If you’re a gamer or just want to be one, rich robust audio is crucial to get the full gaming experience. The HyperX Cloud Alpha gaming headset features fat 50mm neodymium dual chamber drivers to immerse you in your virtual world with cleaner and more detailed sound. Lets take a look.
Compatible with PC, PS4 & Xbox One, Nintendo Switch Hyper X’s Cloud Alpha Pro gives great overall performance and sound at a price point that won’t break the bank. If you’re looking to use the Cloud Alpha with your Xbox One, you can plug directly into the controllers as it is compatible with anything that has a 3.5mm audio jack. If you want to add surround sound the USB 7.1 audio dongle is $29.99.
Wrapped in a black and red Air Jordan color scheme, the Cloud Alpha keeps in style with the rest of the Cloud headsets with a premium design and a little industrial style chucked in. A detachable cable and boom mic makes it easier to take along with you and your gear for a LAN party or for when you’re traveling as well as for replacement-sake.
We love good hinges, on cars or cabinets and headphones too. It can be a component that helps give a clue on the quality of a product. The Cloud Alpha feels well made and sturdy. Also comes with a monster silky bag for storage and transport. Not super thrilled about the silky bag but at least it has a carry case.
The footprint isn’t tiny, the cups are pretty large. The width of the cups together is about 4 inches. Just for size comparison our goto V-moda over-the-ear headphones are much lower profile, cups are smaller in diameter as well as thickness.
The fit of the Cloud Alpha is very comfortable, extendable arms adjust easily and you’ll get about 1.5 inches or slightly more of extension on each side to accommodate larger heads. No issues wearing glasses with them for us. The soft leatherette ear cups and headband are well-cushioned and the lightweight headphones do well for extended wear.
Large 50mm neodymium magnet dual chamber drivers provide strong sound and good separation of highs/mids from bass. Frequency response comes in at 13Hz-27,000Hz at 65 ohm Impedance with less than 1% distortion. The Cloud Alpha is Discord and TeamSpeak certified.
The result is a good solid overall relatively punchy sound that is a nice surprise at $100 bucks. A downside might be that a virtual surround sound 7.1 USB audio card like the one that comes with the Cloud II is not included. Without it, you’re hearing normal stereo 2.1 audio. If you already own the Cloud II you can simply swap in the 7.1 USB audio card as they are interchangeable. (7.1 dongle not currently compatible with Xbox One)
That said, the dual chamber separation of the bass from the mids/highs allows the Cloud Alpha to give you more consistent sound. For music the dual chambers seem to do very well for fullness of sound, although depending on the recording, can come across a little muddy at times.
You won’t need a separate amp to push these, they performed well on iOS/Android devices as well as when used with your PC’s sound card output.
Sound Experience, Pew Pew Pew!
As a gaming specific headset these over-the-ear headphones feel a bit larger than normal. The passive noise cancellation is decent and you can have games/music at a pretty loud volume without blowing out the people around you or distorting the sound. You can still hear the sound from outside and likewise you can hear external sound inside but not so loud.
Laser Blasts, machine gun fire and explosions sound great, the ear cups are pretty large but it seems to play into the listening experience to create more of a sound environment for each ear. For games the bass works very well and the drivers seem to handle the excess of explosions and gunfire without much distortion.
The boom microphone is adjustable and bendy so you can easily get the right angle with a spit protector at the end to take the edge off and also protect it a bit from accidental bumping. It’s an Electret microphone for you engineering geeks. The microphone performance is acceptable and seems to do ok TeamSpeak, Discord or Skype. The electronic noise cancellation also works relatively well to block out background noise.
The music sound experience on the Cloud Alpha has a bit of an emphasis on the bass as advertised by HyperX and it does well in that respect. Tuning down your mids and accentuating the highs and lows tends to give good overall sound quality to turn up the volume a bit for most pop and popular music. They can sound a tiny bit muddy at times depending on the quality of the recording.
For more detailed music and audiophiles the mids will make more of a difference and you’ll certainly miss them a little. For gaming this can be advantageous as the laser blasts and explosions are what will blow out your speakers/headphones after some time. Since the Cloud Alpha is skewed to enhance the bass and separate the sounds, this can result in a little better longevity over the course of time.
Think about your home Audio system before you got your subwoofer, when your satellites take the brunt of the bass sound and it either sounds a bit empty or if you turn it up a bit distorted. Once you add in a sub, your whole world opens up and suddenly the movie envelopes you and sells the full movie experience that much better.
For live performance recordings, we were pretty impressed. Listening to Red Rain from Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live tour makes you feel as if you were there. The dual chambered output gives great thickness to the booming bass guitar and drums. The large cup size also helps to sell this type of sound. Something a bit more studio like Steely Dan’s Peg, comes in crisp and again being a bass centric song, sounds great on the Alphas. You’ll certainly miss some of the mids as we mentioned earlier but these are meant for gaming but they’ll ALSO handle music overall pretty well.
The Hyper X Cloud Alpha gaming headset is a winner at sub $100 headphones. The dual chamber separation of the bass from the mids and highs provide a good strong, slightly bass skewed performance that also allows voice to be easily understandable come through clearly. Another advantage is that you’ll get less distortion with booms and explosions and as a result may allow your headphones lasting a bit longer. The Alpha also performs admirably with music so you can easily use them as general music headphones as well. The Cloud Alphas are one of the best bang for buck gaming headphones out there.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Pro Gaming Headset $99.99