The Cloud Alpha look a lot like the original Cloud with a few positive tweaks, notable in the aluminum band and earcup design, which have changed pretty drastically, despite having similar aesthetics to previous HyperX headsets. I personally love the look of the HyperX Cloud Alpha, as the red aluminum and leather material really complement each other quite well. There is an excellent build quality about this headset, with the band able to be flexed from side to side and bent without any creaking or issues bouncing back.
The outer earups of the Cloud Alpha will be instantly recognizable to those familiar with earlier HyperX headsets. Rather than radically change a popular design, HyperX has made subtle, yet effective changes to the design of the Cloud Alpha. An aluminum band featuring stylized cutouts is being used, now. The HyperX logo is prominently displayed on the earcups, which feature a matte aluminum design that the logo stands out quite nicely on. The original HyperX Cloud had a brushed aluminum design that was more susceptible to fingerprints, with the design of the Cloud Alpha much easier to clean and looking better, to boot. The new swivel design and band were actually designed to reduce clamping force from the original Cloud. The original Cloud are already a very comfortable headset, so HyperX advertising an improvement in comfort and being able to deliver on it is impressive.
The padded leatherette ear pads of the Cloud Alpha are replaceable and have a great build quality to them, with quite a bit of padding that is soft and forming, while not giving way completely. These ear pads are an around-ear design and had no problems containing my ears without putting any pressure on my outer lobes, an issue I tend to run into a lot when testing headsets and headphones. HyperX has made ear pads available with different materials for their other headsets, such as velour cups for the original Cloud/Cloud II/CloudX, so I hope that the Cloud Alpha receives the same treatment and we get some options down the road for when it’s time to replace the originals. Thankfully, the included ear pads are awesome, so there isn’t an immediate need or want for replacements.
HyperX have placed a group of ports on the bottom of both earcups. This type of design moves the headset from being completely closed to having some open-back properties and should help a bit with widening the soundstage of the headphone. To which degree these ports are effective is something I can’t possibly measure, beyond a subjective listening test comparing the Cloud Alpha to the original Cloud, but seeing this design element in place definitely got me interested and I have to think there is going to be some benefit, unless HyperX was just into doing some extra tooling on the headset for no reason.
Since the earcups for the HyperX Cloud Alpha are suspended on the aluminum frame, they connect to the base of the unit through a short cable that connects at the swivel mechanism. This cable is long enough to allow full extension of the earcups from the base, as there are eight points of ratcheting adjustment on each side that allow the headphone to extend quite a bit. The area where the swivel connects is well-made, with excellent materials being used and two Phillips screws holding the plastic together. The area where the headband meets the plastic is done well, with no manufacturing defects or loose material.
The Cloud Alpha has a very attractive, well-made upper headband that covers the aluminum band holding the unit together. The stitching here looks great, with a very nicely stamped HyperX logo standing out, but not making the headset gaudy or stand out in a negative way. This headband really complements the rest of the unit and has a great build quality that I feel will hold up to years of use.
Though they are on the right side on this photo, there are two non-proprietary ports on the left-side earcup of the HyperX Cloud Alpha, meaning the microphone and cable will be come from the left ear when using the headset properly. The port in the middle of the earcup is for a 3.5mm cable to attach the Cloud Alpha to whichever device you may be using it with and this port can be used with any 3.5mm audio cable. The other port, with an oval indentation around it, is for the included microphone and the indentation allows the mic to fasten to the headphone more securely and not be able to spin or fall out easily. The move to removable, replaceable cables is a very welcome, due upgrade to the original Cloud.
The included microphone snaps into place easily thanks to the indentation in the earcup and is very easy to adjust for optimal voice pick-up. The microphone cord is very flexible, with a nice, rubberized texture and it holds in place well once adjusted. The mic cable also does a good job of preventing unwanted pick up, as it didn’t produce any unwanted noise when touching or adjusting the cable itself.
With quality materials used throughout, from the leatherette-covered aluminum headband, to the excellent memory foam material in the ear pads and headband, the HyperX Cloud Alpha has a lot going for it. The build quality of the HyperX Cloud Alpha is excellent and the aesthetic appeal has been improved from the previous HyperX headsets, as well. Let’s see how the latest headset from HyperX performs in a variety of subjective tests, now.