Meze EMPYREAN - the First Isodynamic Hybrid Array Headphone
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To me the soundstage of the Empyrean is a bit less wide than that of the Utopia, but deeper. I also read impressions that Empyrean's soundstage is larger than Utopia, but to me it is not. Deeper yes, but definitely not wider. I personally feel that the soundstage size is comparable with Empyrean + Dave without crossfeed and Utopia + Dave with crossfeed 1. Instrument positioning is a bit different, so this may be a reason for the differenct soundstage size perceptions.
Soundstage is probably the least important criteria for me. Tonal balance, timbre, realism and dynamics would be of higher priority. The real soundstage is built into the stereo mix of the recording being used.
 
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Any impressions vs the Abyss Phi?
 
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These are my first impressions on the Meze Empyrean. I knew its general sound signature already after listening to the prototypes at the "High End" in Munich in May. Empyrean is a great headphone in many respects. It is a special headphone, with a sound signature not easy to describe. I just got it a few hours ago, so no burn-in by now.

My reference headphone is the Focal Utopia, which I really love. It is the king of transparancy and dynamics imo, and tonally a neutral to slighly bright headphone.

Meze Empyrean is a headphone with warm tuning and elevated bass imo, but not overly so. Bass does not bleed significantly into the mids, in constrast to the Audeze LCD4(z), for example. There are no treble peaks above 4-5 kHz, so treble is not at all elevated, but only slightly recessed. Mids are full, warm and lush, with great texture and neutral enough for a high end headphone. Bass is not as fast as I know from the Utopias, but fast enough, dynamic and with impact, goes deep (typical planar) and is very satisfying. The soundstage is rather small and intimate (deeper than wide), but seperation of instruments and voices is surprisingly good. Acoustic dampening is high, reverb tails are short, background is completely black. This is the first headphone which I clearly prefer without crossfeed on Chord DAVE. Synergy with Chord DAVE is simply great imo, less so with the warmer tuned and less resolving Hugo TT2 (I prefer the Focal Utopia on TT2).

Listening with the Empyrean is much fun, extremely satisfying and free of fatigue. I am now listening to David Gilmour - Live at Pompeii, and I think to myself that, even though the Emyprean is not exactly neutral, this is how it should have sounded being there.

Meze Empyrean synergizes well with neutral to bright (solid-state) audio gear, but probably not very well with many tube amps. The Empyrean is easy to drive, very light and extremely comfortable. Build quality is superb, unreached by ALL other manufacturers of planar magnetic headphones.

It is astonishing that it needed a small company from Romania (Meze) and a driver from the Ukraine (Rinaro) to successfully make the first high end planar magnetic headphone, that not only offers real high-end sound, but is also easy to drive, very comfortable, light (less than 400g) and with great design and build quality. So many failed, they succeeded. I am very happy that they did.

Thumbs up!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::)
Nice write-up, Bernie.

No guarantees but I am hopeful of getting a new pair of Empyreans on loan to run-in either this coming week or the week after. I have a good relationship with my dealer and they are very happy to let me try new gear, to run-in for them and to provide feedback. I’m currently trying a selection of very good power cables from a Swedish company called Jorma Design - might buy one or two of these.
 
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The reason I can't bring myself to own these:


Is because of this:


Looking forward to my Empyreans!

Cheers!:beerchug:
-HK sends
I currently have Empyreans on Demo, comparing Abyss AB1266 and HD800. The Empyreans are certainly comfortable and light, but you would be surprised at the comfort of the Abyss for extended wear. Heavier but excellent headband to distribute the weight and no clamping force. In terms of look they seem to me in the same league as the Abyss, just look at the last post.

I will report back once i have had a chance to compare.
 
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I currently have Empyreans on Demo, comparing Abyss AB1266 and HD800. The Empyreans are certainly comfortable and light, but you would be surprised at the comfort of the Abyss for extended wear. Heavier but excellent headband to distribute the weight and no clamping force. In terms of look they seem to me in the same league as the Abyss, just look at the last post.

I will report back once i have had a chance to compare.
Do tell, when able!
 
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I currently have Empyreans on Demo, comparing Abyss AB1266 and HD800. The Empyreans are certainly comfortable and light, but you would be surprised at the comfort of the Abyss for extended wear. Heavier but excellent headband to distribute the weight and no clamping force. In terms of look they seem to me in the same league as the Abyss, just look at the last post.

I will report back once i have had a chance to compare.
I saw the post with the Empyreans being worn and thought the same thing...not that different from the Abyss (or a Cyberman:wink:).
The truth is I did have a brief chance to try on the Abyss a few years ago but it was at a meet so I really didn't have enough time to appreciate the comfort or the sound... I do think it looks like a medieval torture device, but I seriously haven't ruled them out for a future purchase.:slight_smile:

Cheers!:beerchug:
-HK sends
 
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I have compared the Empyrean and the Abyss AB1266 using a wide variety of music that I usually use for comparisons. Amongst others this includes: Master and Commander, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side, various Joni Mitchell, Guess Who Follow your Daughter Home, Gotan Project Chunga's Revenge and La del Russo, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Klaatu Little Neutrino, Interstellar, Inception, B52s, various Zappa. I used iMac / Roon> optical>Chord Hugo M-Scaler>Chord DAVE > XI Audio Formula S with Powerman. The Empyreans are very efficient in comparison to the Abyss and are easily driven direct from the Dave (unlike the Abyss). But to minimise variables I went from the Formula S for both for this comparison.

They are beautifully packaged, best I have seen for headphones. Funny thing, opening the case and taking them out I couldn't help thinking of a hitman assembling a gun. Build quality is amazing, I almost didn't want to handle them because they looked like a work of art. Nevertheless they are solid and can be handled without fear. Really well assembled and a lot of attention to detail. The cable however is poor: stiff, fiddly, a bit microphonic.

Wearing them they look a little odd (alien torture device), comparable to the Abyss (medieval torture device) in that respect. They are light and comfortable. Overall initial comfort is a bit better than the Abyss (which are heavier, but have no clamping force), and a bit less than the HD800 (which are lighter and have less clamping force). I have not worn them long enough to judge comfort for extended listening, it will come down to the clamping force (more) vs weight (less). Note this is comparative, in absolute terms these are amongst the most comfortable headphones I have worn.

I have listened to them all day. My initial impression was a dark, rich sound, with solid bass. This remained throughout the day and across all music. Overall quite pleasant and non-fatiguing. Really an excellent set of headphones. But overall I preferred the Abyss. Here are some of the main points of comparison:
  • Tonal balance is noticeably darker for the Empyreans. The Abyss actually sounded a bit thin at times compared to them
  • The amount of bass is excellent, with same kind of slam as the Abyss. Great slam without being excessive
  • The bass is however thicker and not as well defined as the Abyss
  • Transients are not quite as crisp throughout the frequency range, which I can readily hear on percussion
  • Detail is better for the Abyss
  • The Empyreans are more closed in, with less depth
  • Instruments are a bit less localised
  • The above add up to less presence, noticeable on e.g. vocals, saxophone
I also quickly compared to the HD800, in this case the Empyrean was my preference.

It has been a while since I heard them, but perhaps they remind me of the LCD4. I will have to compare back in at my dealer's.
 
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I have listened to them all day. My initial impression was a dark, rich sound, with solid bass. This remained throughout the day and across all music. Overall quite pleasant and non-fatiguing. Really an excellent set of headphones. But overall I preferred the Abyss. Here are some of the main points of comparison:
  • Tonal balance is noticeably darker for the Empyreans. The Abyss actually sounded a bit thin at times compared to them
  • The amount of bass is excellent, with same kind of slam as the Abyss. Great slam without being excessive
  • The bass is however thicker and not as well defined as the Abyss
  • Transients are not quite as crisp throughout the frequency range, which I can readily hear on percussion
  • Detail is better for the Abyss
  • The Empyreans are more closed in, with less depth
  • Instruments are a bit less localised
  • The above add up to less presence, noticeable on e.g. vocals, saxophone
[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the excellent comparison. I have DAVE/ MSCALER combo with ABYS PHI with new pads and SC HP cable. I have no interest in ever putting an amp in front of the DAVE. I will always drive HP direct. So I am curious as to your thoughts on comparing the 2 headphones direct out of the DAVE. Would appreciate your thoughts on that comparison... thx!

Just to add to my context for the question: I much prefer the richer/ full bodied sound of JPS SC cable. I find the standard JPS cable far less engaging, particularly with vocals.
 
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I have compared the Empyrean and the Abyss AB1266 using a wide variety of music that I usually use for comparisons. Amongst others this includes: Master and Commander, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side, various Joni Mitchell, Guess Who Follow your Daughter Home, Gotan Project Chunga's Revenge and La del Russo, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Klaatu Little Neutrino, Interstellar, Inception, B52s, various Zappa. I used iMac / Roon> optical>Chord Hugo M-Scaler>Chord DAVE > XI Audio Formula S with Powerman. The Empyreans are very efficient in comparison to the Abyss and are easily driven direct from the Dave (unlike the Abyss). But to minimise variables I went from the Formula S for both for this comparison.

They are beautifully packaged, best I have seen for headphones. Funny thing, opening the case and taking them out I couldn't help thinking of a hitman assembling a gun. Build quality is amazing, I almost didn't want to handle them because they looked like a work of art. Nevertheless they are solid and can be handled without fear. Really well assembled and a lot of attention to detail. The cable however is poor: stiff, fiddly, a bit microphonic.

Wearing them they look a little odd (alien torture device), comparable to the Abyss (medieval torture device) in that respect. They are light and comfortable. Overall initial comfort is a bit better than the Abyss (which are heavier, but have no clamping force), and a bit less than the HD800 (which are lighter and have less clamping force). I have not worn them long enough to judge comfort for extended listening, it will come down to the clamping force (more) vs weight (less). Note this is comparative, in absolute terms these are amongst the most comfortable headphones I have worn.

I have listened to them all day. My initial impression was a dark, rich sound, with solid bass. This remained throughout the day and across all music. Overall quite pleasant and non-fatiguing. Really an excellent set of headphones. But overall I preferred the Abyss. Here are some of the main points of comparison:
  • Tonal balance is noticeably darker for the Empyreans. The Abyss actually sounded a bit thin at times compared to them
  • The amount of bass is excellent, with same kind of slam as the Abyss. Great slam without being excessive
  • The bass is however thicker and not as well defined as the Abyss
  • Transients are not quite as crisp throughout the frequency range, which I can readily hear on percussion
  • Detail is better for the Abyss
  • The Empyreans are more closed in, with less depth
  • Instruments are a bit less localised
  • The above add up to less presence, noticeable on e.g. vocals, saxophone
I also quickly compared to the HD800, in this case the Empyrean was my preference.

It has been a while since I heard them, but perhaps they remind me of the LCD4. I will have to compare back in at my dealer's.
Great! The Empyrean can hang with the bigdogs.
 
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These are my first impressions on the Meze Empyrean. I knew its general sound signature already after listening to the prototypes at the "High End" in Munich in May. Empyrean is a great headphone in many respects. It is a special headphone, with a sound signature not easy to describe. I just got it a few hours ago, so no burn-in by now.

My reference headphone is the Focal Utopia, which I really love. It is the king of transparancy and dynamics imo, and tonally a neutral to slighly bright headphone.

Meze Empyrean is a headphone with warm tuning and elevated bass imo, but not overly so. Bass does not bleed significantly into the mids, in constrast to the Audeze LCD4(z), for example. There are no treble peaks above 4-5 kHz, so treble is not at all elevated, but only slightly recessed. Mids are full, warm and lush, with great texture and neutral enough for a high end headphone. Bass is not as fast as I know from the Utopias, but fast enough, dynamic and with impact, goes deep (typical planar) and is very satisfying. The soundstage is rather small and intimate (deeper than wide), but seperation of instruments and voices is surprisingly good. Acoustic dampening is high, reverb tails are short, background is completely black. This is the first headphone which I clearly prefer without crossfeed on Chord DAVE. Synergy with Chord DAVE is simply great imo, less so with the warmer tuned and less resolving Hugo TT2 (I prefer the Focal Utopia on TT2).

Listening with the Empyrean is much fun, extremely satisfying and free of fatigue. I am now listening to David Gilmour - Live at Pompeii, and I think to myself that, even though the Emyprean is not exactly neutral, this is how it should have sounded being there.

Meze Empyrean synergizes well with neutral to bright (solid-state) audio gear, but probably not very well with many tube amps. The Empyrean is easy to drive, very light and extremely comfortable. Build quality is superb, unreached by ALL other manufacturers of planar magnetic headphones.

It is astonishing that it needed a small company from Romania (Meze) and a driver from the Ukraine (Rinaro) to successfully make the first high end planar magnetic headphone, that not only offers real high-end sound, but is also easy to drive, very comfortable, light (less than 400g) and with great design and build quality. So many failed, they succeeded. I am very happy that they did.

Thumbs up!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::)
Oh NO !!! I've got the hugo TT 2 couldn't afford a Dave, hopefully M scaler will help
 
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I have listened to them all day. My initial impression was a dark, rich sound, with solid bass. This remained throughout the day and across all music. Overall quite pleasant and non-fatiguing. Really an excellent set of headphones. But overall I preferred the Abyss. Here are some of the main points of comparison:
  • Tonal balance is noticeably darker for the Empyreans. The Abyss actually sounded a bit thin at times compared to them
  • The amount of bass is excellent, with same kind of slam as the Abyss. Great slam without being excessive
  • The bass is however thicker and not as well defined as the Abyss
  • Transients are not quite as crisp throughout the frequency range, which I can readily hear on percussion
  • Detail is better for the Abyss
  • The Empyreans are more closed in, with less depth
  • Instruments are a bit less localised
  • The above add up to less presence, noticeable on e.g. vocals, saxophone
Thanks for the excellent comparison. I have DAVE/ MSCALER combo with ABYS PHI with new pads and SC HP cable. I have no interest in ever putting an amp in front of the DAVE. I will always drive HP direct. So I am curious as to your thoughts on comparing the 2 headphones direct out of the DAVE. Would appreciate your thoughts on that comparison... thx!

Just to add to my context for the question: I much prefer the richer/ full bodied sound of JPS SC cable. I find the standard JPS cable far less engaging, particularly with vocals.[/QUOTE]

My cables are balanced dual 3-pin XLR, and I don’t have the 1/4” adapter! That’s the real reason I didn’t compare direct out of the Dave, now everyone knowns. :deadhorse:

I am using the JPS SC cables and completely agree with your observations vs the stock cable. I was actually a cable skeptic and listened to them to humour my dealer. However the difference was obvious, not at all subtle. And I really put them through a thorough test. Their price is crazy, but I evidently concluded it was worth it.
 
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Thanks for the excellent comparison. I have DAVE/ MSCALER combo with ABYS PHI with new pads and SC HP cable. I have no interest in ever putting an amp in front of the DAVE. I will always drive HP direct. So I am curious as to your thoughts on comparing the 2 headphones direct out of the DAVE. Would appreciate your thoughts on that comparison... thx!

Just to add to my context for the question: I much prefer the richer/ full bodied sound of JPS SC cable. I find the standard JPS cable far less engaging, particularly with vocals.
My cables are balanced dual 3-pin XLR, and I don’t have the 1/4” adapter! That’s the real reason I didn’t compare direct out of the Dave, now everyone knowns. :deadhorse:

I am using the JPS SC cables and completely agree with your observations vs the stock cable. I was actually a cable skeptic and listened to them to humour my dealer. However the difference was obvious, not at all subtle. And I really put them through a thorough test Their price is crazy, but I evidently concluded it was worth it.[/QUOTE]
Nice to hear that! I am in Hong Kong and there is no home trial available. There are not much amp that could justify 1266 phi in hk headphone shops, even I bring it to the shop, not very comparable.
I am using vertere headphone cable double run right now.
 
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[/QUOTE]

My cables are balanced dual 3-pin XLR, and I don’t have the 1/4” adapter! That’s the real reason I didn’t compare direct out of the Dave, now everyone knowns. :deadhorse:

I am using the JPS SC cables and completely agree with your observations vs the stock cable. I was actually a cable skeptic and listened to them to humour my dealer. However the difference was obvious, not at all subtle. And I really put them through a thorough test Their price is crazy, but I evidently concluded it was worth it.[/QUOTE]

Ok, too bad. Have you always used an amp with the Abyss, never direct?

So even with the JPS SC cable, you found the Meze Empyrean tonally much darker? Hmmm... sounds like it may be too dark. So much less air? I wonder if out of the DAVE it would be a much better match than through your amp?
 
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My cables are balanced dual 3-pin XLR, and I don’t have the 1/4” adapter! That’s the real reason I didn’t compare direct out of the Dave, now everyone knowns. :deadhorse:

I am using the JPS SC cables and completely agree with your observations vs the stock cable. I was actually a cable skeptic and listened to them to humour my dealer. However the difference was obvious, not at all subtle. And I really put them through a thorough test Their price is crazy, but I evidently concluded it was worth it.[/QUOTE]

Ok, too bad. Have you always used an amp with the Abyss, never direct?

So even with the JPS SC cable, you found the Meze Empyrean tonally much darker? Hmmm... sounds like it may be too dark. So much less air? I wonder if out of the DAVE it would be a much better match than through your amp?[/QUOTE]
I have heard them direct from Dave in the shop. The amp I am using was voiced for the Abyss, I find there is a good synergy. I will however get the adapter, I would lie to do a home comparison.
 
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My cables are balanced dual 3-pin XLR, and I don’t have the 1/4” adapter! That’s the real reason I didn’t compare direct out of the Dave, now everyone knowns. :deadhorse:

I am using the JPS SC cables and completely agree with your observations vs the stock cable. I was actually a cable skeptic and listened to them to humour my dealer. However the difference was obvious, not at all subtle. And I really put them through a thorough test Their price is crazy, but I evidently concluded it was worth it.[/QUOTE]

Ok, too bad. Have you always used an amp with the Abyss, never direct?

So even with the JPS SC cable, you found the Meze Empyrean tonally much darker? Hmmm... sounds like it may be too dark. So much less air? I wonder if out of the DAVE it would be a much better match than through your amp?[/QUOTE]

I just listened to the Empyrean direct form the Dave for a few tracks. The comparison is easier because I don't have to switch cables and can more easily match levels. The same impressions hold relative to the Abyss through the Formula S amp.
 
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