A common trend that I’ve noticed in the gaming community is that when asked “who makes the best headset”, the answer is almost always unanimously “Astro does”.Â Now, I’m not new to the gaming scene by any means, but it always intrigued me as to how this was the case.Â Never one to really delve into the depths of high-performance audio equipment, I never realized how the right headset could single-handedly transform an ordinary gaming session into an experience.Â The Astro A30′s do just that.
While the industry consensus is that the A40′s are the best headset for gaming, my eyes were focused on the newer A30′s.Â The reasoning behind this is because the A30′s are touted as the perfect cross-gaming headset and highly mobile.Â This seemed to suit me perfectly as I do my share of console gaming, but I also listen to my mp3 player a lot on-the-go.Â Ideally, the A30′s would be my new solution for everything audio, no matter the circumstance.Â I’m oh-so happy to report that this is exactly the case.
Upon unboxing the headset, the first thing I noticed is that taking apart the Astro packaging is an experience in itself.Â All of the boxes were incredibly well-presented, and after opening the contents of one, I was like a kid on Christmas morning – eager to open the next.Â The second thing I noticed is that it comes with a lot of stuff, however, part of this is because of the Mixamp which I’ll touch on in a bit.
After attaching the speaker tags, I had to take these babies for a quick test run.Â I found the proper cord, and fired up my iTunes.Â Before I knew it, I was picking my jaw up off the floor.Â The Astro A30′s hit me with sound quality that I had never experienced before.Â I’m not much of an audiophile in regards to the specifics of audio settings, but I do know that never before have I listened to music where the vocals are as sharp, the guitars ring out as clear, and the bass and kick are as crisp.Â Simply put, I’ve never really been able to pick out the different layers of a song as easily as I can with the A30s on.
Since that first experience, I’ve had the A30s at my side (or rather, around my neck) almost constantly.Â I’ve had stretches where I’ve worn them for hours straight with absolutely no discomfort.Â In fact, sometimes I forgot they were there altogether.Â The A30s sit on-ear, as opposed to the A40s which are circumaural.Â Some people may have a problem with this, but I experienced absolutely none.Â Additionally, when worn around the neck, you can always find a comfortable position, mostly due to the fact that the earpieces swivel almost a full 180 degrees.
As we all know, gaming headsets have two primary qualities – the audio, which we’ve covered, and the communication/mic.Â Not at all surprisingly, Astro gets high marks for this, as well.Â To cover all bases, the A30s come with two different microphones.Â The first is the detachable boom mic.Â This is for dedicated gaming sessions when communication is paramount.Â It works wonderfully, with all parties being able to hear me clearly when it was tested out.Â For more mobile purposes, the A30s come equipped with an in-line microphone.Â This way, you can take calls from it if you wish.Â Personally, I don’t have a lot of use for this mic, but I did test it out in party chat just to see how it worked.Â The consensus is that it’s a little quiet, probably because it hangs down a bit, but other than that it performs just fine.Â To toggle between the two microphones, there’s a switch on the in-line mic.Â Certainly easy enough to use, but if all the features of the A30s ever have you confused, they come with a manual that is remarkably simple to understand.
Now to the bread and butter of the Astro Gaming experience.Â One thing that all owners of an Astro headset had told me is that I need to get a Mixamp if I get a pair of A30s or A40s.Â I didn’t really understand why, up until I actually played around with the Mixamp.Â If this were The Big Lebowski, the Mixamp is the Dude’s rug – that is to say, it really ties everything together.
The purpose of the Mixamp is simple, really.Â It lets you control the level between the game audio and voice communication, tailored specifically to your liking.Â On top of this, it lets you control the master volume of your game.Â While this all may sound very basic, it’s an absolutely critical piece of the puzzle.Â Let’s take Left 4 Dead 2 as a quick example – to play L4D2 at the highest level, you need to be able to hear your teammates, yet also be able to hear the boomer that’s right around the corner.Â It’s no coincidence that the ones to first call out where the special infected are, are always the ones wearing the Astro products.Â With the Mixamp, you can find the perfect balance to allow you to excel.Â Also, it’s worth noting that the Mixamp is actually required for use with consoles.
Right out of the box, the Mixamp comes with a bevy of wires that will have you ready, regardless of your situation.Â It’s equipped with the cords to hook up consoles, PCs, mp3 players, and the audio cables to run from the Mixamp to your tv.Â However, if you want the absolute best sound, you’ll want to buy a TOSlink Optical Cable.Â The only real drawback to this headset is that once you’re completely connected, it feels like there are cords everywhere.Â Less importantly, it seems that the Mixamp may go through batteries rather quickly (4 AA’s at a time), so it may be a good investment to pick up some rechargeables.Â Fortunately, both of these issues are pretty minor once you hear the audio infiltrate your ears.
After spending less than a week with my new Astro A30s, I’m completely sold on them.Â Actually, I was sold immediately, but the rest of the time did nothing but solidify my opinion.Â Whether it’s a mobile, high-quality, stylin’, headset you crave, or one that helps you game like a professional, the A30s deliver on both accounts.Â While the price for both the headset and the Mixamp may be a bit high, you get exactly what you pay for.Â Besides that, I guarantee you won’t feel a bit of buyer’s remorse, as it will probably be the last headset you will ever want to buy.
A review sample of the A30s was provided by Astro Gaming.