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Meze Liric Review (Closed Back Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 31 20.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 59 39.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 47 31.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 11 7.4%

  • Total voters
    148

sbsj

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I was still editing my post to get my tots straight when i saw your reply :)

Since all this curve is thing is a matter of preference, then I feel that Harman curve should not be made a standard. It should not be heavily used to judge how good a headphone is because it is altering the music. I am not saying the Harman curve is bad , i mean there should be a better standard.

- What i am trying to say is my ideal music listening experience would be,
  • I want to be able to listen to the music the way it was recorded by the recording engineer or who ever it is. I want to hear the work of the recording engineer as is or as close as possible. If the recording engineer has put in this amount of bass, mid, treble , etc, i dont want my headphone to alter it as much as possible. I would then say how good or bad my headphone is depending of how much sound deviates from the original recording.
  • I want to hear what the recording engineer heard. Then it is for me to say if i prefer his recording or not, just me and the music and nothing in between. If i want to EQ the sound to my tastes, then its up to me.
 
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solderdude

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I am not saying the Harman curve it bad , i mean should be a better standard.

The Harman target (not a standard) is preferred by most folks but the word most means not everyone.
Perhaps the 'optimum hifi curve' is more to your liking or something in between that and Harman.

This is not a standard.
The problem with measuring headphones is to define what measurable flat is and under which conditions and test equipment.
Assuming there would be a headphone that has perfectly flat measured response on a specific test fixture even then it would not measure equally flat on other test fixtures and/or used corrections.
And even when there would be one that measured flat on a specific 'standard' fixture and one would 'correct' all other test fixtures in such a way that all those somewhat differing test fixtures would all output a perfectly flat line (as in equal loudness for all frequencies) then any other headphone would still measure differently on various test fixtures.
Besides... it would sound lean and not anything like good speakers in a room anyway.
When people would listen to that headphone and one that follows the Harman target then most likely the majority of people would prefer the Harman target headphone while others may not.

The Harman target is based on preference and well documented which is what it has going for it.
Amir (a secret bass head) also prefers the target and as it is well documented and scientifically sound he uses this as a guideline for his measurements when plotting the 'corrected' response.
You can always see the raw plot as well and the used Harman target (with a specific fixture/pinna) so the info is there and you can apply any target you deem to be better suited.
 
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staticV3

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I was still editing my post to get my tots straight when i saw your reply :)

Since all this curve is thing is a matter of preference, then I feel that Harman curve should not be made a standard. It should not be heavily used to judge how good a headphone is because it is altering the music. I am not saying the Harman curve is bad , i mean there should be a better standard.

- What i am trying to say is my ideal music listening experience would be,
  • I want to be able to listen to the music the way it was recorded by the recording engineer or who ever it is. I want to hear the work of the recording engineer as is or as close as possible. If the recording engineer has put in this amount of bass, mid, treble , etc, i dont want my headphone to alter it as much as possible. I would then say how good or bad my headphone is depending of how much sound deviates from the original recording.
  • I want to hear what the recording engineer heard. Then it is for me to say if i prefer his recording or not, just me and the music and nothing in between. If i want to EQ the sound to my tastes, then its up to me.
The Harman AE/OE2018 target is our best (and most educated) guess at what a perceptually neutral headphone looks like.
The amount of bass is a point of contention, but from 700Hz upwards it is widely accepted as "correct".
Headphone_Targets.png
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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I want to be able to listen to the music the way it was recorded by the recording engineer or who ever it is.
We can only do that if both the recording engineer using headphones and us using the same use a single frequency response curve. Harman's response is the most researched and well accepted candidate for that. Right now, it is wild west with the engineering using a headphone with one response, and you using another. So no way can you accomplish what you say.

In video by the way, we have such a standard. Recording is calibrated to one standard, and so is playback so we get pretty accurate color. Audio is terrible in that regard.
 

sbsj

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We can only do that if both the recording engineer using headphones and us using the same use a single frequency response curve. Harman's response is the most researched and well accepted candidate for that. Right now, it is wild west with the engineering using a headphone with one response, and you using another. So no way can you accomplish what you say.

In video by the way, we have such a standard. Recording is calibrated to one standard, and so is playback so we get pretty accurate color. Audio is terrible in that regard.
thanks for the reply Amir. Yeah the audio world is as you say "terrible in that regard"

By the way, I really appreciate this site immensely. This site has been my best guide. My so called listening hobby started when i discovered ASR; it has helped my purchase decisions; make recommendations to friends who have asked; stir away from the snakeoil and false information; learned how complicated audio is, etc. Thank you for your tremendous work. Happy New Year to everyone !!!
 

Robbo99999

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@amirm , lost where the headphone review recommendation thread was, but would be interesting to see what you think to the HD560s & K702 (maybe K701 also similar).

And to keep it on topic for this thread, I think the reviewed headphone here has good channel matching and also a fixable frequency response, so I would expect it to sound good with EQ, so I can understand the positive result of the review after EQ - I really do think channel matching & a fixable frequency response are two of the most important measurable parameters.
 

sejarzo

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Objectively comparing the FR and distortion charts for this versus the AKG K371, and assuming that one will use EQ with either of them to correct the flaws, I seriously do not get the value proposition of the Liric, assuming one is in the market for a low distortion closed headphone. Both have issues, in somewhat different ranges, but of similar magnitude.
 

nyxnyxnyx

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Objectively comparing the FR and distortion charts for this versus the AKG K371, and assuming that one will use EQ with either of them to correct the flaws, I seriously do not get the value proposition of the Liric, assuming one is in the market for a low distortion closed headphone. Both have issues, in somewhat different ranges, but of similar magnitude.
it seems like the norm for certain audio brands to stick with a price range, probably to keep it classy or whatever. also diminishing return hits quickly after a certain price range where most beloved headphones are in (hd6x0, r70x, etc...)
but in all fairness, I believe that even if both headphones are EQ'ed (whether using digital EQ or passive filters) and both drivers are already capable and have low distortion, they will still sound considerably different from each other.
 

Jimbob54

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it seems like the norm for certain audio brands to stick with a price range, probably to keep it classy or whatever. also diminishing return hits quickly after a certain price range where most beloved headphones are in (hd6x0, r70x, etc...)
but in all fairness, I believe that even if both headphones are EQ'ed (whether using digital EQ or passive filters) and both drivers are already capable and have low distortion, they will still sound considerably different from each other.
Except Meze make the 99 Classic/ Noir

Which is both not very expensive ($200 or so for the Drop variant) and terrible. So basically I have no idea what Meze's approach to market is.

I agree with the rest of that though.
 

nyxnyxnyx

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Except Meze make the 99 Classic/ Noir

Which is both not very expensive ($200 or so for the Drop variant) and terrible. So basically I have no idea what Meze's approach to market is.

I agree with the rest of that though.
I agree with 99 classic but IIRC that's like the only "affordable" product they made that have significant attention.
All their other headphones and iems that have good reputation are mostly expensive products though!
I wish most headphones would have been cheaper, sometimes I buy certain headphones on sale or from another user and even though I like the quality, at times I still feel like it's not worth the price I paid.
 

frix

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Meze started with the 99classics and some non-expensive IEM into the market. Soundwise it wasn't terrible the beginning but some pad changes screwed up the tuning big time. It was considered a good value with great build and a rather unique looking design.
With the empyrean they kinda changed their strategy aiming at the uber-expensive headphone market.
 

Bow_Wazoo

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Small update.
Ihave decided to sell the lyric again.
A few days ago I had the impression that the reproduction of the music did not affect me emotionally. At first I traced it back to my state of mind. I just thought i was having a bad day.
But unfortunately this experience repeated itself over and over again.
Therefore I can rule out a low mood...
 

Bow_Wazoo

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This explanation does not fit.
Because I already had the impression described, at the beginning of the NTS phase.
 

Snoopy

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This explanation does not fit.
Because I already had the impression described, at the beginning of the NTS phase.

What will be next? I've heard good things about the more expensive Fostex headphones
 

JJB70

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The expensive luxury headphone concept is quite a modern one. For many years headphones were a rare island of sanity in the often dysfunctional world of audio which refrained from making things expensive on the basis that more expensive must mean better. The trinity of AKG K701/701, Beyerdynamic DT770/880/990 and Sennheiser HD600/650 were pretty much the top of the headphone pyramid for a long time.
Now the world is awash with expensive headphones, few of which seem to offer much in the way of value really. To be clear if you like them then you don't need to justify any purchase and I've bought some quite expensive headphones but it seems that most of the higher end boutique manufacturers pick a price point, sprinkle some luxury materials and an expensive feeling cable over a pretty normal headphone and ship in an expensive box. The odd thing is that in terms of true quality as opposed to perceived touch point quality I'd take a classic pair of Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic headphones over any of these expensive boutique models any day of the week. The HD580, 600, 650 may feel low rent but they're very solid headphones which can take a beating and still work. I have a pair of original HD580's which are approaching 30 years old, they still work faultlessly and are very solid.
 

Bow_Wazoo

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What will be next? I've heard good things about the more expensive Fostex headphones
I've just made a little trip to the Netherlands. The focal clear mg is available there for € 1100. The Netherlands are in lockdown again, but you can pick up the goods in stores, even on Sundays
 

Snoopy

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I've just made a little trip to the Netherlands. The focal clear mg is available there for € 1100. The Netherlands are in lockdown again, but you can pick up the goods in stores, even on Sundays
Good price. To bad you didn't like the liric. I was considering getting them the future if there is ever a v2
 

Giangi71

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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/
But I never understand why without equalization the headphones are bad and according to your equalization they become the best headphones in the world
 

Jimbob54

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But I never understand why without equalization the headphones are bad and according to your equalization they become the best headphones in the world
Neither of which apply to what he said in this review. I don't recall them being said anywhere else either. So your point is what?

He has been very clear in his stance that (the right) EQ can transform lots/most/all headphones.
 
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