For the serious gamer, the right headset is a vital piece of equipment. A high-quality gaming headset provides comfort, an outstanding audio experience, and a decent mic, all in one unit. There’s so many models available that it’s tough knowing which one to choose, so we thought we’d help you out and take a closer look at one of the reportedly mid- to high-end models.
At around $240, the Astro A40 isn’t exactly a budget model, but it does boast a range of impressive features, making it a good value headset. It’s a wired model, with a cable of around 6 feet. While some gamers prefer a wireless model because it gives greater freedom of movement, this wired model provides a solid, interference-free connection and outstanding response rate. However, with only feet of cable, you’ll need to keep your tower in reasonably close proximity.
On its own, the Astro A40 wired gaming headset can handle frequencies between 20Hz and 21kHz, which covers the average range of human hearing capability. Yes, some other models, like the SteelSeries Siberia reach frequencies as high as 28kHz and as low as 10Hz, but it’s not really necessary unless you have exceptionally sharp hearing, or unless your dog likes to listen while you play. Or maybe he’s a really clever dog with opposable thumbs who loves nothing better than an intense session of CS:GO….
Anyway, while not delivering the largest audio frequency range, the A40 does enough. However, without the MixAmp, which you can buy bundled with the headset, or as an aftermarket addition, the A40 can only do stereo output, which is a bit of a letdown. To get a really immersive audio experience, you need the MixAmp, which provides digital 7.1 surround sound. It does have a few other uses, too. MixAmp allows you to use the headset with platforms other than your PC. So, if you’re a multi-platform gamer, then this headset, complete with MixAmp, is a solid choice. You can use it with consoles like the PS4 and XO (although you do need an adapter to use it with the XO), as well as smartphones and tablets. As well as increasing versatility and improving sound quality, the MixAmp allows fine control over audio and chat volume. With the MixAmp, you can use the headset on any device with a 3.5mm connection.
The Astro A40’s microphone handles frequencies between 15Hz and 70kHz, while the human vocal capacity is between 85Hz and 255Hz, so this mic doesn’t quite cover the entire range.
On the plus side, the A40 boasts effective noise-cancelling features, both on the mic and the headphones, so you’re not distracted by what’s going on around you, and your team mates (or your arch nemesis) can hear you clearly, without hearing whatever’s happening behind you.
Designed for outstanding comfort, the A40 wired gaming headset has a snug, well-padded headband that only applies around 2.6 newtons of pressure to your head – which really isn’t very much. The thick, cushioned headband and snug, well-padded ear couplings disperse pressure evenly across your head, so you won’t experience that painful earache after 20 minutes. With circumaural ear couplings, the A40 encases your ears completely, eliminating pressure on your delicate little lugs. This full encasement also further blocks external noises.
You can flip the mic up, take it off, or put it on either side of the headphones, for extra convenience. This model also boasts changeable speaker plates, so you can get a fully customized look. As well as the 6-foot analog cable, you also get a 9-foot optical cable, and the headset is powered via a micro-USB and comes with a daisy-chain cable. Like many headsets, this one has mic and audio volume control right on the cable itself. It also comes with a handy carry case, so you can take your headset anywhere without worry.
Built for long gaming sessions, the Astro A40 is a great mid-range option. It’s packed with features and prioritizes comfort, which is vital if you play for extended periods. While the audio range isn’t the biggest, it’s more than adequate. While we wish that the MixAmp wasn’t necessary, it does improve performance and versatility, allowing you to use the headset with almost any device, and boosting the audio from stereo to 7.1 digital surround sound.