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Cleer Alpha Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Cleer Alpha Noise Cancelling Headphones
Manufacturer: Cleer Audio
Driver: 40MM Ironless Drivers
Battery Life: 35 Hours
Audio Processing: Dirac Spatial Audio
Bluetooth: 5.1 with High Res Audio
Weight: 330g
Mic: Qualcomm CvC 2mic Beamforming
Price: £249

This item was provided for review purposes

In The Cleer

The Cleer Alpha Noise Cancelling Headphones are the latest addition to Cleer’s line-up, and are renowned as the flagship model in their Noise Cancelling range of products. For those unfamiliar with Cleer they are a California based High-End audio brand originally established in 2012, and really beginning to make ways in CES 2019 and beyond.

Cleer has been assembled from some of the greatest historic contributors in the consumer audio sector, and have rapidly established themselves as a brand leading the line when it comes to implementing the latest innovations in audio technology. This is instantly apparent with the Cleer Alpha Headphones, as a complete package for consumer audio they are very impressive. With their own patented Ironless Driver Technology, Noise Cancellation, Dirac Virtuo Spatial Audio Technology and some of the most outstanding battery life stats in the industry, these are certainly a statement piece.

The Design

The Cleer Alpha is a solidly designed pair of cans, built from a weighty and robust polycarbonate. It has a premium soft and textured feel and they are extremely comfortable to wear. The design is very similar to the Sony WH-1000XM4 with its asymmetric fold and twist design. The ear pads are a faux leather, well padded style that don’t create that hot ear experience you can get with other over ear headphones. The hinges on each cup have a pleasing clack as they fold and lock into place, and the headphones sit very snugly in the case for travel.

The case is a lovely thing. A hardshell with a material outer layer, and soft microfibre lining and a high quality zip. All in all they are a very comfortable, albeit weighty package. Talking of which, the Cleer Alpha do weigh in at 330g, a full 76g heavier than the XM4. Personally I’m ok with that, as for me the weight is balanced and just supports that feeling of quality and workmanship on show.

The Features

The features on offer are super cool, and when we dig into the Driver technology, it’s really impressive. The Cleer Alpha implement their patented Ironless Driver Technology. This utilises a concentric circle of rare earth magnets that drive lower distortion and a clear representation of sound. Boy, it really shows. There is a sense of clarity that is incredibly akin to the audio source you are supplying. More on the sound later.

Cleer have an advanced audio cancellation experience which is adaptive, and this coupled with the ambient mode is a game changer. It allows you to adjust to the environment you are in and when paired with the Cleer App, it’s incredibly flexible to the user. The audio cancellation is very good, and particularly effective with repetitive droning noises. Think washing machines, dishwashers and other household appliances.

It’s less akin to eliminating pitched frequencies such as voices and chatty people, so for those that want these for their morning commute, it’s worth cranking the volume up a little too. Worth also baring in mind this can be enhanced and adapted over time with the ability to do Over The Air software updates via the Cleer App. Which is a nice touch, and with two updates during my testing, clearly something the team at Cleer are constantly working on.

The Sound

The last big flagship feature for the Cleer Alpha is the implementation of Dirac Virtuo. This is a spatial audio technology, that is designed to create a sense of space in the sound you hear. This feels like a virtual soundscape that separates sounds, instruments, vocals and creates a wider space. Almost a 3D like audio experience. The way this is delivered depends on the audio source, and in my time testing, the results were very mixed. At times it feels magical, like I’m in the middle of the action. Other times, less so and almost artificial. I think this feature still needs a little work, but to have the option to toggle on or off as you desire gives you a real flexibility to make the audio experience truly your own.

Should you decide to switch this off, the Cleer+ App gives you access to EQ the sound and add the fine tuning layers to your sound at your own leisure. Adapting to genre, style and really the activity or environment you are in really enhances the experience with the Cleer Alpha. The standard audio profile is very V shaped. This means an enhanced Bass and Treble audio experience with a recessed mid range. As a result guitars and instruments sound prominent, Bass hits harder and vocals can sometimes get a little muddied in the mix. All in though, its a very enjoyable sound, and you can lose hours with these listening to album upon album.

In Conclusion

To reflect on the entire experience with the Cleer Alpha, these are truly great sounding headphones. Yet sound just isn’t enough on its own anymore, when you factor in the technology that lives within noise cancelling headphones. Beamforming Microphones, to spatial audio technology, to adaptive sound. The execution has to feel right, and I’m pleased to say the Cleer Alpha really do an exceptional job of bringing this all together. With such fierce competition at this price point, and with all things considered, particularly that monster sized 35 hour battery life, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Cleer Alpha to anyone. They are a splendid audio experience.

Rapid Reviews Rating

gold score

4.5 out of 5


The Cleer Alpha Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are available to buy here

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