Audeze Mobius Gaming Headset Review @ [H]

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Kyle_Bennett, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Audeze Mobius Gaming Headset Review

    Audeze is a well known name in the headphone world, and it recently used crowdfunding to fund its first foray into the world of gaming headsets. We are reviewing the Mobius headset that promises us that it is more than a headphone, "it's an experience." For $400 we want to know exactly what kind of experience it gives us when it comes to gameplay.

    If you like our content, please support HardOCP on Patreon.
     
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  2. Neutrino

    Neutrino Gawd

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    If I understood correctly (not guaranteed since it's 2:30 am here :confused: ) this headset is amazing for consuming media (videos, movies etc...) but a big meh for gaming.

    In this case would you say it's worth it, if media consumption is the primary goal? Or would high quality $400 headphones (senn, beyer etc..) still be the better choice?
     
  3. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ard as it Gets

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    $400!? People pay more for crap labeled as "gaming" but that is a lot of money for a bunch of pointless, seemingly bad, features. They should have spent more money on the mic and less on those stupid features.
     
  4. KingGlade

    KingGlade [H]Lite

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    Not impressed for the price of the headphones. If you're looking to spend this much, you're better off looking at Astro, but most $100 headphones sound great with that Dolby Atmos windows application.
     
  5. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Dolby Atmos or even the Windows Sonic is usually enough. I really like the Dolby Atmos. I think it is worth the price tag.
     
  6. IKV1476

    IKV1476 Lurker

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    Good read.

    Very odd choices in wireless connectivity and such a short wired solution too. And a nearly useless Mic? It seems like this was rushed out the door.
    If they can fix those things and get a good software suite going that actually allows full control then they could have a winner.
    But not this at $400, that is just way to much for what amounts too "good headphones" and not really anything "gaming" or "wireless headset".
     
  7. fenixv

    fenixv Gawd

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    Good read. Thanks for the review.
     
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  8. Meeho

    Meeho [H]ardness Supreme

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    Reputable brand's stereo headphones for a quarter of that price would be an infinitely better choice for any content.
     
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  9. SuicideKing

    SuicideKing n00b

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    On the mic front, they do have a beta firmware upgrade that you can email their support for, that seems to handle the positioning issues.
    All I can say to it is that my discord folks think it's better than my original Kingston hyper x mic, and I have not had any issues with it since the update.

    Side note, does anyone know if there is an easy way to have Windows output to two devices simultaneously?
    Basically my issue is while preserving the USB connection to the pc, as opposed to using the aux jack, I'd like to have sound in the headphones while also just running my sub instead of my whole 5.1 system.

    The main reason I don't use the mobius all the time for gaming is really just that I miss the palpable bass from my sub.
     
  10. StoleMyOwnCar

    StoleMyOwnCar 2[H]4U

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    Unless you wanted them to be wireless. I do wonder how these do over their bluetooth medium, when sound quality measurements are done to them, vs every other wireless headset out there.
     
  11. MBTP

    MBTP n00b

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    "Worst mic we have ever used on a gaming headset."
    Can't agree with that, have seen a bunch of reviews, the Mic is at least very decent.
    For 400 dollars it might not be there to many, but in relation to many other gaming headsets (and i did tested, read, heard, many reviews) it is definitly not the worst.
    Your mic probably was damaged or something.
     
  12. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    They tested their Mobius mic on a dummy head, which is not the way to do it. It takes away the human factor of breathing, coughing, movement, keyboard clacking, desk or computer fans in the room, etc. frankmansal had a terrible experience with a microphone with a noise gate built in. We tried for hours on in to get it to work properly and he ended up sending it back.
     
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  13. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Then tell me what is the worst mic I have ever used on a gaming headset please.
     
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  14. MBTP

    MBTP n00b

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    Based on your own source material(sound cloud), the sound quality of the Mobius Mic is decent, it captures a wide frequency range, has no continuous noise in background, the tonal response is quite balanced, it sounds more natural than most, so sound quality is up there.

    The problem here is not the low quality Mic, but the algorithm that does the noise reduction, which happens to use a different method than many others tested.
    The Corsair HS70 sounds like crap, pure crap, the astro A50 sounds really bad as well, many of them has a constant "hiss", and very nasal.

    So in terms of functionality, Mobius can be a pain to work with, not sure if it will be the same for everybody, but clearly in you case for your normal voice level, it is.
    This is not a cheap Mic:
    " It seems that Audeze just picked a mic out of the bargain bin pile at the Dollar Store and put it on its $400 Mobius "headset."

    EDIT: If the algorithm is on a hardware level, it will be really bad to solve this issue, otherwise they could just reduce the bass in the output, so the "Special effects", "explosions", could be somewhat attenuated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  15. MBTP

    MBTP n00b

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    Yeah, i have to agree with you, definitly not really representative of the real world condition, Rtings should add some new parameters for the test.
    At least, the way it is done now is quite repetable so can generate consistent results, even though in the end it might generate more "noise" than quality results.
     
  16. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    It isn't a test representative of real world usage if it sugar coats how the device works in the real world. If a person talks into the mic and their voice is muted over and over again; it is a TERRIBLE mic system. Now the actual internals of the mic might be top notch, but if the noise gate mutes the user's voice, what good is it?


    I wish I could contact the Audeze CEO and send him this message.

    First I would thank him for bringing planar technology to a gaming headset. Then I would tell him these critiques without malice in my heart.


    Change the microphone implementation and make the noise gate adjustable. It could be a great addition if it is adjustable by the user. Noise gate on and off settings should also be part of the package for those that have really loud background noises. The current implementation makes the product's entire ecosystem seem cheap and gimmicky because of the voices cutting in and out.


    The head tracking is pointless if the image on the screen doesn't shift with the turns of the user's head. I haven't heard the headphones, but that's the impression that I got from reading the review. People who buy $400 headsets are willing to spend extra to have a legal advantage in gaming. The head tracking seemed like it was unnecessary except for movies. Take that expense out of the headphones and sell the same headphones as a cheaper package.


    Whatever surround effects are present that made Kyle think that the enemies were closer than what they were needs to have an on / off toggle. Again if it isn't representative of what is happening in the game then it is a distraction like the head tracking.


    I would include a discount coupon for Dolby Atmos instead of all the gimmicks tacked onto the Mobius headphone package. Or just tell users to turn on Windows Sonic.


    Kill that adjustable room immersion crap. I have hated that crap for decades. I don't know why companies think consumers want their headphones to sound like churches, baseball fields, etc. Those effects add absolutely nothing for gaming. It adds nothing for music. It is a novelty like PEZ dispensers. If it cost one penny in expense in creating the headphones, it was two pennies too much. Sorry if that came off as harsh, but it is exactly how I would word it to the owner of Audeze if I met him.


    Add a clip meter or LED. If the amplifier is running out of gas because the source is too loud, then it is going to cause distortion. A simple LED to remind the user to turn them down a click would be useful.


    If you're going to go DSP crazy, then why exclude an equalizer? Most people can function just fine with access to basic equalizer functions. I believe that there are open source equalizers. Why not just include one of those?


    I bet these headphones without all the bells and whistles would be something that I would like. Bluetooth 5.0 with great range sounds intriguing. But again just let the PC do the surround processing. We have at a minimum 4 cores and 8 threads on our PCs. People that spend $400 on headphones probably have 6 cores and 12 thread or more. We can waste a few cycles to process surround sound and whatnot.

    Kyle seemed to really like the sound quality of the headphones as regular headphones. Why not let your product stand on its own two feet and be great instead of a gimmick?


    That's what I would tell the CEO of Audeze if I met him. Darn good hardware, but please limit the amount of bells and whistles that detract from the quality of the product.

    I own a set of planar headphones, Monoprice M1060. They sound GREAT while gaming. I made sure that I bought a DAC / amp combo with an external power supply (wall wart) to make sure they get enough juice. I had really high hopes for the Mobius. Hopefully Audeze will come out with a more basic version in the future.
     
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  17. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg [H]ard|Gawd

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    I could see head tracking work well with VR. But if you keep turning your head, eventually you won't be able to see the source on the monitor.
     
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  18. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    That is interesting, because a mic that sounds "bad," seems to me to be better than one that does allow you to be heard at all, and that was the issue with the Mobius mic. That said, I do not agree with your sound evaluation above. All that aside, the main job for a gaming headset mic is to facilitate reliable comms with teammates, and the Mobius mic is the only one we have recently experienced that does not meet that base requirements.
     
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  19. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What I'm not getting is why there's processing on the cans at all- I was expecting it to work much like using Dolby Headphone etc., just with a wireless stereo link, not running all that on the headset.

    I am happy though that at least the USB link works well, provided you find it a longer cord I assume, and the headset sounds decent as it's a closed planar- I have Massdrop's HE-4XX, which are open planars and likely sound completely different.

    Also surprised that they come across a bit tinny, something that is a bit of an open planar trademark...
     
  20. I read the review, but I would like someons opinion regarding if they are worth buying.

    Kyle, pretend you have nothing to do with pc stuff and your just somebody who just bought them. In your opinion, are they worth buying ? I have a pre order in for a pair of copper, blue looks to shit, £440.

    In your opinion, after trialling them, would you say to one of your buddies, you should buy these. Also I don’t intend to use the mic, and I would just use them as headphones.

    So, should I keep my pre order in or should I bail ?

    One thing that is in the back of my mind is Audeze planar drivers failing, which is/was a common problem in their lcd range.

    Head-fi gave them a glowing review, I can’t trust him to make an unbiased review since Audeze and other audio companies sponsor him and his website.

    So any review by them is not to be taking as a real review, as they live off of freebies from companies and those companies help pay their website costs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2018
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  21. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Read The Bottom Line again....

    At the end of the day, you would be much better off saving $300 and going out and buying the HyperX Cloud Alpha headset over the Mobius. The Alpha also comes with a nicely braided 10 foot USB cord as well.
     
  22. See this is what I want.

    A non sucky sucky biased review. The one on head-fi with jude and bigfoot, you would of thought that they are so great, you will be automatically transported into the middle of a movie set when putting them on.

    I will look up HyperX cloud alpha’s. I have plenty of headphones, but I just don’t have a gaming one, I always used to think they were a gimmick, but one thing that I need is a good set with a microphone, although the microphone part would only be used now and then.

    I did think the £440 price tag was a touch on the expensive side, that combined with the review and knowing audeze drivers are prone to dieing, maybe it is best to swerve these and grab something else. My buddies want me to get back into DCS flight sim since a 2 seater f14 is away to be released. Shit like that needs comms.
     
  23. Trackir 5

    You can set the response curves, so turning your head a little touch will act as a 0 to 180 degree view whilst allowing you to keep your eyes on the monitor.

    I use it for flying, I couldn’t go back to using joystick hat buttons for views. Once you start using trackir in games, you can never play that game again without it.

    It’s great for flying, especially dogfights and formation flying.
     
  24. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Great review.

    Your ways better off with an external dac amp and a nice set of Sennheiser or Hifi Man Planar Magnetic Headphones rather than headsets that make claims of magical fruity delicious nothingness.
     
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  25. Flowmotion

    Flowmotion n00b

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    This review is about the old firmware.

    At the moment almost everyone and every review has something in common: the audio quality for musik/movies is very good.

    You have to adjust the settings to properly fit the game you want to play. I tried everything to gain an advantage over otherplayers with sbx and the EQ of realtek. So you can adjust the sounds to hear the footsteps earlier. It sounds very bad, but is very functional.
    The mobius is the most advanced gaming headset that indirecly adresses the main problem about 3d audio: every one is different and everyone has different expectations.

    I played fornite a lot with the mobius: communication is not a problem. The mic is better than my old zalman. I can hear enemys earlier than my teammates. Most of the time i asked them "Why didnt you hear the enemy?"


    On the other hand i understand ppl who complain about the headset. Most of them didnt find the Enhancements in Windows sound oder didnt read the manual.

    But there is simply no headset with better localization.
     
  26. MBTP

    MBTP n00b

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    My hipothesis is that planar headphones by default are much more expensive to produce vs dynamic ones, so they add every otherthing possible to make a "decent" profit margin.
    I don't disagree with you, i would prefer a more "modular" approach, with more options for the consumer.
     
  27. MBTP

    MBTP n00b

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    Yes, as said in my response the functionality is compromised, and for sure it's more important than the mic sound quality, but i don't think the mic is a low quality hardware.
     
  28. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Top quality hard ware. Does not work. Got it. You are coming across as an Audeze fanboy.
     
  29. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Funny that while having discussions with tech and the CEO, they only suggested that changes would come in the future, but none at the moment.

    That was not the issue here.

    So that is the Mobius claim to fame? It is a cheating headphone that allows you to hear footsteps before you should? Lol! All while doing that, it breaks everything else in the game that has sound?
     
  30. tungt88

    tungt88 [H]ard|Gawd

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    TBH, I'd probably be wary of HiFiMan, as their quality control isn't the best (and I say this as a HiFiMan owner who has had no issues with my HE-400i headphone) -- it's why I went for the Audeze LCD-2 Classic over HiFiMan's other offerings, when I wanted a new headphone. HiFiMan is a very good price/performance leader in the "mid-fi" headphone market, though, so YMMV.

    Sennheiser is a very strong choice, with their popular HD 600/650 series in the $200-$300 range. (I have a HD 630VB, and like it).

    Beyerdynamic is a good choice as well, but keep in mind that a number of their popular headphones are known for excessive treble (high pitch) -- I own Beyerdynamic's Amiron Home (which suffers less from this issue than models like the Custom Studio, DT770, etc).

    Audeze has the well-regarded LCD line, and their "lower-end planar magnetic line" is the Sine series (I have the LCD-2 Classic, but have never tried the Sine). They are known to sound significantly different from other headphones (dark sound), so that's definitely something to take into consideration. Subjectively, of course (their measurements are quite good, in general).

    From what Kyle has written (and what I've been able to gather online), it looks like Audeze might've tweaked their Sine series, and adapted it to use with the fancy catchnames (wireless, Waves, etc) in order to hit the gaming headset market segment (as the Mobius).

    I haven't tried out the Mobius yet, but Kyle's impressions tell me that Audeze might've been too ambitious with the Mobius (from what I've seen so far) -- Tyll over at InnerFidelity had a good article where he pointed out that making a decent quality wireless headphone, let alone a headset, is much more tricky and expensive than many companies realize (especially when noise cancelling is involved) -- it's why Bose (with their QC35) have such a large chunk of the "classy wireless headphone market" -- the QC35 isn't an award-winner for headphones, per se, but it is a really good wireless headphone (due to Bose investing a lot into R&D for the QC35).

    ****************

    I've read a lot of conflicting things about the Audeze Mobius (some examples below) --

    Negative review of the Mobius here (w/comments):


    Mixed comments (from Head-Fi, so take it with a big grain of salt): https://www.head-fi.org/threads/audeze-mobius-review-impressions.887808/page-132 -- Kyle's review is mentioned starting from post # 1968.

    The review I personally found most interesting (since the reviewer did measurements, is a LCD-2 owner, and what he mentions pairs up well with what Kyle stated, at least in terms of "non-gaming", since the reviewer isn't a gamer):

    More positive review of the Mobius here (with detailed measurements, but doesn't mention much gaming): https://www.antdroid.net/2018/09/audeze-mobius-review-as-music-oriented.html

    ****************

    All these things make me really curious about the Mobius, so it's on my short list for purchase. Once I get them, I'll be glad to write up my impressions here.

    I like Kyle's review, since the Mobius is marketed as a gaming headphone, "gaming" standards (as nebulous as that may seem) should apply, as long as that doesn't interfere with sound quality (and, honestly, it shouldn't -- that's why so many recommend getting a good pair of headphones w/a mic for gaming, as opposed to just a "gaming headset").
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  31. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    The Mobius is the worst bang for the buck I have ever spent on a gaming headset, bar none. Steer clear. This is a headphone company that is full of marketing and gimmicks and shallow on gaming performance. These guy really think gamers are turning their heads 90 degrees from the screen to hear things. Sure....taking your eyes off the screen while you are gaming is what you want to do. Someone needs to show them how a mouse works.
     
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  32. Buttoneer

    Buttoneer Limp Gawd

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    "...We were truly expecting a wireless USB solution when we purchased these. We feel that we were mislead with the marketing on the wireless feature...."

    Yes, me too. In fact so were a lot of others - we were talking about this in the wireless headset thread, after all.

    In terms of head tracking, I can see how it might be more useful if you have a three-screen setup, or a large widescreen just in front of your face, but the conclusion - that it's useless for the vast majority of people - seems sound. certainly no good for me.

    Good review anyway, thanks for doing it, sorry you wasted money on them - although I suspect that you could sell them on quickly and get most of your cash back because there's a real clamour for them.
     
  33. zrikz

    zrikz Gawd

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    Glad I saved my money, I was close to purchasing these, but ended up going for the bose QC II last week. While it's not for "gaming" and I'm not audiophile, I think it sounds better when compared to my older $100 gaming headsets I've had.. (corsair, turtle beach), it's hard to find reviews that compare bose/sony/senheiser to a gaming headset though.

    $25 for a v-moda boom pro microphone+ $4 for a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter and I have a pretty good microphone solution to go along with the bose. I just got the v-moda last week and had been using my laptops built in microphone before hand, there was apparently a significant difference in quality as people in discord were commenting on the clarity of my voice.

    Thanks for the review Kyle, hate to see the wasted money though.
     
  34. Vader1975

    Vader1975 Gawd

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    Bluetooth is still Bluetooth. You can spend 10,000 dollars on Earphones of the highest quality but Bluetooth can't handle the transmission rates required for 24bit audio. So I find this unbelievably pointless to spend very much on bluetooth headphones for perceived quality. As quality and Bluetooth do not mix.
     
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  35. SuicideKing

    SuicideKing n00b

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    I'm not entirely sure that's accurate. Could be wrong, but ldac, which these support officially seems to support 96kHz, at 32bits at least according to my phone settings.
    All I have to say, is after having dealt with crappy sbc, and aptx headphones, the mobius sound quality from an Android phone at max level ldac settings, is very close to indistinguishable from wired mode.

    My final mobius verdict, running the beta firmware, is no issues with mic via discord according to everyone I talked to, and better mic quality than my original Kingston hyperX.
    I don't think firmware is official yet, but all I had to do was email support and ask to test it, and was sent the link and instructions.

    General sound quality wise, best headphones I've tried. Not that I've got a huge breadth of experience but between a few old Logitech ones, a Sennheiser one at some point, a couple Razer headphones, and most recently the original hyperx, these are the best.

    Usage wise, these do double duty, to be honest I don't use them a ton for gaming in practice since I wind up preferring the bass and overall ease of use of my Logitech 5.1 setup.
    I mainly use these for horror games, alien isolation, etc, though I've tried a few others like AC Origins as well, and have had no issues.
    Yes, I turned the room ambience down to nothing because otherwise the reverb just didn't feel right.

    Other than that I use these primarily as wireless and sometimes as wired for music listening at work and on the go, and have to say I'm very pleased, though outside of games I do turn off the head tracking and 3d, which happens by default anyways as soon as you use ldac high res mode.

    Would I pay 400 for them? No, but I do think given my overall usage scenarios, that I don't regret the 260$ price I backed them for. Even though that's way more then I've ever spent on headphones.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  36. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I wonder if Audeze might come across a market for a 'light' version; assume they get the mic sorted, which should be achievable, then strip out the head-tracking while migrating all surround duty to host-side software exclusively (MX Waves), so you're left with what should be an outstanding bluetooth headset. This would mimic what could be hacked together using chinese components and nice stereo cans on their own already, but in a sleek package.

    And maybe include a stand that doubles as a wireless charging base-station, bluetooth transceiver, and USB hub as well. I imagine if such a setup arrived with all parts cooperating in a manner conducive to serious desktop gaming, they'd have a bit of a hit on their hands.
     
  37. Buttoneer

    Buttoneer Limp Gawd

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    It would be interesting to bash together a specification for an 'ideal' headset and see what you end up with. The problem is that people want different things, or are being told they want different things by the marketing, so there can be no one-size-fits-all solution.
     
  38. Vader1975

    Vader1975 Gawd

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    The highest quality Bluetooth codex for audio can't even reach CD quality. The compression required to get it down to the transmission rate brings it below CD. Every lie in Bluetooth audio about reaching Higher Definition Audio standards gets picked apart when you get back down to transmission rate and then how much compression was needed to actually accomplish fitting it. Now we may eventually get a "bluetooth" standard that is actually capable of a high enough transmission rate to get to CD quality. Lossless... well I somehow doubt that will still be called bluetooth by the time it occurs.
     
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  39. Geforcepat

    Geforcepat Gawd

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    man nobody does reviews like [H] good review. looks like it should've got the fail icon at the end though.:D
     
  40. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett Editor-in-Chief HardOCP Staff Member

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    Nice to see Audeze flat out posting LIES in response to our mic feedback, which we NEVER discussed with them. We simply talked to them asked them functionality questions to make sure we were reviewing properly, and we were. Audeze never once offered us beta firmware either. They talked about it in as being "off the record" so we did not even mention it. So we were supposed to use off the record firmware that we were never offered? And I have the complete email chain should we need to post it in the future to back up exactly what I am saying.

    "Unfortunately, these reviewers judged Mobius by it's cover. They looked at the box and found it did not 'tick' their preconceived notion of what a gaming headset should have and went in with that bias. We tried to reason with them after we saw the unboxing video, and tried to explain the functionality, but it made absolutely no difference because they had already made up their mind.

    "Most reviewers are happy to hear from manufacturers as a review is meant to help the reader make a decision by understanding the full capability of what is being reviewed, in this case they were just not willing; including trying to use beta firmware."

    Then, after they say that about us, they admit they made big mic mistakes. How is that for a company? I really get the feeling that these Audeze guys are a bunch of hucksters just trying to cash in on the gamers out there.

    "The issue here is not really anything to do with the Mic itself, the mic passed all our tests with flying colors. But we made the decision (this being primarily targeted for PC gaming), to allow the PC to control the gain of the microphone. That was a mistake in retrospect. We were not fully aware of the Mic gain driver issues plaguing win 10 and Win 8 machines. We did not go for a custom driver as we felt plug-and-play would be really nice. This forced users to pull the mic closer and that is causing the breath and other issues. We increased the Mic gain in the beta firmware to get feedback, it helped alleviate the problem to some extent but is not the full solution."

    "Fortunately we feel this can be fixed in firmware and we are currently testing a version that bypasses the Windows gain setting for Mic. We are happy with the results and we will start beta testing the new firmware. We are working on integrating the firmware update into the Windows App and hope to roll it by end of the year."

    So again, who's "bias" is at fault here? I am biased because my $400 headset mic sucks? And yes, it sucks. It needs to be fixed, no doubt.

    At the end of the day, the Mobius was no where near worth $400 for gaming. Also, they fooled me with the "wireless" gaming headset part as well. Wireless if and only if you use BT.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
    Vader1975, tungt88 and Buttoneer like this.