Ugh, that’s formal eh?
I couldn’t think of a super-fun title, because I don’t know. Maybe the Astro A50’s are above that? I certainly think they are. When I think of a premium brand for audio headsets, I think of Astro. I think I can attribute this to my years spent grinding within Bungie’s title Destiny. A couple of my fireteam members used to run our adventures with them, and there were definitely times where their audio helped. The way they’d leap over my character as they heard the distinct sound of an enemy spawning in. The way they’d know the right hallway to run into because of audio cues they could hear. And while my experience wasn’t limited because I was using the Sony PlayStation Gold Headset, I could tell there was a something.
And I needed to know what this something was.
Something is finally in my hands, as I get to check out the latest A50 headset from Astro Gaming. As are all good and true things, I put in some research by doing a few Google searches; Everyone knows the key to good research is Google. And what was interesting in this endeavour, was the discovery that the A50 keeps evolving. From the formerly wide base, the Gen4 has shed this excess to become a a stand the size of the headset. Cradling the A50 when not in use, it also charges them, and shows the status of the device along with whether or not DOLBY is enabled. I felt Dolby needed to be bolded because THE SOUND. The cradle also has the first of many magnetic attachments seen on the A50. In this instance, they help the headset fully dock with the base to ensure charge.
And this charge is pretty damn good. I saw full charge kick on within 4 hours from being connected via the rear USB port on my PlayStation 4 Pro. Run-time differed for the A50 depending on use. Without the mic, I was getting close to 12+ hours of use, whereas with mic it was about 8+ hours. I find this incredibly impressive due to the sheer audio fidelity of the unit. Pounding 3D audio delivered alongside clear comms from myself, while I play my favourite games on my console for almost half a day? I’m not complaining. It kept up with and exceeded my expectations set by my previous headsets.
Controls for sound are straight-forward. A power switch at the top of the right earpiece, is followed by buttons for profile switching and enabling Dolby. At the bottom is the all-important volume knob, with game and voice chat housed on the side.
Everything you need to control is on the right, with the left only housing the mic, which controls mute. This is easily done by either tilting the mic down for use, or up for mute. Honestly, for how intuitive that is, it was a sensation that felt fresh to me. Considering the amount of headsets I’ve used in my time, it was astounding to only experience such smarts now.
An outstanding build further supports the A50’s premium status. Cool-to-the-touch metal supports run up from the earpieces, connecting to a solid plastic headband. Cushions for your ears and head mean comfort is on-supply, and these can even be fitted out in future with a mod kit. Considering the playtime that can be completed with these on, it’s remarkable how comfortable they are. And the magnets that secure the earpieces are solid, needing a decent pull to remove them should you want to clean your headset, or replace them.
But what about the sound?
I’ll point out that I haven’t used the Astro Command Center. Mostly because I’m lazy and a bad reviewer. But also, using the default settings helps me approach it from a consumer level. I would assume most consumers aren’t “power users”, so I didn’t become one either. The Command Center allows you to create sound 3 separate sound profiles which can be used across different genres of games.
Again though, I’m basic.
That’s not to say the basic profile hasn’t done its job. From the footsteps I need to hear in the likes of Fortnite, to the vastness of space in No Man’s Sky, the A50 performs incredibly well. There’s a certain clarity, and heft behind the bass that the A50’s deliver to provide an incredible experience. And thanks to those ridiculously comfortable earpieces, noise-cancelling means I ain’t hearing anything while gaming. It’s also kind of spooky, but that’s a whole other thing I suppose.
The Astro A50 is an aural experience.
From the sheer comfort, to the weight and the sheer fidelity of sound, I can see why my fireteam members raved about the A50 headset. Getting to experience it myself, has changed what sound I’ll want to hear from gaming moving forward. And with a design that compliments whatever device you have it connected to, you can see why Astro flies as high as it does.
Which is reflected in price point. Yes, the A50 isn’t cheap by any means. But the quality of product supports the idea that quality is reflected in price. I know we’ve all been let down by such a thing in the past, but the A50 is a case where it is built to its price, and performs to it.
So if you’re looking for your best audio experience in gaming, look no further than the A50. I certainly won’t be looking back any time soon.
Yes, I am now the envy of my fireteam now. Or the remnants of it. A deliciously good package holds a powerful tool, that will only improve how I game moving forward.
And with the next generation of gaming just around the corner, I can't wait to experience what I'll hear next.
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XENOJAY.COM was supplied hardware for review by Undertow Media, and it was used with the Playstation 4 Pro console.