I was lucky enough to review Audeze’s flagship headphone, the LCD-5 earlier this year and recommended it as one of the best headphones I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, I had to add the caveat “if you have deep enough pockets.”
While $4,500 isn’t out of line with other flagship offerings these days, it’s not an inconsequential amount of money and only the lucky few can afford them.
Now Audeze is introducing a new model, and hinting that more may be coming in partnership with 11-time Grammy award winning producer, Manny Marroquin. For those of you not familiar with Marroquin’s work, just take a look at the top 40 of about any genre or look at Larrabee Studios client list which includes artists like Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Post Malone, DJ Khalid, Pentatonix, and Rag n’ bone man.
The MM-500 headphone shares most of its technology with the LCD-5. The 90mm driver uses varied diameter traces and an improved voice coil (developed for the LCD-5) that delivers the most accurate frequency response to date. The ultra-light diaphragm and fazor magnet structure help minimize distortion.
The new driver is optimized to work with a wide range of equipment from studio standards to home amplifiers and portables. With an impedance of 18 ohms and a sensitivity of 100dB/mW, the MM-500 is one of easiest Audeze products to drive to date.
Outside, the new MM-500 shares a similar form factor to the LCD-5 with a more robust shell to help survive the rigors of studio life, an improved suspension system for all day wear, and somehow it still manages to weigh the same as the LCD-5 despite the increased durability.
Mixers and producers want a headphone where little tweaks to the mix are translated precisely to the ear so they have a reference for each change in level or setting. The MM-500 is tuned so it remains perfectly clear regardless of load, EQ or DSP used. This means the MM-500 is nearly perfectly neutral by default and allows the artist to paint their picture on the canvas with each small rise or dip translated precisely to the ear.
So with the feature set and tuning, I was thinking “Ok so Audeze has a new co-flagship.” They’ve done that before with the MX4/LCD4 models. Then I looked at the MSRP. Wait, what? I had to have read that wrong. The MSRP is $1,699. That’s right — the new MM-500 slots in between the LCD-X and LCD-3 models, not right next to the LCD-5 as I had expected.
That makes it one of the more cost conscious flagship level headphones available today and I can’t wait to try one out at T.H.E. Show, and talk to Audeze about getting an extended listen for review purposes.
Look for a full review as soon as I can get my hands on one.
|Housing Material||Precision-milled aluminum|
|Transducer type||Planar Magnetic|
|Magnetic structure||Fluxor™ magnet array|
|Magnet type||Neodymium N50|
|Diaphragm type||Ultra-Thin Uniforce™|
|Transducer size||90 mm|
|Maximum power handling||10W RMS|
|Frequency response||5Hz – 50kHz|
|THD||<0.1% @ 100dB, 1kHz|
|Sensitivity||100 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)|
|Recommended power level||>250mW|
- Studio tested and refined by top recording artists at famous Larrabee Studios
- Carefully tuned for accuracy across the entire frequency spectrum to deliver mixes that translate well
- Audeze’s Uniforce™ diaphragms, Fazor™ waveguides and Fluxor™ Magnets provide incredible clarity with industry-leading low distortion, and high efficiency to perform well with a wide range of equipment
- Durable, lightweight chassis with suspension headband and upgraded earpads for better bass response and comfortable use during long sessions
Price & Availability
The Audeze MM-500 will be available for $1,699 at Audeze.com. Pre-order now and expect them by August 2022.
Founded in 2008, Audeze is an award-winning premium technology company engineering the world’s most advanced audio solutions. Focused on science, innovation, and craftsmanship, Audeze’s precision audio extends from proprietary planar magnetic drivers and custom engineered transducers, to pristine sound reproduction and highly-unique audio-centric applications. From discerning audiophiles to Grammy-winning recording engineers, top esports athletes to specialized medical facilities, Audeze has become one of the most respected audio companies in the world.
Audeze is proudly owned and operated in the USA, designed and engineered in California.
About Manny Marroquin
Manny Marroquin is a multi-Grammy winning mix engineer working with the industry’s most notable names, including Kanye West, Post Malone, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, and The Rolling Stones. Marroquin’s work has been featured on more than 250 albums as well as forty #1 albums, one hundred Billboard Top 10 albums, and over forty singles in the top 10. Most recently, Marroquin’s work earned him a 2022 Grammy win for Album of the Year with Jon Batiste.