Meze Audio Releases Empyrean II: A Leap Forward From Their Predecessor

A close look at the new Meze Empyrean II
A close look at the new Meze Empyrean II

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Meze Empyrean II are finally here! What can we expect from this long-awaited upgrade?

Meze Audio, in conjunction with Rinaro Isodynamics, has finally introduced the Empyrean II, a promised improvement from the well-acclaimed Meze Empyrean.

According to Meze, their aim was to build on the groundwork of its predecessor, improving in reproducing fine details and achieving a more balanced sound, all while keeping that ‘easy to listen to’ vibe intact.

To make it happen, their engineering team improved their driver, promising to deliver new levels of responsiveness and accuracy, and even making it more reliable in tricky acoustic settings.

“With many ideas in mind, I reached out to our community, eager to gather their feedback in any way I could. I wanted to dive into their hearts and minds, to understand their expectations, and so their input is what shaped the path toward Empyrean II,” says Alex Grigoras, an Acoustic Engineer at Meze Audio.
The Empyrean II will be available for purchase in the latter part of November 2023. But for now, you will be able to pre-order the headphones through the official website and some high-end headphone retailers.

Criticism of the First Model

Despite the success of the first model, some critical voices within the audiophile community have expressed their disappointment regarding the original Empyrean’s performance. Specifically, it has been characterized as being sluggish, excessively warm, and lacking in detail, which some argue does not align with its premium pricing.

Still, the Empyrean remains an end-game headphone for many audiophiles.

“You won’t find another headphone with a sound signature that’s this expressive and tender,” says Garrett Kemp, a sound engineer and headphone expert, in our interview. “It just has this chill delivery too. It’s fluid and graceful. And never fatiguing.”

Expectations on the Meze Empyrean II’s Sound Performance

Despite the Empyrean’s success, any negative impressions prompted discussions and raised expectations about how the Empyrean II addresses and improves upon these shortcomings.

So far, only a few reviewers have managed to get their hands on the Empyrean II. But overall, the feedback has been highly positive, noting that it diverges in sound profile, presenting a notably more neutral tuning than the original Empyrean.

The Empyrean II still approximates the tonal qualities of the original model, but now offering a more nuanced sonic experience. While the soundstage has not been enhanced significantly, you can expect a leaner profile, with improved clarity and speed emerging as its key defining characteristics.

Given its distinct tuning, the Empyrean II doesn’t position itself as a direct competitor to the original, warm and gooey Empyrean. Instead, these models can complement one another, offering individual listening experiences that are noticeably different in sound signature.

Design and Build Quality

Meze Empyrean II's new ear cup design
Meze Empyrean II’s new ear cup design

As with the first model, craftsmanship takes a prominent role in the Empyrean II’s design. The aluminum frame, shaped through CNC milling, features a matte black finish and a redesigned grill.

A silver accent at the frame’s core adds a subtle touch and reflects the quality of this musical and nuanced headphone.

Technical Specifications

Here are the technical specs of the Meze Empyrean II:

  • Driver Type: Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver
  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Ear Coupling: Circumaural
  • Frequency Response: 8 – 110,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL @ 1 kHz, 1 V
  • Maximum SPL: > Maximum SPL – >130 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.05% @ 1 kHz, 1 V
  • Weight: 385 g (without earpads)

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