The HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1 gets some things right in its quest to compete among the best gaming headsets. Compared to some of its other offerings, like the HyperX Cloud II Wireless, the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 offers more and higher quality memory foam, as well as firm steel. And despite the smaller drivers, HyperX promises a stronger, more robust sound scape on the Cloud Revolver 7.1 than some of its other offerings.
But at $150 (opens in new tab), this is an odd product. Although it’s wired, it’s the same price as the Cloud II Wireless, which offers similar features, like virtual 7.1 surround sound and a detachable noise-cancelling microphone.
The Cloud Revolver + 7.1 comes with an audio-boosting digital signal processor (DSP) via a handy USB sound card that also provides audio controls and virtual 7.1 surround sound. But it’s surround sound and audio in general isn’t tweak-friendly, keeping the package simple but hard to perfect.
HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1 Specs
|Driver Type||50mm neodymium|
|Frequency Response||10 Hz-23.2 KHz|
|Microphone Type||Detachable condenser noise-cancelling|
|Connectivity||USB Type-A or 3.5mm|
|Weight||Headset-only: 0.83 pounds (375g)|
|Headset, mic, cable: 1 pound (452g)|
|Cords||6.67 feet (2.03m) USB-A cable and 7.1 dongle|
|3.33 feet (1m) 3.5mm|
|Software||HyperX Ngenuity (Beta)|
Design and Comfort
The HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1 is an update of an older design: the original HyperX Cloud Revolver released in 2016. The general build remains the same, though HyperX has removed all the color from the overall design. While the original was black matte plastic and steel with red HyperX red highlights, the 2021 edition saps all the color. Instead, the highlights are in a simple, understated white. There's no RGB on this headset, just crisp, clean black and white.
A single piece of steel runs across the entire headband from ear cup to ear cup. Not only is that the most striking part of the design, it also provides stability. Underneath that steel band is an adjustable smaller band that sits on top of your head. That band is made of leatherette and memory foam, providing a smooth cushion for the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 to rest upon.
The ear cups themselves are pretty hefty, with a design that looks like speakers on the outside flanked by the steel fins of the headband. On the inside of the ear cups, you'll find more leatherette and memory foam. There's more foam here than in some of HyperX's cheaper headset models. There are no controls on the ear cups—no volume roller or mute button here—but there is a 3.5mm jack for the detachable microphone. The mic itself is flexible but can't be slid into a position where it's out of your face and lacks any indicator for when it's muted.
All told, while it's not the lightest headset I've tested, the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 feels pretty good. The headset itself is 0.83 pounds (375g), but the distribution of weight is fantastic. It sits light on the top of your head, and any clamping pressure around the ears is lessened by the memory foam pads. I have a pretty big head though, and I get the feeling it might be too roomy for those with tiny heads—the metal band is around 9 inches across, and the gap between the earcup pads is around 6-6.5 inches. There's also not a ton of twist in ear cups, and for long sessions I could feel the insides getting a little warm.
The Cloud Revolver is a fully-wired headset. There's a braided cable that runs from the left ear cup that cannot be detached. It's around 3.33 feet (1m) in length, ending in a 3.5mm jack. HyperX only specs the headset to work with PC and PS4, but with the 3.5mm connection it should work with an Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4 (PS4) and PlayStation 5 (PS5).
Then there's the USB sound card. It has a 3.5mm jack for plugging in the headset and ends in a USB Type-A connector for use with your PC. With the box, you get boosted audio via a digital signal processing sound card, as well as the ability to use virtual 7.1 surround sound. This plugs into your PC, PS4, or PS5. On the sound card dongle, you'll find volume controls for the headset and microphone, a mute button on the side and a big button for activating the 7.1 surround sound capabilities. The mute button and 7.1 button both light up, letting you know which mode you're in for each feature. The dongle also has a clip on the back for attaching to your shirt or pants to keep it in handy.
Cloud Revolver + 7.1 Audio Performance
HyperX markets the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 as a "studio-grade" headset. It has 50mm drivers, in line with most of its competition, but sports a larger frequency range than most. The can stretches from 10 Hz to 23.2 kHz, giving it an edge on both ends against some in this price range. That means a relatively wide soundscape.
There is one problem though. This headset utilizes HyperX's own version of virtual 7.1 surround sound. There's no tweaking and no equalizer available in HyperX's software suite. And there's no support for something like DTS Headphone:X or Dolby surround. HyperX's 7.1 utilizes Windows Sonic on PC for any tweaks; the problem I have is that while Windows Sonic is great for positioning, I find the overall audio quality and available settings are far better on DTS Headphone:X or Dolby. The company did have a version of this headset that had Dolby support, the Cloud Revolver S (opens in new tab), but that product doesn't look like it's being produced anymore. The headset we’re reviewing is essentially a non-Dolby rebrand of the S.
I loaded up Hitman 3; One of the new levels in this entry in the series, Berlin, is an excellent test with 7.1 on. The level takes place in an underground club hidden in a derelict power plant. Voices came through on the headset clearly, from the correct virtual channels with no distortion. The real test was below though. As you round the stairs into the club proper, there's loud, booming techno music playing, with a good meaty bass beat to it. Even among the cacophony, Hitman 3 is still great about allowing you to hear audio dialog that may point to future assassinations. It's a pretty chaotic scene in terms of sound, especially with the ebb and flow of the techno as you move around the environment, and the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 handled it well.
The Cloud Revolver + 7.1 is only guaranteed to work with PC and PS4, as per HyperX. But my PS5 recognized it immediately in sound devices when I plugged it in via USB. I didn't have any sound initially, leading me to assume it didn't work, but the trick with the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 is the audio controls on the dongle work independently of the system volume. You can have the system volume up, but the dongle volume down, and hear nothing.
Playing Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, I found the system's 3D audio worked well with the Cloud Revolver + 7.1. Walking around the city to get a feel of the directional sound, I could walk around a running car and clearly hear the engine humming along from the correct direction.
In terms of clarity, I could hear every thwip of the web-shooters alongside the whipping winds, the low bass beat of the soundtrack and even J. Jonah Jameson's annoying radio broadcast. However, I did notice a little loss of clarity in the highs, with strings in the ambient soundtrack blending a bit with some of the city's sounds.
The first music track I tried on the headset was Jason Derulo's "Lifestyle.” It works well as a test case because of the transition from the early parts of the song. You have the thrumming of the bass guitar contrasted with Derulo's vocals, which are then joined by accompaniment and staccato claps. Once the chunky bass in the chorus comes in, the song is playing on nearly every level. It's got a little bit of everything.
Listening to the track on the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 allowed me to test the difference in the standard stereo versus the 7.1 surround. In stereo, there was wonderful differentiation and clarity between the different parts of the song. The wider soundscape really showed up to play. Switching to surround sound, it was clear that HyperX's solution pushes the mids back, really playing up the highs and lows.
Across few other tracks, I actually found aspects of the music that was missing in my day-to-day headset. Gfriend's "Labyrinth" had a sort of alternating high xylophone-style sound in the background of the chorus I never noticed before. And the understated low piano in the bridge of Clean Bandit's "Higher" was suddenly apparent. There's just an excellent amount of separation and clarity to the overall sound on this headset. It's probably one of the better music listening experiences at this price point.
The microphone on the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 is a unidirectional condenser mic that you can detach from the headset. My recordings sounded pretty good, though they came across a little warm overall. Vocal clarity was pretty good, but there was still audible popping.
Noise cancellation, meanwhile, was decent. The headset took care of a good amount of environmental sound. There was someone mowing the lawn outside of my apartment, for example, and that wasn't in the recording much. My local television noise also didn't come through on recordings.
The boom mic is flexible, allowing for decent placement in front of your mouth. I also actually prefer having the mic mute on the dongle because it means you're not getting a noise in your recording trying to mute your mic.
HyperX specs the Cloud Revolver + 7.1’s mic for a frequency response of 50 Hz - 7.7 kHz.
HyperX has beta software, NGenuity, that works with many of its gaming peripherals, including some headsets. The Cloud Revolver + 7.1, however, is not meant to work with any software. Instead, HyperX targets this at users who want a simple plug-and-play package. But those who like to tweak their audio or want to address any perceived weaknesses in the Cloud Revolver + 7.1’s performance is out of luck.
If you want to do any virtual speaker positioning regarding the 7.1 surround sound, you can use the standard Windows menus via Windows Sonic.
With the Cloud Revolver + 7.1, HyperX has crafted cans with great build quality, effective virtual 7.1 surround sound support, a nice wide soundscape and versatility through its two connection options (3.5mm or USB Type-A).It also delivers one of the better music-listening experiences I've had in the $150 (opens in new tab) price range.
However, the virtual 7.1 surround sound here is a step down from the immersive feel and customization options premium competitors, like Dolby, offer. And HyperX's lack of audio tweaking options means you're essentially stuck with what you get out of the box. The company could gain some ground simply by fixing that.
There are more customizable options with advanced surround sound for less. As of writing, Logitech Pro X is about $20 cheaper (opens in new tab) than our review focus, and you get DTS Headphone X 2.0 support, an extensive audio equalizer and Blue microphone audio tweaks via Logitech software. The Razer BlackShark V2 offers THX Spatial Audio for a whopping $50 less. And that's all before you even get into wireless headset options, which are pretty price-competitive these days.
Sure, I might love listening to music on the Cloud Revolver + 7.1, but a gaming headset is more than that. And frankly, HyperX is still behind the competition in terms of bells-and-whistles.
But if you’re not into tweaking and just want something that offers decent virtual surround sound and covers a wide range of frequencies out of the box while sitting comfortably on your noggin, the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 is worth a look.