CanJam SoCal 2018 - Meze Empyrian Planar Magnetic Headphone

Having thoroughly enjoyed my time with the original Meze 99 Classic I was quite excited to hear of Meze's latest endeavor to make a flagship planar magnetic headphone. After a good hard look...I'm more excited than ever.

The headphone itself is beautifully made with premium materials. All the aluminum bits are billet machined and anodized. A number of earpads are being considered including Alcantera, real leather, and high-grade protein leather. Personally, I prefer good protein leather over real leather for both its breathability and, more importantly, consistency in manufature. I have heard tales of manufacturing inconsistency in sound quality with real leather. Earpads are so important to the sound of headphones that I don't like the idea of the natural variabilities found in the real thing.

But let's skip all that for the moment and focus on the heart of the matter, what Meze calls a "Isodynamic Hybrid Array" planar magnetic driver, which they claim is the first of its kind. The diaphragm is an ovoid (egg) shape with the narrow part at the bottom. In this area the diaphragm circuit is circular—something quite similar to the Oppo headphone designs. In the wide upper part of the diaphragm, the circuit trace is in a serpentine pattern. Similarly, the two-sided magnet assembly has a circular magnet in the lower narrow part, and a series of ever longer radius curved magnet segments in the wider upper part that coincide with the serpentine diaphragm traces. The circuit trace is a single continuous trace that runs through both areas.

Mircea Fanatan, Meze's Managing Director, tells me this geometry has the unique property of being more efficient at high- and mid-frequencies in the circular part, and more efficient at low frequencies in the serpentine area. This occurs due to a number of variables including trace geometry and diaphragm tensioning that vary over the surface of the diaphragm. A very cool design indeed....if it works.

Well, what I heard sounded pretty good, they may be on to something. It's kind of hard to visualize how this driver assembly looks, fortunately examples of both the magnet structure and diaphragm were available in the booth for inspection. Mercia gives us the grand tour in the video.

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COMMENTS
Pharmaboy's picture

I heard the Empyrean (2 of 3 display samples) at CanJam NYC & was quite impressed. The sound impressed me as very refined & smooth, though hard to know for sure in show conditions. IMO the design is striking & elegant, especially the outer screens.

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