For
Excellent sound fidelity and mixing
Soft, comfy earcups
Connects to anything with an optical port
Against
Variable battery performance
Insufficient separate channels for talk and game sound
Useful cables and adapters sold separately

Nothing will improve the best PC games like one of the better PC gaming headset. The improved music detail and surround sound creates an immersive atmosphere, and turns the footsteps of a foe right into a dead giveaway of their location. Single player campaigns become journeys you won’t want to back out of. Online, having an excellent mic turns it right into a social experience, permitting you to speak to your teammates and coordinate tactics on the fly.

The Astro A50 is a headset that does all that and more – and at $300 (£299, AU$480), it certainly should. Thanks partly to the Dolby Pro Logic llx format, the Astro A50 offers digitally mixes 7.1 simulated surround sound. It’s among the finest headsets in the event that you actually want to feel enemy rockets rip right past your mind, and it’s versatile enough that you’ll want to make make use of it for watching movies and hearing music. Finally, the actual fact that it’s compatible right from the box with the Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 and any PC or Mac with an optical port, adds a huge amount of versatility – blowing the Triton Warhead 7.1, a comparable $300 Xbox-only headset, out from the water.

Long praised because of its design chops, Astro Studios spun off Astro Gaming back 2006 – which includes been competing with brands like Mad Catz, Tritton and Razer to create premium gaming headsets. As the Astro a50 isn’t an ideal headset, it will be comes close, and the wide selection of devices it’s appropriate for makes it an excellent investment for tech fans with crowded entertainment centers.

The Astro A50 features crisp highs, deep bass and because of its Dolby Pro llx compatibility, it features software-enabled sound mixing as effective as any 7.1 headset available. You need to to get an adapter if you wish to hook up to anything lacking any optical port, just like the MacBook Pro – though its base station has a 3.5mm input jack. We also discovered that Astro’s estimated 12 hour battery life wasn’t quite accurate, making the $7.99 Play and Charge Cable a tempting purchase. However, you can even just use an extra micro USB cable in case you have an extra lying around.

Also, there’s an important firmware update that fixes a concern with the A50s that triggers an intermittent “pop” in the audio. If you purchased the A50s, make sure you download the update and set it up.

Design
With great audio tracks power comes a plus-sized headset; the Astro A50 is big and bulky, but nonetheless manages to be surprisingly comfortable. Every little bit of the headset that touches your mind, meaning the earpieces and the lower of the headband, is covered in soft, foam-like cloth. You’ll definitely spot the weight of the A50s sitting on your own head, however the gentle points of contact make it simple to wear. During long gaming sessions or while you’re watching a movie we eventually forgot we were wearing it. You’d need to wear the A50 for a extended period of time for it to be uncomfortable or tiring.

The fit of the A50s isn’t as snug as some headphones we’ve tested. It could feel somewhat loose if you are used to something tighter, but we quickly go used to it. A far more relaxed fit helps it be easier on your own ears, nonetheless it does mean the audio tracks bleeds a bit. If you are cranking the sound, persons around you can hear it faintly. Just don’t pay attention to any secret messages with enemy spies around.

Because the unit is large, Astro made a great choice in giving it a stealthy color scheme. The matte black finish is of interest and subdued; you don’t need to draw any more focus on the oversized A50s. Red, semi-exposed cables running up the sides of the headband serve as an eye-catching highlight.

The microphone is super bendy and durable, and has one clever feature: pointing it directly locks it set up and mutes it. It’s a neat and convenient little bit of design, but we still could have appreciated to substitute for simply take away the mic. Having the ability to tuck it directly is a fantastic feature for LAN parties or long gaming sessions, but enables you to appear to be an unemployed cosmonaut if you are watching a movie. It could be nice if we’re able to simply take it off.