This is a review of the Meze LIRIC, their latest portable closed-back offering and they’ve left nothing behind. We have recently reviewed the Elite here at HF&MS, the updated Empyrean, and they were stunning. Much of the development in these headphones has gone into this portable version.
The Meze Liric are a closed-back circumaural headphone featuring the modified MZ4 Rinaro isodynamic hybrid array technology scaled back from the Empyrean principally for day to day and portable use. Meze and Rinaro collaborate to deliver this dual array configuration that offers a switchback voicing coil to deliver lower frequencies and a spiral coil to reproduce the middle-high frequencies. The middle-high frequency voice coil is placed directly over the ear canal for more efficient delivery of sound ‘without time delays’.
This Meze Liric features a modification to the MZ4 driver called Phase-X which is designed to ‘minimise phase distortion issues’ that can be found in headphones such as these. In addition to this, there is a ‘pressure equalisation system’ on the closed-back cup (an air vent) to ensure the ear chamber has a more even pressure in everyday use.
We have done a quick video introducing the unboxing of these headphones, here.
There is no doubting the quality and craftsmanship on offer from anything to do with Meze and the Liric is no exception. Every screw, connector or headband slider is exquisitely presented
Along with the developments in the isodynamic array, the headphone skeleton is designed with lightweight materials, mainly aluminium and magnesium The headband is leather with padded cushions to ensure comfort is the top priority. There is no doubting the quality and craftsmanship on offer from anything to do with Meze and the Liric is no exception. Every screw, connector or headband slider is exquisitely presented.
The full specification is on the website, here, but the highlights are they have an impedance of just 30 Ohms with a staggering frequency range of 4 – 92,000Hz, way beyond the range of any ear on the planet, maybe apart from founder Antonio Meze’s ears. The nominal sensitivity is 100dB. The headphones weigh in at 391g.
In the box, you get two lengths of 3.5mm terminated cable, one measured about 140 cm long and an extended 3.5m long cable, both cables are thick, soft and noiseless and appear free of knotting issues. There is a leather pouch for carrying cables in a rucksack as well as the usual aeroplane and 6.35mm adaptors.
They are priced at £1,799 with SCV Distribution. There is a 2 year warranty with Meze Audio.
I have the Chord Hugo 2 here as well as the Mojo 2. Additionally, I have the brilliant iFi Pro iDSD into which I’m using the new Atlas Hyper USB cable. Finally, on the move, I’m using the iFi Go BLU with my Pixel 4 phone.
Like the Meze Elite, these headphones are very comfortable to wear indeed, they are light to me, and the head shake test retains the headphones suitably in place. In the wind, there is a fair bit of shielding from the externals and there is a little noise. Style-wise they are considerably more ‘street’ than the Elite that are firmly for lounge wear.
The input cables to the cups angle forward like the Elite so they’re nicely out of the way clothing/collar wise.
The most fun I had with these Meze Liric was with an iPad Bluetoothed into the iFI Go BLU for an evening of Jeff Lynn videos and the inevitable spine-tingling iPad run-through of The Numbers by Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood.
Firstly, let’s establish the credentials of the Meze Liric and look for a punchy track to find where we are. I’m liking The Weeknd’s Save Your Tears (Qobuz, 24-bit, 44.1kHz) at the moment to listen for that fast punchy rhythm. Sure enough, there’s a big, cavernous expansive sound here when coupled with the iFi PRO iDSD. All in all, it is a lovely, deep, natural sound and Arana Grande’s vocal is angelic. The channel separation at 2’20” is really noticeable with headphones like this.
Turning to the Meze Elite playlist on Qobuz, I want to recall the wonderful rhythm of The Travelling Wilburys’ End of the Line (Qobuz, 24-bit, 192kHz) track. The music trips along with all the clatter of a railway cart and this rhythm and perfect timing are also on Kasabian’s L.S.F. track. The headphones are giving me a very natural and spacious feel.
Finally, on a pair of portable headphones, real high-end resolution is accessible and there is no better example than in Melody Gardot’s Over the Rainbow (Qobuz, 24-bit, 48kHz). Here the guitar and bass complement the vocal beautifully, the cough at 3’25” still startles me when I forget it’s there. Another great track for listening to the detail in headphones is with Arooj Aftab’s Last Night (Qobuz, 24-bit, 96kHz), a track rich in tone and detail, the rearward rattle of the snares is simply delicious.
These headphones have a clear emphasis on their portability and the lightweight design reflects this. And yet they can equally be as comfortable in the lounge on a quieter evening. The attention to detail and the soft feel finish are remarkable. Tonally, I get no over-emphasis on bass, midrange or treble and in that respect, long listening sessions are accessible.
The Meze Liric is an exceptional balance of comfort and performance on the move
This is a fine pair of headphones demanding a portable source to match, though physically driving these headphones is a fairly simple matter, given their design. Using a desktop Chord Hugo 2 or iFi headphone amplifiers, the quality available from these headphones is clear. To me, they seem ideally suited to a Chord Mojo2/Poly or Hugo 2/2Go in a commuting or travel journey. The Meze Liric is an exceptional balance of comfort and performance on the move.
Attention to detail
Simply can’t think of anything apart from price
Full details are on the company’s site