Review: Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro + Mod Kit

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Competition drives innovation and right now the gaming headset market is all the proof you need to verify this truth. Gamers are getting more educated on headphone features, using them often for more than just gaming purposes: Skype, Live Streaming, YouTube, and etcetera. Certain headsets are created for casual scenarios with comfort in mind for long-term use while others are created for more competitive atmospheres where you are more concerned with both sound and microphone isolation. The Astro A40 TR headphones and Mod kit aim to take the high-end quality you expect from Astro and make them a Swiss Army knife of gamer audio utility.
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Features

Usually we don’t like to start with the features portion of the review, but given the uniqueness of the Astro A40 TR +Mod Kit we have to start here. The Astro A40s are already an extremely reputable headset with very high reviews, just about anywhere you look. Essentially what makes the TR edition unique is that they are fully modular. Merriam-Webster defines modular as: “Constructed with standardized units or dimensions for flexibility and variety in use.” In a nutshell this means that the headphone’s ear cushions, headband padding, microphone, and back plates are all removable and interchangeable with other kits that serve a variety of different purposes. Stock on the A40 TRs I received were extremely comfortable microfiber ear cups and headband padding with standard mic and “open back” headphone ear tags. Open back means that the cups are not isolated, allowing more of your game audio to get out and more external noises to get in. Open back is great for gaming in your house in a casual environment where you want to play the game, but you also want to hear the oven to ding when your Totino’s pizza rolls are ready. The Mod kit features attachments that are more for either loud environments or heavy immersion. Leather ear cushions trap sound much better than microfiber, the ear tags are coated on the inside with a thick rubber gasket, and the new mic is a little bigger and was built for voice isolation. The swapping in and out of modular parts is extremely easy. The cushions and tags are all magnetic, and the mic is as easy and plug in and pull out. I did have to refer to a manual for swapping headbands and I feel like if there is one point the headphones might break in swapping parts around it will be the headband. Although moving parts around is easy, I would have loved to see a carrying case included with such a high-end product. Just in my house the last few weeks I have ended up losing pieces and having to start a search party to find them. Both configurations do offer different headphone experiences. This review almost feels like two different headphone reviews combined. While I do prefer the more isolated experience in my headphones my primary configuration is a hybrid, using the more comfortable for extended use microfiber cushions mixed with the closed back headphone tags. The possibilities are open to the user to create the best configuration to match your scenario.

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Design

The Astro A40s are a luxury headset in every way possible. Aesthetically they are not by any means boring and at the same time they are not overtly flashy. The fact that these headphones are not loaded with RGB LEDS or any other unnecessary fads is a very good thing, because typically that’s how lower end headphones lose quality in terms of power and battery life. The weight of these headphones are balanced well and incredibly durable given their size. The version I have for review is the PS4 version which is a very sleek black with gold accents. The PS4 mod kit is very complimentary to the Call of Duty Black Ops III Mod kit we tested with. The mod kit does just enough to keep the headset familiar but makes them look like a whole new set of phones. I’m also in love with the fact that these headphones are wired, but the cable is detachable/replaceable after you run it over too many times with your fancy gamer chair. Whether you are wearing these headphones over both ears, just one ear, or around your neck, I have found them as comfortable if not better than any other headphones I have ever used. My head is fairly large and these phones fit me at medium settings with minimal wiggle. I have worn them in the past few weeks for sessions lasting up to about six hours and experience absolutely no ear or neck fatigue, so I rate the comfort level as very high. Astro did not stray far from the design that has landed them as one of the best headphones on the market, and fortunately the same goes for the audio quality department.

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Sound

My review of the A40 TR headset included the new Mixamp Pro, which is essentially the same mega popular Astro Mixamp with some bonus features to dramatically improve the life of streamers. My streaming with the Mixamp Pro was extremely limited due to some conflicts with my current studio setup. For someone with a professional streaming studio, the mixamp pro might not be a ‘must have’ peripheral; however, I realize that I am the minority in this situation. For the beginner to intermediate Twitch streamer, features like auxiliary input and the ability to monitor your microphone are awesome. I have always harshly criticised low-end headphones on rigid, low-quality, simulated surround sound. Although the Astros only contain one driver per cup, the level of audio fidelity in these headphones is astounding. The mixamp software contains several presets that are designed to meet the needs of all different audio sources, and what’s best is that they allow you to build your own presets. In playing with the settings myself, the mixing capabilities are vast and I recommend only digging that deep if you know what you are doing, luckily there is a button to reset defaults in case you mess things up. The results of my tests of the microphones were that the overall audio quality of the stock mic and Mod Kit mic are very similar. The Mix with the mod kit is much larger than stock, and the major difference is the level of external noise cancellation. The microphone included in the mod kit was unbelievable when we tested it at a very noisy party. A40s are already time tested and a proven winner in terms of audio quality, and the trend continues on with the A40 TR.

Specs

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Final Reaction

Like I previously stated, the Astro A40 +Mixamp Pro + Mod Kit is a luxury headset. From build quality, audio quality, comfort, utility, and bonus features I have no real complaints. The high-price tag directly correlates to the high quality of this headset. Before this review I was not an Astro user, but after only a few short weeks I have been fully converted to using the Astro A40 as my primary gaming headset full time. Being one who loves to nitpick surround sound and audio quality in video games, I have finally found a headset that gave me that true ‘in the game’ immersion level that everyone claims to have. As a gamer and a reviewer, the Astro A40 TR have set a high bar in my standards for what deserves a 5/5 rating.

Rating: 5/5 Atoms

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About author

Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.

  • milos

    i thought this was a good review untill i saw these were your first astros,of course you will think these are awesome coz u never had astros before, they are godly compared to other gaming headset brands, but what everyone really wants to know how they compare to the previous astros!!! trash review

    • Cory Russel Vincent

      These are the first Astros I’ve owned, but I’ve played with and sound tested A40s and 50s before. Sound wise they are still A40’s. No major improvements rather than the modular accessories. I’m pretty sure I talked about that in the review. Sorry you think it was trash.

    • Chuck Green

      You’re a troll. This is not a comparison article.

      • milos

        Well I bought the Tr edition after reading this to find out that the sound quality was nothing compared to my 2013 a40’s. But lucky for me I didn’t sell my a40’s just incase. And also got a refund for the TR Editions. Was a waste of time tho.

        • Chuck Green

          I have the original mixamp pro and a40’s and I have the new mixamp tr on the way. What exactly is different?

          • milos

            clarity wasn’t good, sounded very muddy. I don’t know if it was to do with either the Mixamp or the headset though.

          • DEVILTAZ35 .

            Basically all digital internals now , better clarity the old one was cd quality at 20hz – 20 kz the new one is 15hz to 24 kz . May not matter to alot of people but if you have decent grade headphones it will make a difference. These new a40’s are capable of 24kz so it will sound slightly better than the old ones. In reality though they aren’t the best for listening to music .Get a pair of sennheiser or Audio Technica which go to 30kz and beyond though they aren’t wireless.

    • DEVILTAZ35 .

      Are you kidding me, Try the Audio Technica, they are far far better sounding and so are Sennheisers.
      The TR mix amp on the other hand is a great idea for consoles so i may get one of those on it’s own.

      • milos

        I meant best in terms of gaming brands

        • DEVILTAZ35 .

          It is a gaming brand though , has a mike attached 🙂 . To be fair though i bought them at a run out sale as they are also usually expensive. Got 40% off. Also i am speaking PC only really as to use them effectively with a console you would need the mix amp anyway. Otherwise not much volume. Though i am hearing this is the case with alot of headphones anyway just with the way consoles are set up.
          Best to try and run headphones through a decent amp instead wired for best results otherwise a mix amp is better than nothing .

        • DEVILTAZ35 .

          Did you end up buying a mix amp ? on website here in Australia , i just ended up ordering the TR for the PS4 . It is meant to be better than non TR versions anyhow.