Astro is at the top of the food chain when it comes to their gaming headphones. It’s what they’re known for, it’s what they do so well. Awhile back I had gotten into Astro headphones when I had gotten my first pair of A40’s with the MixAmp Pro TR edition. I’m still relatively new to the gaming headphones game but in my time so far I’ve narrowed down my headphones brand choices to 2 or 3 brands. Astro remains at the top of the list and the A40’s are my personal choice for all gaming cans related to Astro with the A50’s running a close second. The A40’s have been refreshed, the MixAMP Pro has been completely changed and it’s all for the better. Gamers should rejoice.
WHAT’S NEW WITH THE ASTRO A40’S?
When you look at the new A40’s there isn’t really much different in the design. After all, why change it? It works. What is different are the subtle things that make the already premium A40’s feel more premium. The earcups have a clean looking black and faux metal set of TR covers, the adjustment slider has a brushed aluminum look and overall the new A40s are just a hair lighter or at least they feel that way. Either way, it’s an improvement cosmetically albeit minor but they look super clean.
Nothing much has changed functionally in terms of how it fits on your head and how it feels. The headband is still as comfortable as it’s always been with the earcups still being the same. You still have the customization options for your earcups. You can use leather or the soft felt pads. You can still swap your earcup backplates for custom ones that Astro sells or if you know someone that does them custom then that works too. You can swap the mic to either the right or left side and with all that you get a 6ft wired cable that plugs directly into the MixAMP Pro. The wire itself is durable and sturdy and it has a simple slide up and down mute button on it for ease of use since your volume is all controlled through the MixAMP. So with Astro not changing a thing does it mean that these headphones sound the same? Yes, somewhat but this isn’t a bad thing.
When you buy a set of Astro A40’s you should expect that the sound will be as good as the pricepoint tells you they should be. Well, they are that good. These headphones are still some of the best sounding headphones in the game today. It’s partly why these headphones being refreshed is more about the MixAMP then the headphones themselves. They nailed that already.
Astro hasn’t changed too much about the A40’s sound profile. It’s just a little more refined that’s all. The A40’s still use the same 40mm sound driver and they still deliver a balanced clear sound that’s never overbearing. All of the games that you play will sound great and keep you immersed in the action. The A40’s aren’t great at sound isolation so the quieter the room you’re in the better but if all else fails and you’re not in a quiet environment, just crank up the volume. These headphones deliver powerful sound.
Astro’s Command Center software is also very much the same as no real changes were made to accommodate the new A40’s but it’s still super useful to creating the sound that you want in your in games, mic and your streams. It’s also where you’ll update the firmware for your headphones. The Command Center is easy to navigate through. The black and red aesthetic is clean and the menus are bright and whatever you need to get done isn’t complicated once you play around with the software for a few minutes and check your sound until it matches the way you want to hear things.
THE MixAMP PRO
If you decide to go full package and buy the MixAMP Pro then understand that you’re about to take your gaming audio to the next level. THIS is why you would buy the new A40’s at all. The new MixAMP Pro changes things. The MixAMP Pro is more than just a fancy looking peripheral. It controls how you want your games to sound and how they sound in conjunction with your game chat. It’s your one stop audio hub and it’s great.
The prior version of the MixAMP was pretty good. It gave you good control of your audio and it worked well with the Astro Command Center software. Much of what the last version was this new MixAMP+ is. The one major difference is the complete redesign.
Astro wanted to make sure that you have a focus on your sound by giving you individual control dials for your full volume and then the isolation dial to control the levels of your game audio and your chat audio. In between the two turn dials are the EQ button that has your audio profile that you have either preset or customized. You can toggle between each profile and just above that is your Dolby button for that top notch audio and hopefully the game you’re playing supports it.
In the back of the MixAMP Pro you have all of the necessary connections for digital audio and streaming. Your microUSB port (Although in 2019 it should be USB Type-C) an optical audio port, AUX port, Stream port and two digital daisy chain ports. Everything is there to get your game on in high quality audio although unlike the A50 base station the MixAMP Pro doesn’t have input and output optical ports which is kind of a bummer. I liked being able to run my audio through my soundbar and isolate the chat to just my headphones but I guess sometimes trade-offs have to be made. You can easily switch from PS4 to PC with the switch on the rear and get the same great audio controls as a result of the MixAMP Pro.
The new MixAMP Pro sits neatly on any desk and it adds a sophisticated look to your gaming setup. It’s not as bulky and plasticky (which is not at all a word) as the previous MixAMP Pro. It sits on my computer desk at home and it’s like it was made for it and the fact that it’s so functional and I use it everyday now. Makes it probably my favorite gaming peripheral right now.
ARE THE NEW A40’S WORTH IT?
Astro has refreshed the A40 headset to make it better than it was but is it worth to buy if you have the prior version? To me it’s a no-brainer. Yes, it is. The look of the headphones themselves hasn’t changed really at all. The overall sound (which was already good) hasn’t changed much although it is a little clearer and crisper. My reason to pick these up? The MixAMP pro.
The new MixAMP being redesigned is enough of a reason alone to pick these up. It’s a big deal. It’s easier to use, it’s a better amp overall and it’s so so clean. Yes, the Astros are a bit expensive at $250 but we’re talking about the upper echelon of the gaming headphone game. I would never try to convince anyone that these particular headphones are “affordable”. There are gaming cans at every price point for everyone. I will say however that for what you get with that $250 isn’t a bad deal. Astro won’t let you down when it comes to their top tier headphones.
Whether you wish to buy it or not is totally up to you but you won’t lose. Your games will sound great, you’ll have a comfortable set of headphones, and then there is the Astro experience that you would be a part of if that means something to you.