Feature Image, Audio-Technica vs Meze Audio

Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD vs. Meze Audio Liric II Comparison

Nowadays, it’s hard to choose between all the different types and brands of headphones out on the market. There’s a lot of factors to consider when making your decision on what to invest in, like the brand it’s coming from, the design, comfort, ease of use… the list goes on. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting to do all that research, so I’ve taken a couple headphones to compare side by side. One comes from Meze Audio, a brand known for its premium quality and updated technology. The other comes from Audio-Technica, a reliable and well-known brand that has become a standard in audio work. I’ll be comparing two premium pairs, the ATH-WB LTD from Audio Technica and The Liric II from Meze Audio. They come in at an intimidating $1599 and $2000, respectively, but let’s go into the finer details and see what makes these worth the money.

Meze Liric II Focus Shot
Meze Audio Liric II
Audio Technica ATH-WB LTD
Audio Technica ATH-WB LTD








What Comes In The Box

Liric II Headphones

ATH-WB LTD Portable Headphones

Carrying case with soft plush interior

Termination premium cable, ending with 4.4mm jack

3m soft TPE cable with a 3.5 mm jack cable

Headphone 6.3mm gold-plated hack

Airplane jack

3.5mm to 1/4″ adapter

Balanced cable to L-shaped plug (4.4mm)

Balanced cable to L-shaped plug (3.5mm)

Travel pouch

Serial Number Postcard

Aesthetics and Functionality

The Liric II and LTD are two pairs of headphones that are very pleasing to the eye. The LTD stays on the lighter side in both look and feel, weighing in at 320g and sporting a glossy and aluminum-accented finish on the sides. The Liric II opts for a dark, ebony wood finish with copper metal highlights, as well as a heavier feel being 100g more than the LTD. The Liric II’s have an ovoid ear cup shape, which fits over the ear perfectly, and they swivel 360˚ around the adjustment pole. The ear cups also rotate on an axis inwards and outwards, allowing for the headphones to fit nicely on a person’s individual head shape. The LTDs don’t have this same flexibility; they have a circular shape instead, which still fits over the ear but not as individualized. The ear cups do not move on the same axis as the Liric II, so they have just one tight fit around the wearer’s head. It is easy to adjust them both and begin listening, as they both have cables that plug into a DAC and allow for easy listening. 

Both headphones come with a clever carrying case that allows easy on-the-go travel. The LTDs fold flat for easier storage, while the Liric II has a hardshell chase that ensures better protection. The cables for each set of headphones is easy to store in the cases, 

Personally, I find myself more partial towards the Liric II when I tried them both on. The LTD’s are a bit too snug on my head, and while that’s great for making sure they don’t fall off, they hurt my head when pressed against the stem of my glasses. The Liric II is also secure, but is a looser fit that is gentler on the head. This is just my own personal experience with the headphones: everyone has different head shapes and comfort standards. 

Meze Liric II Cable
Cable Ends to the Meze Liric II
Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD cables
Cable Ends to the Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD

Tech Specs

Meze Liric II: $2000

Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD: $1599

Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array Driver MZ4

Frequency Response: 4Hz – 92kHz

Impedance: 61 Ohms

Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1kHz, 1mW

Max SPL > 130 dB

Weight: 427g

THD < 0.15%

Closed Back Dynamic, 45mm Driver

Frequency Response: 5Hz – 50kHz

Impedance: 40 Ohms

Sensitivity: 104 dB/mW

Max Input Power: 1000mW

Weight: 320g

Apart from some basic specifications carrying differences, these two headphones vary in construction that affect the sound profile. The LTDs from Audio-Technica are made with a triple-wood layered shell, creating natural acoustics and a fuller, more harmonic-filled sound. It has bass-enhancing technology along with boosts for treble and mid-ranges to ensure quality sound reproduction. Comparatively, the Meze Liric II’s are an ebony wood constructed shell that focuses more on driver design to recreate sound. Their frequency range is very different, with the Liric II giving us an additional 40kHz on the top end. It should also be noted how the Liric II’s Rinaro Hybrid Array driver is the main feature of these headphones, where it tries to recreate and produce sound to be more selective based on the anatomy of our ears. It’s a fascinating piece of technology that is changing the game in audio engineering across the board. 

Meze Liric II Driver and Ear Pad
Meze Liric II Driver and Ear Pad

Listening Review


These two have similar soundstages since they are both closed-back in design. They share the same qualities of excellent noise isolation and sound privacy since the audio is not passing through. There is clear and crisp stereo imaging from both headphones, expanding across a wide frequency range. The Liric II takes the extra step by including PhaseX™, an immersive spatial sound imaging technology that recreates a 360˚ space in more binaural recordings. This puts the Liric II at a slightly elevated level compared to the LTD, but I would not count them out of the race yet. Audio-Technica’s classic design ensures a quality sound with custom-made drivers that are made to enhance the entire frequency range. 

Low Frequencies

When it comes to the low end, I have to give Audio-Technica credit where credit is due. The lows did not disappoint and came with an incredible depth and substance that made them a joy to listen to. The Liric II also has a stellar bass performance, but I think with the bass-enhancements placed in the LTDs, the Liric II simply fell short. I will, however, say that the low end in the Liric II did not disappoint: it was warm and rich, making a beautiful foundation for the rest of the frequency range to build up on. I wasn’t searching for it in the mixes, or overwhelmed by high end as a result. Both headphones had a great low tone that I thoroughly enjoyed. For a punchy bass that really makes its presence known, the LTD takes the cake. 

Mid-Range Frequencies

The mid-range of these two headphones hold a boxy quality that I see often in closed-back headphones. For the LTD, this hollowness expands across a large part of the mid frequencies. The Liric II has this in more the high-mids, but it is still noticeable and sometimes makes instruments sharper than necessary and/or desired. This isn’t the most positive thing to have in a pair of headphones, but I will admit that it is something you get used to. The headphones are their own acoustic environment, and putting songs that you normally listen to in a different space will cause them to sound a bit different. 

While at first delivering a unique mid-range, there is definitely something to be said about the impressive detailing provided. I was listening to “Prada” by Arca on both sets of headphones, both delivered stunning clarity of the layers and textures to be heard. The dreamy vocal processing with all the glitchy ear candy comes through and makes the song a pleasure to listen to. Even in other genres, layers of harmonies and instrumental parts with detailed processing come through with ease. 

High Frequencies

Both pairs of headphones have a fantastic high end that rounds out the frequency range. It brings a notable balance to earthy lows and textured mids. The LTD’s high end range stops at about 50kHz, but the Liric II keeps going and gives us 92kHz on the top end to play with. That’s 70kHz above the average range of human hearing! Listening to both side by side, I would say that the Liric II does have more space for the high end to breathe and ring out compared to the LTD. I was listening to a lot of classical music on the Liric II, and “Peer Gynt” – composed by Edvard Grieg and performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra – was the most notable in high end and space. I could imagine the performance was in a big theater with the way instruments rang out, with the rising tempo and pitch of the violins being one of those things. The LTD did have a lot of space for guitar harmonics and sharp violins, but there was that extra step taken in the Liric II that was audibly noticeable.

Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD front shot
Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD


In conclusion, the Audio-Technica LTD and the Meze Liric II are two pairs that won’t disappoint you. No matter which pair you get, you’ll be getting quality headphones that are sure to last you a while and deliver consistently the entire time. People who work in audio – be it for post production or music recording or something of the like – will find that either of these headphones are meant to be a tool for an excellent sounding product. The price point varies a bit for each pair, but depending on your individual preferences, I am sure the choice will be easy. For people who like a more present low end and light-weight feel during use, Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD is the way to go. On the other hand, people who want a darker aesthetic with premium engineering enhancements (and don’t mind spending a bit more), the Meze Liric II would likely be their choice. 

If you want my personal choice, it would likely be the Liric II. It is more comfortable for me to wear, which makes it easy for hours of listening and work without fatigue. While the price may be higher, I think the pros of additional upgraded technology make up for that gap and are worth the money.

See the reviews of the ATH-WB LTD and Meze Liric II here on Headphone Dungeon.

The Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD and Meze Audio Liric II are both available at Audio46.


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