Astro A50 Wireless Headset Preview
HELLLO WORLD The annual E3 event held in Los Angeles is a sizzle reel of new games and sequels from both popular and indie developers and franchises. Returns to old and untold stories, as well as boundary-pushing IPs(intellectual properties) are usually the focus of these proceedings. E3 2012 was no exception. But just like every E3, third-party tech doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, sometimes going unnoticed. One piece of that technology is AstroGaming’s new Astro A50 Wireless Headset.
AstroGaming is well known for their contributions to both casual and professional gaming in the audiological space. Their headsets, both the Astro A30s and A40s, have been held in high regard and are most often sported by pro gamers at Major League Gaming events. But many also enjoy using Astro headsets in the comfortable confines of their homes, for either gaming or even multimedia consumption. The newly announced Astro A50 Wireless Headset improves on its predecessors, and even adds some cool new features. That being said, let’s get into the details.
5.8GHz Wireless Technology
Astro Wireless headsets have always used the 5.8GHz frequency as the medium to broadcast audio signals from the gaming machine, whether it’s a console or PC, with the tried and tested belief that it provides the clearest and most consistent audio experience. The A50s will continue to use the 5.8GHz band, but this time around it will also feature the KleerNet chipset, which is embedded into the left side of the headset. This will also allow newer Windows computers to easily connect wirelessly to the A50s, such as the new HP Beats-enabled laptops.
New Headset Ergonomics & Design
All of Astros headset feature comfortable structural design, which allows for long play sessions without weighing down on the user or causing fatigue. The A50s go even further with fully closed cans(ear cups) for increased stabilization & comfort, as well as minimal to no sound leakage. It also features a uni-directional, flexible mic which can be muted easily just by flipping it up.
In the previous iterations of AstroGaming’s headsets, a mixamp was required in order to have control over the master volume and audio balance between stereo sound and chat, if you were gaming. But the new Astro A50s eliminate the need for a separate physical mixamp, where instead it is built right into the headset.
The mixamp is now embedded on the right side, where now there is a panel with two buttons. To modify to audio balance, you press the front to increase game volume over chat volume, and vice-versa for the back button. To adjust master volume, there is a wheel in the back of the right cup.
The A50s are also bringing something completely new to the table this time around; audio profiles. Astro has decided to include three audio modes, built for different kinds of experiences. The first mode is Astro Mode, which is essentially a “pro mode” for players who play shooters and want to get more bass and highs out of there game. The second preset is Core Mode, which keeps everything flat and plays sounds as originally intended by game developers. This mode is for gamers who enjoy story/campaigns experiences more than other modes. The last one is Media Mode, which is built with enhancing multimedia experiences in general. This means your music and movies will have enhanced bass and mid levels while experiencing them.
Astro has told Engadget that they are looking into custom end-user programming for future, and possibly currently available, Astro headsets.
And, of course, the A50s will feature 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, allowing for the most immersive gaming experience today.
Embedded Battery & Display Stand
The new A50s also boasts an embedded lithium ion battery, which Astro claims will last the average gamer 10-12 hours on a single charge. With regular use, they have predicted that the battery should last an impressive three years before completely dying out. Astro knows that they know there are gamers out there with more intense gaming lifestyles. So should the A50s die out, customers can easily get the battery or headset replaced through a new service replacement program, which will be available soon after the A50s launch.
The Astro A50s also comes with a display stand in the box, which will not only let you proudly show off you new shiny A50s, but also acts as a charging stand and holds your wireless transmitter/receiver base as well.
The Astro A50s will start at $299.99, and can be preordered soon only at AstroGaming.com. Just to quickly reiterate: the A50s will include the A50 headset, a display stand, and a wireless transmitter/receiver.
We have no word on extra configuration options yet, but you can expect the usual fare: premium optical cables, multiple colours, speaker tags, carrying case, etc..
The Astro A50 Wireless Headset is an awesome piece of tech. It was hard to believe that AstroGaming could 1-up themselves after the A40s, but they did it. In terms of bang for your buck, you’ll definitely find it with these.
Do you plan on getting the new Astro A50s, or have you seen another headset that stacks up competitively well? Let me know.