I’ve reviewed previous versions of Astro Gaming headsets such as the old A50s and A40s, but they’ve now released new, updated versions of both line-ups. Today I’ve got my hands on a pair of the new Astro A40s, named the Astro A40 TR along with the M80 MixAmp they come with.
Everything you need to get up and running on your Xbox One can be found in the box, including all of the cables.
Starting off with the headset itself, the design is very similar to what we’ve seen before from Astro Gaming, though it has been slightly refreshed to make it look more modern and with a few different colour combinations.
A plastic and aluminium frame keeps the headset lightweight as not to become uncomfortable after prolonged use. To further help there’s a foam headband and foam ear cushions to ensure it’s comfortable to wear. The ear cushions are large enough to completely surround your ears which means it won’t feel like they’re pressing up against your ears during use.
Removable backplates on the ear cups are back so you can design and order your own from Astro to completely customise the headset. The cable coils through a slider on the sides of the headband to enable easy adjustment.
On the left ear cup you’ll find the boom microphone which can be removed if not in use, or if you’re changing the backplates. It’s made in a flexible material which means it can bent to match the curvature of your face to find the best position.
The M80 MixAmp is pretty straight forward, although is quite a big change from what we’ve seen before. If you think back to the old A40 headset, you’ll remember that the MixAmp was a completely separate device which would sit on your desk and you’d control everything from there. Not any more – unless you purchase the MixAmp Pro version.
The M80 plugs straight into the bottom of your Xbox One controller and is locked into place. The design is aesthetically really nice, and although made from plastic, it feels really high quality and is finished in a gun metal colour.
It features a button to toggle between 3 EQ modes, a voice and game button to increase each audio level, a volume knob and also a mute button.
A red ring will indicate that you are muted and a nice LED strip will show your current volume levels.
Overall the audio quality is crystal clear. Each and every sound in-game is defined well, from crawling through grass or footsteps of the enemy creeping up on you to grenade explosions you really do feel more a part of whatever is happening on screen.
Astro has built in 3 EQ modes to the M80 MixAmp and after trying all of them in different situations, I found myself sticking to the second setting most of the time. It provided a good, balanced soundstage. If you prefer a bit more ‘oomph’ to your game then the third mode gave you just that by placing more of an emphasis on the lower frequencies and bass.
Just to note the Astro A40s don’t support native surround sound, although surprisingly, you may not actually notice as they’ve done such a good job of channel separation.
I think the biggest downfall of the headset is the lack of sound isolation. This isn’t just a problem with the A40s but rather with most open-back headphones, which is what the Astro Gaming A40s are.
What does this mean? Well if you’re playing in a room on your own then it probably won’t be an issue because there’ll be nobody else there to annoy. If, however, there are other people sat in the room then it might be more of an issue as any high-pitched sounds such gunshots will be leaked from the headset and be audible throughout the room.
How about chat audio? Well, again this is spot on and as good as it gets. Voices were very clear and crisp whilst playing online with friends and not once did I have trouble understanding what was being said. The voice/game buttons on the MixAmp come in handy when trying the equalise the in game audio and chat audio.
The Astro A40 is still the Xbox One headset to beat in my eyes. With a price tag of around £170 it’s not to expensive and performance-wise it’s flawless. It’s easy to use, audio quality is superb and the M80 MixAmp allows you to balance sounds and tailor the experience to your needs.
You can purchase the A40 headset and M80 MixAmp over on Amazon using the link below. Hover over the button for the latest price.