I've tried the HyperX Cloud Alpha and it's the new king of gaming headsets

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud II has been my pick as the best gaming headset since it first launched around two-and-a-half years ago. In that time many challengers have come and gone, and HyperX themselves have taken care to only release different headsets, not rivals to its place on the throne... until now. Bear witness to the Cloud Alpha, the rightful heir to the Cloud crown.

Until the Cloud Alpha launches these are the best gaming headsets  around today.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say this is going to be the ultimate sub-$100 gaming headset. I had the opportunity to play with the HyperX Cloud Alpha today, and speak to Mark Fuller, one of the engineers in the HyperX Technical Labs in the UK.

The audio is crisp and accurate, with detailed separation and a broader soundscape than I can remember on any gaming headset I've tested, especially one that costs less than $100. It's a circumaural, closed-back design, but with the way the new driver chamber has been designed - with discrete chambers for low, mid-range, and high-frequency audio - it feels closer to an open-back headset. 

And that’s exactly what HyperX have been aiming for to replace the phenomenally successful Cloud II.

“We’ve gone through all of the design process looking at all the [Cloud II] feedback,” Fuller says, “and going ‘can we do this and keep it cost-effective'. And this is basically what we managed to do, within the budget that we wanted to give the consumers, and with the features that they’re looking for. 

“We’ve managed to hit most of what the customers asked for for under $100.”

What they were asking for was improved bass response, detachable cables, breathable ear-cups, and a broader, more robust design. It is a touch heavier than its forebear, 298g vs 272g, but the new design has the same style points, while seeming utterly indestructible. And broad enough to be able to fit around a yeti's skull.

What the consumers didn’t ask for, however, was a completely redesigned ear-cup and a whole new dual chamber technology.

HyperX Cloud Alpha - Dual Chamber Driver

“You’ve got the two sub-chambers on either side for the bass,” Fuller explains, “and the size of the holes determines the frequency that can enter them. Obviously, if the sound wave is too large for the hole it will bounce out. Under 600Hz will go into the bass chamber, over 600Hz will bounce down and go into the central chamber. 

“It’s filtered in the centre chamber, so you get highs in the middle and mids around the outside and then bass even further out to the side. The idea is that when that comes back out it’s all coming out as separate channels.”

And after an audio demo, running a little high-res Aphex Twin, amongst other tracks I brought along with me, I can say the new drivers are pretty damned impressive.

"Obviously it’s still only two channel sound," says Fuller, "but you don’t get the sort of cross-fade and overlap that you do at high volumes, and at high bass, that you have on some other headsets.”

HyperX Cloud Alpha [QVC voice] comes with all you see here

HyperX have also made the frequency range broader on the new Cloud Alpha, too. The Cloud II offers a range, at 15Hz - 25kHz, that’s unprecedented in the sub-$100 price point, but with the Cloud Alpha hitting 13Hz - 27kHz they’re getting on towards what the $250 Razer Thresher delivers.

“We looked at the drivers that we were using before,” Fuller says, “and these are a different driver that should give a much better frequency response curve. In comparison with the Cloud II the frequency response is much better across a much broader range of sound.”

But it’s not just the 50mm drivers that have been improved, they’ve also listened to feedback about the noise-cancelling of their microphone. And they’ve used their own Alloy keyboard to tune the new mic, most especially the chatty Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches used on it.

Best compact gaming keyboard - HyperX Alloy FPS

The Blue switches are apparently close to the frequency of voice chat, making it quick tricky to tune out. But HyperX have tuned the noise cancelling specifically to the noise of the most annoying mechanical switch around, which is sure to please anyone on the other end of a voice chat.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is shipping in a month, on September 25, with a global launch, and I cannot wait to get my hands (ears?) on the new king of gaming headsets.

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erx avatarDave James avatarDKizz avatarB0GiE-uk- avatarAtrociousAK47 avatar
erx Avatar
2
3 Months ago

Looking forward to trying. I think the Steelseries Arctis 5 is the current king. Does the Cloud Alpha have DTS or at the very least surround? These are a must at this price point.

2
Dave James Avatar
459
3 Months ago

I still love the relatively flat EQ and broader frequency range of the Cloud, personally. Gives a more rounded audio experience, though the SteelSeries cans are pretty good.

The Cloud Alpha though does take that even further, with an incredibly natural-feeling soundscape. But no, it doesn't have surround sound as they couldn't get the 7.1 dongle into the package and keep the sub-$100 price.

But if you grab the awesome $25 Sound Blaster Play 3 that carries surround sound support.

1
B0GiE-uk- Avatar
96
2 Months ago

No mention of 7.1 surround on the Sound Blaster Play 3.

https://us.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blaster-play-3

1
Dave James Avatar
459
2 Months ago

Yeah, it can't do the virtual 7.1 shizzle of the HyperX dongle, just its own SBX Pro Studio virtual surround.

1
DKizz Avatar
1
2 Months ago

I love my Cloud II's, and I own several solid gaming headsets. I do love the G933 DTS X Headphone with the logitech signature sound profile for a lot of games.

Speaking of the SB Play 3, how do you feel about the SB gaming headsets? The recent ones seem an awful lot like the Cloud lineup.

1
B0GiE-uk- Avatar
96
2 Months ago

Sounds a great headset but it's a deal breaker without the 7.1 surround which is a necessity for many FPS games including Battlefield 1 and Battlegrounds.

What would be the best USB surround 7.1 to get the best out of this headset?

1
AtrociousAK47 Avatar
1
2 Months ago

What im most curious to know is if it will include a mic monitor, a standard feature on much cheaper turtle beach, but for some reason not on many of these $100+ "pro" gaming headset. I just purchased a cloud 1 the other day for $80 and love everything about them save for the lack of a mic monitor, which makes me feel deaf when talking to friends. Ive seen people saying the same thing on nearly every forum entry ive read, but apparently no one asked for this basic feature. If mic monitoring is not a feature than im not interested.

1