A Tale of Two Headsets
We test out the first Bluetooth-enabled gaming headset from HyperX
There is no shortage of wireless gaming headsets these days, with 2.4 GHz via USB dongle the most common option. The HyperX Cloud MIX provides wireless connectivity of the Bluetooth variety, and if you need or just prefer a wired connection don't worry – as the name implies these provide wired analog audio via a 3.5mm headset plug, with a Y-cable is also included to split off mic and audio to your sound card's requisite I/O.
An interesting addition to the standard Bluetooth codecs with the Cloud MIX is aptX support, which means this headset has the capability of far better wireless audio quality than the standard SBC codec can provide – if you have a way to connect with aptX, that is. It's also worth noting that the Cloud MIX is actually the first Bluetooth-capable headset HyperX has released, with latency a roadblock to its adoption in this market.
Before moving on here is a look at the full specifications from HyperX:
- Driver: Custom dynamic, 40mm driver with neodymium magnets
- Type: Circumaural; Closed back
- Frequency Response: 10Hz–40,000Hz
- Impedance: 40Ω
- Sound Pressure Level: 100dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
- T.H.D.: < 2%
- Weight: 260g
- Weight with Mic: 275g
- Cable Length:
- Detachable Headset Cable: 1.3m
- PC Extension Cable: 2m
- USB Charging Cable: 0.5m
- Connection Type:
- Detachable Headset Cable: 3.5mm plug (4 pole)
- PC Extension Cable: 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs
- Boom Microphone
- Element: Electret condenser microphone
- Polar Pattern: Noise-cancelling
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-18,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: -42dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
- Built-in Microphone
- Element: Electret condenser microphone
- Polar Pattern: Omni-directional
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-8,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: -33dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
- Battery Life (50% headphone volume) 20 hours
- Bluetooth Version: 4.2
- Wireless Range: Up to 10 meters
Pricing and Availability: $199.99, Best Buy
Inside the box is a full compliment of cables to connect to a PC with a 3.5 mm headset cable and splitter for audio and mic, as well as a micro USB cable for charging.
Design and Comfort
While the Cloud MIX's all-black design is mostly plastic on the outside, the earcup yokes are metal and the headband is reinforced with metal, making the overall feel very sturdy.
This is not a 'creaky' headset at all, and maintains a premium feel while still quite light at just 9.7 oz with the mic attached.
The Cloud MIX shares the design language of the Cloud Flight headset reviewed a few months back, and offers comfortable leather-like padding and a moderate clamping force (the pressure against the sides of your head) to make longer sessions less fatiguing. I found the Cloud MIX to be quite comfortable, with the ear pads providing good noise isolation as well.
Bass. The final frontier. Well, it seems that way, with many headphones and gaming headsets these days tuned to a very bass-heavy sound that has the potention to reduce the overall realism of the sound while simultaneously making many users quite happy. Truly it seems that some of us can't get enough bass, while others favor a more balanced or “flat” frequency response. And while HyperX does not market this headset to snooty audiophile types who hate joy (a.k.a. me), it provides a pleasantly deep bass experience while still providing good clarity.
To elaborate, there is a definite bass emphasis with the MIX headset, but it comes without penalty as the midrange clarity and treble response seem unaffected. The Cloud MIX drivers and this ear cup design provide a very deep bottom-end and “warm” midrange, while still offering enough treble extension to lets you experience the detail of well-recorded instruments like cymbals or higher-frequency sound effects in movies and games. I was very impressed with how big these 40 mm drivers sound, and it's a testament to both driver and enclosure design.
A quick note on the detachable mic, which offers good adjustability and sound that's on par with most gaming headsets. It's OK for chat, but as usual this isn't the best option for serious recording projects.
While the wired quality is top-notch the big story with the MIX is the ability to use a Bluetooth connection, which previous HyperX headsets have not included. I tested Bluetooth audio quality using a Samsung Galaxy S9+, specifically with the developer options enabled for seamless codec switching. With the HyperX Cloud MIX the connection defaulted to aptX, and this easily sounded the best of the available options. The aptX codec uses a different kind of compression (time domain vs. frequency domain) – and I have covered that in an earlier article if you care to learn more.
Basically, aptX sounds surprisingly close to a wired connection, at least to my ears. Next up is AAC, popularly used by Apple’s AirPods and supported by many other devices including this MIX headset, and while it’s not a dynamic or detailed as aptX, my final test with SBC sounded a little thin with reduced bass and a less detailed overall sound. As to latency, this subjectively felt minimal, but watching video I was able to discern a slight delay with lipsync. This is only noticable when watching TV or movies, and is a non-issue with music of course. Think of the Bluetooth connectivity as a bonus, with the wired connection the appropriate one for PC gaming and content consumption.
Finally, battery life with Bluetooth was excellent, and while they lasted longer than the rated 20 hours for me, I was often listening below the 50% threshold advertised, and battery life will of course be lower if you listen mostly at higher volumes. One aspect worth mentioning: standby life. I took an entire month off when I was evaluating these and when I picked them up again they still had the same 60% charge that I'd left on them. To make things easier a friendly voice tells you current percentage when you power them up, and warns when you get low. Overall the experience on battery was really good.
The HyperX Cloud MIX offers a winning combination of many attributes, including a lightweight yet sturdy construction, comfortable fit, great sound quality with powerful bass, and flexible connectivity from the wired and Bluetooth options.
The $199 price tag places this in the high end of the market for a gaming headset (though as this is published they are actually on sale for $169.99, so street prices will obviously vary), but it starts to look like a better deal when you think of this as two pairs of headphones in one, which is what how I ended up treating them. Attach both the boom mic and 3.5 mm cable for the best experience with a PC or console, and remove these and pair them with your smartphone or other bluetooth device for a great wireless headphone experience anywhere.
The HyperX Cloud MIX is definitely worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for either a premium gaming headset or wireless headphones. They handle both jobs equally well, and while not cheap they are among the best I've tried to date.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How Product Was Obtained:||The product is on loan from HyperX for the purpose of this review.|
|What Happens to Product After Review:||The product remains the property of HyperX but is on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and comparisons.|
|Company Involvement:||HyperX had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by HyperX for this review.|
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