Astro A40 TR & MixAmp Pro TR (2019) Review: Best PS4/Xbox One/PC Gaming Headset

Today we are reviewing an item that I’ve been most excited about, the Astro A40 TR and Mixamp Pro TR gaming headset. Even before I knew much about headsets and what made one brand or model better than the other, I was positive that Astro A40s were the best! It was well understood that A40s gave you an advantage in FPS (first person shooter) games, allowing you to hear the footsteps of nearby enemies. After all, nearly every MLG (Major League Gaming) Halo 3 pro I grew up watching including Mason Cobb (Neighbor), Tom Taylor (Tsquared) and Dave Walsh (Walshy) used Astro A40s.

astro a40 2019 review
The Astro A40 TR gaming headset.

That was a decade ago, well before Logitech purchased Astro Gaming, unlocking the synergies of combining Astro’s audio expertise with the peripheral powerhouse that is Logitech. Thankfully, Logitech maintained the Astro brand and their headset lineup. Let’s see if their most recent refresh of the venerable A40s maintains the magic that helped propel those pros to the top of their game!

Unboxing, Overview & Comfort

We received the Astro A40 TR Headset with MixAmp Pro TR for the PS4. Astro manufactures both a PS4 and an Xbox One version of the A40s. Either model can also be used with a PC which is what we’ll be setting up and testing on.

astro a40 tr mixamp pro tr ps4 review

On the front of the box there’s a large graphic of both the A40 headset and the new MixAmp Pro TR. Astro’s branding is present here as well as Dolby Audio, TR (Tournament Ready), Mod Kit Ready and PlayStation 4/PC/Mac compatibility badges.

astro a40 tr mixamp pro tr ps4

The back of the box displays a breakdown of the A40 headset and its various components including a swappable headband, swappable speaker tags and boom microphone. There is also a breakdown of the MixAmp Pro TR and its numerous buttons and inputs which we’ll go over later.

astro a40 tr mixamp pro tr ps4 unboxing

Everything is neatly organized in the interior box which has separate compartments for the headset, MixAmp and accessories.

astro a40 tr mixamp pro tr unboxing
astro a40 tr unboxing

Astro provides everything necessary to immediately use the A40s including the A40 TR Headset, Boom Mic, MixAmp Pro TR and cables:

  • 2.0m A40 Inline Mute Cable
  • 3m TOSLINK Optical Cable
  • 3m Micro-USB Cable
  • 0.5m Daisy Chain Cable
astro a40 tr + mixamp pro tr review
astro a40 cables included

Simply put, Astro A40s look cool. I’ve always loved their design and we’re thrilled it hasn’t changed over the years. Most headsets look (and feel) blocky and bulky.

astro a40 tr ps4 review

The A40s are quite the opposite. They’re well made, extremely comfortable, endlessly customizable and their tasteful industrial design is unmatched.

Looking at the earcups on the A40 TR headset in its folded-out orientation, you’ll see the two included speaker tags. The one on the left has a hole which is where the included boom-mic plugs in. By default, the microphone is on the left side however you can easily switch it over to the right side by removing and swapping the two speaker tags which are magnetically attached to the sides of the A40 headset.

astro a40 tr speaker tags
The speaker tags removed before switching the microphone tag to the right side.

Having a removable microphone is an underrated feature and is not possible on most gaming headsets which restrict you to a left side mic.

astro a40 tr headset
After switching speaker tags.

The ear cushions, like the speaker tags, are also magnetically attached.

astro a40 tr ear cushions

Speaking of which, when changing out ear cushions or speaker tags, they make an extremely satisfying click-in sound as the magnets secure. This magnetic system feels so well made as if it will never fail.

astro a40 tr ear cushion magnets

We especially love the metal rods present on each side of the headset. If you look closely, you’ll see a coiled wire running through each rod. The A40s can be adjusted by moving the headband to your preferred height. There are lines on the back each metal rod that correspond to different height levels.

astro a40 tr metal rods
You can see the dark lines on the metal rod corresponding to headset height levels.

The A40s feel great and are among the most comfortable headsets we’ve tested, besting offerings from HyperX and Turtle Beach and trading blows with Sennheiser and Steelseries units. Even after multi hour gaming sessions, the padded ear cushions don’t get too hot or cause your ears to hurt in the slightest.

astro a40 tr + mixamp pro tr ps4 review

They also seem very resilient and do not flatten or lose their “cushiness” which is an important point for a premium headset, you expect it to hold up over time and based on our experience we believe it will do just that. Keep in mind, Astro has been at this for a long time and has incorporated substantial feedback into the design of their headsets.

astro a40 tr padded ear cushions
The ear cushions are pillow-like and well padded.

Again, we appreciate that Astro provides different material options for the headband and ear cushions. The stock padded ear cushions are super comfortable but if you prefer the feel of leather, Astro sells a Mod Kit with a synthetic leather variant of the ear cushions and headband.

astro a40 tr pc review

You can’t help but admire and appreciate the thought that went into the design of the A40s. Modularity is one of the key distinctions that makes them unlike any other gaming headset and Astro implements this perfectly. We see no room for improvement here.

astro a40 tr + mixamp pro tr pc review

Endless Customization

Not only are there a myriad of custom speaker tags to choose from including Halo, Call of Duty and Nintendo themed tags; you can also design your own speaker tags. Astro’s Speaker Tag Customizer allows you to upload pictures, add text and background colors or you can mix and match the previously mentioned themed tags.

astro a40 custom speaker tags
Themed speaker tags: Halo Master Chief Collection (top left), Call of Duty (top right), Halo Championship Series (bottom left), Zelda (bottom right)

Astro also makes a Mod Kit for the A40 TR which includes special versions of the headband, ear cushions, speaker tags and boom mic. The Mod Kit features a synthetic leather headband and ear cushions as well as a closed-back version of the speaker tags that utilize a silicone baffle as well as a special voice isolating microphone. The synthetic leather ear cushions improve passive noise isolation and, when combined with the closed back speaker tags and voice-isolating microphone, make an ideal configuration for gaming professionals in a loud tournament setting. These add-ons can of course be used at home as well and may be more comfortable to people who prefer the feel of leather to the stock padded ear cushions and headband.

astro a40 tr mod kit
Astro A40 TR Mod Kit themes: Halo and Call of Duty (top left and right) and Green and Blue (bottom left and right)

You never feel boxed in with the A40s. That was one of Astro’s goals in creating in the A40 headset, something they’ve certainly achieved.

Astro Mixamp Pro TR Review & Sound Quality

Now, on to perhaps the crown jewel of the Astro A40 TR gaming audio system, the MixAmp Pro TR. While the A40s by themselves are a comfortable and customizable headset, Astro’s MixAmp is where the magic happens and this year, they’ve completely overhauled it. A new design coupled with improvements in audio clarity make a compelling argument to upgrade from an older model.

astro a40 mixamp pro tr

We love the large knobs and you feel like a professional DJ when adjusting volume and changing settings on the MixAmp Pro TR.  There are two knobs, one for main volume and the other controls the game/chat mix ratio. The lights on the knobs are RGB backlit and are red when the headset is unplugged or muted and white during normal use. There are two buttons: the one on the top switches between surround sound and stereo and the second button switches between the four equalizer presets.

astro a40 mixamp pro tr review

Another change from the previous MixAmp is the orientation of the ports, now there is a single 3.5mm port on the front which is used to connect the A40 headset to the MixAmp.

astro a40 mixamp pro tr ps4

All the inputs are present on the back. From left to right Daisy Chain Port, Optical, USB, PS4/PC switch, Aux, Stream and a 2nd Daisy Chain Port. This results in a much cleaner wire setup on your desk and we commend Astro on what we believe is a perfect port layout.

astro a40 mixamp pro tr ports

Astro A40s are a gaming headset and the MixAmp Pro TR’s presets are built for video games and not music or movies. Some people don’t understand this and expect the A40s to sound like a professional recording studio headset. That being said, the A40s excel in gaming applications and if used properly they can make you a better player or at least a more aware player. The virtual surround sound works extremely well in FPS games like Halo and Call of Duty and it’s not marketing fluff, it’s noticeable.

astro a40 review

The Aux port is useful when gaming on a console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One; you can hook up your phone and listen to music while gaming. Music tends to sound better when the MixAmp Pro TR is set to the standard stereo vs. the surround option. If you tweak the equalizer presets and settings in the Astro Command Center software, you can actually get music to sound pretty great considering this is an open-back gaming headset.

The bottom of the MixAmp Pro TR has a nice rubberized texture ensuring it will remain stable on whatever surface it is installed on.

astro a40 mixamp pro tr bottom

Astro’s included boom microphone impresses with crystal clear audio. Everyone we spoke to said it was like talking in person with no distortion or quality issues whatsoever.

astro a40 tr boom mic

The boom-mic is also flexible and tends to stay where you place it, making it extremely easy to position exactly where you want it.

astro a40 tr microphone
astro a40 box

Overall, the MixAmp Pro TR is a perfect complement to the A40s and we consider it to be essential to the Astro experience. It’s cleverly designed and delivers clean, consistent sound. The ability to save and load as many presets as you desire and the bevy of input options make it a solid device worthy of the expenditure.

Astro A40 PC Setup on Windows 10 via Optical & USB

We setup the A40 MixAmp Pro TR using both optical and USB on our Windows 10 computer. This splits game/PC audio and voice audio onto the optical and USB connections respectively. If you do not have an optical port on your motherboard or sound card, you can run both the game/PC audio and voice audio on the USB connection.

In our setup, the first step was to plug in the USB cable to an available USB port on our motherboard. Then we did the same with the optical cable. We also switched the MixAmp Pro TR from its default PS4 mode to PC mode via the switch in the back next to the USB port. Next, open the Sounds panel in Windows by right-clicking the speaker on the taskbar and clicking the Sounds button.

windows 10 taskbar sounds button

In the Windows 10 sounds panel, we chose Digital Audio (S/PDIF) as our default audio playback device. This is for game/PC sound and it runs through the MixAmp Pro TR’s optical port.

astro a40 pc setup

Next, we clicked the properties button below Digital Audio and selected Supported Formats.

astro a40 pc optical setup

We unchecked DTS Audio and checked the Dolby Digital box. We also selected 48.0 kHz as the Sample Rate frequency.

astro a40 pc optical settings

Finally, to ensure the A40’s microphone was the one being used for game chat, etc. we clicked the Recording tab next to Playback devices and chose Headset Microphone (Astro MixAmp Pro Voice) as the default recording and the default communication device. We also went back to the Playback tab and right clicked Astro MixAmp Pro Voice and make it the default communication device there too.

astro a40 pc microphone settings

If you do not have an optical output on your motherboard or sound card, you can still use the A40s and MixAmp. Just connect the USB cable and from the Playback tab in Sounds choose Headphones (Astro MixAmp Pro Game) as your default playback device. Still follow the step above for selecting the Headset Microphone as your default recording and communication device on both the Playback and Recording tabs.

For best results and sound quality, Astro also recommends updating your headset firmware which can be done via their Astro Command Center software.

Astro Command Center

Astro Command Center is Astro’s software configuration tool for the MixAmp Pro TR. You can update firmware, configure, save and load presets, adjust microphone settings and control the volume for the various ports. Here is the main tab where Equalizer Presets are configured and saved. You can also update firmware by clicking on the Update Now button in the top middle whenever a firmware update is available for the MixAmp Pro TR.

astro command center review

The microphone tab allows you to cycle through various Noise Gate settings including Streaming, Night, Home and Tournament. We found the Home setting to be ideal, but the Night setting is definitely useful when you want keep it quiet at night yet still be heard by teammates in game. By default, Side Tone is enabled and this creates an echo which causes you to hear yourself speak. If you have Astro A40s and can hear yourself talk, all you have to do is click the microphone button on the left side of the volume bar next to the words Side Tone and the echo will cease.

astro command center microphone settings

Lastly, the Stream Port tab allows you to adjust the Analog Stream Output, Game, Chat Audio, Microphone and Aux volumes.

astro command center stream port settings

All in all, the Command Center software is a nice touch and a welcome addition for PC gamers. The Windows 10 App version of Command Center was not detecting our Astro A40s or MixAmp Pro TR but the regular Windows 10 software worked flawlessly.  

Conclusion

A lot of companies sell products that look amazing yet perform poorly, the Astro A40 TR and MixAmp Pro TR are a rare exception that manages to excel in both areas. The ability swap out components such as the headband, ear cushions, speaker tags and microphone makes the A40s unique and versatile. The MixAmp Pro TR is the perfect companion to Astro’s most premium wired gaming headset and is a piece of hardware that makes an immediate positive impact on your overall gaming audio experience.

astro a40 tr + mixamp pro tr
performance computer editors choice award

Yes, the Astro A40 TR + Mixamp Pro TR is more expensive than many other gaming headsets on the market but again, they are a premium gaming headset. The experience they provide is, in our opinion, well worth the price and given how well made the hardware is, we believe this is a headset that will provide many years of consistent service. Therefore, we highly recommend the Astro A40 TR and MixAmp Pro TR to any gamer out there who wants the best audio solution and an instant leg up on competitors!

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Astro A40 TR with MixAmp Pro TR
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Product Name
Astro A40 TR with MixAmp Pro TR
Price
USD 249.99