Update: The Astro A38 headphones are out of beta and due to be on heads by August, so we tested them before the delayed release date.
Slipping the small, but powerful Astro A38 headphones over my ears made the 48,900 people who attended E3 2014 disappear in an instant.
It's not magic, unless of course you consider fitting active noise-canceling technology into such a lightweight headset the source of wizardry.
Even without music, these compact headphones almost drown out the busy convention show floor and, when the bass-heavy Flo Rida started streaming from a nearby iPad Air, it all disappeared.
This E3 escape couldn't have been simpler. The Bluetooth-enabled A38s have no wires or cumbersome pairing configurations, making it Astro's first truly mobile headset solution.
The most important factor to consider before your eyes fall in love with these headphones is whether or not your ears will be able to hear anything out of them.
As Astro explained to us, Sony's new system locks out Bluetooth audio from all products but its own. Its wired A30 and A40 or wireless full-sized Astro A50 headphones do a better job here.
A38 design and specs
The wireless Astro A38 headset has been designed to be nearly as lightweight as its closest wired counterpart, the tried-and-true A30 headphones that dropped four years ago.
At 220 grams, these new cans for 2014 won't keep you from bobbing your head to music on the go. Astro comfortably balances soft synthetic leather earpad cushions with just the right amount of headband pressure on the skull.
That makes the A38s different from Astro's other gaming headsets. These two tiny pillows pumped beats into my ears, but didn't actually envelope them with foam earcups. Instead, these supra-aural earpads rested on top of my ears.
The active noise canceling microphone that's built into the left earcup is therefore all the more important. Without it, sound can seep in. This mic pulls double duty when used for phone calls.
The left headphone has a quick mute button near this microphone as well as multi-function controls, a power switch and a pairing button. The right side has a volume rocker and micro USB port.
On the inside is Bluetooth 3.0, NFC for faster pairing and AAC and aptX low-latency. On the outside, Astro's magnetic speaker tags are compatible with the A38s to give the "pearlescent white" and "soft touch grey" color options some customization.
Astro A38 beta changes
There's been an Astro A38 beta ever since the headphones were announced at CES 2014, and the five months of testing has lead to several important changes.
Astro wisely switched its tiny USB port from mini USB to micro USB based on feedback. It follows the trend that mobile phones have made in the last year and a half.
Although its wireless A50 headphones still use mini USB, Astro representatives let it slip that A38's bigger brother is in for a similar change down the line.
The beta also forced the company to pump up the volume in two ways. Bluetooth has been extended to 50 feet, while the volume has increased by six decibels without distortion.
Even though Astro went with Bluetooth 3.0 instead of the newer low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 tech that has become popular in new smartphones and wearables, the headphones still post impressive battery life.
The Astro A38 headphones are expected to provide more than 20 hours of music playback, 15 hours of microphone use and 2 hours between charges.
Astro said that this made Bluetooth 3.0 an appropriate choice and was a decision that came from its audio engineers. It was "right in the wheelhouse of what we're working with."
Of course, Astro is known for refining its headphones over time. Bluetooth 4.0 could be made part of a future iteration, and though the charge-only micro USB port doesn't carry sound, we were told that the company has been looking into making that work in future models.
Release date, price
The Astro A38 release date is the one thing about these headphones that hasn't been turned up to 11. It's more like the summer-bound cans are coming out at the 11th hour.
The vague window is currently late July or early August, not June as originally planned. The price hasn't fluctuated, though. You'll still pay a premium $229 (about £135, AU$244) for the Bluetooth headphones.
On the plus side, it'll be the first Astro headset to come with a case instead of forcing you to buy one as a separately accessory. Be warned: it's more of a headphone-saving hard case than a space-saving pack for them.