Interview: Astro Gaming’s Stan Press Talks the New A50 Wireless Headset
Astro Gaming is in a leading position when it comes to dominating the video game headset market. Over the years, it’s made a number of models for gamers of all types to use, including its vastly popular A40’s. But this week, it’s pushing to the next level with the introduction of the A50 Wireless Gaming Headset, which is available now for $299.99 over at http://www.astrogaming.com and compatible with PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
To get a better idea of what to expect from the A50’s – as well as the improved technology being introduced with them – we caught up with Astro Gaming’s Partner Marketing Manager Stan Press (aka “Stanimal”) to see what he could tell us. Prepare for KleerNet-powered awesome…
First off, what led Astro Gaming's decision to push to the next level with the A50s?
Our initial goal was to focus on how to improve the competitive gaming space. With the growing demand for the same level of quality and detail for hardcore gamers at home, it only made sense to provide them with a top of the line solution. We’ll NEVER abandon our roots in competitive gaming and continue to develop great products there. Now, Astro Gaming has the resources and capabilities to support hardcore gamers in living rooms just as seriously.
How long does it take to design and practically put together a headset of this nature? How long does testing usually take on it?
Let’s just say design and testing are both very long and exciting processes. All of us at Astro have a share in making sure our love and passion for gaming comes across in our products. As for the specifics, well that’s an Astro secret. :D
How does the 5.8GHZ technology work? Was it what you guys originally wanted to "roll with" through this new design?
In the A50's early days, we were looking at the best possible and most future-proof wireless options for the audio. KleerNet's 5.8Ghz solution seemed like the best bet with fully lossless and uncompressed audio while also giving us the option to connect to any other KleerNet devices. It was the best-in-class solution out there and as soon as we tested it internally, it was a no-brainer.
There are different EQ modes as well. Tell us about those and the subtle differences you'll notice switching between them.
The three different modes are:
1. Media Mode (Enhanced bass and upped mid-range for movies and music)
2. Core Mode (Balanced sound across all lows, mids, and highs, ideal for single-player gaming)
3. Pro Mode (Lowered bass and enhanced highs to bring out footsteps and reloads, ideal for multiplayer gaming)
When switching between the three different modes, you’ll be able to distinctly hear the differences between all of the modes. When playing MW3 or BF3, you’ll instantly find the heightened clarity from Pro Mode to give you a competitive advantage over your friends. When you’re playing the Halos or Uncharteds of the world, Core Mode would be perfect for you. Want to watch the intro to Iron Man on repeat? Give Media Mode a try.
The best part is that you can pick your preference to any of the modes you’d like for whatever gaming you do. The part that’s even better than the previous best part is that sometime this fall, we’ll release our EQ customizer so you can make your own modes.
Does it use the same wireless module as previous sets, or something built specifically for this headset?
Different, all KleerNet 5.8Ghz!
How comfortable is the headset compared to previous models?
That’s why we decided to stick with the iconic A40 frame, widely thought of as the most comfortable gaming headset by hardcore gamers and pros alike. It was built for comfort and long gaming sessions for pro which is exactly what the home theater scenario needs.
Is there a matter of better convenience with this headset as far as where buttons and switches are located, you think?
A lot of thought went into looking at how our competitors place their controls and how gamers used them. It wasn’t tough to figure out that a lot of the controls were rather difficult to use and in some cases, wireless gaming headsets had 9 buttons. Adding more controls doesn’t make for a superior experience, but rather a frustrating one. Our focus here was to keep the controls out of sight as well as easily accessible.
We noticed you had to take the tag covers out of this model because magnets don't work so hot with wireless technology. Do you think some people will mind this?
It was definitely a tough choice but a necessary one. We’re confident that our audience’s will understand. :)
We believe very strongly in customization and that’s why we want to make sure our audiences can make their own audio modes with our upcoming EQ customizer.
Do you have any special editions of this headset in the works? Possible tie-ins to upcoming releases like Assassins Creed III? These'd look great in red.
We’re always working on something. :D
Tell us a typical day working at Astro Gaming. We're guessing a lot of gaming is going on.
There are always a few epic rounds of Halo or MW3 to test gear with. Despite the occasional SC2 and SSFIV throwdowns, we’re always working hard to make sure that everything is working great on all fronts. Then after the day is over, we can go blow things up.
Finally, where does Stan "Stanimal" Press get all his awesome hats?
Company secrets. Sorry man, gonna need an NDA there.