People are undoubtedly aware of Meizu’s presence in the audio market, a veteran company that has occupied a large market share since the debut of it’s MX MP3 Player. Since March of 2004, the company has devoted itself to the MP3 player market, with the release of the ME which became the standard MP3 player familiar to users throughout. Many will also recognize the Meizu brand from it’s mobile phones, which are very popular with those who also use their phone for MP3s. The brand is known for it’s small, ergonomic and beautiful devices, which has a nearly cult following in China.
It can be said that Meizu is the standard by which the Chinese MP3 player market is judged, yet Meizu was not willing to rest on it’s a laurels. For a while now, Meizu has not released any new products into the Chinese audio market. Until now.
On November 9, Meizu released the HD50 headphones. The HD50 headphones are a technological masterpiece, utilizing bio-diaphragm technology with a dual tone cavity that was developed in-house by Meizu. This is the gold standard of headphone technology and is demanded by audiophiles. It was unexpected for Meizu to release such an amazing piece of technology that compliments it’s position in the MP3 market, yet the company had another surprise in store. The cost of the headphones is only $59.99! This is a surprising price considering other headphones with similar technology cost in the thousands.
I had the pleasure of testing the black version of the Meizu HD50 headphones. I tried them out for several days, not as an audio professional or as an audiophile, but as a person that enjoys great sounding headphones and comfort while wearing them. Most users at the price point for these headphones will likely be students or young adults that want a great pair of headphones rather than your purist audiophile, so this is where I am coming from with my review.
The HD50 headphones are packaged in a very sleek box that is reinforced to prevent damage. I like the minimalist design, where a picture of headphones are printed in color against a grey background, with a small “Meizu” logo appearing in a bottom corner.
Flipping the box over, a drawing of HD50 is shown in profile, a graph of the frequency response curve, the headphone design parameters and the biological diaphragm with dual tone cavity are discussed briefly. A key highlight is the inclusion of a remote control and 103dB with low resistance and high sensitivity.
Opening the box, there is an opaque plastic cover over the inner box holding the headphones. The writing on the plastic cover says “For The Lovely Ones, Designed by Meizu,” a tagline that is familiar to it’s users of MP3 and mobile phone products.
Lifting off the plastic cover, there is a black case with a zipper that goes around the entire perimeter. The case is a hard shell, which will protect the phones while in a backpack, yet it feels good in the hands as it is covered in a soft fabric that feels like silk.
Inside the case are the HD50 headphones, the cord with remote control, a 6.3mm adapter and a dual pronged airplane adapter. The 6.3mm and dual pronged airplane adapter are plated with gold, which provides the optimal electrical current for the best sound. The HD50 headphones are extremely beautiful like Meizu’s other products. The ear muffs are a plated silver color, with the padding on the headband and muffs a sleek black color. The padding is a synthetic leather material that is soft, flexible, does not make you sweat and feels great even after hours of wear.
Picking up the headphones, you can tell the Meizu HD50s are a high-end product. The metal headphone bodies are made from a power alloy, a technically superior metallurgical process that resists wear better than other processes. The great thing is you can feel this when you touch the headphones, it just feels so solid and invincible. It is hard to believe these headphones are priced so low!
Wireless headsets are on the market, yet they do not deliver the audio quality that is demanded by the HD50’s dual cavity and bio diaphragm design. The engineers at Meizu decided that a corded connection to the MP3 player was still the best way to deliver the highest quality sound. The HD50 cord inserts into the right side of the headset.
The headset socket is red, which corresponds to the red jack on the headphone cable, so the user does not mix up the cord jacks.
The remote control can operate a MP3 player and thanks to an integrated microphone, can be used for answering phone calls. On the iOS system, after you have answered a phone, the volume cannot be adjusted, but on the Flyme system, the volume can be adjusted. This is an issue with the iOS system, not the headphones.
The HD50 headphones clearly follow the smartphone metal trend that is popular right now. The outsides of the ear muffs and the headband are made from powder metal alloy. The ear muffs have angled bearing hinges that allow for them to contour to the shape of your head.
The head band is adjustable to the side of your head, which makes them very comfortable. The Meizu HD50 headphones are so beautiful and the level of attention to detail is outstanding.
The HD50’s bio fiber diaphragm design is where Meizu set’s itself apart from the competition. The major competitor is SONY, with it’s E888 and R10 headphones that use a similar diaphragm technology. The Meizu HD50s diaphragm membrane is incredibly sensitive to vibrations. As we all know, the more sensitive the diaphragm is to vibration frequencies, higher frequencies can be achieved.
However, the diaphragm must be strong enough to endure the low-frequencies as these are only achieved by pushing a higher volume of air. This requires the diaphragm membrane to be strong, yet sensitive.
The Meizu bio-fiber diaphragm can handle these conflicting requirements of being sensitive and strong with the use of a bio-fiber diaphragm called the microfiber free-edge film diaphragm. Competing headphones make use of metallic or paper diaphragm, yet these are wholly inadequate to achieve the low and high frequencies of a quality headphone. In the HD50, the free-edge diaphragm is attached to composite reinforced elastomer that provides a balanced control over different styles of music with a range of frequencies.
These headphones have excellent bass drive thanks to the use of a dual sound chamber design. The front chamber allows for airflow compensation that gives a balanced pressure and makes vocals extremely clear. The second rear chamber is for bass reflex, as the volume of air is pushed between the front and rear chambers for incredible bass that does not reverberate.
Not only is it important to have a technological masterpiece, but Meizu also knows the headphones must be comfortable when worn. So, these headphones have amazing sound, but how are they to wear?
Wearing the HD50s:
The Meizu HD50s are very comfortable to wear. The all-metal structure would lead one to believe these are heavy, but the total weight of the headphones is 200 grams. This helps prevent fatigue on the earlobes that plagues many other headphones.
Likewise, the ear muffs are small and fit over the ear lobes correctly. There is not a lot of pressure exerted by the HD50s on the ear lobes, so they do not become uncomfortable to wear even after an hour of use. These feel very comfortable when worn around the neck, which is a plus for people who like to look stylish when not using their headphones.
How do the HD50s sound?
The HD50s have an 32 ohm impedance that is outstanding for any portable headphone. The best way to listen to these headphones is though the use of a Hi-Fi sound system or, as I did it, with the use of an iPhone 6 Plus with NetEase cloud-based music. I selected several songs, “Chapter VII of the Night,” “In the End,” and “Hotel California, as well as some classical, folk and alternative music.
The HD50 headphones have a very warm low frequency response that is so clean and well rounded. The vocals come through with excellent clarity. The high-frequencies are very clear, yet there is something that does not develop the high frequencies into a rich sound. The dive is good, the bass response is really good and there is a definite elasticity that comes through the sound. There is a cultured sound to these headphones that rises above the assembly of a technology-laden piece of hardware.
Overall, the Meizu HD50s are priced so well at $59.99 for the quality of sound they produce. In fact, it is impossible to find headphones of the same quality as the HD50s for a price that is even close to $59.99. The HD50s are portable and use unique technology that provide the users with a high level of comfort, all conveniently stored in a hard shell case.
The sound quality of the HD50s is remarkable for such a low-cost. These are excellent headphones for listening to all sorts of music, from easy listening vocals to energetic pop songs, or for taking a phone call. If you are looking for superior sound quality without spending thousands of dollars, are very comfortable to wear, and looks awesome, then the Meizu HD50s are an excellent choice and certainly the best headphones for the money.