When it comes to pro gaming, which involves gaming in front of large, noisy crowds, you need a PC gaming headset that will block external noise for the microphone and headphones equally well. You can’t have the mic picking up external noise because your teammates will not be able to understand the information you’re trying to relay.
These are two of the most important PC gaming headset attributes for pros. Combined with comfort and precision sound, it’s why the Astro A50 is our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award winner. Astro Gaming has been persistent in their pursuit of excellence, and it has paid off. However, when you listen to the requests of those that use your product as Astro does, excellence is inevitable.
The Astro A50 has a notched volume wheel that lets you adjust volume with a tap of your thumb, without static or interference in the audio signal while you are adjusting. At times it may require a bit more adjusting than you are used to, but the more you do it the quicker you will get at dialing into a comfortable volume.
Astro A50 has KleerNet processing, which aims to produce CD-quality resolution with wireless digital signal processing (DSP). The A50 ear cups have a closed-back design that fit snuggly, completely eliminating outside noise to help produce rich, full audio with crisp highs and deep, undistorted bass.
This PC gaming headset outputs quality stereo sound. The A50 has a broad sound field with true dimension even if the surround sound is simulated. For gaming purposes, the stereo output of these headphones is excellent.
The A30 and A40 come with the option of a MixAmp that allows you to use the Xbox and PlayStation consoles or any other platform. The A50 model, however, comes with a transmitter that hooks to a PC or console to channel sound to the gaming headphones. The MixAmp also works great for the smartphones like the iPhone and other similar devices.
Unfortunately, MixAmp does come at an additional cost. Unless you would like to use the Astro A30 and A40 with devices aside from your computer and MP3 player, then you probably will be just fine without this attachment.
All A series models use surround sound. The A40 and A50 are the same, but the A30 has smaller drivers, so the sound quality isn’t as good. The A30 ear cups are smaller and sit on your ear rather than around them like the A40 and A50. The mic on the A30 and A40 models is detachable, while the A50 mic is built in and retracts. Finally, the A50 is the only wireless headset.
The Astro A50 PC gaming headset is built to be comfortable. What makes them so comfortable? It is a combination of a well-designed headband and ear couplings. The headband puts under 3 newtons of pressure on you, which is not much. To accomplish this, the headband has a thick pad and snug padded ear couplings, which help disperse pressure as well. The ear couplings are circumaural, which means they enclose your ear completely and put virtually no pressure on them. This is partially done for comfort, but mostly it is for reducing external noise.
The PC connection is the typical dual 3.5 mm analog type, one for the headphone and one for the microphone. The cable for this PC gaming headset is about 6 feet long, which is plenty if you keep your tower close by, but a couple extra feet would have been nice. What is unique about the Astro A50 design is that this cable attaches to a 1-foot quick release cable.
The quick disconnect cable system is exclusive to Astro. There is also a clever disconnect system integrated into the microphone. With the Astro A50 PC gaming headset, you can put the microphone on either side of the headphones or even remove it completely so that it is out of the way.
The Astro A50, with the 3.5 mm dual-jack PC connector, is cross compatible with any audio device that uses the same connection. It also comes with a 6.3 mm adapter, which opens the doors to most home theater AV receivers and some other audio equipment.
There is a volume and mute control built into the cable itself. This is a common, but extremely convenient feature. Without it, you are forced to minimize your game and use the system volume controls. This is not a big deal if you aren't in the middle of actually playing, but it can be quite irritating otherwise, so we are glad to see that Astro included this feature. The last feature that we want to mention here is the carrying case that comes with the Astro A50 PC gaming headset. The case makes it easy to travel with your headset, whether you are headed out of the country or to a local LAN party.
The Astro A40 has help and support options available to anyone that may experience problems with it. There are FAQs and a knowledgebase section, or you can open a ticket and interact with the technical support team directly. There is a manual for the Astro A50 PC gaming headset that you can download if you are unclear on how to use a particular aspect of it. During business hours, you can contact Astro Gaming by phone as well. Whatever you preference may be, you have options and a technical support team at your disposal to help with any issues that arise.
For the Astro A50 PC gaming headset, you get the usual single year warranty to cover manufacturing defects. A year should be plenty in most cases; we like to see manufacturers that give us a second or even third year because it shows confidence in their ability to put together a quality product. Alas, that is not the case here, but once you get this PC gaming headset in your hands and use it, you will not need a longer warranty to reassure you.
The fact that the Astro A50 is an award-winner and the officially licensed PC gaming headset of MLG says a lot. However, nothing compares to actually using one. The audio is superior to most other headsets in the same price range, and the design is extremely well done. You can play for hours and barely notice they are there. They provide all the necessary conveniences to assist in your experience, and should something be wrong with them, you have a skilled tech team ready to get you back into the game.
Astro listens to their pro players and has been continuously adding requested features.
The mic is very sensitive, so you'll need to be careful not to overpower your listeners.
This is a well-designed PC gaming headset and is highly recommended by professional gamers.