Headphones are rather tricky to reivew, everybody hears things differently. Some are able to pick out the little nuances and slight differences, especially if you listen to high-end headphones. When I listen to headsets, I typically listen to them wanting the audio to be clear, with no crackles/pops/hiss, and sufficient bass reproduction at a normal volume level. In testing the Cloud II, it will not be tested with the 3.5mm plug, it will be tested using the 7.1 Surround Sound Controller Adapter.
Testing games, I selected a few FPS, which include Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, FarCry 4 and Battlefield 4. Using Stereo speakers you can get a small indicator of where the enemies are on screen, audio positioning is a huge help. I have used several different 5.1 and 7.1 headsets and each of them help to pinpoint the direction, but it could still be difficult. The Kingston Cloud II, it seemed to be a little more precise in the direction of the sound; when something was going on behind me I could easily tell it was behind and to which side it was on.
Like with games, when watching movies audio directionality is important, and watching movies with 5.1 or 7.1 audio has always been a great experience on the PC. The passive noise cancelling of the circumaural earpads blocks some of the noise out, which when watching certain movies can make the sounds all that more powerful; action, thrillers and horror films for example. This allows you to be drawn into the movie, making the experience better. The Cloud II does this extremely well, and with the right movie can make the difference between an average movie experience and a great movie experience.
Computers are used for more than just Gaming, many times people use headsets to listen to music as well. The Kingston Cloud II allows you to listen to the audio in stereo or 7.1 with the press of a button. The difference between the two is evident when listening to music and can take a little getting used to. If you regularly listen to music, you might be surprised at what you are missing when listening to it in Stereo versus 7.1. The Kingston Cloud II sounded incredible when listening to a wide variety of music.
Music playback was crisp and clear at any volume level. The bass level was sufficient, although not as powerful as some headphones with larger drivers. If the volume was turned all the way up, it was actually a little too loud for my personal tastes but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It did allow me to use the headphones as ad hoc speakers when I rested them on my shoulders.
Microphone performance is more than adequate for gamers, it delivers great voice reproduction and the noise cancelling capabilities of the microphone helps to eliminate background noise. The mid-line controller allows adjusting the microphone sensitivity using the volume controls, and don’t forget there’s the little microphone mute switch on the side if needed.