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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 706

post #10576 of 38649
Thread Starter 
Holy ****, the browser JUST closed on me as I was writing the review.

I am PEEVED right now, that was like two hours of work...gone.
post #10577 of 38649

Ooh, not cool. Had you previewed it at any point during writing it up?  Your browser cache might have an earlier copy stored if you did.

post #10578 of 38649
Thread Starter 
No. Ugh. I KNEW I should have written it on the Notepad first. Sigh. My own stupid mistake.
post #10579 of 38649

Bummer. frown.gif You could take a gaming break, then come back to it later feeling refreshed!


And hey, maybe the rewrite will allow you to come to additional conclusions to add to the review.

post #10580 of 38649
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Yeah, I was also surprised at how small the Magni and Modi were. Stacked together they are around the size as Fiio E9/E9K alone.


OK, that's impressive, especially considering I keep hearing that the Magni is comparable in power to the E9. I may have to sell the MLE Limited Edition E9 that I have and pick up that set after moving in a few months. Alas, due to that and my wedding my wallet is locked away from my audio lust right now.

post #10581 of 38649
Thread Starter 
Lol, that poor E9. That's a first gen! biggrin.gif

Take a pic of it, I wanna see what you did to the knob. tongue.gif
post #10582 of 38649
Apparently the Philips X1 is gonna debut stateside at $250... If the Engadget CES blurb is accurate anyway.

That's quite the alluring pricepoint, pits it more against the Beyers, HD 598, and Q701 than something like the HE-400 or AKG Annie's. I'm more tempted than ever to pick 'em up once they're finally available, would love to be able to have both them and my DT 880 for a while to compare.

Plans to upgrade my HT front speakers and move the current ones to my room may have just flown out the window. tongue.gif
Edited by Impulse - 1/7/13 at 2:54pm
post #10583 of 38649
Thread Starter 
REALLY? Hmm... looks like the HE-400 is on it's way out, hahaha. I won't be able to resist at that price point.

Boricua, representando. wink.gif

Rio Piedras, baby.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/13 at 3:10pm
post #10584 of 38649
Originally Posted by Impulse View Post

Apparently the Philips X1 is gonna debut stateside at $250... If the Engadget CES blurb is accurate anyway.


"Of course, Phillips wouldn't forget headphones, and two models stood out to us the most. First up, the X1 is it's latest set of audiophile cans. These open-backed cans feature 50mm drivers and over-ear design, all of which are essentially par the course for this category. While we weren't able to asses the audio quality, we were pleased to find that the depth inside of the earcups is plentiful. This meant nothing was pushing against our ears, negating any fears of cartilage cramps for long listening sessions. You can expect to pay $250 for 'em when they're available this month."



Sweet!  I hope that price is correct.

post #10585 of 38649

Schiit Magni/Modi Review:


post #10586 of 38649
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

Schiit Magni/Modi Review:


He puts too much stock on cables, saying 30 dollar printer style cables that aren't garbage. You gotta be kidding me.

Also I disagree about bass heavy headphones not pairing up well with the Magni. I think the clean sound it puts out helps bass heavy headphones which tend to muck up details. If anything, I woild stay away from treble heavy cans, as the Schiit stack is slightly treble heavy. It pairs up better with smooth headphones.
post #10587 of 38649

At least it's one of the guest reviewers.  I couldn't imagine all the kinds of tomfoolery we'd be reading if it were Mike.

post #10588 of 38649
Thread Starter 
I'm nearly done with the review of the A40 (Mixamp will have to come later), but I have other things to do, so it'll be put on hold until probably tomorrow. I'd say it's about 75% done.

I would have been done if it weren't for my browser crashing earlier. That NEVER happens to me. rolleyes.gif
post #10589 of 38649
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

He puts too much stock on cables, saying 30 dollar printer style cables that aren't garbage. You gotta be kidding me.


I agree.


"This $200 DAC and amp Combo becomes more like $250-275 when you factor the need for higher quality RCA cables for use with expensive headphones, as well as a decent USB cable for the Modi. My cheap Monoprice RCA interconnects sound atrocious with the Magni and Modi."


rolleyes.gif *rolls eyes*   I doubt that.


I've used a $0.99 RCA to 3.5mm interconnect I got at the dollar store and it didn't sound atrocious right next to my high quality SonicWave Dual RCA Interconnect.


And there is no way in hell I'm paying over $30 for a USB cable.  I stick with my garbage USB cable.



Reminds me of this:



Odin Supreme Reference Analog Interconnect

The Odin Supreme Reference Interconnect uses eight of our revolutionary Total Signal Control (TSC) tubes - each carrying a 23 AWG Dual Mono-Filament conductor with 85 microns of extruded silver over 99.99999% oxygen free copper. The eight conductors are precisely wound in a spiral pattern around a central spacer, which contains two extruded silver over OFC drain wires to create a cable of unprecedented consistency and geometrical precision, perfect shielding yet manageable flexibility. The ODIN Interconnect cables are offered with a special oversize 10 mm WBT NEXTGEN silver-plated copper RCA connector or, for balanced operation, a specially machined silver-plated Furutech XLR connector. These connectors offer a low-mass design that reduces eddy currents and produces the best available interface and impedance matching between the cable and the attached components.


"The crazy thing is, that even on a whole system costing less than a single pair of Odin interconnects the benefits are so stunningly obvious!"

post #10590 of 38649
Thread Starter 
Rolling my eyes isn't enough. I need a facepalm paired up with a rolling eyes image.

Not completely finished, but here's most of it. Fixes and additions to come later.
Astro A40 (*headset*)

Sells for $249.99 (w/Mixamp 2013 Edition), $199.99 (headset alone)


Before I get started, I really want to thank Skullcandy for getting in contact with me and giving me the chance to review the SLYR, as well as the A40+Mixamp 2013 Edition, and A50s on their Astrogaming side.... They have been very communicative, and understanding. Can't thank them enough.

Aah, things have come full circle. Back in 2009, the Astro A40+Mixamp bundle was my very first foray into headphone gaming. While they weren't what truly started the obsession as you all know it today (that goes to the AD700s, as they were a real eye-opener), the A40 was the first recommendation I was ever given. While I wasn't impressed by the bass light, hollow sound coming off the A40s, the Mixamp which became the most important purchase I had ever made in audio. So even though I didn't love the A40s, that bundle was the very beginning.

The current A40 Audio System comes with the Mixamp 2013 Edition, which brings in the addition of an Equalizer/preset button, to customize the sound on whatever headphone you have plugged in. The presets benefit the A40s greatly, as I will touch upon in the review. This review of the A40 will be when paired to the Mixamp 2013, compared to my other reviews which have been with the Mixamp 5.8. Makes more sense, as anyone interested in the A40 will more than likely buy it as a bundle with the Mixamp 2013 Edition. The differences in the Mixamps are that the 5.8 is slightly brighter and thinner sounding (a little clearer sounding overall), while the Mixamp 2013 Edition is warmer and thicker (which I find more beneficial to thin sounding headphones). The packaging is very well-crafted, and artistic. Astro surely knows how to present their items like no other headset company.

Upon first listen, I found that the A40s are quite warm and bass emphasized. A radical departure from the thin, cold, and hollow sounding old school A40s. The A50s are very bass heavy and muddy in it's innate sound signature, which the A40 thankfully isn't. Still, the A40s are not as balanced as I would have liked. That being said, the Mixamp's Media and Pro presets boosted the A40's clarity to really good levels, where I didn't find the A40s to lack in clarity for competitive gaming. The Core (flat) preset left the fun, general A40 signature, which worked quite well for non-competitive gaming. I dabbled in competitive gaming with the Core preset, and although not as detailed, was quite passable, so some people may not even need the other, clearer presets.

Build Quality: Build-wise, I felt the parts used were pretty high quality. Astro made a pretty reliable looking headset here. Nothing looks or feels cheap. The plastic used looks high-grade, and looks like it can take a beating. I'd still handle it with care, however. The only area of 'weakness' that I'd be wary of, is the headband padding piece which sort of 'floats' in the center of the headband. Doesn't look like it'd be a problem, but it's the only area I can see that would probably be the first to give out with rough treatment.

The A40s swivel inward, so you can lay them flat if you need a breather. I find them very comfy letting them rest on my shoulders/neck area, which is rare compared to the vast majority of audiophile headphones which have huge cups, won't swivel, etc. The speaker tags covering the cups can be removed for a more open sound (more on that later). The boom mic is also removable, and can be placed on either cup. The cable is also removable. I attempted to use my own 3.5mm cables, but wasn't able to get any good sound. I believe it's due to the 'channels' being a bit deep into the cups to reach by standard cables, which only the Astro's supplied cables can reach properly.

Comfort: I must have a ginormous head, as I have to wear the A40 fully extended. That, or they don't have enough give. On the opposite side of the size spectrum, the PC360 has enough extension to fit the head of a giant. I wish more headphones allowed that much freedom in size. The A40/A50 is comfortable, but they are at their limit with my head. It could use just a bit more extension, in my opinion. The pads are made of cloth/velour-like material, which is to say, they are quite comfy to my ears, and won't be heat building/sweat-inducing like typical pleather. I've felt better, but they do their job well.

Accessories: Will be updated at a later time.

Isolation/Leakage: In terms of letting sound in/out, I find the A40s to perform...decently. I do hear a fair amount of leakage, so I wouldn't crank these loudly if someone is near me sleeping. As far as keeping external noise out, I found that while using the A40s, it did a decent job overall. I wasn't truly bothered by external noise, though it's not particularly great at it. I blame the cloth pads, which sacrifices isolation/noise leakage protection for extra comfort/less sweat inducing.If you're like me and prefer to use the A40s with the speaker tags removed, isolation/leakage is even worse, as it functions more like an open headphone.

Microphone: While I'm not too experienced with microphones, I didn't have any issues with my tests. It picks up my voice well. The microphone is long, pliable, and one of the better mics I have used. I don't see anyone having issues with this mic. The microphone is muted when placed upright, similar to the PC360. Much better than having to press a button.

Bass: The bass is a bit emphasized over the rest of the frequencies (easy to notice when using the A40 for music), but not as much as the A50s. Removing the speaker tags allows the bass to decay a little faster, which I find beneficial. The bass is strong and ever present, but not obnoxious. I personally prefer less bass on a gaming headset, as I feel headsets should be balanced all around. Too much bass muddies up details, which is never good in competitive gaming. The A40s are respectable in it's details, even with it's bass. The Mixamp has the Pro and Media presets which make the innate bass emphasis a non-issue.

Mids: The mids are a bit recessed and pushed back due to the bass via default, but the Pro and Media presets bring out the mids quite a bit. The A40's innate sound signature could use more mid forwardness, but I've heard much worse.

Treble: I find the treble to be a strong suit on the A40s. It's neither too emphasized, nor too recessed. It's in a pretty balanced region for my taste. Not overly refined, but for a headset, it's in a good place.

Soundstage: As a pre-dominantly closed headset, with slight openness, I find the soundstage to be decently sized. Not as closed sounding as the SLYR, and not as spacious and large as the PC360. Removing the speaker tags adds just a hint more air, which is beneficial to the soundstage, though ultimately, the effect is minimal. It could use more depth and width to better aid the positional cues, but it's quite respectable for a partially open headset.

Positioning: Due to the decent soundstage, positional cues are pretty good. I personally found positional cues to be pretty easy to pinpoint, but not on par with the better headset and headphones. For the purpose of all-around gaming, I doubt there will be much to complain about here.

Clarity: The innate sound signature of the A40 is on the bass heavy, and warm side, and I found it a bit lacking in terms of details. However, the Mixamp's Media and Pro presets are quite detailed, greatly aiding the overall clarity. I also found clarity to be passable for gaming in the Core (flat) preset for fun gaming. It's no PC360, but the Mixamp's good presets boosts the A40's clarity to very good levels.

Amping: I found the A40 needs no additional amping past what the Mixamp provides.

Value: At $249.99 for the A40+Mixamp bundle, I find it to be an exceptional value. You are essential paying $130 for the Mixamp, and $120 for the A40s. At $120, the A40 is a pretty good headset overall, which benefits a lot from the Mixamp. At $199.99 for the A40 alone, I would not recommend it, as it is in a price range with some truly amazing headsets/headphones like the PC360, HD598, Q701, DT990, etc.

Final Impressions: The A40+Mixamp bundle is more than likely all that many gamers will ever need for all forms of worry free gaming. The bundle offers the ability to have both fun and competitive sound everyone can enjoy. The A40s are a solid headset overall with few shortcomings.

Final Scores...

Fun: 7.5. Very Good. The innate sound signature has lively bass, with an enjoyable balance of the other frequencies.

Competitive: 7.5. Very good. Since people will undoubtedly pair the A40 with the Mixamp 2013 edition, the Mixamp has two presets (Media and Pro) that enhance clarity of details, greatly aiding calrity for competitive gaming. The positional cues/soundstage aren't the best, but they will perform quite well.

Comfort: 7.5. Very good. A pretty comfortable headset all around. No problem wearing them for hours on end, with just a few occasional times of re-adjusting them. My only complaint is that it could use a bit more extension for larger heads, as I have to wear it fully extended.

Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/13 at 4:48pm
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