I’m not a huge connoisseur of gaming headsets, having my Turtle Beach X12s for the past few years. Even then I use them with my PC more than I do with my Xbox 360. I’ve never bought a new headset as the X12s work for what I need them to do. However, I recently received the opportunity to check out HyperX’s new Cloud Revolver headset so I decided to try it out and see if it can become my new PC and gaming headset. Not only is this my first headset review, it’s my first hardware review as well so I’m going to structure this a little differently than my other reviews. Aside from talking about the specs of the headset, I’m going to focus on three main aspects: the physical aspects of the headset, the quality of the microphone and incoming audio, and the quality of the audio output.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver weighs a little less than one pound, has a steel frame, detachable noise cancelling microphone, 50mm directional drivers for a clean sound with enhanced bass, and a 3.5mm plug that can be used by itself for most audio devices or plugged into the headset’s audio control box that features a sliding mute button, volume control, and two 3.5mm stereo and mic cables to use as a headset. Out of the box the headset does have a bit of weight to it. It’s not much, but it is enough to notice depending on other headsets you’ve used. The way that the headset is design also allows the sides to slide up and down and fit as you put it on as opposed to other headsets where you have to adjust each side individually yourself, if that makes any sense.
As stated, the mic and audio control box are both removable, leaving just a standard 3.5mm cord that you can connect to pretty much any audio device to use as a standard pair of headphones. That’s a nice feature as it allows the user to use the headset just as a pair of headphones without having to disconnect the entire thing from their computer or gaming system; just detach the main cord from the audio control box and leave the other cords as they were. The audio control box just has a mic mute button and a volume control slider. I bring this up because the X12s also have a control slider for chat audio and bass. The chat audio slider I rarely touched anyway, but I was never a person to crank the bass up on my stereo system. On the contrary, I tend to add only a little bass to my music, but as I’ll talk about in a bit when I get to the audio quality, I don’t really miss the bass control slider.
Despite being a little heavier than what I’m used to, the headset feels pretty comfortable on my head. The ear cups completely surround the ears and while playing a game can drown out excess noise unless it’s literally right next to you. The main cord is long enough that you can connect it to an MP3 player or other small device and put it into your pocket without the cord pulling out of the device due to being too short. Now granted I’m not going to go walking down the street wearing a PC headset while listening to music on my Samsung Galaxy, but the point being that the cord is short enough not to snag on something while walking around with it, but not to the point that it’s easy to accidentally pull out of the device.
Now we come to what’s probably the biggest aspect for me: microphone quality. This is big for me because I do a lot of audio recording for YouTube videos and for live streaming. The two main programs I use are Audacity and XSplit Gamecaster, so I tested the headset with both programs. The main issue I noticed while using Audacity, and probably my only real nitpick with the headset in general, is that you have to have the microphone pretty close to your mouth for it to pick up your voice. I first used the mic in a position that was pretty much where I had the mic on my X12s and noticed that the audio waves barely went anywhere, and when playing back I could hardly hear my voice. When I moved the mic to around an inch or so away from my mouth I noticed the audio waves registering a normal volume. This isn’t a make or break thing for me, but just a personal nitpick.
Knowing this I recorded a few videos with XSplit Gamecaster and recently did a live stream on Twitch. In terms of input, everything came out fine. When playing back the videos my voice sounded clear with no noticeable imperfections. The third and final test I did with the mic was with TeamSpeak while playing Borderlands 2 with a friend. Surprisingly I had the mic a decent distance away from my mouth and my friend heard me just fine, as in my voice wasn’t too soft or anything else abnormal. That’s weird considering the situation I had with Audacity, but at the same time this is a gaming headset and has been tested with TeamSpeak, so maybe that has something to do with it. I’ll have to adjust some things with Audacity to see if I can correct the issue there.
Whereas microphone quality is probably the biggest aspect for me, just as important is the quality of the audio coming out of the headset. I can say that after testing the headset with several different consoles and programs on my PC, I never experienced any issues with them. I mentioned earlier about the lack of bass controls on the audio control box, but the amount the headset puts out works just fine for me. I’m sure that if you need more bass in your ears you can always adjust it in whatever program you’re using if you’re listening to music, but by default it works for me. While listening to MP3s via Windows Media Player the music comes through clean and clear with no notable imperfections.
However, this is a gaming headset so to put it to the test I used it for a number of gaming systems. As I noted in my first impressions a little while back, my Turtle Beach X12s came with an adapter that you can plug the headset into (or any headphones with a 3.5mm cord) and then connect them to basically any game console that uses RCA audio cables…which is just about all of them unless you’re playing on an Atari 2600 or Colecovision. Even without the adapter most TVs should have a jack on the back for headphones. Naturally the first test was while playing somewhat recent PC games such as Borderlands 2, Castlevania Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD, and WWE 2K16. The audio on all of these came through great, which meant that while recording some footage of WWE 2K16 I was doing my best not to constantly rock out to entrance music and focus on my recording.
While playing Borderlands 2 with a friend and chatting on TeamSpeak, the audio for both the game and TeamSpeak came through perfect without any issues. In terms of surround sound quality the headset performed rather well. If someone was talking behind me or if some action was taking place, the audio came from the correct area on the headset. The ear cups surround your ears and fit rather comfortably while blocking out most noise. Granted you will still hear noise if nothing is coming out of the headset, but while playing or listening to music, the headset cancels out most noise unless it’s right up next to you and at a decent volume.
I am also a classic gamer, meaning I have my NES and Super NES hooked up at all times, so naturally I decided to enjoy some awesome 8-bit and 16-bit music through a brand new headset. While I’m sure the Cloud Revolver wasn’t intended to be used with game consoles made in the 80s and 90s, the quality was still great. Then I decided to go a step further and see how well the Cloud Revolver works with my cell phone. As I’m typing this I’m listening to a couple of songs on my phone and for the most part the audio is pretty good, with some imperfections here and there. It basically depends on the quality of the original file. If you heard a slight imperfection while listening through the speakers, it’ll probably be more noticeable through the headset. Otherwise though I didn’t notice a drop in quality on most of the songs I listened to.
Then I decided to go all out and put the Cloud Revolver to the ultimate test. I plugged the thing into my Game Boy. Not a DS, not a Game Boy Advance, but the classic Game Boy. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to affect my final thoughts on the headset and I only did it out of curiosity. It sounded okay, but obviously a headset made in 2016 isn’t made for a portable game system that came out in the late 80s. After about ten minutes of playing Ducktales I had to take the headset off before I got a headache. Then again that could have been the combo of the music really close to my ears and staring at a green and black monochrome screen. If you really want to punish yourself, try hooking them up to a Virtual Boy.
After spending a lot of time with the HyperX Cloud Revolver headset and putting it through its paces for recording and listening, as well as testing it with multiple systems and applications, I can say that this is a really well put together piece of hardware. Outside of the headset being a little heavier than what I’m used to with other headsets, it still sits comfortably on my head and doesn’t feel like it’s constantly pressing down on me. The mic quality is pretty good once you find a good position for it and the audio quality is great, 1980s handheld game systems notwithstanding.
The final question is if it’s worth $120. That may seem a bit steep for someone looking to get a new headset, but compared to other gaming headsets on the market, it’s a good price for the quality you’re getting. I’m not one to rush out and get a $200 or $300 headset for gaming. I’m also not going to say that compared to higher priced headsets that you’re getting what you pay for. If you’re looking to get a great quality headset without breaking the bank, the HyperX Cloud Revolver is a pretty good option to look into.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.