Meze Audio 109 PRO Headphone Review
Meze Audio 109 PRO Headphone Review
MEZE Audio has been founded by Antonio Meze in 2009 in Baia Mare, Romania who was looking for a pair of headphones that he could connect in the same way that he felt connected to his Fender Stratocaster guitar. The company is specialized in development, design of Headphones, In-Ear Monitor and Cables, and has released many popular products such like the Empyrean, Liric, Elite, Elite Epoque headphones and RAI Penta, RAI Solo and Advar In-Ear Monitors.
The 109 PRO is the first open-back dynamic driver headphone from Meze Audio, which features carefully assembled components with an excellent craftsmanship such like walnut wood, zinc, manganese steel and vegan leather. The drivers of the headphone do have a diameter of 50mm and do feature a Dual-Composite Diaphragm, which is a combination of Beryllium-Coated Polymer and a special Cellulose-Carbon fiber composite material.
I would like to thank Meze Audio for providing me the 109 PRO Headphones as review sample. I am not affiliated with Meze Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual MSRP price of the Meze Audio 109 PRO Open-Back Headphone is 799€ / 799US$. More details can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
Meze Audio really knows how to give their customers a breathtaking Unboxing experience and the 109 PRO Open-Back headphone is no exception. The 109 PRO came inside a relative large square shaped black box with a very stylish appearance. On the top of the box are geometric symbols in gold color that do remind me to “Neoclassic” shapes. On the top as a crown is the MEZE Audio logo, while right at the bottom is the 109 PRO branding.
Inside the box of the Meze Audio 109 PRO are the following items/accessories:
- 1 x Meze Audio 109 PRO Open-Back Headphone
- 1 x Detachable cable with 3.5mm plugs and 3.5mm headphone jack (150cm long)
- 1 x Detachable cable with 3.5mm plugs and 3.5mm headphone jack (300cm long)
- 1 x 3.5mm to 6.35mm Headphone Adapter
- 1 x Protective Eva Hard Case
- 1 x Soft Pouch
- 1 x Product Catalog
One of the main attractions is the beautiful looking EVA Hard case in black color that has a very premium look and feel. On the front of the EVA case is the Meze Audio logo made of metal.
The inner surface of the EVA Case has a velvet covered inner surface that will protect the headphone from scratches.
Design & Build Quality:
The 109 PRO is the first open-back dynamic driver headphone from Meze Audio and comes with a very impressive look and feel. This is an eye-catching headphone, which can be described with just one word and that is “Gorgeous”.
What makes the 109 PRO look so impressive is the use of components with an excellent craftsmanship such like walnut wood, zinc, manganese steel and vegan leather.
The ear-cups are made from black walnut wood material that comes strictly from sources with a certificate of origin. The wooden ear cups do look very carefully processed, which have followed multiple polishing and drying processes.
In order to expose the drivers from both sides, each ear-cup of the 109 PRO is equipped with a mesh grill that has a spider-shaped black frame on the top.
Inside the ear-cups are the dynamic drivers that do have a diameter of 50mm.
The dynamic drivers do feature a Dual-Composite Diaphragm, which is a combination of Beryllium-Coated Polymer and a special Cellulose-Carbon fiber composite material. The driver is equipped with a copper-zinc alloy stabilizer ring in order to absorb unwanted vibrations.
Alongside those two components lies a light and efficient neodymium magnet and copper coil. Together, they are encased in a CNC machined, high precision aluminum frame, which is proven to be exceptionally reliable.
Following the principles of anthropometrics, the Meze Audio team has positioned the drivers at a precise angle and distance from the ear, in order to achieve an ideal anatomical fit. Each driver is protected with a fantastic looking CNC finished aluminum frame in copper color with the Meze Audio branding in the center. The Dual-Composite Diaphragm Dynamic Driver is visible under the frame, which is another fantastic looking design choice.
The crown of the headband system is made form manganese steel and has a black finish.
There is fancy looking metal part in form of a wishbone that fixes the crown to the self-adjusting headband system. This part seems to be made from zinc alloy material with a finish in copper color that has the Meze Audio logo on the top, which is one other eye-catching design element of the 109 PRO.
The self-adjusting headband has a soft padding with an outer layer made from vegan leather material in black color that has an elastic band that is integrated to the padding.The headband offers a very comfortable wearing experience so that I have sometimes forgotten that I do wear a headphone on my head.
Right on the top of the headband is the 109 PRO branding.
The headband has also L (Left) and R (Right) markings.
The crown and the spider-shaped black frame on the top of the ear-cups is fixed with a pretty esthetic looking ring zinc alloy ring with the same finish in copper color like the wishbones on both sides.
This part is not fully fixed so it acts like an arm joint allowing easy movement of the ear-cups.
Each ear cup has a 3.5mm female connector with a fancy looking metal part in copper color. My only complaint about the connectors is that the dimension of the headphone entrance.
The female connector do offers a tight and secure connection with the male connectors located on both stock cables.
The Meze Audio 190 PRO comes with velour cushions that are very soft and comfortable. The ear cushions do have a shape that perfectly surrounds my auricles.
The 109 PRO comes with two soft TPE detachable cables with aluminum casing, one low profile that is approx 150cm long and another that is approx 300cm long.
The cables are in black color and do shows a low amount of microphonic effect.
The cables do have two sockets with 3.5mm male terminations, while both do end with a 3.5mm Single Ended headphone plug termination.
- Driver Type : 50mm dia. Dual-Composite Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response : 5 Hz – 30 KHz
- Sensitivity : 112dB SPL @ 1 KHz, 1mW
- Impedance : 40 Ω
- Weight : 375grams (13 oz) without cables
Paring & Drivability:
The Meze Audio 109 PRO is a pretty easy to power full sized headphone thanks to its impedance of 40Ω and sensitivity of approx. 112dB, which makes it highly compatible with relative weak sources like a USB Dongles or even for Smartphone’s and Tablet that do have a 3.5mm headphone output.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : Meze Audio 109 PRO, HiFiMAN Edition XS
- DAP/DAC : iBasso DX170, FiiO M11 Plus ESS, iFi Audio Gryphon, iPad Air2
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Rush – YYZ (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Rok Nardin – Berserks (Spotify)
- Bear McCreary – Valkyries “God of War OST” (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Meze Audio 109 PRO impressed immediately with its lively and spacious presentation and with it’s the pretty natural instrument and vocal timbre. The 109 PRO shows nicely textured, fast and controlled bass response with decent level of depth and fullness. The midrange stands out with a transparent, natural and detailed character, while the treble range is able to produce an excellent sense of presence and brilliance along with a good grade of resolution and extension.
The Meze Audio 109 PRO review has been written after a burn-in period of about 120 hours. My sound impressions below are based on my impressions with the stock cable and with devices such like the iBasso DX170, iFi Audio Gryphon and FiiO K7.
The 50mm diameter Composite Diaphragm Dynamic Driver of the Meze Audio 109 PRO is able to produce deep and natural bass notes with a decent sense of texture and extension when called upon.
The subbass region of the 109 PRO has the ability to create an efficient level of depth and rumble without to lose the authority in this area. This was audible when I have listen to songs like Rok Nardin’s “Berserks”, Lorde’s “Royals” or Bear McCreary’s “Valkyries”. Instruments for example such like kick drums do sound quite punchy, while keyboards are reproduced with a good grade of depth.
The midbass region on the other hand is produced in a pretty tight, fast and controlled manner. Instruments are shown in general with a natural sense of body, depth and intensity.
String instruments like acoustic guitars and cellos do have a good level of fullness and weight, while percussions like snare and kick drums are impactful without to sound veiled or muddy, even in very complex bass passages. I have highly enjoyed the Meze Audio 109 PRO while listen to bands like Gogo Penguin and Alboran Trio where it has displayed complex contrabass notes in a pretty realistic and controlled manner.
What I really like about the midrange presentation of the 109 PRO is the excellent sense of transparency and airiness and the natural timbre of instruments and vocals. The spacious midrange atmosphere creates very good conditions while listen to songs like classical music, jazz and blues.
The midrange has a lightly warmer than neutral tonality that comes from the lower midrange that is shown with an efficient amount of body and fullness. Male vocals like Dave Gahan, David Bowie or Elton John are reproduced in a pretty realistic manner. Instruments on the other hand such like toms or acoustic guitars do have an above average body and fullness, while violins are mildly boomy. The general sense of depth and intensity and the grade of resolution and transparency are pretty good.
The upper midrange is nicely pronounced, detailed and dynamic, which makes the overall presentation quite musical and vibrant. Female vocals from Diana Krall and Adel to Edith Piaf and Sertap Erener are presented in a way that is lively and emotional, without to show a remarkable sense of sibilance or harshness. The upper midrange extension and resolution while listen to clarinets, bassoon or to pianos is excellent and it is really hard to find any remarkable negatives conditions in the midrange when I do listen to the 109 PRO, which makes it so special.
The Meze Audio 109 PRO has a pretty crisp, detailed and highly resolving treble tuning that shows a decent grade of extension. The general tonality of this area is in general relative bright, but also surprisingly fatigue free even after longer listening periods. The lower treble area is produced with a good sense of presence and the upper treble register creates a decent level of sparkle.
The 109 PRO offers an excellent performance in terms of extension, speed and resolution in this area, which was pretty audible while listening to instruments such like hi-hats, ride or crash cymbals. Instruments such like pianos in jazz music do sound nicely clean and detailed, with above average extension.
The lower treble region of the Meze Audio 109 PRO has a good level of clarity, fullness and authority, and the extension is also pretty successful while listen to percussions such like cymbals and snare drums or to soprano voices like such like Sertap Erener and Sonya Yoncheva. What I have also very enjoyed while listen to the 109 PRO was its general upper treble performance. The 109 PRO was able to create a decent sense of airiness, extension and sparkle, when I have listen to instruments such like a violin and piano.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The Meze Audio 109 PRO is headphone with a very airy and spacious presentation thanks to the well-adjusted Dynamic Driver and its open-back nature. The quite holographic soundstage atmosphere creates excellent conditions for a precise and realistic separation and placement between instruments and the vocals. The soundstage has an above average depth, height and wideness that I highly enjoyed, especially while listen to orchestral songs.
Meze Audio 109 PRO versus HiFiMAN Edition XS:
The HiFiMAN Edition XS is one of my favorite headphones when it comes to cost to performance ratio. However, it falls fairly short when it comes to the visual experience since it doesn’t has it doesn’t has the same premium look and feel that the Meze Audio 109 PRO offers. Both earphones do have an open-back design but the sound and noise leakage of in and out is much more audible when you switch to the Edition XS. The 109 PRO has the slightly edge when it comes to the comfort.
The HiFiMAN Edition XS is a relative easy to power headphone especially compared many other planar headphones on the market. However, the 109 PRO so easy to drive that makes the Edition XS feel a bit power hungry in direct comparison.
When it comes to the sound I can say that both headphones are excellent in this regarding. The Meze Audio 109 PRO shows a slightly warmer tonality and sounds also in general a bit fuller from the lows to the highs.
The subbass region of the HiFiMAN Edition XS lacks a bit in terms of depth and rumble that the Meze Audio 109 PRO has. Both do offers an excellent level of authority and resolution in this area, while the Edition XS has the slightly edge in terms of subbass decay. The midbass of the 109 PRO shows more depth and intensity. It is punchier than does of the Editions XS, while I do think that both are successful in terms of authority, layering and resolution.
The midrange of the Meze Audio 109 PRO has a tad warmer tonality than those of the HiFiMAN Edition XS. Both headphones stand out in terms of timbre, clarity and resolution, while the Edition XS has the slightly edge when it comes to the transparency in this area. Vocals and some instruments do sound more intimate and upfront when I do listen to the 109 PRO.
The lower midrange of the HiFiMAN Edition XS is missing some body and depth that the Meze Audio 109 PRO has when I do listen to male voices or to instruments such like pianos and violas. The upper midrange of 109 PRO sounds a bit more energetic and detailed than does of the 109 PRO when I do listen do to female voices or to strings and woodwinds.
The treble range of both headphones sounds pretty exciting, especially in terms of separation, extension and sparkle. However, the 109 PRO has the slightly edge when it comes to the clarity, extension and micro detail retrieval, while the difference is pretty low but audible.
Both the HiFiMAN Edition XS and the Meze Audio 109 PRO do offer a very spacious/open and airy soundstage atmosphere with excellent level of separation of instruments and vocals. The Editions XS has a slightly advantage when it comes to the depth and height of the stage, while both are pretty close in terms of soundstage wideness.
There are so many great things about the Meze Audio 109 PRO that do make it to a headphone that offers an outstanding grade of audio-visual experience. First, it has an impressive appearance thanks to the use of carefully assembled components with an excellent craftsmanship such like walnut wood, zinc alloy, manganese steel and vegan leather. But most impressive part is the sound of the 109 PRO, which mesmerized me with its technical capabilities and with its pretty lively and spacious presentation and its natural instrument and vocal timbre that can be listened for hours and hours without to get tired.
Pros & Cons:
- + Excellent Technical Performance
- + Natural Instrument & Vocal Timbre
- + Overall Clarity and Resolution
- + Very Airy and Spacious Soundstage Presentation
- + Easy to Power from Any Type of Source
- + Amazing Design & Premium Built Quality
- + EVA Protective Case looks Beautiful
- – No Balanced Cable (have to be purchased separately)
- – Stock Cables do feel a bit stiff
- – The entrance dimension of the ear-cup connectors are not compatible with some 3th party cables sockets
Thank you for the Read!