Question HyperX Cloud Alpha underperforming (low audio)

Vexzionel

Honorable
Sep 12, 2013
3
0
10,510
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Hey guys, I went ahead and bought HyperX Cloud Alphas today after quite a bit of consideration.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed with the audio and I'm wondering if anything can be done about it.

The headset is laughably quiet and the bass is negligible, rest is quite mediocre (kinda blended together, not really indistinguishable).
This experience clashes with countless reviews and recommendations, so surely the problem can't be the headset itself. I believe it's not being powered well.

(And no, I didn't forget to dial up the in-line volume wheel, and I'm sure that everything is cranked to the max.)

Please don't misunderstand my experience as a bash against HyperX, if I wasn't a fan, I wouldn't have bought it. I'm just describing my experience in order to convey the issue and find and appropriate solution.

Just to clear it up, there's no sound issues that include buzzing, hissing, static noise or crackling. With that out of the way, I believe that there is no real benefit in getting an external DAC in this case.

I'm using the headset via it's 3.5mm audio jack plugged directly to my motherboard; ASUS Maximus VI Hero (older board) But the specs claim that the headset has 65Ω impedence, so perhaps that could explain the poor performance.

With all that said, I believe I could benefit from an amp or maybe even a dedicated soundcard ?

If so, could you recommend any decent & cheap headphone amplifiers ?

What I care about: low price, higher than current volumes, more bass, no noise (that'd be a downgrade). Something to unlock this headset's potential.
I'd prefer if there's an on-off switch and a knob, but it doesn't matter as much. Anyways, audio quality > build quality & features.

What I don't care about: portability, looks, surround sound, brand, size, any device that will "upgrade" the volume at the cost of the sound quality
and/or latency, as well as distortions. I don't mind buying some Chinese amp and wait for a month for it as long as it gets the job done.

Summarized: I'm aiming for improvements without compromising the current quality and I'd like the price to be low.
I'm not looking for an audiophile level of sound quality, rather something that'll make this headset actually usable because it currently isn't.

I don't know if upgrading to a dedicated (PCI-E) soundcard would help with the headset, can anyone shed some light on this ?

To my understanding, only select soundcards have built-in headphone amplifiers, so therefore I wouldn't really benefit on the lower end
when it comes to upgrading my soundcard. My speakers do sound fantastic as they are, but sometimes there's need for a headset.

Since I plan on using my speakers as a primary audio source, and am currently trying to save up money for some PC upgrades, the budget
I can work with is 30$, up to 40$ max. (if it's really worth it. And unfortunately I can't use Amazon due to excessive shipping costs and taxes to Croatia.

Any constructive feedback is welcome, thanks for taking the time.
 

Vexzionel

Honorable
Sep 12, 2013
3
0
10,510
0
Doesn't sound better on Samsung S7. I've used the 4 pole jack (I know that the extra pole is reserved for mic but I didn't need it for sound testing).

I have managed to improve the audio marginally. I'll share the steps in case anyone finds themselves in the same boat.

1.Downloaded motherboard specific Realtek Audio Manager (this won't help off-the-bat)
2.Plugged the jack into the front ports - when I've done this, 3 new amplification settings have shown up in the audio manager.
3.Selecting the "Extreme" settings increased the volume and you can actually hear the basslines accompanying songs now (literally couldn't before).

This resulted in an improved sound performance, but ever so slightly. Treble is more pronounced as well, doesn't completely blend with the lower frequencies.

I'm considering selling the headset since it's only 1 day old and getting a GSP300 since it has a significantly lower impedence. In addition to the lower impedance, they seem to boast a higher sound pressure (113 dB vs "98dBSPL/mW at 1kHz "), clearer mic. and similar-ish frequency response ranges Alphas; 13Hz 27,000Hz vs GSP300s: 15–26,000 Hz). Feel free to correct me if I misunderstood something!
 
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