft as we would have liked. Which probably is a statement of personal preference more than anything else. The fact that they’re made of breathable fabric adds to the comfort as does the well-placed inline controls.
As a headset aimed at the console market we decided to put the Cloud Stinger Core to good use across a wide range of PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch titles. For the little handheld that could that meant firing up Mario Kart 8 deluxe, namely for the frantic sound design and wonderful music. Where Nintendo’s clear understanding of making use of the entire spectrum of audio is put to great use.
With the Cloud Stinger Core performing impressively here, moving onto God of War and Detroit Become Human on the PS4 was mostly a similar affair. Clear and impressive stereo output that would only falter during certain sequences – namely those where bass-heavy effects, music, and dialogue played out in unison. Not that either was hard to hear, or the clarity muffled (a clear mark for inferior audio), but that the overall balance felt slightly off. Favouring bass and mind-range over certain higher frequencies. Like a tiny piece of a larger puzzle was slightly faded. For a budget headset though, the Cloud Stinger Core’s sound quality is great – offering a wide frequency range and enough power to properly sell in-game environmental effects and bombastic musical cues.
And so, in the end it’s easy to recommend HyperX Cloud Stinger Core as a great choice for those looking to buy their first headset. Or if you’re simply in the market for an affordable yet quality audio solution you can take on the go without worrying too much about throwing it into a backpack.