Creative and Cool

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Astro’s latest wireless gaming headset, the A20 Gen 2, is an upgraded version of the 2017 model. It will ship in October for $119, which is considerably down from the $149 that the previous-generation A20 was priced at. Despite the price cut, Astro says it has increased the wireless range from the 30 feet offered by the first-gen model to 50 feet, and it charges via a convenient USB-C port.

The A20 Gen 2 headset will ship in two different color mixes: blue, white, and black for a PlayStation-like vibe or green, white, and black for an Xbox look. Each includes a USB Type-A wireless adapter that lets it easily connect to the console their color mix corresponds to as well as a PC. Each headset can work with the other console out of the box (e.g., the blue headset can work with the Xbox Series X and vice versa) but only if you purchase an additional USB Type-A wireless adapter for $20 through Astro’s site.

As for why it couldn’t cram compatibility for both consoles into one adapter, Astro says it came down to firmware and because each system supposedly handles game and chat audio differently. If you get both adapters, you’ll need to use the correct adapter for the console you’re using (each adapter will be clearly labeled with the console it supports), then tap a sync button on the adapter to connect it to the A20 Gen 2.

WILL YOUR OLD HEADSET WORK ON PS5 OR XBOX SERIES X? PROBABLY
In addition to announcing the A20 Gen 2 headset, Astro is also sharing its plan for supporting its older headsets as the next generation of consoles is about to arrive. If your Astro headset connects to the audio source via a 3.5mm plug, you’re good to go, as both the XSX and PS5 controllers feature a headphone jack.

If you have a wireless Astro headset made for an Xbox One, it’ll be as easy as upgrading the headset (and depending on the model, the MixAmp or base station, too) firmware through Astro’s Command Center PC software once the Xbox Series X launches. If your headset typically connects to the console via optical audio, you’ll be able to connect the base station to the XSX’s USB port instead to get the same features — no optical audio needed (the console won’t have the port anyway). Astro says that wireless headsets from the Xbox 360 era are being left behind.

It gets a little more complicated for people who want to bring their PS4-ready Astro wireless headset to the PS5. Sony’s next-gen console doesn’t have an optical audio port either. However, you won’t have to go buy a brand-new headset. Instead, Astro is releasing an HDMI-to-optical audio splitter that will allow your headset to interface with the PS5 with no additional firmware needed. It supports HDMI 2.1, HDCP, and 4K passthrough. Astro says it won’t introduce any input lag, and because it’s Dolby-compliant product, the sound shouldn’t be worse off, either.

This splitter will be released in October for $40, which isn’t a terrible price for a splitter that guarantees lossless quality with your next-gen console. But what’s better is that, if you already own an Astro headset, you can enter your serial number on its site to save $15 off the cost of the splitter, bringing the total down to $25.