For its first walk of the wireless wild side, California headphone maker Audeze has opted to throw its considerable audiophile-pleasing know-how into the gaming arena with the launch of the Mobius gaming headset. The company is promising that its powered headphones will deliver fully immersive 3D cinematic audio with sound localization thanks to integrated head tracking technology.
We've tried the company's planar magnetic driver technology in full over-ear headphone form and in chunky earphones, and can confirm spacious, accurate and detailed, reference grade reproduction. Little wonder that Audeze has attracted praise from audiophiles and industry pundits alike. And now it looks like gamers are about to benefit from the firm's audio know-how.
"Audeze has raised the bar for premium audio quality and innovation based on our award-winning planar magnetic technology," said company founder Sankar Thiagasamudram. "It's a standard that impresses the most ardent audiophiles. There is really no medium that can benefit more from our product than gaming, so we're setting our sights on establishing the best headphones in the gaming industry today. We think Mobius is going to change the way people experience games and may just give them an edge in head-to-head play."
The 350 g (12 oz) Mobius over-ear headphones are the first from Audeze to feature Bluetooth, but also support USB-C and 3.5 mm analog wired connectivity. They rock 100 mm planar transducers with ultra-thin Uniforce diaphragms, and an accelerometer and gyro that track head movements over six axes every millisecond for 3D spacialization and audio delivery. Customizable room emulation technology has been included, too.
An Audeze Cipher digital signal processor and a balanced amp are cooked in, powered by a lithium polymer battery for over 10 hours of usage time between charges. There's no way to bypass the DSP/amp circuitry though. Audeze opted to run all three source input methods through the powered circuits so that head-tracking is available in all modes – Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary line in.
Audio performance specs are given as 120 dB SPL, 10 Hz to 50 kHz frequency response and 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion. And listeners don't need to tweak frequency levels through an app, but can cycle-through EQ presets on the headphones. The Mobius gaming cans come with a detachable microphone with separate volume control, though the mic input port is a standard TRRS connection, allowing broadcasters to use a third party microphone if desired.
Audeze is also offering an optional Mobius Creator Package, which comes with 3D audio plugins from Waves, including the B360 Ambisonics Encoder and the NX Virtual Mix Room. "There is a particular use case for VR/AR/MR content creators where sound engineers can use their DAWs to mix and master with head-tracking," said Audeze. "This is a special use case where the Mobius offers something that is not available in the market."
Audeze reports that the Mobius headphones are ready to go, but as it's dipping its toes into a new area, the company has opted to test the waters by crowdfunding the project on Indiegogo. And judging by the response so far, the target audience is clearly excited.
As of writing, Audeze has attracted nearly US$500k in pledges with almost a month left to run on the campaign clock. Early birds have gone, so pledges currently start at $259, 35 percent off the expected retail price. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in June. The video below has more on Mobius.
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