The few of you that read this blog know that I am an Astro Gaming fan. I purchased my first pair of A40’s over 4 years ago and you read my thoughts on them here and here. Simply put the A40’s were amazing but back than hard to justify the shipping and import taxers. Let’s fast forward nearly 4 years and with a new generation of consoles I decided it was time to invest in a new pair of wireless headphones. I happened to get a good marketing email from Astro showcasing their private store. This private store is for registered Astro owners who can buy products at discounted prices. I had some issues initially while placing an order and it took nearly a week to get a tracking number. I had emailed customer service countless times and never get a reply and finally got an tweet explaining that they just had switched ecommerce platforms and were experiencing issues. I get that, I work in ecommerce too but that doesn’t explain away the poor service.
In typical Astro fashion the packaging and box were well crafted and that’s what you get (and expect) for a premium product that retails for $299.99 USD. Each box contains; A50 Headset with Li-Ion Battery, ASTRO Wireless 5.8 Ghz Transmitter w/ KleerNet™, Headset Stand, 1.0M USB Power Cable, 0.5M USB Charging Cable, 1.0M Optical Cable, 1.5M XBOX Live® Chat Cable, manual and quick start guide.
The set up is fairly straightforward plug in your optical cable into the mixamp. Then plug in the micro USB into the mixamp and the USB end into the console (I used an Xbox One) this gives the mixamp power. Next up was I had to hold the power button on the mixamp and headphones in order to get them to sync. Once there synced up, your ready to get gaming. Something I really liked that was on my Astro A40’s was the ability to physically remove the microphone cable when I didn’t want to use it. With the A50’s when the microphone is in a vertical position it’s turned off and if you pull it down, it turn’s it on.
All the controls are on the headphones which will take some time getting used to. I often found myself having to take them off to remember were the buttons where. There’s a power button, master volume button, game/voice balance option and a EQ mode select. The game voice allows you to either decrease game sound and focus on chat, focus on game and decrease chat (if your using it) or keep it balanced. It’s also worth playing with the three different EQ options media, core and pro. Media focuses on movies and music, core is designed for single player gaming and pro is designed for competitive game play.
The sound these babies feature is amazing; Dolby Digital 7.1 with clarity and performance powered by KleerNet’s strongest 5.8Ghz solution available all weighing in at just 363 grams. They’re not the lightest pair of headphones however after several multi hour gaming sessions I wasn’t bothered or noticing it. When I’ve been sitting on the sofa recently playing games like Titanfall or SouthPark, there have been several times that my girlfriend has tried to talk to me, but with these headphones on I couldn’t hear a word she said.
If your using the Astro A50’s with an Xbox One your going to need to pick up a Xbox One Stereo headset adapter which plugs into your controller and allows you to plug a cable into your A50’s and than into your controller.
One thing to note for players is to keep an eye on the Astro Gaming Firmware page. The team is releasing updates for the mixamp and headphones and you will want to be sure to keep up to date.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, their wireless, the sound is amazing and they work with all four of my consoles. I understand some of you maybe a bit hesitant to spend this kind of money on a pair of gaming headphones but any of you are welcome to come over, pick a game, try them on and listen. If that doesn’t convince you than I don’t know what will.