HyperX?s Incredible new headset takes on the high end model!
It?s Monday, and it?s time for the headphone showdown!
Today, HyperX?s brand new Cloud Alpha takes on the Cloud Revolver, which was the first headset HyperX designed fully in-house and which still sits atop their lineup, price-wise.
Is the Revolver worth the price premium over the Alpha?
(It depends on what you like).
HyperX Cloud Alpha
The Cloud Alpha is a reboot of HyperX?s famous Cloud lineup of headsets. It takes a proven design, and refreshes almost everything, adding brand new drivers, ear cups, padding, and a removable cable. It takes the old Cloud II price point at $99?and has one of the cleanest, most-satisfying sound signatures I?ve ever heard in a gaming audio product.
HyperX Cloud Revolver
It was a big deal when HyperX launched the Revolver line. This was their first headset that wasn?t just a re-designed Takstar Pro 80. It has a brand new look with a suspension headband, really big ear cups, new drivers, and the same great memory foam padding HyperX uses in their other headsets.
The Cloud Revolver comes in two models, the $119 Revolver and the $149 Revolver S. The S model has a wider headband pad, and includes a Dolby Headphone USB sound card with full support for virtual surround sound on PC, and basic stereo virtualization on PS4.
I think these both might use the same 50mm driver with different tunings? I?m not sure, I didn?t rip either of them open.
This is a tough call for me to make. And the same is true for most aspects of this showdown.
The Alpha has a beautiful, clean, shockingly accurate sound with no hint of distortion, peakiness, or over-emphasis. It has just the right amount of bass, mid range, and treble detail. It hits a perfect balance between accuracy and fun that I think more consumer headphones should aspire to.
The soundstage is nice and wide for a closed headphone, and imaging is accurate as well.
Going over to the Revolver?it has a big sound. It?s a touch more aggressive, and a touch more ?fun.? The bass is thicker and boomier, and the upper midrange has a bit of a bump in the footsteps region.
It also has a wider soundstage. The entire headset was designed around having a large soundstage for a closed-back headset, and it?s plastered all over the box.
If you?re a detail-hound, the Cloud Alpha is better. But if you like the widest possible soundstage or need the biggest bass, I have to give the nod to the Revolver. I personally prefer the cleaner sound of the Alpha, but I?d be totally happy with the Revolver too, and I think it?ll come down to little personal preferences for a lot of people.
WINNER: CLOUD ALPHA
The Alpha, Revolver, and Revolver S are all perfectly comfy?so let?s start nitpicking!
The Alpha is the lightest of the three headsets. It also has the softest leatherette material on its ear pads. In fact, it?s the softest leatherette I?ve ever felt.
Where it might let some people down is the depth of the ear cups. The holes are decently big, and there is some room inside, but they aren?t as deep as the Revolver.
The ear cups on the Revolver and Revolver S have massive ear cup holes with deep chambers inside. The Alpha will most likely gently touch your ears, whereas the Revolver almost certainly won?t.
The two Revolver models are a bit heavier, thanks to their big suspension headband. I think the S model is more comfy thanks to its wider headband pad.
So again, it?s down to personal preferences.
The Alpha is lighter, with better padding material?but it doesn?t have quite as much room inside the cups. The Revolver is a touch more noticeable due to its weight, but the suspension headband provides minimal clamping force, and the cups are huge inside.
For me, this is a tie. They?re both right at the top of the pile.
The Revolver S looks a touch doofy on the head.
The Alpha takes this one, no contest. It doesn?t look silly on the top of your head. It features a new take on a classic headphone design.
Although I think the Revolver is a good headset overall?the design is where it falls down a little. It?s a big garish angular thing. It looks a touch ridiculous on the head, and it has a bunch of weird fake vents and accent lines and angles that don?t really do anything.
It looks like it was designed to live inside an eSports arena.
You might like that look. I certainly can respect that. But I prefer the more basic look of the Alpha.
WINNER: CLOUD ALPHA
Both headsets are built from a great mix of solid aluminum and high-grade plastic. I don?t think either of them feel cheap at all.
The heft of the Revolver probably gives it a slight feel advantage, and if you?re really rough on your gear, I think I?d trust it a little more.
Now, I don?t do any kind of bend or drop tests. I just feel them and use them the way I?d normally use headphones. So you?ll have to go somewhere else for that sort of stuff. But neither of these is going to let you down, build-wise.
WINNER: CLOUD REVOLVER
The surround dongle is the biggest advantage the Revolver S has, aside from the mic. I even used it to power more expensive headphones, and it did well. This coiled cable is from my DT770s.
The Cloud Revolver comes with a detachable cable?and the S model comes with a Dolby Headphone dongle.
I think the dongle sounds really nice?but I?m not sure it?s as necessary in a world where Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic exist on Xbox One and PC. And with a PS4, the dongle is seen as a stereo USB device?so you don?t get full surround sound support.
You can also remove the microphone from the Revolver, and it has a nice solid feel to it.
With the Alpha, you don?t get quite the complement of extras the older Cloud II came with. But you can now finally remove the cable! The headset end is slightly proprietary with a deeply recessed plug that ?locks in? through friction. So that?s a bit of a bummer, but it?s still nice that it?s removable.
The mic is also removable and quite flexible, though not really that much more premium-feeling than the old Cloud II mic. You also get a nice carrying bag.
The Cloud Alpha just edges it out thanks to the removable cable and carrying bag.
WINNER: CLOUD ALPHA
The Revolver has a better mic?which is a weird bummer, in a way, since the Alpha is newer. If you get the Revolver S model, the dongle will do additional digital processing to make the mic sound even better.
By comparison, the Alpha has a mic that I find almost indistinguishable from the old Cloud II mic. It sounds fine?but it?s a bit nasally and ?microphone-like.?
The Revolver?s mic is more natural-sounding, and better overall.
Both mics do a good job of cancelling out background noise.
WINNER: CLOUD REVOLVER
OVERALL WINNER: CLOUD ALPHA
And so, the cheaper Cloud Alpha eeks out the win! I prefer the sound, the design, the removable cable, and super soft padding material of the new model.
The cheaper price doesn?t hurt, either.
But the Cloud Revolver is no slouch! And if you absolutely must have super big ear cups or that Dolby Headphone USB dongle that the S model comes with, it might still be right for you. And it has a better-sounding mic.
I wouldn?t be surprised if HyperX slightly lowered the price of the Revolver soon. It?s an older headset now, and the Alpha is so good that its quality makes the Revolver a little weird. If it were up to me, I?d get rid of the non-S Revolver, and lower the price of the S to around $129.
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