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As is usual

One needs to directly audition things for themselves.

Sometimes I still get surprised by this audio hobby of ours.

I struggled to find the Shure SRH1540 but finally found a pair to demo in a shop that had a vast array of headphones and amplifiers.

I auditioned the usual suspects in the sub $500 price range (The Shure 1540 is $499US) and they had to be closed back design.
Sennheiser, B&W, Audio Technica, AKG, Beyerdynamics. One dealer recommended a brand I am unfamiliar with and they didn't look all that great to me - but what the hell - wow - super super comfortable and much lighter than some of the others - I really liked them for classical and jazz and they sounded a little more open and alive - albeit not as much isolation as the others. Meze 99 Classic headphones with an added set of silver 4.4 cables

What I greatly prefer about these headphones is the top band over the head - the Shure was quite uncomfortable - the ear cups were really nice but too much pressure on my head. My AKGs are on-ear not over-ear and I can't stand on-ear headphones for long which is why Grado gets knocked off the list. My HD600s have always seemed too heavy and too tight.

If you're like me and feel comfort is 95% of the game then give them a whirl and around $250. I also really enjoyed the sound quality and feel the tonal attributes eclipse some of the costlier headphones from Beyerdynamics and B&W and the Shure SRH1540. Considering I was leaning toward buying the Shure - I appreciated the fact that the dealer listened to me about balanced cables and offered up the considerably less expensive Meze 99 classics to try out.

Of course, they're not up there with the uber-expensive models but I feel like they hold with any of the $500 models I've heard for sound quality and seem, at least for my head, considerably more comfortable!

They do lean to the warmer side with a shelved down treble but still pretty open sounding to me. Definitely not as analytical as others nor as splashy in the treble but generally for long listens - that's what you're likely going to want. I think the designer perhaps has the idea that they will probably be partnered with digital sources that usually sound bright so shelving the treble down a bit will probably make a nicer longer listen.

A headphone review of the Meze is linked below.

I have also decided to go with a considerably less expensive DAP - if I like it and use it then I will consider upper-tiered models. The Hiby R5 Gen 2 is the DAP I intend to get. It is $2998 HKD as opposed to the more expensive models I initially looked at - it has a class A mode and runs 35 hours on a charge - and unlike the Sony and some more expensive units it has a fast charge charger and includes a case.

Hiby 5 gen2 https://headfonics.com/hiby-r5-gen-2-review/

Meze 99 Classics Gold (in HK they include an additional silver 4.4 cable)

I found the review interesting because he also didn't care for the Shure 1540. I didn't hate it or anything but the Meze I just felt was better and about 1/2 the price - so it's nice to look at some of the under the radar brands sometimes.

I would be curious to try their $5,000 flagship headphones next time I am out that way.

Edits: 10/12/22

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  • As is usual - RGA 17:05:02 10/12/22 (0)


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