Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro & Mod Kit Multi-Format Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


We’re big fans of Astro here at eTeknix, time and time again they’ve delivered absolutely jaw dropping products, and for me personally, the best of the best when it comes to gaming headsets. Their latest headset, the Astro A40 TR is their latest and greatest wired headset, while also coming paired with their premium grade MixAmp Pro TR, offering a huge amount of features and performance enhancements that will no doubt please the gaming masses, eSports teams, Twitch streamers and so many others.

“Immerse yourself in Call of Duty: Black Ops III on Xbox One with the new A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR and the Call of Duty: Black Ops III Mod Kit. We’ve worked with both professional gamers and top audio designers to deliver pristine Dolby Headphone Surround Sound. Transform the A40 TR Headset from open-back to closed-back in moments with noise-cancelling ear cushions, a voice isolating microphone, and closed-back Speaker Tags. The MixAmp Pro TR takes absolute control, allowing you to adjust your Game:Voice balance, or use the stream output to capture your audio for livestreaming.”

To get the full Astro experience, they’ve been kind enough to supply us with one of their fantastic mod kits too. This is a completely optional addition, but it’s a prime example of how you can really make each Astro product your own. You can change backplates on the drivers, have your own made to match your team logos, or pick from the selection available on the Astro site. The Mod Kit goes one further, however, adding a new microphone, head support, ear pads and backplates, giving you a very different look for your headset of choice.

Equipped with the Mix Amp Pro, the Astro A40 TR comes with a vast amount of cool features. You can customise every input every output, the EQ, tweak streaming audio to suit your needs and your audience’s needs, and best of all, you can link multiple Astro headsets for high-quality team chat, with zero lag!

“Free ASTRO Command Center software for PC and Mac users allows the customization of every input and output, as well as the creation of your own EQ settings.” “Control what your stream audience hears, including chat and game audio levels. Broadcast in 2-channel Dolby Surround Sound.” Reads the Astro website. “Faster than the speed of sound, this fully digital connection enables interference and lag-free local voice communications.”

With high-quality components throughout, this is certainly a well spec’d headset, let’s go take a closer look at what it has to offer.

First, here’s Astro to take you through some of the innovative features of the A40 TR, Mix Amp Pro and their new Mod Kits.

The packaging is really nicely designed, with clear images of the headset and mix amp, giving off a nice premium product vibe already.

Around the back of the box, a quick breakdown of all the major features and component specifications, but we’ll take a closer look at those ourselves in a moment.

As I said before, Astro also included their completely optional, but seriously cool Mod Kit for the A40 TR. This includes a new headband padding, backplates, microphone and driver padding.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation covering warranty and the setup process, although there’s also some very handy videos on the Astro YouTube channel for this, which we’ll take a look at shortly.

All of the included cables are finished to a high standard, with soft rubber tangle free coatings. There’s a long optical cable (TosLink), 4-pole 3.5mm for the headset, with in-line controller, a propriatory link cable for daisy chaining multiple Astro headsets for team chat, and a long USB cable for primary power to the Mix Amp Pro.

There’s a fully detachable microphone, with a flexible boom.

It’s finished with a very durable metal housing around the gold jack-lug, as well as a metal finish on the head.

CRYORIG Releases The A-Series Hybrid Liquid CPU Coolers

CRYORIG initially unveiled the A-series hybrid liquid coolers about five months ago and while some smiled a bit about the idea, it’s a solid concept. CRYRIG took a normal closed loop liquid cooling system and added a twist in the form of an angled fan directly mounted on the CPU block.

You can very easily get heat-stagnation around the CPU area when you use liquid cooling, as there simply isn’t much airflow going past the area as there would be with air coolers. This is also a problem well-known to people like me that use test benches instead of closed cases and something one has to be careful of: there simply isn’t any normal airflow going over the system and as such, VRMs and memory placed around the CPU area can get very hot.

The CRYORIG A Series HLC is capable of lowering the temperatures of the components surrounding the CPU by up to 20%. This major drop in heat buildup effectively improves system stability, component lifespan and overall system temperatures.

The pump fan is 0 x 25mm and has a 1500-3000 RPM PWM controlled fan that matches the speed of the radiator fans. The CRYORIG A Series will come in three models based on radiator size: The A40 has a normal 240 mm radiator, the A40 Ultimate comes with a 240 mm by 1.5-inch thick radiator, and the A80 has a larger 280 mm radiator for 140mm fans.

Availability is set worldwide for mid to late November and the MSRP of the A40, A40 Ultimate and A80 is $100 USD, $110 USD and $120 USD (excl. VAT) respectably in North America, and 99,95 Euro, 109,95 Euro, 119,95 Euro (inc. VAT) in Germany/Europe.

CRYORIG Reveal New a Series AIO Hybrid Liquid Coolers

Not every product is made the same, even tho it might have the same purpose and general purpose as others. Cryorig’s new All-in-One CPU cooler is a great example on this and it’s actually quite the clever design.

Liquid cooling is great for the components that actually are cooled by the units, but it leaves out the parts next to it that otherwise would have benefited from the generated air-flow.

To combat this and start the circulation in your system, Cryorig added an extra circulation fan to the pump area, combining the best of the two worlds.


Heat imaging shows a drastic drop of over 10° Celsius in regions of the surrounding Voltage Regulator Modules, RAM and even the GPU card can benefit from added airflow from CRYORIG’s patent pending proprietary Airflow Circulator fan.

The Airflow Circulator fan can be removed and attached in reverse along with adjusting your CPU water block allows users to choose which way they want the Airflow Circulator to point at, be it RAM, GPU or VRM areas. The Airflow Circulator is a 3.000 RPM PWM control enabled 70 mm fan, that intelligently adjusts its RPM based on CPU temperature.

Cryorig A40/A40 Ultimate

  • Supports: Intel 2011(v3), 1366, 115x, AMD FM1/FM2, AM2/AM2+, AM3/AM3+
  • Cold Plate: Copper Micro Fin
  • Radiator Size: 240 x 120 x 25mm (A40)/ 240 x 120 x 38mm (A40 Ultimate)
  • Fan: Dual 120 x 25mm 2.200 RPM PWM

Cryorig A80

  • Supports : Intel 2011(v3), 1366, 115x, AMD FM1/FM2, AM2/AM2+, AM3/AM3+
  • Cold Plate: Copper Micro Fin
  • Radiator Size: 280 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan: Dual 140 x 25mm 1.850 RPM PWM

CYRORIG’s new A Series HLC units will be available sometime during the Summer.

Astro A40 + Mixamp M80 Xbox One Headset Review

Introduction


I’m very excited about today’s review, as we’ve got another product in from the incredible brand that is Astro. My excitement comes from the fact that every product I’ve tested from the Astro range has quickly stood out as some of the best products in their respective categories and I’m hoping for a repeat performance from their latest product, the Astro A40 (Gen2) + Mixamp M80 for Xbox One.

The Astro product range is designed with eSports in mind, but also tailored towards the enthusiast gamer in general. As such, the Astro product ranges do command a premium price tag. The setup I’ll be testing today will set you back £170, similar in price to premium headsets from Turtle Beach, Tritton, Razer and more. Of course, paying a lot for a headset brings a lot higher expectations; at this price range you’ll want premium build quality, performance and a few bonus features in return for your investment.

The A40 comes bundled with everything you’ll need to get you setup on your Xbox One, including an Astro M80 Mixamp.

The Mixamp is really nicely designed, with the main volume wheel at the front, which also features a microphone mute switch in the centre.

There’s an EQ button, as well as a game and voice volume channel switches on the top.

The headset just oozes premium quality the moment you look at it. A mixture of soft cream on the headset, removable and customisable backplates on the ear cups and the stylish blue highlights everywhere else; it’s certainly unique in terms of design, but no doubt that it looks stunning.

The cable coils through an extending slider to allow for easy adjustment to your head size.

On the left side, we’ve got a fold up boom microphone.

The microphone is easily positioned thanks to its flexible boom. The microphone can be removed if you don’t need it, but you can also swap the back plates around and mount the headset on the other ear cup if you desire.

On the underside, you can see how the ear cups padding is angled to better direct the sound towards your ears. There’s also a small 3.5mm jack on the base of the left ear-cup for the Mixamp cable.

Both ear-cups fold completely flat, making it nice and comfortable to wear the headset around your neck between matches.

The padding is by far some of the best I’ve ever seen. It feels both durable and soft at the same time; you’ll have no issue wearing this headset for extended periods of time.

More thick memory foam and soft cloth treatment on the headband, which is mounted on a small pivot to help ensure a more comfortable fit.

The headband continues the same grey and blue theme across the top.

Overall a very stylish and unique looking headset.

The M80 Mixamp is simple enough and plugs right into the controller. It locks into place very securely too and I must admit that it was actually quite tricky to remove after testing.

Another cool feature is the little LED strip, perfect for showing you your current volume levels.

Astro A50 Multi-Format Wireless Gaming Headset Review

Today we have some gaming royalty in the eTeknix office, the Astro a50 wireless gaming headset. Ever since we reviewed the Astro A40 headset a while back I’ve been dying to get my hands on the high end wireless edition. The Astro A40 simply blew me away with its incredible sound reproduction, build quality and comfort, so naturally I wanted to see what Astro could do with an even more ambitious and expensive headset!

The A50 is remarkably well equipped, featuring plenty of high end features that set it apart from the competition, as you can see from the spec sheet below there’s everything from a long life Li-Ion battery, 5.8 Ghz wireless tech, powerful drivers and more. Of course this kind of capability comes at a price and I’m sorry to say that the price is a staggering £250. This puts it out of the reach of your average gamer and into enthusiast territory, so while that may be a lot of money for a peripheral, the real question is “is it worth it?”

Due to the high price were going to be looking for nothing short of perfection, sure there are more expensive dedicated solutions on the market but this is still the upper price range for general gaming hardware, falling nicely in line with the highest price offerings from brands such as Turtle Beach. We’ll be looking for faultless performance, build quality and functionality and if they’re at least as good as the Astro A40 headset was, then we’ll be off to a great start, so lets get right into the action and see what this headset has to offer.

The A50 Wireless come in a really nicely designed box with a slip cover, on the front we see that it features Wireless technology as well as support for Xbox, PS3 and PC.

Around the back of the box we have a nice breakdown of some of the major features of the headset, such as the built in controls, wireless receiver, boom microphone etc.

Behind the slip cover we see more funky designs, lots of digital artwork and graffiti.

The box opens out in the middle, with the headset mounted on a clear plastic mould and the wireless receiver in the centre, first impressions are good and just opening the box feels a little special, lots of care and attention has been taken to get the presentation right.

Lifting out the headset we find another compartment that houses the extra components.

Aside from the headset we found three bits of plastic that can be clipped together to make a fancy stand (well see that later), the Wireless receiver, two USB cables, a 3m optical cable (Toslink) and an Xbox 360 controller chat cable. All cables feel of really nice quality, with good coatings and high quality connections.