Meze Liric II Review featured image

Meze Audio Liric II Review

Today, Marcus reviews the Meze Audio Liric II, which is a set of 2nd-generation closed-back planar magnetic headphones with detachable pads and QWRM technology. It is priced at $2000.

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

You can click here to learn more about Meze Audio products previously featured on Headfonics.

Note, that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read here.

Meze Liric II Review featured image
Meze Audio Liric II Review
Summary
The Meze Audio Liric II is a good improvement over the original with a smoother, more coherent, and relaxed sound signature making it a more competitive closed-back planar headphone for a wider range of musical genres. 
Sound Quality
8.9
Design
9.2
Comfort & Isolation
9.3
Synergy
8.9
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8.9
Pros
One of the most comfortable headphones in the market
Additional quality balanced cable
Cons
Bass bloom can suffocate some vocal registers
Some higher register treble
9.1
Award Score

The Meze Audio Liric II is the successor to the original Liric closed-back Isodynamic hybrid array headphones that came out almost exactly 2 years ago. 

Back then, closed-back planar headphones were few and far between. However, in 2024 we have several new contenders such as Dan Clark Audio’s E3 which has breathed some additional competitive life into an otherwise sporadic high-end niche.

The good news is that the Liric II’s price point is still pegged at $2000 so no painful pricing increases. The hybrid MZ4 from the original Liric driver also remains the same.

What has changed is the tuning, the technology used to acquire that tuning, as well as some clever tweaks in terms of comfort. As you can see from the accompanying pics in this review it also has a new ‘woody’ aesthetic.

Overall, I found the Liric II still has some caveats in the vocal performance but otherwise, it sounds more refined and balanced than the original with an improved tonal quality. It also beats the original in terms of long-term earpad sustainability.

You can find out how I reached that conclusion and how well the Liric II performs against the competition in more detail, in my full review below.

Meze Audio Liric II cup without earpad

Tech Highlights

Driver Update

The Meze Audio Liric II retains the original’s MZ4 Isodynamic hybrid array driver which I originally described as closer in origin to the MZ3 from the first Empyrean launched back in 2019.

It’s a smaller driver with an active area of 3507mm² as opposed to 4650mm². It is also a lighter driver, at about 50% lighter than Meze’s flagship drivers, using reinforced polymer instead of fiberglass ABS for the housing. 

It was not a mini-duplicate of the flagship options with its Phase-X™ for enhanced imaging and staging performance and PES for improved airflow within its closed-back design. 

These have been retained for the new Liric II but are not the lead features. This time we have ‘QWRM’. This is a quarter wavelength resonator mask applied with a specific focus on attenuating the FR above 7kHz compared to the original Liric and with some success.

The mask itself is a precision-crafted metal component that strategically covers select openings in the Liric II’s driver frame to achieve that perceived attenuation in the highs. You can see in the picture above QWRM in action, so to speak, with that wedge-type shape on the upper middle of the driver opening.

In some ways, it reminds me of the DCA E3’s AMTS which also has quarter wavelength resonator mask properties. However, that is a self-contained element as opposed to this implementation which is specific to the Liric II driver frame.

Meze Audio Liric II earpads

Detachable Pads

Finally, the new Liric II has true detachable pads and they work in much the same manner as the Empyrean II and Elite pads with an underlying magnet system.

That means you just have to gently tug them off to detach and place them, (in the correct direction), to attach them. That is much easier than the older adhesive method from the original Liric.

It’s a really simple design and should add plenty of life to your headphones when those additional replacement pads are available from the Meze store online.

Thinking one step further, it also gives Meze the ability to introduce different materials in their pad lineup at a later stage, much like the Empyrean II velour or perforated leather that could change the tuning significantly. 

Meze Audio Liric II design

Design

Now, the actual form factor of the Meze Audio Liric II has not changed from the original including about 90% of the materials and finishing. 

The Liric II has retained those beautiful ovoid cups with distinctive arched gimbals, the original’s magnesium frame, and the copper-coated aluminum headband adjusting rods.

It’s a familiar Meze approach drawn from the Empyrean and reduced in size and simplified but still offers incredibly smooth adjustment articulation and comfort levels. 

Aside from the detachable pads, the biggest visible change on the Liric II is the new wood panel plates on the magnesium black-matte finished cups. I think it might polarize some, not everyone goes for wood but it does make the cups stand out a lot more than the older all-black matte theme of the original.

The precise wood element is Macassar ebony, which is a bold, dark-toned vertical grain. It is unique on both sides so they are not synthetically produced veneers. Each one you receive will have a unique grain finish distinct from anyone else’s Liric II.

Meze Audio Liric II on its side

Comfort & Isolation

The Liric II is heavier than the original by 36g, a difference I attribute to the additional magnets in the new pad system and the QWRM resonator.

However, my subjective testing didn’t reveal any concerning gaps in how heavy they felt on the head compared to the original. I do not think you will notice that additional weight when using them.

The headband system and new detachable pads are every bit as comfortable as its predecessor and indeed, the Liric is class-leading when it comes to overall comfort.

It’s over 400g but honestly, you would never perceive this as a weighty or cumbersome set of headphones. Meze has done an amazing job in getting the pressure dissipation from the Liric II just right.

The excellent vertical-to-lateral pressure balance also means it is a secure fit with very little unwanted movement on the head.

The new detachable leather pads are not perforated but the sweat build-up over long listening periods is not that noticeable. You can easily wear these for a good few hours without any discomfort from what seems to be a slightly larger inner opening than the original Liric pads. 

The Liric II also isolates really well for a closed-back headphone. I would rate its passive isolation abilities higher than the ZMF Headphones Atrium closed and the DCA E3 and on par with the LCD-XC 2021, though it is a much heavier headphone.

Meze Audio Liric II balanced cable on wood background

Stock Cables

You have a big upgrade here over the original Liric. The Liric II now comes with Meze Audio’s higher-grade braided Furukawa PCUHD copper cable finished with a 4.4mm balanced plug.

This replaces the older, and inferior, 1.5m black TPE jacket-finished copper cable with a 3.5mm single-ended jack.

The original copper wire 3 m soft TPE cable with a 3.5 mm jack termination has been retained as the second cable but I get a feeling that one is going to be used far less than the balanced version for most users.

The Furukawa PCUHD 4.4mm cable uses 0.04 mm x 140 conductors in an 8-wire to 4-wire continuous braid inside a TPD sleeve build. It’s a gorgeous cable design and handles beautifully with zero kinks and microphonics. 

The new Meze branded blue barrel finishing on the splitter and plug is refined and robust with easily distinguishable red and blue rings on the 3.5mm connector side.

I do have to note the splitter barrel on this cable version is slightly thicker and heavier than the older one on the original Furukawa cable version that came with the Empyrean from 2019. 

Meze Audio Liric II box design

Packaging & Accessories

The Liric II box and packaging are more or less the same as the original Liric except for a beautiful new artistic rendition on the outer sleeve. 

I feel sure that this location has meaning to Meze, perhaps a calm and serene location in Romania that somehow matches the ‘warming it up’ theme they had in mind when adding wood to the cups. It is worthy of being framed and hung on the wall it is that well done.

Beyond the outer sleeve, the inner case is the same black padded case as before with plenty of foam on the inside, and the carry case is complete with headphones and accessories nestled in the middle.

Meze Audio Liric II accessories

It is a nice clean and well-protected presentation and to be honest, since everything fits inside the carry case you will likely pack it away and never see it again once you take everything out.

The Liric II accessory line-up includes the two cables inside a compact PU leather cable pouch, a 6.35mm adaptor for SE amplifiers, an airplane jack adaptor, and the hard EVA carry case itself. 

This is the same EVA case that came with the original Liric, a case that has held up well for me over the last 2 years. It might be a bit big for easy portability though it does provide good protection to throw in a large bag for transportation.

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

Click on page 3 below for my selected comparisons.

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