We don’t often see Bluetooth connectivity in gaming headsets. Wired headsets simply use 3.5mm or USB connections, and wireless headsets tend to use adapters. The Kingston HyperX Cloud Mix follows in the footsteps of the Audeze Mobius, with both Bluetooth and wired connectivity, but instead of offering other high-end technical features, it simply provides an excellent listening experience for wired games and wireless music. At $199.99 it’s one of the more expensive headsets in the HyperX lineup, but half the cost of the Audeze Mobius. That makes its versatility impressive, and combined with its audio quality, it earns our Editors’ Choice.
A Familiar Design
The Cloud Mix looks and feels very similar to the HyperX Cloud Alpha, only in all black and with the option to go wireless. It features smooth, understated, oval black earcups with rubberized sides and prominent HyperX logos on the backs. The logos are light gray, and the Y-shaped metal arms that connect the cups to the headband are black. Short, fabric-wrapped wires run from the earcups to mounts on the headband, which is well padded and covered in black faux leather. The memory foam earpads are also wrapped in this material, and feel very soft and plush.
All ports and controls sit on the rubberized sides of each earcup. The left earcup holds a multifunction button for use over Bluetooth, a 3.5mm port for connecting the headset to your preferred computer or gaming device using either of the included wires, and a connector for the boom mic. The right earcup holds a volume rocker, a power button, and a micro USB port for charging the headset. According to HyperX, the Cloud Mix can function wirelessly for up to 20 hours on a charge.
Wired and Bluetooth
The Cloud Mix is designed to connect to mobile devices over Bluetooth on the go, but it’s intended as a wired headset for gaming. For that purpose, the headset includes two 3.5mm cables. One is a five-foot male-male cable that terminates in a single four-pole connector, with an inline remote with a volume wheel and a microphone mute switch. The other is a five-foot female-male extender cable that terminates in two three-prong plugs, providing a full 10 feet of wire for connecting to your computer. Every major game console has a four-pole 3.5mm headset jack either on the system itself (the Nintendo Switch) or its controllers (the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), while the extension cable supports any PC with separate headphone and microphone jacks.
The microphone is a foam-covered capsule on a flexible metal arm, and can be detached if you just want to use the Cloud Mix as a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Besides the two 3.5mm cables and the microphone, the headset also comes with a USB-to-micro-USB cable for charging (no wall adapter is included), and a small fabric carrying bag. Considering the relatively high price of the headset, it’s disappointing that HyperX doesn’t include its $30 Amp USB sound card. While the $100 Razer Kraken Tournament Edition doesn’t have any wireless connectivity, it includes a similar wired USB sound card.
Speech captured through the microphone sounds excellent. With a minimum of adjustment of the boom and computer settings, my test recordings over a wired connection were clear and free of any fuzziness or muffling.
Bluetooth makes the headset sound much fuzzier because it doesn’t use the boom mic at all; instead, the headset switched to a pinhole mic located in the left earcup for Bluetooth calls. My voice was still able to be heard, but it wasn’t nearly as crisp or clean as it sounded over the boom mic and a 3.5mm cable. It’s a shame the Cloud Mix can’t switch to using the boom for voice calls over Bluetooth when the microphone is plugged in, because it sounds so much better.
I played a few rounds of Apex Legends on the PlayStation 4 with the Cloud Mix. The headset performed well, with each gun sounding distinct and punchy, and both character dialogue and voice chat coming through clearly. As a 3.5mm stereo headset, the Cloud Mix has no built-in simulated surround, but the stereo panning as I turned provided a strong sense of the directions from which different sounds came.
I also played some Jump Force on PC with the Cloud Mix. The thunk of punches and the rumble of explosions were palpable without sounding overwhelming. The Japanese lines both muttered and screamed by characters were distinct over the sounds of combat. The headset gives enough attention to all aspects of the game’s soundtrack, and doesn’t let the high-end get lost in the bass or cause the bass to sound hollow or underpowered.
The Cloud Mix is designed to be used as a pair of Bluetooth headphones as much as it is a gaming headset, and it’s quite capable in that role. The audio clarity doesn’t seem to drop at all when switching between wired and Bluetooth connections, unlike the microphones. It handled our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” with an admirable sense of force and low-frequency response, and didn’t distort even at maximum (and unsafe) volume levels.
Yes’ “Roundabout” sounds excellent on the Cloud Mix. The opening guitar notes get plenty of resonance and string texture, and the electric bass sounds punchy and full when it kicks in. The guitar strums and snare hits have presence in the mix without overwhelming any other element, and the vocals come through clearly. This is an admirably balanced sound, with good range and finesse in the higher frequencies.
The rain-like vinyl texture and the heartbeat-like bass drum hits in Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” both come through with plenty of presence. The vocals float above the rest of the mix, keeping the spotlight without overwhelming the harpsichord riff backing it all. It’s another track that sounds full and gives appropriate attention to all of the elements in the mix.
A Dual-Role All-Star
The HyperX Cloud Mix doesn’t offer anything fancy besides the ability to function as both a wired stereo gaming headset and a pair of Bluetooth headphones, but it’s very good at both tasks. Its audio quality is excellent across the board, and its boom mic is surprisingly crisp and clear. It’s a shame the boom mic doesn’t work in Bluetooth mode, or that the headset doesn’t include a USB sound card to really round out its wireless connectivity, but for sheer sound and build it’s a compelling headset and our Editors’ Choice.
If you want to go all-out with a combination wired gaming headset and bluetooth headphone set, the Audeze Mobius packs remarkable features like motion-sensing surround sound and planar magnetic drivers in a fantastic, but expensive, package. If you’re just looking for a headset and don’t need the wireless music, the Astro Gaming A10 is still one of our favorites in the category at just $60, and the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition offers excellent build quality and its own surround sound USB card for just $100.