Good sound quality for the price
Great noise-canceling microphone
Free two-year license for DTS Headphone:X
High frequencies are a bit unrefined
Not very sturdy
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About the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2
- Price: $50
- Style: Over-ear, closed-back
- Colors: Black
- Drivers: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
- Wired connections: Wired non-detachable 3.5mm (4-pole CTIA) with 15cm (5.9-inch) PC splitter cable
- Microphone: Swivel-to-mute, bidirectional, noise canceling
- Virtual surround sound: DTS Headphone:X (two-year activation code included)
- Weight: 268g (9.4 ounces)
- Special features: Swivel-to-mute mic, DTS Headphone:X license code, volume controls on ear cup
Kudos to HyperX for recognizing that the fundamentals of the original Cloud Stinger headset were good for the price and merely tweaking just enough to make the Cloud Stinger 2 worthy of a new digit on the end of its name. The aesthetic and structural elements—from the ear cups to the sliders to the swivel-to-mute mic—have been sculpted and slimmed down, leading to a leaner look overall.
Weight is specified as the same as the original Stinger at 270g (9.5 ounces), but our measurements reveal it to be ever-so-slightly lighter at 268g (close to 9.4 ounces). Either way, it’s a featherweight headset that can be worn comfortably for hours on end. Even if some of the padding, especially on the ear cups, feels a little thin, the lack of weight keeps it from being a burden.
At first glance the Cloud Stinger 2 seems like it’s more fragile than its forebear, and picking it up doesn’t dispel that notion. But in our stress tests it didn’t actually prove to be any less durable.
It does feel ever-so-slightly more accommodating for larger head sizes, though, which is saying something given that the Stinger was one of the few budget headsets I’ve tested that fit my large noggin without significant discomfort. With the sliders extended to their limits, the Stinger 2 also fit, and the clamping force is less rough than the original Stinger.
Sound quality remains largely the same, in that the Cloud Stinger 2 doesn’t deliver the last word in neutrality. High frequencies can also get a little harsh compared to its pricier competition. But the headset gives a nice bit of kick to highly directional sounds, and emphasizes things like shotgun cocking and enemy footsteps. Bass is satisfying but not overwhelming.
The DTS Headphone:X virtual surround sound processing also brings the sound out of your head a little without over-processing it. But even in its “Spacious” mode (as opposed to the default “Balanced” spatial mode), you’re not going to hear sound effects coming from precisely behind you or directly overhead. The Headphone:X processing also adds a bit of noise that might be bothersome if you’re sensitive to high frequencies.
Should you buy the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 gaming headset?
Yes, if $50 is your budget cap
Ultimately, the most serious competition for the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 at this price is Corsair’s HS50 Pro, which is a little heavier and warmer but a bit more comfortable. It’s also more refined in the higher frequencies, but without the sort of bone-cracking upper mids and treble you get from the Stinger 2.
The HS50 Pro also lacks the Cloud Stinger 2’s DTS Headphone:X download code, but you probably shouldn’t base your purchasing decision on that. This immersive sound processing isn’t going to give you a competitive edge and it doesn’t really mimic the precise placement of surround sound effects the way something like Razer’s THX Spatial Audio app does.
Frankly, the Cloud Stinger 2’s more significant competition comes not from other brands’ offerings, but rather that HyperX’s own Cloud Alpha—which is better-built, better-sounding, and one of the best rated gaming headsets—often sells for only $20 more. Still, if you have a hard budget cap of $50, there’s a compelling case to be made that this is one of the best gaming headsets you can buy at this price. It may not be a substantial upgrade over the original Stinger, but then again, it doesn’t need to be.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Originally a civil engineer and land surveyor by trade, Dennis has made a career of reviewing audio electronics and home automation since 2002. He lives in Alabama with his wife and their four-legged child Bruno, an 80-pound American Staffordshire Terrier who has never met a lap he wouldn’t try to fill.
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