As we all already know, I?m crazy about HyperX?s Cloud headphones. AKA the Takstar Pro 80. AKA the Q-Pad QH90.
They?re great! They render sound in a nicely balanced way, with enough bass punch and treble sparkle to make them fun. They?re super comfy.
I got on the Cloud train a little late. I never owned the original HyperX Cloud. I started with the Cloud II. I always thought it would be fun to own two pairs, and have one with the velour pads and one with leatherette, so I could use both sound signatures without changing the pads.
So I finally made it happen.
The Cloud I in White, with the velour pads and mic attached. As you can see, the mic baffle is longer on this model. There are other differences to the Cloud II as well!
There are three models of the HyperX Cloud headset on the market right now, all with different packages of extras and similar base headphones:
Cloud Core ($69)
You get the base headphones, leatherette pads, a 4-pole 3.5mm cable with optional extension, and a detachable mic. This is basically the Cloud II with none of the extras. It comes only in black with light red accents.
Cloud I ($79)
You get the base headphones, leatherette and velour pads, a split-ended 3.5 mm cable with dedicated mic and headphone plugs (this was a surprise to me!), a 4-pole adapter, an extension cable, a control box with play/pause button and volume and mic controls, a detachable mic, and a carrying bag. Phew! The microphone is different from the one included in the Cloud II/Core, and it has a longer pop filter on the end. It comes in black with red accents, and white with black accents.
There?s also a silver model which has in-line controls and a 4-pole cable, similar to the CloudX.
You get the base headphones, leatherette and velour pads, a 4-pole 3.5mm cable, a detachable mic?and more, depending on the model.
The Cloud II includes a USB sound card with 7.1 surround and dedicated mic and volume controls. It also includes a carrying bag.
The Cloud X has in-line volume and mic controls on the short cable, a cable extension with splitter for dedicated mic/headphone plugs, and a hardshell case. It?s the cheapest pair of headphones that comes with a really nice hard case!
The Cloud I?s Biggest Difference: The Cable
I had no idea until I opened mine that the Cloud I?s had a split-ended cable. I felt stupid that I hadn?t found this in my research.
A very old-school decision, here!
I?m kind of amazed that there?s still a headset with two dedicated plugs on the market. Most companies, including HyperX on all their other models, use a 4-pole CTIA solution, and include an adapter if you need the two separate plugs.
But the Cloud I is just the opposite! This adapter shown above is included in the bag, and it works fine. I?ve tested it with both my MacBook and my iPhone. But in the moment, when I first opened the box and discovered this, I was like oh noooooo! Why????
It?s certainly not a deal-breaker, and if you don?t need the USB sound card of the Cloud II or the hard case of the Cloud X, but you still want to get the other features, the cheaper $79 price is a good deal.
Just be aware you?ll have to live with this adapter for most modern devices.
Sound: Velour VS Leatherette
Wait Alex, you bought two pairs of the same headphones so you could put different pads on each one?
The Clouds sound rather different depending on whether you use the velour pads or the leatherette ones. The leatherette pads provide much more isolation, and a deeper, more obvious bass response. The downside is that detail in the mids and highs is rolled off just a touch.
With the velour pads, you lose a good bit of isolation. I?m using mine in a loud coffee shop right now, and the experience is just north of tolerable. By comparison, the leatherette pads provide me with a nice cocoon of privacy in this same chair at this same cafe.
What you lose in isolation, you gain in detail and soundstage. The Clouds really open up with the velour pads attached. You lose a tiny bit of bass response, but the bass that remains is still lush and punchy. The soundstage is much wider, coming close to the magic of the Beyerdynamic soundstage. It can sound at times like you?re using virtual surround, even in plain stereo.
Highs jump out much more with the velour pads, and in some songs might be a little bit fatiguing. But if you?re way into treble or want to hear footsteps in games with as much clarity as possible, you?ll probably want to use the velour pads, which means you?ll need a Cloud I or II.
Comfort: Velour VS Leatherette
The headband is identical across the whole Cloud lineup, so the comfort is the same as far as the top of the head goes.
If you forced me to choose which pad style was more comfy?that?s tough. The leatherette pads use a softer memory foam?but they get a little bit steamy, especially on a warm day.
The velour pads have a denser, less flexible foam, and so they feel a little tighter on the head at first wear. They don?t get sweaty at all though, and the fabric covering the pads is impressively durable.
I think they?re both pretty darn comfy in their own ways, and your personal preferences will tip you one way or the other. It?s nice to be able to try both!
Final Thoughts on the Cloud I
I?m not gonna lie. I?m writing this in part to help justify that I just bought the same pair of headphones twice so I could use them with two different pads without having to switch them. In that sense, the Cloud I performs just how I wanted it to. The sound signature is identical to my CloudX?s, only now with the enhancements to the soundstage that the velour provides.
The mic is?different? I used it for a phone call this morning and the person on the other end said it was just fine. I think the Cloud II?s mic looks a bit more sleek, but you?d have to be the most anal of listeners to notice a big sound quality difference between the two models.
That dumb cable almost killed this for me. I know that?s stupid to say, but it?s true. I read so many reviews, mine included, where people were like ?The Cloud I is basically the same as the Cloud II,? but it?s not! I mean yes, the headphones part is identical. But the cable is different! And if you?re really into this stuff, that?s something you?ll want to know.
Is the Cloud II/X worth the $20 premium over the Cloud I? Sure, if you want the extra USB sound card or the hard case of the X. The best deal is still the Cloud Core. It provides all the functionality you need, and comes with a standard non-stupid cable. Plus, you can buy the velour pads, the bag, and all the other extras from HyperX?s web site if you get the core model and decide you want to ?upgrade? it.
I like the white color way, and I wish that it was available across all three models. I also kind of wish they?d bring back the white and pink one with the white pads.