Taking the A40 out of the box for the first time really shows that this headset is truly above and beyond others. The quality of the headset was the first thing to stand out. The heaviness and overall sturdy design can be seen and felt as you remove it from it’s packaging. The headset comes with 1.0m cable that can be connected to a device directly, or more important, into the Mixamp M80 that connects into an Xbox One controller. You can use this headset with other devices, but to truly experience everything with this headset, an Xbox One and a controller is required.I’m not sure the Halo 5: Guardians look will persuade gamers to buy this version of the Astro A40, but its sound quality should. I have used multiple headsets for consoles, PCs, and mobile devices, but none of them have offered the same level of audio quality as the A40. Trust me, I used to shake my head at the steep prices for Astro headsets, which typically range from $100 – $300 depending on the flavor you choose, but after giving the A40 Halo 5: Guardians Edition a serious spin, I have to say that it’s easily a notch or two above less expensive headsets. The less expensive headsets are more than competent, but they just can’t produce the clarity and power that the A40s can. It’s a similar comparison to Bose and Beats headsets to less expensive brands for traditional music listening. You really do pay for what you get with this themed headset.
The headset was tested with two new games: Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider. While playing Halo 5 with the headset I couldn’t believe all of the minor sounds I had been missing out on while not wearing the headset and just listening to the game on my 7.1 surround sound system. Random chatter becomes very clear, allowing you to hear the funny quips of the grunts, or the cries from your AI teammates in the new Warzone mode trying to get you to capture another point, or attack an AI enemy. What’s even more impressive sounding with the A40 headset are all of the gun reports and explosions that pop off during a match, or in the campaign. They all sound even more real with the headset on, and give a whole new level of depth to Halo 5’s sound design.
The simulated surround sound is also impressive, and definitely provides directional cues for incoming fire thanks to the fact that sound can travel from one ear to the other to create an immersive experience. If you ever see a Spartan spinning around in circles while playing multiplayer there’s a good chance it’ll be me enjoying the surround sound effect that the Astro A40 headset provides, so just let me do my thing.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also enhanced thanks to the A40 headset. Lara’s movements, breaths, and of course the raucous environments that she visits are all enhanced and more personal sounding. It’s amazing to hear all of the foley sounds that you usually miss in games like this, which do add to the experience making it more immersive than just listening to the game on a home theater system.
The A40 + MixAmp M80 Halo 5: Guardians Edition headset is simply amazing when it comes to producing high-end audio experiences for gamers. I haven’t used a better gaming headset to date, and find myself wanting to wear the A4o over using my 7.1 surround sound system, which has never been the case when I reviewed other headset brands. The high price of the A40 is definitely a bummer and the headset isn’t super portable (speakers don’t fold in for easy transport), but the sound quality can’t be denied.
If you have a gaming budget that allows for a luxurious purchase, then I would recommend grabbing the A40 + MixAmp M80 Halo 5: Guardians Edition headset. It looks awesome, feels comfortable, and produces the best audio experience I’ve ever encountered while using a headset for console gaming.