The HyperX Cloud Alpha S ($119 at the time of writing) is essentially a more adaptable version of one of the greatest gaming headphones, the HyperX Cloud Alpha. HyperX has now added the all-black HyperX Cloud Alpha S Blackout Edition SKU to the mix, as well as beta software with game-specific sound profiles.

HyperX Cloud Alpha S Gaming Headset
The Cloud Alpha S features the same light and airy design as the Cloud Alpha, allowing gamers to stay stylish and comfortable for hours. The Cloud Alpha S adds simulated 7.1 surround sound, an inbuilt controller for chat / audio volume balancing and other audio choices, and bass sliders on each earpiece for around $45 more than the Cloud Alpha (available for as little as $85 at the time of writing, depending on the colour). The bass sliders, on the other hand, offer a minimal amount of audible thud, and virtual surround sound generally comes with constraints, making the extra expense difficult to justify.

Design and Convenience

HyperX today announced the Cloud Alpha S Blackout Edition, which complements the black-and-blue version released in September. The variant with the blue accents has just the perfect amount of colour. The Alpha S Blackout Edition, on the other hand, is distinguished by the absence of colourful stitching, ear forks, and branding on the cups. When compared to the black and blue variant, the colouring in of the two bass adjustment sliders is maybe the nicest feature.

Nonetheless, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S's blue-on-black appearance is attractive. The blue ear forks, as well as the HyperX logo on the two eacups, stand out in their metal design. Meanwhile, the headband's similar blue stitching adds some traditional design that's almost handbag-like, especially given the rough effect of the imitation leather. The bass adjustment sliders are the same blue as the rear, adding some colour and making them simple to detect. The sliders' prominent notches make them easier to feel for blindly.

I like how HyperX experimented with its design without going overboard, while yet keeping the weight to a minimum. The black and blue model's look-at-me ear forks may restrict you from wearing them on the street, but they also make things interesting (this is a gaming peripheral, after all). Although the forks appear to be tiny, their aluminium construction feels quite solid, durable, and resistant to bending.

When I initially slipped on the HyperX Cloud Alpha S, I was struck by how light it felt. The headgear isn't considerably lighter than others, at 0.71 pounds (the Audio-Technica ATH-G1, Corsair HS35 and SteelSeries Arctis 1, for example, are all lighter at 0.6 pounds each). But it's the design that makes it seem light, as it relieves strain and weight on the head and ears. Even after hours of usage, the headset didn't compress my ears or make them feel confined or exhausted.

Because of the permeable leatherette material, the memory foam ear pads felt cool around my ears, which is ideal for folks who become hot during intensive or extended gaming sessions. The memory foam in the headband isn't the thickest we've seen, but it does the job of preventing pressure spots.

Per-ear adjustments are visible (and audible) on the headband, but I found it difficult to manage with the headset on. The earcups are kept in place by prongs that allow you to tilt them inward, just like the Cloud Alpha and many other gaming headsets. However, because you can't rotate them, they feel fairly tight while they're on my neck, especially with my thick hair.

The earcups attach to the headband via a visible wire, just as the Cloud Alpha, which I think makes the headset appear damaged or cracking. Others, however, may disagree, as this is a standard design choice, even on high-end headphones such as Sennheiser's new $400 Momentum Bluetooth headset. Still, I'm concerned that the exposed wires may create additional possibilities for the headset to be broken if they get snagged in a backpack or just when walking about. However, the exposed cables are braided for further resilience. On a more positive note, unlike so many other pieces of technology these days, the metal frame of the earcups and the leather headband resist fingerprints.

When utilising the headset through USB-A instead of the 3.5mm audio connection, the headset comes with a detachable inline control box. Virtual surround sound (the button lights up white when pressed), chat / game audio balancing, and mic monitoring all require USB connectivity. There are additional volume controls on the mixer. There are no other controls on the headset other from the bass sliders, making these controls easy to discover and decreasing the possibility of accidentally changing the mic when you meant to alter the volume. Interestingly, HyperX provides a comparable AMP USB sound card for $29.99, but it has mic volume buttons instead of chat / game balancing settings.

Unfortunately, the control box (which weighs 0.13 pounds and has a 2-meter braided wire that connects to the 3.5mm socket) isn't as nicely constructed as the rest of the headset. It's made of plastic, is a little hefty, and comes with a clip that harkens back to the beeper period. Because you'll most likely be using this headset at home rather than on the move, this seems superfluous and makes the setup appear old and bulky. However, due to its size, I'd prefer a mute audio button on the controller in addition to the mute mic button.

Performance Audio

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S came without any accompanying software at first, however it now works with the HyperX NGenuity beta app. It won't detect the headset until it's connected to the computer by USB, so be sure you have one. When you first launch it, you'll see the standard controls as well as the welcome addition of a game-chat balance. Others provide this control on the headset itself, but we're grateful to have it at all.

New "auto-optimized" virtual 7.1 surround sound settings for APEX Legends, PUBG, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, CS:GO, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six Siege are also included in the software update. You may have the profiles activate automatically when one of those games is running on your PC and surround sound is turned on. Unfortunately, none of these audio-profiles can be tweaked, so you'll have to rely on HyperX.

Each profile was fine-tuned by HyperX's audio staff based on input from gamers and "invited focus groups" who listened to the EQs. According to a representative, the profiles were modified depending on particular game aspects including opponent footfall, helicopters, the ring of a rifle shot from a mountainside, and the roar of tanks rumbling past.

Individual customization and the option to build audio profiles, as offered by competitors, are still unavailable. The hardware, including the bass sliders on each earcup and the USB audio control mixer, are the most similar features. The latter contains a mic mute/monitoring button. While the mic is muted, a red LED illuminates; when the mic is active, the red LED illuminates. Holding down the mic button for three seconds also turns on mic monitoring, which allows you to hear yourself when speaking into the headset's mic, so it's a simple method to make sure.

Configurations and accessories

The detachable mic, removable 3.5mm cable, detachable USB audio control mixer (with its own 2-meter-long cable), additional fabric ear cushions, and a basic black drawstring HyperX bag are all included with every HyperX Cloud Alpha S.


The HyperX Cloud Alpha S doesn't have the most opulent drivers or features, but it makes up for it with high-quality audio, immersive surround sound, and a stylish design that's both comfy and stylish.

The Alpha S boasts simulated 7.1 surround sound and bass sliders, compared to the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which we've seen for $45 cheaper. The surround sound, on the other hand, isn't great, with a high pitch lean but an increase in loudness and richness. It's better in games like first-person shooters, and it's really useful in surround sound movies, but you might not enjoy it in music. The bass sliders, on the other hand, are nearly unnoticeable, having a scarcely audible impact.

Is it worthwhile to get this over the Cloud Alpha? It's worth mentioning that a version of the Cloud Alpha with a comparable sound card and 7.1 virtual surround sound is available for $125 at the time of writing, but it lacks chat / game balancing and mic monitoring. However, you might as well go for the Alpha S's more comprehensive bundle.

There isn't enough of a reason to upgrade if you currently possess a Cloud Alpha. If you're looking for a new gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S is a terrific option. It has the same great feel as the Cloud Alpha, but it has a deeper, more detailed movie and gaming soundtrack, and it can even make you appreciate the sounds of being fired at more.