It all started with a killer $300 dynamic headphone with a slightly off beat name. The Meze Classic 99 performed very admiralty against a very crowded space at the time, and quickly put Meze on the map of headphone enthusiasts.
Over the next few years Meze released a few even less expensive variants of the Classic 99, but this year the growing company decided to jump into the deep end of the planar magnetic market. Partnered with Rinaro Isodynamcs, the team has produced a $3k “Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver” dubbed the MZ3 placed in a new open back headphone called the Empyrean. The headphone was on display at this week’s Rocky Mountain Audiofest in Denver with the pre show press release putting heavy on the exclusiveness of the new technologies contained therein. From the presser:
“With MZ3, an Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver, a new standard in planar magnetic audio was established – the first dual shaped voice coil array. The only one of its kind, this unique piece of technology is one of the lightest and most advanced planar magnetic drivers on the market. The MZ3 combines individual switchback and spiral shaped voice coils, allowing sound to be targeted with accuracy around the natural shape of the ear. This provides increased exposure of direct sound wave frequencies over the 10kHz range and improves imaging and localization by decreasing the impact of short wave time delays caused by diffused field reflections.”
The sound on the somewhat noisy showroom floor at RMAF reached deep and was clear/detailed with David Brubeck playing though the tube-based rig they had on display. The new planar felt light on the head with good clamping pressure. The pads were comfortable and wearablity was high overall for flagship headphone. There will be a custom cable available directly from Meze with pricing in the $300-$400 range. The team from Meze is just waiting for some final parts to arrive for the new cans, and should have the new big gun up and running to the streets in about a month or so.
The $3k pricepoint is an interesting choice for the planar flagship. The in-between costs splits the difference between the high end $4k tier and the more attainable $1k crowd. But if there is one thing that seems clear, the market can, and does sustain cost-no-object efforts. Only time will tell if Meze can carve out their chunk of this niche consumer.