The Astro A50 is a good gaming headset with a very good sound for critical listening. These headphones are well-built, durable and have a premium-looking design with comfortable ear cups that you can wear for hours. Sadly, you can't really use them as casual, everyday headphones. They're not made for commuting or sports and have to be in range of their base station to work. Note that we tested the Xbox One variant of this headset, but we expect similar results for the PS4 variant.
The Astro A50 Xbox One and Astro A50 PS4 are well-built and comfortable gaming headphones that aren't versatile enough to be used as casual headphones. They have large and well-padded ear cups and an easy-to-use and responsive control scheme that's just for gaming. They feel sturdy and decently durable but the headband is weaker than the rest of the build. Unfortunately, they're not the most outdoor friendly headphones, having a limited range that reduces their portability. They're also not stable enough for sports and do not have a detachable mic.
The Astro A50 Wireless look and feel like gaming headphones. They have a flashy color scheme and a large, slightly bulky design that won't be ideal for outdoor use. You also can't remove the mic which further emphasizes the gaming-only aesthetic. On the upside, they look well-made and feel high-end thanks to the premium materials used in their build quality.
The Astro A50 are comfortable headphones with large spacious ear cups that fit well around most listener's ears. They're somewhat heavy headphones but thanks to the comfortable padding on the headband and ear cups, they distribute pressure evenly and do not feel too tight on the head. They may get a bit fatiguing after a while but in most cases, they were comfortable enough for several hours of gaming with no issues.
The control scheme is good but only for gaming purposes. They offer an easy-to-use and responsive volume dial, a slider that lets you switch between different EQ presets, and a Dolby button to activate the surround sound effect. They also have two additional buttons on the right ear cup that lets you control the mix between in-game audio and voices from a chat which comes in handy when playing online multiplayer games.
The Astro A50 have decently breathable pads but will still make your ears fairly warm during long gaming sessions. They create a fairly good seal around your ears, and since they have a closed back design, they obstruct a fair amount of airflow which will make sweat during physical activity but should be okay in more casual conditions. They are not sports headphones and won't be breathable enough for working out but are suitable for gaming and listening to music if you take breaks from time to time.
The A50s, like most gaming headphones, are not particularly portable. They do not fold into a more compact format and the bulky cumbersome build isn't meant to be easily carried around on your person without a bag. They also need to be within range of their stand for them to work wirelessly, which further limits their portability. While the stand is not as big as some of the home theater headphones we've reviewed, it's still less portable than some of the other gaming models that use a simple USB key. An hybrid base/bluetooth headset like the Turtle Beach Elite 800 doesn't have that issue.
Like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 SuperAmp, the Astro A50 are well built, durable gaming headphones. The ear cups are dense, and the plastic used in their build quality feels high grade and capable of withstanding a couple of accidental drops without much damage. The hinges are also sturdy and made of metal, which adds to their durability. However, to make the headphones lighter, the headband is somewhat open and a little hollow with only a plastic mid-section resting on the head. It's flexible but doesn't feel as resistant as a regular headband especially those with a metal frame.
These headphones are decently stable but won't be ideal for anything but casual listening sessions and gaming. They're not too tight on the head and the ear cups are bulky and heavy, which causes the headphones to sway a lot if you use them while doing any physical activities. This means they won't be suitable to go jogging with as they are not designed for that use case.
The Astro A50 is a very good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear gaming headphones. They have an excellent, deep, and consistent bass, a great and neutral mid-range and a well-balanced treble. They also image very well and have an average soundstage. However, their bass and mid-range tend to be a bit muddy and cluttered, and their treble could sound slightly harsh with S and Ts on overly bright tracks. It should be noted that the headphones were tested with the EQ in position 1 since that would score best against our target.
The bass is excellent. Low-bass, which is responsible for the thump and rumble common to EDM, Hip-hop and film scores, is well-balanced and extended down to 14Hz, which is great. Mid-bass, occupied by the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, is also reproduced virtually flat and within 1dB of our target. However, high-bass is more than 2dB over our target, making the bass on these headphones slightly boomy.
The Astro A50 have a great mid-range. Low-mid and high-mid are quite flat, but very slightly overemphasized which could make the mix a bit muddy and vocals a bit thick sounding. Mid-mid shows a 5dB dip surrounding 600Hz, and could slightly push vocals/leads to the back of the mix by giving more emphasis to high-bass/low-mid.
The treble is very good. The response is very even and relatively flat. However, the underemphasis in low-treble could negatively hurt the presence and detail of vocals/leads, but at -2dB the effect will be very subtle. The 5dB bumps in mid-treble could make these headphones a bit bright and sibilant sounding (piercing on S and Ts), but only on overly bright tracks.
The Astro A50 have a good frequency response consistency. The treble range is quite consistent across multiple re-seats, with the maximum deviation below 10KHz being about 3dB. In the bass range, the delivery is also quite consistent across re-seats and multiple human subjects. However, we noticed that having glasses on could cause an up to 3dB of drop at 20Hz, which is not as bad as some other headphones.
The imaging is very good. Their weighted group delay is at 0.18, which is within very good limits. The group delay graph also shows that the entire GD response is below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in frequency and amplitude response, but there was some room for improvement in terms of phase matching. Regardless, objects (like footsteps) and instruments will be located very accurately in the stereo image on these headphones.
The soundstage is about average. In the 2KHz-8KHz region, the PRTF response is both accurate and loud. However, there doesn't seem to be a 10KHz notch present, resulting in a soundstage that is larger than most headphones, but will still be perceived to be located inside the head, as opposed to in front. The breathable pads of the Astro A50 also helps with giving them a sense of a more open soundstage compared to fully isolating headphones.
The harmonic distortion performance is decent. The overall amount of THD is slightly on the high side, but most of it won't be audible. The peak in THD around 4KHz however, could make the treble the treble sound a bit harsh and fatiguing.
The breathable design also makes them less isolating in loud environments. The Astro A50 Wireless don't block a lot of noise and let the ambient chatter of your surroundings seep into your audio. They also leak at higher volumes so they may be distracting to those around you in quieter settings. If you game alone in a quiet room, then they should be fine but at a competition or in noisy environments, you won't be able to hear your audio as well.
The isolation performance is poor. In the bass range, they don't isolate at all. This means they will let in all the rumble of the airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 1dB of isolation, which is barely noticeable. However, in the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieve about 16dB of isolation, which is below-average.
The Astro A50 have a poor leakage performance. Although they have a closed-back enclosure, their breathable pads makes them act more like a semi-open headphone. The significant portion of their leakage is between 300Hz-8KHz, which is a broad range, spanning both mid and treble ranges. This make their leakage more full-bodied sounding than that of in-ears/earbuds. At 100dB SPL and a foot away, their leakage will be relatively loud. About 60dB SPL, a bit louder than the ambient noise level of most offices.
The performance of the Astro A50's microphone is great. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound noticeably thin, and rather dark and lacking in detail. However, it will still be easily understandable. In noisy environments, they perform extremely well and should be able to separate speech from ambient noise even in very loud environments like a busy subway station, or a gaming competition.
The recording quality of the mic decent. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 349Hz, which is about average. This means speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KH results in a speech that lacks some detail and sounds a bit muffled. However, speech will still be easily understandable, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
The boom microphone of the Astro A50 Wireless has excellent noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 47dB, which is outstanding. This means they can separate speech from background noise even in extremely loud environments, like a busy subway station.
The Astro A50 come with a pretty robust software for Windows and MacOS that gives the user a lot of control and customization options. They also have a good battery life of 13 hours with an efficient auto-off feature that can sometimes be a bit tedious since it can't be disabled but it saves a low of power. Unfortunately, they take roughly 6 hours to charge via a regular USB port which is not ideal and quite long even for a gaming headset.
The A50s have a good but slightly frustrating battery performance. They provide about 13 hours of continuous playtime, which is good and should be more than enough for most gaming sessions. They also automatically turn off, which saves a lot of battery. Unfortunately, this feature is overly aggressive, turning the headphones off within 5 minutes if you're only using the microphone, and within 17 minutes even when there is audio playing. The latter only occurs if you're not moving your head or the headphones during those 17 minutes, making the implementation of the feature understandable, but not always practical. It can't be disabled, even with the Astro Command Center.
Update: 01/03/2019: We've updated the audio while charging comparison, thanks to user feedback, since you can use the regular micro USB cable to charge the headset while gaming wirelessly. The battery score has been adjusted to reflect this change.
Update: 04/19/2019 We've slightly adjusted the score of the Astro Command Center to better reflect its features when compared to other gaming software and software updates.The Astro A50 command center is an easy-to-use and efficient support software that's missing a couple of features. It provides a great graphic equalizer that you can assign to the EQ slider on the right ear cup that lets you choose between different saved presets. They also have a microphone tab that gives you control over the microphones frequency response as well as its noise gate. However, they have no option to extend or disable the gyroscope auto-off feature, which can be a bit tedious at times. They also have no surround sound effect menu or true button mapping beyond the EQ presets. For more customization options and controls, we suggest taking a look at the Logitech G635 and G935, which are compatible with the Logitech G Hub software.
The Astro A50 have a good wireless range and sufficiently low latency to be great for gaming as well as watching movies and videos. They provide more connection options than the A20. They also come with an excellent, multi-purpose base station that offers a couple input options and convenient dock charging. Unfortunately, the base station will only work with the console variant of the A50s you chose, so you may have to get another base if you want to switch between your PS4 and Xbox One. They also only connect via this base so they won't be as versatile as gaming headsets with a Bluetooth and wired connection like the HyperX Cloud Mix.
These headphones do not come with an audio cable that you can use without the base station. Unlike some other gaming headset like the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition, the A50s will no be compatible with mobile devices and will not work with the Xbox One or the PS4's controller. If you like the design of the A50 but would prefer a wired headset, take a look at the Astro A40 2019.
Update 06/07/2019: We clarified the text of the Base/Dock box as we felt it was confusing to understand that only the base of the A50 is console-locked.However, the score didn't change.The Astro A50 come with an excellent base station that provides dock charging and multiple input methods. They have a regular line-in audio jack, an optical input and audio via the usb cable when plugged into your PC or the appropriate console. The base station of the A50 is advertised as console-locked for either PS4 or Xbox One, but the headset can connect to both base variants. However, we managed to use our Xbox One base on the PS4 by connecting the optical cable and using the PC mode. By doing this, you will have both audio and mic support but don't have access to microphone monitoring or settings since the support is not native.
The Astro A50 have a better-than-average wireless range when the USB transmitter stand is obstructed, and a decent wireless range in direct line-of-sight. They will rarely cut out if you're gaming directly in front of your TV but if you're going to use them to listen to music and walk around your house then the audio may start skipping once you're in another room. They perform about as well as most typical Bluetooth headphones.
They have low latency, making them a suitable option for gaming. They're not as lag-free as wired headsets but at 39ms, you will rarely notice any sync issues between the audio and the images on the screen. This also makes them a good choice for home theater use.
The Astro A50 are one of the best gaming headsets that we've reviewed, provided you get the dock for the right console. They're a lot better than the previous Astro A10. They have multiple input options, they sound great, and they're very comfortable. They're also well-built with a premium, somewhat breathable design but they're not as versatile as some of the other headsets. You can't use them with your phone since they do not support Bluetooth, their base is console limited and they do not have a regular audio jack. They're also considerably more expensive than most of the other gaming headsets we've tested so far. See our recommendations for the best Xbox One headsets and the best gaming headsets for PC.
The Astro A40 are the wired variant of the Astro A50, so they are very similar. The A40 are open-back and their microphone is better than the wireless A50. Both can be used with PCs, Xbox One, and PS4, but you might have to play around with settings to get audio and mic support. They have the same great build quality, and both can be used with the Astro Command Center software on PC. If you prefer the freedom of a wireless headset, go with the A50. If you don’t want any latency and don’t want the hassle to charge your headphones, get the A40.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Astro A50. Their sound quality is better and they have a noticeably better microphone for online games. They are also Bluetooth compatible and more outdoor-friendly than the A50. The SteelSeries have great wireless range, their dual battery system is very convenient, and you almost can’t run out of battery. On the other hand, the A50 are slightly more comfortable and can be used for mic and audio support on Xbox One with their dock, but that’s about it. You can’t use them wired, which you can do with the Arctis Pro Wireless on all platforms.
The Astro A50 and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC are two great gaming headsets, but the Astros are wireless while the Arctis Pro GameDAC are wired. The Arctis Pro might have a small edge over the Astros, thanks to their better microphone recording quality. The fact they can be used without their dock makes them quite more versatile. You also get multiple customization options at the tip of your fingers, thanks to the GameDAC. On the other hand, the Astro A50 might feel more comfortable for some and perform more consistently on different heads.
The Astro A50 are noticeably better gaming headphones than the Astro A20 model. They are better made and are noticeably more comfortable, which is great for long gaming sessions. Their out-of-the-box sound quality is also slightly better and their microphone has a more natural recording quality. Their charging dock also has inputs, which is convenient. On the other hand, the A20 have slightly better battery life and take less time to charge. However, their latency is also higher than the A50.
The Astro A50 Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Wireless. They are more comfortable for long gaming sessions, feel more durable, and have better audio reproduction than the Stealth 700. However, you need to use them with their base, which isn’t as versatile as the Stealth 700 which can be used wirelessly, wired, and they are also Bluetooth compatible. Their microphone also has a better recording quality, and they have music controls on their cups for when you’re streaming music from a Bluetooth source.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are slightly better gaming headphones than the Astro A50. While they aren’t as comfortable as the Astros and their dock doesn’t support charging, the SteelSeries can be used wired and are more versatile. The recording quality of the microphone is also noticeably better. On the other hand, the Astros have a better default sound profile, but you always need their dock to use them, which is restrictive. The SteelSeries are also cheaper and will have a better value for most.
Both the Astro A50 and Plantronics RIG 800LX are good gaming headsets. The Astros feel more solid and are slightly more comfortable than the 800LX. Both have great audio reproduction, but you can EQ the A50s in their app, which the Plantronics are lacking. The Astro A50’s dock is superior, as it has multiple inputs and acts as a charging platform for the headphones, while the Plantronics only has a USB dongle. On the upside, they have better wireless range than the A50 and about twice the battery life, which is great.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X and Astro A50 Wireless are both good gaming headphones, but for different reasons. The Arctis 9X have a better microphone recording quality and their battery life is also noticeably better. You can also stream music from a Bluetooth source at the same time as playing games. They can also be used passively with a 1/8” audio cable if you have one, while the A50 don’t have the appropriate jack. On the other hand, the Astro A50 are more comfortable and have lower wireless latency. They also deliver sound more consistently across users than the 9X.
The Astro A50 is a better gaming headset than the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 SuperAmp. It is a wireless headset, so it offers more freedom to move and it also is very comfortable. The Astros are one of the better gaming headsets we’ve tested, and their sound quality is a big part of their high scoring. The Astro Command Center is also a more complete gaming software that allows more customization and control, with features like a good parametric EQ that the Turtle Beach Audio Hub doesn’t offer. On the other hand, if you don’t want to manage battery-life and be sure to recharge your headphones every day, the wired Elite Pro 2 might be a better option. It also has a better microphone and better isolation performance than the A50. The AMP also gives you quick access to volume control that isn’t on the earcups like the Astros.
The Astro A50 are better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Elite 800. They have lower latency and their build quality is far superior. They feel sturdy and should feel way more comfortable for most people. Their sound quality is also better and more accurate. However, you can’t use them wired like the Elite 800, and you can’t stream music via Bluetooth while gaming. The Elite 800 are a more versatile headset due to this, and don’t have such a bulky and gaming-minded design; you could use these on the streets. They are also noise-canceling and block more ambient noise than the Astros. For gaming online with friends, the Astros have a better microphone.
The Astro A50 are a much better gaming headset than the Turtle Beach Stealth 600. The Astro A50 have a more durable and premium build quality. They're more comfortable and are a bit more suitable as a home theater headset thanks to their great base station, optical in and out, and many other connection options. They have low latency, more customizable features with their app, and better microphone for voice chats. On the other hand, the Stealth 600 are considerably more affordable than the Astros. They also have longer-lasting battery life, even if they do not have dock charging like the A50s.
The Astro A50 are a slightly better and more focused gaming an home theater headset than the Audeze Mobius. The A50 come with a base station that gives them a lot of convenient options like dock charging, optical inputs and outputs to work with your TV, and a low latency wireless connection that's a lot more convenient than connecting for gaming. They're also more comfortable with a slightly better gaming control scheme. On the other hand, the Mobius offers a unique 3D experience that may be worth the extra cost for some. They also have a wired design that will easily work with your console controllers, and they have a better control scheme overall since you can also use them with your mobile phone via Bluetooth.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition are slightly better gaming headphones than the Astro A50. While they aren’t as comfortable as the Astros and their dock doesn’t support charging, the Arctis 7 can be used wired and are more versatile. The recording quality of the microphone is also noticeably better. On the other hand, the Astros have a better default sound profile, but you always need their dock to use them, which is restrictive. The SteelSeries are also cheaper and will have a better value for most.
The Astro A50 Wireless are slightly better gaming headphones than the Logitech G935. They feel more comfortable and are slightly better built than the G935. The microphone is also better, especially in louder environments. On the other hand, you can use the Logitech wired with any platform while the A50s only connect to their dock wirelessly, although it offers dock charging and more inputs. Also, the Logitech G Hub is a more complete software and offers more options than the Astro Command Center.
The Astro A40 2019 are the wired variant of the Astro A50, so they are very similar. The A40 are open-back and their microphone is better than the wireless A50. Both can be used with PCs, Xbox One, and PS4, but you might have to play around with settings to get audio and mic support. They have the same great build quality, and both can be used with the Astro Command Center software on PC. If you prefer the freedom of a wireless headset, go with the A50. If you don’t want any latency and don’t want the hassle to charge your headphones, get the A40.
The Astro A50 are better gaming headphones than the HyperX Cloud Mix, but they won’t be as versatile since they can’t be used without their dock. For gaming, the Astros are more comfortable, have better audio reproduction, and are compatible with the Astro Command Center for many customization options. On the other hand, the Astros barely isolate any noise and the Cloud Mix can be used with your phone when you’re commuting. The microphone of the HyperX headset also has better recording quality. The Cloud Mix also have a longer battery life and a very good control scheme.