The Astro A50 isn’t cheap, but you get a lot for your money: a timeless appearance, fantastic sound, and a host of useful functions.
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The docking station’s connection might be improved, and the headset’s fit is a little too snug.
The A50, on the other hand, is a sleek, but pricey, companion that can enhance your gaming.
- It’s a nice-looking design.
- High-quality audio that is well-balanced
- Surround sound that takes you completely out of yourself
- The continuous usage of a tight fit may cause it to compress the head.
- Problems with the base station’s connection
For over a decade, Astro Studios has made a name for itself in the gaming headset market with its Astro Gaming products. The Astro A50 will be examined in-depth in this article.
The A50 appears to have a lot going for it at first glance. It has 7.1 Dolby surround sound, a 15+ hour battery life, and free software that allows you to create your own presets and more. It’s a great-looking speaker, too.
In order to get all these great features, you’ll have to shell up $300. To discover if this wireless beauty lives up to its price, let’s take a closer look at it.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s take a look at the A50. Xbox gamer? A green and a gray one will be necessary. Prefer PlayStation? Choose a blue and black color scheme instead. Both versions of the game are PC-compliant.
On the PlayStation version of this headset, the blue accents are particularly eye-catching. With its electric blue color and matte black headset, this headset is a striking combination.
With a vibrant, glossy green against a matte gunmetal gray, the Xbox version looks just as good. The color patterns of the individual consoles are cleverly mirrored but blatantly “branded” or gimmicky design is avoided.
It is not necessary to purchase two headsets if you possess both consoles, but you will need to spend an additional $100 or so on a base station.
The microphone, on the other hand, is well-made. When turned to an upright position, it snaps into place with ease. Furthermore, the microphone automatically mutes when you put it in the upright position. Nice.
The A50 is, of course, useless without a base station. The base station is slender, elegant, and exceptionally tidy. With its matte and shiny black plastic housing, the headset mimics the headgear’s two textures.
The new A50 headset is essentially identical to the device released in 2016. Large, round rectangular earcups are attached to the headband by prominent pipe-shaped vertical aluminum supports. In comparison to the previous iteration, the design is significantly more subdued, forgoing vibrant colors in favor of anodized metal and settling on an almost totally black color scheme with gray highlights on the PC/PlayStation 4 edition and gold accents on the PC/Xbox One version.
Flipping up the boom microphone, which is permanently attached to the back of the left earcup, mutes it. Toggling between game and voice mode is done by a rocker switch across the back panel, which is accessible from the right-ear cup’s volume wheel, equalizer preset button, Dolby surround sound button, and power switch. If you don’t want to utilize the base station, you can charge the headset using the micro USB port on the bottom of the right earcup.
Memory foam encased in breathable fabric covers each earpad, which is matched by cushioning on the headband’s bottom. Aluminum makes up the side supports, but the remainder of the headset is made of long-lasting matte black plastic. You can use it for lengthy periods of time without discomfort.
The A50’s base station has undergone a major overhaul from the 2016 model. It’s a charging cradle that’s about two-thirds the size of the previous base station. To hold the headset upright, it is an inverted black plastic trapezoid that is 4.8 inches wide and 3.3 inches deep. There are now indicator LEDs on the front of the base station, instead of to the right of the charging recesses as on the bigger 2016 model. If Dolby simulated surround sound is enabled, the headset’s lights will show that, as well as the charge level and the three equalizer presets currently selected.
An optical audio input and output for connecting PlayStation 4 (or any other optical audio source, optionally) sound to the headset, as well as an aux input jack and a PC/console mode switch, are all located on the back of the base station. The base station also has a micro USB port for charging and connecting to your computer or game console.
You may use the A50 headset with either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, depending on the model you purchase. Either version will work on a PC. In order to use the headset while it is charging, all you need to do is plug the base station into a USB port and use the micro USB cord that comes with the headset. A micro USB cable can be used to charge and enable your microphone on either console, and an optical audio cable to link your console’s optical audio output to a port on the base station can be used to enable sound through the headphones.
Unless you have a PS4 Slim, it’s simple to set up. PS4 Pro has no optical audio output, so you can’t connect your headset directly to the console’s sound card. Both your TV’s optical audio output and an HDMI splitter or audio converter with an optical output are recommended by Astro in order to get the best sound from your PS4.
The Astro Command Center app may be used to adjust the A50’s behavior and sound if you use it with a PC. EQ profiles can be selected from presets or created from scratch using the software’s five-band EQ, which is accessed via a button on the headset. Even so, the microphone’s noise gate mode and sidetone level can also be tweaked, but the customization options here aren’t quite as extensive as the Logitech G Pro X or Sennheiser GSP 670’s microphone modification options. Auxiliary input for the Stream Port can be used to balance game audio, chat audio, mic input, and any other source that is hooked into the Stream Port’s aux input (helpful if you want to adjust volume levels and balance while streaming or recording).
Features & Performance
Astro A50’s “accelerometer” is a cool feature. A sensor can tell if the headset is in a vertical position on your head and if it is in use. When the headset is placed on its side, it turns off and then comes back on when you pick it up to use it again.
There are certain drawbacks to this feature, though. The battery drains even while the phone is in a horizontal posture, which can be aggravating.
This can be avoided by leaving the headset in the base station while not in use, ensuring that the battery is always fully charged.
When docked, the A50 can easily be placed upright in its base station for charging, thanks to its magnetic seat.
However, the station’s base isn’t quite up to snuff. In some cases, the A50 requires a wiggle to reconnect with the base station.
Fortunately, there is a backup USB charging cable available, but it would be even better if we could rely on the base unit to remain connected to the headset without supervision.
Let’s get inside the software now. Astro Command Center, a free application, allowing you to adjust the volume and equalizer settings of the A50. Presets can also be created and saved by the user.
The headset’s wireless capabilities are a major selling factor. The A50 boasts a 30-foot wireless range using 5GHz technology. The key word here is ‘up to.’
The A50 is most effective when used in close proximity to your PC or console, and you risk losing connection if you go too far away.
However, it’s not a major deal because this is meant to be used in close proximity to your computer for gaming.
The only thing you should hope for is that you won’t lose connection if you’re using your PC to play music and move around your house.
Sound & Microphone Quality
The A50’s sound quality must live up to our high expectations, given its modest price tag. In the end, it doesn’t let me down. Bass is deep and rich, while the highs are clean and sharp.
Because of the headset’s high-quality design and the ability to modify audio settings, the sound quality is excellent. In Astro mode, you get a solid foundation while also balancing out the rest of your gameplay. When listening to music or viewing movies, Studio mode produces a clean, flat EQ, which is ideal.
Pro mode is the only way to go if you’re a dedicated gamer. When in Pro mode, the bass is lowered so you can hear gunshots and footsteps approaching from behind. Handy.
Earpads that come with the A50 can be replaced with leather ones, and the foam earpads can be adjusted. When you want to immerse yourself in the game, the leather earpads provide extra noise cancellation.
For the price, there are better headsets in terms of sound quality available. However, if you decide to get the A50, you won’t be dissatisfied.
The soundstage could be a little larger, but the overall quality of the sound signature is excellent, and the ability to customize it is a tremendous bonus.
The sound quality of the microphone should have been better. There are better options out there, but this one is fine. The A50’s microphone isn’t as good as some other headsets in this price category, but it’s still good enough to hear your voice well.
High-Quality Wireless Gaming Audio
Even after all these years, the Astro Gaming A50 is still a top-notch wireless gaming headset. I like how it looks, how it sounds, and how little the new charging base is compared to the previous model’s. Useful modifications can be made to the sound and microphone performance of the headset utilizing the Astro Command Center. Since many other gaming headphones have already proven themselves to be just as capable, and in some cases better, than the 2016 model, this new headset feels like a little improvement.
Sennheiser GSP 670 ($350) and SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Wireless ($330) both offer superb sound and microphones, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, for a somewhat higher price than the already expensive A50. In terms of affordability, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero and Razer Nari Essential sound just as good as the A50 and are both available for less than half the price. Even though none of these headsets have a handy charging base, they all have their own compelling features and are worth your consideration, indicating how much this category has evolved since the original A50 was released in 2010.
An impressive but not overpowering bass may be heard with this headphone. Using The Knife’s “Silent Shout” as a bass test track, the bass synth notes and kick drum beats are clearly audible even at maximum volume.
“Roundabout” by Yes’ Rick Wakeman has a rich string texture and a lot of low-frequency resonance in its opening guitar chords. Punchy but not overbearing, the electric bass lets even the most delicate strumming in the left channel shine through. Drums and vocals are equally prominent in the mix, resulting in a well-rounded sound that benefits the whole song.
There is a lot of power and energy in “Born Too Slow” on the A50, which has a good range across the frequency spectrum. Screaming vocals, distorted guitar riffs, and snare drums are all given a lot of high-mid response in order to keep the song going strong.
This wireless headset weighs less than its cable counterpart, the Astro A40, but that doesn’t mean it’s much lighter.
Even if there are heaver headsets on the market than the A50, you will still be aware of its weight while gaming. The A50, on the other hand, is lightweight and easy to wear thanks to its ergonomic design.
Because of the substantial layer of foam covering the helmet, the fit is snug but comfortable. After a few hours of gaming, you may begin to feel the headset’s tightness.
Even though you may loosen the headset to alleviate the tight fit, this may cause the headset to sit more heavily on top of your head.
With those who like the look and feel of leather, the earcups can be swapped out for those made of soft foam.
Customization of the cushioned headpiece is also possible, although it comes at an additional cost. Around $40, you may get this mod kit.
At this price, you’d expect a headset with a close fit to be quite comfortable.
Even if you get it just perfect, the A50 will not sit properly in its base station if you don’t return it to its minimal extensions, which are adjustable.
So, unless you’re using the USB cable to charge it, you’ll have to adapt it to your head settings each time you use it.
Gaming with the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless
My overall experience with utilizing the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless is fine, despite the troubles I’ve had previously. Overwatch, Risk of Rain 2, and Doom Eternal are fantastic PC games. Even though Doom has a fantastic heavy metal soundtrack, it doesn’t take away from the variety of sound effects used in its battle.
Despite the fact that this headset provides Dolby Audio surround sound for PlayStation 4 and PC gaming, the directionality effect is a touch too faint. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between this and stereo sound, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even a stereo signal sounds correct with gaming headsets since they frequently strive to provide a fairly broad soundstage. Having surround sound is wonderful, but it is unlikely to improve a player’s performance in video games for the majority of players.
Should you buy the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless?
However, despite its potential, the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless is a disappointing headset.
The build quality is questionable, the microphone is too quiet and distorts deeper voices, and the base station is a nuisance as well as a help. Connecting to the platform can be a pain, as can getting the headset to sit in the correct position. It also seems to require reset on a whim. In addition to being comfy, this headset’s audio features perform admirably. However, this isn’t enough to make the $300 price tag worthwhile.
Since its introduction in the summer of 2019, the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless has become a high-end stalwart. To be honest, you can get a lot more bang for your buck elsewhere.
Is the microphone any good?
For a gaming headset, the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless has an average microphone. There is a noticeable lack of bass focus in this product, as is the case with many other offerings. As a result, those with deeper voices will sound muddled as a result. It will be easier to hear sibilant noises (F, S, and SH) because of the intermittent peaks in the high frequency range.
How does the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless sound?
The Astro Gaming A50 Wireless is a typical gaming headset in terms of sound quality. Bass notes are well-emphasized, but high-frequency sounds are overemphasized. Turning on Dolby Audio de-emphasizes high-end sound by altering the headset’s frequency response. It’s more than just surround sound. Sound drowning out other noises shouldn’t be a problem because everything is in balance.
There are several types of electronic music that benefit from a frequency response like this one. Some vocals and cymbal sounds may be a little muted because of the high-end de-emphasis. While the piano’s high notes are clearly discernible in Vulfpeck’s It Gets Funkier, they get a little muddled in the sonic clutter of all the other instruments.
How do you connect the Astro Gaming A50?
Using a USB cable, you can connect the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless to your console or PC and charge it at the same time. The 2.4GHz RF signal used by the base station and the headset to communicate is lag-free and ideal for gaming. When it comes to the A50 Wireless, Astro states that it can keep a continuous connection up to 30 feet away from the base station, which is accurate—I have no issues even when I’m behind closed doors.
An excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality wireless headset. The specifications are excellent, and the base station provides an elegant way to charge.
The A50’s price is the one thing that keeps us coming back to it, again and over again. Excellent sound quality and comfort make this headset ideal for both gaming and listening to music, plus it’s well-designed and easy to use. However, is it worth the money?
The A50 has a timeless aesthetic because to its sophisticated yet understated design. If you’re looking for a headset that won’t go out of style, look no further than the Logitech G430. However, the $300 price tag may be a tad expensive given the few minor flaws we’ve uncovered.
However, the A50’s advantages well exceed its disadvantages, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you spend the money on it. When you get this headset, you’ll have a piece of tech that’s miles ahead of anything else out there. You may, however, wonder if you could have it any better.