Review - Myer Audio CKLVX D41

Review - Meze Audio Liric 2

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Meze Audio Liric 2

The Meze Liric II have been sent to me by DeCine who are the official distributor for Meze Audio here in Spain. They reached out and asked if I would like to try them out and, with my past experiences with Meze, I was of course very eager to do so.

I have received no requests or comments and I will do my usual best to be as unbiased as humanly possible.

The official page for the Meze LIRIC II can be found here: https://mezeaudio.com/products/liric

As with all links I share, this is a non-affiliate link.

To avoid being repetitive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews

Intro…

I really don’t think that Meze Audio need any kind of introduction to the headphone crowd. They are a brand that is well known and when I was asked about trying out the LIRIC II, I already knew that three things would be certain with a Meze headphone: 

Good aesthetics

Good build quality

Good comfort

That has been my experience with all the headphones I have tried from the brand in the past and I had absolutely no reason to doubt that these wouldn’t be the same.

Coming in at around $2000, the price tag is obviously not cheap but there is no doubt that the quality of the product received reflects the premium level of both the price and the build.

I am not going to list the specs as they are readily available on the official page I linked above so I will just dive straight into the review and try not to ramble on too much, although I can’t promise anything 😉


Presentation…

As with all the Meze products I have had the pleasure of receiving in the past, the packaging is elegant and of good quality, giving that premium feel from the moment you start to open the box.

A brown cardboard box with the Meze logo opens to reveal the product box, which is grey with some elegant artwork on it. Removing this outer card box reveals a black hard finished box that sports a softer top with the Liric logo in a copper colour.

Opening this box, we find the hardshell storage case which is molded to the headphone shape, with the Meze logo badge, which matches other hardshell cases we have received from the brand in the past. 

Inside the storage case, which has a soft finish to it, we find the headphones along with a drawstring bag that contains both the balanced and unbalanced cables that are included, at least with the set I have received.

The whole unboxing experience really gives off a sensation of being a premium package and that a lot of care has been taken both to protect the headphones in shipping and to make the experience special.


Build and aesthetics…

I have yet to hold a set of Meze headphones that didn’t feel well built and the Liric 2 is absolutely no different. The same goes for aesthetics, which are obviously a personal taste but there can be no doubt that, just with a quick glance, we are looking at an amazingly well built set of headphones that has had a lot of thought put into the aesthetics.

Now, the aesthetics are not new, they match the original Liric and also share many similarities with other Meze models, such as the Empyrean for example, but that does not take away from the attention spent on each minute detail. The more you look at these headphones, the more you will notice that each small part is of great quality and has been thought through both from an aesthetical and a functional point of view.

The headband is a simple metal band which has been surrounded by leather, with the Liric logo on the top and soft breathable padding underneath. This is connected to the cups by means of  copper rod, something we see a lot on Meze headphones, that allows adjustment in both height and swivel.

The rod is in turn connected to the yoke that connects to the actual cups, this time in black metal, allowing angling of the cups on the vertical plane. The surrounding of the cups is of the same black metal, with a textured finish and a dark wood exterior cup featuring a small copper ventilation port. Even the ventilation port is not just a small round hole, it has a design to the opening, showing once again the care to each small detail.

The pads are attached magnetically to the inside of the cups, meaning the are very easily removed yet the magnets are strong enough to hold them in place for them not to move unless you really want to remove them. Removing the pads lets us see the Isodynamic Array that is the driver set up of the Liric.

You may have guessed that I am a fan of the aesthetics. I honestly feel that Meze make some of the most beautiful headphones out there and while there are other modeles from the brand that I find even more aesthetically pleasing, the Liric really do come across as being something special.

Another thing I find with Meze is that their headphones are usually amongst the most comfortable headphones. In the case of the Liric II, they have infinite adjustments that means you can find whatever works best for you, however, I did find it more complicated to get them to sit on my head properly in comparison to their other models.

I found that the headphones had a tendency to tip forwards and while I could get them to sit fine (and not move even when I moved), they just don’t feel like they are sitting at a 100% natural position to me personally. Each time I removed the headphones and put them back on, it would take me a few attempts to get them to seat correctly and while they are comfortable once in position, again, they just don’t feel like they are in the most natural of positions for me personally.

Of course, I am the only one with my head, so this is only 100% relevant to me and I really don’t have any complaints about it. In fact, in the build and aesthetics category, these are nothing less than a 10/10 for me personally.


Sound…

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.)

I honestly can’t remember what I felt about the the original Liric as far as sound. I know I got to try them out briefly at some point but I really can’t remember what I thought of them sound wise.

What I can say is that, up until the 109 Pro, my general feeling for Meze headphones was that they sounded warm and lush, which is not really my favourite sound as far as headphones go. I do enjoy that sound signature on occasions, when I am just sitting back and relaxing, but it is not really my “go to” when choosing a preferred signature.

That was until the 109 Pro, which was a set of headphones that I put on and thought, “wow, these are not what I expected from Meze!”. As you already know, if you have followed my reviews at all, I am a big fan of the 109 Pro, which I stated as my favourite product under 1000€ on Acho Reviews last year. When I received the Liric, I was wondering if they were going to lean more towards the Empyrean style of tuning or the 109 Pro style of tuning and I guess the answer is both but neither.

Of course, that makes no sense, so let’s do my usual walk through of the conclusions I have come to while using my test track list for detailed listening but first, as usual, lets take a quick glance at the graph:


Here is the Liric II compared to the HD6XX, the set that I usually reference on over ear graphs just for a well known comparison point.


Here they are in comparison to the 109 Pro, both measured by me on my rig.

And finally, as I don’t have a measurement of the Empyreans on my own rig, here is a comparison of the Liric II and the Emperyean, both measured by Super* Review:


Now, with the squiggly lines out of the way, let’s talk about my own personal subjective opinions, where any relevance to the squiggles above may be pure coincidence 😉

But before I continue, there is something that I haven’t mentioned, the fact that this is a closed back headphone. You might think that I am crazy but I honestly forgot totally about this headphone being a closed back. It wasn’t until after doing my detailed listening tests and making notes that it suddenly dawned on me, I hadn’t once taken the closed aspect into consideration.

Based on my past experiences, I will usually make comments such as “good xxxx for a closed back”, or “to say this is a closed back”, or other similar thoughts that pass through my mind. The fact that I spent a week listening to these headphones and then did my detailed listening without factoring in that part of the equation, I think points to the fact that we are talking about a very good set of closed back headphones.

I will maybe put this into perspective a little more when I get to the conclusion, if I remember, but for now let’s go through my usual procedure and opinions on sound.

Starting off with the subbass, using my obligatory “Chameleon”. There is a good extension down into the subbass although I don’t find it to be a set that presents a lot of rumble. With “No Sanctuary Here” the bass is actually quite tame, not lacking, just polite. This makes for a very clean low end that doesn’t get in the way of the rest of the music while still feeling like it is a part of the whole.

Many (most?) closed back headphones that have a decent presence of bass seem to suffer from what feels like reflections of bass notes, making things seem slow in their response. I also find that a lot of closed backs try to remedy this by adding a dip after the bass which, to my ears, makes it feel as though the bass is disconnected from the rest of the frequency ranges. With the Liric II, while there is no doubt that the lower notes of “Chameleon” are there, there is a shelf as we move into the midbass which means that the midbass doesn’t pile on top of the lowest notes and keeps things from becoming uncontrolled. At the same time, there is no dip after the bass, which stops me from getting the sensation that the bass and the rest are coming from different places.

Although the Liric II are not a basshead set, I would still class them as bassy, just in a good way. Clean, controlled and well defined, all without saying “for a closed back” 😉

The midrange of these headphones is very detailed yet smooth at the same time. The timbre of instruments in these ranges are very enjoyable. In tracks like “Jack Of Speed”, all of the instruments just click with each other, being easily trackable on their own but forming an overall mix that sounds smooth and cohesive.

With “Whole Lotta Love” I found that, although there is no emphasis on the midbass, the bass guitar still came across with the warmth and body it needs, with the guitar being present but not overpowering. The same can be said from “The Room”, where the Liric II performs very well with the busy track, keeping the details easily identifiable and not focusing on any specific instrument or vocal. In fact, I think this has been one of my favourite presentations of this track, at least in my recent memory.

Moving into the upper mids and lower treble, here is where things can go slightly off track, the extent depending on the source used for the headphones. I found that sometimes things could become a little harsh in these regions, with certain amplifiers making it more noticeable than others.

As far as portable sources go, the Gryphon was really a step above the others I have available as far as keeping that harshness in check. In fact, I really liked the Gryphon with these headphones, something that I really can’t say about other portable sources I have on hand. As far as desktop devices, while I liked the Earmen stack, I really found that the best pairings for me personally were the EF400 and the Feliks Audio Echo 2. 

With other amplifiers, even those that I consider rather smooth such as the Asgard 3, I found that there was just too much harshness in those upper mids / lower treble. The same with the Burson Playmate 2.

While I always say that the differences in sources are usually minimal (unless something is wrong) and that reviewers (me included) have a habit of over exaggerating the differences to get our point across, I am still someone who firmly believes in synergy and there is no doubt (to me) that the enjoyment of the Liric II increases a lot when the source does not emphasize those upper mids/lower treble.

As we move into the upper ranges, there is a lovely sensation of extension and clarity but without being overly bright. Again, the choice of source made a rather large impact on the treble, although not to the extent of the ranges I just spoke about, but when paired with the correct source, the treble can be very very good.

As far as soundstage, it is also pretty decent. It is not a huge stage but it is more than enough to give a pleasurable experience with good image placement throughout. The accuracy is good, things like “Bubbles” are impressive, while binaural recordings such as “La Luna” give a nice sensation of depth between the instruments. The layers of vocals in “Strange Fruit” are also separated well while maintaining a very nice texture to the voices.


Conclusion…

The Liric II is a very impressive set of headphones and I am not using the term “for a closed back”. If we do put them in comparison with other closed backs, then I can’t think of a pair that I have heard that I feel is superior to these.

The build is amazing, as with all Meze, the aesthetics are great, as with all Meze, and the comfort is good, just a little difficult to get the correct placement (at least for me personally). The unboxing experience and contents make you feel like you are receiving a premium set of headphones and that is exactly what you are getting.

If you are on the search for a set of closed back headphones, then I think it will be difficult to find something that performs as well as this, no matter the price point. If you are looking for a set of headphones in general, not specifically closed backs, then I still think that the Liric II is something that is worth considering in its price point, as you really do get a very good set of headphones.


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