HyperX Cloud Alpha S debuted at Gamescom 2019 and is the successor to the Cloud Alpha gaming headset. In India, the Alpha S is priced at Rs 13,999, which is around Rs 3,500 more than what the Alpha retails now. And it's still a value for money gaming headset.
With the Alpha S and the uptick in the price, you get a custom HyperX virtual 7.1 surround sound, bass adjustment sliders, and an audio control mixer. Apart from these new additions, the framework of the Cloud Alpha S remains the same as the older generation. That means the Alpha S is a great mid-range gaming headset, but are these new features worth that extra price?
The Cloud Alpha S builds upon the previous iterations in the HyperX range of gaming headsets. It has a no-nonsense industrial feel with an aluminum frame that feels sturdy in hand and even while putting it on. It weighs 310 grams, which may be slightly heavy for those with smaller skulls.
The headset has blue accents all around with a HyperX logo on each earcup that has soft leatherette ear cushions and an interchangeable fabric pair that offers more airflow and is provided in-the-box. The headband has a thick layer of foam that is a lot spongier and comfortable. These soft-to-touch ear cushions help in long gameplay sessions, ensuring that the ears don’t get warm and itchy.
It also features adjustable bass sliders, which can be tuned to increase or decrease the bass levels while gaming. There are three settings - open/half-open/closed for the sliders, which gives space to the 50mm driver to vibrate, thereby producing the maximum bass. In our use, however, the bass enhancement slider felt a little gimmicky as the impact of the bass slider seems to be minimal on most occasions.
Otherwise, the Alpha S is comfortable to wear for long sessions and produces a crisp sound, which is essential during a gaming session.
HyperX Cloud Alpha S features a custom-tuned virtual 7.1 surround sound for an immersive in-game audio experience. The dual-chamber driver has been tuned to produce better and distinct sound output with minimal distortion. This driver allows a dedicated space for bass from the mids and the highs, which helps this headset deliver rich mid-tones and powerful bass.
The Alpha S has been tuned for virtual surround sound even though it's still a stereo headset, and the difference is enormous. The individual audio elements sounded crisper with the 7.1 virtual surround sound turned on. While playing games like Apex Legends, we could listen to directional footstep sound more accurately and clearly.
Though as a downside, the virtual surround sound doesn’t play well with mids and high tones, rendering them inferior.
The Alpha S has a USB audio control switch with buttons for the microphone, 7.1 surround sound, volume controls, and game-chat balance. A 3.5mm braided cable is plugged into the mixer while the USB side goes into the PC. Windows 10 recognizes the Alpha S with support for Windows Sonic Spatial sound.
The buttons on the USB mixer are significant and come in handy without the need to touch the on-system controls. The game-chat balance buttons allowed us to increase or decrease the volume of in-game sound or voice chat when required.
Overall, the Cloud Alpha S sounds great with clear audio and punchy bass. However, the added enhancements don’t work in the favor, which undermines the sound signature of the original Alpha.
HyperX Cloud Alpha S is a solid gaming headset that builds upon the sound quality of the Cloud Alpha, but the additional features do little to justify its increased price tag.
The custom 7.1 HyperX surround sound that’s marketed as its USP doesn’t impact the overall audio performance of the headset. The detachable noise-cancellation microphone can record bi-directional sound and is Discord, and TeamSpeak certified.
The new feature set, including the bass adjustment sliders and surround sound don’t boost the audio quality. Therefore, these additions fall short to justify the increased price.