Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The NZXT SwitchMix offers easy switching between a headset and speakers, and its built-in mixer allows for volume adjustment and blending of in-game audio with voice chat.
  • The SwitchMix may be overlooked, but it is the strongest aspect of NZXT’s Relay audio line. Its sturdy design and adaptable mixer placement make it versatile for different speaker setups.
  • Setup is simple, and the SwitchMix can be used with any headphones and speakers, not just NZXT’s audio hardware. It features a solid DAC and headphone amp, and the NZXT Cam software provides additional control and customization options.

Switching between a gaming headset and the built-in speakers on a laptop is easy, but it can be trickier if you’re running a desktop PC. Easily switching between a headset and speakers is a key feature of NZXT’s Relay line of audio products, and the NZXT SwitchMix lies at the heart of the system.

At first glance, it’s easy to look at the SwitchMix and see a simple headphone stand, but it’s much more. A switch on top detects when your headphones or headset are on the stand and switches audio to your speakers. The stand also features a built-in mixer to easily adjust the volume and blend in-game audio with voice chat.

Because it isn’t as immediately recognizable as a gaming headset or speaker system, the SwitchMix might be the most overlooked part of NZXT’s recently introduced Relay audio line. That would be a shame, as the SwitchMix is arguably the strongest aspect of the entire system.

NZXT SwitchMix

$100 $130 Save $30

Switch between headset and speakers, balance in-game sound and chat with the studio-grade slider, and experience high-resolution audio.

Frequency Range
20 Hz – 20kHz

Analogue Audio Input Connectivity

Analogue Audio Output Connectivity

USB Interface 1

Bit Depth

Sample Rate

6.25 x 5.25x 12.25in (158.75 x 133.35 x 311.15mm)

Surround sound
DTS 7.1


  • Compatible with any headphones and speakers
  • DTS Headphone:X and 7.1-channel surround sound
  • Flexible modular setup
  • NZXT Cam software offers excellent control

  • Pricey for a niche product
  • Digital output would be nice

A Sturdy, Surprisingly Adaptable Design

Top of the NZXT Switch Mix without the headphone stand
Jason Montoya / How-To GeekJason Montoya / Review GeekJason Montoya / LifeSavvy

Take a quick look at the SwitchMix, and it looks like a simple headstand, and if you never plug in the included mixer, it is. The stand has a sturdy base, with a metal arm that reaches up toward the top, where you place your headphones. This is where you’ll find the switch to detect whether you’ve placed headphones on the stand.

In an unusual but welcome touch, the mixer isn’t attached to the base of the stand. Instead, a 3.5mm cable on the bottom of the stand plugs into the mixer to enable headset detection. You can place the mixer anywhere you want on the base, as the feet on the mixer fit perfectly into the circles dotting the base of the stand.

For most people, the ability to remove or reorient the mixer will not be a big deal. Still, if you’ve got an unusual speaker setup, or you just prefer to orient the slider that blends between game audio and voice horizontally instead of vertically, the added versatility is useful.

Connectivity: Simple But Effective

A close up of the mixer of the NZXT Switch Mix
Jason Montoya / How-To GeekJason Montoya / Review GeekJason Montoya / LifeSavvy

Aside from the single short cable mentioned above that connects the stand to the mixer, all the ports are located on the mixer itself. The front of the device holds a single 3.5mm jack for your headphones or gaming headset, while the back holds three connections.

One of the two 3.5mm jacks on the back of the SwitchMix mixer enables the headphone sensor, while the other sends audio to your speakers. There are no RCA outputs, which many PC speakers use, but in most cases, all you’ll need to make these work is a 3.5mm to RCA cable.

You also won’t find any digital outputs on the SwitchMix. While these would have been handy, they also likely would have increased the price significantly, and this is already somewhat on the expensive side for what it is.

Easy Setup and Broad Compatibility

NZXT Switch Mix set up at a desk with the NZXT Relay Headset
Jason Montoya / How-To GeekJason Montoya / Review GeekJason Montoya / LifeSavvy

Setup is relatively easy, as you might imagine. Simply make sure the cable between the stand and mixer is connected to the right jack, then plug the included USB cable into your computer. Connect your headset and speakers, and you’re all ready to go.

While the SwitchMix is part of the NZXT Relay line, which is intended to work best as an integrated system, it’s not actually tied to those products. Plug in any headphones or speakers you want, and you can use the SwitchMix to easily and quickly switch between them.

Regarding the actual switching, it’s nearly instantaneous, as the sensor itself is a simple mechanical switch. While the mixer firmware handles volume levels between your headset and speakers, there isn’t much computing power needed, so the switch between the two happens as fast as you can hear it.

The onboard controls are almost ridiculously simple: you get a large volume knob and a slider to blend game audio with voice chat. The volume knob will control whichever device is currently playing audio, so you don’t even need to think about which volume control to use.

Everything else is handled in the Windows-only NZXT Cam software. Here you can choose between various EQ modes or set a custom EQ curve. You can also enable DTS Headphone:X and various gaming-centric profiles, assuming you’re using a gaming headset.

You also have full control over the LEDs on the SwitchMix mixer while connected to headphones, connected to speakers, or muted. While the LEDs are set to certain colors when you first run the software, you can change any of the colors to anything you want.

Solid DAC and a Capable Headphone Amp

NZXT Switch Mix set up at a desk with the NZXT Relay Headset and speakers
Jason Montoya / How-To GeekJason Montoya / Review GeekJason Montoya / LifeSavvy

With so much attention on the mixer and stand aspect of the SwitchMix, it’s easy to forget that it also features a built-in 24-bit / 96 kHz DAC. Not only does this mean that you can plug in any headphones and start listening to hi-res music, but you also get some interesting processing on the gaming front.

This isn’t exactly an audiophile-quality DAC, but it’s certainly better than you’ll find on many integrated sound cards. It’s also relatively powerful, as it was able to sufficiently power my Sennheiser HD650s. They didn’t sound at their best, but again, the sound was much better than you’d typically find in an integrated sound card.

As mentioned above, the NZXT Cam software enables plenty of additional control over the SwitchMix. Regardless of the type of headphones you’re using, you can adjust the EQ using the app to tailor the sound to your liking. That said, if you’re using compatible headphones, the SwitchMix offers even more.

Plug in a compatible gaming headset like the NZXT Relay Headset, and you can take advantage of 7.1-channel virtual surround sound and DTS Headphone:X. How well these sound will depend on your headphones, but it’s nice to be able to add this ability to your existing headset without having to buy a whole new set.

Should You Buy the NZXT SwitchMix?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a headphone stand on the market as packed with features as the NZXT SwitchMix. The ease of switching may not sound like a key feature, but once you get used to it, the idea of going back to any other way of doing things seems awkward. It may also be a relatively affordable way to upgrade the DAC you use with your headphones, depending on what you already have.

The major selling point of the SwitchMix is that you don’t need to own any other NZXT audio hardware in order to use it. Yes, the Relay Headset and Relay Speakers are meant to work with it, but you can use any headphones and speakers you want, as long as they use a 3.5mm jack or can use one with an adapter.

The NZXT SwitchMix is a niche product, and whether it’s a good value comes down to how often you will use it. This is definitely a problem-solver type of product, and if it solves any particular problems for you, it’s absolutely worth a buy.

NZXT SwitchMix

$100 $130 Save $30

Switch between headset and speakers, balance in-game sound and chat with the studio-grade slider, and experience high-resolution audio.

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By John P.

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