Audeze MM-100 Review feature image

Audeze MM-100 Review

Today, Marcus reviews the $399 Audeze MM-100, which is an entry-level set of open-back planar headphones designed for studio professionals.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. I thank the team at Audeze for their support.

Click here to read more about the Audeze products we have previously reviewed on Headfonics.

Note that this review follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

Audeze MM-100 Review feature image
Audeze MM-100 Review
Summary
The Audeze MM-100 is a high-energy set of mid-forward open-back planar headphones with an impressively transparent quality that will faithfully mirror the system it is connected to. It can scale where power is available, punch hard when needed, and sound wider with improved separation if you can switch the cable to a balanced alternative.
Sound Quality
8.7
Design
8.9
Comfort
8.6
Synergy
8.7
Slide here to add your score on the gear!35 Votes
8.5
Pros
Impressive driver speed
Easy to power
Solid Build Quality
Cons
Dipped lower treble veil
Some might find the lateral clamping a bit firm
8.7
Award Score

It has been almost 2 years now since the debut of the MM-Series with the launch of the MM-500 open-back planar headphones. The MM-500 is a collaboration project with Grammy Award winner Manny Marroquin, designed and tuned for pro or studio headphone users.

It was a popular offering, not just to pro-users but also to the audiophile community. With confidence in the line and collab branding, Audeze has launched a new MM-Series headphone called the MM-100.

Priced at $399, the MM-100 is another Manny Marroquin-tuned set of open-back planar headphones with a similar intent to the MM-500 but priced to be more accessible to a larger group of pro-audio users and audiophiles. 

This is Audeze’s most affordable headphones in their entire line-up currently with the LCD-1 now discontinued. It offers excellent build quality for the price point, a speedy planar driver response, and a linear bass line with a strong midrange focus. 

Enough to win over competing pro-audio headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 600 and beyerdynamic’s DT 1770 Pro? In my full review below, you can read up on its performance in more detail and how it stacks against the competition.

Audeze MM-100 standing upright

Features

The Audeze MM-100 is a moderately sized pair of open-back circumaural planar magnetic headphones with a unique dual-entry single 3.5mm SE cable connection system. 

Inside, it uses the company’s latest 90mm planar driver, similarly sized to the driver inside the MM-500 and the Maxwell version, though all three are tuned quite differently.

The overlap does not end there with a similar N50 Neodymium magnet setup in a single-sided Fluxor™ magnet array and an Ultra-Thin Uniforce™ diaphragm. 

The MM-100 is rated at 18Ω with an SPL of 98 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point) which matches the MM-500 in terms of efficiency but it’s just slightly less sensitive by 2 dB compared to its bigger sibling.

The MM-100 should still be considered a moderately easy set of planar headphones to drive from a wide range of amplifiers. 

I presume that the MM-500’s slightly lifted earpad ring design is also a feature of the MM-100. This new distancing moves the pads further away from the main housing to enhance ventilation.

Audeze MM-100 on an angled headphone stand

Design

Aesthetically, the MM-100 is sleek and beautifully built for a headphone at this price point.

I was expecting plastics for $399 but no, it uses a set of magnesium yokes and grilles and a spring-steel headband. Granted, that pumps up the weight to 475g so it’s not lightweight but it bears a lot of the hallmarks of that gorgeous MM-500 design for a fraction of the price. 

From afar, the MM-100 carries the MM-Series headphone vibe with that gunmetal finish and trademark cup “A” grill. However, on closer inspection, it is more of a merger of the Maxwell single headband and yoke system with a similar circumference MM-500 cup and grill. 

The hand-me-down weight-reducing LCD-5 yoke and classic Audeze pivot blocks have been replaced by a svelte, lower-profile tubular swivel joint taken straight from the Maxwell. That also includes the headband with a non-vented narrower leather pressure strap. 

The key benefit of using the Maxwell system is the enhanced 180-degree articulation from the swivel joints. This allows the MM-100 to be laid flat on the table or in its accompanying pouch. A feature not available on the more expensive MM-500.

Overall, the MM-100 looks great, and can probably take a bit of a beating with that magnesium build with enough flexibility to sling in a bag or wear flat around your neck quite comfortably while working in a studio environment.

Audeze MM-100 ear pads view

Comfort

Despite the 475g weight and similar pad dimensions to the MM-500, the MM-100 pressure distribution is slightly improved on its lateral axis meaning the level of comfort on my head is much better than I expected. 

I suspect the change to the Maxwell headband has changed the dissipation slightly because the perceived clamping pressure is now less when A/B’ing with the MM-500. 

The firmness of the pads might also be a factor for some. The pads are virtually identical to the MM-500 in terms of outer dimensions and inner cavity size. However, the internal gel fill feels a bit firmer and the synthetic leather outer has a different texture.

Not that the pads are uncomfortable but they are not as plush as the MM-500 versions. Ironically, the slightly slacker lateral pressure combined with less give in the pads cleared my ears a bit more than the MM-500 pads resulting in less pad contact pressure with my ears. 

The headband and pressure strap system does its job nicely for my head shape. To some extent, it has to be because I find the vertical pressure slightly higher than the MM-500 equivalent primarily due to less lateral offsetting.

However, head shapes can vary with my fitting just right for me. That means smaller heads might find the cups dragged down a bit more and the narrower strap takes on more pressure as a result. Everyone’s head is different so YMMV. 

Audeze MM-100 with stock cable attached

Stock Cable

The Audeze MM-100 comes with an entirely different and what I would consider a useful new connection system.

Perhaps to reduce weight and cost, gone are the accented external mini-XLR connectors from the LCD-series and MM-500 and instead we have dual-entry 3.5mm TRS connector sockets embedded into the magnesium cups. 

Except that is not dual-entry, it is single-sided with a glance on the inside of the headband I can see a small wire routed into the headband electrically connecting the two cups confirming that. It’s not trace-wire either in case you are worried, the insulation looks quite durable.

With the stock cable coming with a single 3.5mm TRS stereo jack connector that means you can connect it to either cup and it will operate as intended which I find pretty cool.

I get the concept, it’s a very useful feature for cable management in studios and keeping it out of the way during work. It is also more inclusive for right or left-handed people. 

The 2.5m  stock cable itself looks similar to the MM-500 version aesthetically with a similar shiny tight PVC double-braided jacket and pro-styled 6.35mm connector.

However, since it is a single terminated cable, the MM-100 version has no splitter barrel which, in turn, reduces some of the weight making it a bit lighter than its bigger cousin.

It also seems to be a smaller gauge high-purity OCC audio-grade copper wire than the MM-500 stock cable allowing the braiding to become visually tighter with shorter loops. 

You also get a similar-designed black barreled 6.35mm to 3.5mm piggy-tail converter accented with the Audeze branding in white.

Audeze MM-100 unboxing

Packaging & Accessories

There is no fancy hard travel case this time for the MM-100, costs have to be reduced somewhere and this is the most obvious one once you start unboxing your headphones. 

You now get a compact branded black box with the headphones deep set into a protective foam padding surround with the accessories box which is just under the foam itself.

It is not too dissimilar to some of the HIFIMAN packaging at this price point and a darn site better than what Sennheiser is currently doing with their HD series packaging.

The accessories lineup is relatively spartan with just a few credit card-style driver downloads and a Certificate of Authenticity to go alongside the cable and adaptor.

You do, however, get that lovely big, soft, and large MM Series branded drawstring pouch that came with the MM-500. It looks quite striking but provides zero protection for bumps and knocks.

I would use this pouch primarily as a dust cover when not using the headphones or slip my Topping DX9 amplifier inside as it fits perfectly.

Click on page 2 below for my sound impressions and recommended pairings.

Click on page 3 below for my selected comparisons.

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