HyperX has been busy releasing gaming headsets that cater to different preferences in audio hardware. They’ve released a few headsets this year with varying features and price points. Their newest in their Cloud series is the Cloud Alpha S, a wired PC headset that offers adjustable bass boost, stereo and 7.1 surround sound, priced around the middle tier of gaming headsets. The Cloud Alpha S could be described as an upgraded version of their Cloud Alpha as it shares some design similarities. The Cloud Alpha S features the familiar HyperX headset physical design and also shares some audio shaping designs such as dual chamber technology to help separate the bass from the mids and highs.
The Cloud Alpha S has a durable aluminum frame, breathable leatherette ear cushions, detachable noise cancelling mic and a braided cable. This headset also comes with an extra set of fabric ear cushions and a travel bag. On the cable there is an audio mixer control pad that allows for easy access to switching from stereo and 7.1 surround sound along with independent game and chat volume controls, along with a mute button for the microphone. On the headset there are bass boost sliders that have three different levels so players can choose how little or how much low end they want in the mix. The controls are designed for on-the-fly sound adjustments which can be crucial in online sessions.
Driver: Custom dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
Type: Circumaural, Closed back
Frequency response: 13Hz–27kHz
Sound pressure level: 99dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
Impedance: 65 Ω
T.H.D.: ≤ 1%
Weight with mic: 321g
Cable length: 1m
Connection type: 3.5mm plug (4 pole)
Element: Electret condenser microphone
Polar pattern: Bi-directional, Noise-cancelling
Frequency response: 50Hz – 18kHz
Sensitivity: -38dBV (0dB=1V/Pa at 1kHz)
USB Audio Control Mixer
Cable length: 2m
One of the nice features about the Cloud Alpha S is the mixer that’s on the cable. Being able to adjust the chat and game volume mix in real time without disrupting gameplay is a good feature to include in any headset. The 7.1 surround sound can be switched on or off at the push of a button on the audio control mixer. The mixer has a clip so it can be attached to the user’s sleeve for ease of access, but even without doing that it is a user friendly and convenient way to optimize the sound mix. The Cloud Alpha S is lightweight and comfortable but is noticeable after a couple hours of use. Overall, the ease of controlling the sound mix and relatively long amount of time it can be worn comfortably makes this is a good headset for PC gaming.
The sound quality of the Cloud Alpha S is impressive. The bass boost sliders are on each earcuff and have three different intensity levels. The maximum bass boost isn’t as thunderous as it is on some other bass boosting headsets, but there’s a noticeable difference between the three increments, and does add some fullness and rumble. More importantly, even at the maximum level the low remains clean and undistorted. For gaming, especially in first-person competitive games, the 7.1 is recommended since that creates a greater sense of immersion and helps locate the source of a threat. There is a distinction between stereo and 7.1 in both gaming and listening to music. Generally speaking my preference is to keep 7.1 on but individual tastes my vary, especially since how the source material is mixed will factor into how exactly the 7.1 will change the sound. Audio that has been mixed to optimize surround sound will take full advantage of the headset’s capabilities but the 7.1 provides greater distinction between the individual tracks even for audio that wasn’t mixed for it. The difference between having the 7.1 point on or off is significant with most recordings tested during the review.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha S is the latest addition to a line of high quality HyperX headsets. Priced at $129.99, the Cloud Alpha S offers high quality gaming audio at a middle tier price point. This is designed specifically for PC so console gamers are out of luck. People looking for a single headset for all their devices would need to look at some other HyperX models but for a something that is specifically PC this is a great option. Personal opinion is the 7.1 mode enhances the sound for just about everything that was tested during the review process and the Cloud Alpha S is a great headset for PC gaming and listening to music.