HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset Review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset

HyperX Cloud Alpha Side ViewWhen it comes down to it, for any PC or console gamer who is interested in playing multiplayer games, a headset of some type is not just recommended, it borders on a necessity. Communication with your team will be ruined if a proper headphone and mic combination isn’t used, as sound from standard speakers or television will create feedback over your mic. In short, unless you want your teammates to be upset and your housemates to hear all the lovely things your opponents have to say in response to you fragging them, a headset is a very wise investment. With so many options out there in the $99 range, which headset is worth your money? Today, we’re looking at the latest headset from a brand, that over the past few years has become a major player in the gaming headset market, HyperX.

Beginning life as a division of Kingston in 2002, HyperX is a very popular manufacturer of products aimed at the PC enthusiast, including high performance SSD’s, DDR4 memory and various peripherals. In 2014, along with with QPad, HyperX produced their first gaming headset, which is known as the Cloud (Model Number KHX-H3CL/WR). If you take a look at Amazon reviews for the original Cloud, you will see that HyperX has sold thousands of units and that they carry a 4.2 star review average. HyperX has produced other successful gaming headsets such as the Cloud Revolver, but the original Cloud, or the Cloud Stinger for those on a budget, have remained steady personal recommendations of mine for those looking for a solid gaming headset at a great price to performance ratio. The HyperX Cloud lineup have received countless recommendations and awards from tech sites around the world and long term consumer reviews tend to back up the greatness proclaimed by professional reviewers. In short, HyperX knows how to make a great gaming headset and have done very well in the crowded, hyper-competitive arena of PC gaming headsets over the last couple of years.

Not wanting to rest on their laurels in the face of competition, HyperX went back to the drawing board and have designed their newest headset, the Cloud Alpha, from the ground up in an effort to address the major concerns that users had with their previous headsets and deliver the absolute best gaming headset in the market for $99. The original Cloud, Cloud Core and Cloud II are all based around the Takstar Pro 80 and HyperX could only do so much with the original design. Notably, HyperX has made major design changes to the drivers of their latest headset in order to separate bass from the midrange and upper frequencies, in addition to several design changes to address user comfort. Can HyperX succeed and deliver on a promise to improve on an already-great product, or will their redesigned HyperX Cloud Alpha deviate too much from a great thing?

HyperX Cloud Alpha Specifications

HyperX Cloud Alpha Headset Specs (Model Number HX-HSCA-RD/AM)
Driver: Custom dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
Type: Circumaural, closed back
Frequency response: 13Hz–27,000Hz
Impedance: 65 Ω
Sound pressure level: 98dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
T.H.D.: < 1%
Weight: 298g
Weight with mic & cable: 336g
Cable length and type: Detachable headset cable (1.3m) + PC extension cable (2m)
Connection: Detachable headset cable – 3.5mm plug (4 pole) + PC extension cable – 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs
Microphone Specs
Element: Electret condenser microphone
Polar pattern: Noise-cancelling
Frequency response: 50Hz-18,000Hz
Sensitivity: -43dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

 

The HyperX Cloud Alpha (HX-HSCA-RD-AM) is available as of today on Amazon for $99.99, putting it in competition with wired gaming headsets like the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 and Logitech G433. The Cloud Alpha are covered by a two year warranty, which is comparable to Logitechs warranty on headsets, with companies like Creative, Razer and SteelSeries only providing a one year warranty. We feel that a two year warranty on a gaming headset is fully adequate and should cover any defects that are related to manufacturing, as beyond a certain point, wear and tear on a headset that gets normal use should be expected. With competing headsets offering just a one year warranty, the additional year offered by HyperX may give consumers a better sense of overall value and peace of mind that they are getting a well-made product.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha feature a very respectable frequency response specification, with the ability to dip down into the 13Hz range on the low end and topping out at 27Khz, where the competing SteelSeries Arctis 5 and Logitech G433 are capable of producing at 20Hz-20Khz. Whether you will notice the difference in frequency response capabilities when listening to these headsets is debateable, but the ability of the headset to cover a wider range of frequencies than competing units is impressive, on paper.

HyperX Cloud Alpha - Sound Chambers

With 50mm drivers that have been designed from the ground up by HyperX to feature custom sound chambers that isolate bass from the midrange and upper frequencies, the Cloud Alpha definitely interested me when I first heard about them about a month ago. The previous HyperX Cloud has 53mm drivers, so the Cloud Alpha are actually slightly downsized. Like their predecessor, though, the HyperX Cloud Alpha feature a closed back design with brushed aluminum outer earcups that have been stylized with the HyperX logo. The closed back design of the HyperX Alpha means they will isolate you from outside sound better, but compared to open-back sets, the soundstage will be reduced. This hasn’t been an issue for me in testing various gaming headsets, as closed-back designs have grown on me thanks to their ability to shut out outside noise and thus provide better isolation.

The HyperX Alpha have a 65 Ohm impedence, but aren’t the type of headset that a high end DAC and amp combo are going to wake up, so extra budgeting won’t be necessary to get the most out of this headset if you’re already using a midrange or higher motherboard, given the improvements to onboard audio over the last few years. As long as you have a decent onboard audio solution, the HyperX Cloud Alpha should work well with your setup. Users who budget for a higher end audio setup with DAC likely will choose to go with a set of premium headphones and dedicated mic setup, at any rate.

Weighing in at 336g (about 11.85 OZ) with the mic and cable factored in, the HyperX Cloud Alpha are pretty lightweight, which for many people is a top consideration when considering a headset, though there are plenty of plastic-based units that weigh less. The Logitech G433, for example, are a little bit lighter than the Cloud Alpha headset, but also feature plastic construction and 40mm drivers, so the tradeoffs are there for consideration.

Let’s take a closer look and see how HyperX has packaged their latest premium headset.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Retail Packaging

They HyperX Cloud Alpha box is very attractive and carries a premium feel about it, with an outer sleeve surrounding a box that pulls out. The graphics of the headphone are in a glossy, high resolution form that lets the headphone really pop and stand out from the background. Compatibility of the Cloud Alpha with various platforms clearly headlines the front top of the packaging and HyperX has even made sure to note support for the Nintendo Switch console. As HyperX has noted on the lower left front corner of the box, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is certified for Discord and Teamspeak, both very popular programs, with LegitReviews staff relying on Discord for in-game chat when we play together. HyperX has also wisely made sure to point out the 2 Year Warranty of the Cloud Alpha next to the Discord and Teamspeak certification logos.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Retail Packaging -Rear of Box

Touting compatibility with software or games that are popular is something manufacturers have done for quite some timem, since it definitely can’t hurt sales. HyperX has made sure to note support for just about every major chat client, from Discord to Ventrillo, on the back of the Cloud Alpha box. The detachable cable with inline controls, memory phone earcups and the aluminum frame are other points of interest that HyperX points out on the box.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha Clamshell

HyperX Cloud Alpha (Instruction Manual)

When you open the box for the HyperX Cloud Alpha, you are greeted by a user guide and product pamphlet for other HyperX products.  The user guide is basic, but it covers how to install the headset on various platforms, including PC and XBOX One.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Headset In It's Packaging

We come away with a great first impression with the Cloud Alpha, as they have been packaged very nicely in their clamshell. The headphones themselves are surrounded very snugly with a plastic clamshell over their cardboard packaging, to prevent things from moving around. The microphone is also packaged snugly and is kept in place during shipping.

 

HyperX Cloud Alpha Box

HyperX Cloud Alpha Accessories

Beneath the HyperX Cloud Alpha is a branded box containing the cables for the headset, along with a carrying bag. The cables have been cleverly designed, with inline volume control and a mic switch on the cable that connects to the main headset. This gives the headset the ability to be plugged into console controller while ensuring the cable isn’t too long and cumbersome for console users. The other cable included with the HyperX Cloud Alpha is designed for use with a PC, as it splits the microphone and audio signals. The cables included with the HyperX Cloud Alpha are braided, look good and have a nice build quality about them. The ability to use your own cable with the HyperX Cloud Alpha was a wise move, as many users who have suffered a severed headphone cable that can’t be replaced will attest. The HyperX-branded carrying bag is made of a polyester material and should do well to protect the headphones from scratches and dings during transport.

Packaging is the first impression we get with the Cloud Alpha and HyperX certainly hasn’t disappointed. Let’s take a closer look at the HyperX Cloud Alpha headset and its design elements, now.

 

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  • PrototypeTec

    What’s a good additional 3.5 mm headphone cable? I have a few lying around but none fit, though I have heard that Vmoda cables are pretty decent. I just wanna be prepared for the inevitable tearing of the headphone cable… At least they’re braided.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      What is the issue you are having with 3.5MM cables fitting? Are the ends too large to fit into the Cloud Alpha?

      You can get a replacement cable from HyperX. I have a 3.5MM cable I got from IXCC on Amazon a long time ago that works, you just need one with a small enough end to fit. Also, make sure you get a 4 Pole connector.

      • PrototypeTec

        Yes, the spare cables I had lying around were not 4-pole connectors and the ends were too large.

        Really? It must not be on their accessories page. I recently ordered their USB 7.1 Surround Sound Card (Revolver S model), in hopes of improving my sound quality on the PS4. iXCC 3.5mm cable from Amazon? Thanks, you’re the first person to give me a serious response.

  • EB

    I ordered an Astro A40 + MixAmp Pro TR combo for my XB1 but after a shipping mishap only ended up receiving the Mixamp pro. Thinking of getting the Alpha’s over the A40s now. Thanks for the review.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      These are going to sound great on console if you hook them up to a Mixamp, man.

  • dMN

    My cloud alpha mic isn’t working. Got another pair and it’s still the same. My old headset is working perfectly fine. When I plug cloud alpha cables, I can only hear voice, but mic is meh. When I’am trying it in team speak, I can only hear some strange noises, and not my voice. There are no drivers for this headset, so how the hell can I even make it work?

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      Make sure you are plugging the cables into the right ports, as mixing the mic and speaker cables might still let them work, but there will be funky cross-talk. I’ve used the Cloud Alpha and mic with my onboard sound, a Katana and an external GX5. I was just playing PUBG earlier with our Editor in Chief and the mic on the Cloud Alpha worked fine. If two different units haven’t worked, I think there may be other problems. Was your other headset a USB headset, or did it use the same audio ports as the Cloud Alpha?

  • Be My Guest

    Surround in cans is a gimmick … simulated or otherwise.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      The Cloud is a stereo headset and really fits into the market exactly where a gaming headset should. When you start to spend more for gaming headsets, the prospect of rolling your own headset becomes to hard to ignore. As it stands, it’s tough to roll your own headset that’s going to be better than the Cloud Alpha at $99, though. Also, I agree, simulated surround tends to make headsets sound awful by messing with delay and accentuating frequencies way too much. A good binaural recording is where it’s at. Unfortunately, so many people want surround sound and will disregard a headset if it is not capable, so I did have to make those points about the Cloud Alpha. It didn’t change my personal perspective of them, but console users should be aware of their limitations.

      • Be My Guest

        I think the statement that ‘so many people want’ something is dangerous territory. And if we are going to throw caution to the wind with respect to anecdotal evidence, I haven’t met anyone that was persuaded to buy a headset based on the surround feature and few that have used it for any duration when the headset was capable.

        All that said – I still thoroughly enjoyed your review.

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          Trust me, I wouldn’t be spouting that about surround sound and it being popular if it wasn’t. You should see the comments on the Youtube videos for this. So many people are in the A)it’s not wireless, boo! or B)it doesn’t have surround on console? Boo! camp. I personally don’t like them, but Astro sells a LOT of those Mixamps for consoles, or just standalone Mixamps, because console gamers want surround sound.

          There is definitely a camp of people out there who like surround sound gaming. I try to not talk to them, or we might get into an argument.

        • Be My Guest

          I wasn’t denying the existence of people that ‘require’ surround or who find it pleasant – just pointing out the obvious pitfalls of drive-by statistics is all.

          My experience tells me surround sound in cans is a similar phenomenon to what 3D was to televisions and the transient nature of those hard to capture market demand numbers – that are highly sketch – a lot of the time.

  • Sheetal

    Nice Products Loved it http://www.gurgaonescortservice.com

  • Robin030

    Hey i have the Cloud Alpha II and im playing on PS4 is it worth upgrading to the alpha?

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      I don’t personally think it’s going to be worth a $100 upgrade over the Cloud II. Wait until you need a replacement set to upgrade. The Cloud Alpha are an improvement, but it’s hard to justify spending $100 when you’ve already got a great headset in the Cloud II. You can use the 7.1 USB adapter that comes with the Cloud II with the Cloud Alpha, if you do choose to upgrade.

      • Robin030

        thx for the reply i will hold off on buying for the time being then 🙂
        If i ever wanna upgrade which headset would you choose over the cloud II in a sub 150€ price range?

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          That’s about $175 USD and in that range, you’ve got a lot of options to consider. I’d consider going with a set of Sennheiser or Audio Technica’s and rolling a ModMic onto them and getting into a true headphone + mic combo. The HyperX Cloud Alpha would be an upgrade over your Cloud II, but for your budget, do a true upgrade you can appreciate instead of sticking with gaming headsets. Here is what I’d do:

          The Audio Technica ATH-AD700X headphone is a low impedence headphone with amazingly balanced sound. $103.70 USD on Amazon in the USA. Not sure what your local price would be, but it should be similar, as Audio Technica has a pretty solid distribution in the European market.
          https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009S332TQ/ref=psdc_12097479011_t1_B004FEEY9A

          Then, I’d get an AntLion modmic, which is a great mic that you can use with any headphones you happen to purchase now or in the future.
          https://www.amazon.com/Antlion-Audio-Modular-Attachable-Microphone/dp/B01MCYRKY3/ref=pd_sim_23_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=D6Q7W4Q4QWK56BA1RQGX

          Hope this helps. There are a lot of options, but if I had your budget, this is what I would do. If you didn’t already have the Cloud II and were trying to only spend $100 USD, I’d tell you to get the Cloud Alpha. If you have more, do something like the kit I recommended.

        • Robin030

          thanks a lot for the input man i will think on this and decide what to treat myself to come christmas 😀

          Great review btw i’ll be looking out for future stuff from you!

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          Do you plan on using the headset with PC at all or dabbling in PC gaming? When I made my recommendation, I totally slipped on that you’re going PS4. If you’re going PS4-only, the Astro stuff is really good. I’d stick with the Cloud II and get a Mixamp if you’re serious about your gaming sound and feel it’s lacking, right now. The Astro will add quite a bit of bass and clarity to the Cloud II vs. the PS4 controller.

        • Robin030

          Im on PS only.
          I will def check it out then and see if its worth the investment for me 🙂

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          Please let me know what you do and your feelings on whichever headset upgrade you go with. Thanks, again, for coming to LegitReviews to check out this review. I’m working on a few other reviews of some exciting Logitech gaming products right now, so stay tuned.

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          Oh, If you didn’t know, the USB card that comes with the Cloud 2 will let you do 7.1 with any headset that has a 3.5MM jack, so you can still get virtualized surround if you upgrade to a non-HyperX headset.

        • Godly XO

          Headsets do matter, but they aren’t the same as they use to be. Years ago, there were MANY different options for gamers to look into when it came to headsets. Now adays, most headsets are for pc & console, & the PS4 controller runs the sound quality for most headsets, not the headset itself. Basically you will constantly find this problem going around for headsets. Your best bet is to get an astro mixamp or any good quality mixamp to pair for your headsets because I know the bass sound quality is awful for HyperX on console specifically. I have had quite the few pairs. If you don’t want to spend the extra cash for a mixamp, I’d say go to Skullcandy’s website & try to find the Skullcandy PLYR 2’s or the PLYR 1’s. Those have rich bass with rich high’s & low’s. They are very old and hard to find, but some of the best headsets you can find for console now adays & they are very cheap now. And wireless.

        • Robin030

          hey thx for joining in 🙂

          Which Mixamp exactly would be best for me if i keep using the Cloud II for the time being?

          Astro MixAmp Pro TR?

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          I personally prefer binaural audio, but the Astro Mixamps, even the entry ones, will improve your sound quality quite a bit vs. using the controller 3.5MM jack on consoles. I am more of a PC guy, but the Astro (now owned by Logitech) Mixamp stuff is highly rated by console users, for sure.

      • Godly XO

        The 7.1 USB sound card will not be good for him. He said he uses HyperX Cloud II’s for PS4. That sound card does not work on console. I would know because I have owned many different HyperX headsets. In fact the headsets itself sound better plugged into the controller than with the USB sound card, surprisingly. The best move here for console is to get an astro mixamp to pair with the headset.

        • Sean Kumar Sinha

          Yeah, at some point in replying, I totally forgot he was using console-only and was talking as if he’d be also using the headset on a PC, possibly. For PS4, I’d stick with Astro, or possibly even the PS4 wireless headset. Unfortunately, the Astro has a pretty high cost of entry for the mixamp, but he could use it with his existing headset to improve sound quality.

    • Maurice Fortin

      since when is there a cloud alpha 2 ^.^
      there is cloud, cloud 2, cloud core, cloud revolver, cloudX..and now Cloud Alpha.

      • Sean Kumar Sinha

        It can definitely get confusing, but Robin030 has the Cloud II right now. He probably read the review and got the “Alpha” in his head, but we clarified that he has the Cloud II headset. Trust me, with every HyperX headset carrying the “Cloud” designation, it can get confusing.

      • Robin030

        fixed it

  • Nice review, I seen your reply to one of the YouTubers on the Tek Syndicate video, that’s what brought me here! 🙂

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      I am glad my Youtube comment reached you and that you got to read my thoughts on the HyperX Cloud Alpha. If you need any advice or have any questions on how this headset works that the review didn’t cover, feel free to message me. Thanks for the kind feedback, as well. 🙂