Back in March 2016 I picked up a Razer Kraken USB headset to replace my dying Logitech G930 (a nice wireless set that had 7.1 surround support) and was quite happy with it. Recently, though, the Kraken started having issues with the surround sound feature dropping in and out and even with just “regular” stereo audio the sound quality was very flat and unappealing. I reinstalled all the drivers and did everything I was supposed to, but nothing worked. Finally, the microphone started having issues with bad feedback. In short, it was on its way out and sadly beyond the return period from the store I purchased it. Several people noted that five months was a pretty awful lifespan for a headset like that and Razer is normally a pretty respectable company. Regardless, I went on a short quest to find a good replacement set and after a couple returns I came across the HyperX Cloud Core from Kingston.
Now, a bit of an aside here:
It’s come to my attention that Windows 8/8.1 and 10 have some issues with USB microphone devices. It’s an issue that Microsoft appears to be aware of but has yet to fix after all this time. Essentially, my understanding is that it’s a combination of audio drivers, the actual USB device itself, and the type of PC sound card that you’re running. Some say that RealTek sound cards don’t jive well with Windows 8/8.1 and 10 currently. However, I had no real issues with the G930 during its lifetime (late-2012 to March 2016) and it was a USB-powered device. The Kraken, until its unfortunate demise, also seemed to be untroubled. However, many other devices (including two that I returned before getting the Cloud Core) have issues where even with the recording volume maxed out, the microphone sounds super quiet or has an awful lot of feedback. I verified this with two computers running Windows 10 and they both had these problems. So, it was for that reason that despite my general love of the easy plug-and-play nature of the Kraken or another USB device, I went with a 3.5mm headset this time around.
So, coming from the likes of the G930 and the Kraken, how does the Cloud Core stack up as both a listening device and audio recording/communication tool?