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Liric 2

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & Gold Note monoa on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; 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 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: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Kinki Studio EX-M7; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; 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 Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1;
Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a on Schiit Jotunheim R
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro, Fiio FT3

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: $2'000

Deliricum? Meze's 2nd-gen Liric is a closed-backed planarmagnetic headphone which asks that question with "performance enhancements, a new striped macassar ebony finish and more modularity for easier upgrades. The sonic profile has been tuned up to offer a compelling blend of clear accuracy with a touch of warmth for added depth. A new quarter-wavelength resonator mask of a precision-crafted metal plate strategically covers select openings in the driver frame to attenuate high-frequency peaks above 7kHz for smoother listening. The Liric 2 has also been warmed up with the replacement of the original leather-clad earcups for durable hardwood." The Liric 2 is a 61Ω load with claimed 4-92'000Hz bandwidth and 427g of weight.

The magnetically affixed ear pads detach without secret handshakes. The stock mobile cable is a shorter 4.4mm terminated hand-braided copper affair. For stationary use, there's a 3m 3.5mm equivalent. The driver housing is fibreglass reinforced polymer strong enough to support the motor's 10.7N force. The diaphragm embedded in 0.3T of magnetic flux covers 3507mm² yet only weighs 0.08g. So sensitivity is a usefully high 100dB/1mw. This MZ4 driver which scales down what's in the bigger Empyrean and Elite models adds patent-pending phase linearization dubbed Phase-X™. That's said to counteract internal reflections and their phase shift typical for closed-back designs.

Here we see the quarter-wave resonator mask as part of the driver's front plate. The mix of serpentine and spiral voice-coil traces on the thin-film plastic carrier stretched like a drum skin between banks of magnets is from Meze's usual Ukrainian collaborator Rinaro Isodynamics. They already had a hand in Oppo's planars. The bronze-coloured bore on the ear cup is a pressure relief to counteract ear-muff syndrome from compressed air trapped by a sealed alignment.

To wrap our intro, this new model revisits the original with a new tuning plus acoustic and optical refinements to follow the Empyrean to Empyrean II precedent. On price it's exactly half of Meze's titanium and aluminium Elite models.