The mixamp is what really piqued our interest in the A40, as its numerous connections make using the audio system viable in just any configuration possible. The front of the mixamp is where you will find a single 3.5” jack for headsets as well a 2.5” jack for connecting the A40 to an Xbox 360 controller. Beneath them lies a red dummy jack that fills the holes of the daisy-chain connector. The A40 system allows anyone with an Astro Gaming mixamp to daisy-chain amps together, creating a secure LAN-like interface for voice communication. This is an interesting feature we could see being somewhat useful for competitive gaming, although normal users probably wouldn’t find much use for it.
The rear of the mixamp is where the magic happens, so to speak. There you will find connections for TOSlink optical, coax, RCA left/right, 3.5” PC microphone output and even an auxiliary input for an MP3 player. The A40 requires a power source since it’s essentially a powered amplifier, so Astro also included a USB connection to allow the mixamp to pull power from either your console or PC. Astro also sells a rechargeable battery pack separately, for gaming on the go.
On the front of the mixamp are the volume dials for both audio and voice levels. When connected to a 360, the voice dial can adjust the balance between voice and in-game noise on the fly. This makes in-game adjustments a breeze, especially considering how quiet Live voice communications can be. The bottom left sports the power button, while the bottom right turns Dolby effects off or on, depending on the users preference. The power button also flashes to indicate a low battery, which helps you know when it’s time to recharge. The mixamp supports Dolby Digital over TOSlink and Dolby Headphone over analog, providing users with some options for achieving surround sound.
Unfortunately, the only thing it seems Astro forgot to throw into the mixamp is the ability to do voice over the PS3. While there are connections for both PC and Xbox 360, to use the A40 for voice communications on the PS3 requires the purchase of a separate connector that takes the PC jacks and converts them to a compatible USB connection. This was probably done to cut costs, however, the mixamp already has a USB port so adding in PS3 functionality could not have been that difficult.