Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Gaia reclocker, Avatar CD transport, Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport; Preamp: icOn 4Pro SE; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant, Audio Physic Codex Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport; DAC: Denafrips Terminator; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/80Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dyaudio 18S subwoofer; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R, Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1, Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Simon Audio; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120, Zu Submission subwoofer; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €4'000
Brevity is the coal of zip? There I minded my online business when Matt of SVC Distribution's press release on a new Meze flagship phone dropped. I penned a matching news announcement…
Can't pronounce Empyrean? Then Elite [€4'000] will roll off the tongue easier. It's Meze's follow-on effort to their groundbreaking planarmagnetic with a new driver by Rinaro Isodynamics now made from Parus, a polymer film with semi-crystalline microstructure. The dual-coil tech with switchback for LF and spiral for the remaining bandwidth migrates intact to the Elite version and there are still two included ear pads for tuning which attach magnetically. The CNC'd aluminium frame is now clear anodized for a silver finish, the headband is carbon fiber with leather headrest. Claimed bandwidth is 3-112'000Hz, impedance is 32Ω, sensitivity 101dB/1mw/1kHz, weight 420g. Welcome a new flagship to the high-end headfi jungle. With Dan Clark Audio's recently announced Stealth, there are new big cats roaming. If you're out on a hifi safari, keep your eyes peeled and your Jeep at idle should one decide to pounce on you. Of course if you brought your checkbook, all will be well.
…then embedded its URL and one word by return email. Review? Rather than reply, Matt forwarded the lot to Romania. From there I was contacted by Alexandra Rizoiu. She's in charge of Meze's marketing and social media. She wanted to confirm my review interest. Yes. So brevity became the zip lighter which ignited the coal to heat up this assignment. Sonic flare?
If we unpack my news item, we hone in on the thin-film Parus material. As the soul of Elite's wit, it weighs just 0.11g for an active surface area of 4'650mm². It's lighter than the feather whereby Ma'at weighed Egyptian souls in the afterlife. Its total harmonic distortion across the audible bandwidth is said to remain below 0.05%. No sin in this soul. Off to heaven you go. Because the upper reach is Batman's 112'000Hz, make it the 7th heaven? Clearly Elite revisits the Empyrean platform from the Parus innovation on outward. Talking about a new plastic we can't see simply isn't sexy even if it's elemental. So our eyes rush to the immaculately finished aluminium frame which alone takes 20 hours to machine. We take in Meze's trademark filigreed ear-cup shells. We appreciate Elite's carbon-fiber headband, leather headrest and polymer housing. That's strong enough to withstand the serious force of the symmetrically placed neodymium magnets on either side of the membrane. It all combines into superb industrial design and execution at the highest level. Thus far that's probably matched only by Focal and perhaps also will be by Berlin's forthcoming Camerton Binom-ER?
More on the true soul of wit, "our polymer is produced with bespoke sequential biaxial lengthening technology, a process that involves stretching the polymer in transverse directions at elevated temperatures to improve structural performance. This results in a complex semi-crystalline microstructure of remarkable strength, stiffness and stability combined with extremely low acoustic mass."
Does this not sound like what cryogenics achieve for metals, a fundamental restructuring on the molecular level?
Two included ear pads allow us to fine-tune the micro rooms which a headphone like this hangs off our ears. Furukawa copper or silver upgrade cables with four different termination options await our selection. All is delivered in a bespoke aluminium case fit for any audio attaché on assignment in the wilds. That those wilds should be upscale interiors far more than the subway and camp ground goes without saying. Even though Elite is sensitive enough to run off a mobile player, who'd risk taking out such an expensive full-size headphone? Balcony and backyard hammock will probably be the realistic travel limits. From CNN: "Lil Uzi Vert says he was doing some crowd surfing at a recent music festival when someone yanked out the jewel embedded in his forehead. The pink diamond is reportedly worth $24 million and was surgically implanted in the rapper's face earlier this year." Oops. Keep the loot at home.
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