Meze Audio's most visually distinctive headphones border on retro-futurism, in a steampunk-vibe-without-the-steampunk-elements kind of way.
Its first dynamic open-back headphone – the 109 PRO – is made from "carefully curated and responsibly sourced" materials, including black walnut wood from certified sources, zinc, manganese steel and vegan leather.
It's also designed to be fully and endlessly serviceable, meaning that you can use these headphones for decades.
All about the materials
Romania will probably never shake off those Transylvania references, but the 109 PRO assuredly is anything but old-school under the hood.
The dual-composite diaphragm features a beryllium-coated semicrystalline polymer torus, a cellulose-carbon fibre composite dome and a copper-zinc alloy ring stabiliser.
The idea behind many of these fancy materials is to achieve a high level of stiffness with low mass, in order to avoid resonances that may lead to harmonic distortion.
In this case, the cellulose composite reinforced with carbon fibre enables the W-shaped dome to reproduce high frequencies (5Hz-30KHz) with "incredible detail, clarity and definition."
The ultra-thin torus (22 microns) surrounding the dome also contributes to greater clarity and faster transient response, thanks to the high dampening qualities of beryllium to suppress unwanted resonance for a more neutral, vivid and 'transparent' sound.
The ring-shaped stabiliser made of copper-zinc alloy sits around the circumference of the membrane and improves vibration absorption to further reduce distortion.
Lastly, the diaphragm is housed in a "high-precision machined" aluminium frame with perfect surface flatness so that the diaphragm can be mounted precisely.
Meze Audio 109 PRO retails for $1299 (including GST) and is available immediately at AV One, Lazada and Stereo Electronics.