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Monday, February 21, 2011

Astro Gaming A40 with wireless MixAmp 3.8 Review


 

 

 
Brought to you by: Aatro Gaming

 
“If I can describe Astro Gaming Products as a Car Company that would be luxury ones like Ferrari.”

 
Before I start reviewing this monster of a device, I’ll give a brief introduction about the company that brought it. Astro Gaming is a company that designs top of the line gaming headsets for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 device. In short period of time, it gained popularity back the states and is now the official gaming headset company for Major League Gaming (MLG) that holds game tournaments back in the USA. Shortly after, they are now invading the world competing against other gaming accessory companies such as Razer and Turtle Beach. Among all those companies, Astro Gaming gets a lot of favorable reviews.

 
I first heard of this company a couple of months back somewhere in mid 2010, by that time I started doing some research about Astro Gaming products along with other companies such as turtle beach.

 
I’ve checked a few reviews here and there, till I decided which I’ll invest my money on to. Currently the only shop that sells this product is “Computer House” where I bought my A40 headset with the wireless MixAmp 5.8 as a bundle.

 
And so here I am and ready to give my review.

 

 

 
Appearance

 

 

 
A40 Headset

 
Technically, the first thing I noticed about the headset is its weight, its heavy for a headset, as I opened the black box, I found the headset protected in a hard travel case which in fact a very useful accessory whenever you take it out from the house. It’s a sturdy hard black case with an MLG zipper tag that gives you the feeling like you’re in the game.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
MixAmp 5.8

 
This is my personal favorite; the box has a cover which is black just like the A40 black box but as a surface cover. However, as soon as I slid it off, I realized that the company has also invested their time on the design on the packaging. The box is folded into three separate sides and each sides has a protected plastic for every section which all of this are very impressive and will also allow the consumer to appreciate of the product in packaging. The TX and RX units are made of plastic and rubber at the most. However, the RX master volume control feels a little heavy which is good compare to a fast switch product, this way it will make you feel that the product wasn’t made easy or cheap.

 

 

 
What comes with package?

 

 

 
In the A40:

 
Travel Case

 
As I opened the case, there I found the headset well protected with built in foam in the case with extra care so that it won’t move a lot in the case, it also have a larger room for the Mixamp to fit in. Pretty neat for a headset case insuring that no harm will come to your A40 Headset.

 
The Headset

 
The headset is one of the main thing I pulled off from the case; it’s heavy with combination of metal and plastic parts at most, with 3 attached foams, the two are for the ears and one for the head, if you want to remove the headset, you can twist both earphones facing the back so what it can rest easy on your shoulders feeling the foams which I find pretty impressive provides a gamers’ fashion statement and comfort.

 
Microphone

 
The microphone is detachable, whereas you can put it to your left or right ear for total comfort to those who wishes/prefers the other ear.

 
Extra Foam (1 only)

 
This is an optional item if you want to decrease the sound outside of the headphone. Therefore, it will help you hearing the voice chat with no outside distraction.

 
Speaker Tag

 
Basically you’ll find these in three pieces outside the case. The tag is nothing more than pimping your headphone with style. It comes with a basic design of the company’s logo however you can also go to their site and order online if you want certain tags or a customized one (and yes you can also put any pictures you want or even put your silly face in there and they won’t mind). It’s another fashion statement that’s going to make your friends jealous and differ yourself from other A40 users by using a customized speaker Tags. (Neat? I’d say it’s awesome!)

 
Standard Quick Disconnect (QD) Cable

 
This will allow your headphone to connect to a stereo device or MP3 Players with a simple stereo sound.

 
PC QD Cable

 
This will allow you to connect it to your PC with a standard digital sound.

 
Tip: if you have a nice sound card, help yourself to set that up to 5.1/7.1 surround sound and you’ll get the full A40 headset experience.

 
3.5mm to ¼” adaptor

 
This allows you to connect to stereo devices that only has ¼” audio jack.

 
In the wireless MixAmp 5.8:

 

 

 
TX Unit

 
A bridge device that connects PC/Console with the headphone connected with the RX Unit. It also acts as an audio mixer and a headphone amplifier that provides Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. The Front panel has the power/pairing button and Bass Expander. The Back panel will have the power socket where you plug the adaptor, Dual USB (for future accessories of the device), Optical in and out where you connect your TOSlink Optical cables (TV/Home Theater/PC/Console) and AUX in for the USB chat cable for PS3/PC (sold separately).

 
Tip: the TX unit can handle four RX units in range. (So the more the better and every four player s will have an epic sound blasting time)

 

 

 
RX Unit

 
A Device that connects with the TX unit wirelessly. The front panel includes a game voice balance where you balance chatting and game volume and the master volume. On the back panel will have the head phone slot where you plug in your headphone such as the A40, Xbox 360 Controller Cable where you plug in the 2.5mm-to-2.5mm Xbox live controller cable to use the voice chatting system and a mini USB slot for the USB-to-USB Mini power/charger cable. While opening the back panel, you will have three AAA battery slot where you either put three regular AAA batteries or rechargeable ones.

 
TX AC Power adaptor

 
This device is simply giving some “juice” on the TX unit.

 
TOSlink Optical Cable

 
This one will connect a sound source from PC/Console or TV or even a home theater to the TX unit.

 
2.5mm-to-2.5mm Xbox live controller cable

 
This will link your Xbox 360 controller to the RX Cable so that you can you use any Chatting Headphone rather than using the standard one ear head phone from Xbox 360.

 
USB-to-USB Mini ‘B’ Cable

 
This one will connect any USB source (PC or your Console) to the RX unit in order to provide power or charge the RX device if it has a rechargeable battery.

 
Y-Adapter

 
This will turn any 3rd party headset/earphones into one cable that will allow you to plug it on the MixAmp (so any headphones will work perfectly fine on the MixAmp).

 
Note: the A40 and A30 already has combine audio and microphone signals so no need to use this cable otherwise you’ll end up not hearing anything, trust me I already did that)

 
RX Belt clip

 
This is a very handy clip if you wish to go wireless with your RX unit. Just clip it with you and go play freely without worrying to step on any cables.

 
AAA Batteries

 
It comes in standard models that will allow you to use it in a couple of hours just to get the feeling wirelessly.

 
Note: Personally, MixAmp is the most important device of ASTRO GAMING; as long as you have MixAmp or MixAmp 5.8 it will give you the maximum audio experience and game chat advantage.

 
Note: The MixAmp devices can also operate any third party headsets so there’s no need to buy the Astro Gaming headsets. Tip: But if you want an epic sound experience, go buy their headsets.

 
The experience

 
I first tried only the headset; as I wore it, the foams were comfortable to the ears and so as the head, this helps me to have no troubles wearing it on long game sessions. First, I made it as a stereo headphone by trying it on my PSP and PC and I could say it delivers a loud sound within the headset without bothering the room and also improved the sound quality of a simple bitrates of 128 kbit/s MP3 songs. As soon as I tried it with the MixAmp on Dolby sound, I thought that I was in a totally different world whereas I thought that the room was so loud but in fact it wasn’t when I took off my headphone. Maybe it’s just me because I never had this experience before, but for a headphone, it’s an impressive experience by taking you in a different world using the A40 with MixAmp 5.8. Even though it runs as wireless, there are some plugs to put in but it’s nice to have great sound reception in a little further from my HD Monitor (where I used listen to a plugged headset) without disturbing the family in the house. So right now I wonder if I can play Dead Space 2 on this one but I’m sure it’ll scare my pants off.

 
Speaking of Dead Space 2, I used to play background music while playing the first one to lessen the element of surprise but as far as I currently know, I’m afraid I might not be able to do the same thing with this device as the feature was stripped off from the first MixAmp, so you can’t jack in your MP3 players while playing games (for now I hope). I’m not sure for now but I hope that in the future those two USB slots from the TX should do something useful. Another issue is, the chat cable from PC/PS3 to MixAmp is sold separately. So if you do multi tasking (like me, chatting while playing games) or a PC gamer, you should consider buying that product for about 10$ separately. However if those two issues will not stop your fun, I’m sure to guarantee the amount of fun you will get while using this baby.

 
The final verdict

 
Astro Gaming did a wonderful job making a top of the line gaming accessory. Despite of its imperfections and its hefty price tag, it gets the job done. The overall experience is a satisfactory in sound quality and gaming advantage that will take you for a ride to the edge of your seat.

 

 
Pros:
  • Great sound reception. 
  • Wireless delight. 
  • Premium finishing in physical and sound quality. 
  • Providing comfort for long gaming session.
Cons:
  • Chat cable is sold separately.
  • No MP3 jack. 
  • Pricy for a headphone.
  • Rechargeable batteries are sold separately.

8 comments:

  1. I live in riyadh, where can I buy AstroGaming A50 Headsets?

    ReplyDelete
  2. There's a gaming shop called "Computer House" particularly the only shop that sells these in the country. one of the well known branch is located in front of Faisaliah Tower on the other street right next to Maghrabi Optics.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can you please tell me some electronic shops in riyadh which keep gaming headphones? Actually one of my friends is in riyadh right now and i was thinking of getting turtle beach x12 headphones from there. It would be great if you could help me out :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Same Shop as mentioned before and also will add any Jarir Bookstore for any turtle beach headsets.

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bro, can u do me a favour? Can you please find out the approx price of turtle beach x12 headphones in Riyadh. The thing is I'll ask my friend to bring it only if it is available for a reasonable price. And having no ode of communication other than gtalk it won't be possible for him to communicate the price to me from the shop. Thnx in advance :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm sure you have any means to contact a phone (landline or mobile) so here are the phone numbers for a start:

    Computer House 01 464-4125

    Jarir Books Store: 01-462-6000 / 92-000-0089

    Tokyo games 01-205-6925 / 01-293-3940

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey my friends I tell you some tips about Comfort is very important and your headphones should be noise cancelling so that you can enjoy your film or TV show without distraction.A cushioned ear piece is also very useful because you may appreciate this feature more than anything else after viewing a movie for a few hours.
    wireless headphones

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! i actually bought it too. works like a charm.

      Delete