HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1 Gaming Headset Review
NOTE: HyperX kindly sent me a final retail unit of this headset to review alongside marketing assets and technical information, but no money changed hands and I had full editorial control over this article.
As per my reviews policy, this article will never be monetized, but other additional content about this gaming headset, such as comparison articles I write in the future, might be. My posts contain zero affiliate links as I don’t personally believe in the practice.
Just a few months ago, I wrote fondly about HyperX’s Cloud Revolver series of headsets. I noticed that the “S” variant received some heavy discounts, and it seemed like the clever design (a long-time favorite of mine) could be on the precipice of fading into undeserved obscurity.
I was personally hopeful that the Revolver would receive an update, and lo and behold, today HyperX is launching the new Cloud Revolver + 7.1. HyperX engaged in an impressive update campaign this year, refreshing many headsets across their lineup. This one is closer to the Cloud Stinger S end of the spectrum rather than being a truly new product, like the Cloud Core + 7.1 and Cloud II Wireless. That’s okay, because the Revolver deserved another moment in the spotlight.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1 sells for $149.99 in the US and $219.99 in Canada (official product page here). It comes in the same gunmetal color as many of the previous Revolver models. In the box, you’ll get a detachable microphone, and a 7.1 surround dongle that looks like the same dongle from the Cloud Alpha S on the surface, but it has a couple of key feature differences.
Sound-wise, the Cloud Revolver was designed to prioritize soundstage above all other things, and it more than accomplishes that goal. Audio has a wide, open feeling in spite of this being a closed-back headset. The soundstage wraps convincingly around your head even in normal stereo mode, with precise imaging that’s great for positional tracking in games.
Fortunately, the rest of the headset’s audio performance also lives up to the HyperX pedigree. Bass is accurate and balanced, without the bloated thump a lot of folks associate with gaming products. The upper midrange and treble both have a limited bit of extra emphasis that gives them more oomph and perceived detail, but this is still a non-fatiguing headset to listen to for hours and hours whether used for gaming, music, or movies. When I first listened to the Revolver four years ago, it compared very favorably to my Sony MDR-1A, a popular higher-end headphone from that era.
The headset has a rated sensitivity of 100.5 dB, so it’ll get loud whether you use it with the included surround dongle or with a game console controller. I used it extensively with my Xbox Series S controller, and had no problems reaching a listenable volume, and never had to go above four or five pips on the volume bar on my Macbook. You won’t need any special amplification hardware to drive this headset.
The new dongle no longer includes Dolby Headphone, and instead uses HyperX’s newest proprietary virtual surround system. It’s a convincing effect, and supports proper 7.1 audio input from games. The implementation sounds similar to the one on the Cloud II Wireless, with accurate placement of each channel that doesn’t add too much extra EQ or sculpting to the sound.
Unlike the Cloud Alpha S’s dongle, the Revolver + 7.1’s new model doesn’t have a game/chat balance adjustment, and it isn’t supported inside of HyperX’s Ngenuity software. The game/chat balance buttons are replaced with mic volume buttons. Pressing the mute button on the side of the dongle mutes the mic, and holding it down activates side tone monitoring. The lack of Ngenuity support means that you won’t get access to HyperX’s customized profiles for popular games…but it also means that setup and installation is faster.
Comfort is a standout highlight of the Revolver, as it is on many HyperX headsets. The pads are large and filled with slow-rebound memory foam, and the headband pad is very wide and plush. The suspension design and large frame make this a good option for those of us with larger heads, and the free floating adjustment means you can just plop it on your head and be good to go. My ears don’t touch the angled drivers at all. It’s immediately comfortable on my personal head, and it stays that way for hours.
The build and design are both holdovers from the old versions of the Revolver, meaning that this still has a more angular, “gaming headset-like” design than most Hyper X products. Even so, I’ve always had a weird fondness for this look. The unified steel frame is solid and durable. The cable doesn’t detach, but that should help prevent any microphone crosstalk issues. The suspension headband rig has a looser feel to it than some other designs using this same concept, but it helps the headset to easily sit down onto your head without pulling up on your ears or face. And the wide headband, though not the most svelte and subtle thing in the world, helps balance the weight of the headset across your whole head, preventing hotspots.
In common with nearly everything else here, the microphone is the same decent mic the Revolver has always had. It provides a relatively natural tone with plenty of background noise cancelation, and that’s further enhanced with some digital processing if you use the mic with the included dongle. It’s great for voice chat or work-from-home applications. Here’s a few minutes of audio I recorded to check out the mic.
I love that the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 exists. This is a great headset design and I’m relieved it’s still on the market. However, its returning price point of $149 puts it in a tough spot among the HyperX lineup. The Cloud Alpha S is $129, and offers a bass adjustment feature, game/chat balance, a second set of ear pads, and a sleeker design. The new Cloud II Wireless is the same $149, and although it doesn’t support wired connections, it has exceptional audio and class-leading battery life and wireless performance.
It would be hard for me to argue that you should pick up the Cloud Revolver + 7.1 over either of those other two options. The Cloud Revolver’s main strengths are its exceptional soundstage and its luscious comfort for the larger-headed among us. Those both appeal to me on a personal level, and it’s awesome that this headset wasn’t allowed to fade into the past.
However, I had still hoped that the removal of the Dolby Headphone system would lead to a price cut, or that HyperX would take this opportunity to tweak the physical design. Even so, the soundstage is truly impressive even four years after it first released. The new dongle brings this more in line with the rest of HyperX’s products. And I love that it adds the mic monitoring feature that the Revolver S only had for a short time as a beta before it was removed in a patch.
I still have hope for the future of the Revolver, now that it’s no longer forgotten. I’d love to see what HyperX’s design team would do with a Revolver 2. A sleeker design, detachable cable/wireless option, or new colors would all help elevate this even against their own products. The combination of a proper update with this level of acoustic performance and soundstage would be tough to argue against, especially in a market segment where many of the questions I get still center around “can I hear where enemies are?”