Meze Headphones

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Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:43 am

While I am particularly a Grado and Sennheiser consumer I am curious about the Meze line of headphones. Anyone got a set of these cans or even the earbuds that care to throw up a review?
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:50 am

No personal experience, but...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/609314/meze-headphones/60

so after reading further into that thread: sound is okay. looks are awesome. obviously sound is personal preference at some point, but there is some science we can apply as well. I probably couldn't justify buying them with what I already have.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:19 pm

Based on a 30-second scan of their homepage, and having never heard of them before:

Form over function; This week our gimmick for seperating audiophiles from their money will be the miracle of....
Varnished wood.


(last week it was $6000 platinum-plated audiophile ethernet cables....)


Yes, I'm cynical and I am usually rightly so.

Grado, Koss, Sennheiser, Bose; These are good brands because they are widely recongnised by thousands of professional critics for releasing excellent products.
WOODEN HEADPHONES INC; not so much.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:42 pm

DancinJack wrote:No personal experience, but...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/609314/meze-headphones/60

so after reading further into that thread: sound is okay. looks are awesome. obviously sound is personal preference at some point, but there is some science we can apply as well. I probably couldn't justify buying them with what I already have.

Sound is ok if you don't get a pair that rattles*
Did you notice the Meze shill (james cohelo) in that thread?
Personally, if I wanted woodie headphones, I'd look at audio technica. Perhaps this?: http://www.amazon.com/Technica-ATHESW9A ... hnica+wood
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:56 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Based on a 30-second scan of their homepage, and having never heard of them before:

Form over function; This week our gimmick for seperating audiophiles from their money will be the miracle of....
Varnished wood.


(last week it was $6000 platinum-plated audiophile ethernet cables....)


Yes, I'm cynical and I am usually rightly so.

Grado, Koss, Sennheiser, Bose; These are good brands because they are widely recongnised by thousands of professional critics for releasing excellent products.
WOODEN HEADPHONES INC; not so much.


I was more or less right there with you until you included Bose. For shame :D

Not all of their stuff is necessarily bad, but it's certainly a brand that favors form over function and is heavily marketed to be able to charge far more than what the products are worth (in most cases). I consider Bose right up there with Monster HDMI cables, etc..
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:06 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Grado, Koss, Sennheiser, Bose; These are good brands because they are widely recongnised by thousands of professional critics for releasing excellent products.
WOODEN HEADPHONES INC; not so much.


Koss and Sennheiser make consistently good headphones. Bose makes consistently not awful but terribly overpriced headphones. Grado makes headphones to a sound signature which I find to be awful. Beyond that, they're cheaply constructed and uncomfortable. Grado gets by more on their brand than even Bose IMO. And yes, I've listened to practically every Grado model in existence (I used to frequent Head-Fi meetups before realizing that sticking with one headphone you really like is the way to go).

Oh and to add to the thread... no. Those Meze headphones are going to suck. The only draw is wood, but its paired with cheap plastic and an almost certain poor construction (seems backed up in the Head-Fi thread). If you must have wood in your headphones than get the Audio-Technicas but those are still some of the weakest headphones in AT's lineup.
Last edited by slowriot on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:07 pm

cynan wrote:I consider Bose right up there with Monster HDMI cables, etc..


Accurate.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:49 pm

DancinJack wrote:
cynan wrote:I consider Bose right up there with Monster HDMI cables, etc..


Accurate.


Bose does have very good active noise cancelling technology.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:16 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Based on a 30-second scan of their homepage, and having never heard of them before:

Form over function; This week our gimmick for seperating audiophiles from their money will be the miracle of....
Varnished wood.


(last week it was $6000 platinum-plated audiophile ethernet cables....)


Yes, I'm cynical and I am usually rightly so.

Grado, Koss, Sennheiser, Bose; These are good brands because they are widely recongnised by thousands of professional critics for releasing excellent products.
WOODEN HEADPHONES INC; not so much.


You do realize that of all the companies you named some of them do make wood products. Its a curious application that has me even more curious about it.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:11 am

InnerFidelity has datasheets for the 88's and 66's published. No formal review, unfortunately.

And to the conversation about using wood in headphones, sometimes that might be the best material. Plastic has different acoustic properties. The real question is whether or not you like the final sound and whether said sound is worth the money.

On Bose, they are very good at making consumer products. You can find better sounding headphones, but in the same tradition as Apple, they are very good at bringing features together into something complete, which is why they are praised for active noise cancelling headphones.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:48 am

tanker27 wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:Based on a 30-second scan of their homepage, and having never heard of them before:

Form over function; This week our gimmick for seperating audiophiles from their money will be the miracle of....
Varnished wood.


(last week it was $6000 platinum-plated audiophile ethernet cables....)


Yes, I'm cynical and I am usually rightly so.

Grado, Koss, Sennheiser, Bose; These are good brands because they are widely recongnised by thousands of professional critics for releasing excellent products.
WOODEN HEADPHONES INC; not so much.


You do realize that of all the companies you named some of them do make wood products. Its a curious application that has me even more curious about it.

I was going to point that out, but he did specify "varnished wood" as being a major advertising point.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:22 am

I believe that wooden ear cups on closed headphones can serve an acoustical dampening purpose. And various materials have different resonance properties that may match different driver designs/configs. However, it's when manufacturers use the excuse of adding an additional $10-$20 of wood material and associated craftsmanship costs as an excuse to add $100-$200 or more to the cost of the product that sort of leaves you wondering...

And yes, Bose does create some well packaged products (akin to Apple) but they are known for using some of the cheapest parts that are actually in the critical path to generating sound (most notably, speaker drivers) that are generally terrible at reproducing the lowest and highest frequencies.

It may sound crass, but the adage "No highs, no lows, must be Bose" is generally pretty apt in my experience. This came about largely from their series of high end direct/reflecting speakers (topped out by the now somewhat infamous 901s) that used an array of very small/ questionable quality drivers... My dad actually had a pair, so I have some personal experience. They could actually be a fun sounding speaker if you took pains to place them in your room correctly (given the 89% reflecting/11% direct acoustical projection design - which no manufacturer in their right mind would attempt and really hope to get accurate sound in anything but a custom room) and did have plenty of mid-bass for their size. They just weren't particularly accurate, had terrible/no imaging, nor were good at faithfully reproducing low and high frequencies. In then end, for a $2000 (in the 1980s) pair of speakers, more gimmick than anything else. But the gimmick could sound fun, at least until the honeymoon wore off.

And now, with their wave radios and noise cancelling headphones, a similar scenario. Interesting design, decent at what they do, but cheap drivers, and emphasis on gimmick and marketing over substance. I will concede that Bose does seem to have some of the best noise cancelling tech in their headphones. But then I never really liked active noise cancelling. And they do nothing to block out/counter low frequencies. I still think, in most cases, a pair of closed headphones with acoustically inert cups that form a good seal are preferable.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:40 am

As a semi-audiophile myself I can agree with most of everyone's postings. What I am more curious about is the application of wood on a good set of cans. Not particular to the Meze or even the Grado's. As I said before i'm impartial to my current Senns and Grados but I cant help but to wonder if I would truly like something made out of wood? (I also have to point out how on the Meze's the cable is detachable and it seem standard across their headphone line.)
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:12 pm

tanker27 wrote:...I cant help but to wonder if I would truly like something made out of wood?

Two pairs of headphones on this list are made of wood. Whether you're enough of an audiophile to spend $1,000 or $2,000 on a pair of headphones is a different story :lol:

The more serious answer is probably yes, although I have a feeling that part of the reason Audeze uses wood is that the planar magnetic drivers require more solid construction, and using wood gives a signature aestetic. The sound quality comes from a better (and more expensive) driver.

Personally, though, I would love to see some reviews of wooden headphones to see if they actually make a significant (and positive) difference. Heck, I'd settle for exploring failed prototypes, as we'd at least have a good answer to why we don't see wood designs.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:57 pm

tanker27 wrote:As a semi-audiophile myself I can agree with most of everyone's postings. What I am more curious about is the application of wood on a good set of cans. Not particular to the Meze or even the Grado's. As I said before i'm impartial to my current Senns and Grados but I cant help but to wonder if I would truly like something made out of wood? (I also have to point out how on the Meze's the cable is detachable and it seem standard across their headphone line.)

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=132166.0
tl;dr differences in resonance.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:23 am

Cabinet material matters for a speaker because you're using it as a resonance chamber to deflect the wave.

Headphone drivers don't have resonance chambers. The wood is for show, to help to seperate non-technical audiophiles from their money!
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:27 am

Headphones might not have resonance chambers, but the backing on the headphones does resonate and reflect sound back toward the eardrum. This is why there's a big split in headphones between open and closed designes.

I don't know exactly how the sound would alter compared to plastic, but it I am sure that it makes some difference.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:14 pm

I think the two camps in the open/closed split are entirely concerned about the blocking/allowing of external noises.

Resonance chambers and sounding boxes work because of their approximate size in relation to the size of soundwaves within the range of human hearing. If wood does anything to a headphone, it's only going to affect the rigidity with which the drivers are attached to the headband. This can affect the drivers slightly because the sound wave produced by a hardmounted driver is sharper/harder than a free-standing driver. Since drivers are glorified pistons, pushing air backwards and forwards - they have their own balance and recoil properties, and the rigidity of the mounting point makes a difference. Studio monitors and so-called "neutral" speakers tend to have very rigid mounts for their drivers for this reason.

In the case of wooden headphones, I would imagine wood is more flexible than the usual plastic or even aluminium of higher-end models, giving them a warmer/smoother (but less accurate) sound.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:26 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I think the two camps in the open/closed split are entirely concerned about the blocking/allowing of external noises.

Resonance chambers and sounding boxes work because of their approximate size in relation to the size of soundwaves within the range of human hearing. If wood does anything to a headphone, it's only going to affect the rigidity with which the drivers are attached to the headband. This can affect the drivers slightly because the sound wave produced by a hardmounted driver is sharper/harder than a free-standing driver. Since drivers are glorified pistons, pushing air backwards and forwards - they have their own balance and recoil properties, and the rigidity of the mounting point makes a difference. Studio monitors and so-called "neutral" speakers tend to have very rigid mounts for their drivers for this reason.

Are you speculating or is there any evidence of this?
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:32 pm

chµck wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:I think the two camps in the open/closed split are entirely concerned about the blocking/allowing of external noises.

Resonance chambers and sounding boxes work because of their approximate size in relation to the size of soundwaves within the range of human hearing. If wood does anything to a headphone, it's only going to affect the rigidity with which the drivers are attached to the headband. This can affect the drivers slightly because the sound wave produced by a hardmounted driver is sharper/harder than a free-standing driver. Since drivers are glorified pistons, pushing air backwards and forwards - they have their own balance and recoil properties, and the rigidity of the mounting point makes a difference. Studio monitors and so-called "neutral" speakers tend to have very rigid mounts for their drivers for this reason.

Are you speculating or is there any evidence of this?


New to the internet? :P

I know for speakers/subwoofers, the more inert (the less they deform due to resonance, air pressure) the better. When an enclosure deforms, that means it's absorbing some of the sound waves - and more of some frequencies than others. This essentially means a less inert enclosure is altering the waves produced from the transducer, or at least the timing thereof by causing micro delays, more from the original form, which is unwanted.When it deforms due to pressure, this just adds unwanted vibration - which in turn can effect resonance properties, exacerbating the above.

There's no reason to think this can't happen on a smaller scale with closed headphones, but to what degree this actually impacts what is heard is another question.

Edit: The more inert = better is just the more popular approach. Another would be to purposefully pick a material that resonates at a particular frequency range to offset what is produced by the driver or the volume/shape of the enclosure. Kind of like choosing a certain type of wood when making a musical instrument. But this would generally be a more complicated approach...
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:11 pm

I'm speculating to a degree, but I'm a musician, I spent a year doing aucoustic engineering at Southampton, I'm a keen physicist and I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering so I'm extrapolating/theorising based on proven knowledge. Yes it's speculation for me because I've never seen this exact question answered in a textbook but I'd be surpirsed (astounded) if what I said wasn't correct because none of the principles we're talking about here are particularly complicated.

Sound waves do involve a level of air turbulence which is very hard to model accurately. As an engineer, fluid dynamic calculations are horrific, but turbulence doesn't have to be calculated in detail because turbulence, whilst unpredictable has some predictable qualities that can be used to simplify the model and make easily verifiable generalisations. Even If my understanding of soundwaves is wrong (I hope not, it's textbook stuff) the modelled result is close enough to what actually happens that it'll do for making generalisations, so here is my generalisaion:

Yes, the enclosure of a headphone driver will have some resonance because it's not vacuum-sealed, nor can it be solid but the sizes and distances we're talking about in headphones mean that significant resonance would occur ouside the range of human hearing (15-20Khz based on age). Some of the largest cans could, in theory, have resonance chambers large enough to affect soundwaves within human hearing range, but these typically are all open-back, thus removing resonance between the driver and the mount. For the record (very rough math of 10-20KHz and 330m/s speed of sound in air, you're looking at 3.3cm of cavity behind the driver before it even becomes relevant to human hearing, and that's a best-case, horribly oversimplified model.

When headphones sound harsh or warm, it's mostly to do with the response accuracy of the drivers, and barely to do with how rigidly the drivers are mounted. Changing the drivers makes way more difference than changing the rigidity of the mounting, and I'd be willing to bet that even factors like the quality of the foam-padded seal with your head are more significant.
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Re: Meze Headphones

Postposted on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:50 am

As a long-time DIY audio enthusiast and occasional speaker builder: For a speaker box, the most desirable quality is rigidity as the box will otherwise resonate somewhere in the reproduction range of the bass driver, and transmit that sound into the room, coloring the frequency response and reducing the focus and imaging. We often use wood because it is widely available and easy to shape, but even then, some of the best-reviewed speakers have used MDF or other wood composite construction up to 1-inch thick to try and deal with the problem, along with large amounts of internal bracing, and at least one commercial speaker builder made a well-received set of speakers from aerospace-grade honeycomb aluminum.

For headphones, the only goal is for the driver to pressurize a very small area between the driver membrane and the listener's ear drum. Very little energy is involved, such that lifting the cup even slightly from the ear kills most of the bass response. Any common material will suffice to support that driver, provided the support is constructed in a way that is sufficiently rigid. Wood may look pretty, but like Chrispy says, it is doubtful any engineering research went into selecting the materials for these models. The addition of woodcraft to an otherwise ordinary headphone simply looks really neat-o and thus extracts a higher profit margin from the target market.
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