Tag Archives: M80

Saturday Fight Night: ASTRO vs. Turtle Beach


In the blue corner, weighing in at £170 we have Rich, rocking the ASTRO  A40 + M80 Mixamp. In the red corner, weighing in at £129.99 we have Dave, sporting the Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro. Now… let’s make this a nice clean fight discussion.

Rich Berry (RB): The A40 has to be the most comfortable headset I’ve ever worn. I’ve never owned a pair that has fitted so well. The ear cups are really soft and are cosy to wear. The headset can also rest around my neck by swivelling the ear cups, which is a neat addition when you do need to take a break – plus they look pretty nifty hanging loose around my neck.

Dave Moran (DM): You see I could say the same about the XO Seven Pro, they have a nice leather finish to the ear cups and never get you feeling too hot and bothered on long gaming sessions. There is something nice about putting the headset on and feeling this coolness around the ears. They also twist to sit round my neck and l do look pretty awesome walking down the street in mine, even if do say so myself!

RB: But what about customisation? ASTRO are renowned for their Speaker Tags, which magnetically snap onto the left/right ear cups. Even though I really like the crosshatching design of the ones packaged with the A40, there are some sweet Battlefield, Dying Light and Halo Tags that I’m sorely tempted to purchase.

DM: Ah my friend, Turtle Beach saw you coming. At the Evolve launch event everyone was rocking XO Seven Pro headsets that had some sweet looking Evolve plates on them, they could have (accidentally) ended up in my pockets… I wouldn’t have really, but you know what I mean.

RB: I guess it was about time that other brands caught up with ASTRO’s Speaker Tags! It’ll be interesting to see what other gaming brands Turtle Beach will bring to their tags – and how well priced they are.


DM: The thing I love the most about the XO Seven Pro is the magical button that sits on Turtle Beach’s own version of the chat adapter. By day, the headset is a simple stereo headset playing my tunes while I write, but by night it develops Super Human hearing, letting me hear the roar of the crowd on FIFA, the moans of the zombies as they track me down on Dying Light and footsteps of my opponents as they try to sneak up on me on COD AW, the button also glows too. The headset also includes audio presets for game and microphone, which can be found at the bottom of the chat adapter.

RB: Well, while I can’t boast about a “superhuman” hearing function, the A40 does come with the M80 Mixamp. Unlike previous versions of ASTRO’s Mixamp technology, the Xbox One edition of the A40 has combined the Mixamp into the chat adaptor that includes its own ‘magic’ button.

The button cycles between three preset EQ settings that between them deliver all the sound optimisation you could ask for in a stereo headset. While stereo can never replace the pinpoint accuracy of a surround sound headset, the directional sound of the A40 is pretty impressive – no Evolve monster is safe from me when I’m up high listening for their whereabouts.


RB: I must also admit to using the A40 as my go to headset for when I’m away from my console, not just because they sound superb on my iPhone, which has a nasty habit of making the best headphones sound a bit weak, but because ASTRO have their own iOS app! Complete with custom playlists and full control over EQ, the app makes a nice companion to the A40 and can even be used with other headphones, oh and it’s free!

DM: Well, there is no app to accompany my headset, which is a shame, but they do also make my music collection sound even better on my iPhone. The XO Seven Pro is also great at blocking out the hustle and bustle of my office while I work, which is lovely!

There’s a swappable cable for mobile that comes with the headset that has an inline mic which means I can also take calls, pause my music and skip tracks.

RB: Yeah, I’m not sure my wife appreciates how isolated I become when surrounded by glorious game/music sounds when I have my ASTROs on – they do pack a nasty amount of sound leak though which means I probably wouldn’t be able to use these in the office without disturbing my colleagues!

The A40 didn’t come with an inline controller, but you can buy one for next to nothing from the ASTRO website.


DM: Let’s talk about… talking!

Once I had fiddled around with the balance between game and chat volume, the XO Seven Pro worked really well through the party chat. The removable boom mic is a great feature and by all accounts I sounded clearer than I did on an older more expensive set. The fact that I don’t have to worry about changing batteries is pretty awesome too, running the headset through the Xbox controller is a great innovation.

The other thing Turtle Beach pride themselves on is the mic monitoring. As a dad with two little ones who sleep badly, knowing that I am talking at a normal volume without waking the small people is a bonus point for me with the wife! The mic monitoring works really well and actually leads me to believe I have a voice for radio… we both know I certainly have the face ha ha!

RB: Yes, the less said about your ‘good’ looks the better! I must admit to also being impressed with the way that headsets connect to the Xbox One – with only a wire running to the controller I don’t get tangled like I did back on the Xbox 360.

The Mixamp comes up trumps for balancing voice and game volume, but then you’d expect nothing less, especially because the official Microsoft Chat Adaptor can do this, although where the Mixamp excels is that the button placement is spot on – gone are the days of fumbling about for the right button. Not only have ASTRO perfectly squeezed their Mixamp technology into a smaller unit, but they’ve created a really nice looking device that puts Microsoft’s efforts to shame.

The mic is great on the A40, it’s not too sensitive and can be connected to either the left or right ear – or removed altogether if you don’t want to chat. Voice Monitoring… yeah I envy you on that! I had voice monitoring on my Tritton headset and it’s a feature I really miss and one that seems to be absent from several headset brands. That said, I did find that the A40 didn’t completely block out my voice nearly as much as some of the other brands I’ve used, so while voice monitoring would have been ideal, I could still judge how loudly I was speaking.


RB: When it comes to headset choice the biggest thing for me, apart from the amazing sound, is the build quality. I’ve owned plenty of different headsets over the years, which span across all the brands we all know and love – the thing that hit me most about the A40 was the build quality. They are simply stunning.

From the attention to detail in the packaging, the little touches on the headset branding to the actual build quality of the headset itself – the ASTRO A40 feels like a premium product. The ear cups are sculpted rather than just flat padding and the wires twist around the headset prongs making the A40 look space age.

In gaming circles, the A40 is a fashionable piece of kit and everyone would recognise them should you wonder around an expo or eSports tournament with these around your neck.

DM: Talking of eSports the XO Seven Pro pro headset are now used quite heavily on the MLG Pro circuit, so they must be doing something right. It seems that Turtle Beach and ASTRO are really focusing on the players.

The packaging of the XO Seven Pro also had that wow factor when I opened them up, and as I mentioned earlier, I’ve happily worn these out on the streets of London while listening to the Spic… I mean Oasis.

I’ve had issues in the past with the build quality of the older Turtle Beach headsets, but the customer service was superb – they’ve come a long way since then and I’m more than happy with the build quality of the XO Seven Pro. The price is perfect for what is a brilliant multi-purpose headset and I’m looking forward to a long and happy partnership with my XO Seven Pro.

RB: It sounds to me like the two brands are really close in terms of what each headset offers. Brand loyalty will certainly play a huge part when picking a headset, and while I feel ASTRO might be ahead of the game with the large community they have invested in, which includes several big names in the eSports scene, it seems like Turtle Beach are hot on their heels in getting their new Pro series into tournaments.

It will be great to watch these two great brands battle it out – but what of the other headset brands… can Tritton, SteelSeries, Razer, Gioteck or even Polk take a piece of the pie? Only time and how deep your pockets are will tell.

Check out the full reviews of each headset:
ASTRO Gaming A40 + M80 Mixamp
Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro

ASTRO Gaming A40 + M80 Mixamp Xbox One headset review


When deciding which headset to purchase what makes you choose one brand from another? Loyalties? Quality? How about whether it’s stereo or surround sound? Everyone has their preferences and sometimes even an allegiance to a brand, but in my experience most seem to agree on one thing – ASTRO Gaming makes the best headset. That’s quite a bold statement and one I just had to investigate for myself.

After chatting with a representative and looking at all the headsets that ASTRO offer, one word can describe my initial experience with them… impressive. Their website is well laid out and includes a forum, blog and community page, which links to two of their pro eSports teams – Team EnVyUs and OpTic Gaming – there’s even apparel and accessories you can purchase, all of which are reasonably priced. First impressions are everything and mine is of a company that loves its brand and its community equally – you can’t help but be sucked into the vibe that these guys create – but while ASTRO Gaming looks impressive, the proof in the pudding is in the eating… or in this case the listening!

Open box

These days companies pay as much attention to packaging as they do to the product itself and the Xbox One edition of the ASTRO A40 is no exception. Packaged in high-gloss heavy cardboard, the headset is neatly displayed in molded plastic and the box is held shut with magnets – in the absence of a proper A40 case, that can be bought separately, the packaging is more than adequate at keeping the headset safe and sound.

I certainly appreciated the quality right from the moment I took the box out of its cover sleeve and with a big grin on my face I carefully removed the contents, which includes everything you will need to get on with gaming plus an extra 3.5mm audio cable that you can use to connect the A40 to a smartphone. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a standard audio cable, using another high-quality cable, only delivered sound in one ear so if you do fracture the cable make sure you pick up a replacement directly from ASTRO.

Before getting down to business and plugging the headset in, I took a moment to admire the craftsmanship of the A40 – it’s stunning. The build is solid without making the headset cumbersome or too heavy. The ear padding is shaped, fits around your ears and made of soft-brushed fabric for maximum comfort – the unidirectional swivel of the cups mean that you’re guaranteed to get the perfect fit and you won’t overheat while using them.

The A40s are a snug fit, it was like my ears were being given a huge hug but not so that it crushed my skull! At no time did the headset give me any pain or discomfort while gaming or listening to music. When you do need a break, the A40 can be rested comfortably around your neck with the earcups folding flat – they look pretty awesome too in sky blue and grey. The ASTRO branding is accented across the A40’s design, which really celebrates its brand without overindulging.

Once you’ve checked that your Xbox One controller has been updated with the latest firmware by using the micro USB that comes in the box, you’re good to go. Plug the headset into the M80 Mixamp and that’s it, no other leads are required. ASTRO are renowned for their Mixamp technology, which for the Xbox One edition of the A40 has been combined into the chat adaptor. The style of it puts Microsoft’s official adaptor to shame.

M80 Mixamp

A rocker switch controls the balance between voice and game while a large turn dial located at the face of the Mixamp controls the overall sound, depressing it lights the dial red and mutes your mic. In the centre of the Mixamp is where the magic happens – the equaliser.

There are three EQ presets that cycle with each press of the button: Pro, Core and Media. Pro is best for when you’re gaming online; you won’t be caught out when you have this EQ setting active. While playing Evolve I could easily pick out which direction the monster was headed and on Advanced Warfare I was aware when some sneaky bugger was trying to shank me in the back. Core is your all-round EQ setting, ideal for single player gaming and Media is… well, for listening to films and movies.

Combining the chat adaptor with the Mixamp is genius, there are fewer wires than the previous Mixamps and all the controls are directly at your fingertips. The only downside is that you will only be able to use it with the Xbox One; also the wire that connects the Mixamp to the headset is enclosed so if it fractures you’re kind of screwed. The wire itself protrudes from the bottom of the Mixamp and at a slight angle, I would expect that ASTRO have done enough tests to ensure that fractures are unlikely and should you suffer one I’m sure the good folk over at support would only be too happy to sort out a replacement or repair – after suffering a fracture with the official Xbox One stereo chat adaptor this is something that bothers me more than it would do most.

The Mixamp’s buttons are well placed; you’ll never be caught fumbling around for the right button. The EQ settings are perfectly pitched and I often cycled between them during games depending on whether I was listening out for other players, running through a level or just immersing myself in a cutscene.

The presence of the headset’s audio is something I wasn’t quite prepared for. Having used a variety of stereo headsets over the years, I thought I had heard it all, but the A40 really places you inside the sound – ok, so not many of us have been to a warzone, but when listening to music it really sounded like the band were there in the room with me.

This brings me on to another standout feature of the A40 – how they work with an iPhone. I’ve found that the iPhone has a nasty habit of making the best headphones sound crap but not even the A40 could be knocked off its game. My music was alive and I wanted to hear my entire iTunes library again to see how different it sounded.

I don’t think I will be wearing the A40 out in public anytime soon though, as much as I like the design I did find that they suffer quite a bit from sound leak – not to worry though, ASTRO have a smaller Bluetooth set that I’m sorely tempted to purchase just for music on my iPhone. There’s even an iOS app that includes a music player, equaliser, manuals, videos, community links and iPhone wallpapers – the app has it all – the music player even allows you to queue up music and create playlists.

Headset tags

Another of ASTRO’s headset features is the speaker tag, customisable cover plates that magnetically snap onto the outside of the headset ear cups. New sets and designs can be purchased from ASTRO and include two plain plates and one that has a mic hole – unfortunately the set included with the A40 only has one of each – the plain plates are for when you don’t have a mic connected.

The mic

The mic itself is on a super flexible boom and can be attached to either ear, using the speaker tag that includes a mic hole. I did find that the mic is actually the weak link in an otherwise perfect headset. While using the Razer Kraken, my friends commented on its mic clarity but when I appeared online with the A40s I was asked if I had a cold! I could still be heard perfectly fine, but I sounded deeper – I did find that I could hear my friends more clearly and even though there’s no voice monitoring, I could also hear my own voice better so I didn’t end up shouting down the mic. With the Kraken I found that the mic was too sensitive with it often picking up my breathing, with the A40 this is not an issue – if the weak link is just that I sounded deeper then I’d consider that to be quite an achievement!

I’ve used a lot of great headsets over the years and without being disrespectful to any of them, ASTRO Gaming has knocked them all out of the park. I can’t recommend the A40 enough, everyone who has had a listen to them has remarked at their clarity and comfort and it only leaves me with one question… is it wrong to love a headset so much?

I must admit to being surprised at the audio clarity and how different my games sounded – everything just sounds so perfect, so alive. The A40 is a premium headset and it’s no wonder why ASTRO owners speak so highly of it, sure the initial outlay is rather daunting (£170) but if you have the pennies for a top of the range headset, look no further than the A40. If you’re after a surround sound solution for your gaming needs then ASTRO Gaming also have an A50 but that’s for another review.

Thanks to ASTRO Gaming for supplying TiX with a review unit