- Apr 5, 2015
Honestly? I'd use no-quibble refund/return sellers to buy the Mobius and the new SXFI Theater Wireless headphones, see which you like better, and return the one you don't.would something like Mobius/Orbit S be worith it over a G6 or X3 in your opionion. I am so not sure what to purchase for a mix of PC / Stadia / PS4. The other thought with the new consoles coming out i would like something a bit more future proof if that is even possible
The SXFI Theater Wireless apparently offers full SXFI processing of discrete multichannel sources via a USB sound stick which acts as a wireless transmitter for the pre-processed SXFI VSS signal and acts as an external sound card too. If true, that would make it the first new-gen 3D VSS headset to do all that wirelessly system-wide on PC. By comparison, both the Mobius and the SXFI Air do all their processing onboard and thus can only receive stereo wirelessly over Bluetooth; both require USB wired connections to PC in order to be able to process discrete multichannel source audio into full SXFI / Waves NX.
As for SXFI vs Waves, I prefer Waves in some ways and SXFI in others but find Waves to be more prone to sudden and incongruous hard panned transitions when the camera perspective shifts around busy or congested audio environments The mobius projects depth very well and headtracking is awesome but its soundstage doesn't always feel spherical due to the aforementioned issues and can on the odd occasion momentarily feel a bit uneven and irregular. SXFI is more consistent in this respect.
I also reckon Waves NX is more prone to occasional errors in processing discrete multichannel game audio into VSS and is more easily confused by sudden changes in cue placement. It also exacerbates and exaggerates poorly mixed (by the game dev) positional cues and sometimes those cues that are intentionally unrealistically imbalanced by the dev for stylistic or practical choices. For example, I have played a few games such as Hitman where you might be in an environment and NPCs or targets are having conversations relevant to mission intel and objectives. The games will automatically make these conversations considerably louder than ambient background dialogue, environmental audio fx and other player triggered conversation NPC cycle that are not relevant to objectives. This is fine and makes sense in theory but can cause problems if poorly mixed, poorly balanced or not thoroughly tested from all camera positions and angles.
To elaborate, using the previous example, sometimes those mission-relevant real-time NPC dialogues might happen when there is for an obstacle such as a wall between you and the source that should in theory at least moderate the increase in volume of the dialogue somewhat. Alternatively, perhaps the source is far away and there are lots of other NPCs or competing sources and positional cues in between you. You wouldn't be able to hear them in real life but in the game you can because it's a game and the devs are intentionally defying realism for ease of play purposes. With SXFI, the highlighting via volume will usually be mildly to moderately exaggerated, more than you might get in stereo or through true discrete surround and enough to break the immersion a little if you are prone to fixating on such things. But generally it doesn't happen that often and it's tolerable enough to get used to it. With SBX the exaggeration of the dialogue or whatever highlighted source cue will be less loud although it will probably still be noticeable. SBX handles this aspect better than the others discussed here. Waves is the worst (of the three). With Waves I often found it to be so loud as to be immersion breaking. Not because it hurt my ears or anything but because a highlighted source sample/cue on the other side of a wall or far away in an audio congested environment should not be so loud as to sound like its happening right beside me with nothing in between. Other times it's the other way round, with some cues getting too quiet or drowned out completely and others getting much louder just because of a change to the camera angle.
I guess you could say the Waves NX doesn't always get what should be quiet and what should be louder right and if the original audio mix already had volume balance / positional issues, Waves will make sure you notice it much more than the other three.
I haven't owned the Mobuis for quite some time now and maybe these issues have been fixed for it and the Orbit but I am sceptical on that issue. Reason being, I do own the clip-on Waves NX wireless headtracker and Wavess VSS software and have tried it with my various headphones and the issues are still there, more so than on the Mobius actually (perhaps because the headtracker/software combo only has three reverb presets rather than a percentage slider). While I have no doubt that the Mobius has received plenty of tweaks and improvements of its own since I last used it, given that the Waves NX software and headtracker haven't received any kind of updates in ages, I am hesitant to believe that the Mobius or the Orbit would have received exclusive updates to improve the VSS algorithm that the software and headtracker have not. This is because although the head tracker and standalone software never really took off for gamers, they are actually quite popular amongst music producers, audio fx designers, sound engineers etc. for mixing and testing multichannel surround audio because it allows them to virtually replicate the multichannel speakers setups of studios or the audio environments intended for their mixes (such as performance venues for example) so if any significant improvements were to be made to the Waves NX VSS algorithm, I would expect the headtracker and associated software to get those improvements at least the same time as the Mobius and Orbit, if not earlier. It is after all, Waves who are behind the Waves NX VSS, not Audeze.
All that being said though, it's still one of my favourite VSS solutions because when it works well, it *really* works well and although there will be moments where you're like "Eh??" or "Hmm, Waves really messed that bit up", it only happens very occasionally on Waves NX, rarely with SXFI and not as bad when it does happen, very rarely at all with SBX and when it does happen the impact is the least of the three. Out of the devices you mentioned, right now you'll only get true VSS out of PS4 from SBX on the G6 while you'll only get proper SXFI and Waves NX out of the PC. No idea what Stadia's audio capabilities are, it's not a platform that has ever piqued my interest TBH.
The most versatile and cost effective would be the X3 but the SXFI implementation currently has audio quality problems for rear samples and has done for a while it would seem which is odd as the SXFI AMP does not.
If it's between the Mobius and the Orbit, I'd say Mobius without question as it would be a shame to lose the wireless capability just for a 15-20% discount. You lose the full Waves NX experience in wireless mode but you could turn that all that off and still use Dolby Atmos for headphone, DTS headphone X etc. processed by your machine and sent by Bluetooth. If you are say out and about on a laptop and wanted to watch Netflix in virtual surround wirelessly, you can do that.
The Mobius will probably be better as pure cans than the Theaters but the Theaters are so much cheaper that you could keep them and buy some of the other options too and still spend less than the Mobius.
For example, if you liked Waves NX as well as SXFI and wanted both then you could get the SXFI Theater, the Waves NX headtracker and VSS app and a G6 for full SBX from the PS4. Again, give or take, it comes to around about the same as the MSRP for Mobius. You then add your head measurements to the Waves app, pair the headtracker to any blutooth emitter and then clip the tracker to the top of your chosen stereo headphones. The Waves headtracker solution does require your system to already have a 5.1 or 7.1 capable audio chip, sound card or access to an external one via USB as it uses that device as the audio source and uses the PC CPU to process discrete multichannel into VSS for output from that same source while communicating with the head tracker wirelessly for processing your head movements. Actually, it's quite possible you could set the SXFI Theater's sound stick as the 7.1 source (provided it is what I think it is, a multichannel capable external sound card in addition to wireless emitter) in which case you just ensure that all SXFI processing is turned off on the Theater so it's just stereo that's being sent to the Theater, attach the headtracker to the Theater headset, then bam, stereo being sent from the Theater USB stick will be fully processed headtracked 7.1 Waves NX VSS all wireless, no cables!
For ultimate wireless madness, a final option that would make you a contender for the title of "Wireless king of PC and PS4 VSS", all for the price of a single Mobius, would be:
SXFI Theater + Waves NX headtracker and Software + PlayStation Platinum Wireless.
A couple of users on here will claim that the Platinum Wireless is garbage but I disagree. Sony's house VSS is very good and will process upto 7.1 multichannel PCM from games. In fact, short of a Smyth Realiser, or one of the few non-gaming wireless headsets that accepts HDMI audio, or else an AV receiver with its own headphone VSS solution, the Platinums are the only (and without exception the cheapest) way to process discrete 7.1 multichannel tracks on the PS because the source audio isn't limited by having to be transcoded into bitstreamed 5.1 Dolby Digital or 5.1 DTS as would be the case with all other PS compatible VSS gaming dac/amps.
Moreover, the Platinum offers exclusive 3D audio for certain flagship first party exclusives (Uncharted, Horizon, God of War etc.). So in those particular games you don't just get standard VSS, you get height effects far above, far below etc. While there do exist a very small number of multiplats with good binaural 3D audio pre-mixed in by the game devs and work for any stereo headphones
(e.g. Hellblade etc.),they're very much in the minority and regardless, the Platinum Wireless is currently the only way fullstop of getting 3D audio from the aforementioned PS4 1st party exclusives. Even a Smyth Realiser would have no means of getting 3D VSS from those titles because the discrete multichannel audio tracks of those games are just standard 5.1 and 7.1 with none of the height information.