Sunday, 17 January 2010

Astro A40s ♥


So I got a pair of these on Thursday, after getting a Sharkoon X-Tatic headset for Christmas and having it break a week later (I got a full refund though, and now I have Astros, so it's all good).

Firstly I just want to say, they are awesome, if you are in the market for a decent headset, get these, you will not be disappointed. They do cost quite a bit - £199 in the UK and $249 in the US - but they are worth every penny. I'm not even going to complain about the US/UK price difference, they're too good.

But why are they so good? Well, perhaps my view of them is skewed after how bad the Sharkoon kit was, but everything about this headset just screams "I'm an awesome headset" to you.

Firstly, they just look fantastic (the white pair does anyway - the black one, not so much), far better than the competition. The build quality is great - metal body and a thick, sturdy plastic shell. Even the way the headset extends for large-headed people is better than any other headset I've seen - the top band is suspended on two rods extending from each earphone (after reading that, I have decided that it's an incredibly poor explanation of how it works, but it's the best I can do! :p ).

But of course, the whole reason for getting these isn't how it looks or how it feels; it's because of how it sounds, because of how it actually works.

The best way I can describe how it sounds is to basically say it sounds just like my 7.1 speaker system (probably better actually), but I can use it without disturbing nearby relatives or neighbours. I've been playing with Dolby Digital turned on, and I can hear (in-game) people all around me fine, but some people say it's easier to hear around you with DD turned off, but the audio quality just isn't as awesome like that in my opinion.

At the moment, I have Toslink (optical) cables coming my 360, my PC, and my Sky box into a switchbox, and then a 25ft Toslink cable (This is the one I got from Astro with my headset - this, like the headset, is extremely over-engineered and awesome) from that plugged into the Mixamp that came with the headset. Also plugged into this is the charge cable (it charges via USB, so it's 'region free', and the headset itself does not need external power) and a standard analogue audio lead, both of which lead to my laptop, and another standard analogue audio lead going into my 360 controller, and then one last wire going to the actual headset.

Yeah, that is a lot of wires. One thing I will say is they do all get tangled quite often, but that is unavoidable really. You can opt to just use batteries so you don't need a charge cable, and the extra audio cable plugged into my laptop is also not needed (I only have it there because otherwise I can't hear my laptop with these on, unless the volume is turned to max, and then we hit the whole problem of nearby relatives again), so that cuts two out straight away.

One last thing I will mention is that I purchased some Toslink splitter from Amazon to allow me to plug everything into my headset and my speaker system - they didn't work at all, though. Nothing to do the Astros - none of my leads, or output or input devices worked with them. But to be honest I'm not that bothered, my Astros are better than my speakers anyway ;)

Anyway, I think I've said enough. Get some if you can, because they are awesome. Now I must go play Gears 2 and use my red button.

UK Astro website

US Astro website

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