HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset Review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha Headset – Comfort Testing, Mic Test and Subjective Listening

For testing the Cloud Alpha, I used the audio ports on a Creative Sound Blaster X Katana, with any enhancements for audio processing turned off. The Katana runs at 24-Bit with 96,000Hz sampling. The headphone jack on the Katana isn’t designed for high impedence headphones, but had no problem driving the HyperX Cloud Alpha to high, satisfying volumes that did not distort. I did some brief testing with a Sound Blaster GX5 external DAC and while it is able to push a bit more power than the Katana, the differences were very minimal. Testing with the Realtek audio provided by a Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 motherboard netted similar results to the Katana, with the Realtek audio actually able to output at higher volumes thanks to an internal amp designed to push up to 500Ohm headphones. So, ehile putting the HyperX Cloud Alpha on a decent sound card provides a slight improvement in sound quality, based on our experience, it isn’t necessary and the HyperX Cloud Alpha will work great with decent onboard sound.

HyperX Cloud Alpha - In Use

The clamping force of the HyperX Cloud Alpha was perfect for my head right out of the box once the height was adjusted. I have a larger head and it can take a bit of time for headsets to break-in, with the initial clamping force being a bit too much before some stretching of the unit. I did not have that problem at all with the HyperX Cloud Alpha. As I stated before, the earcups sat around my ears perfectly and always remained comfortable, which is something I often find issue with on even expensive headphones. Thanks to the excellent materials used throughout and an emphasis on comfort, the HyperX Cloud Alpha are one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve had the pleasure of using. Outside of gaming and home use, we could see somebody using the HyperX Cloud Alpha on a train ride home, in the gym, or any other number of applications, given their excellent comfort and build quality.

 

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HyperX really touted their dual chamber technology as the biggest improvement they made with the Cloud Alpha. Does this new dual chamber technology work, in practice, or is it just marketing hype that I won’t be able to actually hear? Based on what I’ve experienced since receiving the headset, it works great and HyperX has actually done a great job of engineering these drivers. The Cloud Alpha do an excellent job of separating bass from the midrange and upper frequencies, to give everything a more distinct, clear sound. While most gaming headsets tend to be bass-heavy, HyperX has actually managed to get the Cloud Alpha in the realm of having tight, controlled bass. For a $99 headset, the sound quality of the HyperX Alpha is really surprising. I felt that the original Cloud sounded good, with a sound that leaned towards having heavy bass and punchy highs, with the midrange a bit more flat and subdued. The Cloud Alpha, on the other hand, has a very distinct high and midrange along with tight bass, which is excellent when it comes to separating footsteps from explosions in an intense game of Battlefield 1. One thing I did notice was that with a standard 3.5mm cable that didn’t come with the Cloud Alpha, the audio output was just a slight bit stronger than when using the included cable set. I have a feeling that even when they are set at full volume, the in-line controls may be giving a small bit of resistance. The difference in output between cables was negligible and I only noticed it at the upper volume levels.

HyperX Cloud Alpha - Microphone Attached

Certified for Discord and featuring noice-cancellation technology, the microphone on the HyperX Cloud Alpha should allow for acceptable use in gaming scenarios. HyperX includes a pop filter/moisture guard on the microphone that can be easily replaced, as well.Β  I took a sample recording to help our readers get a better understanding of how the microphone on the HyperX Cloud Alpha sounds.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha mic quality was good when recorded through our Creative Sound Blaster Katana mic-in port, with no enhancements being used. The micΒ  didn’t have any cracking or unusual pops, though there was some minor sibilants that I was able to hear, which is common with these types of mics.Β  Finally, the mic levels were set to 100 with no gain and for these recordings, I tried to talk in as subdued a voice as possible, to let the mics do the work.

Testing with on board audio, we can tell the sound isn’t as crisp and we’re not picking up as dynamic a range, but it’s still suitable for gaming purposes. My onboard audio is an ALC1150 codec on the Z97X Gaming 7 from Gigabyte, which is decent, but pretty comparable to what you’ll find on most “gaming” boards, these days.

To compare the HyperX Cloud Alpha with a decent desktop mic, here is a recording using the Blue Snowball Black under the same recording parameters. Keep in mind that the Snowball has its own built-in sound card, while the HyperX Cloud Alpha was tested using an external device, the Sound Blaster X Katana.

As you can hear by the differences between the microphones, while it’s certainly no replacement for a decent desktop microphone like a Blue Snowball or Yeti, the HyperX Cloud Alpha has a great mic when compared to most other gaming headsets, especially those in the $99 range. I see no reason you couldn’t use this mic for professional gaming where clarity is crucial and even feel it would be acceptable for basic Twitch streaming. It worked well with our various listening and input devices and I didn’t have any issues with people hearing me clearly in multiple games of PUBG or Discord chat.

I tried to find fault in the HyperX Cloud Alpha and see if it came short in some areas, but it was such a versatile headset that I fell in love with very quickly and ended up using for more than just gaming. Since they have such a great base sound, the Cloud Alpha excel for music and movies and I am able to wear this headset for longer than any unit I’ve previously reviewed before discomfort sets in. In fact, I can’t say that the HyperX Cloud Alpha have ever been taken off because of discomfort, generally I just get tired and give up. I’ve got a pair of Sennheiser HD598CS that the Cloud Alpha compare favorably with, with a very slight edge in comfort and soundstage going to the Sennheisers, which carry a $50 premium over the Cloud Alpha and don’t include a mic or carrying case.

Let’s wrap up this review with my overall thoughts on the HyperX Cloud Alpha and see where it stands compared to the current offerings in the competive gaming headset market.

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  • 99q__

    guys this or the artics 5?

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      IMO, unless you need RGB or surround, or another of the features of Arctis 5, these all day.

  • Alex

    I`ve had a bit of a strange issue with my Alphas,the mic to be exact.There always was a pretty strong hissing soud coming from it(besides a mic volume issue,which I think could be circumstantial),initially I thought it was a driver related issue,but I plugged them into my phone and the hissing was still present.I`m using a Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3( Realtek ALC 1220),and the headset was connected directly into the rear 3.5mm ports.I`m pretty sure the cable was plugged all the way in.I`ve since RMAd the Alphas,and after checking it the etailer I bought it from concluded that everything was alright with it.I`m thinking about getting another pair but since I don`t really know what the cause of the issue was,I`m a bit skeptical.Has anyone encountered a similar problem?Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      I can’t be 100% sure, but it sounds like you may have an issue with the in-line controls on your Cloud Alpha. My headset produces no hiss, but if that cable were to develop an issue, it could cause potential interference, since it is a resistance adjustment.

  • paalo sordoni

    Very nice informative review ,on offer at the moment in the uk,Β£60 ,absolute steal !!

  • Thank you so much for this review, your head seems about the same size as mine and I really can relate to certain very expensive headsets feeling very uncomfortable, especially at first. I was going to stick with steelseries but after reading your excellent and thorough review I am going to give this product a try. Your work here is truly appreciated.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      The Cloud Alpha’s will be more comfortable than the SteelSeries, for sure. The SS are great, but the Cloud Alpha are a step above in terms of audio quality and comfort.

  • 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 πŸ™‚
        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 πŸ˜€

          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 πŸ™‚

        • 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 πŸ™‚

          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.

        • Radu

          Actually Kingston released a firmware update that makes the sound card compatible with PS4 as well, go check it out πŸ˜‰

    • 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! πŸ™‚

    • 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. πŸ™‚