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Audeze Mobius Review (Gaming Headset)

LoyK

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I am also not sure about these distortion measurements because going analog in can cause distortion in the ADC (maybe a preamp stage also?) which is bypassed when using USB. Also going analog in you have two volume controls - the one in Mobius and the one in your source device which can easily clip the input stage.
So I have to agree with PeteL here. My guess is that frequency response is not changed though.
(Distortion measurements on rtings for example are okayish - not as bad as measured here.)

Also as stated before the Mobius is mainly an USB headset. Wireless it is good for listening to music with LDAC codec support but the delay is too long for gaming - that is why they came out with the Penrose later. USB as 7.1 headset I really think it shines when configured properly.

Comfort and built are not the best - I agree on that. They should maybe try to improve here first.

Also there are different sound profiles/EQs built in like Flat/Default with which you can tune the sound to your liking - which I think is a really cool feature. It gets complicated because Audeze changed these profiles with firmware updates so the same profile will sound different on a different firmware...
 

mightygrey

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@amirm do you still have the Mobius review unit? It would be great to know if you are able to update with USB source testing + some more EQ profiles.
 

rubenkemp

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Especially the comfort has to be a dealbreaker for this insane amount of money they are asking.
That was vegan, fake or protein leather. Starts to crack and peel off quickly in countries where it's more warm and humid, a bit slower in others, but sucks all the way. I replaced my earpads with sheepskin ones - no such problem anymore.
Has changing the earpads altered the FR/ 'sound signature' dramatically?
 

MC_RME

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Depends on the headphone. Sometimes not, sometimes a bit, sometimes dramatically. The worst case I experienced was exchanging the ATH-M50x miniature pads against Shure ones (much more space inside, real over ear instead of half-baken on ear). But that can not be astonishing when the cup dimension changes that much. If you get very similar pads and it's just protein against thin and soft sheepskin, the difference should be less than changing the phones' position on the head.
 

Haze

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What internal EQ was the Mobius set to when you did your correction? Did you keep it on default?
 

Nathan Raymond

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I always have to chuckle at all of the highly technical reviews of the Mobius. All that is fine, and it's interesting to see how it performs and compares to other headphones - but only in one mode. These headphones, however, operate in 3 different modes, the 3.5mm jack being only one of them. It also operates by Bluetooth (LDAC, and sounds pretty great as a BT headset, BTW) but it shines the most when wired via USB on a PC in 3D Mode in 7.1 mode. There are 3 modes with the USB mode - traditional 2 channel stereo, Hi-Res mode (24bit/96kHz), and 3D (7.1 simulated surround). When in 3D mode, the software does something truly magical! There is no other headset that does this. It puts the stereo mix "out" in front of you and it becomes a virtual concert. The individual instruments and vocals, very distinctly, are placed in left, middle and right positions. This is cool enough, but with the head tracking technology built in the headphones, you can then turn your head left and right and the instrument or vocals will stay locked in their positions in virtual space! So you can now turn your head and "look" at the guitar player on the right, but the vocals will stay in the front position (now on the left) and the rhythm guitar will still be off to the left, but further to the left. You can even turn completely around and the band will stay behind you! This truly is a different experience in a headphone. I love to listen to Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" and hear all of the cool audio effects played out in virtual space, or pull up a symphony orchestra and stare at the violins while the French horns play off to the side and move my head back and forth. You can hear all of the different instruments in different places. The effect is enhanced when the mix was mastered in Dolby Atmos. This is all done at nearly Hi Res so not only is it an amazing experience, but it sounds phenomenal! The central 3D position can be changed manually or automatically, or locked in so the 3D effect surrounds you. The virtual room effects can be adjusted in the Audeze HQ app on the PC so that you can bring the sound closer or further out in virtual space, and the reverb can be adjusted as well to your preference. So this is amazing with music, but it's also incredibly cool as a gaming headset because the 3D effect of the audio is enhanced by the software. So you can discuss all of the technical details, but this is not the headphone to buy if you are concerned about the technical details, even if it is pretty good for this reason too. It is for the amazing experience that you can have while using it. If you have these and understand how to play with them, you'll understand why they are $400. Because you won't get this kind of experience with anything else in a headphone.

Thanks for mentioning this, as yes you're right a lot of headphone review sites don't understand the main draw of headphones like this. WavesNx with head tracking is in some sense a poor man's version of the Smyth Realizer:

https://smyth-research.com/

In my opinion, it makes as much sense to test headphones like this only in stereo mode as it would to test the Smyth Realizer just in stereo.

Note that you can buy an Nx Head Tracker and strap it to any headphones and use their software to get 3D head tracked multichannel sound, but it will cost you $99 and I think it's a little clunky to have to have something attached with it's own battery to the headband of your headphones:

https://www.waves.com/hardware/nx-head-tracker

Since I cared nothing for the wireless features of the Mobius, need for batteries, etc. but was curious about Waves NX I personally bought the 1More Spearhead VRX for $199:

https://usa.1more.com/products/1more-spearhead-vrx-gaming-headphones

As a USB device, it presents itself to the computer as a 7.1 audio device, and then it takes that 7.1 audio and applies an HRTF along with doing real-time 3D head tracking. The 1More software has a multi-band equalizer that can save an EQ profile to the hardware in the headphones, as well as store named EQ presets in the software for fast switching. My understanding is that the Audeze Mobius software has more customization (as does the Waves Nx software that works with their head tracker), but the 1More software worked fine in my experience (there's also some LED lighting that I could care less about, and a built-in mic with noise cancellation that was pretty good).

What I was most curious about and spent a lot of time comparing was the 1More Spearhead VRX with it's WavesNx and head tracking vs. non-head tracked Atmos for headphones audio in Overwatch. The somewhat unique thing about Overwatch is that they integrated Atmos for headphones in their game engine, so they are able to feed it true 3D sound (including z-axis i.e. height) information, so that you get proper elevation information in the Atmos sound field, something which will always be missing from WavesNx devices that present themselves as 5.1 or 7.1 devices, which limits everything to being on an x-y horizontal plane. My headphones of choice for Overwatch Atmos testing were the AKG K545 driven by the Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition (with all sound processing features turned off). For Overwatch, their built-in Atmos for headphones sound was a better experience in game than the WavesNx with head tracking. While the dynamic positional audio of the WavesNx sometimes helped me better locate where sounds were coming from by moving my head, the lack of any height information was a deal breaker. I couldn't tell if things were above me or below me, and that was a big deal when playing. I also thought there seemed to be additional optimizations in the Atmos that made the sound more integrated as a sound field as a whole... whether that was Atmos vs. WavesNx, how Overwatch outputs 7.1 sound and perhaps their expectation that it will be to speakers and how WavesNx maps that to a headphone sound field, or just how the lack of height information affects the overall sound I don't know.

Tangentially I am very frustrated that Microsoft has not made any effort to expose or present height information as an audio output other than through Atmos audio over HDMI in Windows, and through some headphone sound options. There are no sound cards with height channel pre-outs and no headphones that can present themselves to a computer as having height channels, so that means no head tracking audio with height information, period. It also means you need to connect an Atmos capable receiver or sound bar via HDMI to get surround with height channels for the the PC games that support it. Very aggravating.

Also, I find it kind of a waste that WavesNx with head tracking is only used for audio. For a long time we've had clunky solutions like TrackIR that are very popular with the sim community:

https://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/

Imagine now that you could have the TrackIR ability in headphones that are also doing positional audio? That would be great, and such a more streamlined way of doing it. Just feed the positional head data that is already being collected by WavesNx to the APIs used for head tracking in games that support that, and no need for wearing a special hat with IR dots on it or IR dots on a rig attached to headphones and an additional IR desk emitter/sensor. That would be great (and even better if that could be true 3D sound with height information from the game).
 

Bimbleton

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TLDR: Pad swap fixed brightness.

I’ve been using the Penrose to play the new Tales game, and every time the main character would run, there would be this unbearably high pitched sound. I believe it was the sound of the character’s clothing, specifically the metal bits striking each other.

It was unbearable. Presumably this was due to the high distortion around 8K, or maybe some frequency spike. Regardless, I had to EQ 8k and 16k to -12db(!) to stop it. But this made all dialogue sound muffled and bizarre.

Today I replaced the pads with aftermarket pads (Wicked Cushions hybrid gel) and it fixed that high pitched sound! Plus the aftermarket pads are so much more comfortable. Highly recommend!
 

Shadez

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Aug 11, 2021
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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. 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.
Incorrect, these are designed to be driven via USB with Bluetooth “as a convenience” I believe the manual says, it even basically says not to expect too much from blue tooth. Please tell me these test were not performed with it driven via aux which is basically discouraged esp as it has an internal amp which is always active and you can cause damage plus you are effectively double amping them. Maybe these methods should be reserved for just traditional aux SE or balanced headphones. These are a active fully DSP driven headset, originally designed for developing spatial systems
 

Shadez

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Aug 11, 2021
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TLDR: Pad swap fixed brightness.

I’ve been using the Penrose to play the new Tales game, and every time the main character would run, there would be this unbearably high pitched sound. I believe it was the sound of the character’s clothing, specifically the metal bits striking each other.

It was unbearable. Presumably this was due to the high distortion around 8K, or maybe some frequency spike. Regardless, I had to EQ 8k and 16k to -12db(!) to stop it. But this made all dialogue sound muffled and bizarre.

Today I replaced the pads with aftermarket pads (Wicked Cushions hybrid gel) and it fixed that high pitched sound! Plus the aftermarket pads are so much more comfortable. Highly recommend!
I did the exact same on mine, bit fiddly but well worth it for the reasons you mention.
 
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