HyperX Cloud Alpha S review

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S is a souped-up version of the Cloud Alpha, which we reckon is the best gaming headset you can buy right now, and I therefore had high hopes for it when I tore the box open. That letter S adds $30/£30 to the price tag (it’s $130/£120), and for that you get new bass adjustment sliders, a mixer that can change the balance between game and chat audio, and—the pièce de résistance—virtual 7.1 surround sound, which you can toggle on and off.

If you ignore the new stuff, the Cloud Alpha S is essentially identical to the Cloud Alpha, save for blue accents replacing the red. Rest assured that everything Phil praised in his HyperX Cloud Alpha review applies here: it’s still comfortable to wear for long sessions, and it still produces punchy, crisp, rich sound, whether you’re listening to a grenade explode or NPCs chattering idly in a tavern. With that foundation, the Alpha S was always going to be a very good headset—but while the new features add some value, they’re not quite impressive enough to warrant paying the extra cash.

The most visible extras are the bass sliders, which sit on the back of each ear cup. The three settings (open, half-open, and closed) correspond to the opening and closing of holes on the headset. Essentially, you’re giving the driver more or less space to reverberate: the fully open setting generates the most bass. It’s a low-tech solution that doesn’t require any new software, which I like, but it doesn’t have a big impact. The Cloud Alpha, as Phil noted in his review, already performed well with low-end sounds. Flicking the slider does produce a bass bump, but it’s a small one, and I wasn’t suddenly blown away. Plus, I can’t really see a reason—given how well-balanced the Alpha was—to turn the bass down, which makes the slider feel like a gimmick.

(Image credit: HyperX)

The next big addition is the advanced mixer, which controls the volume and can mute the detachable mic. The headset plugs into the mixer via a 3.5mm jack, and the mixer connects to your PC via USB. All the buttons on the mixer are large, making it nearly impossible to accidentally hit the wrong one. The standout feature is the ability to adjust the balance between game and voice chat sounds. Each has its own button, and the one you hit will get louder in your ear, while the other gets quieter. It’s a neat idea, and it actually works. But again, I’m not convinced it’s all that useful.

source: gamezpot.com