ASTRO Video Gaming Equipment, http://www.astrogaming.com
Score: 9 out of 10
The Astro Mixamp 5.8 is one of those rare products that cross the chasm between Matt the Reviewer’s life and Matt’s life. In other words, I like this little wireless audio system enough that I want to use it. It’s not that I’m forced to write reviews, but there is a difference between products I use long enough to review and products that become part of my life. I usually say, “It takes 10-20 hours of playing/testing to get enough info for a good review. If I find myself coming back to a product or game even after it’s reviewed, then that is one helluva product.
So there you have it. That’s my review. One helluva product.
Astro already had a product called the Mixamp on the market that has been high successful on the pro gaming circuit, but it is a wired amp. The next logical step was a wireless amp and transmitter. It was insanely simple to hook up. I just used the included optical cable to connect to my Rotel A/V controller and powered the unit on and I was in business. I used a pair of Astro A30 headphones during my testing – they are really good gaming headphones, maybe the best I’ve listened to in the sub $100 market. I also used my beloved Etymotic ER-4P in ear headphones. Both sounded great with the Mixamp 5.8, although the Bass Expander feature (which adds the equivalent of a subwoofer’s rumbling bass) worked much better with the A30’s. The A30’s have a built in mic so with another cable to the PS3 I could have the full game/voice experience. Incidentally, the MixAmp 5.8 and A30 bundle is available for $199.95 until 1/11/11.
The MixAmp 5.8 has only a few controls: volume, the game/voice balance control, on, and surround on. Game/voice control comes in handy because it allowed me to fine tune the volume of the other morons who were yelling at me during multiplayer Call of Duty.
Overall, I love the MixAmp 5.8 and the A30 headphones. This is the best wireless audio setup I’ve listened to. I think that it’s well worth the $229.95. And I’ll let you in on a secret. The other night I set them up for my girlfriend to watch some Real Housewives crap on TV – and then I didn’t have to listen to the insipid bantering. Oh, that was sweet! I think that if the MixAmp 5.8 can save me from that assault (plus save her from my assault on Khe San), then the utility far surpasses the cost.