Meze Empyrean Over Ear Headphone Review
Aesthetics, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Empyrean is a luxury item, and it certainly looks the part. The CNC machined main body with an intricate pattern on the grills all look the part, the headband is carbon fibre and the comfort strap is leather. All this comes together to make the Empyrean stand out as a unique yet beautiful pair of headphones.
Build quality is superb, everything is expertly put together and the fit and finish of every part is flawless. The headband adjustment is smooth yet tight, the cable uses mini 4-pin XLR connectors, everything is built to such a high standard on the Empyrean. The great thing is that every part can be serviced by Meze, so these should be supported parts wise for many years to come.
Accessory wise you get an aluminium carry case that is styled like a briefcase, it is a bit extravagant but a nice change from what you get with most high-end headphones. Also included is the standard cable, and an extra pair of earpads (Leather and Alcantara are included) which gives you a slight level of sound tuning ability.
The Empyrean are not the lightest headphones on the market, but the depth of the pads and the headband design all contribute to making these one of the most comfortable headphones around. The headband strap evenly distributes the weight, whilst the earpads are deep and well cushioned to prevent your ears from touching the driver. I prefer the comfort and sound of the Alcantara pads, as the Leather ones can get a little hot after a while.
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Bass: The bass on the Empyrean comes out of nowhere, they have a very black background and the bass is akin to having a very well-integrated subwoofer in a stereo system. It has incredible depth and power, but it never overpowers the sound, punching when called for but the extension is what is most impressive. The lows extend so effortlessly, yet they always remain tight and controlled. They have a big sound that has a slight emphasis on the lows, giving a fuller overall sound, but they don’t ever sound dark of bass heavy.
Midrange: Whilst sitting slightly behind the bass in quantity, they never come across veiled or recessed. They are just a little more relaxed whilst still having a great sense of space and separation. The layering in the midrange is superb, allowing you to hear every intricacy in the recording with ease. The thing with the Empyrean is they allow a lot of insight into the quality of the recording, yet never push anything too forward to make you analyse the sound. They are first and foremost for the enjoyment of listening. There is perhaps a tiny bit of added body in the lower midrange, and a slight recess in the upper midrange to avoid any sibilance, and to let them have a smooth transition into the treble region.
Treble: The treble on these is always present and extends with ease yet it never tries to grab your attention. These are maybe a little too safe up top for some, but this means that you still get all the information and detail you could need from the recording without worrying about harshness or sharp peaks. Coming from a personal preference I wouldn’t mind a tiny bit more presence, but at the same time I never feel that I’m missing out on anything with these. Well extended with plenty of detail and excellent tonality, but maybe a tiny bit reserved for some tastes.
The soundstage is a standout quality of these, they manage to sound incredibly open yet accurate at placing instruments within the soundstage.
It is so hard to sum up the Empyrean, they are definitely some of the best headphones I have heard in a while. They have a good hi-fi setup type of sound with fullness that doesn’t affect the rest of the sound. They are just enjoyable, airy, effortless and ultimately a pleasure to listen to.