Astro A40 + MixAmp Pro TR review: Serious gamers only
Quick verdict: The Astro A40 and MixAmp Pro TR bring serious sound and audio control to serious gamers.
- Great build quality and design
- MixAmp Pro adds heaps of control to your audio output
- Modular parts can switch up the style and sound of the headset
- Very expensive
- Headset doesn’t sound great on its own
- Not very portable
If you're after a high-end headset for your multiplayer gaming needs the ASTRO A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR has you covered. The wired headset is big and bold, complete with a high-quality microphone, magnetic ear cushions and speaker tags that can all be swapped out. The headset is complemented by the MixAmp Pro TR which allows you to manage your headset volume with its large control wheel but also balance the volumes of your game and voice chat with the smaller wheel.
Together they offer the ultimate package for a serious multiplayer gamer who wants full control over their gaming audio. However, this serious package comes at a serious price.
The first thing you notice upon opening the box is just how much detail and design have gone into the packaging and unboxing experience. The black embossed box is covered in a gorgeous intricate design and is perfect to keep for storing or transporting the headset and any mod kit add-ons you might buy.
Inside the box, you'll find the headset, and the MixAmp Pro front and centre, along with the detachable microphone and various cables to connect it all to your PC or console.
When I wear it, it does look like Optimus Prime is straddling my head. That's not a bad thing at all, but these headphones do certainly bring attention to you on video calls.
Despite their bulky shape and size the headset is light and comfy enough that you'll be happy to wear it for an extended period of time. They'll fit really snuggly over most people's heads and ears and clamp down with the perfect amount of force. The included ear cushions add to the comfort with their incredibly soft velour material.
They can be flattened out but they can't really fold up, so they'll still take up a fair bit of space in a bag if you plan on taking them anywhere.
MixAmp Pro design
The MixAmp Pro is also quite a serious looking bit of kit, looking more akin to audio engineering hardware than a device for gaming.
The main volume wheel is large enough that your hands will find it even if you can't tear your eyes away from the screen, and it has just a little bit of friction beneath it so it won't get accidentally bumped.
The big wheel simply controls the overall output of your headphones while the smaller one allows you to control the balance between game and voice chat volume. When you rotate it into the exact centre you can feel the wheel subtly click into place so you know exactly where perfect balance is just by touch.
Because the Astro A40 are wired, there is very little interference between the microphone and the other end of the line so it comes through crystal clear. I even got a few compliments from people in meetings about how good my voice sounded. I count that as a win.
On the 3.5mm cable that runs from the headset to the MixAmp Pro, you'll also find a little mute switch that sits around the chest. It's in a pretty perfect spot for muting and unmuting yourself as needed and it's nice and chunky so you can quickly find it by feel. When you do flick the switch, the volume controls on the MixAmp will change from white to a vibrant red, so it's really easy to tell at a glance if you're muted or not.
On the headset itself the 40mm drivers sound fantastic and deliver clear audio in all types of media including music and movies. The headset comes with an open back design which delivers a nice full soundstage but if you do opt to purchase a mod kit as well you can switch these to a closed back design. While the open back sounds better in most scenarios, that sound will leak out of the headset, so if you really need to keep your audio confined to your own ears it may be worth looking into buying a mod kit. For more information on the mod kits and to see how they work watch the video below.
Of course, they're at their absolute best when playing video games and that really comes through when you've got these paired with spatial audio. They do a really good job of placing you in the action, allowing you to hear the direction of where certain sounds are coming from in-game. The headphones sound just okay if you plug them into a headphone port on their own but they don't quite reach the level of non-gaming headphones. Everything sounds a little lifeless. Thankfully, their audio potential majorly increases when paired with the MixAmp Pro TR.
MixAmp Pro TR performance
It really is the MixAmp Pro that ties this whole package together. Beyond the 2 volume wheels, the button on the bottom of the mixamp allows you to switch between 4 equaliser presets that Astro has preloaded onto the device. However, if you have your own personal tastes it is really easy to use Astro's command software on the connected device to create your own equaliser presets instead.
There is also another "Dolby" button at the top of the device which switches on a surround sound mode but it yields pretty unsatisfying results. It just made everything sound really hollow and tinny. I'd suggest avoiding that feature altogether if you decide to pick this product up.
Should you buy the Astro A40 and MixAmp Pro?
- Buy it if you need a dedicated gaming headset with controls for voice and game mixing.
- Don't buy it if you’re looking for a headset or headphones for general use.
All up the Astro A40s are a genuinely lovely pair of headphones, so long as they're also paired with the MixAmp Pro. They're comfortable, the mic and sound quality is superb, and the MixAmp Pro really gives you all the control and info you need right on your desk. It's a top tier experience when you're making full use of it.
At that price point, this package will pretty much only appeal to dedicated gamers or streamers who truly want these features and actually need that level of control over their audio. If that is you though, the Astro A40 and MixAmp will definitely keep you happy for years to come. They've certainly earned a permanent spot on my desk.
Pricing and availability
Where to buy
How we tested
The Astro A40 headset and MixAmp Pro TR were used together over a period of 3 months in a variety of everyday scenarios including multiplayer gaming, conference calls and music listening.
A40 TR HEADSET
MIXAMP PRO TR
Images: Tobias Venus
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