Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset Is a Worthy Upgrade

first_img Players who take their hobby seriously are always on the lookout for newer and cooler gaming headsets. One company that specializes in such peripherals is Astro Gaming. One of their best-known products is the Astro A50 Wireless Headset + Base Station. The company recently released the latest generation of the headset. I hand a chance to go hands-on (or ears-on) with the PS4/PC/Mac version of the device. Though pricey at $299.99, it is one of the best gaming headsets I’ve tried out.Out of the box, you get the headset and the base station along with optical and USB cables. With the exception of the aluminum beam which joins the headband to the ear cups, the headset is entirely made of matte plastic. This makes the A50 lightweight and comfortable to wear. Don’t let the plastic fool you into thinking the headset feels cheap. It is very sturdy. The large fabric-covered earcups surround one’s ears and feel comfortable resting on the head. The base station is a solid block of plastic used for charging the A50 and for transmitting the wireless signal.I have to note that there is a $40 mod kit available. This comes with leather-covered earcups and also has leather on the headband. The main benefit of leather earcups is that they cancel noise more efficiently than fabric. One could make the case that a $300 headset should come with both types of earcups. I won’t go that far, but that’s mostly because I prefer fabric over leather. I don’t want background noise completely eliminated. Also, I find the fabric is easier for my head and ears to breathe through. But if you want leather coverings, the option exists. You can use the headset anywhere between 10-15 hours before needing to recharge it.Using the boom mic is as easy as swiveling it down from its vertical position. If the mic is down, it is active. If it is up, it’s muted. The mic’s flexible design makes it easy to adjust its distance from one’s mouth. One interesting aspect is that you can slightly hear yourself when the mic is active. This is good for knowing how well your voice is coming through. It’s slightly distracting but isn’t a deal-breaker. The earcups turn 90 degrees should you want to lay the headset on a flat surface.Before using the A50, you’ll have to update its firmware. I stress this because I thought I had a defective unit when I couldn’t get it to work on either my PS4 or my PC. After updating, the headset worked as intended. Getting the A50 to properly charge isn’t always as easy as dropping the unit into the base station. Unless you place it just right, it won’t charge at all. This isn’t a huge issue but it’s something you’ll want to keep an eye on. I’ll discuss the Astro Command Center software shortly.It is simple to pair the A50 with your PS4 or PC. On PC, all you need to do is plug in the base station with the included USB cable. Your PC will automatically detect the headset. You’ll have to download the Astro Command Center app through Astro’s site in order to update the firmware. When pairing with the PS4, you’ll need to use the optical cable along with the USB cable. You’ll have to enter the PS4’s settings to make sure your console recognizes the A50 (this should happen automatically). The included instructions do a good job of walking you through the steps, though you will probably not need them. It’s clear Astro wants players to plug in and play as quickly as possible.When it comes to gaming audio (i.e. the reason you’re buying a headset), the A50 does a wonderful job of immersing players in games. For the purposes of testing, I played The Division 2, Dragon Quest Builders 2, and the Castlevania Anniversary Collection. The A50 did a solid job of capturing the retro sounds of the original Castlevania games. Dragon Quest Builders 2 has a mix of retro and modern sounds, which come through perfectly. Smashing rocks, cutting leaves, and hacking monsters all produced satisfactory sounds. The best test was The Division 2 since it has the most diverse array of audio. From the quiet sounds of nature to bombastic firefights, every single noise came through with crystal clarity. Even at high volumes, noise levels never overwhelm. Bass was appropriately bassy. Mids and highs came through great as well.Boom mics are always hit or miss with me. Most of the time, I find the voice quality of many headset mics too trebly or nasally. While the A50’s boom mic won’t blow you away with its audio quality, it does get the job done in terms of capturing one’s voice. Whether you’re playing with friends or recording yourself, you’ll find that your voice comes through nice and clear.The A50 sounds great out of the box but you can fine-tune its audio output further. An equalizer button on the right earcup gives you access to three preset EQ settings. One setting emphasizes bass while the other boosts treble. The middle setting balances both lows and highs. If you want a higher degree of customization, you can adjust sound settings via the Astro Command Center. The app is relatively straightforward to use despite its wide array of options. Hardcore audiophiles can easily spend countless hours tweaking sounds to their liking. But if you’re like me, you’ll do fine using the A50’s default sound settings.If you’re in the market for an excellent wireless headset you can’t go wrong with the 4th gen Astro A50 Wireless + Base Station. It’s easy to set up, comfortable to wear, and delivers exceptional sound quality. While its $299.99 price tag will turn some off, it is very much worth every penny. If price is no object, the Astro A50 comes with my highest recommendation.Get Astro A50 Wireless + Base Station.More on Geek.com:Review: Logitech G915 Lightspeed Is a Must-Own Gaming KeyboardReview: The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ Is an Elite Nintendo Switch ControllerCovert Dock for Nintendo Switch Fits in Your Pocket Stay on target SteelSeries Arctis 1 Is World’s First USB-C Wireless Gaming HeadsetGeek Pick: SteelSeries Arctis 9X Is An Excellent Xbox Headset last_img


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