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ASTRO A40 vs Arctis 9X (2021): Which Gaming Headset Is Better?

Top tier gaming headsets amplify immersive video game experiences with incredible sound quality without the discomfort from long gaming sessions. The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition and SteelSeries Arctis 9X are prime examples that meet these requirements, making them highly sought after by gamers everywhere. If you’re still undecided which gaming headset to choose, here’s a side by side comparison of the ASTRO A40 TR and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X.

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ASTRO A40 vs Arctis 9X Comparison Chart

ModelASTRO A40 TR X-EditionSteelSeries Arctis 9X
 Amazon product
PriceAmazon product
Frequency Response20 Hz – 20 kHz20 Hz – 20 kHz
DriverNeodymium 40 mmNeodymium 40 mm
MicrophoneUnidirectional, voice-isolating, flip-to-muteBidirectional, ClearCast noise-canceling, retractable
Positional AudioWindows Sonic Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos for HeadphonesWindows Sonic Spatial Audio
SoftwareASTRO Command CenterSteelSeries Engine 3
ConnectivityBase stationXbox Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Battery Lifen/aOver 20 hours
CompatibilityPC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series XXbox One, Xbox Series X, Mobile
ColorRed and blackBlack and green
Weight0.8 lbs0.8 lbs

Design and Comfort

The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is slightly more comfortable than the SteelSeries Arctis 9X.

The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition (left) has a sharp look while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X (right) looks sleeker in comparison.

Weighing nearly exactly the same at 8 pounds, the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition and SteelSeries Arctis 9X will apply similar weight on your head when worn. However, that’s where their similarities end for the most part. For one, the A40 TR is a wired open-back gaming headset with swappable boom mic while the Arctis 9X is a wireless closed-back headset with retractable mic. Their overall aesthetics are also quite distinctive, with the Arctis 9X looking a lot more subtle and minimalistic than the ASTRO A40 TR X.

Comfort-wise, the A40 TR has a slight advantage in having larger ear cups and a pressure-free fit. It feels noticeably cooler than the Arctis 9X during long gaming sessions. The cloth cover of the ear cushions are backed by synthetic leather for a nice combination of comfort and acoustic performance. Meanwhile, the AirWeave ear cushions of the Arctis 9X performs better if you’re on the go. The ski-goggle headband keeps the headset nicely secured without adding strain on your head.

The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition has even more flair than other gaming headsets: you can personalize it with the Speaker Tag system. ASTRO’s website has a customizer that lets you design your own speaker tag or use one of the special editions. The swappable boom mic can be attached to either left or right ear cup, though in terms of portability, the Arctis 9X has the advantage of being wireless along with a mic you can hide when not in use.

Performance

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X has better sound quality than the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition.

If you like thundering booms, the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition (left) has a heavier bass profile than the SteelSeries Arctis 9X (right).

The SteelSeries Arctis line has gained wide recognition as one of the best sounding gaming headphones due to their impressive mid and treble accuracy, resulting in crisp sound and crystal in-game audio effects. The Arctis 9X delivers this in full, along with excellent noise isolation and native 3D spatial audio. Its ClearCast mic has a bidirectional design that provides sufficient noise cancellation to ensure your voice is captured clearly and sounds natural to others. With the on-ear ChatMix controls, you’ll be able to get the right balance of game and chat volume levels easily.

If you want booming bass though, the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is more powerful in this aspect. However, it doesn’t perform as well in loud environments due to weak noise isolation. Still, it has a slightly better passive soundstage, creating a more immersive 3D sound. As such, the sound leakage from the A40 TR is much more noticeable than the Arctis 9X. The swappable boom microphone is uni-directional only, though it’s highly sensitive to your voice, singling it out from background noise.

Interestingly, the A40 TR X-Edition can be transformed from open-back headset to a noise-isolating closed-back version using ASTRO’s Mod Kit. It’s a separate purchase that includes a voice-isolating microphone, closed-back speaker tags, noise-cancelling ear cushions and a padded headband.

Compatibility

The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is compatible with more platforms than the SteelSeries Arctis 9X.

The A40 TR headset comes with a mobile cable and PC splitter.

For a cross-platform gaming headset, the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is the logical choice. It’s optimized for the PlayStation 4, Xbox and Windows 10 PCs. This makes it highly versatile if you play videogames on more than one platform. In comparison, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is exclusive to the Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles. It has integrated Xbox wireless connectivity, so it can pair instantly with the console like a wireless controller.

The Arctis 9X headset has its own advantage, however, in having Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to pair it with mobile devices and enjoy music on the go. Additionally, you can connect it to the Xbox and Bluetooth simultaneously so you can take calls while gaming. On-ear buttons provide the necessary controls to mix in audio volumes and handle phones calls.

Battery Life

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X has 20+ hours of battery life while the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition has no wireless connectivity.

The Arctis 9X is designed for the Xbox Series and One consoles but it’s also compatible with mobile devices.

As a wired gaming headset, you won’t need to worry about the ASTRO A40 TR X’s battery life. Simply plug and play to get rocking game music and directional sound effects. That also means having to mind its 1 meter cable length, which is a non-issue for wireless headsets like the Arctis 9X.

With a 20+ hour battery life, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X offers plenty of fuel for your gaming sessions. It’s almost double that of most wireless Xbox headsets thanks to power efficient technology. The included USB charging cable can also jump in for emergency wired headset rescue in case you run low during an important match.

Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X is better for Xbox gamers while the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is recommended for other platforms.

Amazon product

While it’s the better sounding pair of cans in this comparison, the narrow compatibility of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X means it’s really only meant for Xbox One X and Xbox Series X gamers. That does mean you’re getting a fantastic wireless gaming headset with superb audio quality as well as mobile capabilities. If you game on other platforms, the ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition stands out among the competition with its stylish flair and impressive performance. It’s a comfortable wired headset that feels light even during long hours of play, plus you’ve got customization options, too.

FAQs

📌 Is the Arctis 9X worth it?

The hefty price tag of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is well worth it if you’re after superior sound quality and comfort. It’s a premium wireless gaming headset that will definitely outperform other non-premium options.

📌 Is the Arctis 9X surround sound?

Yes, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X wireless gaming headset supports all surround sound types on the Xbox.

📌 Is the Astro A40 worth it?

The ASTRO A40 TR X-Edition is worth its cost if you want clear and crisp audio quality that’s compatible with a wider range of gaming platforms.

📌 Should I get the ASTRO A40 or A50?

With their relatively similar performance, the most impactful factor you need to consider when choosing between the ASTRO A40 and A50 is whether you want a wireless or wired gaming headset.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.