The HyperX Cloud Revolver S is the latest flagship headset from Kingston’s gaming brand. The company is calling this product “the ultimate gaming headset”, thanks to improved comfort, new 50mm drivers, and a USB dongle that brings Dolby Surround 7.1 technology to the Cloud Revolver line for the first time.
I’ve been using the Cloud Revolver S for a couple of weeks now, and I’m impressed with both the sound quality and comfort of this headset. For a top-end product that retails for $149.99, I expect nothing less than the best experience HyperX has to offer for both listening to music and playing games.
Comfort is a key factor in any gaming headset. When you’re sitting down to play an eight-hour stint of Mass Effect: Andromeda, you want to barely notice you’re wearing headphones, and you certainly don’t want to experience any discomfort. The HyperX Cloud Revolver S succeeds brilliantly here: this headset is one of, if not the most comfortable pairs of over-ear headphones I’ve ever used.
The memory foam used in both the headband and ear cups is extraordinarily comfortable and has no issue perfectly conforming to the shape of your head. The suspended design of the headband allows the Cloud Revolver S to fall comfortably over your ears, and manages to make the headset feel almost weightless on your head. This headset is quite light in general, but its design prevents it from clamping too tightly to your head like some other products.
I was also impressed with the build quality and general style of the Cloud Revolver S. Some gaming headsets fall well into the ‘gamer style’ category, but the Revolver S uses a more subdued and understated design. I love the use of black steel for this headset’s frame, as well as the soft-touch matte plastic around the ear cups. White details add a bit of interest to this attractive design, which certainly looks premium.
Sound quality from the Cloud Revolver S is very good. I’m not an ‘audiophile’ by any means, but I love the balanced and detailed audio provided by this headset. When listening to music, no one area of the spectrum feels overpowering, but there’s still enough bass and punch at the low end to be enjoyable. Some gaming headsets I’ve tried go overboard with bass to enhance explosions while gaming, so I’m pleased HyperX has taken a more measured approach here.
The evenness of sound quality continues right through the volume range of the headset, until you reach the very top. Listening at maximum volume, which isn’t something I’d usually do or recommend, does lead to accentuated vocals and mid-tones while listening to music. This isn’t a big deal at all, and I’m glad the headset still provides a great experience at more reasonable loud listening volumes.
I’m also happy to report that the Cloud Revolver S is well suited to listening to music and watching movies as well as just playing games. Dialogue is crisp while watching movies, and nothing feels overpowered during any listening scenario.
One thing to note is that this headset doesn’t provide much in the way of noise isolation, aside from minor reduction simply from having your ears somewhat covered. If you’re gaming in a noisy environment, it may be possible to hear this noise while using the Cloud Revolver S. Similarly, there is a small amount of sound leakage from these headphones, so others around you may be able to hear what you are listening to.
The Cloud Revolver S comes with two ways to connect the headset to your PC: a USB dongle with its own DAC; or two 3.5mm headphone jacks for the speakers and microphone respectively. I like how HyperX has given users the choice between using their provided USB DAC or an external audio player, because some may have an amazing external player or want to hook up this headset to a USB-less device like a phone.
When listening on my PC, the USB dongle produced slightly better audio than through a straight 3.5mm connection. However, the DAC inside the USB dongle does produce small amounts of static hiss when audio isn’t playing, which wasn’t present when using the headset through a 3.5mm cable.
Other aspects to the USB dongle are the weakest aspect to the HyperX Cloud Revolver S. Firstly, the dongle is attached one meter from the headset, so when standing, the dongle hangs at about knee height. There is a clip on the dongle, but clipping it to your shirt or pants while gaming is awkward. The best solution I found was to rest the dongle in my lap while seated, although that still isn’t ideal. Integrating the controls into the headset itself, or using a smaller dongle that’s closer to the headset, would be a better and more easily accessible design.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Dolby 7.1 Surround mode, which is available through the USB dongle. It’s a key feature of this headset, but in most situations it reduced the audio quality and offered nothing in terms of actual surround sound. In games, the surround sound experience is better with the Surround mode disabled, which is disappointing as I thought Dolby’s simulated 7.1 technology would make it easier to pick out the location of enemies behind me. It doesn’t, and I felt more spatially aware using normal stereo surround processing provided by default.
There are three equalizer presets included on the USB dongle as well, which can be toggled through a single button. Again, none of these presets improved sound quality for the most part, and I preferred to leave the headset in its default mode.
My preference to leave the headset in its default processing modes is a testament to the quality of its sound, and even without Dolby technology, I felt immersed in games while using the Cloud Revolver S. What’s even better is that it’s easy to toggle on or off the Dolby 7.1 Surround mode (or any of the presets) so you can quickly determine for yourself which mode you’d prefer.
The USB dongle does provide two useful functions, though: it has dedicated volume controls for both the speakers and the microphone, and there’s an easy-to-access button that can enable or disable the microphone.
I love how the Cloud Revolver S includes a detachable microphone. I often using gaming headsets for playing single player games or listening to music, where a microphone is unnecessary, so the ability to get the microphone out of the way completely is welcome.
The quality of the microphone isn’t particularly fantastic, and produces audio similar to a decent mobile phone call. It’s quite easy to hear the user’s voice, however as it lacks wideband voice reproduction, it doesn’t sound nearly as natural as a proper microphone. Breathing sounds can, at times, also be heard through this microphone when it’s a normal distance from your mouth.
There are some good aspects to the microphone, however, such as feedback looped through the USB dongle to the headset that makes it much easier to speak. The microphone is also noise cancelling, and does a fantastic job of removing room noise, including loud speakers just a foot or so from your face.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S isn’t the cheapest gaming headset on the market, but for the price, you certainly get quality. The headset is extremely comfortable and produces great sound quality, whether that’s listening to music or playing games. I wasn’t hugely impressed with the Dolby 7.1 Surround mode provided through the USB dongle, but you don’t have to use this mode or the dongle itself, as this versatile headset also supports 3.5mm audio jack connectivity.
Pros: Extremely comfortable design. Fantastic sound quality for music, video and gaming. Connects via USB or 3.5mm audio jacks.
Cons: Dolby 7.1 Surround mode isn’t great. Upper-end pricing.