Let's dig deeper
At first the cloth ear cups and headband had me feeling a little cautions about the comfort quality of these highly priced cans, but it has now been proven to me that the only reason other manufacturers have uncomfortable cloth offerings is because they're poorly manufactured or designed. The Astro A40's provide no issues in the comfort department, even when gaming for extended timings of four hours or more.
Absolutely comparable to the comfort factor of the plush leather HyperX Cloud II offering and also to the high-end Sennheiser PC350 headphones, Astro has proven that cloth is a viable option. If you're into customization, Astro also offer the unique experience of changing the external plate on your ear cup to whatever you wish - meaning you can add your own cool image, clan logo or gamer name.
The microphone has a solid attachment to the headset and bends easily to suit whatever position you may require it to be placed in. The game > voice control on the MixAmp Pro also works quite well, somehow identifying the voice and gaming channels coming through your PC, thus enabling me to adjust my Mumble volume in conjunction with Dota2 to the optimum level.
The only real improvement I can see made to the headset as a whole would be to allow interchangeable leather ear cups for those who wish to experience this feel. Sure, the cloth may be just as comfortable, but leather is easier to keep clean and smelling fresh, whereas cloth will soak up sweat and dirt as you sweat away at a LAN or at home.
A Dota 2 analysis
As mentioned previously, Astro are commonly known as one of the 'king of the console' brands, holding a large portion of console gamers under their control, but how exactly does it perform with PC-related tasks?
Loading up Dota2 saw a great experience. These cans are seemingly worth the high price tag in the sound department, offering deep and rich bass whenever needed and in scenarios such as Phoenix's egg rumbling as it explodes or Slardar's bone-crushing slam as he stuns enemies.
I experienced no ear discomfort, but the same was not said for my team mates in the VoIP program 'Mumble' and in-game. Labelling this microphone as 'the worst one you've reviewed yet by far' they said it was a mixture of low overall quality and lack of bass, making me sound a little like a robot. Another niggling issue comes with the fact that the microphone will play what you're speaking through the headset by default - annoying at first, you get used to it quite quickly.
There's a slight buzz in the background when your sound is turned low or off. It's similar to what I've experienced when using Bluetooth headphones in the past for reviews and it's only annoying when nothing is happening.
Let's keep gaming
Moving on to Hotline Miami and cranking the in-game music up saw a similar experience encountered. There was no lack of bass or clarity whenever needed, my background tunes ranging from Tyler, The Creator to hard-rock from the Amity Affliction reported back no issues whatsoever alongside the cool old-school groove of the in-game tracks sounding well polished.
The microphone didn't pick up too much background noise, with my girlfriend in the same room playing Far Cry 4 on the PlayStation not disturbing my friends in Mumble, however, once again, the quality was the major concern in this department.
The Astro A40's with MixAmp Pro most certainly offer an easy connection experience (as long as you've got the quick-start guide on hand) and my Windows 7 PC easily self-downloaded and installed any drivers needed to operate. This is a big plus in my books as going through the task of finding and downloading drivers is quite annoying when on a slower internet connection (thanks Australia!) alongside having no optical drive installed.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [A Closer Look, How They Feel & Listening Experience]
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