Today we will be reviewing the HyperX Cloud Alpha headset, I’m going to walk you through kind of an overview of the features and then tell you a little bit about what I like about it, what I don’t like about it. So to start with, this is about a $100 headset, so I would say mid-range in terms of gaming headsets. The build quality reflects that. So compared to a lot of other headsets, I would say this is a much higher quality build. It’s leather or fake leather headband with a lot of padding. And beneath that is an aluminium kind of frame, so it feels very solid, it feels very durable. It’s held up extremely well. I’ve had these for about a year and they still look brand new.
On each side, there is an adjustability feature that allows you to kind of pull it in and out to adjust for the size of your head, and the actual earmuffs pivot independently as well. So extremely comfortable. There’s a lot of padding in here as well. You can wear this for hours at a time and it’s very comfortable. It hasn’t bothered me at all. Another nice kind of quality feature about this is the packaging. So you’ll feel it as soon as you kind of pick it up in the store. It’s a really nice box. They did a nice job designing it. It has some tone on tone gloss areas on matte. It makes it pop. It is also used by several professional E-Sports teams, so if it’s good enough for them I figure it is good enough for me.
They also include this nice kind of microfiber carrying bag, which is great if you ever take your headset places and you don’t want it to get scratched up. It’s worked very well as well. The cord itself is like a braided headset cord, I guess. It’s nice and thick. It’s maybe a little on the thick side but it seems to work well. And on the end, there is a standard three and a half millimetre headphone Jack. So this will plug into just about any device, any fairly new device that has this type of input. And the microphone is removable, so this can unplug so you can use it just to listen to music out and about without looking like a complete nerd with the microphone on it.
It does not have a flip-up mic like some of the headsets do. I haven’t found that to be an issue. This is flexible. It seems to hold up pretty well. The sound quality seems to be great in terms of my voice. Also, there is an inline mic control. So there’s a dial to turn the volume up and down, and a little toggle switch or slider switch to mute and unmute yourself. More on those in a minute. So things that I like about this headset are the build quality, the comfort, the looks I think is pretty cool. I think the red, the anodized aluminium looks cool. The red stitching looks cool. It’s a cool looking headset for a pretty reasonable price. The sound quality is good. I have no complaints about the sound quality. I can easily hear footsteps coming up, and Blackout, and PUBG, Halo, all the games that I play it sounds amazing.
My complaints about the things that I don’t like about the headset all centre around this inline volume control. So the thing about this is it’s dial and it’s successful on either side, which means depending on which way it’s facing you, volume up and volume down could be reversed. So if the cord’s kind of twisted around, you might be trying to turn the volume up and realize you’re turning it down or vice versa. And the little mute, an inline mute slider is sort of recessed, although it does have some texturing, it’s kind of hard to use. So you’ve got to have a grip on this thing to mute it. So if you’re about to sneeze, time is of the essence. Most of the time I can’t get it muted in time. I’ve pretty much just stopped trying at this point because it’s kind of frustrating to try to do.
If you have a moment, it’s fairly easy to mute, but when you’re trying to do it in a hurry, it’s just a hassle and it doesn’t work very well. I’m also not a fan of inline volume control in general, because what this does is it essentially takes the signal coming out of your controller and it uses a, guessing like a [inaudible 00:04:26] to reduce it. So what that’s doing is it’s reducing all of the signal coming out of your controller. So you don’t just lose the game volume when you turn it down, but you also lose your chat volume at the same rate, and any mic monitoring at the same rate as well. So if you’re somebody like me that likes the mic monitoring feature and be able to hear yourself talk so you’re not screaming, once you start turning this volume down, you’re turning your voice down too, so it kind of contributes to the problem of you trying to talk louder.
So what I found is generally when I use this headset, I use the onboard Xbox controls to adjust the volume and I just keep this volume all the way up because that’s where it sounds best for me. And then I just turn the volume up and down and the game chat mix up and down via the Xbox interface. And that seems to work pretty well, but it can be a hassle in the middle of the game when you’re trying to lower the game chat volume to hear footsteps or something like that. It means you’ve got to pull up the guide and the menu. So my solution to that, and it’s a big enough problem to where I’ve sought out of solution, is to buy this external kind of amp that plugs into the controller.
Now this one’s made by Turtle Beach. It’s their elite pro model, I believe. I’m going to do a review on this separately, but I did find that being able to control the chat balance in-game at the press of a button was important enough to me that I wanted to get this separately, and it is one of the downsides of this particular headset. However, it’s the only downside that I can think of. This is an overall great headset. I’ve been very happy with it, which is why I didn’t mind spending $50 on an external adapter to make it perfect. So on the topic of surround sound, and I’m going to make a, maybe I’m going to make a separate video about this, but in a nutshell, for the most part, when you buy a 7.1 surround headset, you’re buying what’s essentially a stereo headset, just like this, plus some kind of audio processor that takes the Dolby Digital 5.1 or 7.1 surround signal and creates virtual surround sound within the headset to kind of trick you into thinking things are behind you or in front of you.
There are a few headsets that have five speakers inside of each cup and can do actual, I guess true surround sound. They are few and far between, and for the most part, they’re overkill because virtual surround sound essentially works the same way your ears work. You have two ears, you can still distinguish sounds coming from the back and the front of the audio engineers are doing their job. So that being said, nowadays the signal processing is being done on the Xbox or the PlayStation as well. So with the Xbox, I know for a fact you can turn on what’s called Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for headphones. And that’s essentially using the Xbox hardware to decode the audio signal and then convert it into virtual surround sound for your headset, effectively turning any stereo headset into even better than 7.1 surround sound headset, virtual surround sound I should say.
And the reason for that is that Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos aren’t constrained to seven channels of sound. It’s 360 degrees of sound around you, plus there’s the support for verticality. So you can hear sounds above and below you as they add that support to games. So the 7.1 channel kind of sound mixers that they’re selling with the headsets to turn them into effectively 7.1 on virtual headsets are becoming outdated by comparison. So when it comes to shopping for a headset, you don’t necessarily need to pay extra for one that supports surround sound because the Xbox at least supports it right out of the box with any stereo headset. So that’s one of the reasons why I like this headset so much and I would recommend it because the 100 dollar price tag doesn’t go to any extra audio processing devices or hardware. It’s all in the build quality of the headset itself, which is very, very high. I like it a lot.
So in a nutshell, I would highly recommend this to anybody looking for a solid high-quality set of gaming headphones. Unless you’re thinking you’re going to go pro and you want just that best of the best, this is going to meet your needs.
Comment below your favourite headset.