Meze Audio first acquired its true breakthrough in 2015 with the release of the well-received 99 Classics, which had earned the corporate many awards and recognition. Part of their attraction stemmed from budget-friendly creations that married consolation, aesthetics, and sound—one thing which helped to propel HiFiMAN during their early years. Nevertheless, in contrast to the latter company, Meze Audio dove straight into the deep-end of high-fidelity territory, following entry degree propositions. The newest headphones touted, the Meze Empyrean Headphones, retail for a hefty $2999, and are stated to be a “game-changer” after years of passion, curiosity, and innovation.
Antonio Meze, who heads the Romanian brand, has years of business experience as a product designer. The Meze workforce make the most of this experience along with the assistance of musicians, engineers, and artists to venture into uncharted territory on the earth of private audio. Each headphone undergoes a rigorous testing course of, with many sound tuning iterations earlier than the ultimate product is delivered to market, whether or not it reaches deadline or not. This commitment to product maturity is admirable, as clients might be reassured that finish merchandise aren’t rushed, and never the end result of shortcuts.
With a name to match, the Empyrean refers to the highest heaven in historic cosmology, and defines Meze’s current flagship product in partnership with Rinaro Isodynamics. The two corporations have included a patent-pending isodynamic hybrid array driver stated to rival rivals in its worth range, and extra. Thus, stiving for innovation, Meze definitely look to impress with their first foray into the realm of hi-fidelity.
The packaging of the Empyrean headphones is a singular experience. Moderately than cardboard materials, the headphones come is a protecting aluminum travel case that resembles a briefcase. This does add a contact of sophistication to the headphones, and can also be practical for transporting them throughout totally different venues while providing quite a lot of safety.
The journey case hosts foam inserts where both the headphones, twin sets of pads (alcantara and leather) as well as the cables reside. Maybe all that’s missing is a high-gloss illustrative guide to finish the out of field premium expertise.
The cables are available three varieties: a three meter OFC cable (terminated in four pin mini XLR plugs ending with a 6.three mm jack), a 1.three meter OFC cable (terminated in four pin mini XLR plugs ending with a 3.5 mm jack), or a three meter OFC cable (terminated in four pin mini XLR plugs ending with an XLR full-size connector). It’s a shame that Meze Audio have not included all three as a part of the overall package deal, but I think this may improve the pricing even more.
The Design & Build
The Meze Empyreans are a full-sized open-back headphone that makes use of an analogous headband and relaxation system because the HiFiMAN headphones. Nevertheless, in contrast to the HiFiMANs, the Empyreans go one step additional to assist comfort with their distributive wingtips, designed to maximise strain contact points. The scarf, made from carbon fiber, is analogous in visual design, and is probably not everybody’s cup of tea. Perhaps probably the most hanging part of the design, nevertheless, are the grills which function a mesmerizing blade-like sample produced from CNC-milled aluminum materials. The styling is claimed to allow natural soundstage whereas additionally giving the headphones a very unique and high-end look.
The dual-rod system allows straightforward adjustment of the ear-cup positioning, and is visually harking back to Meze’s prior merchandise. Also impressive is the power to swivel the cups along the horizontal aircraft owing to the pivot design of the ear-cup attachments.
Probably the most spectacular design function is the circular placed magnets throughout the ear cup, this enables snug and speedy altering of the ear pads, they neatly click into place—an actual gem of a function.
Having never experienced a Meze product earlier than, I need to admit that different headphone corporations should take a leaf out of their e-book in terms of ergonomics. With a distributive headrest system, the Empyreans could be worn for a lot of hours, despite the 430 gram weight. Mixed with this, each the alcantara and leather-based pads supply supreme levels of consolation, while not getting too stuffy or compressing. Meze Audio have additionally adopted an ovoid ear cup design to accommodate the natural contouring of human ears. The design allows a greater ergonomic match, and targets sound waves in the direction of the ear canal. General, very impressive.
The Empyrean headphones function a patent-pending isodynamic hybrid array driver designed to redirect sound wave alerts to the ear canal. This is achieved with the mixture of two separate magnetic planar voice coils with a strategically placed trace. The outcome being improved imaging of the headphone while also maximizing driver efficiency. Actually, the isodynamic driver boasts a powerful complete harmonic distortion (THD) of < zero.1% over your complete frequency range. General, the driving force has taken over 30 years to develop, and gives a broad frequency spectrum ranging from a low 4Hz to a staggering 110,000Hz.
Ear pads do alter the sound signature of the Empyreans. For the purpose of this evaluate, I shall be using the alcantara pads, until specified in any other case.
With wonderful driver extension, the bass of the Empyreans delivers rumbling lows which might be both fascinating and authoritative. The bass has an actual texture which sets it aside from other planar magnetic designs. A monitor I like to check the sub-bass functionality is James Blake’s “Limit To Your Love,” and the Empyreans definitely ship low-frequencies with heft and influence. Compared to the leather pads, the alcantara pads supply larger sub- and mid-bass presence at the expense of some articulation and reference tuning that the previous reveals. It’s great that users are given a selection to change the sound tuning to their style. For me personally, the alcantara pads deliver an enticing sound that makes music sound incredibly fun, laid again, and musical. Compared to HiFiMAN’s HE-1000 V2, the Empyrean’s bass delivers extra physique and depth, however does lose out on agility and articulation that the former headphone displays. Having stated that, the Empyrean does render great amounts of detail in its low frequency vary, as demonstrated by the convenience of which it handles the complicated bass line of “Late Nite Tip” by Three 6 Mafia. General, the mid-bass bump works some heat into the signature of the Empyrean, leaning it in the direction of a more musical headphone.
The midrange of the Empyreans is actually exceptional. With a full and full physique weight, the midrange is emotive whereas also being balanced, detailed, and organic. As with the HiFiMAN Version X, the Empyreans exhibit a tonally agreeable sound that has a touch of warmth, but with larger quantities of crispness, clarity, and texturing. It is nice to see how forgiving the Empyreans are, as they are surely headphones that, mixed with their comfort, might be listened to for hours on finish. With the alcantara pads, the midrange does possess a wider soundstage and airier presence. That is contrast to the leather pad’s extra strong and barely nearer midrange inside the general soundstage. While the HiFiMAN Susvara’s midrange does output higher detailing and decay, the Empyreans supply a subjectively more addictive and involving tuning. In London Grammar’s “Help,” Reid’s vocals are fascinating and sonically immersive. Similarly, in “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, vocals are crisp and detailed without ever sounding medical or devoid of engagement. Additionally impressive is how the Empyreans manage to portray detailed transients in the midst of a musically affable sound signature.
The Empyrean’s top-end remains akin to the midrange in that it’s each pleasantly detailed and but agreeable. Without resorting to any sudden boosts within the lower or larger treble, the excessive frequencies manage to retain nice sparkle, clarity, and air. In Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” excessive notes prolong properly and cymbals sound precise and vibrant. Compared to both the HE-1000 V2 and Sennheiser HD800, the treble of the Empyreans sound less forward permitting for a more natural and laid-back pay attention.
The Soundstage & Imaging
The Empyreans host a decently giant soundstage with good projection of sonic cues in depth, width, and peak. It’s just like the HiFiMAN Susvara’s in general measurement, however with a much bigger sounding vocal presence. While not the most important soundstage I’ve heard, the Empyreans do portray a natural and holographic staging with good cohesion between right and left pans.
Imaging can also be wonderful with good layering and depth between instruments and vocals inside a monitor. The alcantara pads do slightly improve the soundstage width because of the pulled back midrange, while the leather-based pads supply extra a center projected focus.
The Meze Empyreans possess great levels of efficiency, and while sounding nice from a laptop computer or simple DAP, do scale properly with desktop amp/DACs.
Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit DAC and Mjolnir 2 Amp (LISST and tubes)
General, this pairing sounds nice with the Empyreans, regardless of not costing as much as other propositions. There’s nice sound-staging depth with a number of the leading transients being rounded extra to assist the smoothness of this headphone’s delivery. With the Telefunken E18CC, there’s a good quantity of harmonic distortion added which additional improve the musicality and emotiveness of these headphones.
Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Analog DAC and Mjolnir 2 Amp & Schiit Freya Plus Preamp
With this mix, there’s more of a reference tilt with outstanding levels of detailing, transients, and separation. The Yggdrasil does nicely to offer those additional micro-detailing and attack, whereas the Mjolnir 2 and Freya Plus infuse a pure and holographic sound signature that make the whole listening expertise a blissful habit.
The Meze Empyreans characterize the subsequent step in flagship planar know-how. With such a longtime sound and design, it’s shocking to see that that is the company’s first stab in high-end gear. It’s also good to see that these headphones supply an impressive degree of refinement and stability despite being musically tuned. With many years of research and improvement, Meze along with Rinaro Isodynamics have definitely released a fascinating product that may attraction to both the audiophile and mass market alike—a trait which is usually onerous to return throughout. Having stated that, the $2999 price ticket is certainly not cheap, and thus represents a big funding for any shopper. Nevertheless, with exceptional sturdiness, exceedingly good comfort ranges, and an easygoing sound character—it’s exhausting to provide these amiss.
Meze Empyrean headphones