About the Meze Audio Elite
A new masterpiece from the artists at Meze Audio
The "wow" factor begins when you unpack the Meze Elite headphones from their heavy-duty traveling case.
A new masterpiece from the artists at Meze Audio
As attractive as the Meze Audio Elite headphones are in pictures, they are even more stunning in person. Master-of-his-craft Antonio Meze and his team of engineers and artists built them on the backbone of their acclaimed Empyrean planar magnetic headphones. I spent less than thirty minutes with these premium open-back headphones, but it was clear even in that brief audition: Meze has enhanced an already deluxe multi-sensory experience.
These Elite headphones feature a completely revamped driver system. Meze teamed up once again with Ukrainian research team Rinaro who created thinner, lower mass diaphragms to deliver more accurate sound, particularly in the highs and upper mids. All while preserving the authoritative bass that Meze planars are known for.
Even lighter with a fuss-free fit
The Elite headphones boast a design that's beautifully sculpted, with the same textured, machined-aluminum earcups as the Empyreans. But Meze has re-imagined the headband suspension system with a patent-pending wing design that slides right into place. For me, it was one and done — no adjustments needed.
They are large headphones for sure, but somehow feel super light on the head. The ear pads have been streamlined a bit, and are lined with a pleasant leather-Alcantara mix. They hug the side of the head and avoid pressure points — a gentle touch overall.
Solidly constructed with fine attention to detail
It's hard to appreciate some of the design touches until you are holding these headphones in your hands. First, the robust aluminum frame is symmetrical, serpentine, and charmingly smooth to the touch. And at first glance, the earcups appear to be closed-back, but closer examination reveals an intricately etched pattern in the earcup that lets air move freely.
A close-up of the machined aluminum frame and earcup etchings.
Meze says the meticulous aluminum machining process takes over 20 hours per headphone. And this "no-corners-cut" approach isn't all about looks. It's about providing the proper structure and controlled airflow, so that Meze delivers their distinct sound.
Lighter diaphragms for accuracy and minimal distortion
Planar magnetic drivers in general are pretty complex, but here are the basic physics: a super-sized diaphragm moves lots of air, resulting in spacious sound with true-to-life dynamics. The diaphragm is covered with a flexible voice coil circuit and trapped in a magnetic field. It moves when the circuit receives an audio signal.
Renaro's newly developed Parus® diaphragm is made from a special polymer film. It's extremely low mass, so that it can move, stop, and start even quicker. But the material is also rigid and stable, so the diaphragm will move in an even, uniform manner — so higher accuracy with less chance of distortion.
This color-coded illustration of the Elite's hybrid array planar diaphragm shows the separate voice coils for bass (blue) and mids/highs (gold).
One-of-a-kind driver for powerful full-range sound
Meze and Rinaro also developed a way to separate the voice coil circuit into two distinct parts. There is a spiral coil that is positioned right next to the ear canal so that it can carefully distribute mids and highs. Since there is no obstruction to the listening path, it provides greater resolution and helps lower distortion.
Above that spiral, the snake-like coil handles the bass, and only the bass. The drivers serve up deep, authoritative low-end, whereas some planar drivers can occasionally sound too "polite." But, like those other planar drivers, the bass here is clean and bloat-free. It's the best of both worlds.
Special magnet array for greater efficiency
One of the coolest features of this headphone from a tactile standpoint is the planar magnet system. The same magnet array that moves the drivers also helps secure the earpads to the earcups. Those lush pads fasten in place with a satisfying snap.
Meze's unique magnetic mounting method also serves a sonic purpose. When the earpads are firmly in place, they help send magnetic power back to the planar driver system. That extra magnetic flux increases the driver output and the overall efficiency of the Elite headphones. Heavy-duty headphone amps will drive them easily, but they'll perform well with smaller, more portable amps, too.
- Featured in our article: Best audiophile headphones for 2023
- open-back design offers transparent sound
- planar magnetic drivers tuned to deliver large, lifelike sound with enhanced dynamics
- patented hybrid array driver delivers textured, articulate mids and highs with strong, deep bass
- newly designed, low-mass diaphragms for exceptional musical detail with low distortion
- machined and hand-assembled at Meze's headquarters in Romania
- made with premium materials and metals
Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver Details:
- co-designed and co-developed with Ukrainian research group Rinaro
- Parus diaphragm starts and stops quickly for clear, articulate sound
- made of thin, ultra-light, and rigid polymer film
- oval-shaped diaphragm increases efficiency helps lowers mass of drivers
- separate voice coil traces for accurate sound across a wide frequency range
- "spiral" coil positioned directly next the ear canal for resolving mids and highs
- "switchback" coil dedicated to low-end reproduction for authoritative bass
- strong, symmetrical magnetic array for greater diaphragm efficiency with fluid movement
- patented ferromagnetic plates lock earpads firmly into place
- earpad mounting system sends the magnetic field back into the driver to increase driver output
- a separate headphone amplifier is required to properly power these headphones for optimum sound quality
- milled-aluminum frame with lightweight carbon headband
- leather headband strap uses patent-pending "wing" suspension system
- distributes the weight on your head for effortless fit
- reinforced polymer driver housings can withstand powerful magnetic flux
- well-cushioned, soft-touch leather/Alcantara hybrid ear pads filled with memory foam
- furniture-grade stitched leather earpads
- separate Alcantara ear pads included with thicker padding
- 8.25- foot detachable oxygen-free cable terminated by a 1/4" headphone plug
- heavy-duty design with braided cloth covering
- terminated at the headphone with 4-pin mini-XLR connection
- hard-shell briefcase with soft, egg-crate foam protective interior
- frequency response: 3-112,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 130 dB
- impedance: 32 ohms
- weight: 15.2 ounces
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # 45599CLSWG
- Large and lighweight
- Relaxed fit
- Good for focused listening
What's in the box:
- Over-ear headphones (Silver + Black) with black hybrid leather ear pads (installed)
- Pair of Alcantara ear pads
- 8.25' (2.5 meter) Audio cable with dual 4-pin mini XLR plugs on one end (headphone) and 6.3mm (1/4") plug on other end
- Silver aluminum storage case with foam inserts
- Serial number and Inspection certificate
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More details on the Meze Audio Elite
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||3.643" x 4.912"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||---|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||3-112k Hz|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Overview: The Elite premium over-ear headphones is the new flagship headphone for Meze Audio. Like the Empyrean headphones, the Elite features Isodynamic Hybrid Array Drivers® by Rinaro Isodynamics. The headphones are made with premium materials, and are hand assembled in Baia Mare, Romania. Elite comes with two pairs of interchangeable ear pads, a 2.5-meter OFC cable with 1/4" plug, and stores in a high-strength aluminum case.
Drivers: The Elite headphone features the MZ3SE Isodynamic Hybrid Array driver, introduced in Meze Audio's Empyrean headphone, and exclusively made for Meze by Rinaro Isodynamics in the Ukraine. The Rinaro Parus® Diaphragm is built on a low-mass, ultra-thin biaxially oriented semi-crystalline polymer film. It features a switchback coil at the upper part of the driver for reproducing lower frequencies (down to 3 Hz), and a spiral coil for mids and highs (up to 112,000 Hz), positioned directly over the ear canal to direct sound waves into the ear canal without time delays. The Rinaro Parus® diaphragm has 4650 square millimeters of active area, yet weighs only 0.11 grams (0.0039 ounces). Symmetrically placed on each side of the diaphragm is a 75mm x 49mm hybrid magnet array to create an efficient Isodynamic magnetic field providing uniform activation across the entire diaphragm surface. On the outside of each ear cup is a beautifully sculped, deep black CNC-milled aluminum grill to ensure a natural sound transparency. The highly complex geometric carvings are accentuated through the silver finish of the CNC aluminum frame. Overall, each MZ3SE driver is 102mm x 73mm in size, and weighs 2.6 ounces.
Ergonomically-shaped Ear Cups: The driver, ear cups, and ear pads are manufactured in an ovoid shape which minimizes weight and ergonomically fits around the ear. The ovoid shape mirrors the shape of the outer ear, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom.
Interchangeable Ear Pads: The headphones include two pairs of interchangeable ear pads. Installed on the headphones is a pair of Hybrid ear cups made of Perforated Alcantara (inside) and real leather (outside). This unique combo delivers an airy sound signature with lower bass pressure. The second pair is the well known Alcantara ear pad that was originally designed for the Empyrean headphones. The ear pads securely attach to the ear cups via isomagnetic coupling. The demagnetizing field generated by the driver holds the ear pads in place while redirecting the magnetic field back into the driver to improve efficiency (by 1dB or 12%). The ferromagnetic ear pads decrease the magnetic stray field (by 95%) to reduce the affect of the magnetic field to the listener's head.
Pressure Distribution: The carbon fiber headband is made with unique distribution wings to increase the leather headrest's contact surface area with your head. These patented suspension wings equalize the pressure of the headband on your head, and relieve uncomfortable pressure points.
- Drivers: Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array (MZ3SE)
- Operating Principal: Open
- Frequency Response: 3Hz - 112kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Nominal SPL: 101dB (1mW/1 kHz)
- Maximum SPL: >130dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.05%
- Dimensions: Width 3.643", Height 4.912", Depth 1.948"
- Weight: 18.85 ounces (with cable), 15.2 ounces (without cable)