Gaming on the Xbox One is an experience that is made better with great sound. While massive surround sound setups are the ideal situation, your neighbours and family members in adjoining rooms, often mean playing it loud and loose isn’t always appropriate. This leaves gamers searching for a headset solution that not only sounds great, but looks great and can withstand even the longest gaming sessions.
The ASTRO A40 Headset for the Xbox One comes with a MixAmp M80 that connects elegantly to the bottom port of the Xbox One controller. I say elegantly because the comparable versions of the headset of the PS4 requires a larger breakout mixer as the PlayStation doesn’t offer the same controller integration for 3rd parties.
The M8 provides quick access to change the blend of in-game audio and voice chat with your team. Of course there’s also master volume control, available by a familiar dial at the bottom of the add-on. Centrally the M80 features a mode button which is designed to switch between 3 EQ presets, but in reality these were so subtle they were almost indistinguishable. If you need to mute your mic, there’s a convenient mute button in the bottom of the volume knob.
The ASTRO A40 has a great design, with an adjustable over-the-ear design that will suit both teenage and adult gamers. One really unique feature of this headset and strength is it’s customisable design. ASTRO call these Tags. These tags on the outside of each earmuff clips on with specially placed magnets. You can choose from a large variety of alternate tags from their website for between $20-$25. Some of these are artwork you may associate with and allows you to show off your personality. Other tags are a related to games like Battlefield and Assassins Creed.
To allow the right earmuff to be changed, the microphone detaches, although this isn’t immediately obvious. All you need to do to switch things out is pull with a bit of force, don’t worry, you won’t break it. Once removed, you can then detach the magnetic tag. This setup works really well, but just be sure to pick your base colour on purchase as coloured top section and cabling isn’t changeable.
The options are Orange/Dark Grey, Blue/Light Grey (reviewed), Dark Grey, Light Grey and Dark Chrome/Blue.
While not available for purchase, the gallery on ASTRO’s site also features some sweet Red Bull tags, guys, you really should sell these. There is the ability to design and create your very own, customised Tags which is great for professional gamers or friends that want their clan tags while they’re representing. When you upload your images, you will get warnings about copyrighted content, so choose carefully.
To really test the A40, I spent many hours in the race set driving the back half of the F1 2015 championship. While other headsets I’ve used get uncomfortable after 1-2 hours, this was never a problem with the A40. The earmuffs rotate to ensure they fit your head perfectly, but there’s one serious flaw with the A40.
The length of the cable to the M80 is way too short in some setups. If you’re playing a FPS like Call of Duty, it’ll be fine, the controller will be in your hands which is less than the length of your arm away from the headphones on your head. However if these headphones are going to be your replacement for say, the Xbox Stereo Headset, they need to be able to cater for multiple configurations.
Those with racing simulators (like the GT Ultimate V2) may still want to use the ASTRO A40 as the headset while driving, but the problem I found was that the cable didn’t allow the controller to be placed out of the way (on the floor) next to the seat and for the cable to reach my head. This won’t be a problem for most, but for me, it was and really another 20-30 cm and it wouldn’t be a problem. I ended having to balance the controller on top of the box beside the chair, with mild movement it’d fall off, taking me out of the game. Having access to the volume control was fantastic, especially seem some games vary considerably between in-game and menu volumes.
Using the headset with phone phone worked as that cable is the right length to go from your pocket to your head, but sit at your computer and again the length of the cable is an issue, not comfortably reaching the headphone port. Please consider this in the next release guys, it’d let me replace all the headphones in my life, instead of having one set for gaming and a different solution for PC use.
- Transducer Principle – Dynamic, Open
- Frequency Response – 20 – 21,000 Hz
- Distortion – Less than 0.1%
- Microphone – 6.0mm unidirectional
- Nominal Impedance – 48 Ohms
- Headband Pressure – 2.6N
- Ear Coupling –Over-Ear
- Weight w/o Cable – 324 g
- Connection – 3.5mm 4pole Jack
Price & Availability
The ASTRO A40 Headset, Xbox One Edition which includes the M80 mixer costs A$200.00. This is available from the ASTRO Gaming website – http://www.astrogaming.com. If you decide to personalise your A40 with custom Tags, that’ll set you back another A$40.00 for the pair.
Despite my issue with the cord length, overall the ASTRO A40 is a great, versatile headset that I found myself using for gaming and listening to music and podcasts from my phone. The included cable with a 3.5mm jack, as well as the M80, made it a great wired solution. If you’re a wireless person, they have versions of the ASTRO for you too.
The comfort, customisable tags and adjustable size, combined with the ability to fold it flat for travelling makes it easy to recommend the headset to others. The price certainly isn’t the cheapest you can find on the market, but the blend of features and functionality make it a great option. Buying this headset is an investment in being able to game comfortably into the early hours as you smash down a couple of Red Bulls.