After a decade, this classic is still kicking.
Astro’s A40 headset has been around for a very long time—10 years, to be exact. To celebrate ringing in a decade, Astro has released a commemorative edition named A40 TR-X (See it on Amazon) that features a special color scheme and branding. It’s still the wired A40 TR headset from the days of yore, and it still costs $150. It’s packaged with two cables that allow it to work on all major consoles and PC. And while the audio’s still fantastic, with its price point and limited feature set, it’s not exactly the world-shaker it was a decade ago.
Astro A40 TR-X Headset – Design and Features
The original A40 has been discontinued in favor of a the mod-able TR version, which stands for Tournament Ready. The A40 TR-X’s boast the same comfortable design from the A40 TR’s of the past, and they still come with swappable headbands, ear cushions, and microphones—and you can still mix and match the speaker tags to make the headset uniquely your own.
The company’s “Mod Kits” aren’t included, but they cost $60 and provide a voice isolating microphone and noise isolating synthetic leather ear cushions and headband. But you don’t need a mod kit, and the A40 TR-X Edition looks cool enough, so you probably wouldn’t want to change its look. The headset comes with two cables, a PC splitter and a cable with in-line controls that allows you to use the headset on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Feature-wise, that’s about it.
There’s no Dolby Atmos support, no wireless functionality, and no Command Center software to let you fiddle with EQ settings. In fact, there are no EQ settings at all. But for me, the hardest pill to swallow is that they don’t come with a MixAmp—Astro’s famous audio/voice mixing solution. You can add one at checkout, but it won’t sport the A40 TR’s unique coloring and it ends up costing $279 for both headset and mixamp, which is a full $30 bucks more than what it costs to just buy it as a pre-built package on their website. Everything except the cheap stuff from Astro should come with the MixAmp, and I would love to see it offered in the A40 TR-X’s slate blue and hot rod red.
The color combo is unique, and pictures don’t quite do it justice; it’s blue and red in a “Captain America:” Winter Soldier” way, not an “Captain America in Avengers 1” way. The blues are almost a milky cobalt and there are two shades of red—the candy red plastic and the darker anodized red aluminum beams. The separate red colors is a little off-putting, but paired with the blue it makes the headset looks pretty unique. While I’d still prefer the all-black or sleek white A40s, this color combo is undeniably bolder.
Astro A40 TR-X Headset – Gaming
For years, I’ve been cursing the plague of cords in my life, but I’ve never much minded them on headsets that plug directly into the controller. That’s partly because it’s basically a wireless setup since the controller is untethered, and partly because not worrying about a headset’s battery is a huge benefit. However, the A40 TR-X also eats away at your controller’s battery. While you’ll still get hours of uninterrupted play, you’ll notice the difference. If you don’t have an additional, charged controller handy, the battery drain is annoying.
The A40 headset is versatile, and worked with every console in my home as well as my PC, and it boasts the same fantastic audio I’ve come to expect from Astro. The headset was totally clear at loud volumes, and sounded consistently well-balanced no matter what I was playing. Its stereo sound provided enough directional audio to give me a sense of where my enemies were too. Audiophiles may dislike the headset’s bass-heavy sound mix, but I played a variety of games ranging from blockbuster first-person shooters to retro indies, and the overall mix sounded great in all of them.
The bendable boom mic was easy to position and my voice came through clean and clear. And of course, the headset is super comfortable, with huge cutaways for your ears and a cushy headband that doesn’t cause much head fatigue. And that matters, because at 369 grams, they’re not light—in fact, they’re just barely lighter than the heavy A50s (376 grams).
The only issue I experienced in my testing was the A40 TR-X occasionally dropped audio, which appears to be caused by my router (the Netgear R700P Nighthawk). The sporadic dropouts were nothing as severe as what I’ve experienced with the A40 + MixAmp M80 headset, and each dropout only lasted a fraction of a second. However, in my extended gaming session, it did happen enough times to be at least mildly annoying.
The Astro A40 TR-X Edition has an MSRP of $149.99 and is usually the same price on Amazon:
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