Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Meze Audio Empyrean Phoenix Rise from the Ashes of the Former Iron Curtain

Meze Audio continue to push the envelope both technically and visually with the Empyrean Phoenix planar magnetic headphones. A classic is reborn.

Meze Audio Empyrean Phoenix Planar Magnetic Headphones

One of our favorite headphone brands went a tad crazy last week. In the best possible way. Meze Audio are not a huge company; certainly not in the same way Sennheiser, AKG, and Apple are industry giants.

Started in 2009, Meze Audio began its journey into the world of headphones in Baia Mare, Romania; a city of 136,000 people located less than thirty miles from the border with Ukraine. 

The end of the Cold War and collapse of the Iron Curtain brought more than just political freedom to Eastern Europe and the Balkans; it created an environment for entrepreneurship and design innovation that has had a profound impact on the culture and economic future of the region. 

The creation of a new middle class has fueled demand for western consumer goods, but more importantly, led to investment in domestic start-ups who have proven capable of competing with well-established brands from America, Western Europe, and Asia. Companies like Meze Audio who have exceeded every possible expectation.

Meze 99 Classics Over-ear Headphones in Walnut and Gold
$309 Meze Audio 99 Classics Headphones in Walnut / Gold

From private conversations we had back in 2020, we know that the Meze team have worked overtime under some rather strict pandemic rules in Romania to not only fulfill orders for the 99 Classics that are one of our favorite affordable high-end headphones, but also the rest of the lineup which includes the RAI Penta and RAI Solo IEMs, 99 NEOs, and flagship Empyrean headphones. 

With so much going on, we were more than just a little intrigued when the successful Romanian headphone manufacturer announced the introduction of the limited-edition Empyrean Phoenix planar-magnetic headphones.

Meze Audio Empyrean Phoenix Headphones Angle
$3999 Meze Audio Empyrean Phoenix Headphones

The $3,000 Empyrean are not inexpensive. Do people really need $3,000 headphones? The Empyrean Phoenix will run interested headphone fans $4,000, but I suspect the brand will sell out of them rather quickly. Even during the pandemic. 

The Empyrean are a special product; the kind of state-of-the-art audio component that are not buoyed by a mountain of hype. There is an argument to be made that they are the best headphones in the world right now. 

The multi-year project was a collaboration between Meze Audio and Rinaro Isodynamics, who are based in Lviv, Ukraine. Rinaro have been at the forefront of planar magnetic driver design since 1980; the company was originally a state-sponsored initiative in the USSR and its Isodynamic Hybrid Array driver has created some evenings of anxiety in Germany and California for Meze’s competitors. Just me speculating on that one. 

Meze Audio Empyrean Planar Magnetic Headphones in Black / Copper
$2999 Meze Audio Empyrean Headphones (Black/Copper)

The Meze Empyrean are decidedly lighter than comparable planar magnetic headphones from rival brands. All of the other key players in the category; Dan Clark Audio, Audeze, and HiFiMan have spent years improving that aspect of their designs but the Empyrean is still the standard by which the Head-Fi community judges other premium headphones in the comfort category. The CNC-sculpted skeleton was machined by Meze Audio from a single block of solid aluminum; one of the reasons the Empyrean are so expensive. 

When it comes to aesthetic design and sonic performance, the Meze Empyrean don’t just toss out the rule book. They shred it. Fargo woodchipper shred it with all of the screaming and fanfare.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

We’ve been fortunate to try these headphones with some of the best headphone amplifiers made by Linear Tube Audio, Ampsandsound, Schiit Audio, and Pass Labs and every experience has made us long for the day that we can afford a pair. 

Meze Audio Empyrean Planar Magnetic Headphones in Black / Copper with Linear Tube Audio MZ3
Meze Audio Empyrean Planar Magnetic Headphones in Black / Copper with Linear Tube Audio MZ3

Where to buy:

Deal Alert: Empyrean are $2,299 at

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


New Products

Steinway Lyngdorf Model C Loudspeakers Front Pair

Floorstanding Speakers

Steinway Lyngdorf's new Model C MK II loudspeaker system claims flagship level performance within a smaller, space-saving design.

FiiO CP13 Portable Cassette Player Sky Blue FiiO CP13 Portable Cassette Player Sky Blue

New Products

Play tapes on-the-go with FiiO's $99 transparent portable audio cassette player with USB-C charging and 13 hour battery life.

Denon Home Amp Streaming Amplifier Lifestyle Denon Home Amp Streaming Amplifier Lifestyle

Integrated Amps & Stereo Receivers

At $799, the Denon Home Amp is a 100-watt per channel stereo streaming amplifier that works with HEOS. Just add speakers.

SVS SoundPath Speaker Level Adapter Audio Out Connected SVS SoundPath Speaker Level Adapter Audio Out Connected

A/V Furniture & Accessories

This $79.99 accessory helps connect a powered subwoofer from audio components that don't have a subwoofer output.

Goldmund Telos 4800 Mono Amplifier Goldmund Telos 4800 Mono Amplifier


Goldmund's latest monoblock amp delivers 1050 watts RMS at 8 ohms for $260,000, yet it's one step below the top-of-the-line model.

Nocs Monolith Aluminum Portable Wireless Speaker Nocs Monolith Aluminum Portable Wireless Speaker

New Products

At $1,000, Nocs Design from Sweden has introduced its first portable Bluetooth speaker in a silver or black Aluminum finish.

You May Also Like

Over-Ear Headphones

Meze's LIRIC 2nd generation closed-back audiophile headphones deliver a very impressive upgrade over the original.

Earbuds & In-Ear Headphones

At $159, the Meze Audio ALBA in-ear headphones include a convenient inline USB-C adapter to easily to connect to iPhone 15.

Ask an Expert

Do your new pair of loudspeakers not sound like you envisioned after reading that super positive review? You may have a room acoustics issue.

Headphone Amps

At $600, SPARTAN 30 promises low distortion volume control for use with active speakers or headphones.

New Products

Unitra is back. Now under new ownership, the Polish manufacturer showed its complete line of HiFi equipment at HIGH END Munich 2024.

New Products

The first wireless headphones from Sonos will arrive June 5th for $449. Does the Sonos Ace have something up its sleeve?


Build a complete audiophile-grade stereo system around the Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Bookshelf Loudspeakers for under $4,000.

Headphone Amps

With 100V on the plate, Schitt claims its Vali 3 tube headphone amp and preamp beats everything they've tested up to $2,799, for only...


ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers