Audeze Mobius Review – Three Dimensions
Audeze has been in the business of producing high-end audiophile headphones for a little over 10 years. By high-end, I mean almost all of their products range from AUD$500-5000.
The Mobius is Audeze’s foray into the world of gaming headsets and boasts some interesting and unique features such as 3D head tracking and various DSP functions.
Out of the box, the build seems sleek and solid. Despite being an entirely plastic construct there is no sense of flimsiness and an overall premium look and feel to this headset.
Audeze Mobius Review
The headset has several controls distributed across the left earcup most of which serve multiple functions but are distinct and easy to access after a little familiarisation.
The only controls I felt were a bit cumbersome were the volume control wheels which were a little unresponsive at times. The memory foam earpads are nice and thick and cushion very well. Though, regardless of how I positioned the earcups and headband I just couldn’t find a way to adjust the headset to a position that was comfortable for an extended period.
Either it was clamping too hard or I would find pressure building at the centre of the headband. Because of this I was constantly adjusting or moving the headphones every 30 minutes or so. At best, this detracts from immersion and at worst contributes to irritability during tense gaming situations.
The included accessories generally feel a little less premium than the headset itself. The included cables, micro USB, USB C and 3.5mm jack, are solid but a bit too rigid and packaged in a way that means they have a lot of bends bordering on kinks that will need straightening out over time.
It would have been nice to see some good quality braided cables that were wound properly to allow easier immediate use. The microphone is also average at best. It looks and works fine and is easy to attach and remove but it sounds a little tinny and nasal.
The Mobius does sound good and for the going price, it should. The Planar magnetic drivers have an incredibly fast transient response and produce extremely crisp, detailed high end and clean punchy lows and mids.
The soundstage, being the sense of width, however, seems lacking.
At least until you download and start playing around with the free AudezeHQ application. This intuitive app opens up much easier access to the headsets built-in DSP settings.
This lets users easily switch between sound profiles designed for various scenarios from movies, music to more game genre specific setting such as footsteps or ballistics. What setting works with which games are a bit hit and miss and will require some trial and error testing.
The footsteps setting can be great at enhancing enemy footsteps in some shooters while seemingly masking them in others. Then, there is the 3D function.
I Can Hear in Three Dimensions
Activating the 3D head tracking totally alters the Mobius experience. The soundstage opens up and the sonic world seems much larger in both manual and auto modes.
In manual mode, you press the 3D button once to set the centre and after that, the head tracking moves the surround image based on your head movements. In auto mode, the centre auto aligns to where ever you are looking if you stop moving for a short while.
This mode is designed for gaming, the head tracking has no noticeable latency which is great, however, in most cases I can’t really see the point of it. When first activated, it seems cool because I can move my head around to hear what’s in front and behind me more clearly.
It gives a better sense of my place in the sonic world but for first-person shooters, I think most players tend to want to keep their head looking straight ahead at the screen. The disconnect of looking with the mouse but turning your head to listen around you is weird if not disorienting.
The smeary reverb introduced by the processing can sound at odds with the visual environment too. While it is easier to identify the direction of sound in the horizontal plane with the 3D activated it feels hard to identify the distance of the source of those sounds.
Turn it up!
Watching movies or TV with the 3D active can be immersive depending on the subject matter. It works well with action sequences but dialogue suffers. Podcasts, most music or TV with a lot of dialogue just sound washy and reverberant.
You do adjust to it but turning the 3D off again suddenly brings a lot of clarity back to the listening experience.
Overall, I think the Audeze Mobius headphones do a lot of things well and a few things not so well. Sound reproduction is excellent and the DSP and controlling app, if used wisely, can enhance that a lot.
They are comfortable for short-term usage and the 3D is cool but only really useful in very select situations. Having Bluetooth connectivity is great for music or TV but has noticeable latency for gaming. Considering the 10-hour battery life, the fact that you can’t use them at all on a flat battery and no fast-charging support I suspect most gamers will be using them over the USB connection anyway.
It seems to me that the Mobius is a bit of a jack of all trades and master of none and for the price if you are looking for a dedicated gaming headset, you could probably find some very strong competitors.
Audeze loaned PowerUp! a Mobius headset for this review.
Product Name: Audeze Mobius