HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless Review: An inexhaustible, but not flawless, gaming headset

Manufacturing

The almost perfect visual resemblance between Cloud Alpha Wireless and its wired siblings is not misleading: both headsets have a completely identical construction. We therefore find here a perfectly efficient design, based on an aluminum frame that is both very flexible and very robust.

The plastic that covers the ear cups is also of good quality. The only reservation we could take concerns the wires exposed between the ear cups and the headband, the only potential point of weakness for the helmet that can be seen immediately.

The ear pads are upholstered in a very classic imitation leather. It is to be feared that they may be exposed to small cracks after a few years of use. Should that happen, they are fully removable – but HyperX, unfortunately, does not sell them directly as parts at the time of this test. A conversation with the brand’s after-sales service will therefore no doubt be necessary.

In terms of accessories, Cloud Alpha Wireless only comes with the absolute minimum: a USB-A to USB-C charging cable and a windshield to the microphone. We would have liked to at least have added a storage pocket.

Editor's rating: 4 out of 5

Sound

If the wired Cloud Alpha has been able to remain our unsurpassed secure venture in the headset market for years game, this kind of product that we do not hesitate to recommend to almost everyone, it is largely thanks to its extremely solid sound performance, both powerful and remarkably neutral and versatile. We would therefore have been very happy to find them identical on the wireless version of the machine. But unfortunately that is not exactly what we are offered.

Default frequency response

Default frequency response

Yet the essence of Alpha is still there. It is felt in the excellent dynamics of the restitution – which is not accompanied by an ounce of audible distortion – and in the excellent stereophony produced with an admirable stage width and separation of the sound plans. But Cloud Alpha Wireless, on the other hand, is forced to be much less strict than its predecessor in the spectral balance of recovery. The exemplary transparency of the wired variant makes room for a very remarkable V-shaped signature, with slightly penetrating heights, but above all clearly hypertrophied bass on the other.

Based on such a profile, we would have been able to say in absolute numbers that he had nothing to criticize in himself, and that even after everyone’s sensitivity we could find him a little more engaging and pleasant than a completely neutral rendition – even if it did not needed to be accompanied by the lack of low-frequency control that Cloud Alpha Wireless suffers from. The lack of stability of the diaphragms, both at the attacks and at the stationary speeds, results in a lack of shock, in a sound base that is slightly enclosed, heavy. Is this the consequence of a reinforcement step that lacks peak power, in other words the counterpart to the helmet’s camel autonomy? The hypothesis is plausible in any case.

The solution to these reproaches could have come from the equalizer offered in the HyperX Ngenuity application, which effectively makes it possible to “flutter” the frequency response considerably and greatly reduce the slightly rumbling side of the sound; we still do not find the precision of the wired Cloud Alpha, but we do find some of its balance.

Equalization profile used for marked curves

Equalization profile used for the curves marked “manual equalization” below

Frequency response as a function of equalization: standard (black), preset

Frequency response as a function of EQ: standard (black), “Bass cut” preset (dotted blue), “Balanced” preset (dotted orange), manual EQ (dotted green)

50 Hz square wave response as a function of EQ: standard (black), preset

50 Hz square wave response as a function of EQ: standard (black), “Bass cut” preset (dotted blue), manual EQ (dotted green)

Only then is the use of the equalizer accompanied by a disadvantage for the less unexpected: it explodes the helmet’s scattering delay, which goes from a few milliseconds to almost 150 ms! Especially for video games, the audio / video shift that results from such a delay, without being unacceptable, is very clearly noticeable. The equalizer should therefore rather be reserved for listening to music … and it is also only available on a Windows PC, as the headphones do not store it in memory when it is connected to another device.

Editor's rating: 4 out of 5

Microphone

The microphone is mounted on a detachable flexible boom, and this time offers performance similar to the wired Cloud Alpha. By this it must be understood that it ensures a very correct, completely understandable voice capture – despite a staining of the stamps that leans slightly towards the nose. Excellent point to note for a wireless headset, the sound picked up by the microphone is transmitted to the USB transmitter / receiver via a 16-bit / 46 kHz signal (“CD quality”); this sets it apart from many other models, which settle for sampling at 16 or even 8 kHz, resulting in a much less pleasant “phone” voice.

The frame at the bottom of the microphone glows red when the microphone is closed.

The frame at the bottom of the microphone glows red when the microphone is closed.

On the other hand, we can always criticize the microphone for its somewhat low sensitivity, which can sometimes force us to pressure our voice to be heard by our playing partners. It can be tempting to overcome this, to stick the microphone to our mouth. , but then there is another problem that can arise, namely a strong tendency to “pop” (temporary saturations on the consonants “p” or “b”) even with the windshield installed. It is therefore important to make sure to position the microphone ideally to achieve a good compromise between these two excesses.

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