Note: This article is based upon the video "MEZE EMPYREAN HEADPHONE VS ZMF VERITE VS RAD 0; THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC HEADPHONE KING?” made by Marcello Rostagni on his YouTube channel and is printed here in partnership with Marcello Rostagni. The review was originally posted on July 29th, 2021. Edits have been made for clarity and length.
Marcello Rostagni reviewed the Meze Empyrean on his YouTube channel, and what he heard warmed his electronica-loving heart.
“The Meze Empyrean are one of the best, if not the best, headphones for electronic music I’ve heard so far.”
Watch the full video below or scroll on for our written summary.
Marcello loved the build quality from cup to cable. “These are some of the best built headphones I’ve had the privilege of auditioning.” He was especially impressed by the ear pad’s quick-release feature, which he said was his “favorite pad swapping and attachment” strategy yet. The open-back design got special mention, too, with Marcello calling the CNC craftsmanship of the earcups “beautiful” and a “work of art.”
The Meze passed the comfort test with flying colors, thanks to their pressure-distribution wings, 430-gram weight, and easily adjustable rods. “At the time of filming this video, the Empyrean is the most comfortable flagship headphone I’ve ever worn.”
Marcello describes the Empyrean’s bass response as “killer…enveloping…[and]...excellent.” He listened to tracks from The Weeknd, New Order, and Lana Del Ray on a number of DAC/amp pairings, like the ZMF Pendant/Schiit Bifrost and Schiit Lyr 3/Matrix Element X. “It reminded me of listening to a 2.1 speaker system [...] I got the sensation of having bass all around me.”
He credits the Empyrean’s unique switchback coil design for some of the bass response’s success. “The switchback coils create rumbling bass all around me, while allowing the vocals to still come through clean and separate [...] It’s a really cool sound signature.”
He did, however, notice songs in which the bass bled a little into the mids, such as Lana Del Ray’s “Love”. “How the bass presents itself will greatly depend on the track and the production specific to that track,” he says.
Marcello describes the mid-range response as having “excellent clarity and a slightly forward energy in the upper mids.” Violins, guitars, and cellos sound particularly good; however, he does note that the timbre isn’t as sweet as other high-end headphones. “I see this as a benefit,” he says, “especially if you’re the type of audiophile who likes having multiple high-end headphones in your collection.”
He describes the treble as “well-defined [with] an open sound [...] like being present at the actual performance. I didn’t ever find the treble harsh.” Later, he describes the treble as being “fast, present, with more than enough sparkle and detail to enjoy music.”
Marcello disagrees with the critics who say that the Empyrean lacks detail. “There’s plenty of detail,” he says. “And there’s plenty of resolution when compared to other flagship headphones [...] the difference is that the resolution is a little more natural and less in-your-face.”
Imaging and sound stage
Marcello describes the sound stage as “open-sounding [...] airy [...] and speaker-like”. He compares the Empyrean to the KEF LS50 Meta Royal bookshelf speakers. “It was pretty amazing to hear how well the Empyrean actually mimicked the imaging and staging of excellent speakers. I was thoroughly impressed.” He goes on to say that the Empyrean have “the best staging I’ve heard for their ability to envelop me in the music, as well as their excellent imaging and overall euphonic sound quality.”
Marcello compares the Empyrean to the ZMF Verite Open-back and Rad-0 planar magnetic headphones. The Empyrean and Rad-0 take the cake when it comes to bass, making them great for pop and electronic music. The Rad-0’s mid-range is a little bit sweeter sounding than the Empyrean, while the Verite’s mid-range is a bit more recessed than the Empyrean. The Empyrean have the most energetic upper-mid-range of the three. And all three headphones score equally in the treble department. “None of these headphones use what I would consider treblehead tunings.” Finally, the Empyrean and Verite share the win in sound stage and imaging, as they have the most “three-dimensional” and “life-like” sound stage. The Empyrean loses to both headphones when it comes to timbre but wins in comfort. “The Empyrean was the lightest and most comfortable.”
Marcello concludes that while any major headphone purchasing decision should be decided by personal audition, he does highly recommend the Meze Empyrean. “Personally, I would love to own the Empyrean. Electronic music is one of my favorite genres, and, at the time of this video, the Meze Empyrean is one of the best, if not the best, headphones for electronic music. [...] They’re an absolute engineering achievement, with one of the most beautifully designed cups and driver arrays I’ve ever seen.”