The HyperX Cloud Revolver was an impressive gaming headset, offering crisp sound within a cozy, sturdy and cool-looking design. The new Revolver S ($149) retains everything great about its predecessor while adding plug-and-play virtual surround sound and a variety of audio preset options. HyperX's latest headset is much more versatile this time around, though its mixed surround performance makes considering some better alternatives in this premium price range worth it.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S is virtually identical to the original Revolver, packing the same sturdy steel frame and aggressive-looking, exhaust-like ear cups. The one difference is that the headset features white highlights instead of red, which is a welcome change considering how many gaming peripherals look like they've been freshly soaked in blood.
While I appreciate the greater subtlety, the Revolver S is still pretty attention-grabbing. I like wearing these headphones in the office and at home, but I probably wouldn't use them in public as my music headphones; that honor belongs to HyperX's far more unassuming Cloud II headset.
I've been using the Revolver S as my go-to headset for work and play for about a week now, and I often forget I'm even wearing it. Its big, faux-leather ear cups feel spacious and cozy, and its soft suspension headband automatically adjusts to your head shape without requiring you to do any manual tinkering.
HyperX says that the Revolver S sports an improved headband that distributes pressure more evenly, which explains why I find it a bit more comfy than the standard Revolver. I never really had the urge to take the 12.7-ounce headset off, and while I don't find it as flawlessly snug as the Cloud II, it's damn close.
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PC and Surround-Sound Performance
The biggest change from the Revolver to the Revolver S is the addition of Dolby 7.1 surround sound, which you can activate with the push of a button, no software required. However, while HyperX's new headset generally performed well across the board, I didn't always find surround mode to be a major upgrade.
In Mass Effect Andromeda, I had no issues making out the flurry of bullets, special powers and explosions that surrounded me as I defended an outpost from aliens. Activating surround sound heightened some environmental details and made the game louder, but also created a sometimes-muddy sound that often caused me to switch back to the more crisp standard mode.
I had a similar experience on Rise of the Tomb Raider. With Dolby activated, the sounds of blowing winds and rustling leaves were clearer, but weapons and footsteps sounded punchier with the feature off.
While the surround-sound performance of the Revolver S was a bit underwhelming, the three sound presets that the headset offers in standard mode were anything but. The headset's bass-boost mode added some welcomed extra kick to my guns in Tomb Raider and made my special powers in Mass Effect land with a bigger thud. The flat and dialogue modes did a good job highlighting mids and highs, respectively.
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While the Revolver's surround mode and audio presets are limited to PC, it still makes a fine console headset should you decide to plug its 3.5mm jack into your PS4 or Xbox One controller.
The Revolver S made it easy to pinpoint enemy footsteps and gunfire in Overwatch, and I was able to hear every unsettling creak, slam and monstrous growl as I explored Resident Evil 7's terrifying mansion. The headset did a nice job highlighting Mortal Kombat X's exquisitely gross sound design, giving some nice oomph to punches and kicks and allowing me to hear every single crackle of my enemy's bones as I shredded them to pieces.
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Microphone and Cables
The Revolver S's removable microphone is fairly bendable and impressively clear. The recordings I took contained minimal fuzziness and virtually no background noise, and they sounded crisp even when I moved the mic fairly far from my mouth. Your teammates should have no problem hearing you on the Revolver S, and you could probably get away with using it for a quick podcast.
Just as impressive is the headset's sheer versatility and ease of use. The Revolver's default 3.3-foot cable gives you plenty of slack for plugging into your controller, smartphone or tablet. Plugging into the USB sound box (which you need for surround sound) gives you a total of 7.2 feet, which is more than enough room for connecting the headset to the back of your PC. Don't need surround sound? There's also an included 6.6-foot extension cable that features separate headphone and microphone jacks.
I'm also a big fan of how well-designed the headset's USB sound box is. There are big buttons for instantly activating Dolby surround or muting the mic, as well as easy-to-reach volume and mic sliders and a convenient button for switching sound presets.
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The HyperX Cloud Revolver S is an impressive iteration on one of the better gaming headsets around. It's comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, durable enough to survive trips to tournaments, and versatile enough to be used with your PC, console and mobile devices. The addition of plug-and-play surround sound is a nice touch, but your mileage may vary when it comes to quality.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is still the king of the $150 price range, thanks to an even more versatile design that works wirelessly and is slick enough to double as a pair of headphones when you're out and about. And if you can live without surround, the original $120 Cloud Revolver offers most of the S's best features for less. The Revolver S has plenty to offer for serious gamers, but you should consider your alternatives first.
Photo credit: HyperX