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Meze Liric Review (Closed Back Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 32 20.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 62 39.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 50 31.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 13 8.3%

  • Total voters
    157

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Meze Liric Hybrid Planar Magnetic Closed Back Headphone. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me:
Meze Liric Review Clsed Back Headphone High-end.jpg


The Liric costs US $2,000. The look is very understated but feels luxurious. The weight is about average for class at 360 grams:

lightest closed back headphone tested.png


The cups are not huge but fit my ears well at 69 by 39 mm. Depth is good at 23 mm. After wearing them for five minutes I forgot they were on my head so very good on that front.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

The cups fit my fixture's artificial ears easily.

Meze Liric Pro Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurements:
Meze Liric Measurements Frequency Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


I was (pleasantly) surprised to see so much bass response. Most headphones underperform our target in that region but here, we have some extra energy to play with. Not so good is too much energy around 1 kHz which will become a theme in this review. We then have some shortfall between 1.8 to 5 kHz which usually means degraded spatial qualities. After that, accuracy of measurements go down but there can be some excess treble energy above 7 kHz.

Subtracting the response from our target gives us the relative deviation from our target for development of equalization filters:

Meze Liric Measurements Relative Frequency Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


At 94 dBSPL distortion is exceedingly small matching company's claims (generally) in this regard:

Meze Liric Measurements Relative Distortion Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


But we have two narrow spikes which usually indicate resonances. One is near 1 kHz again. Here is the same but in absolute dB scale:

Meze Liric Measurements THD Distortion Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


Group delay shows disturbance at the low frequency tuning of the driver:

Meze Liric Measurements Group Delay Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


Impedance is highly variable and once again shows a resonance around 1.8 kHz:

Meze Liric Measurements Impedance Response Closed Back Headphone High-end.png


Sensitivity is below average but not terribly so:
Most sensitive headphone tested.png


Meze Liric Listening Tests and Equalization
Immediate response was a rather dull sound but not disturbingly so. As such, you could use it without EQ without it being bothersome. Equalization highly lifts the performance:

Meze Liric Equalization Parametric EQ Headphone High-end.png


I initially corrected for sub-bass response but that resulted in less energy in that region to I disabled that filter (Band 1). I also took down the boost a bit at Band 4 as I thought it sounded too bright. That wasn't enough so I pulled down the peak at 8.5 kHz. Final results was a tad bright but brought with it excellent tonality and very good spatial effects. Detail and resolution was excellent and I wanted to keep listening and listening.

Conclusions
Objectively we have fair bit of deviation from our target here but fortunately, most of it is excess energy so we can easily pull down and get the bonus of less distortion to boot. Once there, performance is excellence and compared with the nice fit (on my head), I found the experience quite enjoyable. Should a $2,000 headphone match our target? Ideally so but the industry has yet to adopt this stance so we continue to get dual personality headphones: not so good as is, and excellent with EQ.

I can't recommend the Meze Liric without EQ. With EQ, it becomes superb sounding especially for a closed back headphone so definitely recommended that way.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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Last edited:

sweetchaos

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To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:
Preamp: -4.8 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 105 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 2.0
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1000 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 2.0
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 2721 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 2.0
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 3717 Hz Gain 4.0 dB Q 5.0
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 8550 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 7.0

Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead:
See my GEQ guide for 10-band, 31-band, and 127-band GEQ profiles.
 
Last edited:

tifune

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That was a fast review for a fairly new product!! Thanks @amirm:)

I submitted this one because I'm having a hard time finding a mobile amp that could withstand my gratuitous bass craving w/ DCA Stealth. Also, Stealth is a bit sensitive to fit due to it's one-size-fits-all headband so wearing during almost any physical activity is kind of a non-starter. And then of course the disconcerting feeling of taking a $4k headphone too far outside the house.

Liric design meets most of my requirements with more forgiving sensitivity, at least according to the (now confirmed) marketing. we'll see if I actually like it as much/more than my on-the-go favorite Denon 9200, which I sold to buy Stealth, after a few weeks of use.

Thanks as always @amirm , you've yet again given far more info than the manufacturer who totally dodged my basic Q's over at a different site but gladly engaged with people using words like "aplomb" to describe how their $300 cable upgrade improved their sound.

I don't think the treble response is worth 2000$, this headphone will never sound correct in that region, even with EQ.

This is my main concern, too, given the price but if I've learned one thing from this site it's that I don't hear nearly as well as my eyes tell me I do. And of course, theres always the magic of a 128 band GEQ.
 
Last edited:

Snoopy

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That John Darko guy did a review on YouTube, comparing the liric to the Aeon 2 closed .. I wonder how amir feels about the liric being 2 times the price of the aeon 2 / Noire and if it's justified.
 

Vict0r

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Crinacle described these as "Beats by Dre for audiophiles" in his Youtube review of these, and then continued to bash them to smithereens. I'm glad to see they can be saved with a little EQ. For $2000, I'd rather have something that's stellar as-is, though. :D Thanks for the review! They do look very nice.
 

Jimbob54

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Don't tease us. Someone must have offered an empyrean for you to measure.
 

Paolo

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Usually closed back are not my cup of tea, but the Meze are always intriguing.

@amirm, can you please give us a subjective comparison with the Stealth? Im referring to build quality, comfort and overall sound qualities after EQ? Do you feel like the Stealth is worth the price difference?
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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@amirm, can you please give us a subjective comparison with the Stealth? Im referring to build quality, comfort and overall sound qualities after EQ? Do you feel like the Stealth is worth the price difference?
I don't have anything formal to offer. I did however put on my Stealth and thought they sounded better than Liric with EQ. It sounded a bit warmer. This was after 10 minutes of putting aside the Liric though so take it for a random data point.

There is a solid difference though: Stealth doesn't need EQ so you can use it with wide range of apps. I especially like that when I listen to Youtube in the browser which has no EQ capability.
 

Paolo

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I don't have anything formal to offer. I did however put on my Stealth and thought they sounded better than Liric with EQ. It sounded a bit warmer. This was after 10 minutes of putting aside the Liric though so take it for a random data point.

There is a solid difference though: Stealth doesn't need EQ so you can use it with wide range of apps. I especially like that when I listen to Youtube in the browser which has no EQ capability.
Thank you.
 

solderdude

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I wonder if the impedance peak is caused by a notch filter.
If so it would have one hell of a peak at 1.8kHz without it.
Above 2kHz the total output drops as well.. coincidence ?
Distortion rises till the same frequency as the impedance peak rise ...
Maybe a crossover to ensure only the spiral coil gets the higher frequencies only ?

ULTRA LOW DISTORTION
Total harmonic distortion (THD) measures under 0.15% in the whole frequency range.

It looks like the specified <0.15% distortion is measured at 80dB SPL or so.
Still ... below 0.5% at 94dB also isn't really bad.

Liric measurements by Crin shows almost double the lower midrange but similar upper midrange suckout :
Liric-768x374.jpg


Product variance or measurement differences between fixtures ?

Interesting headphone...
 
Last edited:

bennybbbx

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Meze Liric Hybrid Planar Magnetic Closed Back Headphone. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me:
View attachment 175046

The Liric costs US $2,000. The look is very understated but feels luxurious. The weight is about average for class at 360 grams:

View attachment 175048

The cups are not huge but fit my ears well at 69 by 39 mm. Depth is good at 23 mm. After wearing them for five minutes I forgot they were on my head so very good on that front.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

The cups fit my fixture's artificial ears easily.

Meze Liric Pro Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurements:
View attachment 175049

I was (pleasantly) surprised to see so much bass response. Most headphones underperform our target in that region but here, we have some extra energy to play with. Not so good is too much energy around 1 kHz which will become a theme in this review. We then have some shortfall between 1.8 to 5 kHz which usually means degraded spatial qualities. After that, accuracy of measurements go down but there can be some excess treble energy above 7 kHz.

Subtracting the response from our target gives us the relative deviation from our target for development of equalization filters:

View attachment 175051

At 94 dBSPL distortion is exceedingly small matching company's claims (generally) in this regard:

View attachment 175052

But we have two narrow spikes which usually indicate resonances. One is near 1 kHz again. Here is the same but in absolute dB scale:

View attachment 175053

Group delay shows disturbance at the low frequency tuning of the driver:

View attachment 175054

Impedance is highly variable and once again shows a resonance around 1.8 kHz:

View attachment 175055

Sensitivity is below average but not terribly so:
View attachment 175056

Meze Liric Listening Tests and Equalization
Immediate response was a rather dull sound but not disturbingly so. As such, you could use it without EQ without it being bothersome. Equalization highly lifts the performance:

View attachment 175057

I initially corrected for sub-bass response but that resulted in less energy in that region to I disabled that filter (Band 1). I also took down the boost a bit at Band 4 as I thought it sounded too bright. That wasn't enough so I pulled down the peak at 8.5 kHz. Final results was a tad bright but brought with it excellent tonality and very good spatial effects. Detail and resolution was excellent and I wanted to keep listening and listening.

Conclusions
Objectively we have fair bit of deviation from our target here but fortunately, most of it is excess energy so we can easily pull down and get the bonus of less distortion to boot. Once there, performance is excellence and compared with the nice fit (on my head), I found the experience quite enjoyable. Should a $2,000 headphone match our target? Ideally so but the industry has yet to adopt this stance so we continue to get dual personality headphones: not so good as is, and excellent with EQ.

I can't recommend the Meze Liric without EQ. With EQ, it becomes superb sounding especially for a closed back headphone so definitely recommended that way.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

the group delay smoothing in this test i think show more as in the older tests the much less smoothing. maybe you can do such group delay plot and settings for speaker too
 

KiyPhi

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How do they handle seal breakage? Do they drop off on the lower end pretty quickly? The Empyrean handle is very well but they are also open back and it is a bit harder to design a closed back in such a way from my understanding.
 

Maiky76

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Meze Liric Hybrid Planar Magnetic Closed Back Headphone. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me:
View attachment 175046

The Liric costs US $2,000. The look is very understated but feels luxurious. The weight is about average for class at 360 grams:

View attachment 175048

The cups are not huge but fit my ears well at 69 by 39 mm. Depth is good at 23 mm. After wearing them for five minutes I forgot they were on my head so very good on that front.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

The cups fit my fixture's artificial ears easily.

Meze Liric Pro Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurements:
View attachment 175049

I was (pleasantly) surprised to see so much bass response. Most headphones underperform our target in that region but here, we have some extra energy to play with. Not so good is too much energy around 1 kHz which will become a theme in this review. We then have some shortfall between 1.8 to 5 kHz which usually means degraded spatial qualities. After that, accuracy of measurements go down but there can be some excess treble energy above 7 kHz.

Subtracting the response from our target gives us the relative deviation from our target for development of equalization filters:

View attachment 175051

At 94 dBSPL distortion is exceedingly small matching company's claims (generally) in this regard:

View attachment 175052

But we have two narrow spikes which usually indicate resonances. One is near 1 kHz again. Here is the same but in absolute dB scale:

View attachment 175053

Group delay shows disturbance at the low frequency tuning of the driver:

View attachment 175054

Impedance is highly variable and once again shows a resonance around 1.8 kHz:

View attachment 175055

Sensitivity is below average but not terribly so:
View attachment 175056

Meze Liric Listening Tests and Equalization
Immediate response was a rather dull sound but not disturbingly so. As such, you could use it without EQ without it being bothersome. Equalization highly lifts the performance:

View attachment 175057

I initially corrected for sub-bass response but that resulted in less energy in that region to I disabled that filter (Band 1). I also took down the boost a bit at Band 4 as I thought it sounded too bright. That wasn't enough so I pulled down the peak at 8.5 kHz. Final results was a tad bright but brought with it excellent tonality and very good spatial effects. Detail and resolution was excellent and I wanted to keep listening and listening.

Conclusions
Objectively we have fair bit of deviation from our target here but fortunately, most of it is excess energy so we can easily pull down and get the bonus of less distortion to boot. Once there, performance is excellence and compared with the nice fit (on my head), I found the experience quite enjoyable. Should a $2,000 headphone match our target? Ideally so but the industry has yet to adopt this stance so we continue to get dual personality headphones: not so good as is, and excellent with EQ.

I can't recommend the Meze Liric without EQ. With EQ, it becomes superb sounding especially for a closed back headphone so definitely recommended that way.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

Here are some thoughts about the EQ.

Notes about the EQ design:
  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve (and other constrains) with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be therefore more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF and maybe at HF).
  • The range around and above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo, the boosts and preamp gain (loss of Dynamic range) need to be carefully considered to avoid issues with, amongst other things, too low a Max SPL or damaging your device. You have beed warned.
  • Not all units of the same product are made equal. The EQ is based on the measurements of a single unit. YMMV with regards to the very unit you are trying this EQ on.
  • I sometimes use variations of the Harman curve for some reasons. See rational here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-5#post-989169 NOTE: the score then calculated is not comparable to the scores derived from the default Harman target curve if not otherwise noted.

Good L/R match.

I have generated one EQ, the APO config file is attached.

Score no EQ: 49.2
Score Amirm: 68.6
Score with EQ: 92.0

Code:
Meze Liric APO EQ [email protected] 96000Hz
December282021-202507

Preamp: -6.1 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 37.05 Hz Gain -2.16 dB Q 0.59
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 105.27 Hz Gain -4.53 dB Q 1.52
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1080.37 Hz Gain -4.68 dB Q 1.42
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2060.12 Hz Gain 4.07 dB Q 2.64
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3733.82 Hz Gain 5.75 dB Q 3.37
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 7089.08 Hz Gain 7.00 dB Q 3.76
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 8429.41 Hz Gain -5.90 dB Q 4.96

Meze Liric APO EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz.png


The following scores are not directly comparable with the previous as the target curve was altered with [email protected] LF and [email protected] as it seems to be @amirm own preference. This is a prime example here...
Score no EQ: 67.3
Score Amirm: 85.4
Meze Liric APO EQ +3dB@LF -1.5dB@HF 96000Hz.png
 

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Remlab

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mr.at

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I don't think the treble response is worth 2000$, this headphone will never sound correct in that region, even with EQ.
I generally don't like to EQ - anything in my arsenal. I prefer things to be good 'by design'. If you need to do EQ (what I personally believe, it may differ with others or may all others), there's clearly a fault there. I rather just find the gear that sounds best to me rather than get caught up in the EQverse.

If anything needs correction, and maybe so much of it, it's physically faulty. Also, EQing may suggest that the equipment is not built to deliver those parameters, so why try to force it to fake it?

Anyhow - that's my general opinion on EQ. Nothing's perfect - but things that matter to any individual specifically, must be as close as possible by being built that way in the first place.

I'd like to explain this via the following image:

unnamed.jpg


I know I may be bashed for saying this - for some I may be a blasphemer - but I will have to take it then.

PS: Verily this one (the Liric), for the money, raises a lot of eyebrows with the questionable performance.
 

peniku8

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This is my main concern, too, given the price but if I've learned one thing from this site it's that I don't hear nearly as well as my eyes tell me I do. And of course, theres always the magic of a 128 band GEQ.
That's a wierd way to spell PEQ ;)
 
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