It’s almost impossible to pick a headset for your new gaming setup. There are just so many options, brands, colors, and of course, pricing. If you recently blew all of your money on a GPU and don’t have $200 for a headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 at $99.99 could potentially be on your radar. I would proceed with caution regarding some talking points, but there are always trade-offs for the better. Let’s talk about it.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
From the start of the unboxing, you can feel the budget experience, hosting no fun things to unbox other than clear plastic, your wireless dongle, and a short USB-C cable. Anyway, at first glance, the headset has a clean, simple all-black look, other than the red accent on the volume dial. The body is primarily built of plastic with matte black tones, although it has a sheen. The headband appears and feels textured with some graphic “designey” line patterns, and at least they are trying to add a look.
The earcup exterior also hosts the same texture. One can also see a full typography logo on the headband as well. On the sides are visual indicators for relative head size so you can remember your sweet spot if you are particular about comfort. On the sides of the earcups, identical HyperX logos beveled outward in silver, thus being the loudest art on the Cloud Stinger. In terms of the ear cushion and material, we see a leatherette with a seemingly basic to-the-touch feel. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t scream premium when you feel or even wear the headset.
The headset is lightly cushioned, and you can barely feel the cushion on your head due to its lightweight build. This isn’t a bad thing, and I like a light headset, but it’s light in a way that doesn’t seem to grip your head very well in any area. It just seems to float on your head, so hopefully, you don’t rock your head too hard, knocking the headset off your head. I have had this happen a few times, even with the memory foam head cushion. If you need to remove the padding, revealing the 50mm drivers, it’s easy to take off but not so easy to put back on. This is usually the case, as most headsets make it challenging to put these cushions back on, but some brands have it down much better.
You have to stretch the cushion like a garbage bag to re-mount it, so good luck out there, sweaty gamers. Additionally, when wearing the unit, this headset seems to break the rules by being both on the ear and over the ear. The headphones fully surround your ear, but my ears sit on the interior mesh covering the drivers. This was rather unfavorable as it would just get old and irritating to wear over time. We’ll go over how this affects sound later. The on-board buttons are also just plastic. The volume wheel appears cheap just by looking at the material. The wheel features a smooth, slightly notched feel when rotating, which I am indifferent about.
The only other button on the headset is the power button, which is paired with an indicator light. When the headset turns on, the only audible sound is a little beep, followed by an almost instant connection to the dongle. Maybe one second passes before the headset links after booting, and I would say that’s an added feel of premium on this setup. On the topic of power, the indicator light shines solid green upon boot for a 90-100% battery. I wouldn’t say I like this window, but the headset will glow blinking green between 10 and 90% battery. Talk about a lack of specificity.
The Cloud Stinger will shine blinking red for less than 10% battery warning. This headset boasts up to 20 hours of battery, and in my time reviewing it, I never had to charge it. I love a good never-ending battery life, mainly because they provide the world’s shortest USB-C charging cable to further add to your budget purchase. We will get into why this headset is decent for the price, but I like to point out the negatives that stand out. Moving on to the boom mic, we see a non-removable flip-to-mute arm that extends 5 inches to the end of the mic.
The boom mic foam is rather large and sits in your peripheral vision, so removing it makes your eyes more comfortable. Look out, heavy breathers, as this mic picks up everything, wind cushion or not… I will say that the design of the actual mic part is rather cool, with interesting shapes and negative space to brand this headset further toward the HyperX look. The flip to mute also notifies you are muted with a beeping noise similar to the power on and off noise.
The boom mic arm features a decently smooth texture and lets you adjust to any preferred angle. It gets the job done. Regarding headset flexibility, the ear cups fold inward but not outward, allowing them to rest easier on your neck when off your head. However, the headband and frame do not allow for that notorious twist, so be careful not to stretch these out of their bounds.
Performance / Hands-on use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
Let’s jump right into the most important topic when it comes to headsets, the output quality. Surprisingly, for all the negativity about the build quality experience, the sound keeps me staying. The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 boasts loud volumes, with a punchy yet nondestructive bass tone dominating the waveform. I find the mids and highs sound a little too compressed for my liking, but for the price, the volume and bass shine brightly to make up for the lack of mid and high fidelity. To reiterate, a headset with a loud max volume is essential, as I like to live inside the music I listen to, and this headset allows for just that.
Pump up the jams and get that head moving. You can easily edit content with these, making it easier to crank the volume and hear those pesky mistakes in your video audio work. Regarding sound quality, let’s talk about what you can change in the HyperX “Ngenuity” software on the Microsoft store. On-screen, you can change your volume linked to the red volume dial, which really just changes your master PC volume. No separate audio level control lies within the headset.
You can also change your mic input volume or even turn on mic monitoring, which means sidetone, and it works well. Next, the coolest part about this headset is the 7.1 override with DTS Spatial Sound after installing drivers and restarting your PC.
When you get it to work, it actually makes a big difference in the soundstage of this headset without diminishing volume or even quality. Sometimes these surround sound overrides for headsets make it sound like garbage, but you can catch me leaving this setting on permanently, as it just sounds better, and that’s a win for this headset.
Next, I tried both wired and wireless, toggling settings on and off, but long story short, I couldn’t get the equalizer to change any sound to any degree. I’m not sure if I’m stupid, but I couldn’t troubleshoot it, so that’s upsetting. Lastly, you won’t catch me wasting time on this, but you can also link your audio equalizer (if you can get it to work) and other audio settings to particular games, further opening up the customization window for this headset. One preset is good with me for the Cloud Stinger.
Let’s speak on the surround sound, or sound stage, rather. Even though the headset sits right on my ears, when the volume is high, the sound stage is rather captivating and immersive. You can feel like you are in a larger room than you are from the almost “reverb” echo produced within the earcups, hearing sounds from seemingly multiple directions. This headset really shines with audio quality disregarding a lack of premium mids and highs, and the open-sounding acoustics is far from what you expect, in a good way.
Gaming with this headset is also a delight, producing loud sound effects with strong directional output. Hearing footsteps and the more minor details were easy with the Cloud Stinger, and that’s all we can ask for from a gaming headset. You can thank the volume and spatial sounding features discussed. Lastly, let’s discuss the mic input quality.
To cut to the chase, it isn’t good. Not only is the sound very muffled and compressed, but it also picks up breathing pretty sensitively, which will get you bashed in party chat with your buddies. Take a listen to “Video has sound demo.” It’s not usable for much other than basic party chat, meaning you’ll need another mic for content.
Overall, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 Wireless offers simplicity with an okay price for the benefits discussed. Admittedly, it’s a bit boring of a headset regarding look and feel. Still, the audio versatility and long-lasting battery life make this headset a worthy contender for HyperX ecosystem fans. The wireless works great; it’s lightweight but lacks build quality. I also wish it tucked your head comfortably rather than just being an almost textureless featherweight on your head.
If you put it on, I’m sure you will get what I am saying. The biggest complaint regards my ears touching the inside, but it definitely does not impact sound quality. Noisy Pixel is giving the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 Wireless a C+. At the end of the day, it’s a decent headset, but for $100, you may find something else that suits your wants with more style and comfort. Don’t forget to turn on DTS spatial sound.
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