Audeze Maxwell review: the audiophile’s gaming headset

Superior audio quality rarely comes cheap

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell resting on a concrete plinth with a blue wall in the background
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

This premium wireless headset offers superior audio quality, making the Maxwell perfect for music and media consumption in addition to gaming. Build quality and comfort are top-notch, controls are simple, while AI noise filtration delivers clean mic output. However, with this hefty price tag, we’d expect ANC.


  • +

    Fantastic audio quality

  • +

    Premium build

  • +

    Very comfortable

  • +

    Decent microphone

  • +

    Dual simultaneous connectivity


  • -


  • -

    No ANC

  • -

    Magnetic driver noise

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Audeze Maxwell: Specs

Price:  $299 / £319 (PS/Switch/PC); $329 / £349 (Xbox/PC)
Colors: Black/Gray
Battery life: Up to 80 hours
Connectivity: 2.4GHz dongle, Bluetooth
Drivers: 90mm planar magnetic
Weight: 17.2 ounces (490g)
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch

Californian audio manufacturer Audeze is no stranger to selling four-figure headphones, which makes their latest gaming headset, the Maxwell — currently the cheapest product in their lineup — an ostensible bargain.

Any evaluation of price, however, comes down to perspective. Regardless of Audeze’s pedigree, if you’ve been shopping around for the best wireless gaming headsets then you’ll know that the Maxwell’s starting price of $299 is at the steep end of its category.

This price tag puts the Maxwell in the same ballpark as premium headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. It’s also significantly pricier than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5 and the Logitech G Pro X wireless, two of our favorite wireless headsets.

So, can the Audeze Maxwell justify its steep cost? That really depends on what you want from a gaming headset, but it’s safe to say the Maxwell has some standout features that could make it a worthy purchase. Find out more in our full Audeze Maxwell review.

Audeze Maxwell review: Cheat sheet

  • What is it? High-end headphone manufacturer Audeze’s latest gaming headset, replacing the Mobius and Penrose models.
  • What platform is it for? There’s a PlayStation / Switch model or an Xbox model. Both work on PC.
  • What are its standout features? Large, 90mm planar magnetic drivers for clean, high-quality audio, low latency and a long battery life.
  • How much does that all cost? Starting at $299, the Maxwell is pricey, for a gaming headset at least.

Audeze Maxwell review: The ups

The Audeze Maxwell does a lot to justify its price, blending premium design with excellent sound quality and a host of useful gaming features.

Design & comfort

The Maxwell’s aesthetic is fairly nondescript, and it could pass as a much cheaper product. The Logitech G Pro X wireless headset looks far more premium, despite being readily available for under $200.

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell outer earcups showing the mic controls

(Image credit: Future)

Pick the headset up, though, and it becomes clear this is a quality item. The chassis is composed primarily of aluminum with a super thin steel headband, making the headset sturdy but surprisingly lightweight given its large size. And boy is it large, primarily because of the earcups — I felt a little silly wearing a trash can on each ear during my commute.

The Maxwell’s low weight and generous padding make it incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Despite thick cushions, the earcups didn’t become too hot during a hours-long gaming session. Meanwhile, the inner suspension strap sitting underneath the steel headband allows for a weightlessness atop your head. Additionally, as someone with long hair, I’m regularly frustrated that with my usual gaming headset since II can’t wear a hairband to keep my eyes hair-free. Suspension straps remedy this completely, serving as fantastic hairbands!

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell earcups

(Image credit: Future)

Suspension straps are much more fiddly to adjust versus earcup sliders, though — I like that the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro features both, so you can quickly adjust the earcups without pulling the strap apart.


A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell bottom earcups showing the volume and sidetone controls

(Image credit: Future)

The Maxwell features a range of controls on the body for everything you’ll need during gameplay or when listening to media. Once you’re used to where everything is, controls are easy to reach and distinguish from one another, while helpful voice prompts let you know what you’re adjusting.

Sound quality — music & TV

Sound quality is exceptionally good, with clean audio thanks to the Maxwell’s planar magnetic drivers, which deliver a full, rich sound that remains distortion-free even at very low frequencies and loud volumes.

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell

(Image credit: Future)

I tested the headset with a range of music and media. Playing the dance track Marea (we’ve lost dancing) by Fred again & The Blessed Madonna, the Maxwell delivered an extremely balanced sound: lower bass notes were rendered faithfully but didn’t overwhelm the midtones or the song’s warbling synth melody higher up the frequency range. 

I then compared the Maxwell back-to-back against the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, and the difference was stark. I listened to the jazzy, lo-fi Life In New York by WanderLight & Chill Select. It was like a different song through the Maxwell headset, with much greater depth and bass tones that I didn’t realize existed when listening through the comparatively tinny SteelSeries set.

I then watched Netflix’s The Last Kingdom and was impressed by the rich, immersive surround sound. I found the higher frequencies a little drowned out by bass here, but this felt like the show’s audio mastering, as I didn’t experience this problem anywhere else.

Gaming performance & EQs

The stellar audio performance continues when gaming. There are many gaming and audio EQ presets to choose from allowing you to tailor the sound to the type of gaming you’re engaged in.

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell being worn

(Image credit: Future)

I used the Immersive preset for Skyrim and Total War: Atilla, which worked brilliantly. Both games’ epic soundtracks were done full justice, and I particularly enjoyed having surround sound in Atilla, engulfing me in the din of an ancient battlefield. In Skyrim, I was particularly impressed by just how immersive the Maxwell was when navigating the ultra-creepy soul-cairn map. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to creepy scenarios, and the Maxwell made it so much worse, totally enveloping me in the groans, howls and whistles of that particular area.

To test out the Competition and Footsteps EQs, I played some Hell Let Loose, which punishes players who don’t listen for enemy footsteps (although that can be a difficult task given the cacophony of warfare constantly smashing, popping and crackling around you). The Competition EQ didn’t do much, but the Footsteps EQ was very effective at amplifying footsteps over the ruckus of artillery and small arms fire, saving me an otherwise unnecessary respawn on more than one occasion.

It’s also worth noting that the Xbox version is Dolby Atmos compatible on both Xbox and PC, allowing you to experience spatial audio while gaming. The Xbox model even comes with an Atmos license. This is not available with the PlayStation version.

Microphone performance

No tech in 2024 would be worth its salt without the manufacturer dropping in the zeitgeist’s favorite buzzword. As such the Maxwell comes replete with “AI-powered” noise filtration to clear up the microphone signal. 

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell microphone

(Image credit: Future)

I tested the microphone performance on two audio calls with my partner, swapping the headset between us for each. We agreed that the Maxwell’s signal was marginally cleaner than the iPhone 15 Pro’s built-in mic.

I also tested the Maxwell mic playing Hell Let Loose, where communication with your squad is paramount. I regularly experience problems with my Corsair HS35 headset, with teammates telling me my mic is too quiet and crackly, if they even hear me at all. Checking in with my team using the Maxwell, everyone could hear me loud and clear.


A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell next to the wireless dongle

(Image credit: Future)

The Maxwell is easy to hook up via Bluetooth, but also comes with a Wi-Fi USB-C dongle for super low latency, meaning audio and visuals don’t risk becoming out of sync. I loved that both channels run simultaneously — I enjoyed being able to answer a call or listen to music while continuing to hear and play games.

Battery life

The Audeze Maxwell is rated for over 80 hours of use, with 20 minutes of charge enough for “all day play”, according to Audeze. While I take exception to the vagueness of “all-day play” — does that mean 24 hours? — I was reasonably impressed with the Maxwell’s battery. After several days of regular gaming while on vacation, plus a 1-hour train commute using the headset for music, I was still left with 70% charge.

Audeze Maxwell review: The downs

The Audeze Maxwell does so much right, but there are a few issues that might make you want to skip this headset.


While the Maxwell headset may be cheap for a set of Audeze headphones, there’s no getting around the fact that for a gaming headset, it’s very expensive. The flipside is that the Maxwell allows you to benefit from Audeze’s impressive driver technology, which, as we saw above, results in superior audio quality.

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell showing the mic port and Bluetooth button on the bottom of the earcup

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re on a budget though, or you aren’t fussed about audio fidelity, you can find much cheaper products, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5, which will still give you what you fundamentally need from a gaming headset.

Smartphone app

Audeze offers the Audeze HQ app for smartphone control over your Maxwell headset. The app is passable, and I appreciated the ability to customize user EQs, but it’s still relatively basic, offering little extra functionality than the headset provides in the first place.

(Image credit: Audeze / Tom's Guide)

The iOS app would also regularly fail to identify or connect to the headset, despite being connected over Bluetooth and playing audio. I could only fix this by restarting the app several times. 


The Audeze Maxwell does not feature active noise cancellation (ANC). This was an issue during music testing, where environmental noise on my commute drowned out lower frequencies, which aren’t overly amplified thanks to the balanced sound delivery of the drivers. This made it difficult to hear the super low bass notes at the start of The Flood by country singer-songwriter Charles Wesley Godwin, for example. The Bass Boost EQ helped a little, but ANC would be the most useful and would make the Maxwell viable for use outside of the home or in noisy environments.

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell on a person's head while they are touching the headset with their left hand

(Image credit: Future)

This is hardly a death knell, as the headset is primarily intended to be used at home for gaming. However, this is a $349 headset in Xbox guise — the similarly priced SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro ($350) features ANC, so from a cost perspective alone it’s disappointing that the Maxwell doesn’t.

Noisy drivers

As is often the case with planar magnetic drivers, the Maxwell suffers from noticeable crackling noises as the drivers move around inside the headphones. 

This isn’t a fault, but is certainly something to consider before buying. In most cases, driver noise will be inaudible once media is playing, especially at medium to high volumes. However, if you dabble in music or video production and want to use the Maxwell, it may prove annoying.

Audeze Maxwell: Verdict

A photograph of the Audeze Maxwell resting on a concrete plinth with a blue wall in the background

(Image credit: Future)

Despite some initial skepticism, after spending time with the Audeze Maxwell, I can confidently say this headset does enough to justify its place in the premium gaming headset space. Its main rival, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro has the edge for use as a standard pair of headphones outside the house, thanks to ANC. However, in every other regard that matters, the Maxwell has the Nova Pro beat. 

The Audeze Maxwell’s 90mm magnetic drivers produce a lovely, clean sound, making this the headset of choice for gamers that moonlight as audiophiles, or vice versa. Additionally, comfort and build quality are brilliant, the mic is decent and battery life is pretty good. It’s pricey, yes, although it helps to frame the Maxwell not primarily as a headset, but instead as a set of high-quality headphones with additional features that also make it applicable to gaming. In that light, the Audeze Maxwell doesn’t seem quite as overpriced.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.