The Bottom Line
- + Lightweight and comfortable
- + DTS spatial audio on PC
- + Sturdy plastic build that doesn't feel cheap
- + No frills wired support for all devices
- - Soundstage and balance tuned for gaming only
- - Some harshness on the high-end
- - DTS limited to two years on PC
- - Non-detachable microphone and cable
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Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is a headset sequel to the original HyperX Cloud Stinger - the audio and peripheral company's budget-oriented headset designed for comfort and audio quality. Though, that's for a headset with an attractive price point of USD 50 and around AUD 79. When it comes to audio, the price can often be an indicator of quality or at least provide some sort of baseline.
For the most part, super expensive headsets feature impressive audio, while super cheap ones can sound like a homemade walkie-talkie thing made from tin cans and a piece of string. There are nuances, of course, and "sounds good for the price" is a phrase that can set expectations.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 soundstage and audio performance are nowhere near audiophile grade, not that they would be, nor are they in the realm of HyperX's own pricier offerings. Or many headsets available for not a lot but a noticeable amount more money. Really though, it's a reminder that when it comes to audio, you kind of need to spend a certain amount to get sound quality good enough to be considered an all-purpose device - that being something decent for games, music, and other media.
Although the 50mm drivers are powerful in terms of overall volume, the result for the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is, unfortunately, something that sounds like a budget headset. It's not outright bad, nor is it something that punches well above its weight class. "Sounds good for the price" is apt.
That said, the gaming headset is something where a budget offering makes sense, something to be used day-to-day or as a My First entry point when playing games like Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Fortnite. And the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is both lightweight and comfortable, with "good for the price" build quality.
Specifications & Close Up
- Product Type: Wired Gaming Headset
- Interface: 3.5mm (with PC splitter cable)
- Supported Platforms: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
- Drivers: 50mm Neodymium
- Headphones Frequency Response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
- Microphone Pick-up Pattern: Bi-directional, Noise-cancelling
- Surround: DTS Headphone:X
- Cable: 3.5mm, PC splitter cable (3.5mm)
- Weight: 270 grams
- In The Box: Gaming Headset, PC extension cable, DTS Headphone:X (2-year activation code included), Quick Start Guide
Kosta's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: MSI MAG X670E Carbon Wi-Fi
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H100i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
- RAM: 64GB (4x32GB) Corsair DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR5 DRAM 5200MHz
- SSD: Kingston FURY Renegade PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD 2TB
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 Tempered Glass Snow
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
Design & Software and Support
Keeping the price point below a certain threshold is always fascinating because several concessions need to be made to keep the cost low. And you can make assumptions, so the fact that the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 features an all-plastic build shouldn't be a surprise. Full metal headbands and hinges aren't here. It's all plastic, which means that the overall weight is kept to a lightweight 270 grams.
In terms of look, you've got something in line with more premium HyperX offerings, a floating hinge design that looks cool while featuring 90-degree movement and ear cushions that are leatherette with memory foam.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is comfortable to wear for long periods, and the headbands feature a nice little see-through window with measurements for the extension - which are great for maintaining the right fit. When it comes to other compromises to keep the overall costs down, the microphone is non-detachable and clicks to mute when raised.
The boom arm is flexible and of decent quality, so even though the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is all plastic, the build quality and design maintain the same level of quality throughout. The cable is serviceable and of a decent enough length at 2 meters (with a PC splitter attachment), making it a headset that can easily switch between PC and consoles with 3.5mm inputs.
It's with the actual sound quality that the story becomes a little more interesting in that even though the frequency response covers the right spectrum and the 50mm drivers are large enough to create booming bass without overly harsh distortion, the detail is lacking. High-end frequencies have a sharp and undefined quality depending on the situation, with the mid-range sounding flat.
For playing games like God of War Ragnarok on PS5 or something like Overwatch 2 on PC, you can notice the difference between what the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 delivers versus a more expensive headset.
Software and Support
As a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 doesn't include any official software support on the PC side. What you do get, though, is a 2-year code for DTS Headphone:X, which is one of the best spatial audio solutions. It adds width and depth to all media via the DTS Sound Unbound app available via the Windows Store.
The UI for the app feels a little old in that it reminds us of Windows 8-style presentation, but it's a powerful bit of spatial tech. You only really have the option to turn it on (or close the app to turn it off) with a couple of modes available, but hey, the results are great.
The good news is that the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 benefits from spatial audio, no matter if it's DTS on PC or Sony's Tempest 3D Audio on PS5. This showcases that even though the frequency response, balance, and soundstage aren't great for high-fidelity and complex music, it is more than serviceable for gaming. And amplified by the virtual surround.
For a headset priced at USD 50, that's a good thing. It's a shame that the DTS license is limited to two years - the fully unlocked software is available for AUD 30, which is just about half of the cost of the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2.
Performance & Microphone
You can listen to music with the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 plugged into a PC, but as mentioned above, you do miss out on some finer detail, and the tuning is more geared towards gaming, with emphasis placed on the low-end and high-end frequencies.
On PC, playing Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered with DTS spatial audio, the result is certainly impressive for the price. Flying over New York, you get a good feel for being in a bustling city, and you can hear where cars are with Spidey's position - which is nice.
Switching things over to Call of Duty Modern Warfare II and Overwatch 2 and the story changes a little because of the sharpness and even some harshness found in the high-end; not terrible, but it detracts from the other frequencies. For a budget offering, the fact that you get a good sense of a game's full soundtrack in terms of sound effects and music is a big plus for the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2. And there's a consistency to the overall quality that is commendable across PC and console. But you have to wonder what could be added to the sound quality if the price point was 20 dollars or more.
Okay, so the microphone quality in the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is serviceable and more impressive than expected, picking up some finer detail in your voice. But it's a little quiet, so much so that it's noticeable if you're jumping from another headset to the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 to compare. Also, depending on the device, the microphone is prone to buzz when recording or in chat - pointing to some potential issues with grounding.
Testing on the Xbox Series X, there was no buzz, but switching to a PC with all manner of USB devices and other audio equipment attached and the background noise became an issue no matter the port used. It's not unbearable, but an indicator that perhaps some corners were cut to keep the price point low with decent mic chat. The issues encountered could very well be a rare case and not the norm, but fair warning, nonetheless.
Gaming is ubiquitous, from PC to consoles to mobile devices. And with that, gaming budgets vary, so buying a headset for yourself or someone that put together a budget build or bought an Xbox Series S is different from buying an audio solution for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.
This makes the appeal of a USD 50 price point very attractive, and with that, you want something that not only delivers good enough audio but is also comfortable to wear for an extended period. It's the perfect price point for buying a gift for the holidays.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 fits the bill, so to speak. It's a comfortable, lightweight wired headset that doesn't look, feel, or even sound cheap. It's not high-end by any means, but that expectation would never be on the cards.
There are some issues with the balance, and the overall detail is a step down from higher-end headsets, but the result is "good for the price". It would have been nice to see a richer and fuller sound, but the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 still offers good and aural bang for your buck.