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Meze EMPYREAN - the First Isodynamic Hybrid Array Headphone

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by MezeTeam, Feb 9, 2018.
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  1. betula
    Another interesting review, that doesn't pop up on the top of your google search page. I agree with their preference towards the leather pads.
     
    Chris Kaoss and LeMat like this.
  2. LeMat
    Thanks! I don't know why it has been poorly indexed by Google because it's a great read and a thorough comparison with the Stellia.
     
  3. tradyblix
    The leather pads are probably better on most systems. But when I listen to the Hugo2's built in amp alone, which I find sharp and clinical, I really enjoy using the alcantara pads that take that edge off. I use leather otherwise, like with the TA-ZH1ES.
     
    Lucky87 likes this.
  4. tradyblix
    But if they have silver cases, surely they have a more sparkly, trebley sound right ? Just a little audiophile joke :)
     
  5. latestyle
    Hahaha. I'll have to compare with stock cable, which I haven't done yet, but seems that the designers of these cans aimed to integrate different tonal registers - including the treble - to a smoother sonic gestalt rather than lighting up the treble etc. Still first impressions so I'm reserving judgment, but so far, these tilt slightly toward the yin vs. the yang.
     
    tradyblix likes this.
  6. Darthpool
    My Empyrean thoughts after having them for a couple weeks:

    66F2A8D9-4B8D-43AB-980F-3413F69C45F6.jpeg

    (Edit: Forgot to add where I got them from oops late night)

    I have these on loan from Kitsune HiFi. These thoughts/impressions are my own and Kitsune HiFi only requested that I post about my thoughts on them. These will be going back to Kitsune HiFi.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how light and just plain beautiful these headphones are. Comfort is exceptional, along with the build quality. They are a sight to behold.
    They are much bigger in person than one might expect though, which isn’t a detraction just a statement.


    **Sound of the Empyrean:**


    I find these to be a very interesting listen, they do not fall in line with what I was expecting. The mids-highs are beamed into my ears while Lows-low/mids are to me seems to be coming from above and all around my head. It is a very interesting experience and one I recommend anyone who gets the chance to demo a unit to try.

    The bass is not overwhelming but it doesn’t seem as “tight” or precise as what I was expecting. It has nice substance and the traditional planar signature. Bass is there hovering it feels like. Not unsubstantial, but not having the impact I was expecting. Bass for these, kind of throws me off, it is there and sounds very good, but the placement is throwing my brain out of whack due to feeling like it is coming from above and all around my head.

    Vocals are very exceptional; they are laser beamed into your ears lol. Same with the highs and other mid-frequency sounds. But the vocals especially are excellent. High hats, snares, snaps, violin, etc., are also fun to experience with the Empyreans. Highs and mids are for me what really shines as the stand out sound on the Empyreans.

    Throw a couple of Pentatonix tracks on for a fun evening.

    Overall the sound signature is not overly bass-heavy and I think what shines are the mids, vocals, and highs. The highs aren’t “sparkly” but layered there just about right.
    Staging is in front with a decent stage, small venue, intimate but not closed in. Imaging is also in a similar situation for me, as it has just enough separation to keep it a relaxed listen without pulling everything either too close together or far apart. Detail retrieval is also kind of in the Goldilocks realm, as it is “just right” for that enjoyable listen without either going too analytical or blurred together.

    As far as sound goes, for me, this falls in the realm of sitting in your audio battlestation, preferably with *insert booze of preference here*, leaning back and getting lost into what you are listening to while letting your brain engage/disengage and wander.
    3A6EED0A-526C-4F67-B6B9-71E7D4547CF5.jpeg

    **Build, looks, what it comes with:**

    This thing is fantastically put together! It screams quality and high end. Honestly one of the best looking, designed, crafted and assembled headphones I’ve come across so far. I can’t really say much here except exceptional quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail went into creating this. The aluminum body and design are beautiful, I can sit and look at these for a long time. Then throw in the fact that they are insanely light and comfortable, well, these are definitely the best “planar” headphone I’ve had the pleasure of having on my head so far.

    They come in a very James Bond villain briefcase. An extra set of pads (which are magnetically attached, seriously why haven’t the rest of the industry followed suit!!!) and a cable. I’m unsure as to which cable is stock as my demo unit came with the upgraded cable ending in balanced XLR (which is a very well-built cable, I kind of want one…).


    **At the end of the day:**

    AD1E7C01-696A-47C1-8A9C-CEF8FEE6E739.jpeg
    So, these are excellent, I find them well built, with a very smooth easy sound, with a just-right kind of sound signature across the board. I could easily recommend them to anyone with the means for a beautiful, easy to listen to, and power, planar headphone.


    **Caveat:**

    * For me though I have other headphones on hand that just don’t leave room for these in my stable of headphones at home. I would personally prefer my ZMF Verite or RAAL SR1a over these. That isn’t to detract from these though as this is just my preference. I appreciate greatly what Meze has created in the Empyreans, they are beautiful, unfortunately, they just aren’t for me. They may very well be your cup of tea though and I highly recommend seeking them out for a listen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  7. betula
    Thanks for sharing your impressions!
    One quick question: what amps and dacs did you use with the Empyrean? It seems to be not just my experience that the bass tightens up with higher end gear. Even with my Taurus MKII I felt the bass a bit thick and not as refined as I expected, but with the TT2 it has reached another level. Low-end tightness and cleanliness has vastly improved.
     
    tradyblix and Darthpool like this.
  8. mixman
    I pretty much agree with your sonic descriptions. It is a relatively laid back non offensive sound, like the Verite. Would like to listen to the RAAL, since I love good soundstage headphones. Not sure as they are for me because of the amp requirement. Between the Verite and the Empy, I guess it comes down to the sound you like.
     
  9. Darthpool
    I used a mix of Cayin N6ii, RME ADI-2DAC -> Phonitor XE, Airist R-2R DAC -> Holo Audio Azure amp with Kitsune HiFi upgrades. All fed a diet of Qobuz studio streaming.

    I did find the bass to improve with higher quality tracks as well. Especially 24bit...which to be honest I’ve only just started noticing the difference....I think it is due to listening to Qobuz since it came to the States. So I’ve acclimated to it and can slightly notice the changes ha...still learning =)
     
    betula likes this.
  10. betula
    Thoughts on the Empy from a man (@Currawong) who loves his Susvara.

    After months of ownership these headphones still amaze me every single day. They are entertaining, enveloping, precise, punchy, clear, detailed, musical, technical, deep, spacious, layered, natural...
    What else is left to wish for, honestly?
    Perhaps an MScaler to join my TT2 but headphone-wise I am definitely sorted for a good while. And the MScaler has to wait till next year.
    IMG_20190820_184931165.jpg
     
  11. Rowethren
    @MezeTeam I don't suppose there is any update on the new pads?
     
  12. Hoegaardener70
    Empy vs Utopia
    =============
    Hi! I will need to sell either the Empy or the Utopia. And I am surprised how difficult It is for me to decide which one to let go, maybe it is because I love both headphones very much. So, after a lot of back and forth comparisons, I can summarize my findings like this:

    - Build quality and comfort: Both are incredibly well built. And I find both equally comfortable … from the looks, the Empy should be more so than the Utopia, but in practical terms the Utopia fits better with my glasses. TIE

    - Easiness to Drive: Yes, the Empy is easier in its requirements but I have all the gear I need with the Utopia so it is a TIE again for me

    - Sound: Now, the big one… Bass: The Empy has the ticker, more immersive bass but the Utopia has a very tight, sophisticated response; both are also on the same level in terms of “physical bass feedback”. TIE. Treble: The Empy is less sparkling than the Utopia and therefore much darker, which means depending on the genre one is better than the other- TIE. Other aspects are speed (win Utopia), soundstage (win EMPY but not by huge margin), 3d imaging (win EMPY), and coherence (TIE).

    Soundwise overall, it is a TIE a again depending if you like “not so neutral but super pleasant while being a bit darker and slightly muddier” or “analytical with an ultra dynamic, more resolving” sound signature.

    I really find it impossible to decide on what I outlined above. What do I prefer more? I like both for different genres and moods.

    I guess then economic realities kick in and I will sell the Empy since it is a very new purchase with higher resale value (I am sometimes shocked how low the Utopia prices dropped). What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
    tradyblix likes this.
  13. CaptainFantastic
    I am hoping you will get the right advice from others on which one to keep.

    I will try to say something different. It sounds like not everything has gone wrong, since you are not selling all headphones and amp/dacs. If this is the case, why not go get a small personal loan from the bank to cover whatever emergency you have now. I say this NOT because headphones are so important, especially when you already have a few, but because if you like both, you will inevitably end up buying back the one you sold once the emergency has passed. You will lose money overall, more than the interest on a loan. That's just my experience - only sell if you are sure you do not like a headphone enough.
     
    Bern2 and Hoegaardener70 like this.
  14. mixman
    My thought is sell the 1266.....you will get the most for that! JK! I think it comes down to how much soundstage is important to you and whether you need another all around HP besides the 1266. I just find the Utopia too limited. Bass.....lite, soundstage....lite. Now if you want the biggest return on your money, that would be the Empy, as you have noticed used prices on the Utopia, have taken a nose dive....one recently sold for $1,700.......or maybe even less!
     
    xxx1313 likes this.
  15. xxx1313
    Same thought here. Too heavy, too ugly, too hard to drive. It sounds good, but not so much better than other more cultivated-looking headphones. :wink:
     
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