Headsets Reviews

NZXT Relay Review – The Best Audio Ecosystem for Gaming?

Introduction

When putting together the ultimate PC gaming setup, its important for your favourite games to sound as good as they look and perform. Whilst we tend to focus on gaming headsets due to their multi-functional design offering the most convenient form of communication, but it’s difficult to beat the sound-quality of desktop speakers.

But what if there was a way to get the best of both worlds, without having to mess around with hooking up each device whenever you want to use them. Thankfully, NZXT’s Relay Audio Ecosystem looks to be the answers to all our prayers. The full kit includes speakers, a subwoofer, a wired headset, and a switcher, all of which can be intertwined to form a complete audio setup.

Suggested Article: Best Wireless Gaming Headsets to Buy in 2023

With this in mind, does the NZXT Relay ecosystem provide the complete and synergetic audio setup that most gamers crave? And is this all-in-one package worth the investment? To find out, we’ll be analysing all the products included within the NZXT Relay arsenal, both separately and together, to see whether its worth considering for your gaming setup.

NZXT Relay Speakers & Subwoofer

Arguably the most important parts of the NZXT Relay package are the speakers and subwoofer, as the compatibility with these products acts as the main reason to pick up the accompanying headset and mixer. The speakers and subwoofer themselves are sold separately, but these devices are certainly designed to work in tandem. By themselves, the speakers sound good enough to hear the action clearly. But when you add the subwoofer into the mix, the sound quality is elevated to a theatre-like experience.

Like most of NZXT’s products, including the rest of the NZXT Relay devices, the speakers and subwoofer boast the minimalist style that has become synonymous with the NZXT brand. However, the speakers are are available in black or white, while the subwoofer is only available in black, leaving some consumers with a mismatched setup. In terms of size, the speakers are surprisingly small, which means there shouldn’t be an issue when trying to find a home for them on your desk. The subwoofer is slightly bigger, but nothing that should be a concern for gamers looking to add an extensive audio system.

Buy the NZXT Relay Speakers on:

Buy the NZXT Relay Subwoofer on:

$149.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-02-28 00:35:06 ET

NZXT Relay Headset

The NZXT Relay Headset is arguably the most useful device within this audio ecosystem to pick up separately, as it will provide plenty of functionality on its own. Targeted as a fairly premium wired gaming headset, the NZXT Relay Headset includes 40mm drivers and DTS Headphone:X 3D spatial audio to create an immersive audio experience in all the latest titles. On top of this, the detachable cardioid microphone and included pop filter makes sure your teammates can hear you loud and clear.

Compared to other wired headsets on the markets, the plush leather padding and durable metallic frame feels more sturdy and comfortable. This makes the design feel a lot more luxurious than most wired headsets, which are usually intended as a budget-friendly solution. The only downside is that the additional padding on the NZXT Relay Headset makes it feel a lot heavier than other gaming headsets on the market, making them less than ideal for prolonged gaming sessions.

But given the nature of the NZXT Relay’s ecosystem, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as those with the complete range of products will simply be able to switch to the speakers as soon as they start to feel any fatigue setting in. On their own, the NZXT Relay Headset isn’t the most practical choice available within its price point, but I wouldn’t be disappointed by the performance and features provided.

Buy the NZXT Relay Headset on:

$89.39 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-02-28 00:35:06 ET

NZXT SwitchMix

Finally, the SwitchMix is the final piece of the puzzle that brings all the parts together to form a cohesive unit that can be controlled with one centralised unit. By simply plugging in both the headset and speakers to this device, consumers can adjust the volume and Game/Chat levels, as well as instantaneously switch between the two devices. The dials are also quite big and easy to control, which means gamers won’t feel like they’re scrambling around when trying to adjust audio levels in the middle of the action.

In terms of design, the SwitchMix boasts an all-black aesthetic, which gives it the minimalist aesthetic that allows it to blend in with the rest of the Relay ecosystem. Plus, the soft-touch plastic feels great, providing a significant boost to the ergonomics of this system. However, one of the best features of the SwitchMix is the included headphone stand. This means that gamers can keep their Relay Headset close at hand for a seamless transition when booting up their favourite mulitplayer title. Also, the feet on the bottom of the SwitchMix lets the device rest on the stand without slipping.

Buy the NZXT SwitchMix on:

$129.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-02-28 00:35:06 ET

Features We Like

Seamless Switching

One of the main advantages to a cohesive ecosystem like this one is the unrivalled compatibility, which guarantees that all the moving parts will work together without any hinderances. Whilst it is possible to build your own audio setups with separate parts, it is hard to replicate the seamless controls and enhanced user experience available with the NZXT Relay. Additionally, it will be even harder to find parts that all conform to a specific aesthetic and software.

High-Quality Audio

I’m not the biggest audiophile, but I can appreciate good sound when I hear it. On their own, the headset and speakers sounded good, but lacked the oomph needed to truly impress. However, as soon as they were combined with the rest of the Relay ecosystem, they truly came alive. The sound quality of the speakers in particular were elevated to the next level, offering a cinematic experience when paired with the subwoofer.

Features We Don’t Like

NZXT CAM Software

Most consumers with the complete Relay Audio Ecosystem won’t have to tamper with the NZXT CAM software that much, which is probable for the best in this case. NZXT’s software is fairly simplistic by design to replicate the minimalist style on their products, but this also makes it appear fairly lacklustre. With only a few settings to adjust in the software, such as LED settings and custom profiles, along with a bland UI, there are certainly improvements that could be made to the software to make it feel just as important as the hardware.

Relies on Lots of Wires

Another major weakness that becomes apparent when using the Relay devices individually is the reliance on wired connections. Nowadays, most gamers are slowly ditching the wires, especially when it comes to headsets. Because of this, some gamers might be put off by the excess of wires if they are trying to keep their setup tidy, as this ecosystem requires a lot of cable management.

Conclusion

NZXT Relay Audio

Product Name: Relay

Brand: NZXT

  • Features
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Value For Money
4.1

Summary

NZXT’s Relay Audio Ecosystem is an excellent way to elevate the sound quality of a gaming setup. With the ability to seamlessly switch between the speakers and headset, as well as adjust settings on the fly and gain access to amplified surround sound, the combined force of the NZXT Relay devices creates a cinematic-like sound that is perfect for all the latest blockbuster games. Whether you want to enjoy an action-packed adventure with the speakers blaring out around you, or dial into a competitive online multiplayer with friends using the wired headset, the Relay ecosystem has your audio needs covered. 

But before making the investment, there are a few key factors to consider. First of all is the pricing, as all the parts required for the complete experience are not cheap. With the cumulative total easily surpassing the $500 mark, there are plenty of ways in which to forge a similar setup for cheaper, even if it lacks the synergy of the NZXT Relay. On top of this, the individual items are less effective by themselves and come with a premium due to their compatibility with the other NZXT Relay products, making them less than ideal as separate entities. 

For those looking for an all-in-one sound solution that boasts a cohesive look and streamlines the audio settings for games and other media, or perhaps looking to build a complete system over time, then the NZXT Relay products are worth considering. But we’d only recommend it if you are planning on picking up the complete set, as better value offerings for the separate devices can easily be found elsewhere.  

Pros

✅ High-quality and immersive audio.

✅ Easy to control settings on the fly.

✅ Cohesive functionality and appearance.

Cons

❌ Requires wired connectivity.

❌ Weak NZXT CAM software integration.

❌ Less enticing as individual products.

editor
Aled Wheeler is part of our technical writing and reviews team, focussing on PC components, console gaming and peripherals such as keyboards and monitors! With a degree in journalism and experience working for publications in the sports and gaming sectors. Aled is our in-house news and gaming writer, with his finger on the pulse of game devs around the world. Aled is currently rocking a solid mid-range gaming PC build, with a Ryzen 5000 processor and RTX 30 series graphics card.