NZXT Relay Headset and SwitchCombine Review: Innovative Convenience

The NZXT Relay Headset is not noteworthy by itself. It’s a stable gaming headset with first rate audio high quality, comfy earcups, and an understated design. But NZXT swung for the fences with its foray into the world of audio. Paired with NZXT’s SwitchCombine accent, the Relay Headset will get way more attention-grabbing.

The NZXT Relay Headset ($100) and the NZXT SwitchCombine ($130) are offered individually, however they’re designed for use collectively (together with NZXT’s Relay Speakers and Subwoofer). The headset plugs into the SwitchCombine, which plugs into your PC, and you should utilize the SwitchCombine to regulate the quantity with the enormous trendy knob or stability between sport audio and voice chat with a easy slider.

But the headset hangar is the star of the present. It has a built-in stress plate swap that tells the SwitchCombine mixer to vary units between the headset and your exterior audio system. No extra fidgeting with system settings in Windows, forgetting to swap outputs, and by chance waking your companion together with your sport. Just take the headset off the hangar and your PC will swap to it. Put the headset again on and audio will come out of your audio system. It’s a dream come true—when it really works.

One Simple Switch

The SwitchCombine accent doesn’t include the Relay Headset, and it prices barely greater than the headset itself, however that feels acceptable. It’s fairly distinctive. It is available in two components: a mixer and a headphone stand.

The mixer is a sturdy but glossy brick with a big trendy knob and a slider alongside the suitable aspect. The backside of the mixer has 4 round rubber pegs on the underside that match neatly inside a grid of holes on the bottom of the stand. It’s a pleasant little design contact that permits you to rotate the mixer so it’s positioned greatest to your desktop setup. The knob and slider are massive and distinct, making it simple to regulate them with out trying, which will be essential once you’re making an attempt to regulate audio in-game.

Left Closeup of a headset stand base. Right Closeup of a black attachment for headset stand base.

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

The swap within the stand is well essentially the most interesting a part of this setup, and it pulls off this occasion trick in a low-tech manner that’s each a blessing and a detriment. A small 3.5-mm connector runs from the bottom of the stand right into a port on the rear of the mixer. A USB-C port on the rear of the mixer runs to your pc, whereas two extra 3.5-mm ports run to a speaker and (wired) headset.

This setup, sadly, signifies that the hangar swap works solely with wired headsets, and may solely connect with exterior audio system by way of a single 3.5-mm port. That limits the quantity of {hardware} this setup will work with. But when it does work, it’s pleasant. I desire to observe movies on my desktop with my audio system however placed on my headphones whereas I play Overwatch 2 with my pals. Picking up the headset from the stand, the audio converted earlier than I even acquired the headphones on my head. The phrase “seamless” was invented for experiences like this.

The SwitchCombine additionally capabilities as a standalone digital-to-analog converter (DAC), although in my expertise, this is not a very noteworthy profit. The SwitchCombine helps 24-bit/96-kHz audio output, however I did not discover a significant distinction within the audio in comparison with plugging the headset instantly into my PC.

One Solid Headset

The Relay is a stable first entry from NZXT. The earcups have a clean matte floor in both black or white. I examined the white model and it appeared notably trendy. The foam contained in the cups is gentle and comfy, and the headset is light-weight sufficient to put on for hours with out discomfort.

Overhead view of black and white headphones with attached mic sitting on wooden surface

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

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