Meze 109 Pro: a successful design and great musicality

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Mis à jour le 2 November 2022.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones are the Romanian specialist’s first open-back dynamic model and have inherited the wooden earcups of the iconic Meze 99 Classics and Meze 99 Neo in an open design inspired by the prestigious Meze Empyrean and Meze Empyrean Elite. These headphones feature new 1.9” transducers whose beryllium and carbon fiber diaphragms presage an excellent musical performance. But are they as musical and successful as the other models from the Romanian manufacturer? 

The Meze 109 Pro headphones take the design of the legendary Meze 99 Classics and combine it with an open-back configuration for even greater musicality.

Meze 109 Pro: packaging and accessories

The Meze 109 Pro headphones do away with the prestigious metal briefcase of the Meze Empyrean and Meze Empyrean Elite in favor of rigid packaging that opens up like a box of chocolates, similar to that of the Meze Liric. Inside, the Meze 109 Pro headphones are placed in their case, the interior of which is covered with a soft suede-like fabric. An imitation leather pouch holds the accessories, which include two 3.5mm mini-jack cables (1.5m and 3m). There is also a mini-jack to 6.35mm jack adapter.

The Meze 109 Pros come with a carry case, two 3.5mm mini-jack cables and a 3.5mm mini-jack to 6.35mm jack adapter.

Meze 109 Pro: presentation

Design 

The heritage of the Meze 99 Classics is evident in the luxurious design using high-quality materials. The two models are very similar but each have their own identity. The walnut earcups of the 99 Classics are present on the Meze 109 Pros. However, they are now open at their center and feature a spider web-like metal structure that allows the transducers to breathe. This structure promises a wider soundstage and a better distribution of the different sound levels. 

The Meze 109 Pro headphones use wooden ear cups with a spider web structure in the center to extend the soundstage.

The quality of the Meze 109 Pro headphones is expressed through the materials used for their design. The walnut shells are associated with a zinc structure and a headband made from a steel/manganese alloy. These elements combine robustness, elegance and lightness. The Meze 109 Pro headphones are assembled using screws. Consequently, each part can be removed and replaced if necessary. An advantage that extends the lifespan of these headphones.

All of the parts that make up the Meze 109 Pro headphones are assembled using screws and can be replaced if necessary.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones use the same double headband system as the brand’s previous productions. There is a steel alloy structure that supports a zinc component on which the imitation leather headband is placed. The height of the latter is automatically adjusted to ensure that it is ideally positioned on the listener’s head. In addition, its relatively large surface area evenly distributes the weight of the headphones and offers good support, ensuring a comfortable fit for many hours. 

The Meze 109 Pros’ double headband offers optimal comfort.

The earpads are quite wide and are covered with a velvet fabric that is warm and pleasant to the touch. Moreover, the memory foam padding is soft and doesn’t exert any pressure around the ears. Lastly, the open-back design and velvet covering ensure good air circulation so that your ears don’t get too warm during long listening sessions.

The earpads of the Meze 109 Pro headphones are soft and pleasant to wear.

Dynamic transducers

The Romanian manufacturer has developed new dynamic transducers for these open-back headphones. Measuring 1.9” in diameter, they feature a diaphragm with a double structure. The central W-shaped dome is made of cellulose and carbon fibers. This alloy, which is much more robust and lightweight than conventional alternatives, promises excellent definition in the highs. The second part of the diaphragm that surrounds the dome is only 22 microns thick due to the use of a beryllium-coated semi-crystalline polymer. This material, already found on high-end headphones such as the prestigious Focal Utopia 2022 and Focal Stellia, improves the transient response. The high damping qualities of beryllium also help suppress unwanted resonance, giving the Meze 109 Pro headphones a neutral, crisp, transparent character. 

The Meze 109 Pros’ transducer uses a cellulose and carbon fiber dome placed at the center of a beryllium-coated semi-crystalline polymer diaphragm to maximize balance and reduce distortion.

Each transducer is placed on a copper-zinc alloy stabilizer supported by an aluminum chassis. This structure absorbs vibrations to reduce interference and distortion. Beside the two transducers are the neodymium magnet and copper voice coil. Lastly, the transducers are tilted slightly and are offset from the ear to improve spatialization and the perception of the various frequencies. Thanks to this careful design, the Meze 109 Pro headphones have a very wide frequency response from 5Hz to 30kHz. 

Thanks to their new 1.9” transducers, the Meze 109 Pro headphones provide an extended frequency response from 5Hz to 30kHz.

Two detachable cables

With a high sensitivity of 112 dB and an impedance of 40 ohms, the Meze 109 Pro headphones can be easily paired with any DAP or headphone amp. To do so, they come with two 2.5mm mini-jack to 3.5mm mini-jack cables. The first is 3 meters long and allows you to use the headphones with a source that isn’t right next to you. The second is 1.5m long and is ideal for use on the go. A 3.5mm mini-jack to 6.35mm jack adapter is also included to make it easy to pair the headphones with various amplifiers. We would have appreciated a balanced cable for even better performance with compatible sources. This configuration is possible if you use an optional model such as the Meze 2.5mm balanced.

Each of the Meze 109 Pros’ earpieces features a 3.5mm jack connector to accommodate the two included cables.

Meze 109 Pro: key specifications

  • Type: open-back
  • Coupling: circumaural
  • Auto-adjustable headband
  • 1.9” dynamic transducers
  • Frequency response: 5Hz to 30kHz
  • Sensitivity: 112 dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 40 ohms
  • Two mini-jack cables
  • Weight: 375g

Meze 109 Pro: listening conditions 

We tested the Meze 109 Pro headphones with the FiiO M11 Plus II and FiiO M17 DAPs, as well as the Shanling EM5 Streaming Music Center, Cayin HA-1A MK2 and Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition headphone amplifiers. We listened to DSD and 24-bit/192kHz files stored locally and Hi-Res files streamed via Qobuz. 

The Meze 109 Pro headphones were enhanced by tube electronics, such as the excellent Cayin HA-1A MK2 headphone amp.

Meze 109 Pro: listening impressions

Although their design is similar to that of the Meze 99 Classics, the Meze 109 Pro are a big step up in terms of musicality. The open-back design benefited the soundstage, which gained width and transparency. Without sounding as full as the Meze Empyrean and other open-back headphones, the Meze 109 Pro headphones offered a nice sense of spaciousness, allowing for perfectly structured sound layers. The music had room to breathe and be expressed freely. 

Although not as extensive as the Meze Empyrean, the Meze 109 Pro headphones provided a great feeling of space, for perfectly structured sound layers.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones displayed good spectral balance, with incredibly accurate tones and nuances. The mids were incredible with these headphones, especially when we used a tube amplifier. Warmth, smoothness and naturalness were combined to reproduce this range with great richness and total control. The bass was firm, tight and without excess. The Meze 109 Pro headphones efficiently explored the lower end of the spectrum, which they reproduced with energy and vitality. The bass was dense, deep and perfectly controlled. We enjoyed soft, subtle lows with the reverb of a double bass, as well as authority and impact with pop and electronic tracks.

Warmth, softness and naturalness were combined to reproduce the midrange with great richness and total control, particularly when using the Cayin HA-1A MK2 headphone amp.

The top end of the spectrum was also reproduced naturally by the Meze 109 Pro hi-fi headphones. This frequency range was beautifully highlighted, and the plethora of details and nuances were perfectly distinct. With classical music like Anne-Sophie Mutter’s interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the attacks were direct and the headphones effortlessly kept up with the rhythm. The rise in the frequency range was transparent and smooth, and was done completely freely. The sound of the violin was full of details, which were all carefully reproduced. Some notes were a little too bright, but this was easily remedied by pairing the headphones with a tube amplifier, for example. 

The Meze 109 Pro reproduced the highs smoothly, naturally and with great ease.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones offered a listening experience overflowing with emotions. With Billie Eilish’s Your Power, there was a real feeling of proximity with the artist. The singer’s voice was softly and delicately rendered at the center of a vast, open soundstage. It benefited from great acoustic purity, allowing us to hear the slightest nuances and intonations. We could hear every breath, which created a feeling of closeness with the artist.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones reproduced vocals naturally and with many details. They provided a real sense of closeness with the artists.

Meze 109 Pro: compared to…

Meze 99 Classics: released in 2015, these headphones are behind the brand’s global reputation and are available for €309. While they are a perfect introduction to the brand, the new Meze 109 Pros go even further thanks to their open-back design that delivers an even wider soundstage, better articulation and more depth. Music has room to breathe and is expressed with more freedom with the Meze 109 Pro model. The latter also offers better balance and control, with more precise bass, richer mids and smoother highs. However, the Meze 109 Pros’ open structure means that they can only be used at home, while the Meze 99 Classics can also be used outside thanks to the higher level of isolation they provide. 

The Meze 109 Pro headphones offer a wider soundstage, better articulation and more depth than the Meze 99 Classics.

Audeze LCD-2 Classic: available for €899, these Audeze headphones deliver a more energetic sound. The lows are deeper and more dynamic, while the highs are even more lively. However, the upper mids aren’t as rich or as natural sounding as those of the Meze 109 Pros. The latter are also more comfortable thanks to their lower weight (375g compared to 550g) and their wide, velvet-covered earpads. 

Meze 109 Pro: who are they for?

The Meze 109 Pro are an excellent solution for those who want to enjoy the Romanian manufacturer’s expertise for a lower price than the Meze Empyrean and Meze Empyrean Elite models. The rich and natural timbres of the latter have been carried over to this more attractive model, much to the delight of music lovers. Transparency, space and balance are at the heart of these hi-fi headphones that can handle all frequency ranges and transport the listener to the front of the stage. It is possible to modify their sound signature slightly by pairing them with transistor electronics like the FiiO M11 Plus II for more dynamism, or a tube amplifier such as the Cayin HA-1A MK2 for a softer, warmer reproduction.

The Meze 109 Pro headphones deliver a rich, natural and precise sound. They are an excellent solution to enjoy the Romanian manufacturer’s expertise with a pair of open-back headphones.

Meze 109 Pro: conclusion 

The Meze 109 Pro headphones are a real success in every aspect and are one of the best models on the market available for under €1000. They impress first with their unique design that carefully combines high-quality, robust and timeless materials. The walnut ear cups are beautiful and perfectly match the metallic parts, which ensure a long lifespan for these headphones. The Meze 109 Pros also provide impressive comfort and musicality. The sound is incredibly pure, transparent and natural. The balance is expertly controlled and each frequency range is expressed with ease and articulation. Once again, Meze proves its talents in creating hi-fi headphones that are exceptional both visually and acoustically. 

We liked:

  • The beautiful design
  • The build quality
  • The balanced sound
  • The richness of the timbres

We would have liked:

  • For the soundstage to have been even wider
  • A balanced cable

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