HyperX clearly have a factor about clouds – no, not that mopey RPG chap, however the actual, white fluffy stuff you discover within the sky. I had fun with their wi-fi Cloud Flight headset earlier within the yr, as an example, however since then the variety of Clouds of their audio line-up appears to have grown exponentially. Today, I’ve acquired the Cloud Alpha, which isn’t to be confused with the Cloud Revolver, Cloud Stinger, Cloud Earbuds or, certainly, simply the common Cloud.
What makes this gaming headset completely different from all the opposite Clouds on the market? According to HyperX, the Alpha has the particular distinction of getting two chambers inside every audio driver to assist separate the bass from the mids and highs, which supposedly produces a cleaner, smoother sound than single-chamber headsets the place all the things is all mixed in. Is it sufficient to interrupt into our best gaming headset checklist, although? Let’s discover out.
I have to admit, I used to be all however able to crown the Cloud Flight as my gaming headset champion once I examined it again in January. Its battery life was virtually double that of my current favorite, the Steelseries Arctis 7, and its audio high quality was nigh-on similar. The solely factor holding it again was the truth that it wasn’t fairly as snug because the competitors, a trait that, sadly, has made its solution to the Cloud Alpha as nicely.
This will not be the case for everybody, after all. For causes unknown, my head is clearly a poor match for many over-ear headphones, because it looks as if 99% of all gaming headsets begin pinching the highest of my cranium after about 30 minutes. The Cloud Alpha’s reminiscence foam headband lasted somewhat longer than that, however I nonetheless felt like I needed to readjust it from time to time with the intention to keep that preliminary degree of consolation.
It’s a disgrace, actually, as its big, 50mm fake leather-based earcups felt immensely comfortable and plush towards my face and jaw for the whole thing of my testing, and I might have fortunately saved them there for hours. What’s extra, there’s loads of adjustment to be present in its relatively beautiful purple aluminium body, too, making it a very good match for small and bigger head sizes alike. As I mentioned, others could discover the headscarf completely positive for lengthy durations of time, however for me it’s nonetheless nowhere close to as nice because the Arctis’ ski goggle design.
Thankfully, the remainder of the Cloud Alpha’s construct high quality is superb. I do know black and purple are a bit ‘peak gamer’ lately, however the mixture of the purple stitching on the headscarf, the purple body and black, braided cables simply make this one of the engaging headsets I’ve seen in ages. It actually looks like a £90 / $100 headset, and considerably extra upmarket than the plasticky Corsair Void Pro RGB, which is at the moment only a smidge cheaper. I additionally vastly choose the Cloud Alpha’s arduous, matt (however ever so barely glittery) end to the comfortable, rubbery contact of the dearer Arctis 7.
Speaking of braided cables, the Cloud Alpha comes with not one, however two removable ones within the field. The first is a mixed 3.5mm audio jack with a built-in quantity management and microphone mute button, so you should utilize it together with your laptop computer, console and cellphone and whatnot, whereas the second is a twin 3.5mm splitter in your PC, giving it much more versatility than the USB-based Void Pro RGB. What’s extra, the PC splitter truly pops onto the tip of the primary cable, providing you with a complete wire size of three.3m to play with – useful, in case your PC occurs to be related as much as your TV, as an example.
So how about these closed-back, twin chambers then? Well, whereas it’s troublesome to say precisely how nicely it’s isolating the bass from the remainder of the mids and highs on provide, there’s no denying the Cloud Alpha produces a wealthy, detailed soundscape when enjoying games.
In Doom, for instance, the pumping background music sounded completely balanced towards my weighty Super Shotgun blasts and the dripping viscera left over from busting in demon heads with my fist, and I by no means felt like something was being misplaced on the expense of one thing else. Similarly, whereas the Cloud Alpha doesn’t technically have any particular digital encompass sound gubbins on board, I used to be nonetheless capable of pinpoint the place enemies had been coming from subsequent due to its exact demon dying rattles and correct fireball arcs swerving between every ear cup as I raced around the wilds of Mars.
The Cloud Alpha additionally made the hairs on the again of my neck rise up on finish once I listened to the opening sequence of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice as nicely. Not solely did every voice in Senua’s head really feel prefer it was proper there behind me, whispering deep into my ear, however smaller particulars such because the light drips of water from Senua’s boat and the rumbling thunder within the distance all labored collectively to supply a wealthy, immersive soundscape that basically enhanced the game’s sense of menace and unease.
Last however not least, Final Fantasy XV sounded as beautiful as ever, with the cries of Noctis and the remainder of his anime boy band coming by way of loud and clear over the teleporting zips, clanging swords and monstrous roars of battle. The game’s orchestral rating was additionally fantastically detailed, with the strings, drums, guitars and trumpets all complementing one another with out one muscling out one other.
As a extra common listening headset, nonetheless, the Cloud Alpha’s crisp sense of readability began to disintegrate barely. While Final Fantasy XV sounded nice in-game, for instance, enjoying its soundtrack by way of iTunes was noticeably muddier in tone. Piano sections particularly sounded somewhat distorted in locations, no matter whether or not they had been enjoying on high of simply a few sparse strings, or an enormous mattress of accompanying bass devices.
In truth, a number of game soundtracks I attempted sounded a bit cludge-like in locations, as if the headset had abruptly misplaced all of its earlier element and stability. Similarly, vocals on rock and pop tracks had been nearly universally quieter than their respective backing tracks, making lots of my favorite music sound a bit off. That’s to not say it’s the worst factor I’ve ever heard, simply that it wasn’t fairly nearly as good as I used to be anticipating given its in-game efficiency.
The removable, flexible mic was additionally mildly problematic as nicely. Not solely did my PC fail to recognise there was a functioning microphone more often than not, however as soon as I had managed to get it working, I needed to flip the recording quantity all the best way up in Audacity for it to even decide up what I used to be saying. There was additionally a good quantity of static current once I listened again to my vocal ramblings, however you may assist mitigate this by turning the general quantity down. Still, that’s not at all times what you need whenever you’re attempting to listen to what your mates are saying on the opposite finish whenever you’re enjoying on-line, so it’s possible you’ll simply should put up with it relying on how a lot noise there’s elsewhere.
For me, then, the HyperX Cloud Alpha simply falls in need of true gaming headset greatness. While there’s little to fault with its in-game audio efficiency, its mic and common listening capabilities simply aren’t nearly as good because the equally priced Corsair Void Pro RGB, which may at the moment be had for £82 in the UK and simply $66 in the US. By all means go for it if you’d like a wise, well-made headset that’s purely for taking part in games and nothing else, however at this worth the Corsair remains to be my headset of alternative.