Audeze Mobius headset review: Head-tracking mastery

4 weeks ago 21
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(Pocket-lint) - It isn't always the easiest thing to have your gaming headset stand out from the crowd, but Audeze knows better than most how to make a unique package - its flagship Mobius headset doesn't just boast planar magnetic drivers, but also 3D head-tracking technology.

Does that actually translate to a stellar experience when you use it, though? We've been putting the Mobius to the test, so here's what we make of it.

Design and comfort

  • Weight: 350g
  • Memory foam earcups
  • Detachable microphone

Audeze has gone a slightly different route when it comes to building a headset that justifies its fairly seismic price tag - rather than weighing it down with metal and heavyweight materials, it's kept things fairly plastic. Don't get us wrong, it's premium plastic that's soft to the touch and doesn't feel brittle at all, but it doesn't necessarily scream class.

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On the looks side, that's no issue, though. It basically translates to a fairly muted design that looks like something you could actually wear outside the house without feeling that you're a walking neon brand advert - not that these are really intended for portable use.

It also looks all but identical to the less expensive Penrose and Penrose X, although we're not sure that reflects badly on either model since the design is, as we've said, pretty solid.

Once you put the Mobius on, though, you'll likely immediately vouch for Audeze's tactics - it's really comfortable. The memory foam earcups are well-judged on the grip front, staying on easily without clamping onto your head, and they're great for longer sessions after you get used to the fit.

On-earcup controls are also handy, including toggles for the 3D mode (which we'll go into more below), and dials to adjust both game and chat volume, and a mute switch to quickly stop your curses from offending anyone else in a party chat.

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You can detach the microphone when you don't want or need it, for a cleaner look, and the Mobius comes with nice braided cables to hook up to your PC - all of which are durable and sturdy. 

It's a great showing, but the real explanation as to why Audeze is able to slap such a mad price tag on the bundle comes when you start actually using them...

Sound quality

  • 100mm planar magnetic drivers
  • 10Hz–50,000Hz frequency response

The Mobius sounds absolutely phenomenal - that's the headline here. Planar magnetic drivers aren't something you run into everyday in a gaming headset, and they're the big explanatory factor behind the Mobius' steep price.

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Although these are pricey headphones, on the scale of planar magnetic headphones they represent surprisingly good value. That's backed up by the super sound, with amazing range yet extreme delicacy.

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Turning the music off in games that have detailed soundscapes reveals tiny details and murmurings that you've never picked up on before, from footsteps that are more distant than you've realised, to lines of dialogue being exchanged in the background of scenes.

Playing Call of Duty: Warzone and experimenting with different guns, we were gobsmacked at times by how much more punchy they sounded using the Mobius than we were used to, to the point where it almost breathed fresh life into the game for us.

If a game is well mixed, the Mobius offers just about the best way to play it back to your ears, on a wired connection with zero delay and a 7.1 surround soundstage that just sings when games pick up their pace. It's far from the easiest thing to explain why this sounds better than a standard headset, but using the Mobius for a few hours will have you feeling the difference.

The microphone, detachable as it is, is also perfectly impressive, with clear pick-up that makes it great for party chat. The easily-accessed mute button and adjustments, meanwhile, mean it's a really great headset for multiplayer use as well as singleplayer immersion.

Features

  • Waves Nx fully immersive 3D audio
  • Bluetooth (with SBC, AAC, LDAC codec support)

Part of what makes the Mobius so special to use is how much Audeze has jammed into this headset - you're getting 7.1 surround audio, but there's more to it than that. On one of the Mobius' earcups, you'll find a dinky little "3D" button toggle.

This button turns on one of the aces up Audeze's sleeve: the company has worked with Waves to embed its Nx tech into the headset to let it track your head as you move while wearing the headphones. You set this up on your PC using some free software, and once it's calibrated the headset knows where you're looking in relation to your display.

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This lets it simulate the experience of being in a room with a full 7.1 speaker setup, according to where you're looking. On the one hand, in the right circumstances and the right audio mix, this can feel like witchcraft and genuinely transport you to a surround sound world delivered from just the two on-ear speakers. On the other, we also didn't feel the difference on a consistent enough basis for it to really feel like a killer feature.

There are more strings to this bow, though. For one, you can connect to your headset in a few ways - wired via USB is the ideal in our experience for latency and quality, but the Mobius also has Bluetooth if you prefer wireless play, and that makes it great for those who also game on their mobile at times.

You can also juggle those connections to, for example, take a phone call from your smartphone while still playing game audio from your PC via a wired connection, which is handy, albeit a little rare.

Verdict

You'll have paid a steep asking price for the privilege of owning a pair, but the Audeze Mobius is as good as a commercial gaming headset gets - it sounds absolutely phenomenal, has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, and is comfortable to wear for a long while.

We're not entirely sure that its headtracking feature adds a vast amount, but when it works perfectly it can feel pretty science-fiction, so if you've got a big budget then the Mobius is a brilliant choice for your gaming setup.

Also consider

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SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

We simply love SteelSeries headsets - they're the most comfortable out there, in our view, and their sound is also superb. The Arctis Pro Wireless is one of its very best offerings, and has one key advantage over the Mobius: true low-latency wireless play. So, if being tethered by a cable is anathema to you, this could be a great premium alternative.

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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 18 September 2021.

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