ASTRO Gaming will lift the lid on their new A40 TR X-Edition at E3, which has been created to celebrate 10 years of what many consider to be ASTRO’s greatest headset.
The X-Edition, which has been teased in a new trailer, uses the successful TR version of the A40 so expect additional X-Edition parts. Coming Fall 2018, the headset will be shown off at E3 – and hopefully the company with reveal more details on what’s new beyond the aesthetic – for now, all we know is that there is a swanky new badge and the headset carries the following tagline: Reimagined. Redesigned. Redefined but never replaced.
If you’re in the market for a new headset, or just can’t get enough of ASTRO headsets, then pop over to the official website to get notified when there are updates about the A40 TR X-Edition.
The A20 wireless headset is the latest model to join ASTRO Gaming’s arsenal and at an RRP of £149.99, it is aimed at the mid-range market, offering a more affordable version of the A50 wireless headset, which has an RRP of £299.99.
While the A20 drops the mixamp and surround sound capabilities of its bigger brother, the headset features a small wireless transmitter that connects via optical cable to the Xbox One or via USB to a PC. Broadcasting a 5GHz signal that also carries voice chat, the transmitter has yet to let me down – I’ve had no interference from my mobile phone or any drop in audio. The small box also includes a handy micro USB port that allows you to charge the headset – a lesser headset would have neglected this and monopolised your Xbox One USB ports by using one for the transmitter and one for charging.
As much as I love my wired setup, there are times where being shackled to a controller and mixamp can be a real pain in the ass – tangles are inevitable and I’m forever fumbling around plugging in wires before being able to chat after accepting a party invite. But before freeing myself of this burden, I connected the A20 to a desktop computer to check that the firmware was up to date. I highly recommend you do this too, not only will you get the latest software but you can also tweak a variety of settings via the ASTRO command centre.
This superb app allows each of the predefined EQ modes to be tweaked to your own specification, although for the sake of this review I stuck with the three EQ settings that come locked and loaded with the A20. Through the command centre you can also choose a mic priority – Streaming, night, home or tournament – each has its own benefits and background noise filtering it’s just a shame that these settings couldn’t be tweaked independently of the app. This would be less of an issue if the Command Centre were available as an Xbox One app.
The aesthetics of the A20 features the signature design that ASTRO is synonymous with, albeit some minor design alterations to the headband and how the ear cups adjust in height – If it ain’t broke – so it’s no surprise that they fit snuggly on your noggin, that is once you’ve wrestled with the headband. To adjust the fit, the ear cups can be moved up and down on sliding arms.
The arms don’t force you to use incremental adjustments but were a little stiff to adjust. Once in place, a cosy soft hug from the ear cups awaits – if there’s one thing that ASTRO do well it’s giving comfort for your ears. One negative I do have towards the A20’s ear cups though is that they don’t rotate horizontally. With only a slight degree of vertical movement I felt the headset didn’t fit as snugly as the A40 or A50, but it’s still uber-comfortable.
Something else that took a bit of fiddling with was the control for the sound. Located on the right ear cup, a rocker switch controls the volume with a button either side that can be depressed to adjust the balance towards either chat or game priority – a helpful beep lets you know when your half way or fully at each priority. It’s so simple now that I have worked it out but to start with I struggled with what each button was doing and the manual provided little insight – not that many of us read those.
Located just below the power button, a small EQ button allows you to cycle through each of the three EQ settings, with an ascending beep to help identify which of the three you have selected. The button sits flush to the ear cup and only by placing my finger gently on the power button was I able to locate its position. Instead, the EQ button should have protruded or had a raised nub to help you feel for its location.
There has been no better time to own a headset – the Xbox One is able to pump out 3D spatial sound via Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic – so you can get more umph from standard stereo headsets and the A20 makes full use of this. The spatial sound and depth is phenomenal for such a reasonable priced headset… well, by ASTRO’s standards. Distant sounds were crisp and clear while giving a distinct distance and direction to the audio. The directional sound is some of the best I’ve experienced – even the most minute sound was crisp – essential when playing games like PUBG where having an edge on your opponents can make the difference between death and a chicken dinner.
Other games were brought to life within the cans of the A20 with the headset revealing multiple layers of sound from the background – whether that’s crowds of people or an enemy stalking you from behind – the range in the sound has more freedom and depth from what I have become used to and for the most part, the ASTRO mode is the best ‘fits all’ setting. The Pro setting delivers heavier bass while the Studio setting boosts the trebles – ideal for listening out for enemy footsteps on Call of Duty WWII.
Unfortunately for the A20, the biggest dent was the mic. Attached to the left ear cup, the flip down/flip up mic auto mutes while in the upright position. While active and during quiet moments you can hear an audible hiss of background noise, although this isn’t broadcast. What is broadcast is a good clear voice with no breaks in distortion but one that gave my voice a depth of bass – some of my friends felt the mic clarity was great while others thought I sounded a bit muffled. For me, they sounded clearer than usual and the voice monitoring worked well.
ASTRO have proven their mettle with top of the range headsets, but not everyone has the dollar to drop on a high-end pair of cans. ASTRO stepped into entry-level headsets with the A10 and with the A20 they have kicked things up a gear with a wireless option that won’t cripple your bank account.
With the advent of Dolby Atmos and windows Sonic, there really has been no better time to invest in a decent pair of cans and the Xbox One version of the A20 is also compatible with a PC via a simple flick of a selection switch located on the back of the transmitter.
Overall the A20 is a relatively comfortable fit and delivers solid sound. ASTRO have warranted a surprising amount of control via the command centre, allowing you to tweak the headset’s sound profiles. While sound clarity of your teammates is crisp, it’s a shame the A20’s mic can’t return the same experience for your team. This aside, the lightweight and wireless capabilities make the A20 a firm favourite versus my wired setup, which cost around double the price.
Thanks to ASTRO gaming and Logitech UK Limited for supporting TiX
As revealed earlier by Game Informer, Astro Gaming has been bought by Logitech for a cool $85 million.
In this blog post from Logitech, from vice president and general manager Ujesh Desai he makes it clear that there are no plans to discontinue Astro Gaming’s products and further discusses how the two will operate together.
With Astro laser-focused on designing products for console gaming, and Logitech G focused on building the most advanced PC gaming gear, together we’ve got gamers covered no matter what platform they play on.
The deal is due to be completed sometime in August. What do you think of the deal? Good for Astro or better for Logitech? Let us know below.
ASTRO Gaming have continually tweaked their headset formula to keep bringing gamers the best and up-to-date tech in their line of A40 and A50 gaming headphones, but now they’ve decided to set their sights on those looking to drop considerably less dollar on a headset for their gaming platform of choice.
The ASTRO A10 is compatible with the whole Xbox One family of consoles and can be picked up for a mere $60/£55. The headset can also be used in conjunction with ASTRO’s M60 MixAmp
“ASTRO’s mission is to improve the sport of gaming – our innovative products and cutting-edge technologies enhance the experience and make it more immersive, exciting and memorable.” said Aron Drayer, VP of Marketing for ASTRO Gaming. “With the A10 we wanted to challenge ourselves to see if we could deliver that same ASTRO experience at a price point that is more attainable for the average consumer. Whether you’re gaming at home or an aspiring pro, at ASTRO, we’re just as serious about the comfort and quality of your gaming experience as you are. We’re confident that you’ll be impressed with what we’ve been able to accomplish with the A10.”
ASTRO Gaming have announced a lovely set of speaker plates, compatible with the ASTRO A40, for Halo Wars 2. Previously, these special edition Halo plates have come with in game bonuses, but with Halo Wars 2 all you will get is a set of three plates for your $25/£20. They must be popular, the UK store is already showing them as out of stock!
Halo Wars 2 launches on Xbox One February 21st, with a beta due to go live on January 20th.
ASTRO Gaming’s A50 is about to get one heck of an upgrade. Aesthetically the headset remains the same, offering that ASTRO comfort that the A40 and A50 are renowned for, but the new A50 comes mod Kit ready – ASTRO’s latest initiative – the ability to swap in and out core parts of the headset.
For the development of the new A50, we took everything we learned from last year’s A40 TR launch and applied it to the new A50,” said Aron Drayer, VP of Marketing for ASTRO Gaming. “These two products now share the same all-digital platform, allowing the A50 to utilize ASTRO’s Command Center software for adjustment of every input and output, along with the creation of custom EQ profiles.
One thing that has been missing from the A50 is the ability to create custom EQ settings – chalk that one of your want list because the new headset not only comes with the three preloaded EQ settings, but allows users to create and save their own settings – there’s even the ability to share you custom settings with the ASTRO community! The new headset is also compatible with ASTRO’s command centre, enabling you to adjust noise gate, side tone, microphone levels, game volume, chat audio, mic, and AUX channels individually to generate custom audio mixes for streaming output.
The Xbox One edition has striking green accents and when not in use, sits neatly on a revamped base station, which charges the headset when it’s docked.
ASTRO gaming, creators of premium gaming equipment, have announced today an exciting new partnership with Activision and Treyarch for the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
Already known as the preferred gaming headset for a number of competitive Call of Duty teams, including Team EnVyUs, and 2-time X-Games Gold Medalists OpTic Gaming. The ASTRO A40 headset and MixAmp Pro was also featured at the Call of Duty Championship, earlier this year.
Aron Drayer, VP of Marketing at ASTRO:
As we prepare to unveil a new evolution in ASTRO Gaming professional audio equipment, we’re honoured to be working with Call of Duty, the leading console eSports franchise worldwide, and of course one of the biggest gaming entertainment properties in history. eSports has grown dramatically over the last 5 years, and with it the needs of the athletes has also evolved. Our new products will redefine expectations of what Pro really means. We will be working closely to spread the message about our new products to all consumers, while simultaneously helping to grow awareness of the eSports lifestyle overall, including competing, spectating and streaming.
More details about the Call of Duty: Black Ops III headsets and accessories will be announced at the Seattle-based PAX Prime, between August 28 and 31.
Visit the ASTRO Gaming website, for more information.
Styled in a custom dark chrome matte finish with Halo accents, the A40 joins the A50, which also comes in a special Halo themed colour. The Halo 5 edition of the A40 also comes with a REQ Pack for you to show off a special ASTRO Gaming in-game emblem.
The A40 has five editions for you to choose from – while the A50 has three – if you need more convincing as to whether they are worth investing in, then swing by my reviews of these incredible pieces of kit.
There’s so many headsets to choose from, and a whole heap of brands too – cost and loyalty certainly play a huge part in deciding where you invest your hard moolah – for me though, I have landed on ASTRO Gaming after trying pretty much all the headset brands out there. Some may be put off by their cost, but in my opinion their quality is indisputable – but there’s always room for improvement.
The headset features three preset EQs, two of which often overpower the bass. After digging around the ASTRO forums it seems that the EQ settings have been a subject for discussion for quite sometime, with ASTRO staff promising that custom EQ settings will make their way to the A50 – that is until now…
Unfortunately we will not be releasing the custom EQ presets as we promised for the A50 Wireless Headset. We did post this on a few threads a couple of months ago but you may have not seen it. As we developed the software and the firmware required for the operation, it became clear that we could not deliver on the quality or functionality that everybody was expecting and we wanted to place our name on. We understand that it may be devastating to hear especially after waiting all this time but it’s something we have learned from and will never promise again unless we can deliver 100% on it and are working to build it into our future equipment so it works as you would expect without being compromised. [July 16 at 1:21 PM]
This is a real shame, particularly as there are other similarly priced headsets that do offer custom EQ settings but it’s not the end of the world – the A50 sounds superb, and the build quality is easily worth the money. Custom EQ would have made a superb addition to the A50 but isn’t a deal breaker for what I believe to be the best Xbox One headset on the market.
Like the A40, the A50 comes exquisitely packaged in a high quality gloss box that is clasped shut by magnets and wrapped with a cover sleeve. Within the box the contents are proudly displayed in molded plastic, but like the A40, there’s no hard case included, however, the A50 does come with a neat stand that, although tricky to assemble, looks great, proudly displays your A50 and houses the Tx MixAmp neatly beneath it.
The headset is of the same quality build and style of the A40, with soft touch plastic, shaped cushioned earpads and unidirectional swivel meaning the headset can be adjusted for maximum comfort, giving my ears that same feeling of being “hugged”.
The non-removable mic boom is attached to the left ear and when in the upright position, the mic is muted. The left side is also where the charge and audio cables connect; unfortunately the A50 isn’t completely wire free. A micro USB (that’s included) can be connected to charge the non-removable lithium-Ion battery, although the cable is rather short, perfect in length for charging when stowed but not so good should you run out of power mid-game – during which time I used my Xbox One controller play and charge cable. When low on power, the headset will give you several warning beeps before cutting out, with the battery life at around 8-10 hours – considerably less than the awesome battery life of ASTRO’s A38.
For voice chat, you need to plug the audio cable into the left earcup and connect the mic puck to your controller. Like the A40, the wire connecting to the back of the puck is at a slight angle and should it need replacing, you can swap it with the official Microsoft adaptor. The connection into the headset is well positioned and unlike the A40, it doesn’t catch against my shoulder when I turn my head.
The mic fidelity is double that of the A40, and at 48MHz you would expect it to perform far better, and it does, although I did find that I needed to position it closer to my month to be heard more loudly. The clarity of the mic is superb, with no static surrounding my voice and very little background noise coming through – my friends could tell when I was using the A50. The moment I stop talking, the mic cuts straight out, whereas with some mics there is a pause of white noise. My only criticism is that if you are in a party chatting with a friend with no audio playing, the headset won’t recognise there is any audio and turn off to save power.
The right earcup is home to the A50’s audio controls, with a nifty rocker switch built into the earcup plate that allows you to adjust your sound in favour of game or voice – there’s a helpful audible beep when you hit 100% game or voice volume, or the optimum 50/50 split. The right earcup also has a small dial that allows you to control the master volume, and a switch that can be set to one of the three EQ settings – Media, Core or Pro.
Like the A40, I ended up favouring the Pro EQ setting, which boosts high frequencies – ideal for hearing someone sneaking up behind you. I also favoured this setting more than the others because the A50 is rather heavy on the bass, switching off the Dolby Digital sorts this, but you lose all of the enhanced depth that the Pro Logic IIx gives. With this in mind, and having used a similar headset from a rival brand, I must admit to being slightly disappointed that there isn’t an option to customise your own unique EQ – what a feature that would make if you could use the ASTRO app to control each EQ level!
I also found switching between EQ settings rather tricky, particularly as the switch is so close to the headset’s power button. The rest of the audio controls however are perfect – particularly the ability to mute the mic just by flicking up the boom, but by having the audio balance control as part of the right ear plate and a non-removable mic on the left, it does mean that the A50 isn’t compatible with ASTRO’s speaker tag system, which is a real shame, but there are several colour combinations to choose from, all of which look really smart, particularly the Halo 117 edition!
The audio magic happens within the A50’s tiny MixAmp – the Tx. The USB powered box connects to the Xbox One via an optical cable and can also be used on a PC via USB. The unit itself simply has two buttons – one for power and one to turn the Dolby Digital on/off. Unfortunately the unit doesn’t power down/up automatically when you turn the Xbox off/on and I would have liked the option to control Dolby Digital as part of the headset – not all games sound great in glorious 7.1 virtual surround sound. Telltale’s Game of Thrones was one such game that sounded better in stereo, you just need to get off your backside to see whether you prefer stereo or surround sound for each game you play.
As with the A40, the stereo sound is incredible but once you hit that Dolby Pro Logic… wow… the depth to the sound is incredible – audio swirls around your head – when switching to stereo you can certainly hear how the sound changes to be more direct, coming in straight to your ears rather than sounding like you’re engulfed in it. The clarity that the A40 introduced me to suddenly opened up, giving my audio a depth to the space it filled, immersing me even more in the sound. Rather than being able to point at enemies left or right, the sound that the A50 pumps out gives greater accuracy to directional sound and it works superbly well. My audio was alive, it felt real – living in its own space, almost like I could reach out and touch it.
The A50 has given me a whole new experience to my audio, everything from menu selection sound effects to how a gun sounds as you unload a clip into an enemy, ambient noises in the world of Tamaria to the hustle and bustle of a busy Los Santos street corner. I’ll be honest, some sounds actually made me jump because I wasn’t used to hearing them behind me, hats off to ASTRO and the virtual 7.1 surround sound because it works a treat!
I’ve even begun to play my music through Dolby Digital, which gives it a nice spatial depth, making the stereo option almost sound flat in comparison – both options are of course great, with a crispness and presence to the sound.
If you are after quality and an audio experience that you won’t be disappointed with, then I highly recommend you look at ASTRO Gaming’s range of headsets – but which one should you go for? The A40 or the A50? It’s difficult to recommend one pair over the other because they are both such great headsets, it really comes down to personal preference – do you want the depth of Dolby Digital, the bass of explosions and to be able to pinpoint sounds to a higher degree of accuracy or do you just want a high quality stereo headset – I would be happy with either!
So what’s next for ASTRO? On my ‘would like’ list would be the option to create my own EQ settings, and after using the A38, I’d love to get the noise cancelling technology into my gaming headset for the ultimate immersive audio experience.
Thanks to ASTRO Gaming for their support and supplying TiX with a review unit