With the upcoming console generation, Astro Gaming is adapting to the changing technologies. One of the biggest shifts is that sound processing is done on the console. With the PlayStation 5, that's done via the Tempest 3D AudioTech, and with the Xbox Series X, it's done via custom audio hardware.
The difference lies in flexibility. With PS5, the Tempest chip reportedly does most of the work so that it works uniformly. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X has its own audio solution that supports more Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Window Sonic, but at the same time, users may need headset hardware that supports all those standards across different games.
With the divergent approaches popping up, it creates a situation where players need different headsets for each console. Having so many cans around the house for iPhones, workouts and entertainment can be confusing and burdensome. You should see my house. Astro tries to fix that problem with the second generation of its A20 wireless headset.
Announced today, the peripheral is built for both consoles but there's a twist. To get that dual functionality, players need to buy a separate USB transmitter. The dongle looks like a thumb drive but it supports 50 feet of wireless range on a 2.4 GHz signal. If you buy a headset designated for the PS5, a PS5-compatible USB transmitter will be included. If you want to use that same A20 on the Xbox Series X, you would have to buy an Xbox USB transmitter priced at $19.99 instead of a brand new set of cans for the system
That's a convenient solution that helps make a collection of peripherals less crowded.
The headset itself is tuned by Astro and they said its Audio V2 "provides a natural, smooth sound through an extended frequency range" of its 40 mm Neodymium drivers. It has over 15 hours of battery life, which is good. It also has three EQ presets that focus on precise bass (Astro setting), tuned mids and highs (Pro setting) and a neutral setting for movies and music (Studio).
The headset will appeal to fans of the gaming brand, which has been around for years. Its products such as the iconic A40 have their own distinct sound that I've come to appreciate.
The most appealing part of the Astro A20 (Gen 2) could be the price. At $119.99, it's more affordable than the previous version that was $149.99. I'll hopefully be putting the headset through its paces and see if the other improvements and dual functionality work well on the current Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
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