Meze Audio 109 PRO open-back headphones review | Crutchfield

So I’ve tested and auditioned dozens of headphones and earbuds since the release of the Meze 109 PROs, but I keep coming back to these wired open-backs. Here’s why. ANTONIO MEZE: “All my life, my mind always had, uh, the presence of these structures, architecture that lasts.” JEFF MILLER: That’s Meze Audio’s founder and lead designer Antonio Meze telling me how the traditional woodworking methods of the company’s hometown of Maramures, Romania, informed his sensibility and his own design language. So it’s fitting we’re talking about the 109 PRO headphones well over a year after their debut. I’ve auditioned countless

other headphones, but I keep thinking about and grabbing for the 109 PROs. The Meze 109 PRO headphones look like the open-back version of Meze’s popular 99 Classics, voted the number one most comfortable headphones here at Crutchfield. A lot of it comes down to the build fit and comfort that make the 99 Classics, well, classics. The 109 PROs share many similarities, like those striking wooden ear cups, the butter-soft ear pads, and my favorite, the brilliant one-and-done fit. Team Meze actually assembles these headphones by hand out of premium parts and fine materials. They use the same spring

suspension headband system that they developed for the 99 Classics, where a single spring stretches over and hugs the head and keeps the pressure even, no matter how big or

small your head is. It just pops into place and feels relaxed yet secure, so you can sit back and enjoy your music. These are old-school wired headphones, so they’re not made for hitting the gym or the elliptical, more for kicking back with a drink and a favorite album or playlist. That brings me to what makes these headphones distinctly their own, and why the 109 PROs have stayed

on my mind: the sound. You’ll notice the open-air ear cups are physically larger than the 99 Classics. So are the drivers inside. They’ve been completely revamped, with traces of high-grade beryllium for swift, controlled movement. To my ears, the sound is refined though not buttoned up. It’s deliciously textured, with a delightful, natural timbre and a quick, emphatic bass. The soundstage is more immediate and forward than you might expect from open-back headphones, but there is quite a bit of depth. There’s a relaxed liveliness to the whole presentation: the extra sparkle and punch from the wood ear cups,

without any of the harsher, sloppy, sonic byproducts. Acoustic tracks really play to their strength, but they excel with any music that features rich instrumentation and a sense of space. For instance, the Stevie Wonder track “Another Star” always feels like a party from the moment it starts, but the way it just seemed to bounce through these headphones felt especially fun and engaging. It would be a mistake to dismiss these headphones as frivolous. When listening to tracks where fine detail is important, the 109 PROs have shown that they have the technical skills to match their considerable might.

ANTONIO MEZE: “The point for me, that I make something that is so nice, that it’s fulfilling your need. You don’t feel bored with it after half a year. You don’t feel like it just turned into one of those invisible many objects in your house.” JEFF MILLER: All I know is, I’ve been thinking about the 109 PROs for quite some time.

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