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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

Urbs

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Oct 23, 2018
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Harman is backed by research into what *most** people like. If a company cuts corners in the tuning, what else are they cutting corners in?

Don’t get me wrong, house sound can absolutely be preferred by some people, but the harman target is objectively better for the majority of the population.
Most people like pop radio music, do you?
 

Urbs

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Besides, imho, the biggest differences between headphones are in how they present the music and frequency response is just a part of that. The differences in tonality, timbre, note decay, macro and micro dynamics, note impact, imaging, soundstage height, width, and depth. Frequency response is just a part of the sound signature and the easiest part to change. These reviews don't really delve into that beyond some surface level measurements with little to no context in how it changes the sound signature. I would love for Amir and others to give some subjective thoughts on how this headphone sounds with comparisons to other headphones, since the objective measurements provided are ambiguous at best and obscure at worst.
 
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Snoopy

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Might be interesting to pick one of these up on the used market in the future.
 

Spocko

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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:

View attachment 175126

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.
Generally for a closed system like headphones, I tend to agree, however for speakers in a room, you almost always will have unexpected room interactions (room modes) that has nothing to do with the speaker design (amazing measurements in an anechoic chamber) and everything to do with your room's unique acoustic properties. Although EQ can't help with nulls, it can definitely help with peaks.
 

ryaneagon

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Apr 5, 2022
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Mine does, lol.

I don't mean to single you out with my response; I'm just a little surprised to find so much negative criticism in this thread, and claims of poor performance. I wonder how many of the forum critics or poll voters here have even heard LIRIC? Sure doesn't match my experience.

In any case, I was a super-early adopter, having happened upon LIRIC at Capital Audiofest. It's really hard to find good closed-backs, but LIRIC impressed immediately. When I found out it was $2k, I bought it on the spot.

I auditioned against R10P and Stealth, and I own several good closed backs including ZMF Verite Closed, Focal Stellia, etc. I like LIRIC better than Stealth, which I've heard a couple times now. For whatever reason, Stealth sounds "correct but lifeless" to me. It was pretty good on AmpsAndSound Nautilus, but that amp made everything sound good. At CAF I heard Stealth on GSX MkII, I believe, and a RAAL amp. R10P sounded boomy and unimpressive (was quite disappointed, to be honest). Stealth is at least a good headphone--it just doesn't justify its asking price for me.

I disagree that LIRIC needs EQ to sound great. There was no EQ when I auditioned it, and since owning it I have run it off of everything from an XBox controller (it's passable this way for gaming--gets just loud enough and still sounds quite good) to my current desktop reference, Ferrum Hypsos + Oor, where it sounds magnificent. It plays well with tubes (ZMF Pendant), and even replaced Arya as my favorite headphone with which to ruin the uninitiated on portable chains (not pictured: Astell & Kern SP1000 + Amp). The manager at my local Best Buy was sure impressed. :p

View attachment 178607


Thanks for this! I don't think subjective preferences should be ignored or dismissed, which is why I disagree with the notion of having one "ideal target" for all headphones. In fact, my listening experiences are all the richer for companies innovating and offering a variety of compelling "flavors" in their audio products.

As you've pointed out, different people use headphones in different ways--studio engineering is not the same as recreational consumption of music, competitive gaming, or commuting, all of which may come with their own demands or rebalancing of priorities.

One of the key things I've learned from diving down this rabbit hole over the past few years is that I don't have a single ideal or one favorite audio chain. Rather, I have several favorites and an ever-shifting set of preferences that vary with mood. Simply chasing the least-distorting / best-measuring gear was ultimately disappointing; I found a "culinary framework" works better for capturing how I actually enjoy and use personal audio products.

We all know that everyone enjoys different foods. It's not weird for people to have multiple favorites and dislikes. It's also normal to get bored eating the same meal every day regardless of how much you like it. Meanwhile, excellent execution can dramatically elevate a simple dish to a memorable experience.

All of these hold true for me with headphones. I have multiple favorite listening chains:

One favorite is Hifiman Susvara on a very clean and resolving solid state chain (I have Holo May feeding a spare 2 channels of my McIntosh 8207 surround amp). I find that gives me the most believable timbre and spatial reproduction of any personal audio I've heard so far; it's particularly satisfying with music containing natural instruments, such as orchestra / score music, live ensembles, etc.

Another favorite is ZMF Verite Closed on tubes. That's a wholly different experience that I find super musical and compelling, because Zach Merbach is a Master Chef, lol. Mids are super lush and engaging, and staging is big and enveloping. It's just a lovely delivery that works well across a variety of genres. This is a chain I reach for when I want to relax and just get lost in music.

MEST MkII CIEMs are yet another favorite, because the bone conduction driver can change the listening experience drastically compared to everything else I've heard. MEST bass feels subwoofer-like in that quantity can push the bounds of overwhelming, but the bass never intrudes on the rest of the track. At all. It's a unique and somewhat peculiar effect that is every bit as compelling as my other summit chains. I especially like MEST with high-energy electronic music, but it pairs well with everything I've thrown at it.

--

Anyway, point made. I do appreciate the FR graphs referencing Harman to show how closely a given headphone might align, but I have found these graphs only mildly useful for correlating with listening experience or forming expectations for gear I haven't heard. It's good information, but not enough for me to draw conclusions without listening.

I agree about your MEST MKII statement. I too own a custom set, they are a very fun listen. They play well with just about any genre of music. Have a very wide soundstage, vocals are right upfront. For me, I rate them on par with the u12t's, sometimes better depending on what mood I'm listening to or mood I'm in.
 

A Surfer

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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.
I'm curious if I am not fully understanding things. If I recall, JRiver Media Center allows for you to use a WDM driver so that even web content can be passed through their DSP engine. If so, might that solution work for things such as YouTube? I may be mistaken though.
 
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