Gaming headphones all tend to come with lofty promises about 7.1 sound or special spatial audio imaging or some other gimmick that can entice people to buy them. Audiophile headphone maker Audeze is getting into this gimmick game with the announcement of its new Mobius headset — though the difference here is that Audeze’s gimmick is really rather awesome. I tried out a prototype of the Mobius at CES back in January, and I’ve been excited to see the finished product ever since.
Audeze’s trick with the Mobius is to create a soundstage that is fixed in your real-world environment and doesn’t shift with movements of your head. So if a sound source is on the right edge of the screen in front of you, tilting or turning your head or even standing up and walking around won’t alter the position of that sound. Audeze calls this sound localization, and it achieves it by tracking the movements of your head and mapping out the dimensions of your room. It’s a really uncanny feeling to wear headphones and hear sound as if it’s coming from a speaker at a fixed point.
The demo that I listened to during CES was a scene from the movie House of Flying Daggers, where a bean is thrown across a large room and rebounds off a series of drums. The soundstage the Mobius headphones exhibited was immensely wide, which is by design, but — and this is the thing that will especially appeal to gamers — it was the precise positioning of each rebound that was most impressive.
The Audeze Mobius support AAC and LDAC Bluetooth audio, with a promised wireless battery life of more than 10 hours, and they can also be connected via USB-C, USB-A, and a classic old 3.5mm headphone jack. Being gaming headphones, they also come with a detachable microphone.
Now for the bad news: although they are built around planar magnetic tech like the rest of Audeze’s headphones lineup, the Mobius didn’t leave me delighted with their sound. Things might have improved since January, but I can’t see them improving to the degree where I’d recommend the Mobius to audiophiles (which is true of every other Audeze product). Another thing is that these are up for preorder on Indiegogo for $249 (full retail price will be $399) for deliveries in June at the earliest. I don’t doubt Audeze’s ability to build and ship the headphones, but Indiegogo’s involvement still makes me dubious.