Astro a50 Review – Best Gaming Headset – [Update June 2018]

The Astro A50 is one of the most expensive headsets on the market. It is an excellent selection for those who are rich enough to spend good money. The headphone has very good construction. It sounds pretty great delivering an immersive surround-sound experience. But there are other options on the market. Many of the alternatives provide better value, additional flexibility, and an overall superior audio quality.  This top end wireless gaming headset keeps the comfortable design and satisfying surround sound of the previous headsets of Astro that we are going to see in this Astro a50 review.

It introduces a feature-rich Base Station and a clean software tool for casual gamers, streamers, and competitors. It ships with a modular ear cups this time around. The microphone and companion app needs a tad bit of improvement. Yet, the Astro A50 is one of the best, if not,  the best high-end wireless gaming headset you can purchase.

Astro a50 Review

PROS:

  • Charging station makes it easy to stay powered up
  • Crystal-clear mic capabilities
  • Intuitive and powerful on-headset controls
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Strong audio quality
  • Very easy to use
  • Sturdy construction
  • Immersive surround sound

CONS:

  • Design won’t appeal to all
  • Slightly too much head-gripping force
  • Premium price
  • The sound isn’t justified by the pricing
  • Base station takes up plenty of desk space


Astro a50 Design

The Astro A50 has a  futuristic look and feels like an expensive device worthy of its $300+ price tag. It has a curvy headband and ear cups. There are some industrial-looking components, and bright-green or blue highlights resembling the Xbox and the PlayStation. The design seeks a middle ground between heavy-duty and sleek. It can seem screamingly loud as well as stylishly subtle.

The headset is a bit too ridiculous to wear in public but the look is practical enough. The MixAmp from the previous A50 has now been included right into the right ear cup. This allows for quicker adjustment of the balance between the game and the chat audio. All the other controls you’ll need (volume, power, EQ, surround sound) have good placement behind the right ear, though the power switch for the EQ one can be confusing occasionally. The latest A50 is powered by Astro’s new Base Station, which is a piece of plastic that has dual feature;  a charging dock for your headset.

Astro a50 Review Based On Design

Premium Design with good controls all over the headset.

The headset design is as simple as plugging the Base Station into your console’s USB and optical ports. After which the dock transmits audio to your A50 instantly.  When plugged in,  the headset’s battery life and the status of the surround sound is displayed by the Base Station. In addition to that, a 3.5-mm jack in the back that lets you connect the dock to an external audio interface. Wanting to use your PS4 A50 on your Xbox One or the opposite requires you to buy the said console’s Base Station for $100, it comparatively cheaper than buying two $300 headsets.


Comfort and Customization

A lot of headsets promise comfortable to wear but only a few deliver. The Astro A50 is one of the headsets which delivers. The device’s lightweight 13.4-ounce frame and plush and wonderfully soft ear cups make it a comfortable wear. You often forget that you are wearing a headset even when you are binge gaming for hours.

Astro a50 Review Based On Comfort

Well Comfortable, adjustable and lightweight.

If you don’t like the default cushions, you can even purchase and swap in new ear cups and headbands. The A50′ has a Mod Kit support. A feature which Astro carried over from the lower-end Astro A40 TR. Swapping out the parts that you want to change is easy, the ear cups are magnetically attached and detached.

The headband simply needs to be popped out of a small groove at the top. In seconds, the headset’s plush cushions with a set of faux-leather-coated ones can be replaced. These are sold separately for around $40. The leather ear cups are very cozy to wear and provide better noise cancellation. The only bad thing is a slightly more weight. The A50 needs more modification options, maybe some game-specific mod kits, that would be pretty neat.

Astro a50 Review Based On Customization. Well, customizable but Needs More modification option.


Astro a50 Audio Performance

astro a50 sound quality

Thanks to the Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound, the A50 delivers crisp, immersive audio during my time with it on PC and consoles. There is three equalization mode. Astro mode has the balance, Pro mode doubles down on bass and Studio mode seems to emphasize treble. All three modes will satisfy you but the Studio mode can be overwhelming with the low end. The raw audio quality of the A50 is impressive. It has  40mm drivers. The perform an excellent job of recreating even the smallest of sounds, which results in a distinguishable listening experience. Listening to music is also a pleasure. It is able to handle a wide variety of genres with relative ease. With respect to the price, the headset doesn’t give out the most detailed sound. This is not to say that it sucks, the sound signature is well balanced, the soundstage just doesn’t feel as wide as it might be.

Astro a50 Review Based On Audio

Superb surround sound with well balanced audio controls.

You can, of course, use it with the Dolby Surround, but the music seems muffled and flat here. The Astro A50 sound is undoubtedly excellent, but serious audiophiles could pick up another headset like a pair of wireless B&W P5’s at this price.
As far as gaming goes, virtual surround sound has been taken by many as a mere gimmick, but it’s not a joke here. Of all of the headsets I’ve tested over the years, the A50 takes the throne as the king of the most authentic surround audio.


Astro a50 Microphone

On the voice capturing side, the microphone on the A50 is not exceptional. The microphone is good for a 150$ headset but for this price, it is a letdown.

The voice does come across smooth and has a  good separation from the background noise. The voice also isn’t particularly nasally. The letdown comes in the microphone not being able to handle popping sounds well.  It’s way off from something that could be used for serious commentary or recordings.

Astro a50 Review Based On Microphone

Good noise seperation but microphone can be more updated.

Different from the rest of the headset, the Astro A50’s microphone is rather dull. Online chats can have trouble while hearing or transmitting sound, the sound can seem distant to the receiver despite the sender being close to the microphone. Although the recording may sound good enough for a chat, it’s just that, don’t expect to record a song from this because you’re in for a disappointment.

One big upside to the microphone is that it no longer requires any pesky cords, the chats are fully wireless.


Astro a50 Battery Life

The A50 has promised up to 15 hours of battery life, which seems in line with our testing of the device. Even after the constant use of the headset on and off over some days, it just kept on alive with no sign of having a low battery. The A50 has a brilliant built-in accelerometer. This keeps the device’s endurance up. Because of the included accelerometer, the device automatically powers down if you lay it down for about 20 seconds, and turns it back on once you pick it up.

Astro a50 Review Based On Battery Life. Good battery life with hours of lifespan.


Astro a50 Control Scheme

The control scheme is nice but it is only meant. Volume dial is easy to use and the slider allows you to switch between different EQ presets. There is also the presence of a Dolby button to activate the surround sound effect. Two additional buttons are provided on the right ear cup. They let you control the mix between the game audio and voices from a chat. This feature comes handy  when playing online multiplayer games


Astro Command Center

Astro Command Center

The astro command center is a software control mechanism that lets you customize the A50 on your PC or Mac. The app is incredibly reliable but the interface can be a bit overwhelming. You can toggle between the existing presets. You can even create custom presets. The three Equalization modes synced to the headset allows you to enjoy your settings even if you’re on a device other than your PC.

The main drawback of the presets is that it contains labels such as “A50 Mod Kit,” “Astro” and “Pro”. Genre-specific presets would’ve been much more feasible here. You can, however, mess around with the equalizer and make your own presets. The downside to this is that creating your custom presets is a tiresome process, especially considering how easy it is to do in some other headsets in comparison

The Command center doesn’t end with just the EQ settings, There are many important microphone settings included too.ll Switching among different noise-cancellation presets made for game streams, competitions and night plays, as well as flipping among bright, airy and warm voice presets is now a piece of cake. Adjustment of mic monitoring can be performed if you want to hear yourself while you speak.

The application has Stream Port tab which kind of is a dream come true streamers. This port allows you to easily set a volume level between game audio, chat audio, your microphone and other audio sources you have plugged in by the auxiliary port.


Astro a50 Specs

  • The Form Factor is Circumaural
  • Open Cup Type
  • Stereo Sound Output Mode
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) :1.0 %
  • Impedance: 48 Ohm
  • Audio Input Details: Uni-directional
  • Type: USB, audio input, digital audio input (optical), headset
  • Connector Type: 5 pin Micro-USB Type B, sub-mini phone 2.5 mm
  • Additional Features: Dolby Surround Soun
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Weight: 12.8 oz
  • Consists of 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets
  • Up to 30 feet wireless range
  • Supports Dolby Headphone 7.1 virtual audio
  • Consist Magnetic base station for charging
  • Compatible with PC/Xbox One/PS4

Box Content

astro a50 Box content

  • Astro A50 Headphones itself
  • A Base Station
  • A USB Power and Data cable
  • An Optical audio cable
  • User guide/ Manual

Buy or Pass?

The A50 has a very similar outlook to the Astro A40TR. Both of these headsets provide strong build quality, they both consist a well-crafted sound signature and they are comfortable to wear over long periods.

The only difference being that the flawless execution of the wireless A50 adds a significant value to the price tag. For the given price range, you get yourself a remarkable pair of headphones and a dedicated sounding microphone, which is something we strongly recommend you consider. If you’re hell-bent on buying a wireless headset at this price point, then without a doubt you should go with the A50.  Setting up the headset is easy, the sound quality is pretty great, and the wireless system is very good. In conclusion, the device is a great bit of gaming kit for those who are looking for a good headset for their money.


Astro a50 Price


Final Verdict

The Astro A50 keeps the great sound and top-notch relaxation that made previous models stand out. The Astro A50 review shows that it is one of the better if not the best headset out there in the market.It also fixes some of the biggest mistakes that have been holding this line up of headset back. The improvements are drastic, wireless chat is no longer a problem on Xbox One, but the companion software needs some serious work here. There are finally a lot of ways to customize the headset’s sound if you’re willing to dive deeper into the customizations. It has some modular components that could help you keep the headset look newer with the time.  Astro will definitely provide a wide range of Mod Kits for the product’s lifecycle.

Specifications just can’t express the imply fantastic sounds that this headset produces. It’s one of a few headsets that is comfortable enough to wear all day, and its battery life despite being a little on the downside is good enough for normal usage.

The design is futuristic,  the presentation is solid, and the headset screams convenience. The new A50 really delivers a compelling reason for gamers to make the switch from their existing headsets. The charging station is quite an excellent choice. The motion-sensors for automatic -on/off is a genius way to grab the attention of tech enthusiasts and the battery life is finally up to par with leading competitors.

It’s just a shame the A50 missed a punch on the audio a little bit because the most mattering department is same from the previous iterations. The only downside is the price of the device which is a bit obnoxious considering it’s justification for the audio.

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