Not long after bringing us their new Elite headphone, Meze has dropped yet another exciting release with their new closed back model the LIRIC. This headphone is sure to make waves no matter what, but having my hands on it early without having heard anyone else’s opinions, I’m not sure what to expect form Meze’s first high end closed-back model. The LIRIC runs for $2000, which is a pretty penny, though still not close to the company’s priciest models that run for upwards of $4000, not to mention few closed back headphones sit in the $2000 price range overall. So the metrics are slim, but analyze we must!
What’s in the Box
- Carrying case with soft plush interior
- 1.5m soft TPE Cable with aluminum casings, ending with 3.5mm jack
- 3m soft TPE cable, with aluminum casings, ending with 3.5mm jack
- Headphone 6.3mm gold-plated jack
- Airplane jack
Look and Feel
These are made with a lightweight magnesium frame and sport a similar flexible yet sturdy feel to the Meze Empyrean and Elite headphones. These are not the flashiest headphone we’ve seen from Meze, going for an almost completely matte black finish. However, they nonetheless feel luxurious and well-tailored the second you take them out of the box.
In terms of comfort, Meze really hit it out of the park on these. The headband has some of the best cushioning on it I’ve ever felt, and their extra deep, soft ear pads are the same trusty ones I’ve seen on their other luxury builds. These are a joy to wear, so much so you won’t want to take them off.
The LIRIC is a portable, closed-back planar magnetic headphone featuring technology from Rinaro Isodynamics, who also helped with the design of the new Meze Elite. The LIRIC features a scaled down Isodyanmic Hybrid Array MZ4 driver along with a “Pressure Equalization System” that’s meant to improve airflow, earcup chamber pressure, and allow for an airy, transparent sound.
The LIRIC aren’t exactly difficult to drive, but an amp is definitely pretty important with these. While you could use them without an amp, which I doubt many are considering, they’d need a hefty volume push. However, they’re still not a super power hungry headphone. You don’t need your most insanely powerful amplifier in order to drive these sufficiently, and you won’t be pushing the volume knob much once they’re amplified.
Not only does the LIRIC have one of the widest sound stages I’ve heard on a closed back, but it’s also got one of the most separated and intricate. This is one of those headphones that busts a song open and lets it fly every which way. Your attention is constantly demanded as you hear the exact placement of each instrument, with new corners of the stereo field constantly addressed and explored. Needless to say, the ear candy on these is boundless. Plain and simple, the LIRIC does imaging like no closed back before it.
The LIRIC does low end the way it’s meant to be. It’s got a healthy rumble, reaches deep, doesn’t cloud the rest of the mix, and overall makes for an incredibly intimate, realistic experience. There’s a clear low end boost going on with the LIRIC. While this boost feels tasteful and well placed, it certainly beefs things up and puts impacts and attacks to the forefront. If you’re bass averse, these could be a bit much in the lows. However, for most, they’ll feel like a low-end-leaning organic sound. Listening to Cleo Sol’s new album Mother, the LIRIC spreads baselines wide and deep across the stereo spectrum and bathes the listener in a vibrational, textured sound bath.
While the LIRIC, at large, feels like a crowd pleaser with a very transparent sound, its mid range is a bit of an exception to this in some ways. There’s a clear boost around the 1-2kHz area, which makes for a noticeable edge and bite. The LIRIC does at times struggle to contain harshness from more resonant vocals at higher volumes, such as those of Remi Wolf on her new album Juno. But quite frankly, what headphone doesn’t struggle with this at least a little bit? I had few qualms with the LIRIC’s mids overall, and mostly found their boost brought things closer to the listener and allowed detail to flourish. The low mid is a bit more subdued, opting to give the music some room to breathe and not overdo it on the warmth.
The LIRIC are pretty bright, you’ll get that satisfying crisp edge and breathy layer on top. The highs have incredible precision and a natural timbre. They feel more true to life than life itself at times. This brightness definitely isn’t very rounded or softened, it’s a hyper-detailed, texture-extending sound. If you want a dampened, warmed up high end, the LIRIC isn’t really approaching it from that angle. While there is perhaps some light coloring, the overall character of the LIRIC’s highs is extreme cleanliness and a sharp but gentle edge. On albums like Sevdaliza’s Shabrang, the LIRIC carries the high end smoothly throughout, and allows some airiness to flow through. Yet, it still maintained an overall acutely tightened, specified boost, focusing more on the super highs than the low highs.
The Meze LIRIC sets a new standard for not just the world of closed back headphones, but the headphone world as a whole. This LIRIC features the best of both natural, transparent qualities and enhanced, engaging dynamics paired with an incredibly tight and realistic room feel. With an innovative build and a sound that can be described as nothing other than state-of-the-art, the LIRIC is a game changer that rings in a new sonic future.
You can purchase the Meze LIRIC at Audio46