Mod Kit & Performance
The Mod Kit is certainly a cool aspect of the Astro A40 TR, as this was and still is a stunning looking headset in its stock configuration, but I must admit that these mods really take things to the next level, not just in terms of aesthetics, but also for enhancing the performance too. The headband now has more resilient soft leather coated padding, which is amazingly even more comfortable that the stock one, although that much is subjective.
Aesthetics are also highly subjective, you may like the stock white look (although there’s also a black model available), but I do love this mixture of black and green on the glossy white, it gives it a more dynamic look and it certainly stands out. What’s important to note, is that this isn’t just an aesthetics makeover. The new ear pads are leather, which provide a much closer fit around your ears, and after many hours of testing, I know they do a fantastic job of blocking a lot of external noise and this is going to pay for its self if you’re at a busy gaming event, or you have noisy kids running around the house and need a break from them (spoken from experience on both aspects). If you look closer, you’ll see some soft fabric inside the leather padding too, which gives your ears a much more comfortable place to be when wearing the headset.
The new backplates as not lacking in extra features either, as they feature a thick rubber gasket that seals the once open-back drivers to make them closed back. This further reduces your ability to hear external noise, making the A40 TR equivalent of wearing ear plugs. What it also does is prevent noise from leaking from the headset, so if there are people in the room while you’re blasting out your favourite game, they’re less likely to be bothered due to the reduced noise pollution. This closed back design has a noticeable effect on the sound quality too, as it helps tighten up the bass response, giving the A40 TR a much more pronounced low-end to the EQ, which is certainly an awesome thing to have.
The new design on the top of the head support. Overall, this is an impressive set of mods to the headset, both in terms of looks and performance. What really blows all of this out of the water, however, is the new microphone. The voice isolating microphone means that even in a noisy environment, your vocals will be the only thing your team hears, and I’ll be damned if I’ve ever used a better microphone on any headset, it really has to be heard to be believed, although that much is also true of the stock microphone, which is noticeably superior to others I’ve tested also.
The acoustic performance on the Astro A40 TR is exceptional, a well-balanced EQ at stock settings, but thanks to the fully customisable EQ, which has a very impressive range to it, as well as multiple customisable profiles that can be set to the Mix Amp Pro, it’s a cut above the competition. The bass is rich and detailed, the highs are bright and accurate and that’s an unmatched level of warmth and detail to the mids. The Astro A40 excels with any audio source, be that movies, music or gaming and you’ll be happy to use it for everything, not just the latter.
What does surprise me even further is how well the Dolby features work. Surround can be tricky for a lot of headsets with a 2.0 configuration, but the positional audio here is flawless, although that much is true of quite a few headsets in this price range; you simply get the quality you’re paying for in terms of signal processing. Fortunately, for those of you who streaming your games and audio on services like Twitch, your viewers also reap the rewards of getting a Dolby signal too, so that’s certainly an attractive benefit for those who like to provide the best experience for their viewers. Furthermore, you can tailor exactly what your viewers hear, mix the volumes for them via the Astro interface and Mix Amp and more; that much in its self makes this essential for those who stream their content.
With or without the Mod Kit, this is a great headset, but if you’re going to be competing, or gaming in any busy and noisy environment such as a LAN gaming arena, the Mod Kit is vital. It takes an amazing headset and fine tunes it to perfection for eSports.
Going back a few steps, if you’re interested in seeing how this setup is configured, here are two setup videos courtesy of Astro; one for PC and one for Xbox One. We’ve tested the headset on both and found results to be consistent on both.
Finally, once connected, the Mix Amp Pro lights up nicely, giving you clear view of where the power button is, the Dolby mode and four small LEDs help indicate which EQ profile you have selected.