Review: Astro A40 Gaming Headset + MixAmp Pro
I’m more than familiar with Astro, one of the more popular (if not the most popular) gaming headset manufacturers. I’ve got a number of friends swear by the Astro A40 and A50 headsets, and a number of them have already purchased the new “Gen 2” Astro A50s for their Xbox Ones. I recently received a pair of the “Gen 2” Astro A40s to review and I can definitely see why so many of my friends are Astro addicts. They’re comfortable, stylish and most importantly, the sound quality is absolutely mind-blowing!
- Frequency 15 -28,000 Hz.
- Weight : 324g.
- Power Output : 70mW 32ohm per channel.
- Power supply : USB mini-b.
- Front inputs : Headset connector, 2.5mm Xbox voice connector, Twin dasy chain 3.5mm connector.
- Rear inputs 3.5mm miniTOSlink, 3.5 mp3 connector, USB mini-b power socket, 3.5mm Stream Output.
- Microphone 6.0mm unidirectional noise cancelling.
The A40s came in a stylish and simple box with a large product shot of the headset and the Mixamp Pro. The box also features the Dolby Pro Logic 11x logo , illustrating that the A40 (and many other Astro products) is capable of 7.1 surround sound (when connected via a digital cable) and Dolby Pro Logic II (when connected via an analog cable). The front of the box also lists the devices that the A40s have been specifically designed for (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC and Mac) but it also works with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well (though the voice chat is not perfect).
The rear of the box points out the various features of the headset, with explanations on the right of the back panel explaining exactly what they do. Just by looking at the box, it’s easy to make an informed decision on whether or not this is the gaming headset for you.
The box itself has a cover and an inside container which slides out. The inside section is comprised of two compartments: one containing the headset itself and the other containing the A40’s various accessories and manual. The fact that the A40’s case had such a simple design (one where it folds out) made for a quick and easy setup process.
Outside of the box, the A40 sports a very smart design. While I’m not crazy about the bulky design or the grey colour scheme of the review unit I ordered, it does come in a number of colours and even special editions. While I personally feel there are more attractive headsets available, there aren’t many that are as intelligently designed as the A40’s. All steps have been taken to ensure a reliable and sturdy design but without adding to much weight to the headset itself. All the sensitive wiring is protected by hollow plastic tubing that also aids to extend and strengthen the headband. The ear cup covers are made from a high quality plastic and the outside of the cups can even be swapped out should a gamer wish to show off a design featuring their favourite game. I was only borrowing the review unit A40s but even I was tempted to check out the Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag ear cups from Astro’s website.
One feature I particularly liked about the Gen 2 A40s was the ability to swap which side of the headset you wear the microphone on. I myself prefer my microphone on the right, and with a simple click out and back in I was able to move the mic onto my preferred side.
The headband of the headset is made from plastic, with cushioned foam running underneath. The same foam is inside the ear cups, though that is covered by a protective cotton cloth over the top. While it doesn’t make for as snug a feel as memory foam or leather ear cups, it does mean that your ears won’t heat up as they can breathe – a feature you will have noticed I value from previous headset reviews (where I needed to take a break for my ears to “breathe”).
The Mixamp Pro is extremely simple to look at, which is a good thing. There’s no confusing when it comes to which button you should push, where the volume dial is and where the power button is. Setting it up is extremely simple as all the ports are labeled and the equaliser buttons and Dolby buttons are easily found as well. The unit itself isn’t too much bigger than a mobile phone and will fit on most desks or lounge arms without having a negative impact.
Overall the Gen 2 Astro A40s are very stylish and comfortable. Even better they are sure to come in a colour scheme that will appeal to any gamer.
I listened to movies, music and games with the A40s and time after time I found they set a new standard for me to look for in future gaming headsets. With each round of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare they amazed me, as glass crunched under my feet, shots boomed from my guns and in-game dialogue was easily heard and understood. Other headsets can unfortunately clumsily mix different sounds together but the A40s managed to separate each different sound and deliver them with startling realism.
The Dolby button helped me control the level of surround I was getting easily, ensuring that my music, movies and games were all presented with the best possible sound they could obtain. With my mobile phone, I listened to everything in stereo, with my PC and PlayStation 4, I was able to listen to everything in gorgeous 7.1 surround sound. I should mention that the A40s I’m using for this review were not specifically designed for the Xbox One, but as I was curious I attached a chat cable and adaptor to see how well they would function with my Xbox One. The sound is still just as fantastic and immersive as with every other device but the quality of the voice chat put out by the A40s was less than desirable. My friends informed me that I sounded like I was talking on a CB radio, which was not the same clarity I had experienced only a few hours earlier on my PlayStation 4. There is an Xbox One version available of the Astro A40s, so it’s probably best to purchase that specific model if you’re looking to be part of a team on Xbox LIVE. For the record, the voice chat quality should not be a deal breaker, not with game sound this good.
I’m not going to lie, I died a little inside knowing that I had to return the A40s. They have the best sound out of any headset I’ve reviewed so far and they are compatible with a range of devices. While the wired setup can be annoying and the headset itself could be a fraction comfier, I haven’t heard anything sound this good before, period.