Review: HyperX Cloud Core + 7.1

HyperX has become one of the top brand names for video game headsets, with a variety of headsets that cater to several different budgets and offer different features. Typically with headsets there’s a trade off where quality and features go hand in hand with the price, and the rule for finding a good value is a headset that punches above its weight class when it comes to price point. The HyperX Cloud Core Gaming Headset + 7.1 is designed primarily for PC and PlayStation 4 use, though technically it will work with anything with a 3.5 mm jack. Its MSRP of $69.99 makes it look like an affordable 7.1 surround sound headset.

Taking the headset out of the box the Cloud Core + 7.1 seems like the typical HyperX headset. There’s the detachable noise canceling microphone, the aluminum frame construction and the soft leatherette and plush memory foam for the earcuffs. In this reviewer’s experience HyperX headsets feel like they are made with sturdy construction and are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and this headset meets the standard that has been previously set by HyperX. It has a 3.5mm connection cable that will work with just about any device with that input but also has and attachable USB cable with an inline audio control box with independent volume controls for the speakers and microphone along with a switch to go between stereo and 7.1 surround sound. The headset is certified by Discord and Teamspeak.

HyperX Cloud Core Gaming Headset + 7.1 Specifications:

Driver: Dynamic, 53mm with neodymium magnets
Type: Circumaural, Closed back
Frequency response: 15Hz-25kHz
Impedance: 60 Ω
Sound pressure level: 98dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
T.H.D.: < 2%
Weight: 309g
Cable length: 1m
Connection type: 3.5mm plug (4 pole)

Element: Electret condenser microphone
Polar pattern: Uni-directional, Noise-cancelling
Frequency response: 100Hz-12kHz
Sensitivity: -42.6dBV (1V/Pa at 1kHz)

USB Audio Control Mixer
Weight: 71g
Cable length: 2m

With the total cable length of three meters this headset can be comfortable used with most PC set ups. The USB connection can also be used with the PlayStation 4, allowing users to take advantage of the independent chat and game audio volume controls along with the 7.1 surround sound. In this configuration the sound does come to the headset through the USB port, which some will argue that a USB connection will sound better than a 3.5mm connection but there wasn’t a noticeable difference between plugging the 3.5 into the controller or plugging the USB cable provided the 7.1 was not activated.  The 7.1 quality varied from game to game which probably has more to do with the audio source than the headset, but with every game that was played during the review the 7.1 did create a more immersive feel with the audio coming from different directions and also provided a greater overall fullness. The microphone does everything it is supposed to, providing clear communication thinks to its noise cancelling capabilities, which is expected since it is certified by Discord and Teamspeak.

Using the Cloud Core + 7.1 with the PC does have the same options as using the 3.5 connection or USB but compared to PlayStation there seemed to be a greater increase in quality in using the USB connection over the 3.5. There isn’t anything too crazy on here, the individual volume controls work how they should and an advantage of this set up is it allows the user to find their preferred balance between audio and chat volumes. Switching between 7.1 and stereo sound is done effortlessly with the push of the big 7.1 button in the middle of the inline volume control. Because of the price point the expectations for the 7.1 surround sound were on the lower side but thankfully this headset proved me wrong. The difference between 7.1 and stereo is noticeable with just about anything, but the 7.1 experience shines through the best with things that are optimally mixed for surround sound.

Closing Comments

The HyperX Cloud Core + 7.1 is arguably the best 7.1 surround sound headset for the price. The Cloud Core + 7.1 is great in that it offers the quality of headsets that are typically priced in the $100 range at a more affordable price, although it does lack some features such as custom EQ or various audio presets like bass boost. For a headset that is friendlier on the pocketbook but doesn’t make any of its concessions as far as sound quality goes, this is a great option for people looking for a good surround sound headset without caring about too many extra features, making it a good entry level option to the HyperX Cloud models with surround sound. The three meter cable for USB connection is perfect for most PC but was stretched tight from my PlayStation 4 to the couch, so the arrangement of one’s console set up is a factor to consider when deciding to purchase, but if the distance isn’t an issue this is a good option for 7.1 for PC and PlayStation 4.