By : Theo @ Samma3a
The Mobius comes packed with a fair number of extras. The removable microphone is great as it gives you the option of using it if you want to, but also have it totally out of the way if you don’t.
The 3.5mm analogue cable ensures that you can use the Mobius with regular audio equipment should you opt to forgo wireless connectivity.
Then there’s also a Type-C-to-Type-C cable which allows you to connect the Mobius directly to a compatible mobile phone whilst using the built-in DAC chip of the Mobius to process all of the sound.
The thing that first struck me about the design of the Mobius is that it looks, I don’t want to say generic, but a bit like you would expect a gaming-inspired set of headphones to look. The soft-touch rubberized finish looks very sleek and stealthy, but then you’ve got those coloured accents to give it a bit of pop and character. It reminds me a bit of the Tron motorcycles…the only thing missing being that these accents don’t actually light up.
One of the key characteristics of a set of gaming headphones is the fact that they absolutely must be comfortable for longer listening sessions. Games don’t usually last just a few minutes, and some people can go on for a shocking amount of hours at a single time.
This is something that Audeze clearly invested a lot of time and resources in because the Mobius is indeed a very comfy set of cans.The headband padding is fairly thick, but still quite soft. Likewise, the earpads are pretty thick too, but even softer than the padding of the headband. I don’t think they’re quite in the same league as the pads used on the Bose QC35-series, but pretty comfy nonetheless.
But, the padding is just one aspect of the comfort, the other one to consider is the clamping force. Here I think Audeze hit that perfect sweet-spot of making these headphones provide just enough clamping force to sit securely and provide isolation, whilst still remaining comfortable enough for long listening sessions.
Being a wireless type of headphone, we do get a few controls on the left earcup.
First up are the two multi-functional dials. As we can see, the one has a headphone icon, whilst the other has a microphone icon. So, the first is used to adjust the headphone volume, whilst the second one is to adjust the gain of the optional microphone. But, being multi-functional buttons, there are a couple of extra features.
If you give the volume dial a quick press and then scroll you can skip to the next track or go back to the previous track. Or, if you double press this dial the Mobius will attempt to connect to the last Bluetooth host device.
For the microphone dial a single press and scroll will allow you to switch between a few built-in equalization curves, whereas a long press of about 3 seconds will change the audio mode between 7.1 channel, Stereo, or Hi-Res. Right next to the microphone dial is the 3.5mm stereo input jack which is to be used for a regular analogue connection like a traditional wired headphone.
After that is a USB Type-C connector which can be used to either charge the Mobius, or you can use it as a digital input, meaning that the Mobius can simultaneously work as a headphone and its own external sound card.
Then we’ve also got another 3.5mm jack which is the input connector for the option microphone. And then, finally, we’ve got a button which is labelled as “3D”. This is again a multifunctional button as a double press allows you to change which input source is to be used (USB, analogue, or Bluetooth), and a 3-second press will alter the 3D Audio mode. A single press will probably be the most often used function as this will “centre” the 3D stereo image. But, we’ll take a closer look at this when we discuss the sound.
The faceplate of the left earcup is also where you’ll find the power button as well as the mute slider for the microphone.
Overall, I think Audeze did a pretty good job with the design of the Mobius. Whilst I personally prefer a more toned-down visual approach, I also understand that the Mobius wasn’t designed with people like myself in mind. And for that reason, for the more gaming orientated audience, I think the Mobius has just the right amount of visual appeal.
As far as the sound is concerned, the key selling-point of the Mobius is not so much the sound itself, but rather how the sound is being processed.
Apparently, the Mobius is the first high-end head-tracking equipped headphone to be created specifically for gamers.So, the idea here is that it uses a tracking system to calculate the orientation of your head, and then the sound is processed to give you the illusion of a more realistic setting.
For example, if you’re looking straight ahead and there is a particular sound coming through both the left and the right channel, then that sound will seem like it’s coming from in front of you.
But if you then turn your head to the left, then the sound will shift to the right channel in order to give the illusion of the sound still coming from a fixed point in space.
It’s a pretty cool idea, and one that definitely has tremendous benefits for gaming.
But, when it comes to listening to music, this doesn’t really work as well. You see, unless the music is recorded or mastered for multi-channel systems like 5.1 or 7.1 systems, then really it’s only intended to be listened to in a stereo manner, meaning just 2 channels.
For that reason, trying to use this head tracking technology doesn’t give a realistic result because it just changes the stereo separation between the left and right channel. It doesn’t sound natural for stereo music and nor does it enhance the experience of listening to music.
But, as we said, this was designed for gamers, not really for audiophiles, and so it would only be fair to judge the product for its intended purpose.
And that leads me to where I think the Mobius will truly shine as a product. Definitely not with music, and the application for current computer gaming is limited. No, where I think these will really show immense aptitude is with virtual reality.
When we take computer gaming as an example, you don’t really move your head away from the screen, and so the capabilities of the Mobius won’t truly be put to the test or perhaps appreciated.
With virtual reality, however, the whole point is that it’s more of an experience involving the movement of your body.
I’m not saying that there isn’t potential for the Mobius to be a great product for music playback or for gaming, what I’m saying is that the way music is currently being produced and how computer games are currently being played simply isn’t going to fully exploit the true power of the Mobius.
Who knows, perhaps this is exactly the product that might steer music production into a new direction, and if that does end up happening that would be awesome.
But for now, for music playback, I would give this product a miss.
If you are a gamer though, the Mobius still does offer an advantage over a regular set of gaming headphones, and so I think the $400 price-tag is still reasonable enough to consider them as a good value proposition. And, if in the future games are produced that better exploit the capabilities of the Mobius, it’s also very likely that other competing products might be released, but at higher prices. So perhaps now is a good time to jump in on this kind of product.