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Audeze Mobius Review (Gaming Headset)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Audeze Mobius wired and wireless gaming headphone. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $399.

At this price, I was surprised to see the entire thing feeling like it is made out of plastic:

Audeze Mobius Review Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.jpg


There are mechanical controls for microphone and headphone volume. Sadly they both feel the same and next to each other which can make it difficult to adjust by feel. One should have been on the other side or something. There is support for Bluetooth but I suspect all gamers will use the wired interface which mates with 3.5mm cable. I limited my testing to this scenario. Note that the wired interface is active and will NOT work without the unit being turned on. As such, I expect it to apply any EQ it wants even to wired interface (most of the time not the case with noise cancelling headphones).

It has a bunch of features which I did not mess with. I did turn on the "3D" mode which instantly added a ton of "room" reverb which I did not care for and shut it off for my testing.

On the comfort side, I found them very poor in this regard. The headband is super progressive and almost instantly gets stiff. Combined with small cups, I could not wear them for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Weight due to inclusion of batteries is kind of high for such a small looking headphone:

Lightest gaming headphone review.png


I did not mind that however. Inside cup dimensions are 70x56x24 mm (height, width, depth).

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

Fitment on the fixture was challenging due to small size of the cups. I optimized them after fair bit of trying but not optimal.

Audeze Mobius Measurements
As usual we start with our frequency response measurements relative to our desired target:
Audeze Mobius Frequency Response Measurements Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


I am relieved to see plenty of bass but we will need to pull fair bit of it down with equalization. Compliance is then good from 500 Hz to 3 kHz (but with some roughness). Post that, we have a couple of ditches which we again have to fill with EQ. Here is our relative response for development of EQ:

Audeze Mobius Relative Frequency Response Measurements Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


Notice that we are high by about 5 dB near 200 Hz and down whopping 13 dB around 6 kHz.

Distortion measurements were disappointing:

Audeze Mobius Relative Distortion Measurements Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


We can ignore the 114 dBSPL due to internal amplifier clipping (I could easily see it in the waveform) but the rest is still bad seeing how they peak where our hearing is most sensitive.

Audeze Mobius THD Distortion Measurements Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


Group delay was surprisingly clean but does show fair amount of pipeline delay:
Audeze Mobius Group Delay Response Measurements Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


I am surprised how high this is given the focus on gamers as the target audience with their obsession with respect to latency. Note that actual latency may be a bit lower as the above is the full roundtrip pipeline in my measurement system.

I did not run sensitive test and impedance test given the active nature of this headphone.

Audeze Mobius Listening Tests
First impression was not bad. If I had not measured it first, one would thing it is good. Then I pulled out the EQ tool and went after the bass and midrange hump:
Audeze Mobius Equalization EQ Gaming Bluetooth Headphone.png


Ah, what a relief that brought. Performing AB tests quickly showed the headphone being "lighter on its feet" with much more open sound and less closed sound. That got amplified more once I added another filter to fill the notch around 6 kHz. Once there, the spatial qualities came forward significantly providing a very pleasant effect. Overall sound signature was a bit bright though (unrelated to my boosting the 6 kHz). I did not try to cure that and hypothesized to be due to distortion increasing high frequency spectrum (frequency response errors did not provide an explanation).

With both filters in place, I enjoyed listening to Mobius until my left ear started to complain with pain at which point I had to take them off for some relief.

Conclusions
$400 is a lot of money for a gaming headset. Does the Mobius deliver? Without EQ, not at all. With equalization, it does sound very good which I would not mind listening to, if it were more comfortable.

As is, I can't recommend the Audeze Mobius. If you add EQ, the sound becomes nice but the comfort for me remained horrid. If that is not a concern for you and you can apply EQ, then it is a decent choice.

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sweetchaos

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To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:
Preamp: -10.0 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 144 Hz Gain -5.0 dB Q 1.0
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain 10.0 dB Q 4.0
Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead:
See my GEQ guide for 10-band, 31-band, and 127-band GEQ profiles.
 
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peniku8

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To think that a narrow and extreme boost like this would actually do any good...
Maybe I've been too reluctant with my EQ in the past, very interesting!
 
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amirm

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To think that a narrow and extreme boost like this would actually do any good...
Q of 4 is not very narrow. And at higher amplitudes it spans wider as used here. Still, the effect is subtle compared to lower Q settings.
 

mightygrey

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It feels like a big miss here to have only tested the Mobius in 'wired' mode - LDAC Bluetooth being one of the key selling features for this headphone, and it also works as a USB DAC via USB-C. This may affect distortion levels, as the internal amp would not be amplifying any external distortion with a bit-perfect signal via USB.

Also, what EQ/DSP profile did you perform the test in? The Mobius has a range of settings that I'm sure many readers would be interested in seeing how they change the frequency response before dismissing them as 'unlistenable without EQ'. I'd love to see what differences are between the 'Flat'/'Warm'/'Music'/'Racing'/'Foosteps' modes, for instance.

"It has a bunch of features which I did not mess with" - I feel like there needs to be a hint more 'science' in this particular review in order to cover what this particular device does as a product and how it performs accordingly.

I also found their comfort to be poor.
 
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dynobot

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I have the Audeze LCDi4, pretty much the same picture....poor fit [hurts my ears after 1/2hr] disjointed sound which needs an EQ to come together.

My biggest waste of audio-cash since Roon.

And then there's this....brand new, un-used case out the box.

case.png

case2.png
 
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amirm

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It feels like a big miss here to have only tested the Mobius in 'wired' mode - LDAC Bluetooth being one of the key selling features for this headphone, and it also works as a USB DAC via USB-C.
Why is that a miss? At best LDAC would match the wired input.
 

mightygrey

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Why is that a miss? At best LDAC would match the wired input.
Wireless functionality is the key selling feature of this product, whereas the AUX is a 'nice to have', so it feels prudent to review the key functions of a product before passing judgement on it. I am very interested to understand whether using the internal amp only (running off bit-perfect USB-C, or LDAC) improves/is different to AUX - the internal amp may amplify external distortion from the analogue source.
 
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mitchco

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Well, I would have to agree with @dynobot The Audeze line of phones have some of the weirdest measurements with huge narrow peaks and valleys in the HF response that I don't think eq makes any better (especially any boosting). Those weird peaks and valleys showed up in my LCD-4z measurements here. I even included some binaural recordings comparing to the very inexpensive NAD HP50's. Have a listen for yourself.
For $4K or $400, these things should measure (and sound) a lot better. Don't know if it is the material or what that causes the weird measurements/sound. The top end never sounds right...
 

wwenze

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I have the Audeze LCDi4, pretty much the same picture....poor fit [hurts my ears after 1/2hr] disjointed sound which needs an EQ to come together.

My biggest waste of audio-cash since Roon.

And then there's this....brand new, un-used case out the box.

View attachment 151618
View attachment 151619

Is it old tho? I've had Sennheiser with foam and leather (or leather with sponge inside thingy) that completely disintegrated while still inside the unopened box.
 

mightygrey

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No 'headroom management' required in Roon for the EQ boost?
The size of the dip/peak (particularly the treble boost) is likely to introduce clipping. Roon's headroom management helpfully shows clipping in the signal path (if you ask it to), perhaps adding -10dB or so here ought to help.
 

dynobot

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Is it old tho? I've had Sennheiser with foam and leather (or leather with sponge inside thingy) that completely disintegrated while still inside the unopened box.

Don't know how old they were before they were shipped to me from Audeze. But I did end up exchanging the pair for a new set...

Also I think Sennheiser has a counter-fit problem, I ordered a pair of IEM via Amazon, they were totally fake and sounded horrible....Sennheiser offered me an exchange [took about 2 months] but the new pair are very balanced sounding.
 

kism

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While I absolutely appreciate the amount of work that was done to complete this review, I do agree with some others that there is a lot missing. I doubt most people that buy this product is just going to use it via aux and not mess around with the USB and wireless modes. Most people will probably check out and make use of the apps for windows and smartphones that add a lot of other features like head-tracking, different EQ profiles, etc. It'd be cool to see how those types of things measure out.

Regardless, thank you for the information that you did provide.
 

Ugga

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Did you check in the Audeze HQ app which EQ were applied for the test? I guess most users use these connected with USB to have it both as a stereo headset and a 7.1 device connected to a PC. My guess is that it should perform a little bit better with USB connected as its not "double amped"?
 
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amirm

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Wireless functionality is the key selling feature of this product, whereas the AUX is a 'nice to have', so it feels prudent to review the key functions of a product before passing judgement on it.
You haven't explained why the measurements would vary. As i noted in the review, Aux input goes to the same pipeline as the digital input would. So your frequency response would remain identical which is the most important thing. As will distortion measurements.

You also have to explain to me how many games use Bluetooth for audio. My understanding is that the added latency is a killer there.
 
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amirm

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While I absolutely appreciate the amount of work that was done to complete this review, I do agree with some others that there is a lot missing. I doubt most people that buy this product is just going to use it via aux and not mess around with the USB and wireless modes. Most people will probably check out and make use of the apps for windows and smartphones that add a lot of other features like head-tracking, different EQ profiles, etc. It'd be cool to see how those types of things measure out.
??? Did you guys not see the title of this review? It is a gaming headphone. It not aimed at simple music listening or it would not have a microphone.

This is the intro on Audeze website:

"We've partnered with Waves, the world-leading developer of audio DSP technologies and Technical GRAMMY® Award recipient, to fuse their groundbreaking NX technology into Mobius. Able to process 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound audio over USB cable, with Head Tracking and Room Emulation, Mobius is the first headset ever created to provide a truly believable and fully immersive Surround Sound listening experience - no additional software or hardware required. "

You see what I have bolded? These are all wired scenarios. Again, as it should be as that is what gamers use on their desktop.

Later on they say:

"How can I use Mobius with my gaming console?
  1. Connection to some consoles is currently supported via AUX/analog with the 3.5mm cable, as some consoles require special licensing for USB or Bluetooth compatibility."
This is not a general purpose music listening headphone. There are plenty of other choices out there including many with noise cancellation and such.
 

Music1969

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The size of the dip/peak (particularly the treble boost) is likely to introduce clipping. Roon's headroom management helpfully shows clipping in the signal path (if you ask it to), perhaps adding -10dB or so here ought to help.

Noted, but I saw no headroom management in Amir's screenshot which is why I asked him :)
 
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