The Meze Audio Empyrean Phoenix rose from the ashes earlier this year, and the new ELITE flagship open-back headphones have raised the performance bar even higher in the planar magnetic category. The biggest issue with both headphones (aside from the cost) is that everyone around you can hear what you’re listening to.
Open-back planar magnetic headphones sound more spacious and transparent as a result. It’s almost unnerving how much resolution and clarity you get from the Empyrean; they are one of the best headphones we have ever heard.
Antonio Meze has proven to be both an innovator and inspiring entrepreneur so we’re not even remotely shocked that he has finally gone down the rabbit hole with the new closed-back Meze Audio LIRIC headphones.
Meze’s rivals at Audeze and Dan Clark Audio went down this path a long time ago but Antonio Meze isn’t one to react to changes in the market just to be a follower; he’s an industrial designer with a deep passion for creating unique headphones that are unlike anything else in the market. And that’s why many of us wear his state-of-the-art headphones (and hang up on the accountant) or his affordable 99 Classics on a daily basis.
Meze’s humble beginnings in a small town in Romania is one of the best success stories from the headphone category in many years. I’ve been fortunate to meet them, interview them on camera, and I’ve been very vocal about my support for their products.
The new Meze Audio LIRIC are not inexpensive; $2,000 for any pair of headphones is a very serious investment. Audeze charges $1,299.95 for their LCD-XC model so the LIRIC are not exactly a huge jump in price.
Where this gets more interesting is when you realize that the Meze Audio LIRIC feature trickle down technology from the 2 flagship models that are significantly more expensive; 2 headphones that have won almost every award from the hi-fi press and are unbelievable sonic experiences with the right headphone amplifier and digital source.
You’re not driving the LIRIC with your smart phone and I already have a long list of headphone amplifiers from Linear Tube Audio, Ampsandsound, and Schiit Audio that I’d like to try with these new headphones.
Combining high-grade magnesium, leather and aluminium in an ergonomic design with a sleek, modern finish, the Meze LIRIC is made for discerning audiophiles who want to enjoy their passion both in and outside the house or while commuting, for hours on end.
Each material was carefully selected to complete the other, referencing the textures found on magnesium parts of professional photo cameras and preserving that same tactile experience, while demonstrating an outstanding wear resistance.
“We’ve been wanting to do a portable planar for a while, and following two successful collaborations with Rinaro, it was a natural next step. Naming it LIRIC was not a game of chance. It was an ideal metaphor to paint the authentic, vivid and poetic sound disguised behind its sculptural silhouette.” – Antonio Meze, Lead Designer & Founder of Meze Audio.
Flagship technology in a portable frame
Created exclusively for Meze Audio, LIRIC’s MZ4 driver was purposefully scaled down and tuned to deliver a similar audio experience with its larger counterpart found in the top-range Empyrean. Combined with the closed-back design, it helps preserve the original clarity and emotion of your favourite music through enhanced sound and minimised external noise.
“It’s been a complex and challenging project to scale down our award-winning technology into a closed-back headphone design. After almost 3 years of intensive work alongside our partners at Meze Audio, we have achieved that goal – with LIRIC, the flagship sound goes truly portable, representing a new milestone in the application of the Isodynamic Hybrid Array technology.” – Pavlo Shymanovych, Founder of Rinaro Isodynamics.
An innovation to the MZ4 driver is the Phase-XTM system, created by Rinaro as a way to minimise phase nonlinearity issues, typically found in closed-back headphone designs.
This patent-pending technology helps improve the accuracy of spatial imaging, in line with its open back counterparts, which is especially noticeable on binaural recordings.
A blend of high build quality, excellent comfort and life-like, immersive sound, this headphone is a harmony of form and function meant to set a new benchmark in high-end portable audio. LIRIC is hand-assembled with care and painstaking attention to detail in Baia Mare, Romania.
- Driver type: Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array MZ4
- Operating principle: Closed
- Ear coupling: Circumaural
- Frequency response: 4 – 92,000 Hz
- Impedance: 30 Ohms
- Nominal SPL: 100 dB (1 mW / 1kHz)
- Maximum SPL: 130 dB
- THD: <0.15%
- Weight: 391g
Price & Availability
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