A great gaming headset is a perfect way to complete your setup; nothing enhances the best PC games out there like quality audio. Whether it’s the extra detail or increased immersion, there is something to be said for the more premium gaming headsets out there, like the Astro A50’s we have here today.
The Astro A50 Wireless Gen4 gaming headset is the latest iteration in the Astro range, with similar design features to its predecessor. The A50’s price point means this headset competes with the likes of SteelSeries Artcis Pro wireless headset and Sennhiesers GSP 670s. While audio quality can be considered close, the A50’s appear to be in a league of their own when it comes to comfort.
So are the Astro A50s worth the rather hefty price tag? How do they stack up against the big boys? Let’s take a closer look.
- Very Comfortable – Great adjustment options and some of the softest cushioning
- Build Quality – High-quality materials and construction means these are built to last
- Audio Performance – Great audio reproduction and stereo imaging, a top gaming headset
- Indoor Gaming Only – With a bulky design, no removable mic, and no Bluetooth, these won’t be ideal for anything away from your desk at home
- Expensive – One of the most expensive gaming headsets currently on the market
Let’s take a quick glance over the specifications and contents so you know what to expect here. The box could almost double as a carry case it is that premium.
Inside the box, we see:
- Astro A50 Wireless Headset
- Micro-USB cable
- Base Station
- Dolby Atmos – 2 Year Activation
- Quick Start Guide
|Headphone Frequency Response||20 - 20,000 Hz|
|Microphone Frequency Response||N/A|
|Battery Life||15+ hours (advertised)|
After removing these from the rather lavish packaging, it is an incredibly easy setup process. You need to hook up the charging dock via USB with your PC, after all, this is going our be your wireless receiver. These work incredibly well out of the box so if you are using a console or hate downloading software, you’re in luck.
There is a bit of charge out of the box but to get these going you simply place them on to of the dock/ base station (they can only go on one way) and let them build a charge. Other than that, you should be good to go as soon as you power these on.
First looks at the Astro A50 gaming headset and you’ll notice this doesn’t follow the latest trends of other subtle and versatile options like the Arctis Pros. You can instantly tell that these are simply for gaming and for many, this isn’t a big deal, they still look superb.
The rather loud designs of old are gone, with this model sporting an all-black look across the different materials. The black color is accented with a dash of dark gold from the Astro branding and overall, looks as premium as the price dictates.
Like most gaming headsets, these are quite bulky, with an almost square appearance when on the head. These resemble the Gen3 model almost in every single way, apart from the plastic around the earcups being made to appear less angular, giving the Gen4’s a more visually pleasing appearance.
The A50 Gen4 build quality has barely changed from the Gen3, still incredibly robust and well built. The headset is mostly made from dense, high-end plastic, giving these the same flex as the Sennheiser GSP 370s with no chance of breaking or any audible creaks.
These feel as high-quality as they look, with even the hinges looking like the most robust I have ever tested from a gaming headset. The entire outer frame is a durable matte black plastic that’s flex works with different head sizes and shapes out there. When you grab the plastic frame there is no give in it at all, so squeezing this produces no creaks or reasons to be concerned.
The frame around the earcups is technically separated from the headband plastic, with each part being screwed onto the two sliders. The sliders feel like aluminum (although I could be wrong about that) and house the cable up the middle. The earcups rotate off the slider’s axis 90-degrees and feature markings for a better fit, which we will touch upon shortly. The top of the headband is split, which has been proven to be beneficial for anyone that suffers from a sweaty head when gaming. There is a removable clip of plastic in the middle that features the padding. This extra little piece sports some additional branding and can be swapped out when you buy the mod kit, which I’ll go into more detail about later on.
The earcups are shrouded in the same soft feel, matte black plastic as the frame and when combined with the small gold and gray detailing, they look superb.
The left earcup features the swivel to mute mic, which is still as malleable as the previous generation. The mic is long bendy plastic, giving you greater control over how this is positioned when playing. It is worth noting that in order to mute the microphone, it needs to be 100% vertical with the sliders. This was one of my few issues with the headset, as I felt the mute activation was a little annoying and I’d often not swivel it enough but it is something you will get used to.
Over to the right earcup is where we see all the hardware controls for the A50’s and I have to say the positioning is superb. At the top, is the power switch that also has an LED to indicate when the headset comes on. Beneath the power sits the Dolby Audio button, enhancing your sound if you have Dolby related software. We also see an EQ button that will cycle through three different preset EQs. Towards the bottom-most corner (perfect position) sits the volume scroll wheel. The scroll wheel is infinite, and while I prefer volume wheels that stop, the A50’s tactile steps were something I quite liked. Finally, on the earcup itself, we see the controls to switch between in-game audio and chat audio. Selecting one or the other will enable you to turn that specific volume up or down, meaning less messing around and more gaming!
The build quality is one of the best I’ve seen with this headset, from the moment you unbox it you know you are in for a premium experience, and the added extras only help. The included charging dock is constructed of plastic too yet has some weight to it and a sleek looking display at the front. The dock has been made more compact than the previous generation, with no functionality lost. The Gen4 A50’s will now fit on more desks than before, while still being a thing of beauty, but more on that later.
The Astro A50 wireless gaming headset is, surprisingly, extremely comfortable. I say surprisingly lightly as you would expect a top-end headset to be comfy but with my previous disappointments with the likes of the Sennheiser GSP 670s, I was a little apprehensive.
The A50s weigh in at 380 grams, a weight I would normally deem too heavy for gaming. However, with a perfect clamp force and what I can only describe as cloud-like padding, these remain comfortable all day long.
The clamp on these is near perfect for comfort but it is worth noting that they will need adjusting when leaning forward or dancing like a maniac, so beware they don’t fall off your head.
The rectangular sized holes on the earcups accommodate for pretty large ears but the padding is so soft that even Garry Lineker could use these without complaint. The plush padding on the earcups is removable, they sit on a plate that connects to the headset via three magnets. The padding is a breathable fabric weave and feels a bit lighter than the previous-gen A50’s. The padding is excellent on the skin and does a stellar job for gamers who use glasses too, with these feeling like they sink into your ears and skull.
My ears never touched the inner wall with these but I’m not even sure I’d be able to tell. The inner wall features the same padded material as the plush cups and is just as soft and velvety.
The headband also features a bit of padding for the top of the head but more importantly, the headband appears to evenly distribute the weight of the headset, making it feel much lighter than it is when being worn.
For adjustment, the Astro A50’s have a little bit of tilt in them, catering for a wider range of head shapes out there. The earcups rotate 90-degrees, giving you the option to comfortably rest these on your shoulders, and with the low clamp force, they won’t strangle you.
The slide adjustment options feel a bit tighter than the previous generation but the design is largely the same. There are markings on each pole to give you a clear indication and get the headset just right for your head.
I cannot stress enough how comfortable these feel. They seem designed to provide a comfortable fit for almost any head out there and I’m going to struggle going back to my daily drivers after using these for so long, what an excellent headset.
While the Astro A50’s are geared towards gaming, they have an excellent sound profile and minimal latency making them great for neutral listening too.
The detail that you can hear with these is superb, they feature a good frequency response and the sound profile is probably the best I have come across from a gaming headset. The bass is prominent and extended, with the mids and trebles feeling well balanced. The sound overall is crystal clear and always felt accurate, which was particularly good for gaming.
The immersion came in two parts, the seal and the high quality 40mm neodymium-magnet drivers. To date, this was the greatest audio experience I have ever had with a gaming headset, there is little to complain about.
While these aren’t particularly great at isolating, the seal was enough to fully immerse me in the audio I was experiencing. When in games like Squad, not only were the sound effects coming through with clarity but the punchy, distortion-free bass was something to behold when under the constant gun and mortar fire. When playing CSGO, accurately pinpointing enemy positional cues was a doddle, I was hearing sounds I’m not sure I’ve noticed before and certainly felt an advantage from an audio perspective. Regardless of what game I played the stereo imaging was on point, these are absolutely spot on for gaming.
Installing Dolby Atmos made the cinematic performance even better and really sucked you into single-player campaign missions, especially on the cut scenes. What was impressive was the performance out of the box, without installing any software these sounded incredible with vocals and lead instruments being accurately reproduced at all times.
The split audio (game/chat) took a bit of getting used to at first, with the chat mix sounding like it was in the foreground and the game audio in the back. The game audio isn’t quieter, it is just delivered into the ears differently than I’m used to from the Sennheiser GSP 370s.
Lastly, the A50s never dropped out, never produced a hiss like the budget Corsair HS70s, although the leakage isn’t the best so avoid using around quiet environments.
The Astro A50 gaming headset comes equipped with a swivel to mute, uni-directional, voice isolating microphone.
The boom mic is not detachable but wow is it clear. This mic is up there, if not better, than the likes of the Arctis Pros ClearCast mic and surpasses the Sennheiser models. It may be on a par with the Corsair Virtuoso SE mic for clarity but it’s hard to differentiate. The mic sounds full-bodied and I had zero issues in Discord or in-game chat while using this. The recording quality is superb and sounds slightly better than the previous-gen but that doesn’t mean you should get this out for streaming, I’d still go for the standalone mic in that regard.
The noise canceling/ handling of the A50 mic is top-notch. The mic does a stellar job of separating background noise from my voice, delivering crisp and clear commands to the voice server. When using the software, you have four different noise gate settings you can play around with, giving you greater control.
The mic is up there with the best I’ve tested and while you wouldn’t want to use this on your stream, you could get away with it if you were in a tight spot.
When you are dealing with a premium gaming headset you can expect a plethora of features and little “quality of life” extras. Aside from the amazing build quality, high-level comfort, and great audio/mic performance, the Astro A50 Wireless gaming headset isn’t short of a few extras to tempt you into an upgrade.
Connectivity/ Base Station
The headset connects wirelessly to the base station via a 2.4GHz frequency. The base station doesn’t just look great, it features a lot of inputs, while also wirelessly charging your headset.
The variant we have here is fully compatible with PC and Xbox, which can be switched at the back. Furthermore, the base station will then indicate on the display which you are currently using. The base station is advertised as locked to a specific console but the headset of either variant can connect to both base stations.
At the back of the base station, we see a line in/out, meaning you can run your speaker setup through the dock and not have to faff around with the Windows settings. There is an aux port and we also see a USB port at the back, giving you more than enough options to play with.
Unfortunately, the Astro A50’s are wireless-only but with the charging dock sitting at the desk, I never lost charge once.
The Astro A50s feature a lithium-ion single-cell battery that can be recharged, providing up to 15+ hours (advertised) of uninterrupted use. I managed to get about 16 hours out of a full charge and it took around 4 hours to reach that full battery in one go. While 15-17 hours of battery life is miles away from the Sennhisers GSP 370s 100 hours, it’s enough that you won’t have to worry about this dropping. As previously mentioned, thanks to the base station being so convenient you automatically put these on and they instantly charge, giving me endless power.
This headset also features an auto-off timer just like the previous generation, turning the headset off after eight minutes without moving. The slightest bit of movement will turn these back on, so as you grab them, the sound will already be coming out as you place these on your head.
There is a micro-USB charging port on the headset if you ever need to charge these away from the base station but the dock does a stellar job.
The Astro A50 comes with an interesting customization feature. It appears a little gimmicky on the surface but this doesn’t impact the performance or the functionality of the headset, so it’s welcomed. Users can purchase the synthetic leather mod kit to replace the ear cushions and headband, improving noise isolation. I wouldn’t buy into the mod kit myself but it’s great to have options and the fact that these ear cushions are so easily replaceable is great for longevity.
It is worth noting that you will need to buy the gen4 mod kit, as gen3 ear cushions don’t appear to fit on to the latest model.
As previously mentioned, these sound great straight out of the box. They are tuned with Astro Audio V2, giving these accurate sound reproduction and true to life imaging. You can further your audio experience and immerse yourself fully into the more cinematic games out there with the Dolby Audio and built-in MixAmp technology.
The Astro Command Center is very easy to get to grips with. The EQ is great and you can get stuck into your own settings and assign it to the EQ button on the right earcup, replacing one of the presets. Strangely you cant control the mics frequency response like on the previous gen3 model but it performs well enough and this isn’t something I would normally change.
This is, without a doubt, a top-quality gaming headset. The wireless performance is incredibly impressive, overshadowing the competition. There is an argument for the SteelSeries Arctis Pros as they are a more versatile pair. The A50s leak, feature no Bluetooth and are generally quite bulky, so using these on your commute wouldn’t make a lot of sense compared to the Arctis Pros. That being said, both headsets feature similar sound profiles and despite being closed-back, both have a great sound stage.
The comfort on the Astro A50 stands out from the rest and despite your ears getting a little warm over time, the cushioning is some of the best I have used. The build quality again stands out from Corsair, Sennheiser, and SteelSeries, these are built to last and you can instantly tell.
If you can afford the high asking price, I fully recommend the Astro A50 Wireless Gen4 gaming headset, they have fully immersed me into games where audio is king and I’ve never heard so many positional cues as I have with these on. If you are looking for a gaming only headset, the Astro A50s are the top choice for me.