As an experienced gaming accessory reviewer, I often get asked – "What‘s the best gaming headset for the money?" While there are many great options, two of the most popular mid-range choices are the HyperX Cloud 2 and the Razer Blackshark V2.
If you‘re looking to upgrade your headset for serious gaming, you‘re likely debating between these two. They both offer stellar sound and features at a reasonable price. However, they aren‘t identical.
In this detailed comparison, I‘ll examine the key differences between the HyperX Cloud 2 and Razer Blackshark V2 to help you decide which is better suited for your needs. I‘ll compare their design, comfort, audio performance, microphone quality, features, compatibility and value.
By the end, you‘ll have all the info you need to choose the ideal headset to level up your gaming experience. Let‘s dive in!
Comparing the Core Features
Before analyzing individual aspects, let‘s briefly recap the core features of each headset:
HyperX Cloud 2 key features:
- Closed-back design with plush memory foam earcups
- 53mm drivers with 15Hz–25kHz frequency response
- Detachable noise-cancelling microphone
- Virtual 7.1 surround sound via USB sound card
- Aluminum frame with self-adjusting headband
- Works with PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, mobile
Razer Blackshark V2 key features:
- Open-back design with oval cooling gel ear cushions
- Custom 50mm drivers divided into 3 parts
- THX Spatial Audio provides 360° surround sound
- Detachable cardioid mic with Synapse software support
- Durable aluminum and steel frame
- Made exclusively for PC gaming
Both check all the boxes for awesome gaming audio and comms. Now let‘s compare them more closely.
Design and Build Quality
Starting with the physical design, the HyperX Cloud 2 and Razer Blackshark V2 share some similarities but also differ in a few ways.
Both utilize a durable aluminum headband frame with sliders for adjusting the fit. The earcups attach to the frame with a rotating hinge mechanism. And they each come with a detachable boom mic and mesh carrying bag.
However, the HyperX Cloud 2 uses a closed-back design with plush, oval-shaped memory foam ear cushions. The cushions are generously padded with premium leatherette covering. This isolates sound leakage and enables effective passive noise reduction of ambient noise by up to 3dB .
The Razer Blackshark V2 employs an open-back design with unique oval-shaped cooling gel cushions. According to Razer, the cooling gel infusion prevents heat build-up around the ears during intense gaming sessions . And the open-back design provides more airflow and a spacious soundstage.
In terms of aesthetics, the HyperX Cloud 2 comes in either black with red accents or black with blue accents for a subtle style that fits any environment . The Razer Blackshark V2 is available only in black with green Razer logos for a more gaming-focused look.
Both headsets appear well-constructed from premium materials and can withstand regular use. For versatility though, the HyperX Cloud 2‘s more low-profile design may fit in better for everyday use outside of gaming.
Comfort and Convenience
For any headset, comfort is incredibly important – especially for extended gaming sessions. Both the HyperX Cloud 2 and Razer Blackshark V2 aim to deliver luxurious comfort and convenience.
The HyperX Cloud 2 is widely considered one of the most comfortable gaming headsets ever made. Reviewers unanimously praise the plush memory foam ear cushions for their exceptional softness [4,5]. The headband is adjustable, applies minimal clamping force, and doesn‘t create pressure points. And the closed-back isolation blocks out external noise which enhances comfort.
The Razer Blackshark V2 is also remarkably comfortable thanks to its unique cooling gel-infused cushions. The open design prevents heat build-up around the ears during marathon sessions. And the cushions spread clamping force evenly around the ear to minimize pressure points. The self-adjusting headband delivers a secure yet comfortable fit.
Both headsets utilize plenty of padding and can easily be worn for hours without fatigue or sweating. For noise isolation, the HyperX Cloud 2 may have a small advantage. But the cooling gel cushions of the Blackshark V2 give it a special comfort perk. Overall, they’re evenly matched when it comes to all-day wearing comfort.
In terms of convenience, both headsets include detachable boom mics and mesh carrying bags. The HyperX Cloud 2 adds more value by including a spare set of fabric ear cushions in case the leatherette ones wear out. So for convenience, the Cloud 2 pulls slightly ahead.
Now let‘s dig into the all-important sound quality. Any decent gaming headset needs to deliver precise audio to immerse you in the game. How does the audio stack up on these two contenders?
The HyperX Cloud 2 utilizes large 53mm neodymium drivers to pump out rich, detailed sound. The drivers are finely tuned with a wide 15Hz-25kHz frequency response range optimized for gaming. Bass frequencies down to 15Hz provide thumping low-end power when needed while still keeping the mids and highs crystal clear .
Reviewers praise the Cloud 2’s balanced sound profile. The bass provides impact for in-game effects without muddying the mix. Treble is sparkling and clear for easily distinguishing sound cues. And mid-range vocal tones sound natural . Whether you’re playing shooters, RPGs, MOBAs, or listening to music, the sound impresses across the spectrum.
The Razer Blackshark V2 leverages custom-tuned 50mm drivers divided into three parts for separately optimized high, mid and low-frequency reproduction. This unique “TriForce Titanium” driver design allows tuning each frequency range individually .
The result is phenomenally balanced sound with deep punchy bass, extremely clear mid-range, and pristine treble . The open-back design gives the audio an especially spacious and airy quality. And the wide 12Hz-28kHz frequency response covers the full audible range with precision . For competitive multiplayer gaming, the Blackshark V2 provides pinpoint sound imaging to accurately hear enemy movements.
Both headsets are capable of clean, detailed sound even at high volumes. While the HyperX Cloud 2 may have a slightly warmer tonal balance, the Blackshark V2’s unique driver design gives it a technical edge for spacious gaming audio. But for music listening, the Cloud 2 still holds its own.
Surround Sound Performance
For immersive directional audio, both headsets include virtual surround sound technologies.
The HyperX Cloud 2 features virtual 7.1 surround sound powered by Dolby Headphone technology. It accurately emulates a 7.1 speaker system in a 360° soundfield around your head. This allows you to precisely pinpoint sound sources like enemy footsteps and gunfire based on precise spatial cues . The surround processing only functions through the USB sound card on PC and PS4.
The Razer Blackshark V2 takes surround capabilities even further with THX Spatial Audio. This advanced surround system was co-developed by the audio legends at THX to provide the ultimate spatial realism . By simulating sound in a full spherical soundfield, you get an incredibly natural sense of acoustic space. Directional cues feel even more lifelike and pinpoint compared to standard 7.1 surround. However, it only works with Razer Synapse on Windows 10 64-bit systems.
Both deliver excellent directional audio for gaming. But the Blackshark V2’s THX Spatial Audio gives it a definite edge in terms of immersive 360° precision. Just keep in mind it only works on PC.
Clear voice chat is crucial for communicating with teammates online. Both headsets come equipped with a detachable unidirectional boom microphone.
The HyperX Cloud 2 microphone provides natural voice reproduction thanks to the cardioid polar pattern. The mic also features built-in noise cancellation and pop filtering for consistently clear chat .
The Razer Blackshark V2 mic takes voice clarity to another level. It uses a high-end hypercardioid design for superior noise cancellation so only your voice gets through. You also get access to mic gain, volume, sensitivity and ambient noise reduction adjustments via Razer Synapse software . So you can really tweak it to perfection.
While both mics transmit crisp, clean chat quality, the Blackshark V2’s advanced mic tweaking options give it the edge here. You have more control over the mic’s performance compared to the Cloud 2.
In terms of extra software features, the Razer Blackshark V2 definitely comes out ahead thanks to Razer Synapse.
With Razer Synapse 3, you get access to :
- THX Spatial Audio for immersive surround sound
- Mic volume, gain, sensitivity and ambient noise reduction adjustments
- Audio equalizer to customize sound profiles for different games
- Game/chat mix adjustment
- Visualization of audio output levels
The HyperX Cloud 2 doesn’t include any software support or extra features besides the 7.1 surround mode. The audio experience out of the box is still excellent. However, the Blackshark V2’s software customization and effects take it to another level.
Compatibility and Platform Support
If you plan on using your headset with various gaming devices, the HyperX Cloud 2 is much more versatile.
The HyperX Cloud 2 can connect to PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices via the included 3.5mm connector . The USB sound card provides 7.1 virtual surround only on PC and PS4. But you still get stereo audio on any 3.5mm jack device.
The Razer Blackshark V2 is specifically designed for PC gaming only. You need Razer Synapse 3 installed on Windows 10 64-bit to enable surround sound, mic tweaks, and other features . Without Synapse, you lose a lot of core functionality. While voice chat still works by just plugging into any 3.5mm port, the Blackshark V2 is really made exclusively for PC use.
So if cross-platform versatility is important, the HyperX Cloud 2 is the clear winner here. The Blackshark V2 trades flexibility for optimized PC performance.
Value and Price
At the time of writing, both the HyperX Cloud 2 and Razer Blackshark V2 retail for around the $100 price point. Given their excellent quality and features, are they a good value?
For premium gaming sound, all-day comfort, and universal device support, the HyperX Cloud 2 provides outstanding value at this price. Given its proven durability and multi-platform flexibility, it’s a gaming headset built to last for years of regular use.
The Razer Blackshark V2 also delivers stellar performance for competitive PC gaming. Advanced surround sound, plush gel cushions, and software customization create an amazing package. However, the lack of console support may limit it for some buyers at this price.
Overall, both models give you great quality and features per dollar spent. Considering its wider compatibility, the HyperX Cloud 2 squeezes out a small win when it comes to pure value. But for PC-focused gamers, the Blackshark V2 also warrants its price tag.
HyperX Cloud 2 vs Razer Blackshark V2: Pros and Cons
To summarize my analysis, here‘s a quick rundown of the main pros and cons of each headset:
HyperX Cloud 2 Pros:
- Extremely comfortable memory foam earcups
- Durable and flexible design
- Balanced, detailed sound quality
- 7.1 virtual surround for immersion
- Noise-cancelling boom mic
- Works with PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, mobile
- Great value for the price
HyperX Cloud 2 Cons:
- No software or EQ customization
- Surround only works via USB on PC/PS4
- Mic could have more tweakable settings
Razer Blackshark V2 Pros:
- Cutting-edge THX spatial audio
- Unique cooling gel ear cushions
- Custom drivers allow tuning distinct frequency ranges
- Advanced mic tweaking via Synapse software
- Amazing directional audio for competitive gaming
Razer Blackshark V2 Cons:
- Only works on Windows PC
- Open-back allows sound leakage
- No included fabric earcup option
- Pricey considering limited compatibility
Final Verdict: Which Should You Buy?
So which of these stellar gaming headsets reigns supreme? Here’s the bottom line:
If you want an ultra-comfortable, great sounding headset with multi-platform flexibility, the HyperX Cloud 2 is your best bet. It doesn’t have all the software bells and whistles, but provides amazing quality and universal device support at a fair price. As an all-purpose gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud 2 is hard to beat.
However, if you play games exclusively on PC and want the most immersive spatial audio, the Razer Blackshark V2 is an elite choice. THX spatial surround, cooling gel cushions, and mic tweaking let you fully customize a premium PC gaming experience. It isn’t as versatile but provides cutting-edge features tailored specifically for PC gamers.
Overall, for most buyers, I recommend the HyperX Cloud 2 as the stronger all-around package with broader compatibility and outstanding comfort. But the Blackshark V2 is ideal for those who solely game on PC and want maximum immersion. You really can‘t make a bad decision here. Both are amazing headsets that deliver a serious audio upgrade for gaming.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to help fellow gamers find their perfect gear to take their play to the next level. Game on!