HyperX Cloud Alpha S Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 05, 2020 at 09:46 am
HyperX Cloud Alpha S Picture
5.7
Mixed Usage
6.7
Neutral Sound
5.0
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
5.8
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
7.4
Wired Gaming
7.3
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are the next generation of the HyperX Cloud Alpha. These wired gaming headphones maintain a similarly great build quality and are just as comfortable as their predecessor. However, this time around, they've added a separate audio control scheme on a USB dongle and they now have separate bass sliders for each ear cup. The bass slider isn't an EQ, though, and at its max, the over-emphasized bass ends up making the rest of your audio mix a bit muddy. There are no sound adjustment features within their companion software, which is a bit disappointing for gaming headphones. Still, they have a unique 7.1 surround sound feature which can help immerse you in your gameplay and their detachable boom microphone does a good job of capturing voices clearly.

Our Verdict

5.7 Mixed Usage

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are disappointing for mixed use. While they're comfortable and well-built, they don't block out a lot of background noise, making them ill-suited for commuting or office use. They're not stable enough for sports and exercise, and their bass and treble delivery is inconsistent across users, making it harder to get a consistent sound each time you use them. However, as gaming headphones, they have a good boom microphone and their unique bass slider can help immerse you in your gameplay.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Very good boom microphone.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
  • Limited companion software.
6.7 Neutral Sound

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are okay for neutral sound. Their bass and treble delivery depend on their fit, seal, and positioning, and without an EQ, there isn't a way to get them to sound more neutral. While they have a bass slider on each ear cup, it's not an EQ and it also affects the mid-range when used, so you may end up with a slightly uneven sound profile.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
  • Limited companion software.
5.0 Commute/Travel

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are poor for commuting. Although they're comfortable enough for long train rides, these headphones are meant for gaming and their bulky design makes it hard to take them with you on-the-go. They're not designed to block out a lot of noise, and they let in all low bass noise like bus and plane engines.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
5.6 Sports/Fitness

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are disappointing for sports. These comfortable headphones are designed for gaming and their bulky design isn't the easiest to take with you on-the-go. They're reasonably stable on your head, but due to their wired design, the audio cable could easily snag on something, interrupting your listening experience. They can also fall off with more rigorous head movements so if you want to wear them while working out, they'll more likely stay on during a light jog than if you're cross-training.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
5.8 Office

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are sub-par for office use. While they're comfortable enough for a 9-5 work day, they don't really block out background noise, which can be frustrating when you're trying to concentrate. On the upside, if you're in an office, their leakage shouldn't be audible unless everyone suddenly becomes silent, so you can turn up the volume to help counter background noise without disturbing your colleagues too much.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
5.7 Wireless Gaming

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are wired gaming headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

7.4 Wired Gaming

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are decent for wired gaming. They're comfortable enough for long gaming sessions and their wired connection virtually eliminates worries of lag. Their boom microphone also does a good job of reproducing clear voices so you should have no problem being understood by your teammates. They have a unique bass slider for each ear cup, allowing you to adjust each ear independently, which can help immerse you in your gameplay. The rest of their audio controls are found on a detachable USB dongle.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Very good boom microphone.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
  • Limited companion software.
7.3 Phone Calls

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are okay for phone calls. Their detachable boom microphone does a good job of reproducing voices that sound clear and natural, even in noisy environments like gaming tournaments. However, the headphones don't block out background noise, which can make it harder for you to hear whoever is on the other line.

Pros
  • Unique bass slider on both ear cups that control the amount of bass independently of one another.
  • Very good boom microphone.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
  • 5.7 Mixed Usage
  • 6.7 Neutral Sound
  • 5.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.8 Office
  • 5.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.4 Wired Gaming
  • 7.3 Phone Calls

Check Price

Blackout HyperX Cloud Alpha S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Blue HyperX Cloud Alpha S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S have a simple design that looks pretty much identical to their predecessor, the HyperX Cloud Alpha. While the black and blue color scheme we tested isn't too flashy, you can also get them in an all-black if you prefer an even more sleek look. Both colors have perforated-style hinges that make them look more unique. Although they still look like bulky gaming headphones, their boom microphone is detachable so they should stand out less if you're wearing them for casual use. If you're looking for more flashy gaming headphones, check out the JBL Quantum 800 as it has RGB lighting on both ear cups.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.71 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are comfortable headphones. They come with two different kinds of padding, one cloth and one leather, which is nice if you prefer one fabric over another. They don't put too much weight on your head either and should be comfortable enough for long gaming sessions.

6.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
Yes
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Bass Slider

These headphones have two control schemes. The first is a bass slider that's found on the headphones' ear cups. With their slider, you can independently control the amount of bass each ear cup receives. When turned up, these headphones produce a warm, boomy bass. You can also turn them down if you want to reduce the bass. There are also physical controls on the detachable USB dongle and when plugged in, you can control volume, chat mixing, and mic muting. There's also a 7.1 button, which is their surround sound feature, and it lights up when you use it. You hear beeps when you change settings too, which is nice.

5.7
Design
Portability
L 7.3 "
W 6 "
H 3.2 "
Volume 142 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S aren't very portable. Although they're a little bit smaller than other gaming headphones, they can't fold or lay flat to make them easier to store in a bag or backpack.

5.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S come with a simple fabric pouch. It's more likely to prevent dust from collecting on your headphones than protecting them from drops or water damage.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S have an excellent build quality. They feel well-built and durable. Just like the HyperX Cloud Alpha, they have a sturdy but flexible aluminum frame. Their padding feels good and the detachable braided cables help to protect the integrity of the wire, especially if it gets snagged on something. The mic is also detachable, which is nice. However, they have small braided cables that connect the headband to the ear cups which could get snagged on something.

6.5
Design
Stability

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are reasonably stable headphones but they're not designed for physical activity and can fall off with more intense exercise. While they're stable enough for playing video games at home, they're still fairly bulky and wired. Their cables can also get snagged on something but since their audio cable is detachable, you'll just lose your audio.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • HyperX Cloud Alpha S headphones
  • USB-A dongle
  • Carrying pouch
  • 1/8" TRRS audio cable
  • Cloth ear cup pads
  • Leather ear cup pads
  • Detachable boom microphone
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.71 db
Treble Amount
-2.89 db

As we tested the HyperX Cloud Alpha S with both bass sliders are turned up, they have a sound profile that's slightly boomy and lacks detail. At this setting, they're still suited for a variety of audio genres though as they have balanced and accurate mid-range. You can always change the bass slider to better suit your preferences if needed. However, lowering or raising the bass can affect the mid-range. As they also have an inconsistent sound across users due to their large ear cups, our results are an average and you may experience their sound reproduction differently.

5.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.3 dB

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S have a sub-par frequency response consistency. Bass delivery varies and a drop in bass can occur if the ear cups are not flush to your head or if you have glasses. The treble range is also inconsistent. As the overall frequency response depends on fit, seal, and positioning of these headphones, once you achieve a good overall fit, you should get a more consistent frequency response each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.75 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
22.13 Hz
Low-Bass
0.84 dB
Mid-Bass
3.47 dB
High-Bass
5.77 dB

When the bass slider is turned up to its max, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S have a fairly boomy bass. However, its delivery can vary across users. While some may find the low-bass lacking in thump and rumble, it still has a fairly neutral sound. The mid-bass also packs a punch. However, the high-bass sounds muddy and boomy. This bass accuracy performance represents the average response and your experience may vary.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.11 dB
Low-Mid
3.31 dB
Mid-Mid
0.41 dB
High-Mid
-0.68 dB

The mid accuracy is great. There's still a bit of overemphasis in the low-mid that comes from the high-bass which can make your mixes muddy or cluttered. However, the rest of the mid-range is very even and flat, resulting in an accurate reproduction of lead instruments and vocals.

6.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.36 dB
Low-Treble
-2.53 dB
Mid-Treble
0.71 dB
High-Treble
-5.49 dB

The treble accuracy of the HyperX Cloud Alpha S is mediocre but delivery can vary across users. There's a dip in the low-treble which can make vocals and lead instruments lose detail and presence. The high-treble is also uneven and recessed, although it's in a high enough frequency that it may not be noticeable to most listeners. However, this treble accuracy performance represents the average response and your experience may vary.

7.0
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.77 db
Dips
1.98 db

The peaks and dips performance of the HyperX Cloud Alpha 2 is alright but their position, seal, and whether you have glasses or thick hair can all affect sound delivery, resulting in inconsistent bass and treble. That being said, the minor peak in the high-bass can make your mixes boomy. The peak in the low-treble sharpens some sounds in this frequency but its sudden dip in the same range also hurts the detail and brightness of other sounds. There's also a high peak in the mid-treble, which can make sibilants painful and harsh but the following dips in the high-treble make sounds lifeless.

8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.54
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.95
Weighted Phase Mismatch
7.71

The imaging performance of these headphones is excellent. The GD graph shows that almost the entire group delay response is within the audibility threshold which results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

5.4
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.07 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.74 dB
PRTF Distance
8.95 dB
Openness
4.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.8

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S' passive soundstage is disappointing. While the soundstage will likely be perceived as being somewhat large, due to their closed-back design, it also sounds like it's located inside your head rather than out in front of you.

2.0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

These headphones have a 7.1 virtual surround sound feature but we don't currently test its performance.

7.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.409
WHD @ 100
0.136

The harmonic distortion performance of these headphones is good. While most of the range falls within the audibility threshold, there are a couple of peaks in the treble range at a decent volume level. This could cause a small amount of distortion, though it might not be noticeable to everyone.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
4.1.0.4
Power
USB
Connection
USB
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when these headphones are used at these settings.

Isolation
5.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.35 dB
Bass
0.97 dB
Mid
-8.97 dB
Treble
-29.86 dB

The noise isolation of the HyperX Cloud Alpha S is disappointing. They don't block out any low bass noise such as the rumble of bus or plane engines. Although they do a better job in the mid-range, which is where background chatter falls, they still won't be enough if you're working in an office setting. They cut down the most noise in the treble range such as an A/C unit or a fan, though.

7.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
36.56 dB

The leakage performance of these headphones is good. Although they leak a bit of audio, it still falls below the noise floor of an average office. However, if you're gaming at home and you've got your audio cranked up to a high volume, it could disturb those also sharing your space.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
Yes

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S have a detachable boom microphone.

7.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
121.61 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
4.15 dB
HFE
7561.35 Hz
Weighted THD
0.231
Gain
6.48 dB

The recording quality of the boom microphone is very good. Your voice sounds full-bodied, natural, and relatively clear so you shouldn't have any problems being understood.

8.8
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
39.88 dB

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S' boom microphone has remarkable noise handling. Even in a noisy environment like a gaming tournament, you should have no problems being heard.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are wired-only and don't require a battery.

6.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name HyperX Ngenuity
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows Yes
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
Yes

These headphones have mediocre companion software called HyperX Ngenuity. There isn't a lot you can do with it other than adjust the level of your mic and turn on/off surround sound support.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are wired-only headphones and don't support Bluetooth.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These are wired-only headphones.

8.2
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB Type A
Detachable Yes
Length 3.5 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
67 ms

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S use a detachable 1/8" TRRS audio cable that can be used on most gaming consoles. They also have a detachable USB-A dongle that has several audio controls.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These wired headphones are fully compatible with PC and PS4 by plugging in their audio cable into the system's audio jack. These headphones are also fully compatible with PC and PS4 via a wired USB connection.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are fully compatible with Xbox One by plugging them directly into the controller.

3.4
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wired USB Dongle
USB Input
Yes
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
USB

These gaming headphones have a wired USB dongle that has audio controls such as volume management, surround sound, and channel mixing.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are the next generation of the HyperX Cloud Alpha. These wired gaming headphones have a unique bass slider control scheme that allows you to adjust the bass levels on both ear cups independently of one another and they use a USB dongle for audio controls. They have an inconsistent bass and treble delivery similar to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless, but as their companion software is fairly limited in customization options, they lack any way to EQ them, other than using the bass slider. If you're still looking around for gaming headphones, check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best PS4 gaming headsets, and the best Xbox One gaming headsets.

HyperX Cloud Alpha
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S is the next generation of the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Although they look very similar and have the same excellent build quality, in this newest update, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S now have a separate USB dongle for audio management. They also have a unique bass slider on each ear cup so that you can adjust the level of bass as you play and they've added a 7.1 surround sound feature to help immerse you in your gameplay. Their detachable boom microphone performs slightly better, capturing clear voices, even in loud environments. You can also now play on PC or PS4 using a wired USB connection.

Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset and the HyperX Cloud Alpha S are similarly-performing wired gaming headsets. They both have solid builds, they're both comfortable for long gaming sessions, and they both have the same connectivity with PC, PS4, and Xbox One. However, the Logitech have companion software with a graphic EQ and presets, which can help with their inconsistent sound delivery. On the other hand, while the HyperX also have a similarly inconsistent sound delivery, they lack an EQ, but they have a bass slider on each ear cup. They also have a slightly better performing microphone.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless 2017
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless 2017 are better gaming headphones than the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. The SteelSeries can be used wired and wirelessly, which makes them slightly more versatile. They also have a 24-hour battery life so you don't have to worry too much about your battery dying during a long gaming session, and their companion software offers a graphic EQ plus presets to help tweak their sound. However, the HyperX have bass sliders on each ear cup and they have a 7.1 surround sound feature. Both headphones have a similarly great performing boom microphone.

HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II and the HyperX Cloud Alpha S are very similarly performing gaming headphones but the Cloud Alpha S are slightly better. The Cloud Alpha S have a bit better controls such as a bass slider on each ear cup. They also feel slightly better built and have companion software that allows you to adjust the mic level. The Cloud 2, on the other hand, have a slightly better performing boom microphone. On the downside, it should be noted that both headphones have inconsistent bass and treble delivery, and neither have a full EQ to account for it.

JBL Quantum 800 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL Quantum 800 Wireless and the HyperX Cloud Alpha S are similarly-performing gaming headphones but there are a few major differences. The HyperX are wired-only headphones that are more comfortable, better built, and come with a better performing detachable boom microphone. In comparison, the JBL are more versatile as they can be used wired or wirelessly using either Bluetooth or their USB dongle. They also have a great active noise cancelling feature, customizable RGB lighting, and companion software with a graphic EQ plus presets.

+ Show more

HyperX Cloud Alpha S Price

Blackout HyperX Cloud Alpha S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Blue HyperX Cloud Alpha S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Discussion