Meze 11 Deco Earphones Review

TThe Deco 11 exudes style and looks like a cabinet maker’s audio dream in real life. There is something very elegant about processed timbers that express their pedigree in lines and shades of brown. The slick shine and veneer shows character and class.

Andrew Apanov’s note: Normally we don’t post product reviews on Dotted Music, but we had a chance to play with these headphones recently and were really impressed… I also took some photos, find them on my Flickr.

In today’s dizzying array of headphone and earphone variations for almost every kind of niche from sports phones, to dj phones and audiophile phones, sound has always remained the selling point. Maybe some trendy color choices and plastic reshaping around the ears to boot.

Meze Deco reinstates traditional aesthetics with modern design and form factor and reaps great dividends with this approach. It just looks great, something your mom or sister would love as would your friend or father. It’s unisex appeal is strong. The packaging is an EVA case which is neat with a white round carry bag that is soft and secure. It might look too clean or feminine for some but the overall expression remains timeless and quite androgynous. It fits well and does not fall off with normal use.

Meze 11 Deco

Meze 11 Deco

This comes with 3 different sizes of soft silicone ear tips and the cord is tangle free. Sound wise it’s really good once you get in the burn in time around 3 days for me. I could hear marked difference in the frequency response after burn in where I would describe to as clear mids and transparent highs. The low frequency while stated at 17 Hz is always a factor to debate as the wavelength of a 20 Hz wave would be about 17 meters which would certainly be not produced by this minuscule diaphragm. And which kid could claim to listen to 25 KHz with their ritual abuse of both their headphones and their ears. But then that’s for all earphones ain’t it? What we are looking for is psychoacoustic recreation of the fundamental frequency in our head from the upper overtones and partials that are actually generated for the lows. I would say it works admirably, it’s not a dance music tuned setup but more towards non bass heavy music which surprisingly covers a very large amount of genres.

For testing I played Adam F – Colors, Daft Punk – Revolution 909 and Handel – Largo from Xerxes. All three are my favorites and I test them on all my headphones, and I know the songs progression and sonic landscape. So what do I infer? Handel’s masterpiece sounds amazing, voice comes clear and the strings are divine. Nice balance between the mids and highs and they never get overbearing. Revolution 909 lacks the oomph from more bass friendly earphones but nonetheless you do get a balanced sound that does not recolor the original, it just does not do bass boost but the output is faithful to the original. Same with Adam F’s opus, the flutes come out really well and the Rhodes shine, but the main beat could be more punchier though the bass does come through as solid. However, with today’s devices a little EQ never goes amiss, and these deficiencies can be compensated by judicious preset tweaking on your favorite device. I would also recommend using preamps to get that in your face tone. Most important of all, give it the burn in time required, as many great headphones and earphones, and it will reward you with a more tuned response to your choice of music.

So to conclude, neat packaging, intelligent design and slick form factor, with accessories and a very balanced audio output, I say we have a winner.

Few cons:

The build quality could be made more durable as I felt some of the plug wires could come off after some amount of regular use or even the occasional manhandling. You can’t change the volume using the control on some devices like the iPhone, but then again, it’s the devices where we normally set the parameters so no big deal. The mic does come very handy indeed.

Technical Specs

  • Speaker size: 8mm Neodymium
  • Frequency response:17Hz-25KHz
  • Sensitivity: 101+/-2dB At 1KHz1mW
  • Impedance: 14 Ohm
  • Rated input power: 3mW.
  • Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated

Find out more here.

Meze 11 Deco

Meze 11 Deco