It was recently revealed that the Xbox Series X will not feature an S/PDIF optical audio out port, which has raised concern for many about how they’ll be able to utilize existing headsets. Astro Gaming, known for its high-end gaming headsets, revealed via Twitter that it is working closely with Microsoft to update the firmware for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station, and A20 headsets prior to the launch of Xbox Series X later this year.
Astro claims this update will “include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB” bypassing the need for an optical audio port.
The firmware updates will be available across the current lineup of Astro headsets, as well as the previous generation A50 headset. Astro also confirmed that an update to the A50 Gen 2 headset is “not planned at this time” meaning those with older headsets appear to be out of luck.
We are working with our partners at Microsoft to roll out a firmware update for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station and A20 headsets by launch of Xbox Series X. This update will include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB. Stay tuned for future updates. pic.twitter.com/W65AXflRvk
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 31, 2020
Without a proper optical audio out port, Xbox Series X will instead deliver audio through HDMI 2.1 which has increased bandwidth to carry up to 8K visuals and Dolby Atmos audio through a single cable. Since HDMI has become the standard for most audio equipment and televisions it’s not surprising that Microsoft opted to remove the optical audio port this time around.
When asked about plans for headset support on PS5, Astro said on Twitter it is waiting for additional information from Sony and will “make a separate compatibility statement” once that information becomes available. Currently, the PS4 does include an optical audio out port, so it will be interesting to see if Sony omits this on PS5.
Xbox Series X and PS5 are both expected to launch this holiday season, although both consoles may be in limited supply due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Still not sure which console you’re going to get? Check out our chart breaking down the key differences.