September
2022

Country of Origin

Romania

Podcast review: 109 Pro

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen & John Darko
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Source: 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; USB bridge: Singxer SU-6; DAC: Sonnet Pasithea; Headamp: Cen-Grand Silver Fox, Kinki Studio Vision THR-1
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport; Headfi/DAC: COS Engineering H1
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2;  Headamp/DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature
Headphones: Audeze LCD-2 & LCD-XC, HifiMan HE-1000 & Susvara, Final D-8000 & Sonorous III & Sonorous X; Raal-Requisite SR1a; Meze 99 Neo
Review component retail in EU: €799

Machined aluminium driver frame. 50mm carbon-reinforced cellulose membrane with beryllium-coated semi-crystalline polymer torus and copper-zinc alloy stabilizer ring. Manganese steel hardware. Open-backed black Walnut cups. Velours cushions for better breathability. It's the new Meze 109 Pro dynamic headphone. It borrows the 99 Classic's general geometry then heads in a new sonic direction with full in-house control over its drivers' precision assembly. John Darko and I will double-team on a podcast review. From his new tuning, head honcho Antonio Meze promises "visceral joy" and "easy drive". And like the 99s, the 109 Pro is fully modular for infinite serviceability. Or as managing director Mircea Fanatan put it, "with this headphone we have proudly achieved our goal of delivering the same level of workmanship found in Empyrean and Elite at a lower price point. We know that fans have high expectations from us so when making the 109 Pro, our goal was to build something to surpass those expectations. We focused a lot of resources on sound development and I think the result is sublime."

Given the 99 Classic/Neo, I expect absolutely superb wear comfort. Given the intervening years of planarmagnetic Meze models since, I expect a different voicing than the bottom-up cuddly comfort of Meze's earlier dynamic on-ears which are so tailormade for easy drive off mobile kit. At more than twice the cheddar, the bigger 109 Pro obviously has to position beddar also on sound. But what is better? Only actual experience shall tell us. Both our samples have arrived. From Wikipedia, "in much of West Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans, meze is a sample plate of small appetizers. In Turkey it could be fried halloumi, stuffed grape leaves, sliced ripe melon, hot pepper paste with walnuts, strained thick yoghurt with herbs, eggplant salad, fried squid, stuffed mussels, octopus salad and meatballs with bulgur." This meze plates up 375g of weight sans cable, 40Ω, a whopping 112dB/1mW sensitivity and 5Hz-30kHz bandwidth. Garnish with hard EVA case, 1.5m TPE cable with 3.5mm ends, 3m TPE cable with 3.5mm ends and a 6.3mm adapter.

All of it suggests very high mobile happiness. Romanian cans doing a runner?

Good times.

With iFi iDSD Pro Signature on desktop preceded by Singxer SU-2 USB bridge and HP workstation w. Qobuz Sublime for streaming, Audirvana Origin for local files.

On Cen.Grand Silver Fox preceded by Sonnet Pasithea as converter with remote-controlled variable reference voltage so amp at 0.0dB.

With COS Engineering H1 preceded by Soundaware D300Pro SD card transport.

Coming up….