Being wired for sound to a games console can be a somewhat restricting experience, especially if you're trying to release your inner rock star with games like Rock Band 3. Astro Gaming has taken its pro-gaming MixAmp audio technology and made it both wireless and home-friendly. Users of the MixAmp 5.8 system can plug in just about any pair of wired headphones to the wireless receiver and benefit from 7.1-channel Dolby Surround Sound and a virtually interference-free wireless connection to the transmitter.
There are two parts to Astro Gaming's new personal audio gaming system – the transmitter and the receiver. The MixAmp 5.8 plugs into the TOSLink Optical port of a games console such as the Xbox 360 or PS3 and sends a 5.8GHz secure wireless signal to a paired receiver. The company says that the less populated 5.8GHz spectrum should mean little, if any, interference from other wireless devices, many of which operate at 2.4GHz. One transmitter can support up to four simultaneous receivers.
The receiver has a headphone jack to plug in your favorite set of cans and has a master volume and game/voice balance control to the front. The unit features a bass expander button, which gives some low-end wallop and an output of 70mW 32ohm per channel, with a frequency response of 35Hz to 20kHz. The system fully supports 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound for a completely immersive gaming experience.
The MixAmp 5.8 has a recommended usable range of 100 feet (30.5 meters), although the system can transmit its wireless signal for quite a bit more.
The transmitter also has a couple of USB ports thrown into the mix, for which Astro plans to develop accessories, and that can currently be used as a power source for the receiver unit when the included batteries run out of juice.
The MixAmp 5.8 system is available now for a special introductory price of US$99.95, with various options also on offer. The product is shipped with a set of AAA-sized batteries and belt clip for the receiver, an AC adapter for the transmitter, an optical audio cable, Xbox Live Chat cable and a USB play/charge cable.
It's worth repeating that the only audio input available on the MixAmp 5.8 is a TOSLink Optical port, so if your games console doesn't have optical input, then this is not the solution for you.