Meze Audio ELITE Review

Meze Audio Empyrean ELITE

Pads

 

For the ELITE, Meze has also developed a new set of pads. We quote Meze:

“An innovative design feature developed by Rinaro is the Isomagnetic® earpad attachment, which

uses the demagnetizing field generated by the driver to hold the earpad in place, whilst also redirecting the magnetic field back into the driver and improving driver efficiency.”

 

The new Meze Audio ELITE comes with two sets of pads:

  1. ALCANTARA®

This is the well-known 30mm deep Alcantara earpad, originally developed for the Empyrean headphone in 2018

  1. HYBRID (Perforated Alcantara® Interior + Real Leather Exterior)

Developed especially for ELITE by Rinaro, the 25mm deep Leather + Alcantara earpad is a new addition to the line-up that combines the best of two materials.

Meze Audio Empyrean ELITE

I personally like the new hybrid pads most with the ELITE. I of course will get into the effect of the different pads on the ELITE’s sound later on in this article.

Technical Specs

Driver Type: Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array® [MZ3SE]

Operating Principle: Open

Ear Coupling: Circumaural

Frequency Response: 3 – 112,000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ω

Nominal SPL: 101 dB (1 mW / 1 kHz)

Maximum SPL: > 130 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.05% (in the whole frequency range)

Weight: 430 g

Meze Audio Elite

MZ3SE Driver Specifications

PHYSICAL Geometrical Shape: Ovoid

Size: 102 mm x 73 mm

Weight: 75 g

Casing: Fibreglass reinforced polymer

MAGNET ARRAY Type: Isodynamic

Size: 75 mm x 49 mm

Magnetic Flux : 0.35 T

DIAPHRAGM Type : Rinaro Parus® [MZ3SE]

Active Area: 4650 mm2

Weight: 0.011 g

Acoustic Mass: 7.5 kg/m4

Lower Frequency Limit: 3 Hz

Upper-Frequency Limit: 112,000 Hz

Meze Audio Empyrean ELITE

The Box, Accessories & Price

Let’s start with the price. The Meze ELITE is the company’s new open back circumaural flagship headphone, and it sets you back $/€4000 USD/Euro. That makes it $/€1000 more expensive than the current flagship.

The ELITE more or less comes in the same type of “box” as the original Empyrean. A nice white card wood box, holding a classy high-strength aluminum suitcase. On the inside of the suitcase you’ll find a foam insert, which holds the two sets of ear pads included (ALCANTARA®, one LEATHER + ALCANTARA® HYBRID) and the cable of your choice. You can choose between a 3.5 mm OFC Standard, 6.3 mm OFC Standard or 4 PIN XLR OFC Standard. The latter being the one I opted for. Of course Meze is till using the mini XLR connectors.

It’s a nice high end package, but it at the same time is not the most luxurious either. There in example is no carrying case, cleaning cloth or headphone stand included, which would have been nice at this price point. All-in-all I’m quite pleased with the “delivery” but it would elevate the ELITE’s status even more.

Design, Build Quality & Comfort

Design-wise the ELITE shares the original Empyrean’s philosophy and looks.

Each unit of the ELITE takes more than 100 hours to produce and Meze tests each driver unit that has been manufactured at Rinaro Isodynamics in Ukraine, before delivering the drivers to Meze Audio for final assembly of the headphone.

The ELITE has a CNC aluminum frame with a classy silver finish. You like its looks or you don’t, it’s very personal. I’ve already seen people based on a few leaked pictures say the gray frame isn’t very high end looking and that the CNC finish isn’t the most smooth, but it’s not supposed to be. Like I said, you like or don’t like the grey color, but he finish and precision is excellent and it absolutely feels super high end.

The materials, according to Meze, were chosen not just for the exciting sensory experience their raw texture provides, but also for comfort and durability.

The new ELITE weighs an impressive 430g (like the original), but it in reality doesn’t feel that heavy. We of course already know the headband system from the 1st Empyrean, and it does an excellent job distributing the weigh over your head. I personally do find the ELITE to be more comfortable, as it seems to have a higher side pressure, making it fit my head better. It’s also more stable and it perfectly stays in place when I’m moving around at my desk. Something I can’t say always is the case with the original Empyrean.

For those of you that are not familiar yet with Meze’s headband system, here’s the rundown. The patent-pending suspension wings support system is elongated and curved at both ends, descending further on the side of the head and distributing the weight of the headphone evenly, for an utmost comfortable listening experience.

Meze Audio Empyrean ELITE

The carbon fiber headband looks stellar in my opinion and the ELITE labelled real leather headband impresses. It brings an ultra-light feel and delivers maximum durability. You can wear the ELITE for hours without any discomfort.

Ans then there’s the iconic grill. This time it’s slightly different looking from the original Empyrean, but it’s still incredibly sexy. With the ELITE you get a deep black grill with intricate carvings turning ELITE – according to Meze- into a futuristic take on personal audio design.

The ELITE is also fully serviceable: from the replaceable earpads to the high-performance materials used, every part on the headphone chassis is available to be easily disassembled and serviced. Awesome.

All-in all the ELITE to me gets top marks for design, comfort and build quality. Basically it’s the Meze Audio standard.

The ELITE review continues on the next page. Use the jumps below or click here.

Page 1: Meze, Rinaro, Empyrean, ELITE, Driver.

Page 2: Pads, Technical specs, Driver specs, The Box, Accessories & Price, Design, build quality & comfort.

Page 3: Cable, Sound, Vs Empyrean

Page 4: Comparisons, Sources/Amplification

Page 5: Sources/Amplification, Conclusion

4.4/5 - (313 votes)

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

6 Comments

  • Reply September 1, 2021

    MhtLion

    Great review!! Always spot on!! I will be looking forward to hear your feedback of Meze ELITE with upcoming A&K SP2000″T”. Doubtful, but still hoping T has a little more power.

  • Reply September 2, 2021

    InvisibleInk

    There have been quite a few Summit.fi releases lately. Audeze refreshed its line up and added the LCD-R and the electrostatic CRBN. Dan Clarke Audio with its Stealth. ZMF is about to released a refreshed Verite. The Drop HD8XX will soon be available. Seems like the engineers are still busy and prices are going up.

    • Reply September 6, 2021

      Zachary Mehrbach

      While we’re always striving to make our MFR process better and come out with great products, we don’t actually have any “new” version of the Verite in the works or plan to replace it.

      We do however come out with LTD editions of the Verite and plan on having some stabilized and possibly other LTD versions of the Verite for this years ZMF November. As usual those versions are not tuned differently, but just have different woods and colors used for the cups.

      Hope that makes sense and always flattered to be mentioned!

  • Reply September 8, 2021

    Steve

    I got in on the product tour on Head-fi, but I’m at the bottom of list, won’t see this for a few more months! Can’t wait!

  • Reply September 30, 2021

    MASA

    Great review!
    Thanks!

    By the way, I know you praised the combo with the previous Empyrean in your AurisAudio HA-2SF review, but with the HA-2SF as an amp, which combo do you think you prefer between the Elite and Empyrean?

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