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Audeze MM-100

Planar-magnetic mixing and mastering headphones

In a nutshell

With the Audeze MM-100, the studio flagship MM-500 is joined in the range by a pair of headphones for mixing and mastering. The MM-100 share the technical cornerstones of the MM-500, such as planar-magnetic drivers, waveguides and magnet arrays, but cost less than a third of the price of the larger model.

Pros:
  • Differentiated mids
  • Open sounding treble range
  • High wearing comfort
  • High-quality materials
Cons:
  • Size adjustment with max. 5 positions
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The Audeze MM-100 joins the MM-500, which has been available for a year, as the second pair of headphones in Audeze’s MM series at a more affordable price point.

The MM series has been developed under the tutelage of multiple Grammy winner Manny Marroquin. For these headphones, the mix engineer has taken key technical details from the flagship Audeze LCD-5 headphones and refined them for mixing and mastering. While the MM-500 were already considerably cheaper than the LCD-5, the MM-100 are now something like a more affordable version of both these high-end pairs of headphones. With this new model, Audeze offers the basic features of its top model for less than a tenth of the price. So, it will be interesting to see whether prospective buyers need to make any compromises regarding the new entry-level model in the MM series from the California manufacturer.

Audeze MM-100 package

In the Audeze MM-100’s box, there is a large velvet pouch with a drawstring along with the headphones. It is printed with the MM series logo. It does not include the MM-500’s elaborate carrying case. A braided audio cable is also included, and this is almost half a metre longer than the cable that came with the MM-500. Furthermore, this unbalanced cable is equipped with a plug combination 6.35mm stereo jack to stereo mini jack. However, contrary to the advance announcements about the MM-100, unfortunately, there was no adapter to mini-jack included with the unit we tested. Two small cards serve as a certificate of authenticity and provide download information for the operating instructions. In addition to the serial number, the certificate of authenticity contains the signature of the employee who was personally responsible for the final inspection of this pair of headphones. Audeze continues to rely on its usual high level of quality assurance for the smaller model in the MM series, thereby providing the purchaser with confidence.

Audeze MM-100 – Construction and design

Surprisingly, the Audeze MM-100 open over-ear headphones only share a few design elements with their big brother, the MM-500. The open backs of the ear cups are still unmistakable. However, the entire construction, from the ear cup brackets to the headband, follows the design of the Audeze Maxwell wireless gaming headphones. This gives the MM-100 a much more modern appearance but also makes them feel less high-end than the typical Audeze headband design of Origins, Reference and Flagship series, or even the MM-500.

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When you put the headphones on for the first time, you have to orientate yourself briefly as to which is the right and which is the left side. The easiest way to tell is by looking at the mini-jack connectors, which are slightly offset to the front. Despite the one-sided cable routing, I say “connections” because Audeze also gives the user of the MM-100 the choice of whether the connection cable should be plugged in on the right or left. What I liked better here than with the MM-500 was that you don’t have to make a double-sided plug connection. This gives the user much more freedom of movement.

Technology and values of the Audeze MM-100

To save weight, Audeze has given the MM-100 a spring steel headband but lightweight aluminium ear cup brackets and magnesium grilles. As with the top-of-the-range models, the MM-100 use planar-magnetic 90mm drivers with their “Ultra-Thin Uniforce” diaphragms. Neodymium magnets are also used here in a patented array. This is said to result in a greater magnetic flux density and thus a more detailed sound (info link to the manufacturer). In addition, the MM-100s are equipped with waveguides, which are supposed to reduce phase problems.

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The frequency range covered by these headphones extends from 5 Hz to 25 kHz. This puts them well beyond the typical human hearing range in the bass. And in the super high-frequency range, too, they have more to offer than the human ear is usually able to perceive. Even if this transmission range does not extend quite as far in the treble as with Audeze’s top models, there is still enough room for tonal openness.

There is a contemporary combination of a low impedance of 18 ohms paired with a sensitivity of 98 dB/1mW. This makes the MM-100 sufficiently loud even with headphone amplifiers of a lower output voltage. Therefore, nothing stands in the way of using them with audio interfaces or laptops.

Audeze MM-100 – handling

The Audeze MM-100’s headband ensures a comfortable fit, although you can still feel the weight of the headphones, which weigh just under half a kilogram with the cable.

As with other Audeze models, the contact pressure of the headband is also rather low in relation to the weight of the ear cups. For this reason, the headphones do not fit particularly securely if you are moving your head quickly. Nevertheless, the rotatable and swivelling ear cups fit comfortably on the ears. This was also due to the fact that the Audeze MM-100′ ear cushions are not only filled with memory foam, but a circumferential gel ring in the leather also ensures a particularly gentle feel when you’re wearing them.

This headband construction, tried and tested on the Audeze Maxwell, likewise doesn’t have a conventional size adjustment on the MM-100. To adjust the headphones to the size of your head, you must reposition the leather strap that is held in place by two screws on the underside of the headband. Five different size settings are possible, including asymmetrical combinations. This should cover most head sizes. For extremely large or small heads, however, this form of size adjustment is likely to have its limitations. For storage and to save space for transportation, the ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees.

How do the Audeze MM-100 sound?

Right from the first notes, I noticed that, unlike many other headphones, the MM-100 managed to reproduce the presence range of voices in a wonderfully differentiated way. The fact that reproduction in this area was on the verge of sounding piercing here and there was an advantage rather than a disadvantage. If you use these headphones for mixing, then they provide a good tool for deciding how loud the upper mids of voices and instruments might be in the mix. This was also helpful for mixing guitar sounds. Even though in both cases, you will still need a good instinct.

If you’ve bought headphones with an open design, then you won’t be surprised if they are a little restrained in the bass. And that was exactly the case with these headphones. Nevertheless, the Audeze MM-100 can also be different. When the bass range was boosted, the headphones reproduced deep tones into the sub-bass range with confidence.

At the upper end of the frequency spectrum, the sound was characterised by tonal width. Differences from the larger model were present, but for many users, they would be marginal.

Overall, the subjective signal resolution was excellent for headphones in this price range. Because even though the MM-100 require a decent budget, they sound far more expensive than they actually are. Last but not least, the combination of an open sound, differentiated frequency reproduction and convincing dynamics also benefited the stereo impression and the depth gradation.

Conclusion

With the Audeze MM-100, the US manufacturer offers mixing and mastering headphones that don’t have to hide behind the bigger MM-500. Simpler in design and manufacture than the 500, with a smaller feature package, the MM-100 makes the experience of high wearing comfort, open sound, precise mids and detailed reproduction available to those with lower budgets.

The fact that the size adjustment only offers a maximum of five positions can be forgiven. These headphones best show their strengths with differentiated, dynamic audio productions, such as classical music. Thanks to their finely differentiated midrange, however, they are also suitable as mixing headphones for all rock and pop styles. Due to their precision, they can also be used for audio editing. And their sound is balanced enough that they even make decent hi-fi headphones.

8 months ago by Carsten Kaiser
  • Rating: 4.38
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeopen
  • Transducer principleplanar-magnetic
  • Frequency response (headphones)5 - 25.000 Hz
  • Impedance18 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)@1mW: 98 dB
  • Weight with cable507 g
  • Weight without cable457 g
  • Cable length240 cm

What's in the box

  • Interchangeable cable
  • Carrying bag
  • Certificate of authenticity

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