I have not-so-flat relationship with Audeze company that however corresponds to absence or presence of sound in their products. Kudos to the company for making planar transducers popular and if I’m not mistaken their current lineup is fully planar. For me (who actually loves this technology for a long time) the name of technology is secondary. Experience with various products tells me that it is not actually technology that matters, but how it really sounds. So, there are some items in company’s lineup that have nothing outstanding in terms of sound. So I have been quite skeptical when I have got Audeze Mobius on review. The second thing that has made me skeptical is that Mobius are wireless and as we all know, wireless technology cannot fully compete with wired in terms of sound currently. Apart from that the IEMs are actually positioned as a gaming model and this has usually nothing to do with quality sound. So what Mobius headphones can really offer?
Accessories and packaging
I have thought for a long time why the headphones have been called this way. If this is relevant to a well-known pupil of Carl Gauss, the relevance is very slight. If we speak about Jean Giraud who has been working on great movies, such as ‘Dune’ by Jodorovski, ‘Alien’, ‘Blade runner’ and son on… I can proceed with this list for a long time.
So if it is about him, it’s closer to the truth since there is an interesting human (human?) head in headphones and this reminds Mebius. Maybe it’s really him. But it is a dust cover. Inside there is a black cardboard box with cover. There is a picture of headphones on it. Inside there is a pair of rounded boxes with printing which we are actually not very interested in, so let’s put them aside. Apart from them we have headphones, fixed in a foam and another box with accessories.
Design and comfort
Let’s speak about design here. The headphones look in a gaming way — strict white lines on black plastic background. Plastic serves a main material and due to well-thought construction and design the headphones are rather light but not overly so. Apart from white color you can get copper and neon blue that suit balck color perfectly well and look more traditional for gaming models. The headphones are not foldable but the ear cups can move one way and it is good for comfort if you just hang the headphones over the neck. However even if not it wouldn’t be a huge problem since the ear cups are not huge. Pressure of ear cups is okay and the headband is rather soft. As for ear cups, for test I have used a special ones with helium. They are soft, comfy and remember the shape and follow the personal anatomy of user. This brings additional comfort and isolation. Detachable construction allows to experiment and to substitute worn out earpads with new ones. The transducers are planar. Also I have some questions about rectangular drivers and announced 100mm driver — what exactly have they meant? Length, width or diagonal? Let this be the question for their marketing team, and what we know exactly is that they have Audeze Cipher DSP, Bluetooth SBC, AAC and LDAC and use USB-C, USB-A and mini-jack 3.5mm for wired connection. All controls are on the left ear cup.
On the outer part there is on/off button and microphone switch. The headphones also have a pair of control wheels that change volume and microphone sensitivity. On the bottom side there is an 3.5mm input that has 4-pins from both sides. And here everything seems okay… but even if you use headphones wired you need to turn them on. So you get around 10 hours in any case despite of usage scenario and the charging time is 3 hours. So if your headphones have discharged during the trip you won’t be able to listen to them wired. And it’s a pity since the construction is very convenient and it would be good to use them as portable headphones.
Also we have a 3D button here to bring more volume to sound. But if you lack this you also get a Waves Nx technology for even better soundstage. In order to use it you will need to install Audeze HQ. The headphones have built-in accelerometer and gyroscope and they track the position to create a fixed point of sound that is not influenced by the position of your head. It’s very convenient for gaming purposes but is not good for music since it spoils stereo effect and the only way to avoid it is to stay almost breathless and do not shake your head. So we won’t dig deep into this capability as it is actually not a use case for music listening and we’ll move directly to sound evaluation.
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After successful attempts to disable accelerometer and other ‘sound enhancers’ I have managed to listen to pure sound and evaluate it. And I should say the sound is unusual. What would you expect from headphones for gaming? Right, so-so soundstage and bass. And yes, the soundstage is good here, indeed, but they are not basshead and the bass is almost even a little bit lacking, especially when you take into account the scenario. However if you really want a flat sound with contrast detailed sound, Mobius are really great in this area.
Lows have not record-breaking but good length and control. Despite planar transducer the inner amplifier provides headphones with enough power and there are no problems with speed and level of details of this frequency range. As for weight, everything is great here but I would still like a little bit more body on some recordings.
Mids have good level of details, the headphones transmit all recording nuances, character and timbre of instruments well. Micro details are enhanced and in terms of wow-effect presentation those get 5 out of 5. They may be not precise in some areas but provide good level of emotions and despite detailed sound they remain musical.
Highs have good speed and level of details and stand out of whole canvas providing music some sparkle and wow-effect, but not overly so. The manufacturer hasn’t tried a usual smooth presentation and has made highs good for their price. Of course you should expect great layering and other nuances that top headphones have, but for their price they sound really good.
Soundstage is average in both directions and the headphones build it rather wide and deep, but you should mind a closed construction, but in general there is no disappointment in that. Separation and layering are good and slightly accentuated.
The headphones are averagely critical to recording quality. They point out emotions and deliver them and do not try to show recording faults.
Thus I can say that Audeze have succeeded in creating an unusual gaming model. Will it be successful? We’ll find out after some time.
Translated by: Vadim Kolchev