Product Profile: Audeze MM-100 Professional Headphones

Audeze just released the MM-100 Professional Headphones, the most affordable professional headphones the company has ever released. I recently had a chance to talk with Peter James, Audeze’ s marketing director, to get his insights on the MM-100 and why it is a breakthrough product. 

Music Connection: I understand the MM-100 is the most affordable professional headphone Audeze has ever released. You mentioned that the MM-100 is a big step forward in democratizing the Audeze brand for a much wider audience, especially in the pro audio market. Can you elaborate on that point a bit? 

Peter James: This is the first time we have offered a full-size Audeze headphone with the same driver size as the more mainstream headphones at this level of an accessible price point. The closest parallel to the MM-100 in the Audeze product lineup would be our LCD-1. Because the LCD-1 is smaller, it had to have some compromises to the performance relative to our bigger driver headphones. So, from that point of view, this is the first full-size Audeze headphone has offered at an affordable price point built to the same level of quality as all our other headphone products.

The MM-100 has the same open-back planar-magnetic heritage as all our LCD-1, and of course in this case, the MM-500 which we reviewed back in Music Connection’s August 2022 edition. Talking to somebody like Manny Marroquin, you really get the sense of how his vision brought this headphone to life, which was that it could be a high quality pair of headphones that could be affordable to all young people, creators, people just getting started out in, making music, or getting started out in a music career, so that they’d have access to a really accurate, neutral-sounding device that could tell them the truth about what they’re putting down in their tracks.

MC: Can you give me a little bit of background on what Manny Marroquin’s input was in the development of the MM-100 and what he does for Audeze? 

PJ: Manny is, technically speaking, the head of our pro-audio division. For years he’s been using a few of our other models and when we started developing the MM-500, he was involved with listening to a number of different prototypes and trying them out, commenting on the sound, saying what he liked, what he didn’t like, what he might want to try and get out of it. The goal was that he was satisfied with the headphones from the standpoint that  he knew that he could mix a whole track, or even an entire album on the headphones, pull up the tracks in the studio on his monitors, and not need to change a thing. With the MM-100, the goal was to try and keep as much of that accuracy and goodness while making a more affordable product.

Manny had a lot of involvement in listening and, evaluating the MM-100 as it was developed as were some of the other folks around his studio, Larrabee Studios who have used and experienced both the MM-100 and MM-500, giving us feedback about it. It felt like in testing the MM-100, that it did carry through Manny’s vision of a pair of headphones that you could mix a record on them if you needed to. In developing the MM-100, we were trying to maintain as much of that sound characteristic of the MM-500 as possible. 

MC: Can you tell me a little bit about what compromises your design team had to make to make the MM-100 affordable?

PJ: A lot of that is due to the technology built into our Maxwell gaming headphones. Like the Maxwell, The MM-100 was designed to be mass produced, more cheaply and efficiently, whereas the MM-500 has a bit more complex assembly required and has some high-end machined aluminum parts and things of that nature that just naturally drive up the price quite a bit.

In terms of the driver structure, the main difference between the two headphones is that the MM-100 has a slightly weaker magnetic field. And, you know, what that means is that the MM-100 headphone is slightly less efficient than the MM-500, so it takes a little bit more power than the MM-500. As a result, that magnetic field is not as strong, it does not have quite as necessarily tight control of the driver as, say, the MM-500 does.

The MM-100 are what I would consider a classic pair of headphones equally at home for live or studio use. The MM-100 can serve as a workhorse that can be used as your daily go-to headphones for tracking and mixing and monitoring. The MM-100 is designed to cut through the mix and allow the musicians and engineers to hear every element separately in exceptional detail as compared to what you hear from most standard dynamic driver type headphones currently on the market. 

To sum it up If you are like a lot of people and can only afford one pair of professional quality headphones, the MM-100 may well be a significant step up from what you are currently using, especially if you are shopping in the sub-$500 price point category.

The Audeze MM-100 Professional Headphones are available now for MAP $399. Find out more at audeze.com/products/mm-100