Wait, listen, did you hear that?
In today's modern shooters, things move way too fast. You could be at full health one moment, an in the next instant you could be filled with bullets from any number of rifles. There's zero time to guess where shots are coming from and stereo sound just doesn't cut it. If shots are being fired behind you, left and right speakers won't do the job. That's why you see MLG players with those huge Astro Gaming A40 headsets over their ears. If you're not such a leet gamer and don't plan on joining a pro circuit anytime soon, you'll probably want to look into Astro Gaming's A30 audio systems instead.
[image1]There are small but noticeable differences between the A40s and A30s. The first thing you'll notice is the sound. A30s have a deeper, fuller sound. A40s are tuned for a higher emphasis on gunshots for the pros, while the A30s are well-rounded for a ton of different uses.
They're also a lot smaller, featuring a more compact design. The headset still fits over your ears but doesn't look like it swallows up half of your face. The A30 design also allows for interchangeable speaker tags like the A40s do. You can also order different covers for your headsets to show off your different moods. That may not seem like a huge selling point, but you'll want to show off your A30s at the next gamer-function you go to. It's best to individualize.
Astro Gaming doesn't call the A30 a "system" for nothing. There are a lot of pieces to set up before you first enjoy 7.1 surround sound. The first piece of the wireless puzzle is Astro's home base unit. This is where the optical audio cable from your console of choice will plug into the system. That base unit broadcasts the audio from your entertainment center to the wireless MixAmp. Astro's latest MixAmp eliminates every bit of interference you could encounter and also includes a Bass Expander mode to really turn up the explosions. The MixAmp has a nice big, clicky dial to pinpoint your volume level as well as a smaller dial to balance voice levels and sound levels.
[image2]Easily the biggest selling point I can emphasize about the A30s is how well they work for nearly everything you'll want to listen to. Music, movies, and games all sound great. The A30 system also includes support for your iPhone and other mobile devices. Obviously not everything you have will support 7.1 surround sound, but it will all sound fantastic with the A30 headset. What's more, the included boom mic is detachable and the iPhone cable includes a button to answer calls. The inline microphone will allow you to chat with your phone or in game and keep you from looking or sounding like a total jackass.
While the A30 set is amazing for all games (not just shooters) and functions excellently with a number of other devices, there is the small matter of the price. All of the A30 wireless equipment runs $230. If you want any other accessories like rechargeable batteries or a PS3 chat cable (which you will), you'll need to shell out for those too. That means the complete A30 package runs around $250. But frankly, you get what you pay for.
The A30s are pretty much the highest end of the gaming audio spectrum, also carrying one of the highest price tags. The A30s benefit from all the equipment in the package. Not only can you hear the quality you're paying for, but you'll also feel like you got all the components you need. You'll hardly want to take them off.