About the Cleer Alpha
The new "top dog" in Cleer's impressive noise-canceling lineup
The Cleer Alpha noise-canceling headphones play music and podcasts wirelessly via powerful Bluetooth® 5.1.
The new "top dog" in Cleer's impressive noise-canceling lineup
There's a reason you'll find Cleer Audio headphones on many of my "best of 2022" lists. These well-made headphones offer a great value, delivering balanced, spacious sound — along with many of the popular features you'll get from the bigger, more famous brands. The Alpha headphones are Cleer's new wireless noise-canceling flagship, and right out of the box they appear poised to further cement the company's reputation for delivering the goods.
Unboxing, fit, and feel
I've only had a very brief time with the Alpha headphones, so I'll have more in-depth listening notes later — but they nailed the all-important first impression. The headphones arrived folded neatly in a premium hard case with a pleasant cloth lining. In my hands they felt sturdy, with larger earcups and plenty of cushioning. The build quality was on par with other popular noise-canceling headphones. And they fit securely, stayed in place as I moved, and didn't press too hard or apply too much pressure in any one area of my head.
High-quality Bluetooth streaming
Music plays wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.1, a newer version of Bluetooth that's stronger and more reliable than previous iterations. The premium aptX® Adaptive format is also supported with compatible devices, helping retain more musical detail. These headphones passed my usual "wireless range" test: I kept my phone on my desk and walked down all the way down the hall without any audio dropouts.
And you can pair to two devices at the same time — a home office game-changer! For example, if you're connected to both your laptop and phone, it's much easier to toggle back and forth between a Zoom meeting and music or calls.
Adaptive noise cancellation
Built-in adaptive noise canceling circuitry scans and monitors external sounds, then adjusts itself accordingly. I'll put it to further testing, but my initial reaction is that the noise cancellation is above average. There are higher-priced headphones that offer more "quiet," but the Cleer Alpha more than satisfies in this department.
These 'phones silenced my basement HVAC system and higher-pitched, less-constant home office noises. Based on their performance, I'm confident that these headphones would work well for air travel.
Cleer uses a free-motion ring magnet assembly for cleaner, more fluid diaphragm movement — which lowers distortion.
Wide-open sound with detail and impact
Cleer's patented "ironless" drivers are known for their clarity and large, open soundstage. But when you download the free Cleer+ app to your Apple® or Android™ device, you can extend that soundstage even further. There, you can turn on the Dirac Virtuo™ spatial audio feature and get three-dimensional sound that seems to surround your head.
I'm a staunch, self-admitted fan of "old-school" stereo music — but this was one of the more enjoyable and engaging spatial audio experiences I've had recently. On Bob Weir & the Wolf Bros' Live in Colorado album, percussion and vocals projected in front of me on extended jams like "West L.A. Fadeaway," while the other instruments both subtly and distinctly revealed themselves around me. I never felt like the sound was spread too thin. In fact, the vocal presence, dynamics, and detail were all still there, plus the bass response was actually a little deeper and tighter with the extra room to breathe.
Ambient mode to quickly hear your surroundings
Clicking the button on the left earcup allows you to toggle between noise cancellation and "Ambient" mode. The latter uses the built-in mics to pick up external sounds and voices, so you can be better aware of your surroundings without removing the headphones.
- closed-back, over-the-ear headphones
- Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity for wireless music listening and phone calls with compatible smartphone
- aptX® Adaptive automatically adjusts to prioritize audio quality or low latency, depending on the listening situation
- multi-point connection for pairing to two devices at once
- active noise-canceling circuitry to minimize external noise
- ambient mode allows in external sounds to keep you better aware of your surroundings
- built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 35 hours of wireless use with noise cancellation
- 10-minute quick charge provides enough power for 4 hours of listening
- 40mm dynamic drivers with patented "ironless" magnet array
- free-motion ring magnet assembly for cleaner, more fluid diaphragm movement
- lowers distortion across all frequencies, and particularly in the highs
- spacious sound with clear vocals and strong bass
- Dirac Virtuo™ spatial audio widens soundstage and moves it further outside the head (app required)
Easy controls and mobile app:
- touch controls for music, calls, and volume
- dedicated button on left earcup for toggling noise cancellation and ambient modes
- built-in microphone for making calls with a smartphone
- music automatically pauses when headphones are removed
- Cleer+ app lets you manually adjust noise cancellation and sound
- free download for Apple® and Android™ devices
General info and specs:
- includes USB-A to USB-C cable for charging
- 47" audio cable with 3.5mm plug for wired use
- airline adapter included for in-flight entertainment systems
- portable folding design with carrying case included
- frequency response: 20-40,000 Hz (wired), 20-20,000 Hz (wireless)
- weight: 11.64 oz.
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # ALPHA1NCMIBUS
What's in the box:
- Over-ear wireless headphones (Midnight blue)
- 48" Audio cable (3.5mm plugs on each end)
- 41" USB charging cable (Type A USB on one end and USB-C on other end)
- In-flight adapter (female 3.5mm to dual male 3.5mm)
- Zippered storage case
- Quick Start Guide/User Manual/Warranty Card
Cleer Alpha reviews
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More details on the Cleer Alpha
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||3.237" x 3.931"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||Yes|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||20-40k Hz|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The Cleer Audio Alpha headphones bring comfort as well as performance. These over-ear headphones feature adaptive active noise cancellation so you can listen to your music and phone calls without distractions. Alpha has Bluetooth 5.1 with aptX Adaptive for high quality wireless sound. The headphones have powerful batteries that let you listen for hours between charges. Cleer Audio Alpha headphones come with a 4' audio cable with an in-flight adapter, a USB-C charging cable, and a zippered hard storage case.
Construction: Alpha headphones feature patented 40mm Ironless Drivers™ that can produce bold, dynamic HiRes audio with an extended frequency range up to 40kHz (with 3.5mm wired connection). The headphones have new soft padded earpads that ensure comfort for long listening sessions, and a cooling feature to prevent your ears from getting hot and uncomfortable. The earcups swivel so you can lay them flat when not in use, or fold them to store in the included zippered hard storage case.
Bluetooth 5.1: Cleer Audio uses Bluetooth version 5.1 for reliable, high quality wireless performance. The headphones support Qualcomm aptX™ Adaptive, for high-quality music streaming, and SBC codecs. Supported Bluetooth profiles include SPP (v1.0), HFP (v.1.6), A2DP (v.1.3.1), and AVRCP (v.1.6).
Microphones: Microphones on the front of each earcup let you enjoy clear phone calls with Qualcomm cVc (Clear Voice Capture) 2-mic beamforming design and wind noise reduction.
Noise Cancellation: Alpha's powerful Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) effectively shuts out distracting ambient noise to let you listen to your music or phone calls in peace. When the headphones are powered on, ANC, combined with passive noise isolation, reduces ambient noise by about 30dB. The ANC button on the left earcup toggles between Noise Cancellation Mode and Ambient Mode. In addition, the Cleer+ app will allow you to customize and adjust the levels of Noise Cancelling and Ambient Sound levels.
Ambient Awareness: Whenever you need to be aware of your surroundings, you can turn on the Ambient Mode. The same microphones that are used for ANC pick up ambient noise and amplify it so you can clearly hear things going on around you without removing your headphones.
Conversation Mode: Similar to Ambient Mode, Conversation Mode lets you temporarily enhance your surroundings to hear a quick conversation without removing your headphones. Placing your hand on the right earcup immediately lowers the playback volume and raises the level of your surroundings.
Dirac Virtuo: Alpha headphones features embedded Dirac Virtuo™ spatial audio to enhance your listening experience. Dirac Virtuo produces an immersive sound experience with an expanded natural soundscape that stretches beyond the physical confines of your sound system.
On-board Controls: The headphones have on-board controls that are active during wireless listening. The right earcup has a touch-sensitive area that lets you control volume with an up or down touch, and control playback with a forward or backward swipe (next or previous track), and double tap (play/pause). It also controls phone calls with a double tap (answer incoming call or hang up active call), or press/hold (reject incoming call). Covering the right earcup with your palm engages the Conversation Mode to temporarily lower your music to have a quick conversation. The right earcup has the power on/off button, while the left earcup has an ANC button to toggle between ANC and Ambient modes. The Alpha headphones have a passive wear detection sensor that automatically pauses the music when you remove the headphones, and resumes playback when you put them back on.
Cleer+ App: The Cleer+ app provides additional features to the Alpha headphones. With the app on your smartphone or tablet, you can adjust the ANC and Ambient sound levels with a fingertip slide control. It also has a custom EQ to let you raise or lower the level at multiple frequencies. Whenever firmware updates become available, they can be loaded to the headphones wirelessly through the app. The Alpha User Manual can be viewed on the app, and you can view the remaining battery level and playback time at a glance. The Cleer+ app is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch with iOS 12.1 or later and a Mac (with the Apple M1 chip) running macOS 11.0 or later. It is also available for Android devices running version 5.0 and up.
Battery: Cleer Audio Alpha is equipped with a 3.7-volt Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The battery charges in approximately 2 hours via the included USB-A to USB-C cable when connected to a USB power source. When fully charged, the headphones have a playback time of 35 hours with Bluetooth and ANC on. A 10-minute Quick Charge provides up to 4 hours of playback.
- Frequency Response:
- Bluetooth: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Line-in: 20Hz to 40kHz
- Earcup Dimensions:
- External: Width 3.237", Height 3.931", Depth 2.138"
- Internal: Width 1.656", Height 2.345", Depth 0.751"
- Weight: 11.65 ounces