Price: € 399, –
Connection : Usb-a, usb-c, minijack and bluetooth
Compatibility : Fully compatible with Windows and Mac, limited compatibility with all devices using mini-jack and / or bluetooth connections support
RGB features: No
Audeze is a company that specializes entirely in headphones. They have models for serious studio technicians, everyday use and gaming specific too. Many of Audeze’s headphones use so-called Planar Magnetic drivers. In general, the drivers that you find in a headset are so-called Dynamic Drivers. These drivers generate sound by making a round speaker vibrate forwards and backwards via a magnet. This results in sound waves that your ears perceive as sound. With Planar Magnetic drivers, not a round speaker, but a larger, rectangular, super thin fleece – a membrane – is made to vibrate
A larger, vibrating surface in this case brings more precision, definition and a better dynamic range: quite big advantages if the comes down to high-quality audio. However, there are also some less practical sides to using Planar Magnetic drivers. The biggest of these is that they require a lot more energy to work. So an extra – in this case built-in – amplifier is always needed to generate sound, with all the practical implications that this entails. The use of this advanced technology also results in a hefty price tag: the Audeze Mobius costs 399 euros. For that, however, you not only get a headset that has these eccentric drivers, there is a lot more technology on board this headset. But before we look at the built-in gyroscopes, 3D Sound and 7.1 surround capabilities, let’s take a closer look at the build quality of this unique headset.
The headset, including the adjustment system and ear cup hinges, is fully made of hard plastic. However, a rubbery coating has been applied to the outside of both the ear cups and the headband. This coating not only provides a tasteful, matt look, but also an extra feeling of solidity. The synthetic leather-covered memory foam ear cushions are very soft and quite spacious, but do result in the necessary heat build-up with prolonged use. If you take the headset off to give your ears some air, the ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees, so that the headset hangs easily around your neck.
The Mobius can be used both wired and wireless via bluetooth. For the wired connections there is the standard mini jack cable, a USB-A to USB-C cable and a USB-C option. As mentioned, the headset has an amplifier on board because of the Planar drivers and that has a number of practical implications. If you use the Mobius in combination with a PC via the USB-A or -C connection, the cable will not only supply audio, but also power. However, if you want to use the headset via the bluetooth or mini jack connection, the amplifier has to work very hard just as well to set the drivers in motion. This ensures that the battery on board the Mobius is empty within ten hours – something to keep in mind if you prefer to game on consoles. It must also be said that all supplied cables are quite short. That’s no problem if you’re using a laptop, but the gamer with a desktop under his desk will run out of cable.
On the outside of the left earcup you will find the on button and a microphone mute slider. At the bottom of the shell there are two volume wheels: one for controlling the monitoring volume and one for controlling the volume of the microphone. The microphone does not sound as good as you might expect from a headset with this price tag, but it meets the requirements of a usable multiplayer microphone just fine. Both volume wheels can also be pressed and depending on how long you press the wheels, other options are activated. For example, you can use the volume wheel of the monitoring volume to skip a song, initiate a bluetooth connection and adjust the eq preset.
The volume wheel which mainly controls the microphone allows you to switch between the different audio modes : 7.1 surround, stereo and hi-res. If you switch between the different modes while the headset is connected, there is a temporary loss of connection between the headset and the computer in question. This results in the currently playing audio temporarily coming from the built-in computer or laptop speakers. Not a big problem in itself, were it not for the fact that switching on a new mode sometimes takes up to four seconds. If you use the headset on Windows PCs in combination with iTunes or Apple Music, iTunes must even be restarted after switching modes before audio can be played. In addition to the different audio modes, there is also a separate button for re-centering your listening experience in the special 3D mode. This mode needs some explanation.
The sound and listening modes
The 3D Sound of the Mobius is different from the standard surround sound capabilities of the average game headset. Thanks to the gyroscopes on board the headset, 3D Sound can register the position of your head. This ensures that the audio always seems to come from the same point: if you look to the left with 3D Sound on, the sound will mainly come from the right earcup. The technique used for this was developed by Waves. This company released the first software equalizer for professional use in 1992. You will immediately hear that Waves is experienced in the field of audio technology as soon as you switch on 3D Sound. While these kinds of gimmicks often result in a shrill, discolored sound on other game headsets, the 3D Sound of the Mobius is actually a usable experience. Not only is it fun, it also adds depth and perspective to sound, which greatly increases immersion during gaming
The Planar drivers also do what they promise: the Mobius has an incredibly defined and transparent sound. The balance in the sound of this headset is exceptional – not only when compared to gaming headsets, but also when you compare this headset to more serious headphones for studio use. When listening to music, the dynamic response of the headset is particularly noticeable. Few closed headphones can provide such a wide dynamic range, and that delivers impressive moments. The Mobius also provides a lot of definition and texture in sounds, which ensures that you perceive musical details that you rarely hear on other headsets. What is somewhat disappointing is the breadth of the stereo experience in the standard and hi-res modes. While the dynamic range and definition provide an open sound that lets you listen intently without effort, it lacks a bit of grandeur here and there
The bass that comes from the Mobius is, unlike many other game headsets, not so overly turned on. This is a welcome sound feature if you are not only an avid gamer but also a big music fan. The really seasoned gamers with a love for spectacle may have to get used to this. Nevertheless, the Mobius in-game provides a very pleasant, uncluttered representation of both action and narrative moments. The definition in the sound makes good sound design stand out even better: reloads, footsteps, sparkle in sound effects – these details come out beautifully. That makes the Mobius primarily a headset that enhances calmness and immersion in the listening experience, and not a headset where you eagerly search for audio cues.
We have often looked at headsets with surround sound capabilities. This technology often results in an unrealistic, shrill sound that mainly feels like a gimmick. Although it is certainly a gimmick with the Mobius, it must be said that the 7.1 surround sound of this headset really convinces. The filtering that must be applied to suggest spatiality does not sound shrill and metallic, but manages – very surprisingly – to achieve a fairly open and profound listening experience. The 7.1 surround sound actually gives you the sense of distance between you and the source and creates a subtle illusion of a sound field around it. This 7.1 simulation is particularly impressive when watching movies and that ensures that you can really go in all directions with the Mobius.
It is clear that the Mobius is a unique headset. This also means that it is a headset that may not offer the ideal solution for every gamer. All things considered, this game headset really sounds exceptionally good. The Planar Drivers offer truly unique sound quality when it comes to gaming headsets: the dynamic range is great, the definition is beautiful and the overall sound of the headset is incredibly balanced. In addition, Audeze has succeeded in designing convincing surround and 3D Sound effects that are more than just gimmicks.
There are, however, a number of flaws in the user experience of the Mobius. For example, there are connection drops when switching playback modes and the supplied cables are a bit short. The built-in amplifier, which serves to power the energy-guzzling Planar Drivers, also ensures that the built-in battery lasts less than ten hours. Those are perhaps reasons for the average gamer to ignore the Mobius. However, it definitely doesn’t make the Mobius a bad headset. In fact, the Mobius is a game headset of exceptionally high quality, but one that suits a specific type of user. This Mobius is perfect for the gamer who games on multiple platforms, is a very big music lover, can appreciate high-quality sound and the gimmicks of the surround and spatial technology.
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