Looking for a wireless audio solution? After hours and hours of research spanning both audiophile and gamer communities, I found the best way to get quality sound from my theater system delivered in 5.1 Dolby to my favorite pair of headphones: The Astro Mixamp 5.8 ($140), a system consisting of a base unit and a small receiver that connects to any set of headphones or a gaming-specific headset.
The things I love most about the Mixamp versus other options in my consideration set:
(1) It streams audio over the 5.8GHz frequency, so it avoids interference from the host of wireless devices in my apartment complex (unlike the Turtle Beach PX-5’s). This was a must, as I abhor static and audio drop-outs.
(2) I have the ability to connect any type of headphones/headset, so I can use my preferred pair of the day versus getting stuck with an included set forever. This feature saved me money (The Sennheiser RS-180 system I wanted was $300) while allowing me to enjoy the bliss of my Bose QC-15s in Dolby for the first time ever. Furthermore, the fact that I can change the headphones that I connect to the Mixamp’s receiver unit also means that I can continue updating my headphones without having to replace the whole system. Future-proof?
(3) The packaging is awesome, and the product is sleek. In addition to being the leading gaming headset manufacturer, Astro works as a creative studio that has designed products like the Xbox 360 and the Zune HD. The result is a friendly and simple user experience.
And lastly: (4) While the Mixamp 5.8 doesn’t include Bluetooth functionality like the PX-5’s, its 2011 release means that it’s up-to-date. It accepts a digital/optical audio input and keeps 2 USB slots to adapt for future expansions. The RS-180s, on the other hand, did not think to include a digital audio input on their release in late 2009 (I have to think that Sennheiser will be releasing a new product soon?).
I have no credibility to be supported by Astro, so I sadly did not get sponsored in any way to write this review. I am just so happy with this product after a week of testing even though it is not completely wireless (see Receiver unit). I usually end up purchasing the elite, expensive option when I go on these technology research tirades, but this time the cheapest option best fit my audio lifestyle.