After reviewing Astro’s last iteration of the A50 Wireless Headset last year it looks like the company went back to the drawing board and thoroughly updated their flagship headset again – a small surprise considering how high the bar was already set. But even small surprises can lead to big things when you’re competing against the best at a show like E3 2016.
But here it is, and if you’ve seen or used the A50 before then the general styling isn’t that far off from the pair we played with last September, that somehow manages to be a little striking in slime green (my name not theirs) or ice blue metallic scheme. There are a number of changes though, chief among them is the use of digital platform sharing taken directly from the A40 TR called the Command Center software. With a PC or Mac OS X you can customize every aspect of equalization properties and input/output functionality, something I thought was a bit of an afterthought with the previous A50.
The transmitter has also been overhauled into a base station, and now includes magnetic charging contacts that helps reduce clutter and a cleaner appearance. The single hub is trimmed down for LED lighting while incorporating an active battery monitor and automatic pairing, of course the niceties such as TOSLink pass-through and AUX connectivity are a part of the package.
The headset is still comfortable and has a listening profile similar to its predecessor, and with just a few listening demos on hand I can at least say the ASTRO has tuned the A50 further and more willing to be pushed at higher volumes, gamers can expect less distortion than before while retaining the same balance of weight that is strategically pieced for a not-so-heavy feel.
Whatever else worked for the A50 is carried over such as Dolby Headphone 7.1 Surround Sound (Née Pro Logic IIx), Dolby Volume, built-in MixAmp, and a precision mic that can be muted when flipped up. There’s even an optional Mod kit that features leather earpads and match headband, but this uniquely premium extra is sold separately.
Our first impressions were damn nice, and ASTRO says their updated A50 Headset is primed to drop late summer for those audiophiles seeking a true entertainment and e-sport contender. The price for the A50 is thankfully unchanged at $300, stay tuned.
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