HyperX is an established brand within gaming circles but in this review of Cloud Alpha, I’m going to examine if they’re suitable for music listening too. BTW, I get to review these thanks to a friend who kindly loaned them to me, so thanks V.
In the nice black box, you receive headphones, detachable mic, and cables. I said cables in plural because you get two pieces – the first one that goes into the headphones is 4 polled because of the microphone. It has a line volume control, button to mute microphone, and in general, it’s of a good length for smartphone and laptop use. The second cable is an extension that provides you with separate headphones and microphone plugs. It also gives you a nice length extension for desktop use. The microphone is detachable and as short as I tested it – it provided a nice and clear sound.
BUILD AND COMFORT
Now build quality of the whole thing is absolutely great and the materials being used are of high quality. We got an aluminum frame and some strong plastic with a soft-touch feel. Most importantly, ear cushions are made of soft memory foam and covered with soft and pleasant leatherette. Now, all that gives these headphones a really sturdy and premium feel that makes my AKG K92 look like a toy. That also adds to the weight which is considerable. Personally, I don’t mind the weight and they sit comfortably on my head. The headband helps with that as it’s nicely padded and comfortable too. The grip is on the stronger side, but due to very full and soft pads, it’s not unpleasant. When I wear them for a bit longer there’s just a bit of added warmth to my ears.
Now the most important part – the sound. First of all, the frequency response is not completely flat and neutral. The bass is deep and powerful, it tends to give a nice warmth to the songs and rumble to movies and games. But it is also boosted and both bass and mid-bass are not the most precise I’ve heard. Going up we find a slightly laid back midrange that can still produce a lot of details and pleasantly full vocals. Voices also have plenty of texture and color. Highs are again slightly more pronounced than mids. Luckily, they are very clean and precise so you never feel overwhelmed by them. Tiny details sound lively and sparkly trough these headphones.
Moving away from the frequency response, these cans offer great soundstage. It’s very wide, spreading left and right from your ears. Now add to that great layering and separation of tones and you get one wide and spacious soundstage. Instruments and voices all have their own space and they’re generally laid back and pleasantly stable, not jumping at your ears. That good sense of space is also great for movies and games because you’re not only hearing a lot of details but you also get a lot of spatial information.
Now, let me be honest with you, I didn’t expect this primarily gaming headset to sound this good. I’m not a fan of boosted bass but they have much more going on. Sweet and nicely textured mids, clean and sparkly highs, and above all exceptionally spacious and stable soundstage that makes them a joy to listen. When I switch back to my AKG K92 I notice much more forward presentation, faster bass, and more prominent upper mids, but they can’t really match Cloud Alpha’s clarity, spaciousness, and layering so they sound cluttered in comparison.
Just be sure to pair them with a good source if you want to hear the most of them. They are not exceptionally demanding in terms of power and they’ll work fine even with smartphones that have decent output. But the source needs to be of high quality if you want to hear what they can really do – let’s say something in line with Dragonfly Black, Topping NX4, Loxjie D10, and so on. That said, if you connect them to a lesser quality source they will handle it graciously and continue to sound very decent, but you will miss some of that great spatial information and layering that I’m raving about so much.
To wrap it up, great build, great sound that scales well with source quality… and very reasonable pricing for all that. If you can live with boosted bass, HyperX Cloud Alpha are worth considering.
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