Meze Audio 109 Pro Headphones Review

Posted on 15th March, 2024

Meze Audio 109 Pro Headphones Review

David Price enjoys this stylish pair of mid-market, open-back, over-ear headphones…

Meze Audio

109 Pro Open-Backed Headphones

£769 RRP

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

After a two-decade-long hiatus, headphones began to come back into fashion around ten or so years ago – and suddenly, we saw an explosion in the number of companies making them. Where previously the breed had been mainly the preserve of brands such as Sennheiser, Beyer and Audio-Technica – often with pro audio roots – many small manufacturers suddenly arrived on the scene. These more specialist 'boutique' brands, as you might call them, weren't afraid of using innovative materials in the pursuit of better sound or, indeed, resurrecting established technologies to make them work more effectively.

Meze Audio is one such example and has recently done well with its fine planar magnetic designs, designed in conjunction with Rinaro Isodynamics. However, the 109 Pro you see here is a conventional dynamic design, reflecting its more mainstream, mid-market pricing. But that's not to say that less care and attention has been taken, as the company's clever 50mm 'Dual-Composite Diaphragms' have been specified. Essentially a combination of beryllium-coated polymer and cellulose-carbon fibre composite, they're said to offer the perfect balance between low mass and high stiffness.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

This is complemented by a vibration-absorbing copper-zinc alloy stabiliser ring and an efficient neodymium magnet and copper coil encased in a CNC machined aluminium frame. The W-shaped dome high-frequency unit is made of carbon fibre-reinforced cellulose composite, and its surround is also beryllium-coated semicrystalline polymer, just 22 microns thick. The result is a stiff and light transducer that can handle musical transients in a highly agile way.

Like most headphones these days, the 109 Pro is an open-back design. This generally makes life easier for the headphone amplifier driving it, and tends to bring a lively, propulsive sound – albeit arguably less accurate, as the drivers are venting to atmosphere rather than firing into a sealed, fixed space defined by the earcup. Don't buy this if you want to block out external ambient noise, though.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

Speaking of earcups, elegant black walnut wood is used for this application. Meze Audio says this is harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. The velour-covered foam cushions aren't quite as rigid as, say, those from Sennheiser – and this makes for a more pleasant wearing experience. There's little sense of having inserted your head into a vice, and velour is far more breathable than the 'faux leather' (i.e. vinyl) that's widely used elsewhere.

Build quality and finish are excellent; even the frame design is nicely done with a clever self-adjusting headband. It makes this headphone a pleasure to wear for extended periods, and you don't really notice the 375g (without cables) weight. Sennheiser's HD660S2—and its close relations over the past couple of decades—are great benchmarks for this 'mid-price' sector of the market. And the only slightly more expensive 109 Pro is noticeably better built and finished and more comfortable to wear.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

Meze Audio claims a sensitivity figure of 112dB (1kHz, 1mW), which is pretty healthy. Nominal impedance is put at 40 ohms. Quoted frequency response is 5Hz to 30kHz, which should satisfy anyone honest about the limits of their own hearing. Two pairs of cables are bundled, a 1.5m length and a 3m length. Being detachable, they are, of course, upgradeable, something that's far more desirable than fixed types. You get a standard 3.5mm plug with a 6.3mm jack plug adaptor. No balanced connection options are offered; unfashionable as it may be to say, but easily the biggest compromises in headphones at this price point are the transducers and/or earcups, and not the wiring topology. Headphone amps used for this review included a Musical Fidelity M1 XPA and Chord Hugo TT2.


This is a lively, engaging and fun-sounding headphone design that punches well above its weight, so to speak. It combines a sensible sonic balance – one that's ever so slightly on the smooth side compared to the mainstream – with great transient speed and dynamic articulation. What this means is that you get a vivid, immersive sound that talks to your heart rather than your head, yet it still ticks all the conventional hi-fi boxes in terms of detail resolution and tonal balance. Whereas some rivals sound fun but shrill, and others can be smooth and boring, the 109 Pro treads a well-judged path in between.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

Getting into specifics, and the 109 Pro is tonally pretty even. You wouldn't call it rich or even warm, but neither is there an icy glare to the midband and treble. This, in turn, means that on bright programme material like Supertramp's Take The Long Way Home, which it is a little well-lit despite being a classic seventies rock recording, you're not left with a migraine after half an LP side. This is a fundamentally accurately voiced design rather than one which has been tweaked to sound flabby or edgy.

It is also highly skilled at reproducing the true texture of different aspects in a recording. With little apparent colouration from either earcups or drivers, it's possible to 'hear through' the headphones much more easily than with some designs. This is why it reproduces the human voice exceptionally well for a headphone at this price. For example, Maps and Legends by REM is a dirge-like early eighties indie rock track, with singer Michael Stipe's voice often obscured by the wall of jangling Rickenbacker guitars. Yet the 109 Pro grants the listener access to right inside the mix, so to speak. There, it's a joy to experience the grain of the singer's rich voice and his subtle phrasing inflexions.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

Indeed, I'd say that the 109 Pro's special skill is midband resolution. Even with the lo-fi dance electronica of Hyper Go Go's Never Let Go, the backing synthesiser glide is easily discernible. It has a lovely sinewy sound to it – this despite the frenetic rhythm track crashing away in front of it. This brilliantly showcases the speed of this headphone; transient attack is as fast as you'll find at this price, giving the music a bouncy and energetic feel. As it's possible to hear pretty much any element in the mix without others interfering, there's also plenty of enjoyment to be had as you focus in on one particular instrument or strand with ease.

High frequencies are deftly handled. Frankly, you're not going to get planar magnetic driver levels of delicacy from any headphone at this price. However, the 109 Meze still makes a serious attempt at delivering a tactile yet finessed treble. There's a good deal of air and space to this headphone's top end, as shown by the cymbal sound on Caravan's Nine Feet Underground. This late-sixties psychedelic rock track comes across with gusto, but there's also real subtlety – the hi-hat may sound vibrant and lustrous but is never harsh.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

Bass may be a touch on the warm side, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it coloured. It's ever so slightly plump, giving a somewhat fuller sound to some recordings than some rivals, yet never intrudes to the point that your attention is unduly drawn to it. Even with seriously bass-heavy hardcore tracks like Manix's Join The Future, it doesn't lose the plot. This song's middle eight has a powerful synth bass that modulates up and down in rapid succession, and this can cause some headphones to descend into a soupy, glutinous mess. Yet the 109 Pro stays supple and tuneful when called upon to partake in this low-frequency workout, shrugging it off without any sign of strain.

Meze Audio 109 Pro Review

If there's any criticism to be made of this Meze Audio product, then it's about soundstaging. Spatially it isn't quite as expansive as some headphones I have heard around this price point, but you could argue that this is an academic concern with headphones anyway. It really comes down to matters of taste rather than notions of accuracy. For example, the Caravan track sounds more upfront and immediate than expected – it is as if you're in the stalls at a rock gig, rather than relaxing up in the circle of the concert hall taking in a wider vista. Some will prefer this, others not. Either way, stereo images are located clearly and correctly within the recorded acoustic.


Meze Audio 109 Pro is a strong product at the price. It ticks all the boxes, from the obvious care and attention that's gone into its design to the superb build quality and highly convincing sonic performance that doesn't sound as flat or artificial as most rivals. As such, it's a most welcome addition to the market and should do very well. Well worth an audition, then.

Visit Meze Audio for more information


    David Price's avatar

    David Price

    David started his career in 1993 writing for Hi-Fi World and went on to edit the magazine for nearly a decade. He was then made Editor of Hi-Fi Choice and continued to freelance for it and Hi-Fi News until becoming StereoNET’s Editor-in-Chief.

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