August 16, 2018

THE X FACTOR

Words: Andre Rodrigues

“Think of it as buying an economy seat on an international airline, and you get upgraded to first class”

WE REVIEW HYPERX’S LATEST GAMING HEADSET – THE CLOUD ALPHA

Besting paragons of gaming audio SteelSeries and Logitech, HyperX had come out of nowhere with their Cloud headset that completely stole the show as one of the best gaming headsets out there. With incredibly detailed sound, yet unparalleled comfort and ergonomics at an affordable price, it was already a winner at its launch. Even HyperX themselves have found it difficult to best. The Cloud Revolver and Stinger were decent but not there yet. Now, HyperX’s latest offering may just surpass the Cloud II. The Cloud Alpha has the same look and feel as the Cloud II, with that familiar form and comfort level. Except for one major difference with the industrial looking segmented metal earcup holders. The build quality is still the same lightweight sturdy plastics on a metal frame. The earcups swivel easily and the metal headband is clad in a soft leatherette, with the same classy red stitching. The earcups are emblazoned with the HyperX logo that does look like it has traveled all the way from the early 2000’s and is badly in need of a shave and a facelift. Comfort-wise, the Cloud series are best in class, and that shines through on the Cloud Alpha as well. Think of it as buying an economy seat on an international airline, and you get upgraded to first class.

That beautiful headphone stitching always gets me

The earcups are clad in comfortable leatherette with memory foam cushioning that feels like they got perfected after slaughtering several unicorns and making it out of their manes. Wish they included microfibre cloth earpads because, in summers, leatherette is not ideal. Plus, leatherette tends to peel, losing the feel. The other aspect they improved on is the addition of the inline mic option as well as a boom mic. I hate boom mics as it usually makes me feel like I’m working at call centre as opposed to being a cool gamer, and I always lose boom mics. Inline microphones are way cooler and you can use the Alpha on your PS4 without any trouble. Now here’s where the biggest change comes to light. The Clouds have always had really good sound quality, not the best though. It made sure all the detail and positional audio was apparent in the game, without the mids or lows overpowering. With the Cloud Alpha though, they introduced a new dual chambered 50mm drivers, in an effort to reduce distortion and muddy intermixing between bass, mids and the highs that is the downside of one chamber, which is especially common with a large 50mm driver.


The Alpha adds separate chambers for lows, which is the bass, and the mids, leaving the details to the highs to work their magic. The resulting effect is a superb distortion free separation. The lack of 7.1 positional audio is a sore point here, which is where the Cloud II does trump the Alpha. However, in terms of sheer dynamic audio quality, the Alpha wins, with exceptional sound in Destiny 2, even though it’s stereo. The sound is perfectly balanced, balancing out those booming explosions along with the reloads and dying screams of my enemies.

I tested this on FarCry 5 too, where the sounds of rednecks being shot in the face or being bitten in the face by my beloved mountain lion Peaches as her roar drowns out their gurgling. Pretty damn good I thought to myself in between chews. The Alpha worked well with music too, as the eccentric beats of Drake’s Gods Plan shone through, as well as the acoustic superiority of Pink Floyd’s Division Bell album really resonated. Movies worked great too, rewatching all the recent Marvel movies in all their glory on the PS4 through BluRay. While Cloud Alpha is not as feature rich as the Cloud II, it still beats it by bridging the gap between sound quality and stellar comfort. If you want true 7.1 surround sound which most of the headsets have as a staple feature nowadays, then you should wait a bit until a Cloud Alpha II comes out with that feature, and we do hope that it makes use of the dual chambers. For now, you can’t really go wrong with this one.

The cloud in the name seems derived from the term “Fits like a Cloud,” because the headphone is light and comfortable
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