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Audeze MM-500 Headphone

11-08-2022 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 124

While I was supremely enjoying the Audeze LCD-5 Headphones on my E.A.R. HP4 Tube Headphone Amplifier and the Manley Absolute Tube Headphone Amplifier, Audeze came up with the new Audeze MM-500 Headphones to review. They have a similar ergonomic feel and look, but are smaller and purposed quite differently.

The LCD-5 is an assault on the state of the art in planar design and is musical to the max. They remain my favorite planar cans. Only the Audeze CRBN Electrostats best it in some key ways, assuming of course, you have a top-notch energizer handy. The new MM-500 Headphones are extremely neutral and linear planar headphones and are light, comfortable, and efficient for literally anyone who has a 6.5 mm jack to plug into. And the big surprise:  this kind of performance for a retail price of only USD $1699!

The MM-500s were created to please über master music producer Manny Marroquin, winner of 11 Grammys, and a big fan of Audeze cans. He even tested the prototypes in actual pre-production, to offer comments on their performance. You will not be surprised that the MM-500 outperformed the still available LCD-X in every way, not to mention being one-third lighter and more comfortable.

The MM-500 specifications that stand out to me are as follows:

  • Impedance: 18 ohm
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-50kHz
  • Max Power Handling: 5 watts RMS
  • Type: open ear/open back
  • Max SPL: Greater than 130dB
  • Weight: 495 grams
  • Transducer size: 90mm
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB/1mW

The supplied cable is an excellent linear-performing wire which emphasizes neutrality and super definition over musical warmth. If you want a bit more mid and bottom-end juice, I recommend the UIT Audio Headphone cable, sold direct. It enhanced the MM-500 making it more like the LCD-5 in frequency balance. The UIT Audio wire is silver-clad copper, and very sophisticated in design.

Neutral, Neutral, Neutral!

Utilizing the supplied wire, I can report high definition at all frequencies. I noted very tight imaging with zero haloes or blurring. The highs were smooth and neutral to slightly forward in presentation. I did not detect any sibilance on vocals. The mid-band was neutral with a bullet, and yielded excellent dynamics without the hint of overload. Vocals were particularly well rendered, as was the sweetening added by the engineer. The soundstage was well-defined in all dimensions and seemed true to the many recordings I auditioned. 

The bass was tight and deep, with tons of layered textural definition. They did not offer the usual bloom I hear with other Audeze cans, including the LCD-X, but one could more easily tell what was actually going on at the lowest frequencies with the MM-500. By the way, Manny Marroquin's name is on the actual MM-500 Headphones, a very nice endorsement all around. I do not believe I have ever heard a more truly neutral presentation from headphones at all frequencies.

Based on the generous leather ear cups and lighter weight of the MM-500, I was able to spend an entire day enjoying all kinds of music from every source available to me. I even listened to opera on my restored McIntosh MR80 FM Tuner which had a handy full-sized headphone jack. Those were the days! I could hear the positions of the singers on the stage, and the instrumental accompaniment placed in front and below the singers with the MM-500. It was like being plugged into the soundboard at the Met. 

I recommend at least 75 hours of playtime on the MM-500 to achieve maximum fidelity, with bombastic music of any variety. I use a solid-state FM tuner for that purpose. They are played for a few hours at the Audeze factory to check them out, but not enough for the best performance. I have a relatively large head and did not get any clamping. If you do, just bend the steel band to fit your cranial needs. I do not think it is possible to break steel, but be gentle anyway.

I really like the way the wire connects to the headphones. These are possibly the best connectors in the business and are not likely to detach. The headphones are supplied with a black hard-sided travel case with a key lock. Attention to detail and extreme fit and finish are what Audeze is famous for, and appreciated by engineers and audiophiles alike.


The Audeze MM-500 Headphones, designed to fully please the recording engineer to perfection, will gratify anyone interested in hearing a sense of reality often overlooked in other designs. Though the LCD-X is still around and popular at a reduced price, the replacement MM-500 is so much more comfortable and accurate than its predecessor. Efficient and linear, the MM-500 is an extraordinary effort on the part of award-winning designer and inventor Dr. Colich and his team at Audeze to push the envelope for audiophiles—and now music producers as well. 

These are fantastic and cost-effective headphones. The more you listen, the more you will appreciate the MM-500's high definition and clarity. I truly believe everyone, not just recording aficionados, will enjoy these excellent headphones.

Congratulations Audeze! I recommend the MM-500 Headphones most highly.

MM-500 Headphones

Retail: $1699


3412 S. Susan Street

Santa Ana, CA  92704



Photographs courtesy of Audeze