HyperX launches planar magnetic gaming headphones with head tracking

Today at CES 2019, HyperX launched the Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S gaming headphones, which are based on Audeze’s Mobius but make a few favorable modifications. With a lower price, lighter design, warmer sound profile, and an improved mic, the Cloud Orbits are shaping up to be a great offering.

Collaborating with Audeze on the design and production of the new Cloud Orbit models, HyperX has equipped them with the same 100mm planar magnetic drivers as in the Audeze Mobius, however the gaming company opts to keep a wired connection instead of the Bluetooth that Audeze uses. As a result, the basic HyperX Cloud Orbit lands at an affordable $299.99, while the HyperX Cloud Orbit S — whose distinguishing upgrade is the Waves Nx head-tracking technology that is the Mobius’ signature feature — arrives at a $329.99 price point. Both are substantially cheaper than the Audeze Mobius, which retails for $399.99, and when I tried them on at CES for myself, I noticed they’re lighter and more compact too.

HyperX tells me the Cloud Orbit headphones will have five preloaded sound profiles, and unlike Audeze’s very neutral tuning, HyperX will lean in more toward an exciting, bass-rich sound signature. “Everyone loves a smile,” said HyperX product marketing chief Mark Tekunoff, referring to the smile-shaped frequency response graph of a pair of headphones with emphasized bass and treble. In my brief listen, I did enjoy the greater warmth of the HyperX Cloud Orbit headphones, and in the noisy environment of CES, it was easy to appreciate their sound isolation too.

The detachable microphone of the Cloud Orbits has gained a pop filter over the Audeze Mobius. Though it’s flexible, I was never really able to bend it out of the way enough, so you’ll basically be attaching it when you want to use it and detaching it when you don’t. And speaking of attachments, you get a choice of three cables in the box with HyperX’s new headphones: USB-A, USB-C, or an analog 3.5mm connector. That covers most scenarios for their use, whether plugging them into your headphone jack-deprived phone, into your gaming PC, or some more old-school device. The battery inside is rated to last 10 hours and is used to power the digital signal processing when using an analog connection.

With only a $30 difference between the Cloud Orbit S with motion tracking and the simpler Cloud Orbit without, I’d advise going for the pricier model. Waves Nx technology has already proven itself in the Audeze Mobius, ably creating a 360-degree soundstage around the user that seems to stay fixed in place even as you move and turn inside it. And Audeze has just announced new gesture-mapping that can be tied to head movements, meaning you’ll soon be able to tilt your head and have that trigger your character in a game to either dodge a punch or lean out of cover.

The HyperX Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S will go on sale over the next couple of months for $299.99 and $329.99, respectively.

Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge


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