In mid-March, HyperX released a new model in their Cloud Revolver headset line: the Cloud Revolver S. This new high-end, 7.1 surround sound model absolutely delivers on its promises of stand-out sound, comfort, and convenience.
The Revolver S has a solid-steel frame that attaches to two memory-foam earcups. These are the same type of earcups which are used in all HyperX headsets, providing a great mix of support and comfort as when encasing the ear. I was pleased with the HyperX earcups when I reviewed the Cloud Stinger before, and my experience with these was much the same. They’re encased in a soft leatherette material that is resistant to staining and won’t pick up lint or absorb sweat like cloth encasements. The suspension band is something a little different than I’ve experienced in previous headsets as it, too, is encased in memory foam and leatherette, housing a plastic band that’s attached to the frame. This plastic band allows the suspension band to expand automatically to the height of your head, avoiding the common method of manually adjusting each side of the headset. At first, I was worried that this would lead to an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the top of my head (I’ve had previous headsets that I’ve had to abandon due to this issue). Fortunately for the Revolver S, that didn’t turn out to be the case. While I do feel the suspension band resting on my head, it’s not uncomfortable or distracting in any way.
The headset’s three-foot woven cable connects the left earcup to a 4-pole jack, which can either be directly connected to a device (like a console controller) or to one of the two connectors packaged with the headset: a PC extension cable for dual 3.5 stereo/mic jacks or an audio control box ending in a USB connection. Between these three different plugs (4-pole, USB, and dual 3.5mm), the Cloud Revolver S is compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, mobile devices (e.g. phones, tablets), and Xbox One (though an adapter will be required if the Xbox One controller does not have a 4-pole port).
This audio control box dongle is where the real audio magic happens. It houses a DSP sound card and takes care of your standard audio needs, replacing the need for cumbersome software. The dongle has dials for audio and mic volume on one side and a button on the front to mute your mic. The other side has a large Equalizer button, where you can switch between three different modes for your audio: Vocals, Flat, and Bass, with three corresponding lights on the front of the dongle. The main feature of the dongle, however, is the large Dolby Surround 7.1 audio button. During my interview with HyperX at PAX East 2017, Mark Tekunoff demonstrated to me how the Revolver S drivers showcase the separation of sounds, especially with the surround sound on.
I haven’t cared too terribly much about surround sound in previous headsets, but I can really tell the difference with the Revolver S. It’s been very enjoyable to listen to music with surround sound on because the separation of sounds is very noticeable: picking out treble and bass is easier; they sound more distinct. I’ve even taken to playing some of my games of Overwatch with surround sound on at times. I never really liked playing games with surround sound on before, as it felt distracting and muddled together, but the drivers of this headset don’t feel that way at all. Contrary to my previous experiences of gaming with surround sound, weapon effects sound more differentiated and shots/explosions sound more satisfying. It’s been a great new experience for me.
So it’s clear that the audio impressed me, but what about the microphone? As many of you will probably agree, a good microphone is equally important for a gaming headset. The microphone is attached with a jack into the left earcup. It’s made of a moldable plastic, which is easily adjustable to get the perfect angle and distance from your mouth, but won’t be displaced easily with a stray bump of your hand (an issue I’ve had in the past with mics on the end of an adjustable wire). The mic doesn’t swing up or retract, but instead can be simply detached from the frame when you don’t need it. On the sound side of things, the mic has “digitally enhanced noise-cancelling” technology. While many headset microphones advertise advanced noise-cancelling features, I haven’t noticed any significant differences between them. Once again, though, the Revolver S surprised me. Background noise is significantly reduced and one of my friends commented on Mumble that it suddenly sounded like I was speaking from a vacuum when I switched headsets. He’d been so used to my background noise, that he immediately noticed when it was gone. I found that to be pretty impressive.
I honestly had to dig pretty deep for negatives of this headset, but I was able to pick out a couple of minor issues that others may have with the headset. Since the mic doesn’t swivel up, the headset must be placed on its back when put down, which can lead to some awkward wrist-twisting when stepping away from the computer for a minute.The second issue is with one of the headset’s selling points: it claims that it helps players hear enemies from further away in FPS games with its unique sound stage. I’m not sure if this is true or even possible. I can see what they’re going for with the Revolver S’s surround sound offering better sound separation, but it does seem to be a big leap of reasoning. While I think gamers are used to overly strong games like this (and tamp their expectations accordingly), this is certainly something to be aware of.
The biggest and most obvious issue is the $150 price point, which is quite expensive for a headset. The features and performance make me feel that the price point is fair, but the question is whether it’s “worth it.” I think that if you’re looking for an extremely impressive and high-quality, multi-platform headset with surround sound, and $150 is within your price range, then you won’t be disappointed with the Cloud Revolver S. As far as structure and performance, I couldn’t find anything I was unhappy with (my two quibbles were the best I could do), and everything I’ve experienced with it in the last two weeks has made me feel that it will last me a long time. I’d easily recommend the Revolver S to anyone looking to buy a high-end headset (and actually, already have to a personal friend), but obviously not even an outstanding headset is worth breaking the bank for.