We tested 23 mainstream gaming headsets to find the best

Kingston HyperX Cloud

Kingston HyperX Cloud

The sibling to our previous top pick

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: analog
- Audio: 5.5/10
- Microphone clarity: 7/10
- Comfort: 7/10
- Detachable cable: no
- Extras: extra faux-leather earpads, detachable mic
- Price: $80

The HyperX Cloud 1 is Kington’s entry level offering, but still priced within the mid-range category. It’s audio performance is fairly decent, but lacks neutrality. There’s a good amount of bass “boom” but the bass isn’t controlled and tight. Often, you’ll find that headphones produce perceived bass performance because distortion can often give the impression of bass response. Listening to tracks over and over again will show that certain frequency ranges lack precision. During tracks with fast bass attacks, the Cloud sounds boomy, which results in minor interference with the mid-range frequencies.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Kingston HyperX Cloud

There’s a large notch in response between 3kHz and 6kHz, which helps with certain sounds that some may find “piercing.” In other words, the Cloud sounds warm. (Some may refer to it being “dark.”) In the higher range, I felt the Cloud’s highs, also called transients, could have offered more resolution and more clarity. Transients are sounds that your brain uses to localize sound direction. The Cloud lacks detail in this area, making it more difficult to make out the minor differences and directions of sounds. Subtle sounds that should behave like “s” sound more like “sh.”

During voice communication, the Cloud sounds good, but its performance falls when there are other activities, such as gun noise, or music.

The Cloud is lightweight. It feels like it’s built to survive being thrown around, and has a detachable mic. However, its main cable is not detachable. We prefer manufacturers implement detachable cables for easy replacement. On the accessories side, Kingston does offer a second pair of faux-leather earpads, which we found to be comfortable but they don’t breathe very well. 

Kingston HyperX Cloud 2

Kingston HyperX Cloud 2

Our previous best pick

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: analog or digital
- Audio: 5.5/10
- Microphone clarity: 7/10
- Comfort: 7/10
- Detachable cable: no
- Extras: extra faux-leather earpads, detachable mic
- Price: $90

The HyperX Cloud 2 is a minor update to Kingston’s Cloud. It has all of the same features, and looks nearly identical.

What Kingston did change was how they tuned  the drivers. The Cloud 2 performs better than the Cloud but not by much. On the bass side, it’s more controlled, and flatter through the response. But for all practical purposes, The Cloud 2 sounds essentially the same as the original headset.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Kingston HyperX Cloud 2

Most of the issues I pointed out on the original Cloud remain in the Cloud 2, especially in the higher frequencies. The same dip in transients exist in the Cloud 2, preventing it from being able to resolve detail. It also appears that the low end bass frequencies have been slightly increased in the Cloud 2.

Unfortunately, the distortion levels remain the same. You can expect the Cloud 2 to provide the same bass quality as the original Cloud: slightly on the boomy side and without a strong ability to control attack and decay.

All other aspects of the Cloud 2 remain identical to the Cloud, including comfort, accessories, and packaging.

Kingston HyperX Cloud Revolver

Kingston HyperX Cloud Revolver

Kingston's latest flagship headset

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: analog
- Audio: 8/10
- Microphone clarity: 7/10
- Comfort: 8/10
- Detachable cable: no
- Extras: None
- Price: $120

The HyperX Cloud Revolver is Kingston’s newest headset. It’s a drastic improvement in audio quality from the Cloud and Cloud 2.

It appears that Kingston chose to use a different OEM entirely for the Revolver, and the move was wise. The Revolver has very good sound balance, very good bass, and very good detail resolving ability and resolution. It’s a stark and noticeable difference, and even shows clearly in the measurements.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Kingston HyperX Cloud Revolver

There’s significantly less bass distortion in the Revolver but bass is still delivered with strength. The “slam” is tightly controlled and extends down low, without ever muddling out the other frequencies.

In the higher frequencies, Kington’s fixed the notch between 3kHz and 6kHz. Details now come through clearly, and the Revolver is even competitive in this area with normal music headphones. Because the transients are better presented in the Revolver, it has the best soundstage of any of Kingston’s offerings.

Tonally, the Revolver works well as a headphone for music. Its tone is warm, and its music reproduction is surprisingly well balanced throughout the entire frequency range. Whichever company Kingston chose to work with in developing the Revolver, it made the right choice. The Cloud Revolver is easily Kingston’s best, and is one of the best headsets in this roundup.

Logitech G430

Logitech G430

 Mr. G430 in the house! 

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: analog or digital
- Audio: 5/10
- Microphone clarity: 5/10
- Comfort: 6/10
- Detachable cable: no
- Extras: Dolby 7.1 extension
- Price: $60

Logitech’s G430 is one of the company’s middle of the road offerings. It doesn’t offer any of the frills of other pricier headsets, and doesn’t deliver well in the audio department. Yes, it includes a Dolby 7.1 extension module, but simulated surround sound doesn't work well in headphones since the drivers are facing directly at your ears. In this configuration, reliance on proper HRTFs is required.  It’s not really that comfortable either.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Logitech G430

Low frequencies are definitely not in control on the G430, as this headset has lots of distortion, all the way through to the upper-bass frequencies. While some amount of intended distortion can help bass sound “good,” the G430 does not sound good. Its low-frequency extension is non existent and bass frequencies drop off sharply.

Its one redeeming quality is in the vocal ranges through to the mid-high frequencies, where things sound clear. On transients, the G430 also delivers a decent performance. I wouldn’t call the G430 a precision instrument, but it sounds clear enough to give a passing grade in this area.

On the comfort scale, the G430 can accommodate large heads and is lightweight. However, it has slightly strong clamp pressure and so you end up feeling squeezed when wearing the G430 for extended periods of time.

Logitech includes a nice long cable but did not make it detachable.

Logitech G930

Logitech G930

Lo-G930-tech

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: digital
- Audio: 3/10
- Microphone clarity: 6/10
- Comfort: 6/10
- Detachable cable: wireless
- Extras: None
- Price: $90

The G930 is a purely wireless headset from Logitech, which means no analog options. It comes with a USB dongle and base station that you pair the headset to and can also be used to charge the headset while in use. Wireless headsets can offer convenience, but you are at the mercy of the manufacturer when it comes to sound sources.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Logitech G930

Unfortunately, the G930 doesn’t do well at all in the audio department, considering the company has invested a lot recently in developing its headsets. Frequency response is essentially out of control. Bass drops off sharply, and there are strange notches in the low to mid frequency ranges. Then there’s a sudden jump above 200Hz. Mid-high frequency also sees a sharp dip, removing the ability to resolve detail. Vocal performance is also lacking. While the distortion levels are in the expected range for this price group, and even leaning towards being good, the G930 just doesn’t sound good at all. 

The G930 is comfortable to wear. It’s not the most lightweight or adjustable, but there’s just enough force to keep the unit on your head without adding stress to the side of your ears. The cups are large and will accommodate all ear sizes.

Logitech has a long and non retractable mic which you can move out of the way when not in use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bend very well and you can’t exactly position the mic where you’d like it to be. It’s also non detachable, so if you break it, you’ll end up having to replace the whole headset.

I can’t recommend the G930. Comfort aside, it’s just a poor gaming headset in terms of sound quality, and even poorer for listening to music. Apple’s EarPods sound much better.

Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum

Logitech G933

I can't change the title here?

- Design: closed-back
- Interface: digital
- Audio: 6.5/10
- Microphone clarity: 6/10
- Comfort: 7/10
- Detachable cable: yes, wireless
- Extras: LED lighting
- Price: $130/$170

There are two versions of the G933, if think about it. The wired version (called the G633) costs $130 and the wireless version (G933) costs $40 more. Both versions are nearly identical otherwise.

In terms of audio performance, the G933 is leaps and bounds better than the G930. Sure, their names may only be 3 digits apart, but they’re not even close cousins. The G933 is far more balanced, and has much better music performance than the G930.

Frequency response

Distortion

Left/right driver balance

Latest prices on Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum

Vocals come through clear on the G933 and never get covered up. This is a good headset if you want to keep tabs on what your teammates are saying. Its detail resolving ability is good and sounds clear all the way through to the high-range transients—it’s actually one of the most neutral headsets in this group, musically speaking.

However, its bass response, like the G930, falls off dramatically and you definitely hear it in the music. It lacks low-end bass extension, and very low frequencies don’t come through very well, but overall bass response sounds good down to 28Hz, which isn’t bad at all. There’s plenty of slam, and the bass never sounds boomy. The tonal quality of the G633/933 is neutral and the sound is very balanced throughout. Logitech did a fine job with the audio performance of the G933 and it’s the best in the lot from the company—good enough to act as a music headphone.

In the wireless G933, there’s a strange high-pitched whine when volume is set to max or near max. We don’t know if this was just a problem with our headset, but it was there. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using maximum volume, so this may not be an issue.

The G933 is very comfortable to wear. In fact, it’s one of the most comfortable headsets in this group. During testing, I was able to keep listening and testing for well over 2 hours without fatigue.

The wired G633 comes with a detachable analog cable, which honestly should become a standard. You also do not need to turn the G933 “on” to just use it as a passive headphone, which is a convenient feature for saving battery life.