Review – Astro A40 Headset with Mix Amp Pro and MGR Tags

By: Louis Edwards

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Gaming headsets vary in style, features and value, and range from dirt cheap upwards to the  arm+leg price range. The friendly folks over at Astro were kind enough to send us their latest headset, the A40 2013 Edition+ Mix Amp Pro, for review.

Do we think it’s worth the $249.99 price tag? Read on to find out.

 

The first thing we noticed when unboxing our new headset was that the packaging itself was high quality. It wasn’t shipped in some cheap packaging with little protection, so no worries about shipping damage here. The box is suitable to be used as a case for storing the headset, mixamp and cables and can double as a carrying case if you are venturing out to a gaming event. If you want to just carry the headset, minus the amp and cables, there are other options.

Unboxing the greatness

Unboxing the greatness

At first glance the set-up for the headset seemed daunting and confusing. So many cables in the box, with so many ports on the mix amp itself, we were a little intimidated. Once we pulled out the quick start guide, though, we realized that set-up was pretty simple. The headset is fully compatible with the Xbox 360, PC and PS3. We hooked it up to our PS3 using the optical out (with a splitter so we could still have our main sound system working as well) and a USB port to power the mixamp. In a few moments we were up and running, playing some MLB 13: The Show while chatting online with our opponent.

Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide

The first thing you’ll notice when putting these on is the softness of the ear pieces, and the soft little cushion underneath the cross bar. The headset was a little on the heavy side, but the cushion kept it from feeling too heavy or uncomfortable. After a few innings of baseball, it was like the headset wasn’t even there. The mic can be positioned on the right or left side, and is easily bendable to keep it away from your face, to add to the overall comfort. Each ear piece rotates 90+ degrees forward and approximately 10 degrees backward and can be adjusted to accommodate a wide variety of sized heads. Sliding them up and down to adjust the height felt sturdy and gave us a good feeling about the overall sturdiness of the headset itself.

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They definitely look great and feel great, but the real question is, how do they sound. Since we are using digital optical out from the PS3, were were able to tap into the 7.1 surround sound output. For playing baseball with the revamped sound scheme of MLB 13, this really put us right onto the field. As a base runner, the directional chatter of the base coaches had us looking around the room to where they would be standing in real life, and when stealing third with a big lead, the boo birds and cat calls from the stands were over our right shoulder right where they belonged.

We also played some Spec Ops: The Line and Black Ops 2 to try out other games that are more team oriented. The mixamp gives you the ability to adjust not only the overall volume for the headset, but also the ability to regulate the volume of the voice chat and the game’s sounds and give one channel more emphasis over the other. For games relying more on team mates, and the ability to communicate with each other, being able to turn down the game noise without reducing your mates to a whisper, can give you an advantage that some might find priceless. On the same note, if you are playing a game where you’ll need to hear directional foot steps, turning down the chatter might become key to victory.

Mix Amp Pro

Mix Amp Pro

The amp has a button that allows you to switch between four preset equalizer configurations, each with their own aim:

  • Pro mode: For competative gamers who want to cut out the unnecessary and focus on the things that could make you win that crucial game or round, this feature focuses on footsteps and grenades and is ideal for FPS Gaming.
  • Core mode: Ideal for single player games and tailored by Astro to fully immerse yourself in any chapter
  • Media: Boosts the bass on the headset for music and movies
  • Sports: Adjusts the sound to make you feel like you’re the MVP in a stadium and adds a little more echo to the sound.

Another great feature of this mixamp is the ability to stream what you are hearing and saying straight to your PC or capture device. This is a feature that previously required some sort of other microphone or device, and then mixing it all together in another program. For those gamers streaming onto YouTube or Justin.tv, this is a handy little feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Another cool feature of the A30 and the A40 headsets is the ability to swap out the tags on the headset. These are the plates on the side that are held on by magnets and allow you to customize your headset with a variety of choices and designs. Astro included the Metal Gear Rising Revengeance tags for our awesome headset, and made it even more awesome. You can also choose from games like Dead Space3, Assassin’s Creed III, and Metal Gear Solid 4.

MGR_Highlight

Astro clearly created the A40 + Mix Amp Pro headset with the gamer in mind. It is as rich in features as it is in sound. The 7.1 surround sound gives you the sense of being in a room surrounded by a high end sound system that would cost you not only an arm and a leg, but your first born as well. The headset can also double as a PC mixing headset or just for listening to your MP3 player of choice.

Are they worth the $249.99 price tag? For serious gamers that are looking for top of the line options, the answer is yes. Great job Astro and well done.

9.5

The Final Verdict

ProsCons

  • Well designed and comfy headset
  • Incredible sound
  • Feature packed Mix Amp Pro
  • Cool tags for customization

  • High end value gives it a high end price

VerdictPricey but worth it for serious gamers and sound mixers
Rating
95%
  • http://thosedamnguys.com/ Mark

    Great review, and well written too, but I have a question about the reliability. Been reading up on these, and I am finding lots of negative reviews on the microphone part of the audio system. Have you had any issues talking on the mic via XBOX Live, PSN? What about recording audio?

    Mark ~ TDG

  • Louis Edwards

    Haven’t had any issues with it. Recording has been flawless on both the PC and while playing games and recording the gameplay via our HD PVR and the PS3.

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