Just a few short years ago, the headphone giant Astro were pretty much only known for their high-end luxury gear. But in the past few years, they have gained a name for themselves in the budget market and have been pushing heavily into that sector of the market.
So it was a pleasant surprise when we heard the announcement that Astro had finally decided to release a new high-end gaming headset and the subject of our in-depth Astro A40 TR X-Edition Gaming Headset review. And after a long wait, they finally slid across our table two weeks ago!
Are they everything they are cracked up to be?
You betcha, and some. The Astro A40 TR X-Edition is pushing top spot as our new favorite gaming headset (and everyday set also), so stick around as we dive headfirst into why we love this headset so much, and why we think you will as well.
Design and Construction
This TR X-Edition is an almost carbon copy of the previous A40 model, with a couple of changes to the finishes and colors. The pair we were sent is the most outwardly gamer-ish of the three options. Sporting a Ferrari red headband to go with the matte black earcups, and an overall new-age industrial look.
The other two options come in a combination of matte black and silver with hints of either blue or red. All three look great, but we are happy we were sent the red pair. What Astro hasn’t changed is the bullet-proof design and quality feel in the hand. This is not the easiest thing to achieve with a mostly plastic outer covering, but Astro have certainly achieved it here.
The earcups and headband are padded with extremely comfortable memory foam that has been covered in a soft black cloth. Both of these materials are highly breathable, and it shows – especially during long gaming sessions. The Astro A40 TR X-Edition offers some of the highest comfort levels available on the market right now.
And although the back panels make this pair of over-ear headphones look more like a closed-back set, in reality, there is a gap on the upper side of the earcups. This leaves more than enough room for the 40mm drivers to work at the optimum level. And heaps of space for the drivers to ‘breathe’.
Be aware that this design does inherently come with a fair bit of sound leakage. But that did not bother us as we used these almost exclusively when alone.
What if we prefer a closed-back setup?
No worries! Just like the original A40’s, the A40 TR X-Edition has some customizing options tucked up its sleeve. The separately sold mod kits allow you to change out the back covers of the earpads, allowing for a fully closed back setup if you prefer. There are also kits for different padding options, and one for the microphone (which makes it noise-canceling).
That last one might be slightly overkill though, with the default microphone doing a great job. This removable boom mic is made from bendy rubber with a metal grill at the end covering the microphone.
As soon as we switched over to this headset, our online buddies noticed a marked difference in the quality of our mic output, and we even used this setup to record a few voice-overs. There is also the option to plug it into either the left or right ear, a rarely seen feature in gaming headsets but one that we love. It is easily one of the best single mic options on the market right now.
What didn’t we like about the design of the A40 TR X-Edition?
Honestly, not much at all. But, if we are getting really picky, we would’ve like to have seen more controls. Astro’s flagship model, the A50, has buttons galore with controls for things like EQ, voice/game mix level, volume, and mute, to name a few.
But with the A40 Astro have gone with a singular mute button, forgoing even the usual volume wheel. Not the biggest deal, but for sure worth noting. This all can be sidestepped by purchasing the optional MixAmp, but more on that later…
Sound and Performance
This is where the A40 really starts to shine. Gaming headsets, in general, have long had the reputation of sub-par soundstages. And for the most part, we would have to agree.
But not here!
The Astro A40 TR X-Edition gaming headset has a soundstage more commonplace in sets of headphones worth above $300. We are being serious; the sound has been managed with a lot of care and attention to detail.
Whether you are using these headphones for gaming, music, or podcasts, they truly stand above the pack. The lower end of the frequency spectrum has been very slightly boosted, the mids have been split in two with the higher mids resonating beautifully, and the top end is never tinny.
Say you want more control over the output…
Again, no worries! Although this deal is the stand-alone headphones, for an extra couple of bucks, you can grab the MixAmp Pro. This all-new MixAmp comes packaged in a stylish dark gray box and is about the same size as a ladies’ wallet.
Dominated by two main control knobs, with the larger right-hand side knob controlling the master volume, and the smaller knob on the right looking after the game to voice mix, perfect for any aspiring streamers. This can be used with or without combining it with software. Connecting to your computer or console is straightforward and easy, taking less than 10 seconds.
Let’s get gaming…
The first thing we plugged in and played was the newest Call of Duty. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), a few buddies were online, and what was supposed to be a quickfire test turned into a mammoth five and a half hour gaming session.
Call of Duty is a great tester for gaming headphones as it mixes huge sounds with much more subtle noises, with all of them being important. You have to be able to easily differentiate the soft footsteps of the enemies from the roar of your weapon firing and all the other environmental noise distractions.
The A40 TR X-Edition did a superb job of handling everything COD threw at it.
Great for gaming or anything else…
We have started to use this headset as our main home headset now, whether we are gaming or not. We were very impressed with how our full range of music genres is handled. Gone are the days of sub-par audio performance, and what good feeling that is!
Astro A40 TR X-Edition Gaming Headset Review – Pros and Cons
- Long-lasting comfort for those all-night sessions.
- Top-notch audio.
- Heaps of customization options.
- Bullet-proof built quality.
- Stylish design.
- Optional MixAmp.
- Slightly more expensive than some of the direct competitors.
More superb options for Astro Fans
Looking for the A40 and MixAmp in a single package? Then check out our review of the Astro A40 TR MixAmp Pro TR. However, if your not quite sure if your budget can stretch to the A40, take a look at our reviews of the Astro Gaming A20 and the Astro A10.
And if you want some non Astro options, check out our reviews of the Best Gaming Headsets, the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets, the Best PC Gaming Headsets, the Best Wireless Playstation 4 Headsets, the Best Razer Gaming Headsets, and the Best Nintendo Switch Gaming Headsets on the market 2020.
Astro A40 TR X-Edition Gaming Headset Review – The Final Word
After two weeks of rigorous testing, it is our opinion that, for the price, there really aren’t any better options out there right now.
Sure, there are cheaper options that will do a fine job. But if you are looking to step up your gaming experience or looking for new streaming options. Then we think you would be crazy not to take a long hard look at the Astro A40 TR X-Edition gaming headset and see if its the right choice for you. We think it probably will be!