Most PC gamers want their build to have the latest and greatest components that their budgets can allow them.
Most PC gamers buy the fastest processors, the most powerful GPUs, and perhaps throw in some serious gaming peripherals. Not too many gamers are investing in their output peripherals, and that includes a gaming headset.
If you are reading this post, there’s a good chance that you’re in the market for a good pair of gaming headsets. Well, if that’s the case, we have a pair of headsets that might just be worth your time and money.
For today, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Astro A40 TR Gaming Headset.
Do I Need a Gaming Headset?
So, you are probably asking yourself, ‘do I really need to buy a gaming headset?’ Before you spend your money on a pair, here are the top reasons why you should get a headset just for your gaming needs.
1. Block External Noise
Let’s face it, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to immerse yourself in Skyrim or The Witcher 3 just to hear music from another room or people talking nearby. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much you tune out these external noises – they can still get you distracted and take you out of the game.
The best gaming headsets will have a noise-canceling feature that can effectively block out external noises which helps with immersion.
2. Sound Quality
The sound quality of gaming headsets is on another level when compared to your cheap $10 cups. Sure, they probably won’t impress any audiophiles like a hundred-dollar pair of Shure headphones would, but the sound quality, in general, is good with gaming headsets.
These headsets excel in providing clear, detailed sounds of the game that you are playing. In competitive games like Overwatch or CS:GO, you will be able to hear sounds like enemy footsteps or shootouts with good quality headphones. This gives you an advantage as it helps you accurately pinpoint the positioning of your opponents or the type of weapon they are using.
As mentioned, the right pair can also help enhance the immersion when playing games. For example, playing games like Skyrim or Witcher 3 with a gaming headset will help you hear ambient sounds like howling winds, which you would not otherwise hear with a cheap pair of speakers.
3. Team Communication
A gaming headset has a mic that will enable you to communicate with your gaming buddies or teammates while in game. What most gamers don’t realize is that communication is important, especially when you’re playing team-based shooters.
For example in Overwatch, a mic will allow you to do callouts like enemy positioning, which targets to focus, which abilities the enemies used, and when it’s time to combo ultimates. Doing so will significantly increase your team’s chances of winning. Plus, it can be fun being able to talk to people while playing.
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Before we get to the meat of the review, let’s first take a look at the key specs and features of the Astro A40:
Tuned for Gaming with ASTRO Audio
Optimized by ASTRO audio engineers and pro gamers
Superior Fit & Finish
Premium materials and construction, highly adjustable and lightweight
Mod Kit Ready
Go from an open-back to a closed-back noise isolating headset with swappable Mod Kit components (sold separately)
Customizable Speaker Tags
Personalize your headset with our magnetic speaker tag system; Host Interface: Mini-phone
Swappable Precision Microphone
Highly sensitive omni-directional mic that focuses on your voice and minimizes background noise. It can be positioned on either side of the A40 TR headset.
Design and Construction
The A40 TR features a rather striking and more aggressive “gamer” design. For this reason, the overall form factor and design of the A40 TR won’t suit everyone’s taste and that’s fine. Personally, we like the curves and two-tone color scheme of the headset.
Be it the construction or choice of premium quality materials, the A40 boasts a fairly strong build quality. Feeling around the headband and earcups, you can tell that it feels solid. However, it’s worth noting that the headset is mainly made of plastic. Thus, some parts of the A40 are quite uncomfortable.
The earcups that house the 40mm drivers are outfitted with a glossy plastic ring, which can be adjusted slightly up and down. The cups are connected to the headband with a metal tube that both protects the cables and enables the headset to be laid sideways and flat.
The A40 is a little bit on the chunky side but it’s surprisingly light weighing about 10 ounces. The padding on the ears and under the headband provides the much-needed comfort and sweat-free experience during gaming sessions. The side of the headset features a sliding mechanism, which makes it easy to achieve a great fit.
On the left earcup, you can find a removable microphone that simply snaps on and off. The mic is also easily adjusted. On the underside, you can find the 3.5mm port that you can use to swap cables. The supplied 2-meter cable is good enough for our needs.
The A40 TR is very comfortable to wear even after a long gaming marathon, thanks to the soft-touch padding on the headband and earcups.
It’s not the lightest pair in the market but it’s still quite light at 10 ounces. There was never a time that it felt heavy on our heads, and that just can’t be said with most gaming headsets. At first, it had a tight grip on our heads, but it didn’t take long for the fit to loosen up but still felt firm.
The cloth material also prevents sweating and overheating, both working as intended. Overall, the A40 headset delivers in terms of comfort.
The A40 TR is marketed to have “pro” quality audio and for the most part, we agree. We’ve used plenty of gaming headsets before and we can confidently say that the Astro A40 TR is right up there with the best. Whether you’re gaming or listening to music, the A40 delivers an outstanding performance.
For a gaming headset, listening to music with the A40 was a real delight. While we won’t say that it can be compared to expensive cans for audiophiles, it offers a well-balanced sound that works well across many different genres of music.
The bass is appropriately punchy without being overpowering. Vocals and instruments are impressively clear and clean, featuring well-rounded mids with little to no muddiness. Gaming headsets tend to fall short when it comes to music but we’re happy to report that this is not one of those pairs.
What about for games?
Well, this is where the A40 TR really shines. We’ve tested the pair with games like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and The Witcher 3. Gunfire and explosion sounds are definitely on-point. Explosions have this satisfying thud and the subtler sounds are clearer than ever. Despite lacking any surround technology, the headset’s soundstage is quite wide which helps with immersion.
Apart from the high level of immersion, we can effectively pinpoint where the sounds are coming from and react accordingly.
The microphone is sort of “just there.” It offers decent performance but it certainly lagged behind the rest of the headset, which is not a bad thing at all.
While using the mic, everything sounds clear with surprisingly little static. However, the way the mic is positioned makes it easy to end up too close to the mouth. In addition, we’ve found most of our audio recordings sound way too nasally.
Overall, the mic is very serviceable but probably won’t blow anyone’s mind.
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The ASTRO A40 TR Gaming Headset is available for around $150.
For a gaming headset, it’s easy to think that this might be an oversized pair especially considering that it’s a wired model. For comparison, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is only offered for around $100 and it’s a surround sound wireless headset. The Corsair Void Pro is also available at a lesser price at around $90, and it’s another surround sound wireless pair.
However, the price alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Based on our tests, the A40 TR is a whole lot better than both headsets. Plus, we’re not really sold on the wireless feature since we play on our desks instead of the couch. We personally feel that the asking price is more than worth it.
The A40 is a great pair with a premium sound and features.
So, which are the other competing gaming headsets that can give the A40 a run for its money? Check the following pairs below:
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The Void Pro offers great fit and comfort. It’s an RGB headset so you can actually customize the lights so it matches the lighting of your rig. In about 15 feet range, we have experienced no noticeable drop in calls, which is great for a wireless model. The surround sound is quite decent but we won’t say it’s great.
Another neat thing about the Void Pro is the mic, which automatically mutes itself when you lift it up. Battery life can last around 8 to 9 hours with a single charge, which is pretty decent.
For a lesser price, the Corsair Void Pro is a solid value.
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We’ve always been fans of HyperX products, and the HyperX Cloud Flight is probably one of our favorites.
This is a wireless headset with an amazing build quality. Sound quality is crystal clear whether you’re playing music or games. The microphone is also superior when compared to the A40 TR. Comfort is also on-point as we can wear these headphones for hours without feeling all warm and stuffy. Achieving a good fit is never an issue with this headset.
The range is also amazing at 30 yards with no noticeable drop-off in sound. Battery life is about 30 hours when you are not using the LED lights. For around $160, the price is still pretty reasonable.
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We feel nostalgic about this brand because the V2 is one of our earliest pairs. With the SteelSeries Siberia v3 Prism, SteelSeries continues to impress.
Like the A40, this headset is wired. The redesigned Prism acoustics add more detail to the sound of the headset. The crisp bass and rich soundscape are definite standouts. The noise-canceling feature is working as intended.
The Siberia suspension system comes in handy for providing a good fit and comfort. The earcups are also made from memory foam, which is just delightful. The Siberia v3 Prism also comes with customizable illumination for that “cool” factor.
The Siberia v3 Prism is an easy recommendation if, for some reason, you don’t like what the A40 has to offer.
The Astro A40 TR is a successful gaming headset that delivers on all fronts that matter.
You might think that this pair is a tad bit expensive, especially when you can get wireless headsets at that price point. However, you have to consider that you’re getting a high-quality pair that features excellent sound quality, good comfort, and durable build.
Aside from the price, another drawback of the pair is the gamer-centric design, which will likely not appeal to some people. The microphone is also not the best out there, especially considering the price.
If you have the cash to spare and don’t mind hooking up a wired headphone, the A40 TR comes highly recommended.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars