Well, the JVC box and the A40 MixAmp are pretty similar in price and basic function -- so I don't think that anyone will balk at the price it if they were considering the former. I read a little bit about it the other day and while it seemed fine, I was puzzled by the fact that it doesn't let the user power it via USB, or DC wall wart, and it only accepts 2 X AA batteries. While it's nice that it takes half the batteries of the A40 MixAmp, you are stuck with battery power and it's rated for 10 hours (and probably a bit less in actual practice).
Conversely, the A40 accepts USB 2.0 power (and comes with a USB to mini cable to juice it if that's how you want to power it). It also accepts 4 X AA batteries for about 16-20 hours of use -- maybe a little more useful for 15+ hour overseas flights. Lastly, every A40 has a built-in recharging bay for an optional NiMH rechargeable battery pack (in place of the AA batteries), that is recharged via the USB power when in use or in standby mode. All in all, we think its power options are very versatile.
Beyond that, the A40 MixAmp twirls around and does a little song and dance with its myriad of mixer features. It really is a useful little mixer -- you can inject your iPod into the mix and listen to your own music while playing. This can really change the experience more than you'd think -- I played Burnout Revenge while listening to the Katamari Damacy sountrack last week for example -- really strange but interesting.
Obviously it also mixes in a full range of voice communication functions -- Xbox Live communication of course for starters -- but also enables you to set up your own chat channel with the built-in daisy chain connector when you have two or more connected A40's. The difference between Xbox Live and daisy-chained communication is *startling*. This is the demo I give to people that come to the office, if they don't really understand why the A40 is so cool. I let them talk to each other using high-latency, low quality Xbox Live chat, then switch to low latency, high quality daisy-chained chat using the A40's circuitry. They immediately get it.
You see, even in a wired LAN, networked Xbox and Xbox 360s still exhibit a high degree of latency through the chat function -- as bad as 500+ms for the Xbox 360 with wireless controllers. PC's in LAN do this too, esp. when the VoIP program is hosted by a 3rd computer -- worse still if that host is off-site, tangled up in the internet somewhere. When you are sitting right next to someone at a gaming event even a short delay can seem very strange. With daisy chained voice comm, the latency is damn near zero, full duplex, and extremely high quality (much better than land line telephone). In addition, we've added a compression/expansion circuit (so you won't hear someone breathing into the mic, and limits the max output to a sane level if they are screaming into it). We've also added a bit of sidetone, which is important if you have a dual-ear headset voice comm system, but I won't get too into those details.
Maybe you don't care about all of the voice comm/Xbox live gaming stuff, and you just want a nice looking, portable surround processor that's a genuine Dolby product. That's totally cool, and you are free to adapt our very purpose-built gaming device to your home theater application. We sell it separately from the headset.
But for my gamers out there -- isn't it nice that a mainstream consumer electronics user will have to adapt to a gaming-specific device for a change--instead of ALWAYS THE OTHER WAY AROUND?