There's one part of the Astro Gaming A40 TR headset that really stands out: the Mixamp. This little box that Astro includes with some of its headsets might be just the thing you've been looking for and don't even know it.
I'd long wanted a way to have all my console audio mixed with all my PC audio with no latency issues in either direction. That's where the Mixamp comes — it allows you to do things like use Discord or Skype for your party chat, while still hearing everything that's happening in your console games and get the benefit of virtual surround sound.
Astro has a couple of different versions, one geared towards the Xbox One and one for PS4. In both cases, the Mixamp basic setup is the same, and both console versions work with the PC.
What you need
If you buy an Astro Gaming headset with the Mixamp included, you'll already have all the equipment you need. If you don't have everything, here's how it all breaks down:
- Astro Gaming Mixamp TR ($130) (opens in new tab)
- Optical Audio cable($6) (opens in new tab)
- Micro USB cable ($5) (opens in new tab)
- Gaming headset or headphones
Once you've assembled all the bits you need, the other thing to do is download the Astro Command Center (opens in new tab) application for your PC. It's not essential, but it's how you change audio settings on the Mixamp as well as update its firmware, so it's highly recommended.
How to set up the Astro Gaming Mixamp for PC and console audio
The goal here is to have native console audio and all the PC audio coming through the same headset. This means you can use PC apps for party chat and hear other sounds like stream alert notifications without compromising on the quality of the audio you're hearing from your console game.
By using the Mixamp there are no latency issues and you're still able to take advantage of directional audio and virtual surround sound. Here's how to set it up.
- Connect one end of the optical audio cable to the port on the rear of the console.
- Connect the other end to the optical port on the Mixamp.
- Connect the micro USB cable to its port on the Mixamp.
- Connect the USB-A end of the same cable to a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on your PC.
- Connect your gaming headset or headphones to the 3.5mm jack on the Mixamp.
It's important to remember to connect the headset before you do anything, as the Mixamp will detect it isn't there and you'll see a bunch of red lights.
Now all you have to do is point your Windows default audio towards the Mixamp. In the bottom right-hand corner of the desktop, you need to select it as default by clicking on the speaker icon. This means that every sound that comes from your PC will be routed through the Mixamp and into your headset. If you use a program like Voicemeeter Banana to handle your PC audio, set the Mixamp as one of your hardware outputs.
The optical audio output from the console will deliver the same thing, mixing the two together in your ears in perfect harmony. From here you just need to use the hardware volume controls on the Mixamp to set the overall volume, the mix between game and voice and the presets you may have setup in the Astro Command Center application.
What this method doesn't do is allow you to use party chat on the console, because the USB connection to the Xbox or PS4 is needed to deliver the microphone input. The 'regular' setup (opens in new tab) of the Mixamp Pro where the stream output is used to funnel console audio into a PC would be better here. Or you could try a splitter cable (opens in new tab) to connect the headset to both the Mixamp as above and to the controller.
But the setup as detailed above will give you your full, native console audio mixed in with your full PC audio which is perfect for streamers, for example, to get the best experience on both pieces of hardware. The Mixamp TR comes bundled with the A40 headset (opens in new tab) for around $250, or you can buy it on its own and use with your current headset for $130.
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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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