The NZXT Relay Headset isn’t noteworthy on its own. It’s a solid gaming headset with decent audio quality, comfortable earcups, and an understated design. But NZXT swung for the fences with its foray into the world of audio. Paired with NZXT’s SwitchMix accessory, the Relay Headset gets far more interesting.

The NZXT Relay Headset ($100) and the NZXT SwitchMix ($130) are sold separately, but they’re designed to be used together (along with NZXT’s Relay Speakers and Subwoofer). The headset plugs into the SwitchMix, which plugs into your PC, and you can use the SwitchMix to adjust the volume with the giant stylish knob or balance between game audio and voice chat with a simple slider.

But the headset hangar is the star of the show. It has a built-in pressure plate switch that tells the SwitchMix mixer to change devices between the headset and your external speakers. No more fiddling with device settings in Windows, forgetting to swap outputs, and accidentally waking your partner with your game. Just take the headset off the hangar and your PC will switch to it. Put the headset back on and audio will come out of your speakers. It’s a dream come true—when it works.

One Simple Switch

The SwitchMix accessory doesn’t come with the Relay Headset, and it costs slightly more than the headset itself, but that feels appropriate. It’s pretty unique. It comes in two parts: a mixer and a headphone stand.

The mixer is a sturdy yet sleek brick with a large stylish knob and a slider along the right side. The bottom of the mixer has four circular rubber pegs on the bottom that fit neatly inside a grid of holes on the base of the stand. It’s a nice little design touch that lets you rotate the mixer so it’s positioned best for your desktop setup. The knob and slider are large and distinct, making it easy to adjust them without looking, which can be crucial when you’re trying to adjust audio in-game.

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

The switch in the stand is easily the most appealing part of this setup, and it pulls off this party trick in a low-tech way that’s both a blessing and a detriment. A small 3.5-mm connector runs from the base of the stand into a port on the rear of the mixer. A USB-C port on the rear of the mixer runs to your computer, while two more 3.5-mm ports run to a speaker and (wired) headset.

This setup, unfortunately, means that the hangar switch works only with wired headsets, and can only connect to external speakers via a single 3.5-mm port. That limits the amount of hardware this setup will work with. But when it does work, it’s delightful. I prefer to watch videos on my desktop with my speakers but put on my headphones while I play Overwatch 2 with my friends. Picking up the headset from the stand, the audio switched over before I even got the headphones on my head. The word “seamless” was invented for experiences like this.

The SwitchMix also functions as a standalone digital-to-analog converter (DAC), though in my experience, this isn’t a particularly noteworthy benefit. The SwitchMix supports 24-bit/96-kHz audio output, but I didn’t notice a meaningful difference in the audio compared to plugging the headset directly into my PC.

One Solid Headset

The Relay is a solid first entry from NZXT. The earcups have a smooth matte surface in either black or white. I tested the white version and it looked particularly stylish. The foam inside the cups is soft and comfortable, and the headset is lightweight enough to wear for hours without discomfort.

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

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft


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