Product Profile: Audeze MM-500 Headphones

Recently, Audeze named 11-time Grammy-winning mixing engineer Manny Marroquin as head of Audeze’ s professional products division coinciding with the announcement of their first collaboration, the Manny Marroquin Signature series MM-500 Headphones. 

The MM-500’s are Audeze’s first purpose built pro audio headphones and feature premium construction throughout, The MM-500’s are constructed from magnesium, aluminum, steel and leather incorporated into a unique and elegant design. The MM-500’s share much of the sonic characteristics, and incorporate much of the advanced technologies used, in the company’s flagship LCD 5 audiophile headphones.

Developed and refined in Manny Marroquin’s world-famous Larrabee recording studios, the MM-500’s are designed around the same open-back planar magnetic technology shared with Audeze’s other headphones. While there are many different styles and prices of professional quality headphones on the market, none have the advantage of being developed and fine-tuned by one of the music industry’s most iconic and awarded music producers currently working.

Today, more people are mixing from their laptops, creating a need for reference-quality audio on-the-go, and creating a consistent need to accurately translate to your ears low and mid frequencies across a diverse range of musical styles. The MM-500’s are designed to be exactly that, meaning they are intended to, if necessary, replace your studio’s reference monitors as your primary mix point. The Audeze MM-500’s are purpose built to facilitate reference quality monitoring for musicians, producers, and content creators. The MM-500’s are premium grade headphones designed to be adaptable to many styles of music. No matter what source material you’re mixing, the MM-500’s are designed to provide consistent accurate sonic representation of whatever is being played through them. 

The MM-500’s are designed with Audeze’s proprietary Planer Magnetic Drivers, which produce a uniform driving force directly across the entire diaphragm, resulting in exceptionally low distortion across the entire frequency spectrum. The MM-500’s are an efficient audio tool for reference quality mixing and specifically designed to deliver mixes that consistently translate as well as the near-field or main monitors in your studio. Like any good pair of reference monitors, the MM-500’s remove your room from the equation and give you flat, reference quality sound your ears can depend on for an accurate mix. The MM-500’s are designed to be compatible with virtually all audio interfaces or consoles.

The MM-500’s also feature Audeze’s Fluxor™ Magnetic structure array and incorporate Audeze’s Neodymium N50 magnets. Maximum SPL for the MM500’s is >130dB. Frequency response is 5Hz - 50kHz. THD <0.1% @ 100dB, 1kHz. The Audeze Manny Marroquin Signature MM-500 headphones feature Audeze’s proprietary Uniforce™ voice coil and Ultra-Thin diaphragm technology that offer dramatically reduced distortion and uniform flat frequency response across the entire audio spectrum. The MM-500’s also incorporate Audeze’ s Fazor™ waveguides to deliver accurate phase and frequency response for consistent, reliable mixes. 

The MM-500’s weigh in at only 495 grams and are designed to be comfortable over long mixing sessions. The Audeze Manny Marroquin Signature MM-500 headphones feature a new suspension headband and wide leather pad designed to distribute the headphones’ weight evenly, as well as a new ear pad design for improved seal and deeper bass response. The headphones’ durable spring-steel headband conforms to a variety of head shapes and sizes. 

I tracked and mixed several songs start to finish on the MM-500’s. Sitting on my head the MM-500’s felt snug, but not overly tight. The MM-500’s do feel heavier than the average pair of pro audio headphones, but not so much so that they are uncomfortable to wear. Wearing the MM-500’s, sound is effectively isolated from the rest of the room.

The MM-500’s consistently provide accurate sonic feedback no matter what you’re playing through them. In session, MM-500’s offered a different kind of listening experience from any other headphone I’ve ever used. Using the MM-500’s, tracks sit in the mix as you would expect in any acoustically tuned environment. In use, I can confirm that Mid-Range and Bass frequency response is extremely accurate no matter how low and deep or how loud the source material is played back. Stereo imaging is excellent, much better than I am used to getting from even good quality pro audio headphones. As a critical listening tool, the MM-500’s provide a sonically accurate listening experience I feel I can depend on for a final mix or mastering session.

For my tracking sessions, the MM-500’s effectively translated changes in eq, compression, reverb, etc., as well as my nearfield monitors. Ear fatigue, even after a few hours on my head, was minimal, and the sound coming out of the MM-500’s overall was exceptionally clear and undistorted. I did notice a tendency to turn up my DAW’s headphone amp louder than usual, probably due in part to the quality of the drivers in the MM-500’s. No matter what the volume, the sound coming out of the MM-500’s is flat, color neutral and pristinely clear. 

The goal when developing the Manny Marroquin signature series MM-500 headphones was to produce a design that would provide reference quality audio on the go while still being affordable. My conclusion is  Audeze has succeeded in doing just that. Although expensive by comparison to other comparable pro audio headphones currently on the market, if you are a professional musician, producer, front-of-house engineer or content creator who depends on consistent, accurate mixes no matter where or in what acoustic environment you might happen to be working in, the MM-500’s are definitely worth checking out. 

The Audeze Manny Marroquin signature  series MM-500 headphones are available now for $1,699.

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