July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Headphones

Audeze MM-100 Review — Headfonics

Today, Marcus reviews the $399 Audeze MM-100, which are an entry-level open-back planar headphone designed for studio professionals.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. I am grateful to the team at Audéze for your support.

Click here to read more about the Audéze products we have previously reviewed at Headfonics.

Please note that this review follows our current Scoring Guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

Featured image from Audeze MM-100 review

Audeze MM-100 Review

Summary

The Audeze MM-100 are high-energy open-back planar headphones with an impressively transparent quality that will faithfully reflect the system they’re connected to. They can scale where power is available, sound punchy when needed, and sound wider with improved separation if you can swap the cable for a balanced alternative.

Swipe here to add your score to the team!31 votes

8.7

Advantages

Impressive driver speed

Easy to feed

Solid build quality

Cons

Dipped lower treble veil

Some might find the side support a little firm.

It's been almost 2 years since the debut of the MM Series with the release of the MM-500 Open-back planar headphones. The MM-500 are a collaborative project with Grammy Award winner Manny Marroquin, designed and optimized for professional or studio headphone users.

It was a popular offering, not only among professional users, but also among the audiophile community. With confidence in the line and the collaborative brand, Audeze released a new MM series of headphones called the MM-100.

Priced at $399, the MM-100 is another set of open-back planar headphones designed by Manny Marroquin with a similar intent to the MM-500 but at a more accessible price point for a larger group of pro audio users and audiophiles.

These are Audeze's most affordable headphones in their entire line currently with the LCD-1 Now discontinued, it offers excellent build quality for the price, a fast response from the planar driver, and a linear bass line with a strong focus on the midranges.

Enough to beat competing professional headphones like the Sennheiser HD 600 and DT 1770 Pro by BeyerdynamicIn my full review below, you can read about its performance in more detail and how it compares to the competition.

Audeze MM-100 in vertical positionAudeze MM-100 in vertical position

Characteristics

The Audeze MM-100 are moderately sized, open-back, circumaural planar magnetic headphones with a unique dual-input 3.5mm SE single cable connection system.

Inside, it uses the company's latest 90mm planar driver, similar in size to the driver inside the MM-500 and the Maxwell version, though all three are tuned quite differently.

The overlap doesn't end there, as there's a similar N50 neodymium magnet configuration in a single-sided Fluxor™ magnet array and an ultra-thin Uniforce™ diaphragm.

The MM-100 is rated at 18 Ω with an SPL of 98 dB/1 mW (at battery reference point), which matches the MM-500 in terms of efficiency, but is just 2 dB less sensitive compared to its bigger brother.

The MM-100 should still be considered a moderately easy planar headphone to drive from a wide range of amplifiers.

I assume the slightly raised ear cushion rings on the MM-500 are also a feature of the MM-100. This new distance moves the ear cushions away from the main housing for improved ventilation.

Audeze MM-100 on an angled headphone standAudeze MM-100 on an angled headphone stand

Design

Aesthetically, the MM-100 are sleek and beautifully built for headphones at this price point.

I was expecting plastic for $399, but nope – it uses a magnesium fork and grille assembly and a spring-steel headband. Admittedly, that increases the weight to 475g, so it’s not lightweight, but it has many of the features of that gorgeous MM-500 design for a fraction of the price.

From a distance, the MM-100s exude the style of the MM-series headphones with that gunmetal finish and signature A-shaped grille. Look closer, however, and it’s more of a fusion of Maxwell’s unique headband and yoke system with the MM-500’s similarly circumferential grille and earcup.

Clothes used to lose weight LCD-5 Audeze’s classic yoke and pivot blocks have been replaced with a slim, lower-profile tubular swivel joint taken directly from the Maxwell. That also includes the headband with a narrower, non-vented leather pressure strap.

The main advantage of using the Maxwell system is the improved 180-degree articulation of the swivel joints. This allows the MM-100 to be placed horizontally on the table or in its corresponding holster. A feature that is not available on the more expensive MM-500 model.

Overall, the MM-100 looks great, and can probably take a few knocks with that magnesium frame, and with enough flexibility to hang in a bag or wear flat around your neck quite comfortably while working in a studio environment.

Audeze MM-100 ear pads viewAudeze MM-100 ear pads view

Comfort

Despite the weight of 475g and similar ear cushion dimensions to the MM-500, the MM-100's pressure distribution is slightly improved on its lateral axis, meaning the comfort level on my head is much better than I expected.

I suspect the change to the Maxwell headband has slightly altered dissipation because the perceived clamping pressure is now lower compared to the MM-500.

The firmness of the ear cushions may also be a factor for some. The ear cushions are virtually identical to the MM-500’s in terms of external dimensions and internal cavity size. However, the internal gel padding feels a bit firmer, and the leatherette exterior has a different texture.

It's not that the earpads are uncomfortable, but they're not as soft as the MM-500 versions. Ironically, the slightly more relaxed side pressure combined with less flexibility in the earpads cleared my ears a bit more than the MM-500 pads, resulting in less contact pressure of the pads on my ears.

The headband and pressure strap system does its job perfectly for my head shape. To some extent, it has to be because I find the vertical pressure to be slightly higher than the equivalent MM-500, mainly due to less lateral displacement.

However, head shapes can vary and the fit is just about right for me. That means smaller heads may feel the cups slide down a bit and the narrower strap takes on more pressure as a result. Everyone's head is different so your experience may vary.

Audeze MM-100 with attached serial cableAudeze MM-100 with attached serial cable

Serial cable

The Audeze MM-100 comes with a completely different connection system that I find useful.

Perhaps to reduce weight and cost, the pointed external mini-XLR connectors of the LCD and MM-500 series have been eliminated and in their place we have dual-input 3.5mm TRS connectors built into the magnesium cups.

Except it's not dual-input, it's single-sided. If I look at the inside of the headband, I can see a small wire routed inside the headband that electrically connects the two cups, which confirms this. It's not a trace wire either, in case you're worried, the insulation seems pretty durable.

The original cable comes with a single 3.5mm TRS stereo jack connector, meaning you can plug it into either headset and it will work as intended, which I think is pretty cool.

I understand the concept, it's a very useful feature for managing cables in studios and keeping them out of the way while working. It's also more inclusive for right- or left-handed people.

The original 2.5m cable aesthetically resembles the MM-500 version, with a similar tight, shiny PVC double-braided jacket and a pro-style 6.35mm connector.

However, since it is a single-ended cable, the MM-100 version does not have a splitter barrel, which in turn reduces some of the weight and makes it slightly lighter than its larger cousin.

It also appears to be a smaller gauge, high purity OCC audio grade copper wire than standard MM-500 wire, allowing the braiding to be visually tighter with shorter loops.

You'll also get a similarly designed, black-barrel 6.35mm to 3.5mm piggy-tail converter accented with white Audeze branding.

Unboxing Audeze MM-100Unboxing Audeze MM-100

Packaging and accessories

There's no fancy hard travel case for the MM-100s this time around, costs have to come down somewhere and this is the most obvious one once you start unpacking your headphones.

You will now receive a compact, branded black box with the headphones nestled deep in a foam-padded protective frame and the accessory box nestled just below the foam.

It's not much different to some of HIFIMAN's packages in this price range and is much better than what Sennheiser is currently doing with their HD series packages.

The accessory lineup is relatively spartan, with just a few credit card-style driver downloads and a Certificate of Authenticity to accompany the cable and adapter.

It does, however, include the lovely, soft MM Series branded drawstring bag that comes with the MM-500. It looks pretty flashy, but it doesn't offer any protection from bumps or knocks.

I would use this bag primarily as a dust cover when not using the headphones or to store my Surpassing DX9 amplifier inside as it fits perfectly.

Click to page 2 below for my sound impressions and recommended combinations.

Click on page 3 below to see my selected comparisons.

Sharing is caring!

    Leave feedback about this

    • Quality
    • Price
    • Service

    PROS

    +
    Add Field

    CONS

    +
    Add Field
    Choose Image
    Choose Video
    X