HyperX Cloud Alpha S Blackout Headset Review: Same Old HyperX Quality

The Cloud Alpha S Blackout headset doesn't have many fancy features, instead focusing on great audio quality
The Cloud Alpha S Blackout headset doesn't have many fancy features, instead focusing on great audio quality HyperX

HyperX headsets may not be the flashiest out there, preferring to focus on quality instead of aesthetics. But that’s perfect if you’re looking for a great headset at a reasonable price instead of one filled with RGB lighting and extra bells and whistles. The latest headset from the company, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S Blackout, continues this trend of offering top-notch hardware for less than the competitors. But how does it compare to other offerings from HyperX?

As far as hardware goes, the Cloud Alpha S Blackout is pretty straightforward. It’s a wired headset with a detachable mic, swappable ear padding, and optional 7.1 virtual surround sound dongle. The one interesting physical feature I haven’t seen in many headsets before are small switches on the back of both ear cups. These switches can be flipped to manually alter the bass presence in the audio. The switches come in three positions each, allowing you to dial in the right bass level for you.

Switching between the three positions, it’s very noticeable how much they can impact a listening experience. While everyone will have their own personal preferences, it does feel like the maximum bass setting ultimately makes the entire listening experience come alive. Every time I switch up to the max setting, it’s almost like taking a breath of fresh air. While the bass is louder, the mids and highs seem to sparkle more as well.

Speaking of things sounding better, the included microphone is no slouch. When gaming with my friends, I found myself switching from a wireless headset to the Alpha S Blackout and was told there was a dramatically noticeable difference in my mic quality. If you want your teammates to be able to hear you at your best, this is the microphone to use.

Everything that comes with the Cloud Alpha S Blackout headset
Everything that comes with the Cloud Alpha S Blackout headset HyperX

As for an overall listening experience, the Cloud Alpha S Blackout is virtually identical to the HyperX Cloud 2 headset. I should mention that even though the Cloud 2 came out a few years ago, I still point to it as the best headset for the price to this day. Both headsets are incredibly comfortable (and include swappable ear cushions if you don’t like the faux leather feel), both are fairly lightweight, and neither puts any strain on your neck, ears, or head. The only real complaint I have is that the 3.5mm cable for the Alpha S Blackout does seem pretty short. Don’t expect to be able to get up and dance with these cans on.

I guess if I really have to nitpick, the 7.1 dongle included with the Alpha S Blackout also seems a little off. While I’m sure people will be able to finely tune their headsets with the downloadable HyperX software, the basic plug-and-play settings of the dongle make audio sound noticeably quieter compared to when you just plug the headset into the headphone jack. You’ll definitely have to tinker around to make the Alpha S Blackout sound as good as possible when switching to the dongle.

Now comes the big comparison moment. It makes the most sense to compare the Cloud Alpha S Blackout to the tried and true Cloud 2 headset, as both are fairly basic wired options. Both feature detachable microphones, and both also come with 7.1 virtual surround sound dongles. Basically, the only difference is that the Alpha S Blackout includes those bass switches to determine how much bass you can hear.

The other difference is, of course, the price. The Cloud 2 is $100, whereas the Alpha S Blackout is $130. Is having the ability to quickly alter the level of bass in your headset worth $30 extra dollars? That’s ultimately up to you to decide on. Personally, I don’t feel that the feature is worth the extra money.

That said, the Alpha S Blackout headset is still a high-quality option if you are looking for something basic to get the job done with whatever console or PC you have. It’s hard to talk negatively about a no-frills headset that offers this much in terms of high-quality audio for such a low price. If you’re shopping around for a new multi-use headset, the Alpha S Blackout is everything you want.

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