Don’t forget the DCA mobile amp option:
It’s much lighter than it looks. I float on my tiptoes.
Don’t forget the DCA mobile amp option:
It’s much lighter than it looks. I float on my tiptoes.
I don’t find the above 10k area problematic at all, but I’ve tried bringing the 3-5k area down a little bit, and have had very favourable results with that.
I really do hope Meze do a fullsize (the LIRIC is over ear, but smaller than the ELITE) closed back with the ELITE driver at some point, as the potential is there imo.
The LIRIC does give up a lot of performance in comparison to the ELITE in an overall general sense, but for what is is, I’m enjoying it a lot, even currently.
Just dropping @Chrono’s video review here - his written review has been published on the main site already. I’m hyped to try the Liric as soon as possible!
@Resolve can’t find measurements of these anywhere Resolve to the rescue?
Meze Audio LIRIC
Today we are talking about another Meze Audio headphone. The recently released LIRIC closed back model. After my positive experience with the Empyrean and especially the ELITE, I was curious what sort of headphone Meze would go for in terms of a closed back model, and what sort tuning it would have. The LIRIC was released a short while ago at an MSRP of $2000USD, so it is not an insignificant purchase. Let’s find out how it fared against its open backed siblings.
The LIRIC is designed to be a more portable headphone than the ELITE and Empyrean, therefore it is physically smaller, and uses a different, non suspension based headband. Also in terms of portability, it comes in a portable style case, which will fit easily in a backpack or similar type of bag. The LIRIC comes bundled with two 3.5mm terminated cables, one shorter, one longer. I would have liked to see Meze include at least a 4.4mm cable in the package, but they do have very affordable aftermarket 4.4mm cables available from their 99 series headphones, which work very well. You can also buy upgraded cables for the LIRIC from the 99 series, and I have read those will be offered in 4pin XLR shortly also.
Very nice presentation from Meze
Obviously, targeting a price point which is half of the ELITE’s, there are concessions in terms of materials and overall build quality. The LIRIC just feels a bit less “premium” than the ELITE and Empyrean. With that being said, it is still one of the best built headphones I have come across. Meze Audio really nails this aspect. Although the physical size is a bit smaller, they are still an over ear headphone, and extremely comfortable. The pads feel deep and sumptuous. They are also a light headphone at around about 400g, and not at all uncomfortable for long listening sessions. The overall isolation level is good for a closed back, but if you need ultimate isolation, I would definitely recommend something with active noise cancelling, or earphones. In terms of aesthetics, I think the LIRIC is one of the best looking headphone on the market. The understated slightly textured black with copper accents is right up my alley, and I absolutely love how they look. I mean, ultimately I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but hey, it can’t hurt either.
Understated and classy.
The LIRICs pads do not share the same magnetic attachment system as the Empyrean and ELITE, and whilst this is a shame, as its the best system I have come across, I also think Meze may have done this to achieve the sound quality and isolation the LIRIC provide. I will include a screenshot of the earpad airflow system Meze has come up with, as the website explains it better than I am able to. It is an interesting idea, and lends itself well to a spacious sounding soundstage, for a closed back. The LIRIC are not as wide and spacious sounding as most open backs, that still remains an elusive, if not impossible quality for a closed back headphone to achieve, but they are also a lot more spacious sounding than the Focal headphones, both closed and open. I think that what Meze has achieved in terms of soundstage with the LIRIC is impressive, and am curious what they might manage in the future if they continue to develop the technology.
The driver of the LIRIC is essentially a scaled down version of the Rinaro ISODYNAMIC planar driver found in the ELITE and Empyrean. I would recommend reading my ELITE review for an idea of how this driver works if you have never come across it before, or head over to Mezes website. It Is an interesting approach to planar magnetic driver design, and worth understanding if you are going to purchase these headphones.
In terms of the drivers capability, at half the price of the ELITE whilst also being physically smaller, you obviously cannot expect the same performance. And that certainly holds true. The LIRIC does not have the same technical performance as the ELITE, and even the Empyrean. It sounds smaller, less detailed, less dynamically capable. With that being said, its tuning and frequency response are better than the Empyrean, for my personal taste. The bass of the LIRIC is slightly elevated, but I never found it to be overbearing, and it is less in level than the Empyrean. They have a bit more sub bass than the ELITE. The mids sound less thick than the Empyrean also, but perhaps a bit more upper mids and lower treble than the ELITE. I didn’t find the treble too hot at any point, especially the upper treble. With that being said, I did find it the tiniest bit shouty at times, but not at the level where it was close to being a deal breaker. I suppose you could tweak this slightly with EQ, but for the vast majority of my listening, I enjoyed the LIRIC without any EQ.
I’m fortunate to be used to the sound of what are pretty much the top of the line in terms of headphones (barring Sennheiser HE1 type esoterica.) Therefore, it has to be expected that a pair which costs less than half of those headphones, will give up certain areas of performance ability. In that sense, I found the timbre of the LIRIC a bit plasticky at times, and as mentioned, a bit shouty and “boxy” sounding, especially with snare drums. The soundstage, as I mentioned earlier, is very well done for a closed back. Not the widest, but also not small. The imaging, detail, and and dynamics remind me of the Empyrean, in that they do the “macro” stuff well, but aren’t as strong at the “micro” stuff. Increasing the volume seemed to help this aspect somewhat, which was interesting.
I very much feel that the overall package however, combined with very competent tuning is entirely worth the asking price. If you need a closed back headphone, and don’t want to spend $4000 on the DCA stealth, or $5500 on the Hifiman HE-R10p, then the LIRIC makes a serious case for itself. Also, if you need a physically smaller, and more portable headphone, the LIRIC makes a very serious case for itself there as well. It is built wonderfully, with great materials, and has a more enjoyable tuning than the Empyrean. It’s a punchy, slightly “fun” sounding headphone. I see what Meze Audio was trying to achieve with the LIRIC, and I think they have managed it very well. I’m not as experienced with closed back headphones as I am with open backs, but I can’t think of a closed back that I have tried that I enjoyed as much as the LIRIC. I think that if you take note of your use case, and feel that the LIRIC fits it, its is very much worth consideration. Whilst the LIRIC doesn’t match up to the performance of its open backed Rinaro driver based siblings, it also costs half as much, and brings a lot of their good qualities to the table, whilst also being isolating, and portable. That makes for a very interesting and compelling package.
I’d love to see Meze make an ELITE/Empyrean full sized closed back, with the driver and tuning from the ELITE. I think that would be up there for the best closed back, regardless of price. Until then though? The LIRIC does the job, and does it well.
Finally got a chance to get them on the GRAS. Here are the Meze Audio Liric measurements.
Channel matching (for Crin)
Out of the box, the tuning is serviceable. It’s very mid-bass and upper treble focused, and that 1khz forwardness can cause just a hint of nasally timbre at times, but this is also one of Meze’s better tunings overall. In general I think @Chrono nailed it, and I hear it in a very similar manner to how he described. More importantly, there aren’t any weird features that are difficult to EQ should anyone feel like diving into that. Let me be clear that this isn’t massively out of whack, if you use Chrono’s subtle adjustments you’ll see what I mean. It also seems to take to it reasonably well without any significant harmonic distortion swings - all seems kept well under control.
For those wanting a simple EQ profile, I recommend using Chrono’s as it’s really quite close. For mine, I opted to go a bit more surgical for those who want that option, which I don’t typically recommend doing - so be sure to also use your ears and see which you prefer:
And after EQ:
Source used (I’ll try some more over the course of the weekend, these are just what I’m running in the studio at the moment):
Super mega ultra comfortable. And this is it… this is the best looking headphone, period. Okay of course that stuff is super subjective but I LOVE how this thing looks and feels, as its got top notch mechanical and industrial design. Best in class in my view.
Detail - Generally pretty good, in particular the clarity for trailing ends of tones is excellent in the mids, and it’s somewhere around LCD-X level for immediacy of initial leading edge. So not quite as tight and fast as an HE6, but still snappy and engaging, and importantly no blunting whatsoever on the microdynamics. I do hear a hint of haze in the upper treble at the moment.
Soundstage - yeah it’s a bit tighter here than the open-backs, but that’s also somewhat expected. Image distinction is excellent though, as is the layering and incremental image placement (no ‘three blob’ issues as far as I can tell).
Dynamics - Chrono explained it well here again, it’s the main drawback, as there’s really not much going on for macro contrast and punch, even though it’s bass boosted. Keep in mind, very few planars excel at this, and those are all open-back.
Other - These Rinaro planars always have some unique trait to them, and Chrono mentioned the layering… Yeah it just sounds different from other planars in a way that’s difficult to describe. Maybe that’s it, but at least it sounds unique.
In my view, the big question with the Meze Liric comes down to how it compares vs something like the DCA Aeon 2 Noire, since they have similar strengths, drawbacks and use cases. For me, the Liric is slightly more detailed for clarity of trailing ends of tones, which is something the Noire was already good at. Neither have much going on for dynamics, maybe slightly better on the Liric again but not by much. The Noire (perf pads) has a better tuning out of the box without EQ, but for those wanting that sort of ‘warmbright’ sound the Liric might be fine. After EQ… Yeah I think I prefer the Liric, as it’s just a bit more comfortable and a bit better for microdynamics, even if it’s not a whole $1k better.
Also, just thinking about the Liric as a product on the whole. While it still has some tuning quirks, I find the Liric to be Meze’s most mature release to date.
Finally some measurements of the Liric, thanks @Resolve It’s a shame about that 8/10k hotness, I know I’m sensitive in that region so I’ll probably stick to my Radiance and VC as far as closed backs, but they do seem to be legit entries in the closed back world for sure!
One other thing I’m noticing about the Liric, it’s very good at isolating me from the environment - better than most closed-backs I’ve used. I’d need to verify this with in-ear mic measurements or something but anecdotally, there was stuff going on in my apartment that I was totally oblivious to while wearing these haha. Not something that would’ve happened with other closed-backs.
curious about airgap/sensitivity to seal compared to noire and stealth
They’re all dependent on a seal, but that’s reasonably easy to achieve. Fs is a bit lower on the LIRIC than on the Aeons, but not hifiman low or anything like that. I’ll try to remember to post that tomorrow.
Doing a live Meze Audio Liric Impressions stream today. I’ll be doing my best to answer any questions folks may have about the Liric:
Glad to see you liked it, Chrono. I had been considering an IEM in the 1500-2k range, but have not really enjoyed IEMs in the past (admittedly it was the chonky OG Solaris, which sounded wonderful but wouldn’t stay put). But really the Liric seems much more my zone of enjoyment, especially for hours in transit (for the isolation and comfort). My currrent “road” headphones are the original Aeon Closed. Would think about matching with DX300.
Just got my Lirics and digging them so far. Need to get a couple of weeks play on them and see what they sound like, but can say off the bat that they are very fun. Lively as hell. (And yes a little sharp up top, for now).
I’ve ordered the Liric as open box after selling my Focal Elegia.
I got a nice XLR cable that I purchased for my Focal Elegia.
I was wondering if it will fit for the meze Liric.
Hey, saw your question and tried my Focal Clear Pro (OG) stock cable with the Liric and it works. I will assume Elegia cable will work
I do have a question. If you had to choose between a Liric and a second hand Empyrean and you should EQ them both to your liking. Which one would you prefer the most?
The third option is a Hifiman HE-1000v2 ( is also around 2k at the moment)
Looking forward to your answer. Keep doing your stuuf . I love it Cheers Fonz
Hey, just a little update. Finally, took first flights in almost three years, and had a chance to see how the Lirics worked in the field. I was very happy with the results. Of course, you probably need noise-Xing ‘phones to really cancel out the flight noise, but the Lirics were quite satisfactory, jacked into the iBasso dx240. On the penultimate flight, they effectively put a screaming infants’ unending cries of misery far enough in the aural distance that I could enjoy the ride. I’m also finding that the “forward” signature is very effective for this kind of use, and that the very flexible design/build is pretty ideal in flight/transit situations. I don’t use the overly bulky if classy carrying case, but keep them in really nice shoulder bag made for camera gear. I know this model hasn’t been every reviewer’s favorite at the price point, but when you consider all the factors I think they are hard to beat (and seem easy enough to get for a few hundred off).
Sorry just saw this. I would probably prefer Liric EQ’d to the same results, just because closed-back benefits. But of course yeah there are tradeoffs. For HE1000v2 I’m currently looking to get one in to review. So hopefully I’ll have an answer for ya soon!
Thanks for your answer. In the meantime things have changed. Instead of the Liric I bought myself a second hand Empyrean. My final questions to you are. Would you use EQ with the Empyrean and would you prefer the Leather or Alcantara ear pads? If you would use the EQ, do you have parametric settings for me that you would use? Thanks again for your time and effort