I know Sennheiser Hd600-660s series are pretty similar in that regard, most of it is replaceable and easy to take apart. Not to the extend of the Mezes, but yeah I agree with you.
I own the 660s but I am honestly contemplating whether these are just a straight upgrade at this point as it’s making me contemplate selling them
I would say if you are finding yourself not really needing the Senns for any specific reason then sell them. Personally the only need I see for owning a 660s is if you wanted an easier to drive portable 650s. Other than that, I don’t see a need for that specific headphone unless you really like its sound. In my mind, the reason to own a 6 series Senn is for that amazing midrange and beautification from tubes due to their high impedance. The 660s has half the impedance and is not as affected by tubes so their value (IMHO) definitely is lowered for that reason. I regret selling my 650s because I haven’t found something that does tubes as nice as it does yet. However that was very early on in my audio journey and I made an amateur “educated” decision selling them not understanding their importance and uniqueness. I hated their mostly plastic construction even though they were very light because of that. And I was upgrading to the Radiance so I figured why would I need this headphone anymore? I still miss it.
So TLDR: Even if the 109 may sound better to you or what not, which I’m sure it is! I cannot wait to get mine, don’t sell the 660s unless you know it’s not offering you any unique reason to keep it regardless of whatever shortcomings it may have.
That is something to take into account… 109 pro here is actually only 40 ohm impedance 112 db spl this thing doesn’t take much at all to power this doesn’t respond much to tubes
I usually put my Focals on tubes, things such as elex respond fairly positively in the low end with bass buttons such as IFI and some tubes. IIRC HD 650 responds more to tubes than the 660s as well so there is that since they are of different driver/impedance
I will say that the mids in the 660s are forward and overall sound is more intimate with rolling off on the treble as a more focus point but 109 pro in comparison is more energetic and much more spacious. My only complaints as of this point are the slight peak in that treble(I eq’d it back just a hair and this fixes this issue quite easily for me in the 10k range) and the pads themselves while comfortable they aren’t completely that suede type material as inside of the pads is leather instead so they are a hybrid designed pad… that leather likes to stick to my ear and build up a bit of heat… I have been curious to maybe try a beyerdynamic pad like the suedes from dekoni(heard some good things off reddit more so if you cut off the cloth covering the driver from the pad and in terms of material they feel extremely identical but meze has a very interesting foam here) or my ZMF beyer pads… but I took off the pad on these one time and it was a huge pain to actually get them back on lol
If I am being honest I would take the 109 pro over an Elex or OG clear… says a lot since I love those headphones… but 109 pro doesn’t have that thinner sound of the elex or metallics of the clear to my ear
Yeah I pretty much second everything you are saying. The fact that the 109s are easy enough to drive on almost everything was both a major selling point for myself and a negative as because of that I knew they were not going to be effected by tubes as much which is a shame. And on your note about the elex and clear, I think I’m in the same boat. If the elex is a budget clear from what I understand, then yes I agree. I’ve tried the clear and was impressed by its technicalities but just found it’s not what I’m looking for. I don’t want to analyze my music anymore at this point. I just want it to wow my and lull me into euphoria. Clear made me focus on the music too much. Again, not a bad thing, but not what I’m looking for anymore.
Hm, you’ll make it even more difficult now for me to decide between the 109 and clears , well think I’ll wait a bit and look for pad rolling experience with the 109 if they get a that less treble or find that punch I carve
as far as analytical nature goes I would probably take a DT 1990 or something like the Focal Clears among some other sets of cans for that as I don’t find these to tear apart music and point out their flaws as much as just being a musical headphone. While a bit bright too, it’s not too overwhelming either.
They definitely aren’t all that punchy in my opinion… they sound a bit stronger in the upper bass but not so much in the sub bass frequencies. It’s definitely a headphone I will encourage trying though as anybody I have told to listen to this so far really enjoys them. As for pads, I might get into it way later since I don’t feel like fighting with the original pads to get them back on… the pads from dekoni, zmf, etc for beyerdynamics and other brands of that sizing do seem to fit this headphone without much issue the issue with getting the original pads back on is that there is a plastic ring in the back of the pad that holds the foam in with the leather… on top of a tighter seal from the leather that goes inside the wood cups it’s a rather strange design to me
one of the reviews out there where someone removed an ear pad for these headphones. i’m sure there’s more reviewers that have done it, but with this knowledge, i’ll swap pads IFF i get the 109s, and dislike the treble.
so despite my decisions lol I tried to pad swap them… he didn’t try to swap them in the vid above but something I noticed when trying this is that dekonis pads from beyer are just a bit too wide and too much of a lip to properly attach to this headphone. Infact they are loose enough to slide off the headphone
while they technically fit I can’t really suggest a pad swap like this due to the strange design that is on this pad it needs to be tighter with less lip on the pads themselves to fit properly and as far as feel theres definitely a pretty large difference. Full suede pads seem to add more bass and less treble though turning it more warm than many likely would want(note: this change could be due to the dampener within the dekoni pad over the driver since the 109 pro does not have anything over the speakers but also these are a hybrid style pad ). Zmf pads from beyer just flat out won’t work due to there just being too much lip in the back of the pad to feasibly fit on the headphone… the portion that connects into the wood is rather shallow. As far as getting the pads on the plastic clear piece you see in the video above hugs against the leather of the pad lip making it relatively difficult at times to get the pads back on without issue such as the plastic getting caught in the wood or potentially even pulling the plastic out of the pad from overly stretching the pads. after switching it off and on a few times I got used to changing the pads but nothing I have here really properly fits this headphone
Place an edit, I think a larger concern over time may be that the pad also uses synthetic leather which can peel… considering the metal grating over this driver if the pads flake it can definitely get into that grating over the driver provided the pieces are small enough.
Secondary Edit after some use I guess… so after removing and tinker with the pads the stitching on these pads doesn’t seem to hold up either, got some white/grey showing on the pad slightly now(where the velour connects to the leather) so I guess caution is necessary?
Thank you for sacrificing some wear & tear of your stock pads, and trying out some pad swaps in my steed.
This was very valuable information, considering I like to swap pads often, and own quite a few Dekoni Beyer pads. I also have the ZMF pads for Beyer & Dekoni.
After reading your observations, I kinda feel like the shape of the 109’s cups are similar to the Sennheiser 600 series, but bigger.
The thing about the ZMF Sennheiser pads is the attaching mechanism is just a removable piece of plastic. That way, you can use the pads on headphones with more common designs.
Maybe if I had a 109 in-person, I could check to see if the fenestrated sheepskin could fit & tame the treble.
They are indeed, the issue I am seeing is they are a larger oval shape while also require a shallow lipped pad to properly seal to the headphone. All of this ontop of a unique type hybrid pad combination between an extremely soft velour and pleather interior so pad changing in any shape or form seems to change the sound by quite a bit… the closest I seem to get to stock is full suede or suede hybrid(suede hybrid is quite a bit warmer though). I don’t feel like cutting the cloths off my dekoni suede to check the sound on those though
I have both zmf beyer and sennheiser and neither fit, beyer are too wide with too much on the lip and sennheiser are just not wide enough. Honestly, I think we would have to wait till dekoni or someone makes pads for this like the meze 99s. The beyer side pads will still fit but are too loose
Fenestrated sheepskin or a perf suede may work well if we had a pad swap to go with.
How wide are you talking about, because I luckily stumbled upon some Shure pads from Dekoni.
They seem like a Sennheiser pad, but has the width it lacks.
However, I think it might have too much material on the sleeve for the lip.
Idk if they will be thick enough to match the stock pad’s clamp though.
Pulled the pad off to take some measurements…
The pads on these measure around 90mm(getting 92mm when I measure) in total width with the internal being 44mm wide 63mm tall. pad thickness is 25mm
Those pads for the Shure should fit but the lip on them looks to be too much… theres only around 6mm or around 1/4th an inch of lip on the back of the pad shown in the image here.
to be fair I think that would be a big concern is the pad thickness… as at 25mm the stock pads have that perfect fit type feel… but any less than that and the lighter clamp may be too much
Does anyone own the 109 Pro and the LCD-X 2021?
I own the LCD-X 2021. Really enjoy them, especially with EQ. I know Resolve and others say the 2021 version doesn’t need EQ, and I agree. Improved stock tuning. But it’s still considerably better with EQ, like most Audezes.
Anyways, I like most things about the LCD-X 2021 except for one: It’s a clear window, not a tinted piece of glass. The LCD-X gives you the recording as it was intended, especially with EQ. Excellent tonality and technicality, but something feels missing even though I find the sound much thicker and enjoyable than the Edition XS, for example. The LCD-X is a terrific microscope but doesn’t really make the music come alive.
In my headphone journey, I’m learning I don’t mind a bit of coloring to a sonic signature if it lets me lose myself in the music first and then absorb the detail second. The inverse seems to happen with me with the LCD-X 2021.
How does the 109 Pro stack up in that equation?
Please, please, please respond only if you’ve owned or had extensive listening time with both. I know there are a lot of 109 Pro fans in this thread, and I greatly appreciate their enthusiasm and knowledge. But I seek a true comparison around my stated parameters, not further affirmation of what appears to be a terrific headphone in the 109 Pro.
If you don’t mind a 2019 revision LCDX opinion, the 109 is going to be a bit brighter on the top end out of the box and sound a little more natural due to having slower decay than a planar. 2 great headphones that would compliment each other and I probably wouldn’t give up one for the other just my 2 cents.
TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Meze 109 Pro
The Meze 109 Pro have been sent to me on loan by DeCine, the official distributor for Meze in Spain. DeCine don’t sell direct so I have left a link to the official Meze page for these headphones on my blog. As always, DeCine has not made any specific requests and my review will aim to be as unbiased and sincere as humanly possible.
I got to try out the Meze 109 Pro, powered by the Feliks Audio Envy, last year and the 20 minutes or so I spent with them left me wanting to try them again ever since. So when DeCine reached out and asked if I would like to review them, I jumped at the chance.
Sometimes we will try something out for a brief period and form a first impression (good or bad) that may change when we get to spend more time with them. In the case of the 109 Pro, the first impression was very good and except for one set up (that I have mentioned plenty of times in the past), these were the most interesting headphones that I got to try out at the High End show.
Also, my setup is a little more modest than the setup in the Meze listening room, which probably added up to at least ten times the price of the headphones (or more), so I am happy to be able to get a more “real world” (for me at least) experience than that brief period.
The 109 Pro use a 50mm Beryllium coated polymer and cellulose-carbon fiber composite dynamic driver. This is mounted with a copper-zinc stabilizing ring and which serves to reduce distortion, at least according to the Meze literature. This is actually the first open back dynamic driver headphone by Meze, coming in at just a little under 800€, which is certainly not cheap but is quite a lot less than some of the flagship models from the same brand.
So, let’s take a look at how all of this translates into my personal use case and what I think of the Meze 109 Pro after being able to put it through its paces for a more extended period.
The presentation of the 109 Pro is simple but elegant, arriving in a black box that opens to reveal the transport/storage case, inside of which we find the contents.
Those contents are the headphones, 2 unbalanced cables (one is 1.5m and the other is 3m long), a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter, a storage bag for the cables and of course the EVA molded case which is of very good quality.
Underneath the case, we also get a nice booklet that speaks in depth about the headphones and the properties I already mentioned above (with much better detail of course).
Build and aesthetics…
Meze makes some of the most beautiful, well built and comfortable headphones I have ever had the pleasure of trying and the 109 Pro are no exception.
Starting off with the build, they use a combination of Walnut, Zinc, Manganese Steel and vegan leather. All of these are of high quality and assembled in a way that leaves no doubt that these are a very well built set of headphones. They are also very proud to announce that these headphones are meant to last and every part of them can be dismantled and serviced if the need should arise.
The aesthetics play with the wood and copper highlights on black steel, which really stand out and give the headphones a look that is elegant and places them as a premium set of headphones. Obviously aesthetics are a very personal thing but there is no denying that Meze has paid attention to each small detail, even to the point of the copper on the back of the drivers being visible through the grill matching the highlights found on the headband, or the internal grilles that also match etc.
While the build is very good and the aesthetics look great (in my opinion of course), when it comes to comfort, these are in a league of their own!
Using a simple dual steel headband, the 109 Pro have a padded strap that is mounted on an auto adjusting system that makes them seem to float on the head. These are not really a heavy set of headphones anyway, but once they are on my head, they all but disappear. In fact, I even found myself forgetting I was wearing them when between calls and forgetting to press play on the music
I admit that it is winter, which makes it much easier for me to wear headphones for an extended period of time (as we are not getting temperatures of over 40ºC every day) but these are still the most comfortable set of headphones that I have worn for a very long time, maybe only second to the Koss KPH40 (which are obviously not a rival in any other category).
My only complaint would be with the cables. They are nowhere near the worst cables I have received with headphones but they are quite rubbery and do seem to have a bit of a life of their own. As they have been coiled (this is a demo unit, so I am not sure how long they have been stored inside the bag/box), they have memorized the coil shape and have a habit of springing to that shape.
This is obviously a minor complaint in comparison to the great aesthetics and amazing build quality of the headphones.
All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)
For those that just want the TLDR (and didn’t just watch the TLDR on YouTube), these are the dynamic driver headphones that I have most enjoyed to date. I don’t think they work for all genres but for 80% of my preferred music, I would be quite happy to have these as my only set (although I would probably suffer from planar withdrawal ).
Ok, so, knowing that I am going to praise these headphones, let’s go through the usual steps and test tracks, doing my best to point out why I like these for so many things and what I feel are the weaker points.
Starting off with the usual look at the graph:
Seeing that I haven’t gotten around to coming up with a personal preference target for over ears, I have included the HD6XX as a reference point but I have also included one of my favourite planar headphones, the Arya v3 (SE), as another reference point.
Starting off, as always, with the lowest frequencies, the extension into the subbass range is very good, with no perceived roll off at all. I find that they reach way down into the depths of “Chameleon”, presenting the rumble in a way that is certainly present but not boosted. In fact, I find that the low ranges of the 109 Pro are very planar like in their presence but have more of a smooth timbre than the somewhat cold timbre that is found commonly on planar headphones.
That is not to say that they are warm, I do not find the bottom ranges of these headphones to seemingly add any warmth at all, it is more about the way that the bass is reproduced that is more “normal” than that of the planar alternatives. As I have mentioned before, I play bass (although not very much recently) and dynamic drivers just seem “right” to me when reproducing those bass guitar notes, probably due to being what I have been used to for so long. When listening to some of my tracks, while there is no additional presence over something like the Arya SE, it does come across as smoother and more natural to my ears.
I wouldn’t say that the bass is quite as detailed as on some other alternatives but it is nicely balanced and things like “Elephants on Ice Skates” I find to have a very natural timbre to the bass guitar.
I don’t think that these would be the first choice for someone who is more into EDM than acoustic, I feel that “No Sanctuary Here”, although the bass is nicely balanced, may be lacking a bit of additional boost for those who listen mainly to this genre.
The mids are very well balanced, with acoustic instruments sounding very clear and realistic, keeping lower percussive hits well clear of interfering with any of the mid centric playing. The same goes for vocals, with the various voices of The Fairfield Four harmonizing in “These Bones” without ever getting in each other’s way. The lower tones of the deeper voice could possibly benefit from a little more warmth but that is more of something I am used to with dynamic drivers than anything wrong per se.
Even the climb to the 3k mark is very similar on the Meze to the Hifiman offerings, something that I have found over time that I really like. It brings vocals forward but does not make them harsh or nasal, something that I have found to be the case with other sets that attempt a similar tuning.
The treble extension is good, with a nice sensation of air and openness which I find very impressive. Some people may find them to be a little overly present in the upper ranges but that is not the case for me, I like the presence and find that they deal very well with these higher frequencies.
My usual sibilance test with “Code Cool” places Patricia Barbers just about where I would expect her to be, in comparison with what I hear on my speaker set ups of choice, maybe with just a tiny hint more. In other words, her vocals are just slightly over the verge of sibilance. If I go back to my usual non-scientific -12 to +12 scale for sibilance, I would maybe place her somewhere between the 0 and +1 mark.
Paul Simon’s “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes” basically confirms (to me) the same result with his vocals just edging into sibilance.
Details are also impressive on the 109 Pro, making everything sound detailed and complete but without pushing those details at you. Where some sets of headphones can push details in a way that can create a “wow” factor upon first listen and then become tiring over extended periods, that is not the case here. All details are nicely presented and not overly exaggerated.
Soundstage is very good, with a nice wide feel to it, and image placement is excellent. Everything is in its place, with plenty of space between things like the vocal layers in “Strange Fruit” or the main hit of the guitar body and the reverb in “All Your Love Turned to Passion”.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, when I first tried the Meze 109 Pro, I was impressed but I really wanted to spend more time with them to see if it really was a set that I would enjoy over extended periods or if it was just the initial impression. After spending this time with them, I have to say that I am just as impressed now as I was then.
I would describe the 109 Pro as a set of headphones that is very good for almost anything you throw at it, at least with my personal preference as far as tuning. It is not a set of headphones that is aimed at those that like a large presence in the bass area and I could see some people maybe finding it a little too hot in the upper ranges. But again, for my preferences, I find it a very enjoyable set of headphones.
As a fan of the Hifiman sound, I find that the 109 Pro gives the same sort of general tuning, maybe with a little less speed, yet with a touch of that dynamic driver sound that just seems natural. I understand that for many, planars are an acquired taste and here Meze gives you a dynamic driver option for a very reasonable price, especially factoring in aesthetics and build quality etc.
I also found that the Meze 109 Pro are not very picky about what they are powered by. I tried them on all kinds of set ups and while I really enjoyed them on the Echo Mk2 (not quite an Envy but still has that Feliks flavour ), I found that they were just as good powered by things like the Gryphon (used for this review) or the Asgard 3. They even sound good powered by the iFi Uno.
If you are someone who enjoys a nicely balanced sound and are looking for an all-rounder set of headphones without getting into 4 digits, then I think that the Meze 109 Pro should be high on the list of candidates to try out.
Hmm, the stock pads for these don’t appear to be on the store for Meze… anybody know where we can go to get an extra pair of pads?
Zeos talked about it in another review, apparently Mimic audio was trying to get them for sale with Meze.
Any updates on that @ZeosPantera?
Meze Audio 109Pro Pads (preorder) Mimic has them for $80. Won’t be shipping for a bit but thats the pre-order page.