Meze Audio Advar In-Ear Monitors: Review

The finish of the Cold War and collapse of the Iron Curtain introduced extra than simply political freedom to Eastern Europe and the Balkans; it created an setting for entrepreneurship and design innovation that has had a profound affect on the tradition and financial way forward for the area. Products just like the Meze Audio Advar might solely be a tiny instance of that actuality however they reveal simply how a lot engineering talent was suppressed by Communism in Eastern Europe for many years.

Meze Audio Advar IEM (Made in Romania)

Started in 2009, Meze Audio started its journey into the world of headphones in Baia Mare, Romania; a metropolis of 136,000 individuals situated lower than thirty miles from the border with Ukraine.

The creation of a brand new center class fueled demand for western shopper items, however extra importantly, led to funding in home start-ups who’ve confirmed able to competing with well-established manufacturers from America, Western Europe, and Asia. Companies like Meze Audio who’ve exceeded each doable expectation.

Over the previous two years, I’ve had the chance to evaluation a number of of the Meze Audio merchandise starting from the funds beating 12 Classics V2 IEMs, 99 Classics, Rai Penta, LIRIC, and the flagship Empyrean and Elite fashions.

Meze 99 Classics Over-ear Headphones in Walnut and Gold
Meze 99 Classics ($309)

The 99 Classics had been successful after the group confirmed up at CES and really handed them round to the businesses demonstrating headphone amplifiers; the walnut cups, metal headbands with gold accents, and leather-based suspension took the business by storm. EIC Ian White makes use of his private pair each single day and considers them to be certainly one of his favourite all-time headphones.

The $299 USD asking value was shockingly low when one considers what AKG, Sennheiser, Grado, and Beyerdynamic had been asking for comparable fashions on the time; the train was designed to get the model on the map and let the headphone world know {that a} small Romanian firm was engineering very high-end headphones the world over at a value that most individuals might afford.

The arrival of the Meze Audio Empyrean modified every little thing for the corporate; they went from being a small firm competing with giant mainstream manufacturers for a chunk of the $300 to $400 class to a bespoke producer of among the finest headphones ever created.

We don’t throw that reward round frivolously; the Empyrean, which was designed in partnership with Rinaro Isodynamics in Ukraine, grew to become an in a single day success within the luxurious headphone class unseating award-winning headphones from Audeze, HelloFiMAN, Dan Clark Audio, and Senneiser.

The sound high quality was greater than sufficient to make the Empyrean a must-listen at each Head-Fi CanJam occasion, however what actually took individuals abruptly was the economic design and the way that impacted the load.

Full-sized planar magnetic headphones had been moderately heavy gadgets to put on in your head for prolonged listening classes, however that every one modified with the launch of the Empyrean.

I’m unsure if Meze are advertising the Advar because the IEM model of the 99 Classics however it’s one thing to consider as we take a more in-depth take a look at these IEMs.

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Meze Audio Advar IEM Rear View

Antonio Meze has at all times put a variety of effort into the distinctive industrial design of his merchandise and in addition the branding. The Meze Audio Advar IEMs had been impressed by the Romanian phrase for “Amulet,” or “Talisman” and it’s thought that the Advar is supposed to convey those that put on it happiness, good well being, and a way of stability in life.

Balance is the important thing phrase in all of this.

The Skinny

Nothing that comes out of Baia Mare is something lower than impressed trying and that’s actually true of the shells which might be polished metal with moderately sleek curved traces and natural trying form. A brass disk that sit overs the ten.2mm dynamic driver homes a single vent which is centered over the driving force. A brass nozzle enhances the darkish grey metal end.

Meze Audio Advar Cable
Meze Audio Advar Ear Tips

The cable attaches through MMCX connectors with the Meze Lyre emblem down the again of the shell under the connector. Five sizes of Final E Series ideas are supplied together with a leather-based clamshell case, MMCX software, cleansing brush, cable, and guide. The cable is terminated with a gold plated 3.5mm plug.

My evaluation equipment additionally got here with a second cable in its personal leather-based storage bag. Aside from the jacks, the 2 cables are an identical with one having a 3.5mm jack and the opposite a 4.4mm termination.

Meze Audio Advar Jacks

The cable itself is silver plated OFC in a 4 strand braid from the jack to the splitter and two wire twists above. The jack and splitter are each grey metal matching the earpieces whereas the MMCX housings are clear polymer on the prime finish.


The dynamic driver has a nominal impedance of 31 ohms and a sensitivity of 111dB/mW per Meze and I discovered it simple to drive. Smartphones ought to be high quality driving these IEMs however you can be sacrificing decision, readability, and element with no Dongle DAC.

Astell&Kern KANN MAX DAP with Meze Audio Advar IEM
Astell&Kern KANN MAX DAP with Meze Audio Advar IEM

Driven by the model new Astell & Kern KANN MAX, the low acquire setting was satisfactory for regular listening and those that favor to hear at louder quantity ranges would have satisfactory headroom on medium acquire.  

Even utilizing the unique Cayin N3 DAP, which is understood for its decrease than common output, I had no downside getting the Advar to regular listening ranges with no lack of element or transparency.

The Advar is finest described as a “W” signature with emphasis within the bass, higher midrange, and the mid treble.

The excessive low finish has good affect however it isn’t as tightly outlined as a few of its rivals just like the Sennheiser IE 600. The mid bass progressively drops again from a peak and does bleed considerably into the decrease midrange which supplies the Advar barely extra heat and fullness.

The decrease midrange is barely recessed sounding however nonetheless has sufficient weight and element to not really feel missing. Male vocals do not need the identical vitality or presence of their feminine counterparts which profit from extra emphasis within the higher midrange.

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That carry within the higher midrange ends in violin strings which have a really pure sounding timbre and notes which might be properly rendered and detailed.

The treble is much like all the different Meze Audio IEMs that I’ve tried to date; barely well mannered sounding to keep away from any trace of stridency or fatigue. There is actually sufficient vitality for snares to sound fairly life like however I discovered that cymbals didn’t sound fairly as crisp compared to another rivals.

The tuning is unquestionably a design alternative by Meze and never a shortcoming of the driving force; Meze prioritize a smoother sounding treble with a discount in vitality for a extra relaxed hear that by no means sounds arduous even when the recording is combined that means.   

The soundstage is surprisingly a lot bigger than I anticipated for a closed IEM; there’s a excellent sense of depth and width with a reasonable diploma of peak. I additionally discovered the instrument separation to be excellent, though the imaging will not be as exact and carved firmly in place because the Sennheiser IE 600; the Advar is a extra natural sounding IEM compared to the IE 600 which prioritizes neutrality.

Meze Audio Advar In-ear Monitors
Meze Audio Advar


I discussed on the onset that the idea of stability was essential when discussing the Meze Audio Advar. Using the Meze 99 Classics as some extent of reference, the Advar has a robust low finish, larger dynamic capabilities, and higher driver velocity which additionally ends in extra element.

It delivers extra higher midrange readability, and barely extra prime finish extension; which is barely outstanding coming from a single 10.2mm driver built-in within an IEM.

The shell is fantastically made and every little thing concerning the general bundle feels properly designed and executed. I do want there was a balanced cable choice, however that doesn’t take away from the standard of the Advar which is without doubt one of the finest merchandise from Meze Audio to date. The asking value isn’t entry-level however you most actually get what you pay for.

Where to purchase: $699 at Crutchfield | Audio 46

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