By Jim Jones
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For serious gamers, whether recreational or competitive, a quality headset with a clear, powerful sound is a necessity. While this is especially true for online multiplayer gamers like first-person shooters, good sound can make your entire gaming experience more enjoyable, no matter what you play, by greatly increasing the immersive element.
FPS gamers are usually surrounded by an aural assault of sounds from bullets, missiles, audio callouts, gear functions, and footsteps. The A40 presents these sounds in the ultimate fidelity so you can improve your game. Hear the direction of your opponent’s footsteps in the next room, and the subtle sound of his reload, letting you know he’s ready for you.
If you prefer adventure, fantasy, or even sports games and racing sims, you can appreciate full rich vocals, epic main sound effects, and the diffuse ambient effects of nature. The A40 provides all of this in stunning clarity, while also allowing you to hear the soundtrack with studio-quality comfort and quality.
The Astro A40 is one of the best gaming headsets available on the market today. It is one of the top-performing stereo surround headset and microphone setups not only for sound quality but also in regard to design and construction durability. The A40 does have its downsides but even with those in mind, it will give you years of competitive-grade performance. Take a look at the pros and cons of the Astro A40.
10. Pro – Excellent Build Quality
The Astro A40 is renowned for its quality and strength. Users often report having them for years without any significant loss in durability. Even the wiring connections are braced at the neck, so they do not crack over time after repeated stretchings open. The over-ear earpad is cloth-coated memory foam, and they reduce the pressure on the ears by absorbing a portion of it. The foam allows more airflow than the cheaper padded plastic types.
The headband is engineered to be comfortable while also robust, it does not become a weak point like with cheaper headsets. The aluminum struts provide the perfect way to adjust the ear cups to your specific fit. Not only will you get solid build strength, but you get it in a headset that is light enough to be worn for marathon streaming sessions.
9. Con – Very Expensive
When buying a headset of this level, one should expect to pay a fair price, while also not having to pay a half-grand or more. While the Astro A40 does come in at a high, though still affordable $249.99, it does so while needing to maintain a wired connection to the console. If a wireless connection is going to be the breaking point, Astro has a controller with most of the same features but wireless called the A50.
Other headsets in the same class of performance and quality include the Sennheiser Game One, the HyperX Cloud Orbit, and the Bose QuietComfort. The Astro A40 land comfortably in the middle at around 250 bucks. With the Sennheiser Game One being the budget entry, and the HyperX and Bose offerings being a bit more spendy than the feature sets warrant, the A40 is a great compromise between expense and worth.
8. Pro – Comfortability
Whether you are a hobby gamer or a professional, if you are going to be wearing a headset for any length of time, it is important that it is comfortable. One of the downsides of a headset that is uncomfortable or just too small is that you can experience headaches after wearing them for a bit.
The Astro A40 is one of the most comfortable headsets on the market currently. The earpads are nice and cushioned and they extend to a very generous and roomy size, so even if you have a larger head, these should fit you with minimal discomfort.
The headband is padded sufficiently with fabric, which is perfect because it is cushioned enough for comfort but not so much that the band is bulky. Overall, if you want a headset that you can use for an extended amount of time while online gaming or just for listening to media, the Astro A40 would be a really great choice.
7. Con – Ears May Get Hot After Extended Use
A common issue reported by many people that regularly use the Astro A40 is that, after just a short amount of time, their ears get hot. This can be due to a couple of factors. One may be how the headset fits on your ears. It could also be from the plastic material that they are made from since plastic doesn’t breathe well. If hot ears are a problem you experience, you do have some options.
The first thing you can do is upgrade your headset by purchasing the Mod Kit that Astro offers. The earpads that are included are made of more breathable material. In addition to the Mod Kit, there are other ear pads that you can swap the original ones out for. We recommend a pair of leather pads, as they are breathable and should keep your ears much cooler.
6. Pro – MixAmp and Software
The MixAmp for the A40 lets you change the ratio of your game volume to voice chat volume. This is helpful in combined with the Astro Command Center software gives you stage sound in your living room. With precise control over voice communication and additional audio settings, it allows you to create a custom sound profile for your A40 headset.
If you want to take a look at an equivalent headset and amp combination, that is only marginally more expensive, consider the sound quality and customization provided by the Sennheiser Game One and the Sound Blaster G6. Of course, it will make your audio louder and clearer, but it comes with a host of other benefits as well. Your G6 amp will let you connect to Sound Blaster’s Connect 2 software, which will let you customize your audio experience to give you the exact gaming experience you are looking for. You can even save various sound profiles to use for different needs, like driving games, FPS, and even watching movies.
5. Con – MixAmp Feels Essential
The Astro A40 is an amazingly high-quality headset, but the real performance is provided by the specifically tuned companion MixAmp. The MixAmp not only provides an on-the-fly way to adjust your game and chat volume mix, but it works with the Astro Command Center software to give you even more control over your audio and voice communications settings. Additionally, if you stream, it provides a simple way to control what your viewers hear with a completely customizable stream output.
With functionality and features like this, even though the headset is available without the MixAmp, buying it without the MixAmp feels like getting half of a product. If you are considering buying the Astro A40, the MixAmp can feel almost essential, since it offers such an enormous array of features and functionality that you cannot access otherwise. In this sense, it feels essential, and like it should be paired with the headset by default. Don’t forget to choose the right MixAmp for your console.
4. Pro – Better Mic Than Previous Generations
It seems to be that if a headset has good audio quality, the mic suffers, and vice versa. Luckily that is not the case with the Astro A40. Not only do you get superior sound quality, but you also get a great microphone as well. Now, some users have reported that the stock microphone that is included with the headset isn’t the greatest.
The important thing to remember when you set up your headset is to ensure the device is set up correctly. Still not impressed with the included mic? The Mod Kit includes an upgrade to your microphone so you can have an even better headset. Overall, though, the quality of the microphone in the newest version of the A40 is significantly more impressive than prior models.
3. Con – Compatibility Issues
When you choose your Astro A40 you will need to decide a few things, like the color and whether you want just the headset, or the headset and MixAmp. When deciding if you want the MixAmp, make sure you have read #5 up there. Assuming you want the MixAmp so that you can utilize the Astro A40 to its full epic potential, all you have left to decide on is whether you need console compatibility.
Console compatibility is absolutely vital, obviously, for console players. But if you are a console player, your choice is already made, you simply get the one that matches the console you will be playing on. If you are a PC player, however, you may want to consider if you will ever play in a location with a console. For example, a friend or family member’s house, then simply choose one to match the console they have. If this does not apply, simply pick whichever you like, as both the PS4 and Xbox versions are compatible with PC and Mac.
2. Pro - Great Sound Quality
One of the main things to look for in a headset is exceptional audio quality. If you are spending hundreds on a piece of high-end gaming equipment, it is imperative that the speakers in the headset deliver. With the Astro A40, you’ll be able to enjoy crystal clear audio with Dolby Surround 7.1.
This headset was designed with gaming in mind. Between the developers at Astro and the input of professional gamers, you are sure to hear every detail regardless of the audio level. Every footstep, gunshot, and any character dialogue you need to hear will be sharp and easy to hear.
If noise cancellation is what you need, just upgrade your headset with the swappable Mod Kit pieces. The mod kit, sold separately, allows you to transform the A40 into a closed-back headset with noise-blocking capabilities, allowing you to really get into the zone.
1. Con – A lot of Wires
If you are using the Astro A40 model without the mixer, you only have the single 6.5-foot cable that you connect to your gaming system. For those that want to experience the full audio capabilities of these high-end gaming headphones, spending the extra $140 gets you not only the A40 but also the MixAmp Pro TR.
The mixer is an upgraded version of the previous 2016 model. It can be used with either the Xbox One or PS4; both versions also work with PC as well. You’ll plug your headset directly into the 3.5mm jack on the front of the mixer. The remaining connections are on the back. The A40 + MixAmp Pro TR comes with the optical cable, a 10-foot micro USB cable, and the USB cable to connect the microphone’s audio output.
Overall, the Astro A40 is a fantastic option for anyone that is serious about their audio equipment and wants a high-quality headset to use while gaming. The cushioned earpads and headband combined with the Dolby Surround 7.1 means you’ll be comfortable and you’ll get to experience full surround sound quality.
Now, there are a few downsides to this headset as well. If you are looking for a budget headset or something that you can use for both a PS4 and Xbox One, this wouldn’t be the best option for you. This headset is pricey, but you do get what you pay for.
While the Astro A40 is an impressive piece of gaming audio technology, we understand that different people have different preferences. If you’re not sure that this is the right headset for you, check out some of these fantastic options for surround sound headsets, headphones for audiophiles, and bass-heavy gaming headsets. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a fantastic piece of audio equipment that you can use while playing all of your favorite games.
All things considered, one of the best gaming headsets on the market is the Astro A40. The comfort and sound quality are top-notch. Don’t take our word for it, try it out for yourself!