Meze Empyrean

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by 9suns, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Just for fun, using Jude's measurement (and assuming he didn't do anything weird in the measurement process), I made a prediction regarding Empyrean's "sbaf-compensated" FR.

    upload_2019-1-11_12-22-52.png

    Of course you may need a grain of caution and salt!
    • HD800 fr data were from my own measurement -- averaged from 6 sets of measurements.
    • Didn't do anything for 200-4k hz.
    Anyway, predicted fr looks very impressive, as it should be for 3k headphones.
     
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  2. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Hi Guys,

    I have a Meze Empyrean demo unit in the house, just wanted to upload my rough first draft of impressions after 90 mins of back and forth with the HD800S.

    Chain:

    Laptop with Deezer Premium> RME ADI2 DAC>Massdrop THX 789> Headphones

    Disclaimer:

    • I'm far from an expert, also HD800S was driven from the balanced output, Empyrean from the SE output due to the cables I had available. Volume was matched by ear.
    • HD800S Eqed to Oratory1990's settings to match the 2018 Harman Target using Equalizer APO and PEACE GUI

    Thoughts

    Man this is a tough one! The Empyrean seems very well built. It is a bulky headphone but more comfortable than all the bulky headphones I've had on my head in the last 2 years. This includes the Utopia, Clear, Eikon + all Audezes.

    From memory the HE-1000 V1 was as comfortable. Ether 2 is lighter but had a bit of an uncomfortable clamp but this was straight out of the box so this may disappear with use. I don't know.....

    In terms of sound the Empyrean is impressive. Bass is solid with good impact and the treble is clear,detailed and not harsh. The bass only seemed a bit too much when listening to Get Lucky by Daft Punk. On this song it seemed to overpower the rest of the FR.

    The HD800S even with EQ is a bit brighter. Maybe I still like the dynamic driver's presentation a bit better? This is very very close though; I really don't have much to complain about with the Empyrean.

    Soundstage is good. No complaints.

    I owned a Utopia for 2 months at the start of 2018 so it was a while ago but if I had to pick one I think I'd prefer the Empyrean.

    Empyrean beats the Ether 2 on first listen. The bass is as good, but I think the treble is clearly superior. These are based on short auditions at home of course. I don't have the Ether 2 now to compare back to back unfortunately.

    Right now I'd negotiate a dealer down to $2500 and buy the Empyrean over the Ether 2.

    In conclusion all I can say is that my ears aren't good enough to compare this level of performance. Between my EQed HD800S and the Empyrean my guess is that if you listen to modern pop, rock, EDM you would prefer the Empyrean.

    If you listen to Classical, Jazz, Acoustic, Folk you may prefer the HD800S. It's very close.

    If Mr. Meze is reading this all I can say is stupendous first effort. Please don't try to be another Audeze or Hifiman.

    Ditch the suitcase and make production more efficient.

    If you can bring a version of these to the sub $2000 price point you could really put Meze on the map.

    I'll stick with my HD800S for now as the Empyrean is very expensive in the UK but the future looks bright for Meze.

    P.S

    I asked Oratory1990 about the Empyrean vs LCD4-Z. He said that the Empyrean outclasses the 4Z in every way.

    See below a comment from him which is something for everyone to look forward to:

    I spent a total of about an hour with it on a few conventions, but I didn't yet take if home with me for a few days of listening like I normally do.

    Based on that hour I would say that it not only "lives up to" but completely justifies that price tag. I haven't heard treble so clear and smooth without loosing detail before.

    Build quality is outstanding, industrial design is very beautiful without hindering the acoustic properties. The transducer design is very interesting from an engineering perspective.

    If you like it, wait until the end of this year when they release project "Baby-Empyrean". They're working to achieve a <2k price tag (guessing around 1500-1800), mostly by using less expensive construction techniques.

    Meze is definitely a company to watch out for.
     
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  3. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    I just want to add that the aesthetics are not exactly my style. I like a more modern look like the HD800S or Focal Utopia but clearly the Empyreans were designed and built with love.

    From the way the driver housing looks, the pads, everything feels quality. Audeze and Hifiman look like home projects in comparison. I really hope they can be disruptive to the high end planar market.
     
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  4. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    A few more notes from a few minutes of late night listening:

    Tracks:

    1. Beethoven's Symphony No 6 - Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
    2.Summer Breeze - The Isley Brothers
    3.If I ain't got you - Alicia Keys


    • I'm starting to think that the HD800S still maintains its lead in the area of 'instrument separation'. For me this is an advantage. I guess other people might say the Empyrean brings everything together better and is more cohesive/less analytical. Again this is a matter of taste.
    • I'm guessing that the Empyrean would be described as having a ''sweeter'' more pleasing timbre by the majority of listeners even if the 800S is EQed. Personally after a few minutes with just the 800S I can acclimatise back to it.

    Am I thinking of buying the Empyrean? Actually I'm thinking of how far I could take the 800S with a Mjolnir Bipolar or Pass Labs HPA1. I'm waiting for Marvey to compare the RME ADI2 DAC to the Dangerous Source.

    So for now I think I'm sticking with the old lady of summit-fi :D
     
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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Thanks for your impression, @Rthomas
    I will also be able to get my ears on (and hopefully measure) these -- not mine though -- tomorrow. Will surely report back.
     
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  6. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Excellent, will be good to get your perspective. I hate liking new headphones as it means that I may have to get the wallet out. :D Although I would say the Empyrean is only competitive with the 800S at a much higher price so I'm not tempted at the moment. I'm guessing that it may be a new level of performance for planars but that would need a proper multi person shootout with the Susvara, LCD4, Ether 2 etc.
     
  7. Rowethren

    Rowethren Rando

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    I will certainly be very interested in your comparison between the Empyrean and Ether 2 as I am going to be in a position to purchase one of these imminently.
     
  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Already posted:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...meze-empyrean-measurements-and-thoughts.7396/

    If for fun and relaxed listening, go for empy. But if you want very resolving and transparent transducer that can pull the most of high level upstream gears, be cautious.
     
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  9. Benny-x

    Benny-x Rando

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    I really hope that's the case as well. The newer Audezes are built better than the newer HiFiMANs, and both are better built than their own previous efforts, but neither company is truly bringing to market a comparably well built model like the old mainstays with Sennheiser, Pioneer, Sony, etc. These Empyreans do.

    Although it's gonna be a long shot, I hope the Meze line grows and does directly hurt the sales of Audeze and HiFiMAN enough to make them bring better products to market.
     
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  10. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    I have and really like one headphone from each company you mention (a pre-fazor LCD-2.1; and a HEX v2). I wouldn't want to be without either. But admittedly I purchased them used, so in a way, chose survivors of the "driver lottery" each company is known for. Neither one is exactly a robust physical design, but plenty good enough for home office use (they never leave the house).

    I do want Audeze & Hfiman to continuously improve the reliability and sound of their designs. Ideally they would do that primarily to better appeal to & support their customer base; however, if that takes some pain on the sales side, all's fair in love, war & headphones.

    No doubt the the Empyrean has been a "shot across the bow" of the other headphone companies--many admire its sound, and it's obviously very well designed & constructed. Only time will tell if it's a paradigm shift in the industry (the way the HD 800 was after its launch)--but for now, these are exciting times in headphone audio.

    I'll hear the Empyrean again next week at CanJam/NYC, along w/several other endgame HPs of interest (Ether 2, ZMF Verite, Final D8000).
     
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  11. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    Heard the Empyrean a bunch of times at CanJam today. They were everywhere. I must have heard them w/8 or 9 different amps & DACs.

    Not once did they sound less than wonderful to me. Not once. That's remarkable. I could hear differences between upstream components, SS vs tube, all that--but the Empyrean sounded crazy-good every time I put it on my head. The sound is often borderline-spectacular while being consistently musical/listenable.

    I know it's not perfect. Certain other headphones have a bigger soundstage or greater detail or more resolution (I heard some of those headphones today). Still, the Empyrean is easily the best all-rounder design I've ever encountered. I really can find nothing significant to criticize about it, sonically or physically. This headphone does everything that matters to me at least very well, and in some instances, superbly well. It is also extremely comfortable and physically striking/attractive.

    And that business of the 2 different earpads w/different sonic profiles--it's totally for real. And that became another all-rounder triumph for me, because I like both earpads, tho for different types of music. Earpad options give the Empyrean dual personalities, both of which I like & want to stay in contact with.

    This probably is not the headphone for people who like their sound brightly light, razor-sharp, ultra high-resolution. But for those who like slightly warm, euphonic, musical, resolving-yet-relaxing headphone sound, this design hits it out of the park.
     
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  12. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

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    Could you elaborate on the sonic differences between the pads?
     
  13. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    Sure.

    Leather pads produce what I consider a dramatic, bassy, ballistic sound. The entire bass range is very present and also dynamic/impactful (a real bass lover's dream). Mids sound quite good to me, but most of the attention goes to the bass and also the highs, which really sparkle. These pads really rock out on electronic music, EDM, hard rock, anything with a big pulse and that is non-acoustic.

    Alacantra pads really transform the sound. Everything now is flatter, more controlled, more precise. The bass doesn't go quite as low or have quite the impact, but is flatter and sounds more accurate & tight. The highs still sparkle, but like everything else, are reined in and leveled out. Nothing really stands out, and in that setting, the mids become the headline act. There's a lot of detail and seemingly more resolution. The trade-off is a less wide/dramatic soundstage--which now (again) is more controlled...precise & intimate.
    I found that alacantra are ideal with anything acoustic--classical, choral, jazz, small ensemble unplugged anything.

    The thing is, I like both sound profiles a lot. Alacantra is clearly more controlled and accurate, overall, but the sound you get with leather is a ton of fun...very entertaining.

    It makes me very curious to see what other pad options (such as a hybrid, or perhaps a fenestrated sheepskin) to exploit this headphone's expressive capabilities.

    BTW, another positive of these earpads simply can't be overstated: it's the easiest/quickest pad-swap I've ever seen. Seconds is all it takes. The interface between the pads & earcups is entirely magnetic. I can't see any stress or wear points associated with swapping these pads. And as someone who has sweated bullets (and real sweat) painstakingly/cautiously swapping pads on various headphones--this is a dream come true.
     
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  14. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    calling on @MisterRogers with regards to the pads you have with these Meze.
     
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  15. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT - Sonarworks

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    Here's how the Empyrian measured for us. This is with velour pads.

    Screenshot 2019-02-14 at 16.57.21.png
     
  16. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    That uh. Huh.

    The 10db of "V" looks fun, the 10&12k Mt. Beyer less so..
     
  17. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    It's actually surprisingly smooth in the top end. No harshness to speak of.
     
  18. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT - Sonarworks

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    The Mt. Beyer situation here is a bit different than on the OG mountain can, the unbeatable T1.

    Screenshot 2019-02-18 at 13.25.16.png

    The Empyrian has peaking at higher frequencies which isn't as annoying, but did get on my nerves after a while. The 8.5k peak will be bright, 10-12k is more "air" than "treble".
     
  19. Lyer25

    Lyer25 Too sensitive for SBAF

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    I'm gonna regret asking but I'm hoping someone can get these and the HP-3 on the same measurement rig. I personally find elevation in the 10-12k range a bit less pleasant than spikes in 7-8k;@Hrodulf's measurements make me think of the HD800 and HD800S except less "bright" and more "sharp" sounding, and sharp sounding cans are a tad painful. Will admit it could just be that I listen to a lot of crappily-made music that has way too much zing in the "air" region, haha.

    Quick overlay, HD800S is the orange one. Okay, 10k region not as bad as I had feared, I can tolerate the 800S no problem:
    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh wow the T1. Yeah, Mt. Beyer be scary.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019 at 3:43 AM
  20. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Friend

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    I've settled into mostly listening with the Alcantara pads; which present to me as slightly more recessed vocals and upper bass / mids. Lower bass is slightly fuller, but still acceptably focused and layered with my chain(s). Staging is a bit wider (out of the head) with Alcantara, which is always a draw for me (as long as it's not artificially so).

    It's funny - when I see a graph similar to the above, I'm almost certain I'll enjoy the presentation; being an old-timer with my treble hearing 'roll-off' - it almost always sounds neutral to me.
     
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