HyperX Cloud Core + 7.1 Headset Review

A classic gaming headset gets a new look and a new bundle

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Photo taken by the author
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Photo taken by the author.

OVERVIEW

The Cloud Core + 7.1 is a closed-back, wired gaming headset with an attached cable, a removable microphone, and an external USB sound card dongle. It sells for $69 (official product page). It doesn’t include the extra ear pads, in-line audio controls, or carrying bag included with some of the classic Cloud bundles, but still contains the main components of those long-running models at a cheaper price.

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Photo taken by the author.

SOUND QUALITY

In spite of using a tweaked new design, the Cloud Core +7.1 features the same impressive sound signature that the Cloud II and its forebears have used for over a half-decade, alongside the Takstar Pro 80 before them. It’s a sound heavily inspired by the 80 ohm Beyerdynamic DT 770, with a powerful bass response, neutral midrange, and sparkly treble.

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From left to right: Cloud Core 7.1 dongle, Cloud Revolver S dongle, Cloud Alpha S dongle. They all have a shirt clip on the back that makes them wobbly. The Alpha S dongle sits best on a desk. Photo taken by the author.

USB DONGLE

The USB dongle included in this box is a new revision of the classic Cloud II dongle. That sound card and I have a history. I’ve been hard on it in the past because it’s strictly a stereo audio device with no way to use 7.1 data from games or movies. Pressing the “7.1” button on its face activates a stereo expansion/crossfeed effect, where data in the center of the mix is untouched, and everything on the left and right is pushed out and around to your virtual sides.

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The new ear pads are a little more textured, but of a similar size and quality to earlier models. Photo taken by the author.

COMFORT

HyperX named this lineup “Cloud” for its exceptional comfort, and this newly-designed Cloud Core carries on that tradition well. The ear pads are full of a soft, slow-rebounding memory foam that seals well even over my thin-rimmed glasses. The clamping force is right in the sweet spot of keeping the headset firmly in place but never feeling too tight.

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The new headband is sleek, simple, and nice. Photo taken by the author.

BUILD/DESIGN

I wouldn’t have criticized HyperX for sticking with the same core design they’ve used since the Cloud I on this headset, because it’s a time-tested design that’s held up well over the years. However, they’ve updated and refreshed a couple of things here, and as a long-time follower of their stuff I’m weirdly excited about this.

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The cutout for the mic hole flap is still here, but the flap is no longer included. Photo taken by the author.

MICROPHONE

Nothing has changed with the microphone compared to the classic Cloud designs. It has a clean, clear, reasonably-detailed sound with good acoustic background noise cancellation. I used mine for some long gaming chat sessions and my friends had no issues hearing me, and they weren’t disturbed by the noise of the fan I had on in the room.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a great, cheaper, lightly re-designed take on the classic HyperX Cloud II bundle. The sound quality, comfort, and build all live up to the long legacy of the product line, and the microphone is clear and detailed.

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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