The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core shouldn’t sound as good as it does. This is a $70 AUD pair of headphones. You expect certain things from $70 headphones. You expect them to be cheap. You expect them to be made from hard, unyeilding plastic that keeps them from being worn comfortably for long periods. You certainly don’t expect them to sound good. But they do.
The Cloud Stinger Core is the latest addition to HyperX’s range of console focused headsets. Provided with only a short 1.3m cable ending in an aux jack, these cans are designed to be plugged into a controller and used for couch gaming.
Their black plastic frame fits neatly into its bargain-tier price point. It’s firm but definitely feels light and cheaply produced. This isn’t necessarily a knock on its overall quality, there are plenty of headphones in higher price brackets that feel this way. While light enough to wear and packing a standard adjustable headband, the plastic frame doesn’t have a lot of give to it so you may find yourself a bit uncomfortable after a while if a long play session is on the cards. The mic an angular but bendable dart that is attached by a 3.5mm jack. Once attached, it can’t be moved up and down but doesn’t invade your peripheral vision too much. If you don’t need it, just rip it out.
It does have a nice look though. The blue highlights on black are quite striking and will certainly lure a few buyers in based on this alone. The blue highlighting matches the box, which loudly exclaims that the Cloud Stinger Core is a headset compatible with PS4 and PS4 Pro. And it is, it is compatible with these systems. But it’s also compatible with your Xbox One, your Nintendo Switch and even your mobile phone if you’re so inclined.
But, yes, the sound. I don’t know how or why but the Cloud Stinger Core has the kind of sound quality I expect from a considerably more expensive headset. It didn’t seem to matter what I plugged it into, they all sounded great. Octopath Traveler‘s orchestral score swells beautifully. The sound of Kratos’ axe flying through the air conveys its weight and Sea of Theives‘ gorgeous ocean sounds are as immersive as ever. I don’t want to oversell it — this is still a $70 pair of cans — but they’re better than they have any bloody right to be. The only downside as far as I could tell is that they’re not proper surround headphones. You’ll still get decent positional audio out of them, but not quite like you will with a proper 5.1 or 7.1 headset.
HyperX’s line of gaming headphones seems to go from strength to strength. I haven’t had a truly bad word to say about them yet and if even their cheapest offering holds up this well under scrutiny, their competition has a lot to be concerned about.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
Highlights: Incredible sound for its price point
Lowlights: Plastic frame and ear muff covers may become uncomfortable after long play sessions
Price: $69.95 AUD
Review conducted with a retail pair of HyperX Cloud Stinger Core headphones provided by the manufacturer.