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Dec 31 2014
By: roadking02 I Only Post Everything 1236 posts
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[PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

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17 replies 16219 views Edited Dec 31, 2013

Introduction:

I had been wanting and looking at the Astro A40 headset on and off for years since they where being used by MLG pro gamers on the Xbox 360 back in 2008. Since that time Astro Gaming was acquired by Skullcandy (in 2011) and has released two additional models, the A30 and a wireless solution, the A50. In Fall 2012 a new and improved version of the A40’s where released simply as the 2013 edition. No further revisions have been made as of the time of this review.

 

So why did I finally decide to pick up the Astro A40’s along with the MixAmp? Simply because I wanted a good headset to use on my PlayStation 4 and since I made the jump onto the NextGen it was time for an upgrade in that department. I’ve owned a pair of Turtle Beach x12’s in the past along with Sony’s own Pulse headset for the PS3 but since they didn’t work with the PS4 until a patch I couldn’t use them.

 

Turtle Beach’s current offering(s) for the PS4 didn’t impress me in terms of build quality. The PX4 (and the P4c) just felt cheap to wear on my head and sounded cheap to my ears. When I walked into BestBuy this past weekend (12/29/13) the Astro A40’s where on sale for $225 instead of the retail price of $250. I had just gotten my PS4 a few days earlier so I finally took the plunge and got them.

 

What’s Included:

 

A40 Headset

A40 Microphone

Speaker Tags

MixAmp Pro

A40 Console Cable

Optical Cable

PC Splitter

USB Power Cable

Xbox LIVE Chat Cable

3.5mm Audio Cable

 

Setup:

When I got home to setup the Astro A40’s and MixAmp to my PlayStation 4 I opened the box and took out the Optical Cable, the USB Power Cable along with the A40 Console Cable. These are the only cables you will need to use on the PlayStation 4. The Optical Cable connects from the PS4 to the MixAmp to provide surround sound in Dolby 5.1. The USB Power Cable connects from the PS4 (use one of the two USB ports on the front of the system) to the MixAmp to provide power to the MixAmp, Headset and Microphone. The A40 Console cable goes from the MixAmp to the Headset itself.

 

icons.png

 

Once I powered on my PlayStation 4 it asked who was using the headset so it recognized it right away but to get it to work properly I had to adjust the systems audio settings. From the Dynamic menu go into Settings, then to Sound and Screen and then to Audio Output Settings. Here you will need to change the Primary Output Port to Digital Out. The format should be Dolby Digital 5.1 with no other option selected. Now, in Output to Headphones select Chat Audio. Finally onto Audio Format (Priority) select Bitstream Dolby and you’re good to go!

 

Headset/Mic Review:

Compared to my previous headsets the A40’s have a much better build quality and the “premium” look and feel to them. They adjusted to my head just fine, the cups aren’t too tight but not too loose and are very light. Since the headphones can swivel, they adjust to your head very well. In terms of sound quality, the A40’s are great thanks in part to the MixAmp.

 

The microphone stays in place and can be plugged into either the left or right side of the headset. It doesn’t sound as clear as my Turtle Beach headset I had in the past but the mic fits Call of Duty or Battlefield nicely. The mic also does have noise canceling abilities which can help keep room noise out of the chat.

 

MixAmp Pro Review:

The MixAmp is the essential part of the Astro Gaming headsets and is what controls the audio processing. Here you’ll find your volume knob and your game/voice mix knob as well as the power button, eq settings button and the Dolby Digital on/off button.

 

The EQ Settings:

Top Left: Pro Mode

Top Right: Core Mode (No tweaks to the audio)

Bottom Right: Media (Music/Movies)

Bottom Left: Sports

 

On the back of the MixAmp you’ll find ports for the USB Power Cable, Stream (for twitch.tv), MP3 (Auxiliary) and for the Optical Cable. On the front of the MixAmp you’ll find two ports for daisy chaining multiple MixAmps together for private chat over LAN, a port for the A40 Console Cable and one for the Xbox LIVE Chat Cable.

 

Final Thoughts:

Overall the Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp is the best audio setup for gaming I’ve ever had. They’re comfortable to use, extremely lightweight and sound great. If you’re an audiophile I recommend the A40’s, you won’t be disappointed. Build quality is top notch and as a bonus the fact that they match the PlayStation 4’s Jet Black/Matte finish is icing on the cake!

 

PS4 Setup

 

As time goes on I will continue to update the review as I see fit.

Keep in mind, they where on sale when I bought them.

With tax I paid $238 for them.

 

Travis Wolfe

Got my PS3 January 3rd 2007
Got my PS4 November 29th 2013
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Splicer
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013
Those headsets are nice and I've always wanted them. But I can't see myself paying 250 dollars.
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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013
You sound similar to how I started. Only I had the X11's, bought and returned the Pulse and TB Tangos one after another and ended up with the A40's. Now if you ever upgrade again, you will already have the Astro Mixamp.

The A40's do sound good but it gets even better. Much better. Your next step could be a pair of AKG Q701's or Sony MDR MA900's one day ran through your Astro Mixamp with either a clip on Zalman mic or Antlion Modmic.
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Treasure Hunter
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013

Great review, but, if Astro wants my money, they will make the wireless MixAmp (the M8, I believe) available again, with an option to make it a wired-only setup (i.e., turn off the reciever if you opt to plug in A50's, or other fully-wireless headsets).

 

As it is, I can accomplish the same thing (less the surround sound) with a few adapters and a headphone amp for about $35 total cost, using the DS4 as a connection point, and I still have chat.

 

I am likely buying a pair of Pulse Elites when the patch comes through, simply because I cannot justify paying 75% of the cost of a PS4 for a wireless headset, and, as MurderStyle as repeatedly stated, there are better headphone sets on the market for less.

 

So, If Astro re-releases the wireless MixAmps, I'll be a happy guy, but, if they don't get moving, Sony gets my money aimed at convenience (if I want stellar sound, I'll go with the wired-to-the-DS4 setup i already have - all I want is the convenience of a wireless option that doesn't involve the controller).

Grindhead_Jim

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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013
Its crazy to me the kinds of lengths people will take to avoid a wired setup. With how mobile you would have to be for wireless to be that important, you would think that Sony was including the Kinect or something. The whole reason Astro removed the wireless feature from the mixamp was to add more professional gaming features and quality without having to jack up the price. People in pro gaming circuits also use wired setups.

And the DS4 cannot accomplish the same thing because for one, not only is there no surround but even the stereo sound only uses compressed bluetooth which is far inferior audio to even that of the Pulse Elites no matter what headphones you use. It also puts a severe drain on a battery that has a short enough of a life without it.

The real logic there should be if Sony wants my money, they would make a better headset. Its just crazy to me that people will settle for 60% to 80% inferior audio just to avoid a wire or two.
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013

Murderstyle75 wrote:
Its crazy to me the kinds of lengths people will take to avoid a wired setup. With how mobile you would have to be for wireless to be that important, you would think that Sony was including the Kinect or something. The whole reason Astro removed the wireless feature from the mixamp was to add more professional gaming features and quality without having to jack up the price. People in pro gaming circuits also use wired setups.

And the DS4 cannot accomplish the same thing because for one, not only is there no surround but even the stereo sound only uses compressed bluetooth which is far inferior audio to even that of the Pulse Elites no matter what headphones you use. It also puts a severe drain on a battery that has a short enough of a life without it.

The real logic there should be if Sony wants my money, they would make a better headset. Its just crazy to me that people will settle for 60% to 80% inferior audio just to avoid a wire or two.

Dude all I ever see you on here doing is rant about the Pulse Elites etc. We get it guy, we all know that your setup is far superior and that Turtle Beach, Astro, Tritton etc etc don't compare. Give it a rest. A lot of people prefer wireless, and that convenience is worth the degradation in audio when it comes to function in a lot of cases. When you have a shared living or similar setup, trust me you really dont want cords stretching from your tv all the time.

 

Also the Pulse Elites sound a 1000 times better than just using my TV which pretty much IS the end goal right?

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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013
Not at $120 to $150 its not. At that price, you guys are paying really good money for mediocrity. Yes I do trash the Pulse Elites a lot and as long as people keep drinking the Sony Kool Aid, im going to continue to do so.

These headphones could have any other brand on them. Most of you wouldn't even own them. Sony is scamming you and I'm going to call them out just like you probably would with a really bad video game.

This has nothing to do with what I use. Its very rare that I ever even mention my primary headphones because they are too expensive for most. What I do though is recommend the best possible experiences relevant to a budget of under $200 unless somebody asks for something better.

Now I don't trash the A40's at all. The A50's maybe because the sound is god aweful for $300 but not the A40's. The issue with the A40's is, you can get better headphones to use with the Mixamp in that price range.

And perhaps that's your reason for wireless headsets but that's not everybodies. I also call your original post complete BS because their is nothing stopping you from getting the wireless Mixamp 5.8 with the A40's even on Ebay or Amazon. Wireless just happens to be the in thing just like inferior wireless Internet which gave PSN a very bad name all last gen due to the poor performance of its wifi. Next thing people will want is a wireless power cord for their console.

If you must have wireless, the only headset you should be using is the PLYR1. I bet you guys would own it and it would be the in product in these forums if only the logo said Sony and not Skullcandy.
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I Only Post Everything
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Dec 31, 2013
Wireless is that important to me. I have kids, I have pets that run around. One little trip an woops.

Not to mention clutter and tangled cables. And mix amp looks great, but its not only wired to the headset, but to a power supply as well.

It is great at what it doees. But not for me.
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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

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Jan 1, 2014
I have kids and pets to though and have zero problems. A very active toddler and an extremely hyper 1 year old yellow lab.

Now I'm. Not trashing the Plyr1 because its actually really good at what it does and the price you paid was a steal. I just think its unrealistic to dismiss some of the really amazing products out there just because of a couple of wires. I think a lot of people blow it out of proportion due to experiences with messy setups like the P11's and X11/X12's.

Also, the only thing the mixamp is wired to is the console itself. Toslink for audio and USB for power and chat. Nothing plugs into the wall. The Mixamp can even get you full 7.1 surround on the Vita.
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First Son
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Re: [PS4] Astro A40 Headset + MixAmp Pro 2013 Edition Review

Apr 5, 2014
I have the pulse elites and as the function of wireless goes with decent chat. They perform well enough in this aspect. And they are easily transportable along with very easily pared with almost any device. But the sound is not even close to what you could get for 100 more than they sell for. Like my wired setup... The astro mixamp pared with akg q701s . No mic yet as I have to still purchase a fio e12 to power a mic. (Correction it is actually about $150 more than the pulse elites) but way better sound quality for smashing on people in fps but don't get me wrong I still use my pulse elites alot of the time because of the ease of set up and wireless function
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