Over the past few years, Audeze has become one of the most respected headphone companies in the business, and its new Mobius is a wireless headset aimed primarily at online gamers, but in my recent usage it has proven to be an excellent option for the more mainstream, untethered crowd. Priced at $399, these headphones come packed with top-level features that, to the best of my knowledge, have never been found on wireless headphones before. The design features closed-back proprietary FAZOR planar magnetic drivers, which as far as I can tell is a first for gaming-style headsets. In addition, Mobius supports Waves NX, a platform that pinpoints head movement and orients the source material to rotate with your head, as well as creating 3D sound. It also has advanced room-emulation software that is customizable using a downloadable app.
The Audeze Mobius is a full over-ear powered headphone that is exceedingly comfortable on the ears and weighs a mere 350 grams. It might be a tad bulky/heavy for workout purposes, but for home use or airline travel it's hard to beat. The fit is easily adjustable, and while no active noise-cancelling is provided, the sound is immersive enough to make that a moot point unless your desk job is located next to a rock quarry.
The Mobius accepts a USB connection (via either the included USB-A to USB-C or USB-C to USB-C cables), a 3.5mm analog connection, or Bluetooth 4.2, with support for SBC, AAC, and LDAC (but not aptX) codecs. LDAC is a Bluetooth codec, developed by Sony, that has the advantage of supporting resolutions up to 96 kHz/24-bit, although the Mobius doesn't support such high data rates, and requires the selection of the 48 kHz setting.
Audeze reports a ten-hour battery life, which may be low in comparison to other Bluetooth headsets, but likely due to the heavy digital signal processing going on. Thankfully, one can deactivate both the DSP and 3D head-tracking with the touch of a button. The battery drain for these features may be an issue for long gaming sessions, but for routine listening it's not a problem as the battery lasted many times longer than I could.
The fit and finish of the Audeze Mobius is fantastic. There are two colors to choose from: bronze or blue. The predominantly plastic surfaces may turn some buyers off, but in my opinion this is more than made up for the fact that the headset is so comfortable. The cups feature replaceable contoured memory foam ear pads, which live up to their hype. The faux leather adds a bit of luxury to the mix. This headset doesn't scream alt-fashion or like Bowers & Wilkins--rather a sort of "video-gamer" feel, which will certainly put off some audiophile buyers.
I did most of my listening with an LG V40 ThinQ using Roon/Tidal as a source, and I also ran while wearing the headset down through Truman Annex in my hometown of Key West, primarily using downloaded HDTracks.com hi-res FLAC files running through the Onkyo HF Player app.
One of my favorite motivational albums for running is the early album Age of Winters by The Sword. The band was a delightful find when one-offing on Roon Radio after listening to similar bands like Mastodon and Wolfmother. The second track, "Barael's Blade," has a fantasy aura about it, like a Frank Frazetta painting in musical form. Through the Mobius, this bass-heavy track and its thrumming dual guitar riffs sound like Black Sabbath's early lost album. Drop-D tuning on fuzzy overdriven thrash axes sounds like you're backstage at the Headbanger's Ball. The resolution of the Mobius is fantastic, especially given its reliance on wireless technology. The tone and timbre are excellent, as to be expected with closed-back planar magnetic headphones.
Johnny Cash's late-life collaborations with Rick Rubin have become near legendary since Cash's death in 2003, none more powerful than the cover of Trent Reznor's "Hurt," which mirror both Reznor and Cash's struggles with substance addiction. The stripped-down production that Rubin insisted upon even with Cash's failing and wavering voice leads to an almost epiphanic experience, similar to hearing "Hallelujah" covered by Jeff Buckley for the first time. I switched on and off the 3D effect during all my listening, and even without the effect added I felt as if I was placed right in the recording studio, with spooky soundstage placement of the guitar over my left shoulder, the piano over my right, and Cash's spent vocal cords in between my ears like my head was in a vise. Utterly outstanding.�
I wrapped up my critical evaluation of the Mobius with Jethro Tull's Aqualung. Using the Mobius and Roon through my LG phone, with the volume turned irresponsibly high, I could hear all the details of the piano in the opening section, including the felt brushing the strings with the mute pedal.
By the time Simon Barre's guitar fades into the mix, the Mobius had me unashamedly smiling and preparing to head-bang to the song's main riff. These cans can be driven to levels that would frighten small children and dogs without a hint of distortion.
Comparison and Competition
The Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless are some of the best wireless headphones on the market and possibly not coincidentally identically priced. Sonically, the two are very different in that the B&W rely on dynamic drivers and the Mobius is planar magnetic; my preference is for the latter based on soundstage reproduction, but the PX is no slouch in this department. The fit and finish of the B&W product is without peer, and some people may prefer the look over the Millennial-styled Mobius. The B&W cans also provide active noise-cancelling circuitry, which the Mobius doesn't.
Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay H9i are also approximately $400 per pair and compare very well. The fit and finish of the B&O might be a step up from the Audeze, with a more appealing look to the Gen X squad, and they too provide active noise-cancelling. But as they also rely on dynamic drivers, the soundstage cannot be favorably compared to the above-par Mobius.
In HomeTheaterReview's Wireless Over-Ear Headphone Buyer's Guide, publisher Jerry Del Colliano has many a kind word to say about Sennheiser's HD1 Wireless, which prices out at around the same $399 price point. Jerry likes the light weight of the HD1, as well as its tendency not to run hot when worn for extended listening sessions.�
The Audeze Mobius is one of the finest Bluetooth headphones on the market right now. It's right in the thick of it, price-wise, for premium wireless headphones, and bests most other products in terms of quality of sound and soundstage reproduction. If you are looking for a very fun pair of headphones to listen to both music and movies and are intrigued by the wireless planar magnetic combination, don't hesitate to try out the Mobius.
� Visit the Audeze website for more product information.�
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� Read�HomeTheaterReview's Wireless Over-Ear Headphone Buyer's Guide.�