by Kevin OBrien on August 17, 2022


Audeze, based out of Santa Ana California, has been in the headphone game for quite a while now. Specifically, getting their start back in 2008, bringing their very first LCD headphone to Colorado's RMAF for everyone to hear. They have come a long way since then with what seems like a model for almost every listener and budget. Get ready to be dazzled by their latest creation, the MM-500. This isn't completely new territory for Audeze but it is definitely new territory for YFS. Read on and we'll explain...

We couldn't help but notice how light the box felt as we took our first look at the new MM-500 planar headphone. As we uboxed the cans, the silver cups mated to the black headband looked unassuming enough. We always wonder just how that first impression will be right out of the box? With the MM-500, our first impression was extremely positive, yet interesting at the same time.


Lightweight. That's what was on our mind, literally, when getting a first take with the all new MM-500. This headphone is lighter than the LCD-X, and sounds better, in our opinion. You see, this headphone has mastering and studio-use in mind, which is why it was created in the first place. Manny Marroquin, a producer and mixer with the likes of Eminem, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, etc. is standing behind this model by putting his name on it. That means it better sound good. It does... The MM-500 is not difficult to dirve, and this is the key to getting great sound, from our past experiences.

We noticed immediately that the MM-500 was heavy on detail retrieval and bringing everything out in our recordings, good or bad. This is the point, so much so that we were confused at first listen. Things were a little "shouty" right off the bat so we decided to run them in for 100 hours and then take another listen. This helped smooth things out a bit. More time was needed to get things "settled in" but we won't bore you with those details. Just realize all audio gear changes slightly with use, mainly over 250 to 500 hours of use, depending upon the particular type of equipment.


After our gear was warmed up and the cans were broken in, it was time to see what the MM-500 could do. Detail for days. That is the first thing that comes to mind here. This can be an issue for some if you are sensitive to information overload. The MM-500 are not forgiving in this department and rightly so. They are a tool to be used for mastering and peeling the layers back, so to speak, from our recordings that we are becoming one with. These are not a laid back LCD-2 of old. Let's get that out of the way, right away. 

We have never heard a headphone lay out all the different puzzle pieces of a recording quite like the MM-500 does. Everything is there for you to look at, until you get a clear view as to how the overall picture appears. Cool! These are definitely geared towards the studio, as far as presentation goes. Think ‘near-field listening’ here, such as in the studio with mini monitors. The soundstaging of the MM-500 is unique, not like what we’ve heard with our other Audeze cans. Vocals are pushed slightly up front but aren’t obnoxious. These headphones need to be auditioned with familiar source recordings to give you an idea of just how revealing they are. You may be surprised at just how different your favorites recordings sound through the MM-500!

One of the reasons behind the MM-500 sounding so good right out of the box is the 'load' or impedance these cans present your source. The 500s are listed at 18 Ohms impedance at a sensitivity of 100 dB. Weight comes in at a feathery 495 grams! Frequency response is advertised at a low 5 Hz all the way up to 50,000 Hz. You get all the goodies like Fazor magnets and the latest Audeze technology coming out of Southern California. After our initial listen, the 5 Hz seems like a stretch but also a welcomed change in low-end oomph, compared to the flagship LCD-5. We were pleased with the low end results with the MM-500, and it didn't bother us nor need our normal bump in the EQ for that region of the frequency response.

Keep in mind we ditched the stock Audeze cable for our silver-copper, neutral, YFS aftermarket cable. We wanted to be as neutral as possible and this same YFS offering gave us great results with our Audeze LCD-XCs. Thinking back to our experience with the LCD-X, this MM-500 is similar but excels in all areas. This is truly one special headphone that will speak to a certain type of listener. If you are interested in hearing everything your recordings have to offer, this is a product you should hear at least once.

In fact, it reminds us a little of the RAAL-Requisite SR1a headphones in that you get everything  your recording has to offer, whether you want it or not. This can be a little much at times when you want to relax and unwind after a stressful day, for instance. If that is our mood, the trusty LCD-2 will come out and take center-stage. As stated previously, there is a time and place for the MM-500. On the other hand, the MM-500 could be the only headphone in your quiver if your budget is tight and you are able to mix and match headphone cables to 'voice' your final presentation.


Let us conclude our findings and wrap things up: Could the MM-500 be close to the SR1a with more bass? Possibly. Even though we may be missing some 'air', 'space', and bass detail / expansive soundstage in our favorite recordings, the MM-500 can deliver a unique look into recordings we know and love. "A true sense of 'cohesiveness' to the overall presentation and not 'disjointed'..." is the way we like to describe it. Afterall, this is what surprised us and kept us coming back for more. Our recommendation? Go out and give these a listen! Do it as soon as possible and tell us we aren't crazy for thinking these are some of the best cans your money can buy right now. Especially given US inflation as of late. 

As always, feel free to reach out to us with questions or concerns. We are  authorized  Audeze dealers. We can get you into a pair of MM-500 for less than you think. MSRP comes in at $1699 but seriously, don't pay that. It's only a manufacturer's suggested retail price.  We can do much better than that, just ask.

(We promise to go easy on you)

Thanks for reading and spending your time with us.