Meze Audio ADVAR IEM Review
Meze Audio ADVAR IEM Review
Meze Audio was founded by Antonio Meze in 2009 in Baia Mare, Romania, who was looking for a pair of headphones that he could connect to in the same way that he felt connected to his Fender Stratocaster guitar. The real breakthrough year for Meze was 2015 with the release of the Meze 99 Classics.
The ADVAR is Meze Audio’s latest flagship dynamic diver IEM, which has a diameter of 10.2mm that is located inside a Stainless Steel material with a shape that has been inspired from the rounded surface of raw hematite and intricate curves sculpted with care.
ADVAR was similar to a talisman or amulet believed to be all powerful; it was a symbol of the absolute meant to bring blessing to those who wear it.
I would like to thank Meze Audio for providing me the ADVAR 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 ADVAR is 699 €. More details can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The Meze ADVAR came inside a very stylish looking black box in form of a cube, which has some product related brandings and symbols in gold colour that represents the “hora”, a traditional dance that carries a cosmic symbolism to Romanians.
Inside the box are the following items/accessories:
- 1 x pair of Meze ADVAR In-Ear Monitor
- 1 x Detachable SPC (Silver Plated Copper) Cable with 3.5mm Jack and MMCX connectors
- 5 x pairs of (SS, S, M, L, XL sizes) Final Audio Type-E Ear Tips
- 1 x MMCX Removal Tool
- 1 x Cleaning Tool
- 1 x Protective Hard Case
- 1 x Print Material
The ADVAR came with 5 pairs of Final Audio Type-E silicone ear tips in 5 different sizes, which are SS, S, M, L, XL.
The protective EVA case that we have seen on previous products such like the RAI Penta and RAI Solo looks very stylish and is of high quality. On the top of the case is the Meze Audio logo which is made of metal.
The Cleaning Tool and the MMCX removal tool are also some nice addition.
Design & Build Quality:
The Meze ADVRA is a beautiful looking Universal In-Ear Monitor with a very premium look and feel. The shell is made from rigid Stainless Steel material, which has a shape inspired from the rounded surface of raw hematite and intricate curves. The surface of the monitors has a colour combination of Gold and Black Chrome plating.
On the from of the monitor is circular plate that has a inward folded curved shape with a small opening that is dedicated for the 10.2mm diameter Single Dynamic Driver unit. The circular area sports the Meze Audio branding, and the letters “Designed in Baia Mare Romania”.
On the top of the monitor shell is the MMCX female connector that offers a tight and secure fit with the male connector on the detachable cable.
At the rear part of the monitor is the slightly angled sound nozzles that do have a fine woven metal mesh which should avoid the insertion of unwanted particles like dust, ear wax, etc.
On the rear surface of the monitor is the Meze Audio Logo in gold color.
The overall build quality of the monitor shell is very robust same like previous products of the company, thanks to the stainless steel material and the great craftsmanship.
Detachable SPC Cable:
The ADVAR comes with a detachable cable with a twisted profile. The 130cm long cable is made of a 4 core Silver Plated Copper (SPC) wire material which is protected with a transparent plastic insulation.
The detachable cable features MMCX male connectors which are protected with a transparent plastic housing that do have Left (blue) & Right (red) ring indicators.
The cable sports also a plastic Y splitter and a chin slider with Meze Audio logos & brandings.
The 3.5mm (TRS) headphone jack has a straight profiled metal headphone housing that has the Meze brand logo on the top.
The overall build quality of the cable is pretty good and shows low level of microphonic effect.
Fit & Isolation:
The Meze ADVAR offers a pretty comfortable thanks to its sinuous shaped design that also helps to enhance the noise isolating properties of the earphone, which is on an efficient level for the use in relative noisy environments like the bus, metro or train.
- Driver : 10.2mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response : 10 Hz – 30 kHz
- Impedance : 31 Ω (Ohm)
- SPL : 111dB/mW
- Distortion : <1% at 1mW/1kHz
Paring & Drivability:
The Meze Audio ADVAR is a relative easy to drive In-Ear Monitor thanks to its impedance of 32Ω and low sensitivity about 111dB, which makes it compatible with relative weak sources like a USB Dongles or Smartphone’s and Tablet that do have a 3.5mm headphone output.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : Meze Audio ADVAR, Final Audio B1, Metalure WAVE
- DAP/DAC : iBasso DX320, FiiO M11 Plus, 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)
- 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.B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- No Doubt – Hella Good (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- 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)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Meze Audio ADVAR comes with a nicely balanced sound profile that has a tad warmer than neutral tonality. The overall presentation shows an impressive sense of clarity and airiness, along with an excellent level of resolution that was audible from the lows up to the higher frequency area.
The Meze Audio ADVAR has been written after a burn-in period of about 70 hours. I have used the Final Type-E Silicone Tips and the stock Silver Plated Copper cable that came toghether with the monitors.
The Meze Audio ADVAR offers a pretty controlled subbass response along with a decent grade of depth and rumble when called upon. It is not overwhelming and the sense of clarity and resolution is on an excellent level. What I also relay like about the subbass performance of the ADVAR is the decay that is pretty natural when I listen to songs like Portishead’s “It Could Be Sweet” or Massive Attack’s “Angle”.
The Meze Audio ADVAR pretty balanced and clean midbass character that doesn’t shows any remarkable negative conditions such like any muddiness or midbass hump when I do listen to bass heavy genres or passages in a song. The emphasis of this area is on an efficient level, which is never dominant in the general presentation. The midbass presentation of the ADVAR stands out in terms of speed, controlled and attack, when I do listen for example, to percussions like cross, double cross or snare drums.
The lower frequency of the Meze Audio ADVAR shows a decent sense of layering and the quick, tight and controlled response makes it to a highly detailed In-Ear Monitor in this area.
The Meze Audio ADVAR has a natural and balanced midrange presentation and shows a mildly warm and pretty organic tonality in this area. The overall sense of transparency and spaciousness are on an excellent level and one of the highlights in this area. Male vocals are shown with a good level of depth, while female vocals are reproduced in a pretty lively and detailed manner. Instruments on the other hand are reproduced in a quite lush and musical way that I highly enjoyed.
The lower midrange of the Meze Audio ADVAR is in harmony with the lower frequency area and shows a nicely balanced and natural character. The depth and intensity of the lower midrange is on an adequate level, while the sense of warmth and fullness when I do listen to male vocals like Barry White and Isaac Hayes is decent.
The upper midrange of the ADVAR is nicely pronounced, highly detailed and transparent, while the grade of clarity and resolution is on an excellent level. Female vocals are reproduced in a quite realistic, lively/vivid and effortless manner, while the grade of detailed retrieval and realism when I do listen to Dionne Warwick, Adel or Aretha Franklin is breathtaking.
When it comes to the instrument presentation in this area, I can say that the ADVAR shows a mildly warm, pretty natural and musical instrument tonality, along with a realistic amount of body and depth created in the lower midrange register. The timbre of instruments is neither too analytical nor too dry, while the level of airiness, resolution and clarity in stunning.
The treble range of the Meze Audio ADVAR shows fairly pronounced character with focal point in the lower treble region. The general tonality in this area goes towards mildly warm, while the level of extension, the sense of clarity and resolution are outstanding. The transitions towards the lower treble area are in general fairly controlled, when instruments do play at high level of distortion. You can hear a little bit of sibilance and sharpness around the 6 kHz region, especially while listen to poor recorded metal songs (for example Metallica’s Death Magnetic album), which is an issue that can be quite easily solved when you use the right ear tips with a proper fit.
The lower treble tuning of the ADVAR adds the overall presentation an outstanding sense of clarity and decent grade of definition. The extension and resolution in the lower treble region is above average, which is another highlight of the Meze Audio ADVAR. The lower treble range is slightly more pronounced compared to the upper treble register. It shows an audible peak around the 6 – 7 kHz region, which drops towards the upper treble register in a fast but controlled manner.
Instruments from percussions such like snare drums and cymbals are reproduced in a pretty controlled, detailed and well extending way. Other instruments like pianos or human vocals such like soprano voices do sound pretty realistic and sparkling. The grade of airiness and sparkle crated in the upper treble register is on an adequate level.
Soundstage & Imaging:
Soundstage and Imaging are one of the main highlights that the Meze Audio ADVAR offers. There is a great sense of space and airiness that creates ideal conditions for a pretty successful separation and accurate placement of both instruments and vocals. The stage shows an above average depth and wideness, which is the main reason fro the excellent 3D like holographic presentation of the ADVAR that I highly enjoyed.
Meze Audio ADVAR versus Metalure WAVE:
Both the Metalure WAVE and the Meze Audio ADVAR do come with a single dynamic driver configuration that is located in a solid metal housing. The WAVE is larger and heavier compared to the ADVAR. The ADVAR offers more comfortable fit and better passive noise isolation. The overall construction of both IEM’s is on a decent level.
When it comes to the sound, I can say that the Metalure WAVE shows a warmer and softer tonality compared to the Meze Audio ADVAR, while both IEM’s are successful in terms of musicality. Both the subbass and midbass regions of the WAVE has more depth, sounds more dense and full-bodied, while the ADVAR is the clear winner when it comes to the technical performance such like layering, resolution, decay and control.
The midrange of the Metalure WAVE shows a warmer tonality and fuller presentation that is quite forward, compared to the Meze Audio ADVAR, which comes with a more natural, balanced and spacious tuning. Male vocals do sound slightly more successful with the WAVE, because of the more pronounced lower midrange tuning that creates additional depth and fullness, while the ADVAR has the advantage hen it comes to the clarity and resolution in this area.
The upper midrange and treble regions of the Meze Audio ADVAR is more energetic and lively compared to does of the Metalure WAVE, which shows a smoother and relaxed tuning. The ADVAR has the upper hand when it comes to the clarity and resolution in both the upper midrange and lower treble area, while the difference in upper treble region is not that high but audible. The upper midrange and lower treble region of the WAVE sounds a bit more controlled, while the extension is a bit short.
The Meze Audio ADVAR has a more holographic and expansive soundstage atmosphere, with better level of airiness and transparency, which creates better conditions for a precise placement and separation of instruments and vocals.
Meze Audio ADVAR versus Final Audio B1:
The Final Audio B1 is similar price In-Ear Monitor that features a 1BA + 1DD hybrid driver configuration that is located inside a very robust and premium looking metal shell, same like the Meze Audio ADVAR. Both IEM’s do offer a pretty similar fit, comfort and passive noise isolation performance. The Final Audio B1 is a much more power hungry IEM that needs a good source to show its true potential, while the Meze Audio ADVAR is relative easy to drive from a USB DAC/AMP dongle.
The Final Audio B1 has a tad warmer tonality, with higher sense of overall coloration. The Meze Audio ADVAR sounds more balanced and natural.
The subbass region of the ADVAR shows a slightly better level of depth and is superior in terms of authority, control and decay in this area. The midbass area of the Final Audio B1 is more pronounced, full-bodied and impactful, while it can’t hold up with the Meze Audio ADVAR when it comes to the level of control and resolution in this area.
The midrange of the Final Audio B1 has a tad warmer tonality and shows a slightly higher sense of coloration in this are. The Meze Audio ADVAR on the other hand has a more natural, transparent and airy presentation in this area. The lower midrange of the B1 has slightly more body and depth, while the ADVAR has a closer to neutral tuning. ADVAR has also the slightly edge when it comes to the clarity and detail retrieval of the upper midrange region.
Both the Final Audio B1 and the Meze Audio ADVAR do over a fairly controlled and detailed treble presentation, when you use the right ear tips. The lower treble region of the ADVAR is more accented, shows a better sense of clarity and micro detail retrieval. The Final Audio B1 on the other hand has an audible peak around the 8 kHz region that offers a slightly better sense of upper treble extension and resolution.
Both the Final Audio B1 and the Meze Audio ADVAR are quite successful IEM’s when it comes to the soundstage performance. However, Meze Audio ADVAR offers more spacious and airy atmosphere with better sense of soundstage wideness, while the Final Audio B1 has the slightly edge when it comes to the depth of the stage.
The Meze Audio ADVAR is an excellent looking and sounding Single Dynamic Driver IEM that immediately impressed with its esthetical design and with its detailed, spacious and balanced sound profile, which is ideal for listen to a wide variety of music genres. Furthermore, it comes bundled with a beautiful leather case and useful additions such like an MMCX and cleaning tool. All this features do make the ADVAR to one of my most favorite Single Dynamic Driver IEM’s that I highly recommend below the 1000 US$ price range.
Pros & Cons:
- + Natural & Balanced Sound Profile
- + Fast, Controlled and Well Layered Lows
- + Clarity and Resolution of the Midrange
- + General Treble Tuning
- + Airy and Spacious Soundstage
- + Overall Design & Build Quality
- + Great Looking Protective Hard Case & Lots of Accessories
- – Tips Depended Treble Performance
- – Balanced Cable has to be purchased separately
- – No Modular Headphone Plug Design
Thank you for the Read!