It was back in the early months of 2021 when I first discovered Audeze. A company who were making their initial foray into the gaming scene, they came to market with the Audeze Penrose X. It sounded stunning and was a pleasure to use. In fact, in the near three years that have passed since that time, I still think it’s one of – if not THE – best sounding Xbox headset.
So the Audeze Maxwell has big ears to fill. For fear of spoiling any words that are to follow, it does that with aplomb, and then some. I mean, the Ultraviolet Edition is visually stunning. And it really does sound as good as it looks.
I think it’s probably best to kick this review off by mentioning that the Audeze Maxwell for Xbox won’t be for everyone. It’s pretty expensive for one, running at the very top end of the gaming headset market. It’s also fairly large in size, with a real heft and weight about it. Far from the likes of the RIG 900 MAX HX and it’s super lightweight nature, you’ll certainly know that the Maxwell is on your head. The 508 grams of weight ensure that to be the case. And yes, you’re reading that right – the Audeze Maxwell comes in at just over half a kilo. It’s a big boy.
We’re also not totally convinced that the detachable mic is the way forward. Like we mentioned in our review thoughts for the Penrose X, we much prefer integrated, flip-down mics. Not only are they one less thing to lose, but they are generally more solid affairs; less likely to break, be sat on, or the like. We would suspect that if you’re paying the £349.00 asking price of the Maxwell Ultraviolet, then you’ll likely be extremely careful with its use, but that detachable, fairly flimsy boom mic may still be a concern.
Don’t get me wrong. That mic is still able to project some really decent comms across the board. It comes with an AI powered noise filter built in and we’ve found the comms going out to be of extremely high standard. It’s just that full integration would be a personal preference.
Aside from the sheer weight. slight microphone concerns and price (if that is of issue to you) though, the Audeze Maxwell Ultraviolet for Xbox excels in all ways. And we really do mean all ways.
Visually this one will be a crowd pleaser and so streamers, Twitch affiliates or those looking to seriously up their game should grab for its delights immediately. The chameleon-like colours that imbue the outer headband and earcups ensure this thing stands out from everything else on the market. Purples, greens and blues allow the eyes to really feast on the main elements, drawing any prospective user in, dazzling them forevermore. I’m not sure there’s any headset on the market which is able to get close to how brilliant and bright the Maxwell Ultraviolet is. Frankly, it is nothing short of superb, close to being an art piece that you would leave on the side to admire.
It feels great too. We’ve used enough headsets over the years to understand that tactility in both hand and on head are extremely important to any headset and again, Maxwell excels. Of course it is heavy, and at times in-use scenarios amplify that weight but it always feels comfortable. Much of the reasoning behind that will be down to the suspension styled leather inner headband, keeping your skull away from the less flexible outer parts. And with simple pop-on, pop-off adjustability, getting a decent fit is easy.
The cups themselves also help. These are large, swivelling (so yes, this sits around the neck nicely) round offerings with which Audeze have seen fit to throw in a ton of oval cushioning. It allows the ears to be completely sealed away from the outside world, ensuring every last piece of audio is piled towards your lugholes, and nowhere else.
And again, Audeze are showing their quality in that sound. Fully Dolby Atmos’d up, the huge 90mm drivers inside both cups work planar magnetic ways, complete with Fluxor N50 Neodymium magnets. We won’t even try and pretend we know what that all means, but hell, we absolutely adore the sounds they bring. And, boy, does it get loud. In terms of sheer top-end volume, those 90mm drivers pound out the audio like there is no tomorrow, with never a hint of distortion or lack of clarity, no matter how high you go.
In gaming terms, we’ve found the Audeze Maxwell Ultraviolet to deliver gaming audio that is – frankly – from another planet. Take the recent release of Forza Motorsport for instance. Turn10 have done a sterling job in ensuring that engine roars, exhaust notes and tyre squeals are about as realistic as you can get. But listen to it with the Maxwell’s in tow? There’s nothing quite like it. Much of that will be down to the Dolby Atmos kicking into gear, but the hardware more than helps amplify things.
It’s fairly simple to ensure that the Maxwell is set-up how you wish too. An on/off power button on the left cup is well placed, as is a mic mute switch just above that (although again, we’d prefer to be flipping our mic to mute). From there, the rest of the left cup houses all the buttons and dials you need – a volume rocker, separate game/chat balance, 3.5mm jack for wiring in, USB-C port for charge and that detachable mic port. There’s a Bluetooth button as well. Aside from occasionally grabbing the game/chat dial over the full volume one, the layout is very well considered.
If you then need further personalisation and customisation, the Audeze mobile App will sort you out. We’ve played with it and have to say the App works really well with a variety of adjustments and equalisers in place. But straight out of the box, sticking Maxwell on your head will keep you fully covered too.
Audeze have you sorted in terms of the connection to your device as well. The Maxwell Ultraviolet comes complete with Bluetooth 5.3 and a low latency connection, hitting up a simple dongle that connects to your Xbox console. USB-C ended with a switch allowing you to use it on PC or Xbox, when combined with a fairly short, but utterly essential USB-C to USB-A cable, attaching things to console is a cinch. Connection has been nothing but solid too, instantly aligned as and when the Xbox console, and then the headset, has been switched on.
That Bluetooth option has also been appreciated. Whipping it up and connecting to our mobile has seen the Maxwell used for music listening times. Again, it’s been an utter joy to use, capable of – and this is no joke – sending chills down the spine. I’m pretty certain the audioscape and clarity delivered is on another level to anything else we’ve used, perhaps only bettered by the power delivered by Audeze’s pro-audio level Euclids.
And mixing and matching the Maxwell for various uses is no issue either. This comes with the promise of a huge eighty hours of juice from a full battery, topped up whenever you see fit via USB-C. With those kind of levels combined with fast charge (20 mins for all-day play), we’d suspect that should you ever get too low on power, you should perhaps consider some life choices.
So, should you go straight ahead and buy a pair of Audeze Maxwell Ultraviolets for Xbox? We guess that all depends on what you want from a headset. See, if you’re floating around mental ideas of top-end purchasing and need something that doesn’t just look the absolute bomb, but sounds it too, crack right on with this. You’ll need to go far to find anything better in that respect and will be utterly blown away by the audio experience it delivers. But the price could well be a big deal for many, as may that removable mic or the sheer weight of the headset.
For us, the Audeze Maxwell Ultraviolet is going to be sitting at the top of our list, albeit occasionally on rotation. We’re saving it for the times when we’re gaming alone, pounding out the hours as a solo gamer. It’ll be when we go online when we then decide to reach for the RIG 900 MAX HX or SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless for our audio needs, leaving that Maxwell Ultraviolet to sit on our headphone stand, gleaming forevermore like the masterpiece it is.
Huge thanks go out to Audeze for providing us with the Maxwell Ultraviolet headset for Xbox for review purposes. Audeze themselves will be able to sort you out with a headset should you be in the market. Expect to pay around £349.