THE Show 2022: A short visit to Audeze and Audeze MM-500 headphones

Our show coverage provided a very interesting opportunity for me and Eric Pye of the eCoustics Vintage Audio Editor, who arrived from Calgary almost as soon as the flight from Dallas landed. Audeze is based in Orange County and showed us the new Audeze MM-500 headphones I wrote last week.

Based in Santa Anna, Audeze is one of the finest high-end headphone brands, with some admitting that a luxury headphone apocalypse is underway.

I visited Mark Cohen and tried some of the latest models such as LCD-5, CRBN and MM-500 mentioned above. I’ve tried CRBN and LCD-5 before, but this is the first time I’ve tried MM-500.

Audeze LCD-5 and Audeze MM-500 headphones side by side
Audeze LCD-5 (left) and Audeze MM-500 (right)

At first glance, the MM-500 looks like a more rugged LCD-5. Some people wonder if the MM-500 is an LCD-5 “light” with similarities and low prices, sharing the same shape and 90mm driver size (though not the same driver).

For those who want it to happen, I chase — it’s not.

The first MM-500 in a new series of models designed for the studio has a different focus. Audeze has partnered with Manny Marroquin of Larrabee Studios to develop new headphones dedicated to mastering and production tasks.

Audeze MM-500 Headphone Headband
Audeze MM-500 headband

When you hear the MM-500, you’ll soon notice that it’s more like the LCD-X than the LCD-5, but the MM isn’t just another wrapper, the LCD-X. Listening to Marcus Miller, we found that the base track was placed twice because the imaging was accurate enough to hear two cuts from two different points in space.

When I switched to Yo-Yo Ma’s “Libertango,” I heard the violin pushed back a bit to make the cello the main stage. The cello was full of energy and life and was very fluid, while the violin was a bit less energetic and a bit dull in comparison.

Frank Sinatra had a great presence and I soon noticed a very wide stereo separation and a big sound stage. When I closed my eyes, he was standing in front of the horn section, and the drummer was standing a little behind and to the left.

The MM-500 also reveals very small changes, whether it’s volume or equalizer / tone control, so that adjustments on the board are displayed quickly and with high accuracy.

Audeze MM-500 Headphone Ear Cup
Audeze MM-500

The MM-500 shows better linearity than the LCD-5, which I thought was the best in the Audeze LCD series so far. In A / B testing between the LCD-5 and the new headphones, the tonal differences are very noticeable, and the MM-500 doesn’t reach the LCD-5’s level of detail completely, but it keeps things interesting. It’s more than enough. ..

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If you like the LCD-X but want something a little lighter and more comfortable in your head, you might think the MM-500 is a ticket. With a retail price of $ 1,699, it’s closer to the LCD-X and is definitely more robust than the LCD-5, which has more headband clamping force. I was wearing glasses and found it difficult to fit snugly. Fortunately, the MM-500 can use the same extension rod as the LCD series.

Audeze was a little stubborn about the number of models coming out in this new series. They hinted that another cheaper model might come next, for those who don’t have the $ 1,700 mixing and monitoring headphone budget.

What is clear from our visit is that Audeze has evolved into a technology company with a new focus on office speakers and headphones for the medical world. They aren’t going to lower the bar to become a brand like Beats or Bose. Innovation will always be the driving force as well as create the best headphones you can buy for money. This is already demonstrating what they can do.

For more information: MM-500

Related reading: Display the report about THEShow2022.

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