Meze Audio Elite Epoque - A custom hand-painted version of the Elite headphones with a limited production of 100. This limited-edition of Elite pays homage to Art Nouveau - an inspirational philosophy that changed the way we perceive arts forever. An ideal synthesis of art and technology, this headphone is our timeless reminder of “La Belle Epoque”. This exclusive pair comes with two sets of earpads - one Hybrid, one angled Alcantara - and a silver-plated PCUHD premium cable of your choice.
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This particular style of art had a significant importance throughout my creative journey, and I wanted to express my admiration for it through my own craft. A perfect reflection of our artistic sensibilities and personal likings, La Belle Epoque, as we so aptly named it, blows my mind. I get soft knees for it.
Antonio Meze, Lead Designer and Founder of Meze Audio
For the past 10 years, Meze Audio has been developing audiophile headphones and earphones renowned for their timeless design, pure comfort, and engaging, vivid sound. From looks to technology, Meze Audio products are designed to surpass all short-living trends and become heirlooms rather than just headphones. Today, founder Antonio Meze and his skilled team design and develop their products in Baia Mare, Romania, in the spirit of their original ‘no-compromise’ vision.
Rinaro originated in the USSR (today’s Ukraine) during the Cold War as part of a state-funded acoustic technology research program. With government backing and access to advanced testing facilities, the team was able to focus all of its efforts on planar-magnetics. A field they have continued to innovate in for the last 30 years since the collapse of the USSR. In the last decade, Rinaro has expanded their capabilities and capacity by developing state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facilities in Ukraine and Poland. The new facilities have been a driving force in the creation of the revolutionary Isodynamic Hybrid Array technology found in Meze Empyrean and ELITE headphones.
This custom ELITE frame features a sophisticated finish in shades of gray, inspired by iconic works of architecture, paintings, and designs that defined the Art Nouveau movement. Shapes resembling stems and flowers were hand-applied with precision on the CNC aluminum cups and the carbon fiber headband, giving the impression of an infinite flow of sinuous lines. The painting process is meticulous and unrushed, with each frame taking more than a day to complete before final assembly.
With industrial production gaining popularity and decorative arts losing their aesthetic value to convenience and efficiency, artists of all mediums sought to revive creativity and workmanship. A frontier between traditional expression and technical expansion, Art Nouveau became a revolution.
Materials were chosen not just for the exciting sensory experience their raw texture provides but also for comfort and durability. A carbon fiber headband with a real leather headrest was added to the frame for an ultra-light feel and maximum durability.
In many ways, Meze Audio's values correspond with what Art Nouveau stood for. When they first started making headphones, they set out to change the paradigm in an industry where technology often comes first, and artistry surrenders to mass production. Much like the artists of that time, Meze was inspired by shapes, textures, and patterns from nature. They try to revive creativity and bring genuine artistic value to a world of mass production. They work against fast-changing trends to find the perfect harmony of careful craftsmanship and technological advance in order to create a “total work of art”.
Creating a flagship headphone takes time and patience to do well, and that kind of craftsmanship separates the average from the great. The process of making a single aluminum frame takes about 20 hours. To that, we add days of inspecting each part of the headphone, assembling the parts, and ensuring the final product rises to our high standards. This can’t be achieved through mass production, meaning delivery times can be longer, but we guarantee it’s worth it.
ELITE is hand assembled with care and painstaking attention to detail in Baia Mare, Romania.
With a custom, newly designed driver created by Rinaro Isodynamics, ELITE is the result of 3 years of research and development through which we strived to create a powerful, lifelike, and immersive experience that awakens the senses of the listener.
The MZ3SE driver builds on the pioneering technology of the flagship MZ3 driver found in the Empyrean headphone. The innovative Isodynamic Hybrid Array technology delivers a more selective acoustic performance to the various areas within the ear's structure. Advances in diaphragm materials have opened the doors to even higher resolution and accuracy of sound reproduction, setting a new benchmark in headphone design.
RINARO PARUS® a new low-mass diaphragm material.
The new driver behind ELITE features Rinaro Parus®, an innovative low-mass acoustic diaphragm built on an ultra-thin biaxially oriented semi-crystalline polymer film. Combined with the signature Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver technology, this allows sound waves to flow freely past the ears and out, producing a natural sound transparency and a wide, articulate soundstage. This results in improved definition and speed over the entire frequency range.
The polymer is produced with bespoke sequential biaxial lengthening technology, which involves stretching the polymer in transverse directions at elevated temperatures to improve structural performance. This result is a complex semi-crystalline microstructure developing in the material, which exhibits remarkable strength, stiffness, and stability, combined with an extremely low acoustic mass.
The use of different voice coil configurations found in the Isodynamic Hybrid Array creates the opportunity to improve the sound intensity distribution at high frequencies when directed at the auricle and ear canal. This solves a common problem with conventional planar magnetic arrays whereby reflected signals enter the ear canal with different time delays, thereby worsening the focus of 3D sound imaging. The use of dual coil arrays not only creates a balanced frequency response around the whole range but it also allows for better frequency targeting within diﬀerent areas of the ear, improving acoustical perception on the upper-frequency range.
SWITCHBACK COIL-The switchback coil is more eﬃcient at reproducing lower frequencies and is positioned in the upper part of the driver.
SPIRAL COIL-The spiral coil is more efficient at reproducing middle-high frequencies and is positioned directly over the ear canal, enabling more direct sound waves to enter the ear without any time delays.
At frequencies above 10kHz, where sound wavelengths is smaller than the cushions' inner cavity, the sound ﬁeld becomes diﬀused with an amount of direct and reﬂected sound waves within the ear canal. A signiﬁcant increase of direct sound waves can be achieved by positioning the most eﬃcient part of the diaphragm in mid-high frequencies directly over the ear canal, resulting in improved 3D imaging and spatial localization.
• Meze Elite
• Case: High-strength aluminum suitcase with foam inserts
• One Pair Angled Alcantara® EarPads
• One Pair Leather+Alcantara® Hybrid Pads
• Vegan option available upon request
• 2.5m silver plated cable, 4pin mini XLR plugs ending with 6.3 jack connector
• 1.2m silver plated cable, 4pin mini XLR plugs ending with 3.5 jack connector
• 2.5m silver plated cable, 4pin mini XLR plugs ending with 4 pin XLR connector
• Driver Type: Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array®
• Frequency Response: 3-112,000 Hz
• Impedance 32Ω
• Nominal SPL 101 dB (1 mW / 1 kHz)
• Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) <0.05%
• Weight: ~420 g
• Geometrical Shape Ovoid
• Size: 102 x 73mm / Weight: 75g
• Casing: Fibreglass reinforced polymer
• Active Area 4650mm2 / Weight 0.011g / Acoustic Mass 7.5kg/m4