Cleer Audio ALPHA Review

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Unless you’re determined to achieve the best noise-cancellation this sort of money can buy, the ALPHA have plenty to recommend them – both in audio quality and pride of buying terms


  • Engaging and informative sound, with non-gimmicky spatial audio equally a bonus
  • Nicely congenital and finished
  • Impressive specification includes fine battery life


  • Tin be bettered for noise-counterfoil
  • Slightly restricted dynamic headroom
  • Numerous higher-contour rivals

Key Features

  • Dirac Virtuo spatial audio
    Spatial audio support that widens the soundstage

  • Bluetooth
    Supports aptX Adaptive for amend connectedness in decorated signal areas


Information technology takes an intrepid brand to involve itself in the market for fairly expensive over-ear active noise-cancelling headphones. All the biggest guns are involved, and it’s an area where ‘pretty good’ is seldom skillful plenty.

Cleer Audio, though, demonstrably fancies its chances. These ALPHA headphones have the looks, the build quality, and the on-newspaper specification to compete – and in Dirac Virtuo spatial audio, they have a genuine point of difference.

‘On paper’ is ane thing, though… ‘in practise’ is quite another. Are the Cleer Audio Blastoff enough to compete?


  • United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland
    RRP: £249.99

The Cleer Sound Blastoff agile noise-cancelling over-ear headphones are on sale now, and in the United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland they’re priced at £249. In America they’re available for a slightly more than competitive $249. While they’re not on sale in Commonwealth of australia still, I expect they’ll be priced at around the AU$449 marking.

Far exist it from me to land the obvious, only at this sort of money the ALPHA have a fight on their hands. Sony’s all-conquering WH-1000XM4 are routinely available at this sort of money these days, and everyone from Bose to Sennheiser via Beats and JBL is set to sell you lot a pair of similarly specified, similarly priced headphones wearing a more readily recognisable brand logo.


  • Flat-folding
  • Comfortable over the long haul
  • 330g

Even picayune around the edges of over-ear headphones design is asking for trouble. Information technology well-nigh goes without proverb that Cleer Audio is not interested in making life whatsoever more difficult for itself. So, the Blastoff are very sensibly designed to look more than-or-less like every other pair of premium over-ear headphones you’ve seen.

Cleer Audio Alpha connections

And it’s a design that’s very well realised. The materials are almost entirely plastic, only it’s of superior grade – there are no creaks or groans hither, and the outer contact points are soft-touch and tactile. The padding of the headband and the earcups feels proficient and proves comfortable – and the earcups themselves don’t requite your own body heat back to you for quite a while.

Cleer Audio Alpha in case

There’south a decent corporeality of articulation in the earcups and frame, and then the ALPHA volition fold small and flat, and there’southward a semi-hard behave-case in which to stow them when not in use. And while the overall weight of 330g is zilch remarkable, the ALPHA blueprint is quite compact where many rivals aren’t – so the smaller-headed amid united states of america won’t feel swamped when wearing a pair.

My review sample is finished in ‘midnight blue’, but ‘stone’ (a finish Cleer is e’er so great on) is also available.


  • Cleer+ command app
  • Bluetooth with aptX Adaptive

The ALPHA uses Bluetooth 5.ane for wireless connectivity, which allows compatibility with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive codecs. The latter should ensure flawless audio/video syncing. Once the sound information is on board, it’s served to the ears by a couple of multi-magnet 40mm full-range drivers Cleer Audio describes every bit ‘ironless.

Bluetooth v.1 also goes a little way to explaining the 35 hours of battery life the Blastoff enjoys – hands up anyone who doesn’t think that’south sufficient?

Cleer Audio Alpha buttons

The headphones can be controlled in several ways. In that location’s a combination of physical and touch-sensitive controls effectually the earcups – the shiny plastic of the right earcup includes a capacitive touch-surface that covers volume up/down, play/break, skip forrard/backwards, answer/end/pass up call and chat manner (which reduces volume simply long enough for y’all to order that soya latte). It’southward likewise home to a power on/off/Bluetooth pairing push button and a 3.5mm analogue socket.

By fashion of contrast the left earcup only has to support a USB-C input (the ALPHA can become from apartment to full in effectually two hours, while 10 minutes on the power ought to exist plenty for four hours of playback) and an ‘activity’ button. Depending on the number and length of presses it receives, the activeness button will allow you lot to gyre through your active racket-counterfoil options (on/off/ambient noise control), engage your voice banana, or switch the Dirac Virtuo spatial audio algorithm on or off.

Dirac has been both moving and shaking in the world of audio manipulation for years at present. Many abode theatres have been sonically calibrated using the visitor’s methodologies. With Virtuo, it’s looking to deliver a spatial sound experience (in the manner of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio) from two-channel audio mixes.

Cleer+ app Alpha headphones

About of these controls are duplicated in Cleer’s (commendably clean and stable) Cleer+ control app. It also features five-band EQ adjustment (when Dirac Virtuo is switched off), and ten-step adjustment of ambience racket control (varying the amount of external sound that’s allowed in).

If information technology wasn’t already obvious, information technology should be apparent that Cleer Sound hasn’t just slapped an optimistic toll-tag on the ALPHA and hoped for the all-time. This is the kind of specification that puts the ALPHA right upward against some extremely well-regarded alternatives.

Sound quality

  • Informative, engaging, and robust sound
  • Convincing spatial audio effect
  • 40mm full-range drivers

As is simply sensible, Cleer Audio allows the end user a caste of control as to the sound of the ALPHA. But, as is almost always the case, piddling with the EQ settings in the app tin can only have a deleterious consequence on the headphones’ audio. The visitor voiced them to sound their all-time when left well alone. And anyway, the Blastoff have two quite singled-out sounds without you sticking your oar in.

Working in pure stereo, with Dirac Virtuo switched off, the Alpha are a lusty, organised and really quite entertaining heed. Bluetooth five.1 is more capable of handling properly loftier-resolution digital sound, and with a 24bit file of Run the Jewels’
Walking in the Snow
playing they sound make clean and upfront. Low frequencies are substantial, momentum-packed, and properly controlled.

At that place’s no droning here, just disciplined assault and decay to give fifty-fifty more than emphasis to the texture and detail involved. At the opposite end of the frequency range there’s similar alacrity and substance, the Blastoff delivering just nearly as much bite and smooth as is adequate without getting all bolshy most it.

Cleer Audio Alpha earpad

It’south in between, though, that the Cleer Audio begin to make a really compelling case for themselves. Voices sound immediate, informative, and detailed – and even while the midrange is integrated into the frequencies above and below it smoothly, vocals exist in a petty pocket of space that makes them distinct and isolated (in the best sense). The more than character and/or emotion in a vocal performance, the more the Alpha seem to lap it upward.

In pretty much every other respect, likewise, they’re an engaging listen. There’s adept arrangement to the soundstage they present (even if information technology’s far from the nearly expansive) and decent dynamic headroom available (even if other designs breathe a footling more deeply). The overall presentation is coherent and unified.

Cleer Audio Alpha earcup

Switch Dirac Virtuo on, though, and the Alpha undergo something of a change. Rather than the fairly obvious ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘centre’ of the basic stereo presentation, Virtuo delivers far more of a 180-degree ‘hemisphere’ upshot. Just it’s reasonably subtle, and consequently preferable to Dolby Atmos Music or 360 Reality Audio. It sounds more natural, less bogus and processed. and, if you mind to a fairly primitive stereo recording like The Who’s
Substitute, altogether smoother and less show-off-y.

Elsewhere, the news fluctuates between ‘practiced’ and ‘very good indeed’. Telephone call quality, thanks to the Qualcomm cVc mic array, is outstanding, and it ways interaction with voice administration is utterly painless too. Noise-cancellation is good in isolation, but there’due south no doubt some other designs tin blackball more than background dissonance than the Cleer Audio can manage. It’s an adaptive system, supposed to conform itself on the fly in response to prevailing ambient weather, but in reality, seems stuck at a setting marked ‘some noise-cancelling, virtually of the fourth dimension’.

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Should y’all buy it?

Yous relish some sonic nuance
Dirac Virtuo is a subtle and effective feature

You want to listen in silence
Alpha is not the last give-and-take in noise-cancellation

Terminal Thoughts

This is amongst the toughest consumer electronics marketplace of all, but with ALPHA Cleer Audio does more than enough to justify serious consideration.

How we test

Nosotros test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll ever tell you what we find. Nosotros never, ever, accept coin to review a product.

Find out more almost how nosotros examination in our ethics policy.

Tested for more than a week

Tested with diverse music streaming services

Tested with existent world apply

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What is spatial sound?

A concept that’s slightly tricky to define as at that place are many interpretations of spatial audio, in a broad sense information technology opens upwards the soundfield to instrument and voices around you in a three-dimensional sphere of audio.

Total specs



IP rating

Battery Hours

Fast Charging



Release Engagement

Model Number

Driver (s)

Racket Counterfoil?



Frequency Range

Headphone Blazon

Cleer Sound Alpha


Cleer Sound




330 One thousand




40mm Ironless


Bluetooth 5.1

Midnight Blue, Stone

20 20000 – Hz



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