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Audeze Mobius Review / Preview - Head-Fi TV

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Mar 14, 2018.

Are You Team Blue or Team Copper?

  1. I'm Team Blue

    109 vote(s)
  2. I'm Team Copper

    291 vote(s)
  3. I Chose Both

    23 vote(s)
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  1. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    They're still a ways out, lol. Not sold yet.
  2. miceblue
    Yeah I'm a bit confused by this too.

    e.g. If you're playing as Moira in Overwatch and in the game you're looking at a Winston for healing, you should hear Winston in front of you. However, if you turn your head to the right in real life and there's an enemy Sombra coming at you from that direction, you would hear her as if she were in front of you when in fact, she would be on the right relative to the direction your character is facing on your screen. Wat?
    pithyginger63 likes this.
  3. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    If there is someone in front of you on the screen, and say you're physically turned to the right, the headtracking will point you left towards the screen where the person is, EXACTLY.

    If someone is directly behind you (6 o clock), and your character is facing forward (12 o clock), but YOU are facing right (3 o clock), the headtracking audio will point you to turn right towards the audio cue (at 6 o clock). Obviously you'll want to look at the screen so your on screen chartacter can turn around and face the audio cue

    Trust me, it's quite natural. You just have to try it. Logically speaking, you'll generally be facing the screen anyways, if just slightly off angle at the most. I doubt you'll be playing a competitive game while facing some crazy direction.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    caenlenfromOCN likes this.
  4. cskippy
  5. AlwaysForward
    Did they just say closed punchy LCD on the go with Bluetooth and Cipher?!?
  6. Zojokkeli
    Could I use this wirelessly with a PS4? Head tracking etc. wouldn't probably work, but just for communication.
  7. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Yes, Jude sent me one of the two pairs he had. Lol.
    Wilashort, caenlenfromOCN and cskippy like this.
  8. cskippy
    I would love to hear a comparison to other headphones to get a gauge of the sound signature. I'm sure you'll have a review ready before the campaign ends?
  9. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    I am ready to give nearly a review's worth of impressions. Just editing it at the moment. :D

    That being said, guys, EXPECT grammatical errors, and some eff ups in the upcoming long post. This is a rough draft, but one I feel I need to get out of the gate.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    Evshrug and cskippy like this.
  10. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    HERE IT IS. Again, this is a rough FIRST draft, and I will be editing it a bajillion times. Sound signature second part isn't even finished, but I'll get to it shortly. I will be fixing anything I find wrong as I proofread, but I wanted to get this out the gate. Absolutely no edits, first draft. I'm not kidding, there will be errors. I spent the better part of all night writing this, even though it's impressions of less than a week. I wasn't even mentally prepared to write this, but went ahead and started typing, and this is what came out. My reviews tend to be at least a few weeks of testing, but I think this is still useful.

    the picture was taken at 3:30am with a broken phone, so don't judge it too harshly lol.

    disclaimer: I was not paid off by anyone, and these are 100% reflecting my opinion of this headset. If anything sounds overly glowing or positive, it's because that is exactly how I feel about it. If I don't like something I 100% will decline to review or write up anything on it. I have already declined one headset very recently because it wasn't up to my expectation of quality. I will only spend time writing up on products I find worth looking into, and nothing less.


    Audeze Mobius


    Early Impressions

    First of many surprises, I do believe the Mobius is the world's first planarmagnetic "headset", world's first wireless/bluetooth planarmagnetic, and world's first internal headtracking planarmagnetic headphone. Audeze is swinging for the fences with as many buzzwords you can fit into one extremely well designed package.

    Build Quality:

    To begin with, the Mobius stands apart from any Audeze planar I've personally seen. I would've expected another classic Audeze headphone: formal, fancily-dressed, laden with wood, heaviest of weights, and utterly behemoth in size. Instead, the Mobius came dressed like one would expect of a properly engineered bluetooth headphone, not in any way typical of Audeze.

    Durable-looking plastic is its main ingredient (which I have zero problems with, mind you), likely to keep costs down to hit a specific price point.


    A standard plastic headband with the bottom dressed in very plush, uber comfortable faux-leather in the center.

    The size adjustment is fairly typical and akin to something you'd expect from Sennheiser, with a easy adjustment that clocks, but have no visible markings.


    The cups are oval-shaped (again akin to Sennheiser or Shure's offerings), with a fully enclosed outer shell that house the power button, mic on/off, and power led indicator on the left outer cup; nothing on the right cup, though internally, I believe houses the battery (good for up to 10 hours of wireless playtime).

    The bottom of the left cup is absolutely packed with all the interface you'll ever need: volume slider, microphone volume slider, aux/3.5mm input jack, usb type c input (for it's charging and PC audio side of things), microphone jack, and 3D button.

    If that wasn't enough for you, as of this prototype (subject to change), the 3D button is a shortcut for other functions:

    one button press: re-centers the headtracking of 3D mode
    long press: toggles 3D on/off
    double tap: switches from USB, AUX, Bluetooth

    The mic volume slider also has shortcuts (subject to change). Pressing down on the volume slider switches from:

    7.1 audio: PC picks up the Mobius as a 7.1 sound device. Use this if gaming/media playback and want to utilize the virtual surround capabilities properly

    Two channel: Standard, PC picks this up as 2 channel...surprise. 16bit/48khz.

    High Res: High fidelity two channel playback in 24bit/96khz. 3D button capabilites are disabled in this mode (no virtual surround or headtracking features).

    Single press followed by sliding the mic volume up or down will change EQ presets:

    Default, Footsteps, Ballistics, Music, Racing, RPG, Flat

    Default is the intended frequency response of the Mobius. The other presets are not finalized, and thus are subject to change. I haven't done any testing of the presets. ONLY Default.

    The power button has shortcuts as well:

    Long press when off: turns Mobius on
    When on: long press: Bluetooth pairing mode
    Holding it longer AFTER bluetooth pairing mode: turns the Mobius off

    Last notes about cups:

    The cups can lay flat for portable use/resting around the neck, and have enough swivel to fit any head shape.

    Ear Pads:

    While some of you may know I'm not the biggest fan of faux-leather pads, Audeze has managed to give the Mobius a very ample amount of padding while minimizing surface contact area. The end result is that the Mobius sits comfortably on the skin, with an oval-shape opening, keeping the ears from bottoming out and pressing onto the drivers or pressing up against the pad walls. I'd like the skin contact area to be lined in cloth, velour or something similar (like Hifiman's focus pads), but that's just me.


    The Mobius comes with 3 basic cables: 6ft USB C to USB A, 6ft USB C to USB C, and 3.5ft 3.5mm aux audio cable. Nothing particularly fancy.

    Final Build Impressions:

    While the Mobius isn't the hefty beast one would expect of Audeze, it is made of some generally durable plastics that shouldn't offend anyone. The Mobius looks like it can take some moderate abuse, though why would you abuse planarmagnetic goodness like this?


    Aside from the cables mentioned above, you get a boom microphone attachment. At this point in time, I'm not certain the final version will look similar, as Audeze has told me the final version will have a different microphone. Whether the design is the same or not, I don't yet know.



    The Mobius is among the lightest planarmagnetic headphones I've personally tested, and weight is generally a non-issue. I believe it is around 350g (correct me if I'm wrong please), which isn't the lightest headphone, though definitely light for a planar. I feel the weight is distributed well, and shouldn't pose a problem for most people.


    Headbands are either hit or miss in general, but I feel the Mobius is definitely on the right side of things, with ample cushioning, with no hot spots or sore spots even after many hours of use.

    Ear Pads:

    As mentioned earlier, I'm not generally a fan of faux-leather ear pads, but the shape, depth, and minimal skin contact surface, paired with the ample cushioning, makes the Mobius' ear pads quite comfortable, and among the best faux-leather ear pads I've tested.


    I'd say the clamp on the Mobius falls under 'moderate' pressure. If anything, this may be the only area in comfort I'd personally want improved, as I prefer less pressure in general. I can see moderate clamp potentially causing minor aches during long listening sessions. Clamp is a highly debatable subject, and can easily fall under personal preference.

    Overall Comfort Impressions:

    The Mobius is in a range of comfort I'd consider quite good, despite personal preference of less clamp. Outside of clamp, the comfort easily lands in the spectrum between very good and great. I don't see many people having a problem with the Mobius whatsoever in terms of comfort.


    It's been a considerable amount of time since I've last played with a closed headphone of any kind, but I'd say the noise leak and noise isolation are absolutely good enough for my use. I couldn't see the Mobius being a problem to use in a quiet room, or in a loud environment.


    Undoubtedly the most important factor: How does the Mobius sound? Surely a headset packed with so many features at a lower than typical Audeze price-points would have to compromise in sound a bit? Well, I'm happy to say that if they sacrificed somewhere to bring us the Mobius, I certainly can't say it's the sound.


    The bass on the Mobius is what I absolutely expect of Audeze: This is big boy bass. And not in the "bassheads, come out and play" type of way, though audiophilic bassheads may find solace here. The bass immediately reminds me of the classic LCD-2 Rev. 2 bass. It is big, meaty, and well present, in a way that only planars are capable of. It reaches as low as deemed possible without any protest, with the deepest of rumbles and omnipotence. It hits with absolute, resolute, authoritative impact. Decay is medium-fast, texture is rich, and despite it's boldness, is actually completely linear with the midrange, where there is little in the way of invasiveness.

    There is a little bit of excess warmth in the lowest regions of male speech where it can sound a bit growly, but otherwise, the bass is here to play with the rest of the sound instead of dominating over it. That being said, make absolutely NO mistake: It will absolutely, undeniably hit you in the face. But that's when bass is called for and not whenever it feels like.

    Doing frequency checks: I felt the presence even down to 25hz, with no degree of weakeness all the way to the midrange. The bass is intoxicating and meaty enough to satisfy all who love bass, unless you want dronish, one note affairs, or those who don't put bass as much importance as the midrange or upper end sparkle.

    Quality: ****
    Quantity: *****


    Oh what a lovely, juicy, fluid midrange it is. The midrange is upfront and center, with a tonal quality as realistic as any I've heard. Easily amongst the very best midranges I've heard. It's absolutely wonderful. Male speech, as mentioned before can have an overactive lower octave, but only slightly. In general, everything about the midrange to me is lifelike and engrossing, with a focused presence. It just sounds...correct, to my ears.

    Quality: ****
    Quantity: ****


    You would think that despite having said how linear the curve seems to be on the Mobius, I've mentioned how meaty and impactful the bass is, and how focused, fluid, and lifelike the midrange is, leaving one to assume that the treble likely took a backseat, leaving the Mobius as a warm, overly smooth sounding headphone. Well, that simply isn't true. The treble is absolutely present and clean sounding, despite it not being too highlighted. It maintains a very fine balance with the bass and midrange, where one would think the treble is basically on par with either. To my ears, the treble is quite present yet just a hint (A HINT) south of absolute neutrality. What I mean by that is that it's very close to complete balance with the bass and midranges, but has some cleverly tucked in regions that soften the impact of annoying treble ranges, and highlights the best regions that add clarity and sparkle, like 10khz.

    One would say it's neutral treble and I wouldn't disagree. This absolutely is NOT the LCD2 of old. There is an undeniable treble presence here, and it's at a level that I'd consider incredibly well balanced. I'd say that had it not been for the strength of the bass on the Mobius, it would be a deadlock between all ranges. To my ears, the treble is just expertly balanced here. No glaring peaks, sibilance, or overly glossed over sections of stuffy, blanketed treble.

    Quality: ****
    Quantity: ***


    Stereo mode, 3D off:

    Soundstage, as always is not something I pay particular attention to when using headphones in stereo (as opposed to when I use them with any form of virtual surround, which the Mobius DOES have as an option.) That being said, I review soundstages in their pure, untouched, stereo forms. Only two closed planars really surprised me in terms of soundstage: the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog, and Ether C. The Mobius has good depth, good height, average width to my ears. I feel the Mobius has particularly excellent frontal projection, despite an average size soundstage typical of closed headphones and planars in general.

    With the 3D surround on:

    To say it transforms the soundscape, soundstage, and soundfield would be an understatement. More on this in the gaming section, and 3D button specific sections.


    The Mobius has a decent amount of clarity, thanks to its very linear response, not masking any region outside softening a few treble ranges, though not ones that stifle perceived clarity.

    The bass leaves the midrange well enough alone in the vast majority of examples, and the treble sparkles without being overly pronounced nor stuffy and veiled.

    It's not as clear as the brighter, detail oriented headphones out there, but for a neutral to warm leaning closed headphone, it does an admirable job.

    Clarity changes when engaging it's 3D surround mode, in which the Mobius takes on a slightly brighter, airier, more detailed tonality, which makes it great for gaming.

    Sound Signature:

    Tonality: Neutral-warm tonality, linear, authoritative bass, luscious midrange, neutral-warm treble

    Bass: Linear, sub bass is cavernous, mid bass as impactful as necessary. Slight excess bass energy in lower frequency male speech. Bass decay/resonance is medium speed. Rich texture.

    Midrange: Warm neutral, linear, up front and center, organic, lifelike, natural. Excellent. No annoying areas in the transition to lower treble. Slight dip at 1.5khz, 3.5khz-4khz transition is the pronounced but not overly sharp.

    Treble: Warm neutral/south of neutral, with sparkly upper end. Not soft, not pronounced. Walks a fine line between smooth and sparkly. Warm, but not WARM. Upper end extension is high. 10khz-12khz lively. 13khz drop off.


    As Audeze first foray into a gaming headset, you would expect that it needs to deliver, and I have to say, gaming with the Mobius has been a treat. While these impressions are premature as my testing hasn't been vast into gaming (I've focused on the stereo, music aspects first.), I have taken the Mobius for a spin a few days with some single player gaming, and multiplayer ala Destiny 2.

    As one would expect of a deeply immersive experience that a meaty bass, rich midrange headphone would give, the immersion factor is absolutely stellar. This is one incredibly fun headphone to use. It is vibrant and dynamic, with some pleasant prowess in terms of clarity as well. Headphones tend to lean towards either immersive gaming, or competitive, detail oriented gaming. Well, I can easily say the Mobius can easily serve as either. I guess that is what an incredibly linear response can deliver, yet without any 'flat' sound boredom.

    Now for the real treats.

    How well does it's 3D surround sound function? As someone who started with the tried and true Dolby Headphone, who has dabbled with Beyerdynamic's Headzone surround dsp, then THX Tru Studio, and for a few years up to now having used Creative's SBX Surround, I can say I was absolutely surprised by how effective Audeze's surround solution is. Here are my past and current experiences:

    There are many other virtual surround dsps, but these are the ones I'm accustomed to and found worth using. In my nearly decade long audiophile life, you can say I'm more than well acquainted with what Audeze is attempting here with its base virtual surround implementation outside of the headtracking.

    So is the Mobius' implementation of surround worthwhile when compared to tried and true dsps that have thrived before its inception? Short answer? Abso-freaking-lutely.

    The surround emulation just works. It instantly reminds me of something akin to Creative's SBX surround, give or take a bit of rear positional depth. Positional accuracy is correct, with the only negligible shortcoming being that blind testing front/rear positional cues aren't as easy as with Dolby Headphone or SBX. Now, this is a problem I personally feel ALL surround DSPs have. It's just one of those aspects of virtual surround that take a little more than just sound to convince. Action on screen relative to what you hear goes a long way into 'tricking' your brain into hearing sound cues as being 'behind you'.

    Now, I won't go out of my way and say it's the best one, because to me, it isn't quite there. THAT being said, this is an unfinished product and is still subject to changes and various improvements, with the surround dsp having features currently locked out that MAY actually improve it enough to get it right where I'd want it. Slightly enlarging the virtual room size may be all that's needed. So for now, I'd rate its virtual surround as an 8/10. It's great. I can without question use the Mobius competitively and not ever feel like its positional cues are a detriment.

    3D Button and Its Effects

    To add what the 3D button does and its effects for more than just gaming, let me clarify:

    Base Surround Emulation:

    For best results, you need to change the mode to 7.1 (though head tracking does work in 2 channel mode to a lesser extent).

    Upon engaging virtual surround, the sound signature of the Mobius becomes slightly brighter (though still retains the Mobius traits of linear signature with deep AND punchy bass, equally present midrange, and neutral-ish non-fatiguing but clear treble), and considerably more airy, which is to be expected. You're going from a typical headphone's audio, to something that simulates a room with speakers. That's right, you honestly should not compare basic stereo mode with 7.1 virtual surround/head tracking mode, because the presentation of sound is COMPLETELY different. Again, it's like going from headphones to then taking your headphones off and listening to speakers inside a room. Not exactly the same, right?

    Well, the immediate difference is how the sound goes from inside your head to several virtual feet in front of you, at the very least when it comes for stereo content. If you're listening to music, it's like there are a set of speakers in front of you. If playing 5.1/7.1 content, it's like you're in the middle of the action, and things are happening all around you. Now, you may think "well, regular headphone gaming I feel like I'm in the center of it all." No. Just no. There is no comparison. You're still limited to two channels giving you audio that is more or less in and around your headspace. Virtual surround is like you're listening to speakers quite some distance from you.

    Mobius's surround emulation is distinct, with clear positional cues, note-worthy airyness and soundstage size. You are enveloped in a large sound field that is further aided by the wonderful, wonderful headtracking. Thankfully, the reverb is kept to a minimum, so it doesn't sound overly artificial like some other virtual surround DSPs like Dolby Headphone, which may have better rear positional discernability, but at the expense of fidelity. I think most users would take the Mobius interpretation of virtual surround over Dolby Headphone.


    As if virtual surround wasn't enough, Audeze decided to throw in an incredibly functional headtracking feature that not only works, but works amazingly well.

    To start, it begins with you facing what you deem is the front (or in my case, the TV screen). You then press then 3D button to center the headtracking. From that point, ANY head movement will be tracked by the Mobius. So if you were to turn around, the audio that is supposed to be in front of you will come from behind you. To give an easy example: say you're using this feature while listening to music, well it's exactly like you're listening to speakers in front of you, and whatever direction you turn to, the audio will still be coming from where the speakers are obviously located. It's something you have to experience to truly understand and appreciate.

    Now, for music, I'm a headphone purist, in the sense that I would just rather listen to the Mobius with the 3D/surround/headtracking turned off. However for sources that have a 5.1/7.1 mix like movies, video games, and tv shows, I absolutely swear by the surround and headtracking.

    For gaming in particular it adds an extra layer in dimensionality, as no longer do I have to 'think' of the sound as it ALWAYS being in front of me, so if say, my head were slightly angled in another direction, I would still know where sound cues are at on the screen, because the headtracking makes it possible to pinpoint EXACTLY where sounds are coming from relative to where I'm facing and not just where it is at relative to the screen. It's not only immersive, it's absolutely beneficial, if even by just a little bit.

    I think this will absolutely be a game changer in the future, if the gaming industry pays attention.

    Final Impressions on Surround and Headtracking:

    Surround sound alone is something I deem incredibly important in gaming, especially headphone gaming. The Audeze Mobius' implementation is a fantastic new alternative to all the existing surround DSPs out there. In addition to its headtracking, it may as well become a brand new favorite for many people. Audeze already had a bang up headphone without even going into the gaming and surround features. With them, Audeze has intentions on making a serious name for itself in the gaming audio space.


    I'll be the first to admit I don't have a lot of experience with wireless audio. Outside of a pretty good pair of Jaybird X2s iems and gaming headsets: Creative Soundblaster Jam, Astro A50, Skullcandy Plyr 1, and perhaps a few others, I don't expect much from wireless audio.

    Now, the Mobius' bluetooth implemetation isn't even finalized, and even before that, I can EASILY say that I'm positively blown away by how amazing the Mobius sounds in its prototype Bluetooth form. I mean, it sounds the 'same' to my ears. I mean that in a way that I don't notice any sound signature differences. It sounds clean, crisp, clear, and if there is any compression, I honestly can't tell. I would absolutely fail a blind test between bluetooth and USB. I'm sure there are differences, but I'm not gonna strain myself to the point where I trick myself into thinking one sounds better than the other. That is the highest praise I can give. What baffles me is how the final product's Bluetooth implementation is supposed to be better? HOLY SMOKES.

    We can sit here and talk about headtracking, and whatnot. To be honest, I think I was just as impressed by the bluetooth sound quality. Yes, it's that good. Fight me.

    Personal Recommendation?

    The Audeze Mobius is possibly the easiest product to recommend to everyone outside of console specific gamers. It's a stellar music headphone, gaming headset, and general media monster. Outside of possibly those who want something analytical, or bass light, I don't see how ANYONE else would not consider these.

    Even if you don't care about virtual surround, or even headtreacking, the Mobius IS STILL a stellar audiophile headphone in both usb AND wireless bluetooth modes. I don't talk much about the aux cable mode, because bluetooth is so good, you won't find a need to connect a cable unless it's for the usb specific uses. I promise you.

    Final Impressions:

    Had Audeze released a barebones headset, that didn't have surround, headtracking, or even wireless capabilities, the Mobius would STILL get a full recommendation from me. Based off sound quality alone, I was instantly enamored by the Mobius. Audeze specifically asked for general concerns or advice for them on what I think needs fixing. I told them that I honestly wouldn't change a THING of it's sonic traits. I mean, speaking purely in terms of sound signature and quality, the Mobius is 100% READY to go. I do NOT want anything about its inherent sound changed whatsoever.

    How can I give critical feedback to a product I can find no real fault in? Yes, the noise floor is audible at low volume which was already being addressed before I even mentioned it. Yes, there are some glitches like bluetooth audio would mess up the USB audio when switching sources. But these are things that are actively being fixed before a final version is out.

    If/when these kinks are ironed out for the final release, the Mobius is going to be a BIG FREAKING DEAL in the audiophile community. I guarantee it. Quote me on it.

    Likes and Dislikes:


    Self driven (no dac/amp needed)
    Wireless capability via Bluetooth
    Great virtual surround
    Amazing Headtracking
    So much bang for the money
    Stellar sound quality from usb AND bluetooth


    Noise floor isn't dead silent (Was told directly by Audeze they will be improving the noise floor for the final product)

    No full console capability outside of standard aux cable into controller on PS4. Not sure on XB1 or Switch, though if they have a headphone jack somewhere you'll get basic stereo capability.

    Aux cable input isn't passive, so no benefit in using your own dac/amps.

    Aux cable input may not be unnecessary because bluetooth sound quality is just that good.

    Unfiltered Thoughts:

    I don't even want to begin trying to understand how Audeze was capable of cramming so much into a product like this that isn't worth a zillion dollars. I don't wanna know, I don't wanna ask. All I know is that it exists, and you absolutely should get it. I want it. Even if JUST for the Bluetooth, I'd argue for it.

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  11. AlwaysForward
    Backed #7 here and I could not be more hyped for this.

    I’m pretty intrigued by the talk of psycho-acoustics as well. I’m a closet Bose fan and do think their work in that space produces results that audiophiles seem to ignore on spec sheets.
  12. xuan87
    If they have a USB Type C cable for this with Cipher DSP, then shouldn't it be really easy for them to do the same for the iSine earphones? I'm sick of carrying around my iPhone as a dap.
  13. pichu
    So I see that it has a built in amp inside the headphones themself? Are they able to be paired with an external DAC/AMP? Its nice to have an integrated amp for when I use them on the go, But id like my home system to be able to gain benefit from my dac/amp! Any explanation of this?
    deanderson likes this.
  14. myusernameislove
    Nice review, but you did not mention, what bluetooth codec you are referring to during the part, whrere you said that it sounds literally the same with bt as on cable. There are huge differences between SBC, AAC and LDAC you know in terms of compression and therefore sound quality but if it sounds with SBC same as with cable, then it would be a great achievement!
  15. AlwaysForward
    Any chance there will be an MFI certified lighting to USB-C cable for this with audio? I feel like whoever makes one will sell to many customers
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