Audeze MM-500 Announced June 3rd, 2022

Got to hear the MM500 at Pacific Audio Fest, so here are some impressions:

So first of all, can I just say that with the MM500, Audeze has made the best looking headphone for the Resolve aesthetic. It’s black and grey! - with a sturdy, no-nonsense, industrial look to it. What could be more to my taste than this? Okay the Meze Liric is the other one that really speaks to me in the looks department, but damn does the MM500 look and feel great.

Comfort is acceptable, although I think once again for my bigboi audiophile head the clamp force is still a bit tight. I did try the LCD-5 with the newer less clampy headband and it’s much better than the one on our demo unit, so at least that’s encouraging.

After first listen, I found myself saying to @taronlissimore and @netforce that the Audeze MM500 is more ‘HD650-like’ than the LCD-5, and by that I mean that I actually think it may have a more agreeable tuning for certain ranges. I know there were a lot of comparisons to the HD650 when the LCD-5 came out, but in my view there is enough of a difference in the upper mids/treble with a stronger emphasis to 3khz on the LCD-5.

The key thing with this is that it’s all about relative balance. While the LCD-5 is a technological marvel, and in many respects it’s the flagship headphone I’d personally buy today, its stock tuning without EQ or DSP is a bit shouty for me with slightly hot upper mids. This results in those upper midrange harmonics being emphasized over the resonant harmonics in the treble above it. I think this is also why you may have seen some folks saying it’s ‘dark’.

The MM500 has a similar sound in the sense that the relative balance is still quite ‘midrangey’ - again in a way that could be compared to the Sennheiser HD650. And this is where I found the MM500 to be slightly less forward in the upper mids by comparison to the LCD-5. Once again, this tricky part of the tuning is all about the balance between 3khz and 5khz+, and this is where I found the MM500 to sound a bit less glarey than the 5, making me think it’s got a better balance for what we might call the ‘ear gain’ transition.

So, overall I’d say it’s a bit more in line with the kind of smooth balance I like. Still midrangey, still chilled out in the treble, and very much in line with Audeze’s ‘new’ sound signature, where they’re a lot more clarity-focused than the previous models. If you’re expecting it to be a smaller and lighter LCD-X, I think the tonality is different enough that you may even be disappointed. But for those wanting more clarity - where the LCD-X is a bit withdrawn, the MM500 delivers. Make no mistake though, the X has the more forward upper treble, so there’s a sense in which the mm500 is less ‘exciting’.

As for detail and technicalities, I thought it was pretty good! I think again it’s more similar to the LCD-5 in the sense that it sounds tighter for its initial leading edge, with great control during busy passages and better instrument separation than the X.

In my view, the MM500 marks a nice alternative to the LCD-X 2021, and slots in nicely between it and the LCD-5. I’m looking forward to getting one in to have a longer listen soon!


Thanks for the impressions! I’m looking forward to hearing this thing and comparing to my 2021 LCD-X. I love my X, but it’s comfort is rather meh; if the MM-500 performs as well, is more comfortable and takes to a bit of EQ tweaking, it might replace the X.

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Damn no other activity on these? Can’t even find a proper review on youtube yet.


We just got our review unit in and I saw @Resolve was listening and measuring so there should be some new news soon!

I believe Audeze started shipping production units this week as well so most likely there will be quite a few new impressions next week,


Awesome, looking forward to seeing the data and getting Resolve’s and others listening impressions!

Here’s the video impressions from Pacific Audio Fest:

The nice thing about this was that we actually got a chance to listen for a longer period of time.

In any case, we did also get one in and I was able to do some measurements. Sure enough they match my impressions.

So it’s similarly ‘midrangey’ to the LCD-5 with chilled out treble, with a very subtle difference in the relative tonal balance between upper mids and treble, even though the overall ear gain level is similar. But this is again why I think for folks who liked the LCD-X 2021, the MM-500 is likely not the headphone you’re after - or at least not without EQ - because the LCD-X 2021 is more relaxed in the upper mids and emphasized in the treble by comparison. I would personally prefer a bit less energy at 3khz and a bit more in the treble, but it’s not far off for what I like.

For those comparing the LCD-5 to the HD650, the MM-500 is actually closer to the HD650 in my opinion, just not as technical as the LCD-5.

Sound signature smoothed to the same degree as the target (apples to apples):

Comparison the LCD-5

You can see once again it’s very similar to the LCD-5, just with a few subtle differences in the upper mid to treble balance. But in short, the sound signature on the MM-500 is very “midrangey” to my ear as mentioned, but not in a bad way.

I’ll have a full review out soon.


Had to make an account finally after months of lurking to say that much ear gain is not what I expected after listening to it at CanJam London. Very interesting, thanks for sharing!


It looks like the tuning of MM500 between 1-5khz shares some similar trends with Focal Clear but less honky and smoother

I’m looking forward to seeing you compare it to the LCD-X for technical performance (especially bass slam and imaging); would be fun to know how they perform EQ’d to the same target as well. Based solely on the graphs, it appears it would be easier to EQ the MM-500…

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Seeing as they measure so close to the LCD-5 and many people are noticing better technical performance with the LCD-5 what does this tell us if anything?

How easy would it be to run blind tests swapping the LCD-5 and MM500 on peoples’ heads?

The clamp and weight is different enough that it would be tricky to do - also the pads are different, and would be recognizable with how the surface area comes into contact with the side of the head.

I find this very interesting given how closely they measure and how meaningfully more ‘technical’ the LCD-5 sounds. But still, I think some within the community would immediately point to subtle differences in the FR, maybe even in the upper treble, as being responsible. Personally, I’m not convinced this is enough to explain the subjective difference, but that’s not to say I couldn’t be convinced.


Nice to see you here too buddy!

CanJam SoCal will be the first time I get t to try them out myself.

Very excited to do so!

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But those upper treble differences are meaningful. I don’t know why audiophiles downplay the importance of the tuning in that region given it is the spot where the biggest difference is found among individuals (HRTF wise). Shifting those peaks around changes how imaging is perceived. This is readily apparent if you play a lot with IEMs and different tips that measure slightly differently.

The idea that clarity is some mystical audio property that’s independent of frequency response is silly to me because it’s not supported by anything. And where would that extra information be coming from?

Would be interesting to also show the overlay of the LCD-X to the MM-500


MM-500 are great headphones for the price looking forward to comparing more with other headphones.

It’s usually because these rigs aren’t rated for accuracy at the upper treble frequencies. The thing is, I’m not discounting those differences, and you can actually hear them.

In fact, you can generally explain the heard difference in tonal balance between the two by using the graph. You can also explain why the MM-500 sounds less ‘glarey’ in the upper mids by using the graph. What you can’t explain, at least not in a way that’s consistently predictive or that doesn’t have many counterexamples, is why the LCD-5 sounds meaningfully more ‘technical’ by using the graph.

There’s also nothing to say the difference isn’t just down to FR differences at the ear drum (even after EQ if you want), and there are very real and tangible reasons to expect that to be the case for circumaural sealed front designs like this one.

And, for some reason folks love to imagine that statements of uncertainty around how predictive a graph is immediately amount to a belief in magic, but I’d argue much of the time that’s not the case (and also why you will likely continue to talk past one another on this topic). The point is rather that unfortunately you still have to actually listen to the headphones to make the judgment about which is “better” in this instance.


I don’t consider myself an objectivist in that sense. I think an actual objectivist would be someone like oratory, an acoustical engineer who has vast knowledge in this field. I am a subjectivist that rejects the audiophile dogma because I have yet to hear a sound difference in headphones that isn’t perfectly explainable by differences, often small, in tuning. In fact I would argue the reason why a majority of audiophiles disagree that frequency response (especially subjective FR) = detail/clarity/etc is that they frame or conceptualize what they hear differently, based on common audiophile myths that they are exposed to immediately after entering the hobby.

I don’t think there’s much room for interpretation when it comes to sound. We already know that humans perceive details based on how specific frequencies relate to one another. That’s how we tell the difference between a piano and a violin playing the same note. If a headphone can reproduce those complex tones accurately then we can say that headphone has clarity. That would be the most consistent definition of detail or sound quality.

Sure, but this is more of an information problem, or lack thereof. It’s easier to give descriptions of the experience in terms of resolution/detail than it is an analysis of the fine-grained FR information or potential HRTF-matching (which also hasn’t been demonstrated to be correlated with qualities audiophiles are after). Moreover, I don’t think we can be so confident that what we see on a graph is going to perfectly correlate either. You can’t know that the rig HRTF matches yours, or that the indicated result is going to necessarily correlate with how it’s heard by or measured at the eardrums of individual people.

So to say the result you see on a graph is uniquely all there is, which is what many assume it to be, is also missing an important bit of information… or in other words, until we start measuring at the eardrums of individual people, we should probably be extra careful about what we attribute expected differences to.

To be clear, I’m not saying it’s not all just FR at the ear drum, merely that what I see as the difference between these two headphones on the graph isn’t sufficient to explain the differences I hear between them, and I think this is likely to be a common theme with these.


I agree. Does the MM-500 have any harsh peaks in the treble/upper treble?

I like the Sundara a lot but I am considering a potential upgrade for one major reason. A lot of these Hifiman planars seem to have an upper treble peak that’s quite annoying (around 8-11K) which is a shame because the FR is so close to ideal otherwise with a very full sounding treble response (other than some lacking extension perhaps).

If you index hard for tonal balance, I actually think Sundara is one of the very best you could get. MM-500 is quite smooth in the treble but like, it’s still a bit hot in the upper mids, and I don’t know if overall the tuning is better than Sundara for most people. So, you might like it, but at the same time it’s hard to know if it’s a “worth it” upgrade, if you know what I mean.

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