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Audeze Maxwell 2 wishlist: All the features I want to see

The Audeze Maxwell 2 must prioritize long-term comfort and durability to stay competitive.

Published onJuly 3, 2024

The contents of the Audeze Maxwell's packaging.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys

Audeze has been a major player in the headphone sphere since 2008. Initially, the company repurposed flexible circuit materials designed by NASA for use in their prototype headphones. Nowadays though, Audeze is recognized as one of the best manufacturers of gaming headsets. The Audeze Maxwell is one of the most feature-rich, platform-agnostic planar magnet headsets that money can buy. With industry-leading sound quality, a tranche of connectivity options, and a comprehensive companion app, the Audeze Maxwell is the best choice for those who can afford it. With two years since the headset launched, will Audeze bring the Maxwell 2 to fruition?

There has been no official confirmation of the Audeze Maxwell 2. Given the first iteration continues to sell out quickly when it hits shelves, it looks unlikely that we will see an upgrade soon. Nevertheless, the first-generation Maxwell is not perfect. Here is all I want to see included in the Audeze Maxwell 2 when they launch.

A padded headband

The band of the Audeze Maxwell.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The band of the Audeze Maxwell is a bit odd but capable enough.

Whether listening to music on your commute to work or settling in for a long gaming session, comfort is the most important attribute of any headset. Given they come in all different shapes and sizes, it can be hard to know what type of headband will suit your needs the most. For example, padded headbands do an excellent job of evenly distributing weight. Conversely, suspended leather bands are often more flexible and cover a larger area of your scalp. Many of Audeze’s headphones, like the LCD-GX ($899 at Amazon,) sport a notched tension rod with a suspended leather headband.

Unfortunately, the Audeze Maxwell does not fully commit to padded foam or a suspended headband. Instead, the headset uses a blend of both that is not universally comfortable. On first impression, you’d be forgiven for thinking you must unscrew the small anchor pegs to adjust the headband. Mercifully, the fit is altered by torquing the leather-like strap off each anchor and clipping it to a different pre-cut hole. Unlike metal notches though, malleable leather-like materials fatigue over time. This means you won’t get as much use out of the Audeze Maxwell as other headsets before the headband wears down. The Audeze Maxwell 2 would benefit from adopting a more comfortable padded headband and notched rod system when it launches.

A lightweight build

The mic mute switch of the Audeze Maxwell.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
A physical slider for the mic mute means no more guessing if your mic is the problem on a call.

As it is with headband comfort, gaming headset weight is an important purchasing factor for many. For example, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless ($152.99 at Amazon) is lauded as one of the most comfortable gaming headsets on the market. This is thanks to its combination of airweave fabric ear pads, low tension, and 325g form factor. Likewise, the Razer BlackShark V2 ($79 at Amazon) adorns memory foam ear pads, a mesh fabric-covered soft foam frame, and a 240g lightweight build.

Unfortunately, not all headsets are as comfortable. At 490g, the Audeze Maxwell is undoubtedly on the hefty side. It is also difficult to distribute this mass evenly across the scalp because of its questionable headband design. Pardoning the pun, the Audeze Maxwell can be a real pain in the neck. While fit varies from person to person, some may experience considerable discomfort after short periods. Sony must bring a more lightweight design to the Audeze Maxwell 2 when it comes to fruition.

Active noise canceling

The sidetone and master volume knobs of the Audeze Maxwell.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The ability to modify the sidetone and master volume from your headset is unusual but very welcome.

Most consumer headphones now come equipped with active noise canceling. This feature helps to attenuate distracting noises like plane engines and outside traffic. Gamers stand to benefit too, given that high-demanding games often make PC and console cooling fans whirr. Noise canceling also means you can listen to music at lower volumes, helping to protect your ears from noise-induced hearing loss. You are also less likely to suffer ear fatigue when playing games at a quieter volume for long periods.

The Audeze Maxwell owns sizeable ear cups and a relatively firm clamping force that forms a robust seal around the ears. This helps to subdue noises above 200Hz that otherwise interfere with speech intelligibility. However, while the headset features pretty good isolation, it does not have active noise canceling. Consequently, voice fundamentals and low drones can easily interrupt your music mix. This is a misstep, given some of its closest competitors like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless ($349.99 at Amazon) have ANC. The Audeze Maxwell 2 would benefit gamers and musos by adopting active noise canceling.

A lower price tag

The driver and ear pad of the Audeze Maxwell.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Giant drivers and deep ear cups give the Audeze Maxwell a good foot forward.

Folks have come to the understanding that premium features beget premium prices. While this may have been considered a certainty a few years ago, some budget manufacturers are beginning to bundle flagship technologies into affordable headsets. For example, the Razer Kraken X ($49 at Amazon) can be found for as little as $29. This features 7.1 channel surround sound, a platform-agnostic design, and eyewear channels to alleviate temple pressure. Similarly, the Logitech G435 Lightspeed ($29 at Amazon) costs roughly $80 and features sound quality that is more pleasing than most of its rivals.

The Audeze Maxwell is by no means the most expensive gaming headset on the market. But with a retail price just shy of $300, many price-conscious gamers will look elsewhere. Those who don’t care about all the fancy bells and whistles can save cash by purchasing a set of wired cans. For example, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is a golden oldie with rock-solid sound quality. It also has excellent isolation and is extremely durable for under $100. The Audeze Maxwell 2 could scoop up a larger proportion of the gaming headset market by launching with a lower price tag.

Louder sub-bass reproduction

The mic boom port, the 3.5mm TRRS port, and the USB-C port of the Audeze Maxwell.
The Audeze Maxwell can connect to almost anything with a 3.5mm port or USB-C.

Music is subjective, and so are headphone frequency responses. For example, bass heads and those who listen to a lot of EDM and metal will likely enjoy headphones with plenty of sub-bass. However, classical and jazz music fans will likely prefer less bass and greater emphasis in the mids. The same applies to gaming headsets, where accentuated bass can simulate greater immersion among blockbuster soundtracks. Conversely, too much bass can mask vital auditory queues like footsteps when playing a competitive first-person online shooter.

With large 90mm planar magnetic drivers and a deep ear cup, the Audeze Maxwell has impressive sound quality. Unfortunately, the default frequency curve underemphasizes sounds above 6kHz and below 300Hz. In particular, the sub-bass is roughly 7dB quieter than SoundGuys’ target preference curve. While this can be easily rectified using the built-in EQ in the Audeze HQ app, it is an extra step some may avoid or forget. The Audeze Maxwell 2 would own a more consumer-friendly frequency curve out of the box by adopting louder sub-bass reproduction.

What would you like to see Sony bring to the Audeze Maxwell 2?

71 votes

Will there be an Audeze Maxwell 2?

The Audeze Maxwell has large, comfortable ear pads that form a good seal around the ear.
The Audeze Maxwell has large, comfortable ear pads that form a good seal around the ear.

When Sony acquired Audeze in August 2023, the company claimed it was to advance the sound experience of its PlayStation products. Since then, however, Sony has not updated its gaming headset category. The Audeze Maxwell is the company’s latest offering. This headset features a platform-agnostic design, pleasing sound quality, and comprehensive connectivity options. Conversely, the Audeze LCD-GX is the company’s high-end headset. It owns passive, high-caliber planar-dynamic drivers and a detachable boom microphone to appease deep-pocketed audiophiles who want an all-in-one music and gaming device.

There has been no mention from Sony about the Audeze Maxwell 2 so far. Trusted industry leaks are also few and far between. Given the first iteration of Audeze Maxwell continues to sell out, fans may be forced to wait longer for an upgrade.

Nevertheless, we can gauge an approximate launch date based on the company’s previous release pattern. For example, the original Audeze Maxwell came to shelves in 2022. This followed roughly four years after its now-discontinued predecessor, the Audeze Mobius ($279 at Amazon,) launched on November 27, 2018. If the company sticks to this schedule, we should not expect an upgrade to the Audeze Maxwell until 2026. However, the Audeze LCD-GX came to market just one year after the Audeze Mobius in 2019. This shows the company is capable of delivering quicker installments. Given that Audeze has not updated its gaming headset category in two years, optimists will hope for an imminent next-gen upgrade. Unfortunately, we will have to wait for an official announcement from Sony for concrete details.

Should you wait for the Audeze Maxwell 2?

The USB RF dongle of the Audeze Maxwell, set atop wood.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The USB dongle enables a low-latency RF connection with anything capable of sending data over USB-C.

The original Audeze Maxwell is one of the most pleasing gaming headsets in its price range. Its seamless cross-compatibility between multiple gaming platforms, high-quality planar magnetic drivers, and comprehensive companion app make it stand out. However, its notable foibles including a heavy mass, uncomfortable headband, and high price tag will make some question whether the headset is worth it.

Nevertheless, few will find a more compelling gaming headset than the Audeze Maxwell ($299 at Amazon.) For the price, fans gain a 3.5mm TRS cable, a USB-C port, an RF dongle, and Bluetooth 5.3 to connect to virtually any device. The headset supports the LDAC, SBC, and AAC Bluetooth codecs. LDAC profits up to 990kbps, 24-bit/96kHz audio sampling in ideal conditions. The Audeze Maxwell also provides Bluetooth multipoint and LE audio, so long as your device supports it. The headset can deliver up to 64 hours of continuous music playback. It also profits 20-30 hours of additional charge from a 20-minute top-up. The Audeze HQ companion app is easy to navigate and allows you to install vital firmware updates, adjust the EQ, and enable spatial audio. The detachable boom mic also works well at clearly reproducing voices.

Those with a smaller budget should consider the HyperX Cloud Alpha ($69 at Amazon.) This headset is a fan favorite for good reason, offering super thick ear padding for superior comfort. It also benefits from a replaceable cable and microphone should the need arise. Compared to the Audeze Maxwell, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is a no-frills affair that some will prefer. For example, the headset connects via a 3.5mm headphone jack and lacks special features like surround sound support. However, most modern consoles like the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 have integrated 3D audio that works with wired headsets. The HyperX Cloud Alpha excels at isolating your sound from the outside world. It also delivers a frequency response that doesn’t alter the original audio signal much. The microphone could be better, but this headset is a steal for the price.

Audeze Maxwell
Audeze Maxwell
SoundGuys Editor's Choice
Audeze Maxwell
Sound quality • App • Connection options
MSRP: $299.99

Those who have previously enjoyed the HyperX Cloud Alpha but desire wireless connectivity should snag the newer HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless ($151 at Amazon.) This headset can last up to 327 hours and 27 minutes with constant playback, which surpasses the competition by far and means you potentially receive up to 13 and a half days of continuous music playtime. For context, the next-best wireless headset we have tested for battery performance is the SteelSeries Arctis 7+. However, this headset lasted just over 70 hours in our tests. The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is not just a one-trick pony, either. The headset adorns a comfortable memory foam headband, has excellent sound quality, and has a handy companion app. HyperX NGenuity controls vital firmware updates, a 10-band custom EQ, microphone controls, and the headset’s included DTS:X spatial sound feature.

Finally, the Logitech G PRO X 2 LIGHTSPEED ($249 at Amazon) is the be-all-end-all gaming headset for everyone. Drawing on the strengths of its predecessors, this headset owns a headband with an additional hinge above each ear cup for a better fit. Controlling the G PRO X 2 is easy, and the G HUB app delivers firmware updates, a five-band EQ, surround sound, and Logitech’s Blue Vo!ce microphone feature suite. This headset can be hooked up using a 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth, and a 2.4GHz USB-A dongle for low-latency wireless. Unfortunately, Bluetooth multipoint is not supported. However, the headset handles up to 88 hours of constant music playback on a single charge. It also does a reasonably good job of isolating your audio from distracting environmental sounds. The G PRO X 2 has a pleasing sound quality, and the microphone reproduces voices well enough for in-game chat and Zoom calls.

Audeze Maxwell 2 FAQs

No. Like most gaming headsets, the Audeze Maxwell uses an internal digital signal processor (DSP) and houses a balanced amplifier for each driver.

The Audeze Maxwell is reasonably durable. However, its leather-like headband strap may fatigue over time with persistent use. If you are looking for a truly robust gaming headset, grab the HyperX Cloud Alpha.

Audeze claims that every single Audeze planar magnetic and electrostatic driver is built in its Orange County, California factory. However, the headsets are likely assembled in China.

Yes. You can cycle through EQ presets by double-tapping and scrolling the headset volume wheel. You can also select and save EQ presets in the Audeze HQ app.

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