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The Astro A40 being held by a single hand.

Astro A40 TR review

This promises solid sound quality and comfort, but is this wired headset worth its high price tag?
By
May 19, 2022
7.6
Astro A40 TR
The bottom line
The Astro A40 TR is a solid option for anyone looking for a gaming headset that delivers good sound quality and comfort. This semi-open design is unique and the 3.5mm connector makes it very versatile for any device that supports a traditional headphone jack. It's held back by its price point, however, being beaten by lower-priced headsets.

Astro A40 TR

The Astro A40 TR is a solid option for anyone looking for a gaming headset that delivers good sound quality and comfort. This semi-open design is unique and the 3.5mm connector makes it very versatile for any device that supports a traditional headphone jack. It's held back by its price point, however, being beaten by lower-priced headsets.
Release date

April 11, 2019

Price

Original: $149 USD

Dimensions

20.3 x 19.7 x 9.5 cm (headset)

2m (3.5mm cable)

1.5m (PC splitter)

Weight

369g

Model Number

939-001662

Waterproof

No

What we like
Sound quality
Microphone
Headphone jack (48Ω)
Comfortable for long sessions
Optional add-ons
What we don't like
Design is a little over the top
Price is a bit too high
Add-ons are pricy
7.6
SoundGuys Rating
6.6
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
9.5
6.6
7.0
Bass
9.7
6.3
6.0
Midrange
9.8
4.9
5.0
Highs
9.0
4.3
4.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.5
8.3
8.0
Value
5.0
4.7
5.0
Design
7.8
7.5
8.0
Portability
4.1
7.0
7.0
Feature
6.3
8.0
8.0
Comfort
8.5
8.5
9.0

Audiophiles often champion wired headsets for their lossless audio transmission and usability, but what about the gaming community? The Astro A40 TR (“tournament ready”) was built with esports in mind. This open-back gaming headset has a closed-back look and features a 3.5mm headphone jack connector, microphone, and a solid plastic and metal design, which makes it feel sturdy and robust. It’s an enticing offer for a new gaming headset, and we spent a week with the A40 to see if it’s worth the price.

  • Professional gamers who want a headset that delivers on sound quality and modularity can embrace the expensive A40 TR.
  • Anyone wanting a comfortable headset with a microphone and solid sound quality will like this pricy Astro headset.

What is the Astro A40 TR like to use?

The A40 TR is made primarily with plastic alongside metal accents used to hold the two ear cups to the frame. The headset also features extensive, moderately soft cloth padding on the ear cups and at the top of the headband. The plastic build makes the headset feel cheaper than it should, but does make it quite flexible. Unfortunately, all of this material puts the A40 TR on the heavy side at 369 grams. Despite this, the A40 TR is generally comfortable for long gaming sessions, up to several hours at a time.

The Astro A40 earcup from one side.
The A40 TR features unique detachable ear cup covers that are swappable using magnets.

The headset comes in several different colors, some of which are more subdued (like Black XB and Black PS), but our X-Edition review model features a vibrant red and blue color scheme. No matter which color option you choose, the headset is too large and gaming-oriented for on-the-go use. The microphone isn’t detachable, and the headphones don’t fold up—you can only rotate them to lay flat.

One design feature is a fascinating addition: the ability to swap out the plastic plates on the outside of the ear cups, easily detachable thanks to magnets. You can choose different colors for your headset with the A40 Mod Kit, but this will cost you an extra $59 USD. With the kit, you get synthetic leather ear cushions that improve passive isolation and an extra microphone, along with the closed-back headphone covers that have a silicone baffle to block out noise.

How do you control the Astro A40 TR?

The Astro A40 TR has extremely barebones control options (unless you want to spend a lot more on extras). Unlike some of its competitors using a USB cable and software to expand the features of the headset, the Astro A40 TR has nothing in the way of noise cancelling or additional features. It even lacks any form of built-in volume control! The only control the A40 TR does have is a mute toggle integrated into the cable.

You can outfit the A40 TR with many accessories, among them is the MixAmp Pro TR which is a big module that lets you control the volume for voice and game audio. It’s ideal for streaming as you can broadcast from the stream out port in 2-channel Dolby surround sound. With this, you also get access to Astro Command Center, a software for PC/Mac.

Is the Astro A40 TR good for gaming?

The Astro A40 being worn.
The Astro A40 TR is comfortable and easy to use for long gaming sessions and Discord calls.

The Astro A40 TR delivers a solid gaming experience thanks to its flexible and easy-to-position microphone, as well as its solid sound quality and connectivity options. It’s compatible with a wide range of gaming systems, and is excellent for long Guild Wars 2 sessions with buddies, late-night Discord calls, and playing in heated multiplayer lobbies for hours at a time. Games like Halo 3, Final Fantasy XV, and Fallout 4 all sound quite enjoyable, with a satisfying representation of each game’s soundscape.

How does the Astro A40 TR connect?

The A40 TR connects using a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which opens it up to compatibility with any device that supports this long-held standard. This includes compatibility with the PlayStation 5 and PS4, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (in handheld mode), Steam Deck, laptops, gaming PCs, and (some) mobile phones. The headset includes a splitter that changes the TRRS jack into a TRS audio output and TRS microphone input connector. Unlike some of its competitors, the  A40 TR does have a detachable cable, although it may be difficult to replace due to its non-standard connector.

How well does the Astro A40 TR block out noise?

The Astro A40 isolation chart, showing fairly standard isolation in the mid and high end.
The Astro A40 TR isn’t great at muffling outside sounds and conversations.

The Astro A40 TR is a semi-open back headset, so it’s not supposed to entirely block out your environment. Even though the headphone plates create a shield between you and the outside environment, there is no baffling on the inside with any kind of insulation (we’ve seen something similar with the HiFiMan Edition S). You get an open-back-like sound and the option to enjoy a closed-back experience if you purchase the aforementioned A40 Mod Kit.

Due to the lack of internal baffling on the pre-installed ear cup plates, outside noise such as street-level car engines and AC hum is barely impacted. You’ll be able to hear conversations and music in the same room will often filter through. Depending on the volume, people near you will also likely have no trouble hearing whatever you’ve got playing, too.

How does the Astro A40 TR sound?

A graph of the Astro A40 frequency response, showing a fairly good match for our ideal curve but with some deviance in the high end.
The Astro A40 TR (cyan) follows our ideal consumer curve (pink) fairly closely, with some deviation in the high end.

The Astro A40 TR follows our house target frequency response curve fairly closely. The sub-bass is slightly lacking, and the low midrange is slightly exaggerated in a way that sometimes gives extra prominence to instruments like electric guitars whose fundamentals lie in the range 60-500Hz. The deviation in the high end of the frequency spectrum from 4kHz to the upper end of the headset’s range primarily impacts cymbals and hi-hats, but also affects the overall tone. This divergence doesn’t harm the headset too much for casual listening, but it does prevent it from being viewed as a serious contender when it comes to sound quality. This is okay—it’s not marketed as an audiophile’s delight.

Low, mids, and highs

The headset performs admirably when it comes to bass-heavy songs. Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz sounds excellent thanks to its emphasis on lower frequency sounds, with the kick and bass shining through clearly. The headset falters with songs that have mixes that are more even across the frequency spectrum, however, such as Sleep Now in the Fire by Rage Against The Machine. Here, the bass isn’t as present and the guitars and cymbals aren’t conveyed with the tone and clarity that I’m used to, primarily due to the inconsistent treble response. The higher strings in an orchestral track like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 also sound slightly less present than I usually expect.

How is the Astro A40 TR microphone?

Astro A40 microphone frequency response chart showing fairly even response across the spectrum before a sharp decline around 8Khz.
The Astro A40 TR has an above-average response for a gaming headset microphone, with a sharp decline around 8kHz.

The A40 TR’s microphone is well built for a gaming headset. It’s attached to the side of the headset and flips down, rotating around the ear cup. It’s easy to manipulate closer or further away from your mouth, which makes it easy to set a distance that works well for your voice. From a subjective standpoint, we tested it in several Discord calls where it performed quite adequately—the mic is loud and clear, though verges on audible distortion at times. Since there’s no onboard signal processing, noise from your surroundings won’t be suppressed at all. Listen below and judge the microphone’s quality for yourself:

Astro A40 TR microphone demo (Ideal):

Astro A40 TR microphone demo (Office):

How does the microphone sound to you?

85 votes

Should you buy the Astro A40 TR?

The Astro A40 sitting on a table.
The A40 TR is a fairly solid headset, but considering the price, there are certainly some better options that won’t hurt your wallet as much.

The Astro A40 TR delivers on several key areas that are important for a gaming headset. It’s versatile, and usable with a wide range of gaming platforms and other devices. It has pretty good sound, as well as a solid microphone. The design may be off-putting to some, but the color scheme is definitely a matter of preference.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with the Astro A40 TR is simply that it’s more expensive than other headsets that deliver on similar features. Plus, those who want even the most basic of extras will have to pay quite a bit more. If you’re an Astro fan, more power to you, but you might want to look at your other options first.

Astro A40 on a white background.
Astro A40 TR
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What should you get instead of the Astro A40 TR?

Our first recommendation for an alternative gaming headset is the Razer BlackShark V2, a headset that matches the  A40 TR for sound quality and comfort, but exceeds it for features thanks to the USB connectivity and Razer Synapse software. Another option is the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3, which has a very similar sound profile to the Astro A40 TR, but is both cheaper and lighter. The ATH-GL3 also has the same 3.5mm headphone jack connector as the A40 TR, making it compatible with all the same devices.

Frequently asked questions about the Astro A40 TR

The A40 TR features detachable panels on either ear cup that are attached with magnets. Astro advertises these as “customizable speaker tags” that can be easily detached and swapped out to style the headset to the user’s liking. They’re exceptionally easy to switch out and change around without being so easy to remove that they fall off, and new parts are available from Astro’s website.