The original HyperX Clouds were their first pair gaming headset, and it was a huge success. It had a sound signature similar to a $300 pair of Beyerdynamics, noise cancelling microphone, excellent build quality, and all for under $100. Two years later, they’ve announced a brand new model: the Cloud Revolver.
So let’s start with the specs. The Cloud Revolvers are a closed circumaural headset which sits completely around your ears. They use 50mm drivers, have a frequency response of 12Hz to 28,000 Hz, and an impedance of 30ohms.
But Julia, what does that mean?!?! Well, humans can generally only hear from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, so if a headset has an extended range like the Revolvers then it’s a good sign that they produce good quality sound at both ends of the sound spectrum–bass and treble.
And with an impedance of just 30 ohms, basically any device will drive these headphones pretty well including your motherboard, smartphone, or even console–they’ll work well on almost any device. You probably won’t get any improvements using amps – We had Anthony test it out between his Yamaha mixer, an FiiO portable amp, an ASUS sound card, and his motherboard, and noticed zero differences. But your experience may vary since everyone has different ears.
Moving on, the first physical thing you’ll notice is that the traditional adjustable headband is gone in favour of a new suspension type system. Some people like it, some people don’t; it all depends on the shape of your head. For some, it may apply a bit more pressure to the top of your head compared to previously, since there’s tension holding the whole thing together. It feels like the sideways clamping pressure has increased as well, but it’s still very comfortable due to the bigger earpads and better articulation in the hinge. For me, I felt like it wasn’t a matter of more or less pressure, but rather pressure in different areas. The Cloud II’s had a bit more pressure on the top of the head and ears, whereas with the Revolvers, there was more pressure on the bottom of my ears, by my jaw. The headset is slightly heavier now, weighing in at 376 grams versus 350, but feels about the same on.
A common complaint with the original Clouds was that the earcup was slightly too short and could still sit on your ear. The Revolver’s earpads are much larger now, and easily fit completely around your ears. The earpads have also been upgraded to memory foam covered in leatherette, but unfortunately, they’re not interchangeable anymore. It would’ve been a nice option to have, since velour offers slightly more breathability. The 50mm drivers are actually smaller, but they’re now angled for a better sound stage.
The earcups are closed, but there’s a few vents in the back to help improve bass. For the most part, isolation is very good both ways. You don’t hear much of your environment, and not much of your sound leaks out around you. The design on the outside looks almost like a lit up engine turbine, but don’t worry, there aren’t any LED’s in the headset.
The noise cancelling microphone offers about the same quality, but you can be the judge of that. Normally we record audio using a Rode shotgun mic, but I’ll use the headset’s microphone for the rest of the paragraph.
Instead of the old wire boom, it’s now this rubbery thing. It looks more futuristic, but offers slightly less flexibility since it likes to return to its original shape. It’s still detachable, which is good, but I would’ve liked to see a hinge or something so you can easily rotate it out of the way since plugging it in and out adds a lot of wear and tear and isn’t something you can quickly do all the time.
Okay, back to studio microphone. The standard model we have here comes with a 4 pole cable by default, which includes both audio and microphone, so you actually take calls with this headset.
Okay, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. For computer use, the headset comes with an extension cable that includes a control box that also splits the single 4 pole plug into separate headphone and microphone plugs. The control box has can adjust headset volume and mute the microphone, but you don’t get microphone volume control anymore. We heard there’s a 7.1 surround sound version coming sometime soon, which should come with an inline USB sound card instead of just a control box.
And finally, onto the sound quality, the most surprising part. Keep in mind we are being very picky with the sound and paying attention for even the smallest differences. The Revolvers are not a direct upgrade from the Clouds. If anything, they’re more of a side grade.
First, the sound signature is much more V-shaped than before – meaning you get brighter highs and lower bass extension. Subwoofer bass is amazing on these without overpowering everything else. The unfortunate downside is that you lose a bit of midrange, so vocals are not as smooth as before.
Next, the soundstage is very wide for a closed headset – almost matching an open pair of headphones. In games, that means you can hear the exact direction anything is coming from. And in music, it feels like all the instruments surround you completely. By contrast, headphones with a narrow soundstage make everything sound like they’re coming from the center of your skull – an effect that’s not very immersive.
Finally, the treble is bright without being sibilant. That basically means that high notes are bright and exciting to listen to, even for long periods of time. Sometimes when headphones have too much treble, they can start to ‘hiss’ or feel like they’re piercing your skull. An effect that gets painful very quickly.
In comparison, the original Cloud 1’s and 2’s were both very neutral. The entire audio spectrum was pretty even, so they were great for everything from dubstep to classical to explosions. The revolvers, on the other hand, are definitely tailored for a younger gaming audience. Hip hop and electronic music feels like you’re sitting beside a subwoofer. You feel like you’re inside movies and games.
The downside of this, however, is that some genres such as Rock can sound a bit hollow. The wide soundstage and recessed mids can make some genres feel like the singer is almost too far away and distant.
Overall, the HyperX Cloud Revolver is a great new headset that offers high end audiophile quality for a fraction of the price. Just look at the leather covered suspension headband – you don’t usually get that on headphones that cost less than $300. And as comfortable as the suspension system is, it’s also the one thing we didn’t like about this headset.
It’s made of a 1 piece steel frame, which is strong, but makes the headset much bulkier and also causes a lot of noise. It’s like a tuning fork. If you hit it the wrong way, it will resonate and ring in your ears quite loudly. Even if you don’t touch it, the spring loaded headband occasionally shifts due to the tension and can cause some noise as well. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s pretty noticeable when it does.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should get these or the Clouds, then the best advice is to go into a physical store and try them out. Headsets are going to feel and sound different for each person. They’re both amazing in their own ways, so it all comes down to what features you find the most important. Clouds are a great all-purpose headset that’s more portable and great for music, while the Revolvers are larger and great for long gaming sessions. The revolvers are $120 US, just $20 more than the Cloud IIs. Personally, I found the Cloud IIs more comfortable for my head shape, and wouldn’t bother upgrading, but again, it’s personal preference! Let me know what you think of the Cloud Revolvers and if you would upgrade!