HyperX Cloud Alpha Headphones Review

HyperX is widely renowned for high-quality headsets with solid audio, that do exactly what they say on the tin. Great sound, great comfort, and great microphones typify the HyperX lineup, all at great prices. The Cloud Alpha is a little different from some of its similarly-priced brethren, rocking a dual chamber speaker design that adds a whole new dimension to sound I felt very familiar with. Just don’t expect a ton of bells and whistles, though.

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The HyperX Cloud Alpha is not too far removed from some of the company’s other Cloud headsets in terms of design and quality. The over-ear closed back speakers feel premium-grade from every angle, with metal connectors for the adjustable headband. Weighing just 336g with the mic, this headset really lives up to its “Cloud” monicker, supremely comfortable for long sessions, with airy cups that’ll feel pleasant even in warm weather.

In short, the HyperX Cloud Alpha had been built with reliability and comfort in mind from the very beginning. The band and forks are solid metal, and robust joints or thick padding protect every movable part of the headset. The earcups themselves are constructed of a thick plastic covering a metal backrest, using a super-thick ear pad to cover the ears.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is undoubtedly one of the most reliable headsets on the market, from the moment you pull it out of the packaging to the moment you hurl it across the room when your squadmates screw it up for a thousandth time. If the cords or microphones are impaired in any way, both can be withdrawn from the headset and substituted. Approximately one third of the way down the included cable is a remote which houses a mute microphone switch, and a volume knob. It is certainly convenient to be able to change the master volume as you move back and forth between services, without modifying the configuration of your computer. If you’re an adult or child, being able to silence the monitor as members of your family walk in the room is also a good way to avoid the humiliation of learning your home life from your Discord server.

With nothing negative to say about the performance of the headphones, the same positive feelings apply to the standard of the construction which is top-notch as well. The matte HyperX plastics used here sound strong and durable, and the headband looks like it will withstand a lot of abuse. I’ve had the HyperX CloudX concept headset for years across all kinds of abuse and it’s very close to the build here. With this drug, you will have no problems with its durability.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are comfortable, well-padded headphones. They are more comfortable than the Cloud Flight and they are slightly less tight on the head than the Cloud II but have the same overall fit with big, decently spacious ear cups and an amply padded headband. They do not clamp your head like some of the other gaming headphones we’ve reviewed and should be comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions.

Sound:

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I’ve really enjoyed my time with the HyperX Cloud Alpha and I can see why the online community likes this device so much. It sounds great, and it really provides good insulation from the environment around you. It’s not the best of the high-end gaming headphones, of course, but it gives a proven sum and it’s pretty good.

First things, this gaming headset is great for blocking out speech. That’s a huge advantage not only because it ensures common household noise won’t get into your game (and thus adversely affecting sound quality), but also because it means you won’t have to worry about premature frying of your mouth.

Now that we have decided that you are not likely to interfere in your tunes from outside, let’s speak about sound quality. Because the isolation is so strong, you’re not going to have to worry about disruptive intrusion or auditory masking stopping you from listening to tiny musical information. Furthermore, the actual performance of the speaker components in the HyperX Cloud Alpha often helps the music and games to really shine. The product’s frequency range, with the exception of a 4kHz dip, does not change that much the signal sent by the device or machine, ensuring the sound will be very close to how it was initially created. This type of response has the advantage that little details won’t be available.

Low notes aren’t going to rattle your skull, and there won’t be a lot of boomy echoes to deal with. That may not be what you’re looking for, but this type of sound means you won’t lose quiet sounds in the low end, like heavy footsteps behind you. When you switch to music, you’ll be able to hear vocals and synths in a good balance of loudness, and you’ll be able to hear the qualities inherent to the instruments, like the distortion added to the low synth in Childish Gambino’s Sober.

Controls:

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Those headphones have a very simple control system for gaming. They have a remote in-line with a volume control potentiometer, and a quick switch to activate or disable the microphone. It’s very simple and lacks some handheld power which is slightly disappointing as these headphones can also be used easily outside when eliminating the detachable microphone. However, the volume control input isn’t perfect and doesn’t have distinct notches to set the desired volume level, but the switch is relatively sensitive and simple to use on the upside.

The most important feature of the above map is that fall at 4kHz. While it may seem out of reach, sidestepping some of the problems other customers have with headphones is not an unusual approach to. That is, it strips off the stigma with harsh sibilant noises such as f, s, sh tones, cymbals and ringing. However, some people hear some resonances and reflections in this spectrum based on their ear canals, so some developers will also downplay this narrow band to prevent it. While this is a smart way to go, you might expect certain atmospheric effects in your games may sound a bit different, but it’s really such a minor thing that you won’t notice it until someone points it out.

Breathability:

Like the Cloud II and the Logitech G Pro, the Cloud Alpha produces a fairly good seal across the ears that prevents a good amount of ventilation so they aren’t going to be the most breathable headphones for deep listening. Following 1 hour of sustained listening they can make your ears relatively moist and would not be ideal for intense workouts. They have a closed-back and sadly they don’t come with more breathable pads like the Logitech G433 or the Astro A50 so they won’t be perfect if you often have lengthy, intense gaming sessions, but if you take breaks from time to time they should be great.

Build Quality:

The Alpha HyperX Cloud are built-in and robust headphones. They have a sturdy and lightweight aluminum frame and fairly dense ear cups that will not crack if you drop the headphones once or twice by mistake. Unlike the Cloud II, on their ear cups the Alpha don’t have reflective backplates that can get damaged from daily wear and tear. Overall, it is a good quality of design that may not look as big as the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas or the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but it looks sturdy and should last you for a while.

Performance:

However, the sound profile of the Cloud Alpha makes it one of the finest headsets for gaming but not much more than that. That’s due to the HyperX Cloud Alpha’s new dual-chamber engine, which provides clearer audio with less distortion. Essentially, this new driver’s heightened sophistication enables the bass to have its own room while mid-tones hop off the closed headset back. Fortunately, the HyperX Cloud Alpha has richer mid-tones and more sturdy bass than many of the competition. Compared to the DTS 7.1 surround sound on the Logitech G433 and SteelSeries Arctis 5, the HyperX Cloud Alphy can only offer stereo sound, but the HyperX 2.1 channels sound full baked and less artificious.

Bass:

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The HyperX Cloud Alpha have an excellent bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is great. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music and video games, is within 1dB of our target. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, is also within 1dB of our neutral target. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is overemphasized by more than 2dB, which adds a bit of muddiness to the sound. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

The biggest difference between this Alpha model and previous Cloud designs is a two-chamber spec that allows bass and mid frequencies to reverberate in their own compartments within the 50mm driver. The idea is to minimise distortion and maximise articulation, and while we’d love to see the frequencies bouncing around inside the driver and check that this design’s actually isolating frequencies so precisely, we’ll instead have to defer to our ears. Distortion: almost none at uncomfortably loud volumes. Articulation: fantastic.

The microphone is a bit wonky but perfect otherwise. If you have a very deep voice, it may make you sound a bit different over speech clients such as Discord. Yet the vast majority of people aren’t going to have the same issues I had with it. You’ll notice it slightly highlights notes that help people understand what you’re saying, but slightly de-emphasizes the range of basic notes. You should refer to the clip above to see what it is like in the real world, but you’ll find it’s not quite the HyperX Quadcast or anything else right away. If vocals are extremely important to you, I recommend you use a USB microphone or a game microphone in conjunction with your headset instead of just that.

Perhaps one of the most Platonically-ideal gaming headsets of late, the HyperX Cloud Alpha offers a good mix of high performance, good sound quality and exceptional value. It may sound strange to you that I consider an extreme value a $100 gaming headset but look at it this way: if you’re up all night hacking, if you’re spending a lot of time on your skull with headphones— you may waste hundreds or thousands of dollars pursuing efficiency. The Alpha HyperX Cloud delivers consistency above its price point, so it will always be a trusty companion. In comparison, gaming headsets in the sub-$100 category are typically made of components that are either damaged easily or quickly degrade with heavy.

THE VERDICT:

The HyperX Cloud Alpha feels remarkably premium for a $99 headset, offering great sound and supremely comfortable ear cups within an attractive, sturdy design. While its microphone could be better, the Alpha’s overall great performance makes it one of the best sub-$100 headsets out there — though it has some serious competition.

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The Alpha HyperX Cloud is not the one-all-be-all headset the rivals try to sell. Instead it’s a well-designed headset for gaming that offers slight yet significant improvements over its predecessor. You won’t find a better sounding stereo gaming headset for $99 (£ 99, AU$169) but you’ll have to search for something more flexible somewhere. HyperX Cloud’s latest version is at the very top of the pile. Just like long-running successful sports dynasties, there’s a tendency to become blasé or jaded about it after four years leading the best headset gaming guides, but that prestige is truly earned. Given the narrowing of the distance between this and the chasing pack, and given Steelseries ‘ rising domination in the wireless market, this is still your first option for a wired headset under $100.

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