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HyperX Cloud Core
August 4, 2020
Original: $69 USD
May 2022: $34 USD
53mm (dynamic drivers)
The HyperX Cloud Core is a wired gaming headset that delivers the basics for a reasonable price, often under $40 USD. It has a solid aluminum construction and a comfortable headband, alongside a detachable microphone that’s easy to use for long voice chats and gaming sessions. But how does the audio quality compare to other headsets in this price bracket?
Editor’s Note: This review was updated on October 31, 2022 in order to address new headsets in the alternatives section as well as to change the formatting in some sections.
What is the HyperX Cloud Core like to use?
The wired Cloud Core headset has a sturdy aluminum and plastic design, with a fair amount of padding on the metal headband which makes it comfortable for long-term use. Although I wouldn’t describe it as “Legendary Comfort” as HyperX does on the box, it is fairly enjoyable for several hours of listening or gaming. The headset comes with a non-detachable headphone cable, as well as an extender that splits it into two different connectors.
The headset sports thick leatherette ear cups which offer a nice degree of padding. They can heat up over long gaming sessions due to being less breathable than some other headsets. Additionally, the ear cups can rotate a few degrees horizontally to form around the user’s head, but cannot be laid flat. The all-plastic construction of the outer ear cup can sometimes lead it to unpleasantly introduce outside sound when the headset is pressed against clothes or chairs during wear. However, these a pretty minor concerns—the only real mark against the comfort of the headset is that it feels rather heavy at 309g.
The HyperX Cloud Core is a solid gaming headset thanks to its detachable microphone and input compatibility. While it doesn’t have the software support of USB-based gaming headsets, its use of a 3.5mm connector makes it compatible with a wide variety of devices. With Fallout 4, the headset portrays the gunfire and orchestral soundtrack quite pleasantly. We are also impressed with how it handles other games like Halo 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
How do you control the HyperX Cloud Core?
The Cloud Core features an inline control section so gamers can adjust the volume and mute the microphone. Thanks to its simple design and use of a 3.5mm jack instead of a USB connector, the headset lacks any additional controls that you might find on more advanced headsets. There is no noise cancelling or sidetone adjustment here which may be exactly what you’re looking for, if you’re in the market for something simple.
How does the HyperX Cloud Core connect?
The HyperX Cloud Core has a 3.5mm connector with an optional splitter that separates the microphone input from the audio output. If you’re not using the splitter, the headset connects using a TRRS cable, which passes both through a single connection. We primarily tested this headset with the Steam Deck, but it also supports all consoles with a headphone jack, including the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. The headset also supports any PC with a 3.5mm connection.
How well does the HyperX Cloud Core block out noise?
The HyperX Cloud Core generally has good sound isolation, but it’s not fantastic. The headset only blocks out frequencies higher than around 1kHz, but if someone is playing music or having a conversation next to you then you may hear them, even through moderately loud music. The headset won’t do much to block out the hum of an A/C unit or nearby street traffic, though.
How does the HyperX Cloud Core sound?
The HyperX Cloud Core has a fairly accurate frequency response in the midrange where most instruments tend to sit. However, its reduced sub-bass response may be less appealing to those that enjoy bass-oriented music or games that have major low-frequency elements with sounds like firearms or car engine rumble.
The biggest issue with the frequency response lies in the mid-to-high end, around 4500Hz. Some parts of speech and high instrument details tend to sit in this range, and this is where the frequency response deviates the most from our target curve. The misshapen response around 4500Hz impacts the headset’s sound more than the graph might indicate, though overall, it’s still fairly enjoyable for both gaming and music.
Low, mids, and highs
The HyperX Cloud Core succeeds in some areas. In Heartbeat (Cenzo Townshend Version) by Late of the Pier, the HyperX Cloud Core complements the distorted synth and guitars quite well. However, in some other songs the cymbals and hi-hats sound off due to the odd high-end response—in Heaven by The Rapture where they have an excessive hiss. In the song Raise Your Weapon by Deadmau5, which has a nice mix of calm vocal sections and bass-heavy dance sections, the headset reproduces the vocals acceptably well, though the higher-end portions sound a little odd. However, it performs quite well on the bass-oriented dance sections.
How is the HyperX Cloud Core microphone?
The HyperX Cloud Core’s detachable microphone is quite useful for late-night gaming sessions and long Discord calls. The quality of the microphone isn’t incredible, but it’s perfectly adequate for everyday use. Thanks to the splitter included with the headset, it’s easy to hook up the microphone to devices that use a TRRS connector and devices that have separate connectors for audio output and microphone input. The headset also has a mute button inline on the cable.
HyperX Cloud Core microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
HyperX Cloud Core microphone demo (Office conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the HyperX Cloud Core?
The HyperX Cloud Core offers a lot to like in this price range. Thanks to its well padded headband it’s reasonably comfortable for long sessions. The use of a standard headphone jack makes it simple, easy to use, and compatible with a very wide range of devices. The detachable microphone is a nice bonus, as are the inline controls. The sound quality is really the biggest mark against this headset, as well as its unremarkable isolation performance—the Cloud Alpha this ain’t.
However, considering the discounted price this headset sometimes sells for, it seems a great option if you want to save some money. It’s a solid choice for extended gaming sessions, long Discord calls with friends, and casual music listening.
What should you get instead of the HyperX Cloud Core?
If you’re looking for a similar wired headset with a 3.5mm connector, the first option we can recommend is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. It’s around the same price as the HyperX Cloud Core ($50.41 at Amazon), and delivers when it comes to comfort and quality in the price range. Another option is the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3, a closed-back headset with very similar features and a comparable level of comfort that costs $99 at Amazon. Alternatively, if you’re open to a USB-based headset, you might want to consider the Razer BlackShark V2, which costs $69.99 at Amazon and has a very similar design to the HyperX Cloud Core but with the addition of Razer’s Synapse software suite. The Razer Barracuda X (2022) is another good option if you’re a Razer fan. The Barracuda X (2022) offers wireless connectivity via USB wireless adapter and Bluetooth. For that extra functionality, you’ll pay $99.99 at Amazon.
Frequently asked questions about the HyperX Cloud Core?
The HyperX Cloud Core includes a TRRS connector and a split TRS connector in its box that enables you to connect it to different devices that all use a standard headphone connector. The primary way you can tell the two apart is by looking at the number of rings on the connector. A TRRS connector will have two ring sections (hence the name, Tip Ring Ring Sleeve) and a TRS connector will have a single ring section. TRS connectors are often found on desktop computers, whereas TRRS connectors are more commonly found in smartphones, laptops, and other portable devices. You can read all about audio connections here