Let's be honest. There aren't a lot of people out there who see a $400 price tag on a pair of headphones and think, "oh yeah, these are for me." The folks who aren't immediately turned off by that price tag either already have a list of required features in mind to justify that price, or pick up the box to see what could possibly be worth it.
The folks at Audeze have a reputation not only for high-end headphones but for high-end headphones with a relatively unique set of features. See, these headphones offer Spatial Audio, or the ability to accurately simulate sounds as though they are coming from different sources instead of blasted directly at your ears from either side of your head. Their LCD-1 headphones released in January focused on professionals with incredibly high-end needs and a focus on precision and accuracy, allowing the user to hear music as though they were coming from speakers in front of you.
Their latest offering, dubbed Mobius, attempts to bring the same quality to gaming, mobile, and basically everything else. And if nothing else, they're the most interesting headphones I've used this year.
Bottom line: These are incredible headphones with a truly unique combination of features, but that doesn't make the price tag too much easier to swallow.
- Super comfortable
- Amazing audio quality
- Every possible option for listening
- Spatial Audio is awesome
- No noise cancelation
What you'll love about the Audeze Mobius
Over-the-ear headphones all need to be comfortable for long periods of time, but if you're going to call something "gaming" related, it needs to be extra comfortable. I need to be able to wear these headphones while I'm at the edge of my seat as I lose badly in whatever game I'm playing.
Luckily, the Mobius headphones are exactly that comfortable. The ear cups are perfectly plushy, and the extra padding across the top band really makes a difference after I've been wearing it around the house for a few hours plus however much time I've spent at my desk and on my couch.
That's the real power of these headphones, the versatility. When I'm at my desk, I can connect via USB-C and simultaneously charge the headphones while getting lossless sound quality. When I'm on my couch, I can connect via a 3.5mm jack to my controller and enjoy a gaming session. When I'm wandering around the house doing chores, I can connect to my phone via Bluetooth and enjoy podcasts and music. I have gone multiple days now, where the headphones went on my head as soon as my hair was dry from the shower and stayed on my head until the end of the day with no discomfort, switching between devices with ease.
Audeze loves good audio quality, but spatial audio is the standout feature here. When I'm in a video chat meeting, spatial audio makes it sound like that person is actually in front of me. When I turn my head, the sound continues to come from the original direction, creating that illusion with spectacular effect. When I'm gaming, it's as though I have a high-end soundbar in front of the television instead of just headphones on, making the whole experience more enjoyable.
If I'm listening to music around the house, I can turn this off and have the usual quality audio experience. It's a great thing to have as an added feature, and it's especially fun to put on other people and watch their jaw drop as they realize the sound is coming from a specific direction. That added bit of realness makes such a difference when done well.
These wouldn't be very good gaming headphones if the microphone weren't as good as the speakers, and fortunately, Audeze delivered here as well. In every test I performed, the people I was gaming with said my audio was significantly better through Mobius than with any other gaming headset I own. I was able to use it with normal phone calls as well and got compliments on the quality, which surprised me. And if I'm not planning to take a call, the microphone is easily removed and stored.
It's common for "gaming" headphones to be exactly that — headphones you only put on when you're at your computer or in front of your console. Audeze Mobius can be that, but I've found myself eager to use them for just about everything. I've never felt that way about any other set of gaming headphones.
What could be better about the Audeze Mobius
What I'm about to say is going to make some audiophiles mad and some gadget folks curious as to why it's not apparent. The Audeze Mobius headphones don't have Active Noise Cancelation (ANC), and I spend a lot of time dancing between wishing it was there and being kind of glad it's not there.
Headphones with ANC use microphones to remove outside noise, so loud sounds don't make it to your years. It's clever tech, and super handy on airplanes and public transit. Unfortunately, it's incredibly challenging to make a set of headphones with this tech on board that doesn't introduce some level of distortion into the audio you're hearing. Audeze had a choice, to continue a focus on sound accuracy and spatial audio quality or to offer active noise cancelation tech, and they went with the former.
I wouldn't say the decision is a mistake, but it does mean I'm less likely to want these headphones on an airplane. And if you fly a lot, or you're regularly in noisy places, that fact could make these pricey headphones something you're not interested in.
Should you buy Audeze Mobius?
If you're going to drop $400 on a pair of headphones, they need to be perfect for you. Audeze's Mobius headphones are extremely comfortable, the sound is excellent, and they work with damn near everything without ever needing to come off your head. Spatial Audio is an incredibly cool feature to have for a lot of things but isn't for everyone.
If you'd like to have something unique and exciting on your head, these are the headphones for you. If you're more excited by features like Active Noise Cancellation, it's not a good idea to try to force yourself to love these.
Where's that coming from?
Just plain cool
While undeniably expensive, Audeze's standard of excellence in standard and spatial audio makes so many things more enjoyable.
Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything glowing or beeping. He's the Managing Editor of gaming content for Mobile Nations and can be found contributing to all of the Mobile Nations sites. Reach out on Twitter!
Planar magnetic technology is expensive. You're not going to find cheap planar magnetic headphones - at least, I've never come across a pair. The fancy-pants spacial sound thingy just adds to the cost. And do gamers using this type of headphones really need ANC? Seems like the headphones you use at home with your gaming rig. Serious question - I'm not a gamer. Maybe it adds to the feeling of immersion?
When you sit a few feet from your wife and do conference calls from your gaming PC, ANC is a God send. Or when you're gaming, and there's construction outside. Or gaming with a crowd watching. Or gaming when your dog is barking. I could keep going but you get the idea.
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