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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. LCMusicLover
    My ears agree with your impressions.

    I will say that I've been able to nudge Utopia towards my ideal sig/tonality more than I was able to move Empy's sig (via changes in my upstream chain, DAC, amp, tubes, cables). R2R DAC, Liquid Platinum amp, Siemens CCa tubes and Laz Ref cable combine to 'soften' Utopia a bit. Brimar CV-2492 tubes in LP (or SS amp) combined with silver cable and 9038-based Sonica DAC didn't move Empy as much.

    Honestly, I like the warm/lush sound of Empy, and the amount of detail presented is surprising for cans with that amount of warmth. However, I find the mid-bass a bit much on some tracks.
    up late likes this.
  2. Roasty
    I have the Utopia and Empy. I concur with your impressions. If you are looking for the best of both worlds, then consider Abyss 1266 TC. I just got the Abyss recently and although the ergonomics is behind both utopia and empy, the sound it produces hits all the right spots for me. The utopia retain the top spot for me for clarity, speed and accuracy; having said that, the Abyss are only just very slightly behind. The utopia can't trump the Abyss for mids and lows. Comfort empy is winner for sure.
    tradyblix likes this.
  3. FourT6and2
    Only thing I can say is when I put on the Empyrean and listened to one of my favorite tracks (Color in Bloom, by Percy Hill), which is a wicked jazzy/jam/rock track with a hypnotic bass and drum line, I remember commenting on how that song has never sounded better. And when I put on the Utopia and listened to some hard rock and metal, I remember actually saying "Wow!" aloud. So I think I'm gonna have to sell off my other headphones and just get both lol.
  4. FourT6and2
    Yeah, I tried the Abyss as well (the 1266 TC and Diana Phi). They were both really good and yes, sounded like a nice blend of the Utopia and Empyrean's attributes in some ways. Really nice mid-range. Forward and sweet and bouncy without being overly grating. The hang up for me is the ergonomics. Seriously horrible design in that regard on both TC and Diania Phi. And both seem to depend heavily on fit/position. I noticed that on the 1266 TC, if there was a tight seal against your ear, all the bass disappeared. With an actual gap between your ear and the cup, the bass returned and sounded good. It's like they're actual speakers just hanging on your head instead of headphones. So you have this giant things just dangling there precariously lol. For $5k... not sure I want to take the plunge if I have to really pay attention to fit all the time.

    Same with the Diana Phi. They definitely fit better and more comfortable. And I think they actually sounded a little better to me. BUT... again, only if I pulled them away from my ears a bit. With them on my head naturally, they sounded fine. Although not as good as the Utopia or Empyrean. However... if I pulled them away from my ears by about 1/8" to 1/4" so there was a gap... they really came alive and the low end and bass response was incredible. Best I've heard. But What... I can't sit there holding the headphones away from my head while I listen to music. They are like the opposite of the Sennheiser HD820, which only sound good to me if I press slightly on the ear cups to get a better seal against my head. Then the low end comes alive. The Abyss need a gap. The Sennheiser need a tighter seal. The Utopia and Empyrean fit great, with the Utopia (and all Focals in general) fitting me perfectly.

    The Empyrean's fit is good, but maybe a tiny bit too lose for my comfort since I have a narrower head. If the guys at Abyss, Focal, and Meze all got together for a joint headphone project, it would be unstoppable lol. At the very least, Abyss needs to hire a proper design firm to work out the ergonomics. Desperately.

    Abyss sounds fantastic as long as I hold the headphones in the proper position with a gap between the cushions and my ears.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  5. betula
    I know, some level of rattling noise is normal with planars once they get worn in. The planar transducers are just getting a bit looser, so when putting the headphones on and off there is an audible noise similar to when water is in your ear. This is just a looser transducer and nothing to worry about. My question is what level of this noise is normal? Especially when I can only hear it in the right ear cup? Anyone else?
  6. tradyblix
    Its normal. If they are still working dont worry. It usually is noticable due to air pressure change when you put on head.
    betula likes this.
  7. Jvincent
    I have to disagree with you a little here... I had a set of HD800S with the 4pin xlr black dragon from Moon Audio paired with an HDV 820... while sound stage/separation is exceptional, and very pleasant for certain genres of listening. I still found the treble to be very hot (could not listen to certain artists at all like Sara Bareilles live, some Jeff Buckley and Adele as the treble just about broke my ears) also with that set up the bass was still certainly lacking punch and fullness. Sure it can produce the frequency of the bass notes but the slam is missing completely.
  8. Bonddam
    My noise accurs in right cup when I move my head so I don’t hear it when music is playing but I don’t move.
  9. betula
    Why would I need anything more than this?
    Any sensible arguments? :) IMG_20190728_141326571 (1).jpg
    Yes, it only happens when I move the right earcup 1-2mm on purpose. When music is playing and I am still it is absolutely fine.
    The left earcup however doesn't have this level of sensitivity. Hence my question.
  10. kumar402
    some planar driver rattles when you press them against your head due to pressure build up. Nothing to worry about.
  11. Roasty
    yep i do agree with you on the ergonomics. they look really ridiculous and IMO can't compare with the aesthetics of both utopia and empy.
    and yes, the abyss do need a gap. after bringing the TC home, i had the pads positioned wrongly; i was trying to get a good seal all round. ended up with shouty highs, and lifeless bass. then i remembered reading about pad position on the 1266 thread. after some adjustment, hit the sweet spot and the headphones came alive.

    similar to your own experiences, but these are my observations:
    pads dialed in properly with small gap - bass is punchy, present, tight, visceral
    after dialing in pads properly, and holding earpads away from head slightly - bass is even louder, and you can really feel the rumble, but is looser and muddier if compared to a well-dialed in pad position resting normally on the head with a small gap present.
    in the end, despite somewhat enjoying the amount of bass with earpads held away from the head, i realized did much more enjoy a tight punchy bassline.

    not to detract too much from the empy, this being the empy thread and all.. i must say the mids on the empy are amazing. i love listening to female vocals on the empy, so very luscious sounding with a sweetness on the higher registers. i've never found the empy bright, but very polite up top. my opinion with the lows is that there is some bleed into midbass and this makes the headphone sound bloated occasionally. this is lessened somewhat when using the suede earpads.
    Sometimes after listening to the empy for a long time, then going to the utopias, i find the empy could do with a bit of treble boost; this is to me also gear dependent.. the empy feels a bit recessed with my own equipment, but when i tried the empy with an mscaler/tt2 combo, the mids and highs sounded as forward and as crystal clear as the utopias.
    kid vic likes this.
  12. kumar402
    Only argument I can give is if you like NOS soundsignature or denser tonality of Multibit or R2R DAC then you may want to pair Empy with those DAC.
    I for one enjoy Multibit or NOS R2R Dac so I stay away from DS DAC.
    But above statement is only for argument as not everyone like NOS sound
  13. FourT6and2
    Is it better to buy this with the 4-pin cable and then source a 1/4" or 3.5mm after the fact? Or do it the other way around?
  14. Roasty
    probably makes more sense to get 4 pin balanced, and then use an adaptor for single ended if you have to. simply for the fact u can connect a balanced cable to SE source (with an adaptor), but not the other way around.
    kid vic likes this.
  15. FourT6and2
    Ok cool. No difference between balanced cable to SE vs an actual SE cable?

    Sennheiser 820 comes with three separate cables (4-pin, 4.4mm, and 1/4"). Wish more companies did this. I'd rather get a bunch of cables included than have part of the cost go toward a fancy case I'll never use.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
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