Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

After a day at work, I play games to relax, and having a reliable headset is an important part of that experience. Gaming headsets can be expensive, but HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 – the latest version from the company – is significantly cheaper than the competition, while offering specifications that don’t necessarily scream “compromise”.

I’ve been testing the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 for several weeks to enjoy gaming and music. On Spotify, K. Flay and Grandson sounded very tinny to my ears. However, this headset was designed for gaming purposes and one time I caught fire Hello and Far Cry: Primalthe difference in quality amazed me.

In the Far Cry franchise, spatial sound is very important to me in order to better hear my surroundings and execute stealthy tactical strikes. The 50mm drivers use DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio, and this software gave me an edge when I was sneaking around the Valley rescuing members of the Wenja tribe. Primitive. Overall, I was impressed with how realistic my audio sounded, especially for the $49 price tag. It’s worth noting here that DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio is a paid subscription, although HyperX comes bundled with a two-year activation code when you buy Cloud Stinger 2.

I recently tested another budget headset — the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 headset. Compared to the retail Nova 1 $10 moreThe HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is no different, except in one key area: the microphone.

more: The best gaming headsets for PC

HyperX Cloud Stinger II Gaming Headset

The $49 headset has a built-in noise-canceling microphone.

Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

While the built-in noise-canceling microphone was working, I asked my partner how my voice sounded and was told that the Cloud Stinger 2 sounded louder but more muffled than the Nova 1. Basically, if you want your team to hear you cried for help during a Hello alien battle, then Stinger 2 does the job. Just don’t expect them to fully understand every word you say.

One important thing to note is that the microphone doesn’t retract or detach, so those who want a more discreet headset when not gaming or using voice communication will want to look elsewhere. It’s also not wireless compatible if you were hoping to pair it via Bluetooth or an adapter.

In terms of comfort, the Cloud Stinger 2 comes with HyperX’s Signature Comfort, presented in memory foam that covers the headband and earcups. I played most of the weekend wearing them and they felt comfortable the entire time.

Ultimately, if you really need a retractable mic and clear voice, I’d recommend going for it Nova 1 headset. But if your budget is limited to $50 and/or you want a high-end entry-level headset, Cloud Stinger 2 worth a look.

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