Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Headset
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on February 27, 2013
I read a lot of negative reviews comparing the A40s to the A50s which claimed that the A50s are lackluster compared to the A40s in numerous ways. I almost ruled out getting them, despite the fact that I was terribly in need of a wireless headset. I am here to say that as a longtime A40 owner, I adore the A50s and think they deliver in all respects. It's the same quality experience Astro A40 fans are accustomed to but in a highly portable package that eliminates my only complaint with the A40s... the abundance of wires.

I got the A50 because I play mostly on PC and wanted to have surround sound without the 5.1 PC speakers I used to rely on. Frankly, my PC surround sound setup was a bit of an eyesore with it's 2 rear channel stands, which is why I got the A40s initially. I loved them, but found that the hassle of lugging around all the wires whenever I wanted to switch platforms was a bit of a burden, plus the wires weren't exactly minimalist. Also, my cat liked to chew on the A40 cables, which I'm sure any cat owners can identify with.

In addition, I wanted to be able to listen to games in surround sound and chat wirelessly when playing PC games on my big screen TV, which is located in a room adjacent to the study where my PC resides. The router near the TV was creating interference that disrupted things like bluetooth and 2.4 ghz wireless tech necessitating the use of 5.8ghz wireless technology. The Astro A50s fit the bill on paper, but negative reviews had me a bit worried. I was afraid the interference would be an issue, but I'm pleased that the range is fantastic on these cans! The only drop out I've experienced was when I was listening to music and went out the front door to take out the trash, though they work fine on the porch of my 1100 sq ft apartment which is littered with a variety of of wireless devices muddying up the wireless environment.

The features, aesthetics and comfort are all solid on the A50s... the virtual surround sound really enhances immersion in games that support the feature. I also love how easily you can mute the mic by moving it in the vertical position, and the mixer and knob quality is both ergonomic and solidly built. The volume knob in particular feels great and is easy to fine-tune without accidentally blasting yourself into deafness. The headset does create a little bit of discomfort when paired with Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses, but only after prolonged use. I experience no discomfort whatsoever when just wearing my regular perscription glasses. PS3 owners can skip ordering the play and charge cable and just use the same cable one uses to charge a PS3 controller (mini USB to USB). The design is terrific, and the drivers boom without sounding 'farty'. Some people complain that the bass is too much on this model, but if you switch it to the 'Pro Gaming' audio setting, it reduces the bass considerably, and should help with hearing footsteps. Personally, I like the 'Core' standard setting as I only play multiplayer casually with friends. It sounds slightly boomier than the A40, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I'm no pro-gamer, though, so take that for what it's worth.

There are a few considerations one must be familiar with in order to take advantage of theis wonderful headset, however.

For starters, PC gamers with on-board audio will also need a soundcard that supports Dolby Digital via Toslink/optical inputs if they expect to experience any kind of simulated surround sound. Don't assume that your motherboard's optical output has this feature... most are stereo only, and a lot of people don't realize this until it's too late. Thankfully, I already had a Soundblaster with Dolby Digital built in, and while the Soundblaster interface took a bit of fiddling to make it work with this headset, it's not really an issue anymore since I am almost exclusively using the Astros for all my sound needs and don't have to switch over to anything else generally. PC users who want to switch between speakers and headphones should be aware that they are going to have to change a few of their PC sound setting every time they want to go from the A50s to speakers etc., which could be mildly annoying. Also, whatever soundcard-based microphone adjustments you used for your old mic solution (e.g. Soundblaster's Crystal Voice Technology) will not work at all with these things. You are limited to the Windows Recording Devices features for any adjustments, which is only a minor loss since the USB-based microphone sound quality seems superior to the 3.5mm mic sound quality I was getting out of my A40s in every respect. With the A40s, my sound quality was terrible using 3.5, with the A50s using USB, my mic sounds perfect. (Though this is due to the quality of my Recon3D PCIE soundcard, which is known to have mic sound quality issues.)

Also, Xbox oriented gamers will have to tether their headset to their controller via a provided cable. You aren't tethered to the console directly, though, so this shouldn't be an issue for most people, but the added wire is going to be a deal-breaker for some. I personally don't see it as a problem since I'm not chanined to the console itself, but I don't play Xbox games much online. I tested it with the PS3 also, and it works great without the need for tethering the headset to the controller. Just make sure and update your firmware when you get it home as users are reporting problems with the A50s and comptability with the PS3 prior to updating.

Which brings us to the firmware. When you get the A50s, you should begin charging them, and once charged, you should update the firmware before putting them through their paces. You will need to make Chrome or Firefox your default browser prior to doing this, or it won't work... IE isn't supported, and if IE is your default browser, it will hang. Once again, a minor annoyance considering the omnipresence of browser alternatives and the infrequency of required updates, but something you should be aware of. Without the firmware update, there are some known issues with PS3 compatability and sound drop-outs.

Also the support for Astro is apparently TERRIBLE since they were purchased by SkullCandy. In the past, Astro has some of the best customer service I've ever encountered. Now, if you have to file an RMA or something like that, I've read that you can expect to wait, wait and wait some more for a reply. Hearing this, I chose to not order my A50s directly through Astro as the return policies offered at places like Amazon sounded like the way to go. Luckily, I don't have to worry about returning the A50s, though. (Knock on wood.)

Finally, the manual isn't shipped with the A50s... just a quick start up guide. This is easily fixed by going to the Astro site and downloading the well put together manual, but it wasn't written until well after the A50s got on the market. You may see a bunch of people complaining about this, but just realize that the new manual is available for download and covers everything you need to know.

In summary, I love the A50s and am really pleased with the purchase and the overall lack of and deal-breaking problems. While it's a shame that the customer service at Astro isn't what it used to be apparently, this is still a dream-product for gamers wanting surround sound without clutter, interference-free wireless or just any hardcore gamer who doesn't want to create noise pollution without sacraficing channel seperation. I rarely review things, but after reading all the A50 reviews I could find online, and figured I'd try to pay it forward by adding my own.

EDIT: Yesterday, on day 12, the mixamp stopped working. The Dobly light wasn't coming on at all, and there was no sound. I made sure the optical port on my PC was fine by testing the A40s I also own, and I tested the A50s on my consoles to confirm that the A50 mixamp was busted. I contacted Astro and heard back from them the next day. They said I need to let it run out of battery completely, then fully recharge, then re-pair, then update firmware. If that doesn't work, they will ship me a replacement and they will pay for shipping. It makes me sad... I gave this thing 5 stars when it was working, but if it breaks after 12 days of regular use, then it's not as great as I'd hoped. Glad that Astro at least wrote me back quickly. I will revisit this review and adjust my rating accordingly based on the results.

EDIT: I decided to just return it to the brick and mortar store where I purchased it for an exchange. That was a week and a half ago, and so far, the unit works fine. I opted for the 2 year replacement plan the store offers considering the fact that my first unit broke, and I would recommend anybody interested in buying these either follows suit at a retail store or at least pays Astro the additional $30 they want for the extended 2 year warranty. I love these things, and I recommend them, but you definately need some sort of insurance on them. I deducted a point from my original 5 star rating due to the issues I had.

UPDATE: So I got both the PS4 and the Xbox One consoles, and the PS4 works right out of the box with the A50s at launch. You need to go into the sound settings and enable bitstream audio and change the output to favor Optical over HDMI to make it sound good, but it's a painless process. Works perfectly and sounds really great when configured. Chat works perfectly.

However, the Xbox One doesn't support Dolby Digital surround sound at launch (meaning no surround sound initially... just stereo wireless sound) and the chat cable included with the A50s which you use with the Xbox 360 doesn't work with the Xbox One controller. However, I'm glad to report both problems are temporary: Microsoft is going to release an adapter early in 2014 which I expect to cost $10-$20 to enable chat. An added expense, but at least it will work. So while it's disappointing that the Xbox One doesn't offer chat or surround sound for optical-based headsets like the A50 at launch, Dolby surround sound will be offered via an update early this year, and there will be an adapter available for sale (hopefully around the same time as the update) to enable chat via the cable you had to use with the Xbox 360. I really wish Microsoft had done away with the need for a cable to enable chat with the Xbox One, or made it A50 compatible at launch, but I'm glad to know it will work as well as it does with the Xbox 360 eventually.

EDIT: I got the adapter for the Xbox One, and it works as advertised. You have to set it up the first time you use it, which was slightly confusing. I had to look up the setup procedure for doing this on Astros's website, and once it's done it works very well, but it isn't going to work right out of the box. It's a bit of an annoyance having to involve wires in an otherwise wireless setup, but the quality of the chat on the Xbox One is so great, it's something you can live with. It's better than having to buy another headset all together, I guess. I'm just glad the A50 works with every platform I own now.
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on September 20, 2012
Update: 05/29/2014

I've owned my Astro A50's for almost a year and a half now. Since I first made the purchase (directly from the Astro online store) there have been a few firmware patches, and I've experienced some hardware defects which lead to a positive interaction with Astro's customer service. Overall, I feel that the headset is a good product with the potential to be a great product. Most of the unresolved issues that I've encountered with the A50s could be potentially resolved by Astro's development team. I still believe that the A50's are the best consumer-level headsets available on the market, although I'm not entirely confident that enough effort is being made to retain that position. I consider myself slightly biased because I am generally pretty optimistic

Hardware - 4/5

The Good:
- After a year and a half of regular use, the headset has held-up relatively well. I've accidentally sat on the headset about 4 to 5 times and it's remained undamaged each time. I expected the red coils on the side of the headset to come uncoiled, but they have retained their shape. There aren't any visible scuffs on the headset, despite being dragged a few times. The earmuffs themselves tend to collect hair (especially dog hair) and some fuzz/dust, but it can easily be removed with a lint roller.

The Bad:
- About a year into using the headset, the volume wheel lost most of it's functionality. It became extremely difficult to turn down the volume, and the volume would sometimes increase when I was attempting to turn it down. This is an audio engineer's (or anyone who values their hearing) worst nightmare. I initially suspected that it was a firmware issue (as I had just updated the firmware to the latest available patch), but after flashing the hardware with each firmware revision, I determined that it was a hardware issue. Additionally, placing the mic in the upright position no longer muted the input as-intended. This meant that I would frequently hear the sound of the mic touching my hair over the game audio.

Firmware - 3.5/5

The Good:
- Although the ability to upgrade a piece of hardware's firmware is becoming more prevalent, most other headphone/set manufacturers do not include this ability. It's great that Astro decided to include this feature, and they do make some effort to address bugs, tweak features, and improve quality with each firmware patch. This ability allows for the headset/transmitter to potentially be improved in the future.

The Bad:
- Although most of the bugs have been addressed with the latest firmware patch, there are still many features that Astro advertised that have yet to come to fruition. One feature that has been greatly anticipated by the Astro fan base is the ability to load custom EQ schemes to the headset. I'm not a software/hardware engineer, but it doesn't seem like this would be too difficult to implement, and I feel that Astro has decided to put this in the icebox until they can find a way to profit from it. I'm pretty content with the current three EQ schemes, but I'm upset that they have been promising custom EQ schemes for over a year now, and there hasn't been any recent development update. Additionally, I haven't felt like each firmware patch has significantly improved the overall sound quality or feature functionality of the headset. I'm content with the current functionality and sound quality, but I was hoping that any updates would exceed my expectations.

Customer Service - 4.5/5

The Good:
- When the volume control on the headset failed, I was afraid that I would have trouble getting it replaced through Astro. I had seen comments on the forums regarding bad experiences with customer service. I contacted Astro's customer's service regarding the defect, and received a response from Fletcher Ryan of Astro Customer services within an hour. He emailed me a printable mailing label, and I shipped the defective product to them the next morning. Astro sent me an email a few days later letting me know that they received the defective product, and sent me another email by the end of the day letting me know that they had resolved the issue and would be sending me a working product. I received the working product a few days later, and found that everything had been fixed. The volume knob had impeccable response, and the mic worked as-intended. The entire process was quick and painless, and the customer service members were professional, prompt, and friendly.

The Bad:
- Astro needs to work on it's forum customer interaction. A lot of general inquiries are replied with generic blocks of text that make bold promises of future improvements and additional features. Customer service should not make any promises or predictions that don't strictly adhere to their production schedule. I understand that it's a tough job to appease an online mob, but I don't feel like there is any conviction in the community outreach department. The online CS team needs to be composed of people who understand the issues through personal experience, know the product inside and out, and make an effort to raise awareness of the problems that customers are encountering.

Next-Gen Console Interaction - 3/5

The Good:
- Astro's latest firmware patch is supposed to address a potential issue with PS4 chat functionality, which indicates an effort to make the headset compatible with next-gen consoles. I have only used the A50's with my Xbox One for about 4 months now, and I haven't encountered any issues with sound quality or basic feature use.

The Bad:
- The Xbox One's controller uses a different audio connection than it's predecessor, which means that you can use the Kinnect's microphone, or buy an audio-chat adapter available from either Microsoft or a third-party manufacturer. I opted to buy the adapter from Microsoft and immediately noticed that something was off with the game audio. The adapter allows you to chat with the A50's mic, but appears to return game audio from the controller to the headset. This causes a slight doubling effect which results in some weird audio-phasing issues. I can't lay the blame entirely on Astro for this, because I believe that Microsoft made a mistake in replacing the generic TRS audio input. However, I feel that Astro needs to step up to resolve the issue if Microsoft refuses to address it. The adapter feels more like a Band-Aid than an actual solution.

Final Score - 3.75/5

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Look no further, perfection has found a home in the Astro A50's. I have never been more satisfied with a purchase in my life, this headset really has it all.
Before I rant and rave any further, let me delve into my background:

I graduated with a B.S. in Audio Engineering in 2009, and have been working in the game-audio and live-sound industry since then. I may not have years of experience under my belt, but I recently completed an internship with Sony Computer Entertainment America's Music Production team (who set the standard for game audio)... I know great sound when I hear it. This headset will take your game to a whole 'nother level, and will be the deadliest tool in your arsenal. I've owned two gaming headsets prior to buying the Astro A50's: Turtle Beach's XP500, and Tritton's AX 72. Both were great headsets, but the Astro A50's blow them away.

Frequency Response:

- Highs are clear and well-balanced in the mix. This makes a HUGE difference when playing games because you can hear enemy foot steps and equipment rattles.
- Lows are robust and provide some serious vibration when desired.
- These babies BUMP, I honestly don't even know how loud they go because I'm afraid of damaging my ears.
I've turned them up pretty loud, and the mix is retained perfectly.
- The first games I played with the A50's were Battlefield 3 on Xbox 360 and Dead Island on PS3. The first thing I noticed when playing BF3 were sounds thats I never knew existed.
BF3's music track always annoyed me, but with the A50's I heard the soundtrack as it was intended to be heard, and I really enjoyed it. Sound effects were terrifying when I first heard them.
I could hear bullets as they whizzed passed my head. I started to feel overwhelmed and literally SCARED when I would get into large firefights. This motivated me to try harder... as if I were fighting for my life.
Dead Island REALLY got my heart pounding when playing with the A50's. Hearing an infected screech it's lungs out before it appears will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. When you start playing in the
main city, the moans and screeches of the undead will test your nerves and put you into a state of shell-shock. This headset is what games were INTENDED to be played on.

7.1 Surround Panning:

- Hands down the best surround sound I've heard. Imagine having an IMAX theater wrapped around your head.
- The ability of the A50's to replicate directional sound will be a huge advantage when you're playing FPS like Battlefield 3. You'll be able to hear where a tank or helicopter is coming from before you see it.
- I was watching Tron: Legacy on BluRay, and I shed a single tear because I had no idea that this level of sound quality could be achieved by a headset.
There's this one scene towards the beginning of the movie where he's driving his motorcycle. He crosses in frame from left to right, and I JUMPED in my seat because it seriously sounded like a motorcycle
was driving right in front of me. (Credit also goes to Skywalker Sound for mixing an amazing fx and sound track).

Wireless Functionality:

- One of the only headsets on the market right now that doesn't suffer from clicks, pops, and radio interference.
- Astro A50's use a proprietary wireless signal codec that avoids radio frequencies commonly used by other devices.
- The range is incredible! I left my room to get some food from the kitchen. The signal would drop out every now and then, but it was travelling through 2 walls over 80 feet.
- It eventually would drop almost completely when I walked outside and closed the door. I could get decent audio when I was sitting still, but not when moving (I was probably at 90 feet at this point).

Mic:

- The Mic picks up my voice with crystal clarity and isolation.
- I can usually hear the background noise from other player's mics, but the A50's do not suffer from this.
- I wish that I could hear myself louder in the mix. Sometimes I find myself talking louder than I normally would (usually in a full party) and other players have asked me to turn my mic down.
- When I CAN hear myself there is absolutely no distortion, even when I get excited and start yelling.

Isolation:

- I like to listen to game/movie audio at a high level. This is why I bought the headset in the first place, I needed to make sure my housemates weren't bothered by any excessive noise.
The Astro A50's have very little acoustical bleed. I was very impressed by this because it sounds and feels like you're in a movie theater when you have them on. These are a must for late-night gamers.

Form:

- The design of the A50's stand is intended to display the headset like a prized trophy. The wireless transmitter sits neatly underneath the stand, but is lightweight and portable.
- On a comfort scale of 1-10 I would rate the headset as a 9. The ear cushions are soft and padded, and provide ample space for your ears to fit comfortably inside without feeling too loose.
- Would have rated the comfort a 10, but the headset is slightly heavier than most headsets. This is probably due to superior quality driver components.
- I love the sleek look and of the A50's and color scheme. The plastic doesn't feel cheap like most products made for video games. The form of this product compliments the function.

The bottom line:

- You get what you pay for. Everyone from audiophiles to pro-gamers will be satisfied with these headsets. I consider the A50's to be as important as the gaming console itself when it comes to playing video games. Once you
game with these, you won't be able to go back to anything else.
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on October 5, 2012
Let's dive straight into the meat of the review:

PS3 SLIM OWNERS - Strongly suggest to not buy the Astro A50's until they release a firmware to fix the connectivity issue that is not allowing the PS3 USB ports to power on the MixAmp ---> Link to Astro's Forum Acknowledging this issue: [...]
(Wish I would've known about this issue before buying the headset, but since it's already here I am currently using a USB Hub to power on the MixAmp from the PS3)
- Also, there is the option of powering your MixAmp by plugging it into other ports such as your PC and it will work fine but this will not allow use of your A50 microphone (you'll have sounds, but no voice chat)

XBOX OWNERS - Headset is NOT completely wireless since you will have to connect the mic cable from the controller to the headset in-order to use Xbox Live Chat.

Setting up the Astro A50:
- Can be difficult since the directions are pictures (not completely in order as well)
- Cables that come with the Astro A50 are short and cheap (DO NOT BUY Astro's extended play-and-charge cable, or any cable from them. Just buy optical and longer USB cables from Amazon or anywhere else -- a lot cheaper and more sturdy than what Astro's offer)
- The stand for the headset feels cheaply manufactured
- Takes about 10-25 minutes to set-up the headset depending on your expertise (not difficult, but not easy)

Design of the A50:
- Definite feel of high quality headset
- Buttons on headset are small and can be difficult to find (at night), but you'll get use to it
- No longer able to customize tags (like the A40s)
- Very comfortably built with soft cushion padding
- Not heavy feeling and rest well on your chest (able to turn the ear muffs)
- The equalizer and volume adjustment on the headset are convenient and works well

Performance of A50:
- Sounds are clear, loud, and very distinct BUT this can be GOOD AND BAD because the headset literally picks up everything including AMBIENT NOISES such as wind and game music (MW3 not able to turn off music, but hopefully we will in BOP2 just like BOP)
- The microphone quality is only OKAY depending on how your settings are and what game you're playing. Mic can and hopefully will be improved by future firmware
- Longest use of the A50 was about 6 hours of MW3, CS:GO, D3, DayZ and never did the headphone felt heavy
- A50 makes good use of the surround sound as Game effects such as flash bangs, gun shots, monster smashing, blood splatter are amazing

- Overall:
- Astro A50s expensive and really should be aimed only at SERIOUS/EXTREME GAMERS
- If you can get past and overlook some of the preliminary issues of the A50s then you'll be sitting in your room with one of the best sound quality headset for gaming out on the market
- Astro supports their products and are releasing firmware updates to fix and patch issues, so I feel that it is a good investment since the headset will constantly be updated
- With that said, the A50s are not for everybody. People who are casual gamers mainly looking to enhance the game quality and not their game play can look to other headset brands that offer cheaper headset that will satisfy such needs (TurtleBeach, Triton, Razer) or get Astro A30s as well...
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on March 23, 2014
I'm not a huge gaming headset player. When I had the 360 I used the X12's and loved them. I knew there were better models but at the time I didn't think of any to invest in headsets.

For the Xbox one I was in a tug of war on which headset to purchase. At first I did purchase the Polk 4 shots. Those were great especially if you're looking for an all around headset, for gaming, music and on the go. But they lacked the bass and loud volume I was accustomed coming from the X12's. I wanted to try something new and pulled the trigger to get a pair of Astro's. For those who are really stuck between the A40 and A50 it really is on preference. Do you care about cables running everywhere or prefer a wire free setup? If you're gaming on your desk then I would suggest the A40 but for me the best setup was to go with the wireless feature. I did purchase these at best buy because of reward points that I had built up to decrease the high price tag. With the dropped price I decided to also invest in their protection program since I was already planning to drop $300. Before using these headsets make sure to update the amp and headset firmware. It was pain free and very simple. I used my mbp to update the firmwares.

*Comfort/Design*
- Looking at the headband I thought it was going to be slightly uncomfortable because it appeared to lack some band padding. I was wrong. They were very comfortable. These are slightly heavier than your average headset because of they carry the wireless features to broadcast the signal. I used them on average 2-3 hours of gaming. The band provided a nice soft cushion on top of my head and as well as the ear cups. I would say one of the best ear cushions. Most headsets I've used usually rubs on the side of my ears such as mesh and sometimes irritates me. I usually prefer a leather padding but these felt like pillows around my ears imo. The ear cups completely surrounded my ear and my ears did not touch the drivers. The padding is a very soft material and once they break in I can see them becoming more comfortable. Overall I had no issues in the comfort area. I loved it. As for design and looks I really like the Astro's If you have a small head, having these on will make you look like you have horns which imo look cool. The touch of red wiring is nice addition. The areas where the buttons on the headset to balance out chat and volume is easily accessible. The volume scroll on the back of the headset is also easily accessible.

*Sound*
- I was always interested in trying a headset that used an amp and surround sound. Trying them in Battlefield 4 and Titanfall they sounded amazing. Upgrading to the xbox one I wanted a new headset. I went with the Polk 4 shots and they were great for a stereo headset but lacked a little bit in sound quality, in regards to bass and loudness. The surround sound dolby digital 7.1 is amazing! Such a huge difference from a stereo output. I knew there would be a difference in sound quality but I didn't think it would be a large difference. The surround sound provide a more immerse experience than my previous headsets. The highs, mids and lows were clear and crisp. When things needed to be louder or low in regards to distance was just right. I was able to pin point the direction of a shoot out. Hearing footsteps was clear and in Titanfall I was able to hear if an enemy was wall running. You can really crank the volume up to your desire with these headsets. With the Xbox one I made sure to fully lower the game audio on the adapter by pushing the player icon to boost the chat volume up to ensure I was receiving/hearing the amps broadcast. In Battlefield 4 I ended up playing around with all my kits to hear the different weapons and they sounded amamzing. A part of me wished I picked up the BF4 edition because apparently their setting is really targeted for shooters. You can still purchase the BF4 A50s through Astro's website or find them in some gamestops and best buys. I settled with the standard edition. Overall I'm loving the sound quality. Best sound I've heard and used so far!

*Mic*
- The mic is decent and works. I used and tested it with players in a lobby and also in a private party. Everyone said I sounded loud and clear. No complaints if I sounded muffled, distorted or static. I do like the feature if you need to mute you could swing your mic up or just push the adapter. But I've grown accustom to bring the mic up. I'm prefer mics that are covered up with foam to prevent wind detection but no complaints from my teammates of breathing or anything. If you're using a X1 make sure to update your head and amp firmware. Also purchase the X1 adapter and update that and the controller. A side note, don't settle for these ridicolous prices some sellers are offering on amazon for the adapter! Just look around, I was lucky to find the last one at bestbuy for $25 unlike these re-sale prices of $45+. Back to the mic, overall its works for me and no complaints!

*Packaging* (Not important but just wanted to mention i)
- I love Astro's packaging. The A50s comes in a large casing that is designed with great artwork. Opening it was pain free and easy to take out the headsets unlike some unboxings I've experienced. The headsets are protected and held in place. Barely any paper work but a nice colored folder that is use for a quickstart.

*Overall Rating*
Out of 5 I give these headsets a 4.5/5. I rate them a 5 because of the price I was able to purchase them along with a protection plan. Luckily I had some rewards on my bestbuy account. If you can swallow the price of $300 I really recommend these especially if you're looking for a wire free setup. They sound amazing. If you play shooters especially Battlefield 4, Titanfall or COD. I would say to try and pickup the BF4 edition as it provides a equalizer mode targeted to shooters. If you're stuck between the A40s or A50s, remember its all preference and if you care about wires. If you game on a desk I would highly say the A40s because the mixamp provides a more precise sound control. If you're like me who wants to be care free of wires I would highly recommend these! I'm very happy with my purcahse!
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on June 22, 2013
I bought this from a competitor since I wanted it same day on the weekend, sorry Amazon, but that's why you don't see a verified purchase.

I see people review all these headsets in bulk, there's no way they are able to use each of them for years. I couldn't find a lot of information on the topic, so after using the Logitech G930 for several years and now the A50 for a week or so, I'll write a bit of a comparison.

The A50 is a bit heavier on the head, I'm not sure if it's the weight of the set, or the distribution of the weight being more centric on the A50. I find myself wearing a hat or putting a face cloth under it to help with the comfort. I know that is ghetto but it works. Otherwise I would end up sliding the headset to the front and back of my head constantly to alleviate the pressure in a specific area. So that was a win for the G930. I do find, however, that the A50 is more comfortable on the ears.

I haven't received any complaints about the voice quality from my friends using either headset.

I like the stand the A50 comes with and I haven't had any issues with battery life yet, though I haven't done a rigorous test. I just make sure to plug it in when I put it on the stand, and haven't had any issues using it for several sessions of 4+ hours. As far as I can tell so far the battery life is comparable for both, however, the G930 did give you an indicator when the battery life is low through their software. The software and extra buttons on the G930 let you do some cool stuff with the headset, I could walk around toggling through my music on iTunes or pause/playing the music. You can remap the buttons in the software and monitor the battery life, I do miss this with the Logitech set.

The major pitfall of the G930 were the bugs. The set would randomly power off and back on, the A50 I can gladly say does not do that. The G930 also had a bug that if you used the flip up microphone mute (to mute the mic when it is flipped up away from the mouth) if the other bug kicked in that reset the headset, the microphone would not be muted even though it was in the upright position. Also if you turned it on and the mic was flipped up, it would not be muted. You would have to flip the mic down and back up to be assured it was muted. If you put the headset down for a minute and came back, if the first bug turned it off and back on, you would not realize that it had happened and the mic would be open in the upright position. These two major flaws were the downside of the G930 for me, and the main reason for replacement.

The sound quality on the A50 can go much louder and sounds better to me, but I am not an audiophile by any means, you may want to refer to other reviews for that. I certainly have had no issues and really like the quality of sound, I'm not sure how it could be any better.

I find the G930 had better wireless range, I currently am in a 2 story house, and I was able to walk around from my office upstairs to the laundry room downstairs, the garage, etc and still listen to music and talk to friends. The same areas with the A50 get choppy or go silent. It struggles to go through multiple walls. It works fine for adjacent rooms, or being directly under the office seem to be okay. If you are making a decision based on this I would go with the G930.

I'm not sure the A50 will work with the PS4, which I preordered, so if that is a concern you may want to hold off until something official comes out. It does work with the PS3, Xbox360, I'm not sure why there would be an issue with the PS4, but I wouldn't hold my breath with the Xbox One. Microsoft has turned into a corporate bully and I don't see them letting you use anything unless they get a cut, so you may want to wait for official news if they affect you.

Overall, I'm pleased with the A50, I think the score here is too low so I'm giving it five stars, but really I would put it in the 4-4.5 range. I have no regrets over replacing my G930 with it.
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on June 17, 2015
I am not an audiophile so you can take my review with a grain of salt. So these headsets are the best I've had. I've only had astros and will continue to shop from them because they have helped me get that competitive edge during gaming. My partner and I played team doubles in Halo Reach matchmaking and were ranked in the top 50 according to Halo tracker.com and Astros helped me achieve that victory. They are very clear and you can hear every nook and cranny when playing. For example, when someone is crouch walking you can still hear their footsteps ever so slightly. But it's enough for you to know to turn around and get them before they get you. The packaging for the headset was top notch as always. I'm sure that is one of the reasons you pay the premium for these things. Setting up the headset was fairly simple. Right out of the box both the headset and the mixamp need an update through your computer on Astro's website. They are very comfortable for long gaming sessions. Longest I've worn them straight was right about 10-12 hours. The adjustability is amazing on them. The boom is not detachable but can b e lifted straight up, also when it is straight up it automatically puts you on mute which is a nice feature. The volume and voice buttons are actually located on the headset itself which I think is one of the best features of the headset. As far as volume goes, these things can get very loud, almost deafening. There is a master volume knob in which you can set the max volume to. The only thing I don't like about the headset is that Astro provides you with a 1.5 foot usb cord to recharge the headset. So if your battery starts dying, you are basically f#@!%^ unless you sit super close to your monitor or buy a 6 footer usb cord. The battery lasts about 8 hours so you will have to have them plugged in while playing for longer sessions. If you have the cash then I would highly recommend these headsets. They are amazing and will help you enjoy videogames much more, it doesn't matter if you're playing competitively or just casual gaming. One last thing, Astro customer service is top notch from "MY EXPERIENCE". It is annoying they only respond by email but when I do have questions they respond extremely quick and help me out as much as possible. So customer support is a plus. Get Astro's, they are worth it.
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on January 12, 2013
You may know me as Mad Lust Envy on Head-fi and Shin CZ/Raven Crimson elsewhere. Google Mad Lust Envy for my full guide on headphones/headsets for gaming.

The Astro A50s. The first venture into fully wireless headsets for Astrogaming. Prior to the A50's inception, Astro released the discontinued, rare, and very sought out Mixamp 5.8. The Mixamp 5.8's main selling point was that any standard headphone or headset terminated with a 3.5mm plug could be attached to the Rx unit (receiver), essentially making them wireless. As you guys may know, I'm a humongous fan of the Mixamp 5.8, and it remains as my main gaming device when using my audiophile headphones. While it wasn't truly wireless (you still have your own headphone's wires to deal with), it did remove the tether always necessary between the console and yourself in wired setups, making it a more elegant, and cleaner solution than anything else before.

Unfortunately, Astro didn't find the Mixamp 5.8 to be a big seller, and sought out other solutions. This is rather unfortunate, as with more improvement and functionality, future iterations of the Mixamp 5.8 could have been a huge success in my eyes. Ah well, them's the breaks. So now Astro steered their focus away from the 5.8 and towards fully wireless headsets, the first being the Astro A50s.

Upon opening the freshly designed package, you are greeted with the A50, the transmitter (that shares the same body as the Mixamp 5.8's Tx unit, though different inputs/functionality), parts of a headphone stand (which is VERY nice of Astro to supply), and the necessary cables (which I will edit into this review later, as I have a mess of cables from 3 products at the moment).

Now onto the headset itself. Upon first listen, I was immediately attacked by a relentless assault of bass. Seriously, it absolutely surprised the hell out of me. My prior experience with an Astro headset was the first gen A40s, which was anything but bassy. For a $300 headset, I EXPECTED a well balanced, competitive oriented headset with nowhere near as much bass as the A50s have. In truth, I was quite put off by it.

The A50 has 3 presets:

Preset 1: Media (Bass enhanced)
Preset 2. Core (Balanced/flat)
Preset 3: Pro (Enhanced details in the mids and treble)

In reality it sounded more like:

1. Boomy, muddy, and completely useless.
2. Boomy, and veiled
3. Bassy with extra detail

No, I'm not kidding. I found the only preset worth using was the Pro Preset, which wasn't bass light to begin with, but at least I could actually hear the details, and it was quite decent sounding, though ultimately catering more towards fun than competitive, and not exactly sounding balanced. It's honestly not even worth mentioning the other two in this review past this point, because quite frankly, they're quite terrible sounding. In my future review of the Astro A40s (w/Mixamp 2013 Edition), you can see Astro's presets CAN be useful and maintain some clarity. Just...not here.

I'm not even sure whether to fault the presets, the fact that it's wireless, or if it's the A50's drivers themselves. I plugged in the transmitter to my PC in which the transmitter functions as a USB dac/amp (as well as microphone). The presets as well as Dolby Headphone are disabled, allowing you to hear the drivers work at their most natural state. Well, it seems to be the drivers. They are quite bassy. I am quite literally confused as to why Astro decided to use such bassy drivers for their most expensive gaming headset.

The A50s weren't down for the count yet, though. While 2 of the three presets left a really bad taste in my mouth, I still had one functional preset. Firing up CoD4 (and later on MW2) revealed that the A50s were decent gaming performers albeit on the disappointing side in terms of sound quality. It does perform fine when getting down to the nitty gritty, with a little more bass than I'd prefer out of competitive gaming cans. While the audio quality isn't great, positional cues and details were decent to good. The problem is that it's a closed headset, and everything sounds congested. The A40s sound more open, airy, and balanced, even with the speaker tags on. As far as the wireless capabilities, I find it to be great, where it takes quite a bit of distance for the A50's to drop the audio. I didn't notice and snap, crackles, or pops, nor did I get any hiss until you crank the volume quite a bit past the point where I'd say it's humanly necessary.

I'll get to the specifics in the break down.

Build Quality: The Astro A50 shares the same body and aesthetic design of the A40s, which is to say, they look/feel great for a headset. There are a few key differences from the A40s.

1. The microphone is permanently affixed to the left earcup. The A40's is removable.
2. The cups are closed, and unlike the A40s, can't be removed for a semi-open design. They are now fully closed.
3. The right cup can be pressed on the sides to adjust voice/game volume, similar to the Mixamp's voice/game knob, with the exception that it's two hidden buttons you press, not turn. Once you go completely towards the game or voice side, a chime will play, letting you know you're at 100% game or voice.
4. On the rear of the right cup is where the power button, preset slider (EQ), and volume adjustment is placed.
5. On the rear of the left cup is where the mini usb input (for charging), and the 2.5mm controller input (for the 360 controller) is placed.

Build-wise, I felt the parts used were pretty high quality. Astro made a pretty reliable looking headset here. Nothing looks or feels cheap. The plastic used looks high-grade, and looks like it can take a beating. I'd still handle it with care, however. The only area of 'weakness' that I'd be wary of, is the headband padding piece which sort of 'floats' in the center of the headband. Doesn't look like it'd be a problem, but it's the only area I can see that would probably be the first to give out with rough treatment.

The A50s swivel inward, so you can lay them flat if you need a breather. I find them very comfy letting them rest on my shoulders/neck area, which is rare compared to the vast majority of audiophile headphones which have huge cups, won't swivel, etc.

Comfort: I must have a ginormous head, as I have to wear the A50's fully extended. That, or they don't have enough give. On the opposite side of the size spectrum, the PC360 has enough extension to fit the head of a giant. I wish more headphones allowed that much freedom in size. The A40/A50 is comfortable, but they are at their limit with my head. It could use just a bit more extension, in my opinion.

The pads are made of cloth/velour-like material, which is to say, they are quite comfy to my ears, and won't be heat building/sweat-inducing like typical pleather. I've felt better, but they do their job well.

Microphone: While I'm not too experienced with microphones, I didn't have any issues with my tests. It picks up my voice well. The microphone is long, pliable, and one of the better mics I have used. I don't see anyone having issues with this mic. The microphone is muted when placed upright,m similar to the PC360. Much better than having to press a button.

Accessories:

Headphone stand: also has space for the Tx unit.

Tx unit (transmitter): optical input, optical output (passthrough), USB input (to pair and charge the A50), 3.5mm auxiliary input (for future accessories, mp3 players will not work.)

Cables: Optical cable, 2 mini USB cables. One for powering the Tx unit. This one will also feed the voice chat from the PS3 (has to be hooked up to the PS3 directly). The other is for charging the A50s. 2.5mm male/male for Xbox 360 voice chat capabilities, and the only cable you will need to constantly have attached if using voice chat on the 360.

Isolation/Leakage: In terms of letting sound in/out, I find the A50s to perform...decently. I do hear a fair amount of leakage, so I wouldn't crank these loudly if someone is near me sleeping. As far as keeping external noise out, I found that while using the A50s, it did a decent job overall. I wasn't truly bothered by external noise, though it's not particularly great at it. I blame the cloth pads, which sacrifices isolation/noise leakage protection for extra comfort/less sweat inducing.

Bass: As mentioned earlier, the bass is overly emphasized and boomy for a high-end headset. It's enjoyable on the bass light preset, but ultimately too strong to truly make this headset compete with the other, more balanced headsets like the PC360, SLYR, AX720, and Astro's own A40s. On the flat and bass heavy presets, the bass is loose, boomy, and sloppy. It mucks up the detail quite heavily, making these presets worthless. I'm seriously wondering if the default presets are causing this extra boominess, but I feel that if/when the custom presets become available, a lot of bass reduction is needed to compensate.

Mids: Due to the heavy bass emphasis, mids are drowned out a bit. The mids are distant, but not lost. For the purpose of gaming, the mids are fine, but ultimately not forward. The Pro preset brings out the mids a bit more, which is helpful. For the other two presets, the mids are heavily recessed.

Treble: With the good preset, treble is crisp and bright. It can get sibilant, but not many instances where I see treble being problematic. Again, the Media and Core presets place too much emphasis in bass, drowning out everything that isn't bass.

Soundstage: Somewhat closed in. It's not going to win anyone over based on size.

Positioning: Due to the closed sound, and not so large a soundstage, positioning isn't great, but it's not bad. It's passable, and sometimes even good.

Clarity: To repeat what I have already mentioned, clarity is decent on the Pro preset with sparkly details, albeit somewhat artifical sounding. Clarity is just plain lacking on the Core and especially Media presets. The sound turns overly warm and bass heavy, and all details are sucked out.

Amping: No possibility of being amped, as the transmitter can only take a digital signal, with no way to attach an amp. The A50 is fairly sensitive in either case.

Value: This one isn't hard. It's $300. That's a hard number to swallow. The main benefit of the A50 is that it's wireless. You do get everything you'll ever want in one headset, but sound quality is clearly lacking. I prefer the sound quality of the SLYR, A40, AX720, PC360 by a considerable margin. The A50s are left behind on sound quality. If sound quality is important to you, I'd advise you get something else. It's that simple. In good conscience, I can't recommend the A50s based off it's sound quality. For the purpose of worry-free wireless gaming, the A50s are good enough on the Pro preset if being untethered is absolute top priority, though you will be making some sacrifices for the benefit of going wireless.

Final Impressions: The A50's quite honestly make a better stereo headset than a Dolby Headphone one. I find it enjoyable for music off my PC, but not so much for gaming w/Dolby Headphone. Whether it's the drivers, or the internal amp in the headset, or the presets, the A50s put out bass oriented, and muddy sound for gaming.

Final Scores...

Fun: 6.5. Very decent. While the bass is strong, the only preset worthy to be used is the Pro preset, and ends up sounding heavily processed, which detracts from enjoying non-competitive games to their fullest extent. Bass adds to the immersion, but when you can't hear details, it sucks away from the fun factor, so I don't recommend the other two presets even if just for fun.

Competitive: 6.5. Very decent. Again, the Pro preset brings out the detail which helps quite a bit, but the headphone is still on the bass heavy side which detracts from focusing as much as I'd personally like. The soundstage and positional cues aren't great, and the sound overall feels closed in, but for most gamers, the A50s would be at least, passable.

Comfort: 7.5. Very good. A pretty comfortable headset all around. No problem wearing them for hours on end, with just a few occasional times of re-adjusting them. My only complaint is that it could use a bit more extension for larger heads, as I have to wear it fully extended.
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on February 15, 2014
Very happy with this headset. Works great with the PS4.

Comfort:
I game a LOT and do many Call of Duty marathons (5+ hours at a time) so I can tell you the set is comfortable, well balanced and not too hot (they do cup your ears so be prepared to be be a bit warmer than "open ear" headsets).

Battery:
Battery life is great, I have used them for 5+ hours on many occasions with no need to recharge. I did once forget to recharge them and was able to use them with a long mini USB cable connected to the headset while playing.

Ease of set-up:
ASTRO's website is good, easy enough to do the firmware update that is mandatory before using with the PS4. The cradle set up is pretty slick looking and well designed. I did change out the short length mini-USB cable (used for charging the headset on the cradle) for a longer one so I can play and charge if needed (only one time so far).

Range:
Pretty decent; my game room is on the top floor and I sometimes go down two flights of stairs to get a drink ... the sound will break up about the bottom of the 2nd flight of stairs.

Sound quality:
My KDR has gone up drastically (for those who don't do first person shooters, basically, these headsets give me a huge advantage on players not using headsets). The cupped ear pieces really do drown out external sounds very well, so the immersion into the game is very impressive. I will say there is a very (very) slight buzz when there is very quiet moments on the PS4 (not often), but I suspect I have some EMI (electromagnetic interference) due to my rats nest of wiring. ;)

Mic quality:
Hard to evaluate as I can't hear myself talking, but people say I'm easy to understand and clear. Especially compared to the original mic that comes with the PS4, when people were always asking to repeat myself.

Mute/voice/game adjustment:
Very nice ability to adjust the game/chat volume on the right ear cup on the fly. Sometimes my clan mates can get a bit loud or are talking over the game, so I can change that in a second. Boom mic on the left side is easily put into the mute position by rotating the mic into the vertical position.

Syncing:
My only minor complaint, is ever now and then (once every 2 weeks or so) I will turn on my PS4 and won't get sound from the ASTRO headset. I just re-sync the bluetooth between headset and receiver (which takes only two buttons and about 8 seconds) and I'm back in the game.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with these. They are expensive, but they are worth it. Treat yourself. :)
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on September 8, 2014
I wanted to rate them on the quality of the headset, not how frustrating the integration with Xbox One is. I'll say this, the audio quality is good. Considering this is a wireless headset, which can be hit or miss, this one is definitely a good one. The sound quality is excellent, the battery life is roughly 12 hours of continuous use, and they are very, very comfortable on the ears. Coming from someone who's used the Logitech G35s for 3 years, these are phenomenal as far as comfort is concerned.

Now, if you're purchasing these with the intent of using Xbox One, make sure you follow the instructions (I'd suggest going to youtube and watching the Xbox One setup for these). You connect a USB and Optical cable from the MixAmp TX to the Xbox One. That works just fine. The only caveat is that, with just that setup, you will only get audio through the headset. You still need the Xbox Headset Adapter that you plug into your controller with a cable going from the headset to the controller if you wish to use the headset microphone for chat. Personally, I cant stand cables and opted to just use the headset for audio and use my Kinect as the microphone (which does work great). But, to use the full functionality of the headset (microphone included), its never truly wireless.

It may seem like a silly gripe, but I personally am used to the setup of wireless PC headsets that are truly wireless even when using the headset Mic.

I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a headset for Xbox One, because the sound quality is amazing and they are very very comfortable. But just make sure that if you're purchasing these with the intent of using the microphone on the headset, make sure you have the adapter. The headset comes with the cable you need for the adapter so that's no issue. Just please please please make sure you know exactly what you're buying and look up how to configure the Xbox correctly.

Although it's kind of a strange setup, I still wanna give this 5 stars, because it's the best headset I've ever owned. The Dolby Digital is incredible for hearing footsteps in CoD or games similar. Its completely changed how I play now that I have such crisp sound, and awareness of all the enemies around me.

Well done Astro Gaming.
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on March 1, 2016
PS3 SLIM OWNERS - Strongly suggest to not buy the Astro A50's until they release a firmware to fix the connectivity issue that is not allowing the PS3 USB ports to power on the MixAmp ---> Link to Astro's Forum Acknowledging this issue: [...]
(Wish I would've known about this issue before buying the headset, but since it's already here I am currently using a USB Hub to power on the MixAmp from the PS3)
- Also, there is the option of powering your MixAmp by plugging it into other ports such as your PC and it will work fine but this will not allow use of your A50 microphone (you'll have sounds, but no voice chat)

XBOX OWNERS - Headset is NOT completely wireless since you will have to connect the mic cable from the controller to the headset in-order to use Xbox Live Chat.

Setting up the Astro A50:
- Can be difficult since the directions are pictures (not completely in order as well)
- Cables that come with the Astro A50 are short and cheap (DO NOT BUY Astro's extended play-and-charge cable, or any cable from them. Just buy optical and longer USB cables from Amazon or anywhere else -- a lot cheaper and more sturdy than what Astro's offer)
- The stand for the headset feels cheaply manufactured
- Takes about 10-25 minutes to set-up the headset depending on your expertise (not difficult, but not easy)

Design of the A50:
- Definite feel of high quality headset
- Buttons on headset are small and can be difficult to find (at night), but you'll get use to it
- No longer able to customize tags (like the A40s)
- Very comfortably built with soft cushion padding
- Not heavy feeling and rest well on your chest (able to turn the ear muffs)
- The equalizer and volume adjustment on the headset are convenient and works well

Performance of A50:
- Sounds are clear, loud, and very distinct BUT this can be GOOD AND BAD because the headset literally picks up everything including AMBIENT NOISES such as wind and game music (MW3 not able to turn off music, but hopefully we will in BOP2 just like BOP)
- The microphone quality is only OKAY depending on how your settings are and what game you're playing. Mic can and hopefully will be improved by future firmware
- Longest use of the A50 was about 6 hours of MW3, CS:GO, D3, DayZ and never did the headphone felt heavy
- A50 makes good use of the surround sound as Game effects such as flash bangs, gun shots, monster smashing, blood splatter are amazing

- Overall:
- Astro A50s expensive and really should be aimed only at SERIOUS/EXTREME GAMERS
- If you can get past and overlook some of the preliminary issues of the A50s then you'll be sitting in your room with one of the best sound quality headset for gaming out on the market
- Astro supports their products and are releasing firmware updates to fix and patch issues, so I feel that it is a good investment since the headset will constantly be updated
- With that said, the A50s are not for everybody. People who are casual gamers mainly looking to enhance the game quality and not their game play can look to other headset brands that offer cheaper headset that will satisfy such needs (TurtleBeach, Triton, Razer) or get Astro A30s as well...
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