- Comfortable over long periods
- Class-leading audio quality
- Great customisability options
- Optional MixAmp works well
- Design won’t be to everyone’s tastes
- Relatively expensive
- Slightly nasally microphone
WHAT IS THE ASTRO A40 TR GAMING HEADSET?
Available in two base colours (black and white), the A40 TR is a large, stereo wired headset designed for use with PlayStation consoles and PCs, although it’s also compatible with newer 3.5mm jack-equipped Xbox One controllers.
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
The A40 TR is quite striking, opting for a fairly aggressive “gamer”: style. While I personally like the curves and two-tone colour scheme, it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Build quality throughout is strong, with a solid feel to the headband and earcups. It’s mainly made of plastic, however, and the overhanging edges on some parts of the A40 TR are uncomfortable to handle.
The A40 TR can be customised, too, with Mod Kits (sold separately) that allow the user to swap out the headband and earcups – padding and covers – to better suit their style. The microphone can also be upgraded to an improved noise-canceling microphone.
The structural support on the sides of the headset features a sliding mechanism to allow the user to tailor the headband to their head. Getting a great fit was easy, and the headband has sufficient padding to offer a great level of comfort.
Moving further down the headset you’ll find the earcups and microphone. The earcups themselves have magnetised covers that can be removed to transform the headset into an open-back design; keep them on for a closed back affair.
On the left earcup sits the connection for the removable microphone, which simply snaps on and off, and can be easily adjusted thanks to its malleable design. The 3.5mm port on the underside allows the user to swap out the cable should they so desire, with the supplied 2m cable providing ample length.
The headset is remarkably comfortable to wear for long periods, due to the padded soft-touch material on the headband and earcups.
It isn’t the lightest headset around at over 300g, but it never felt heavy on my head. Although it grips your head quite tightly at first, it soon loosens up to provide a firm yet enjoyable fit.
The cloth material also stops excess overheating and sweating, but note that the magnetic pads can be swapped out for other materials if so desired.
The A40 TR can be purchased as a standalone unit, or bundled with the MixAmp Pro for an extra £70.
The MixAmp Pro is a medium-sized box that sits on your desk and provides extra buttons and dials, along with Dolby Pro Logic IIx surround sound. The volume dial is a very useful addition for console and PC users alike, while the numerous connections allow for advanced listening experiences, such as the ability to mix an external audio source into your game.
The system can be used with or without additional software, and those opting to stream their games will appreciate the mixing options that the software provides.
I’ve used numerous headsets over the years, and as far as audio quality is concerned, the Astro A40 TR are up there with the best. It doesn’t matter whether it’s music, movies or games, the headset delivers a standout performance every time.
Listening to music is a real delight on the A40 TR; the headset offers a well-balanced sound that’s capable of handling different genres very well.
The rhythmic beats of a Spotify soul playlist are tight, with a punchy bass that’s never overpowering. Vocals are clear and clean, with well-rounded mid-tones that rarely become muddy. Perhaps the biggest compliment that I can pay the A40 TR is that it genuinely sounds like a decent pair of dedicated headphones.
For gaming, the A40 TR doesn’t disappoint either. My testing mainly consisted of numerous games of Titanfall 2, with plenty of gunfire and explosions to put this headset through its paces.
At every stage of the game I’ve been suitably impressed with Astro’s execution. Explosions have a real thud to them, with the subtler sounds coming across clearly. Despite the lack of surround sound in the unit itself, the soundstage is relatively wide, which helps with immersion. This can be widened further by removing the side covers, and opting for the optional MixAmp Pro.
The microphone is decent, too, but not nearly as impressive as the rest of the headset. Everything is clear, with a surprisingly little static when used with the MixAmp. It can be quite easy to position the microphone too close to your mouth, however, and recordings do sound a little nasally. Overall, though, it’s likely to suit most users – and it’s much better than Corsair’s Void series.
Speaking of the optional MixAmp Pro, while I’m not sold on the virtual surround sound, the DAC (digital-analogue-converter) inside the MixAmp does a great job at providing a clean, crisp listening experience. Distortion, too, is handled well, with the unit able to pump out loud volumes without issue.
Whether it’s worth the extra cash is debatable, since it does add significantly to the cost. If you have a desire to tweak the sound signature within windows, have quick access to volume controls, or have a weak DAC in your system, then it may well be worth the investment.
SHOULD I BUY THE ASTRO A40 TR GAMING HEADSET?
The Astro A40 TR is one of the best headsets I’ve tested to date, and I’m super-impressed. Spending over £100 on a wired headset is significant, with some respectable wireless solutions available for far less.
While the gamer-centric design won’t appeal to all, this is a brilliantly comfortable headset to wear for hours on end, and the sound quality is simply remarkable. If you have the cash to spend and you don’t mind going with a wired option then the A40 TR is one of the best headsets you can currently buy.
If you want a wired gaming headset that delivers top-notch audio quality then the Astro A40 TR should be very high up your list.