PROS: balanced tuning with natural revealing tonality, powerful DD bass response, 3 switches with effective sound changes, premium cable, premium packaging.
CONS: dealing with small toggle switches.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Manufacturer/product website: FAudio. Available for sale from authorized retailers like Musicteck.
I discovered FAudio Mezzo LE earlier this year at Musicteck table while visiting CanJam NYC 2022, though I was a bit surprised to find the first reference to this model going back to… the end of 2019 where FAudio made Twitter announcement, mentioning “Mezzo” at Autumn Headphone Festival in Japan 2+ years ago. Looks like it took a while to perfect its design and tuning and probably to overcome post-pandemic supply chain issues, and now finally being able to present this Limited Edition (588 sets) model in celebration of FAudio 7th Anniversary.
The company itself was founded in 2014 by former MiniWatt lead engineer, Fung Wong, and had their first official release back in 2016. Based in Hong Kong, they have gathered quite a following in Asia and had a handful of popular flagship single DD releases, such as Minor, Major, and Dark Sky which I had a chance to review last year. Also, over a year ago there was another Limited Edition (399 sets) release, Project Y, coincidentally, not a single DD but a tri-brid design, just like this Mezzo LE release, though with a different driver config.
After the recent CanJam SoCal, I revisited Mezzo LE by borrowing the demo from Musicteck again. Being intrigued by its switches and their sound fine-tuning capability, I wanted to spend more time with these IEMs and decided to write a full review. Here is what I found.
Unboxing and Accessories.
To celebrate their 7th year anniversary, FAudio put in extra effort into the packaging to make the unboxing experience of Mezzo LE more memorable. The black box these IEMs arrived in is rather big and has a cheerful cover art, celebrating everything related to music. Under the cover you will find Mezzo LE in a cutout of the top foam layer, along with an attached cable and a metal perforated card with a S/N. Since this is a limited edition release, every unit is numbered. The “layered” unboxing experience continues once you remove the top foam tray to get to the rest of the accessories.
In there you will find a round metal storage case, a box with accessories which contains eartips (2 sets of S/M/L size silicone eartips and a pair of M size foam eartips), cleaning clothe, small storage pouch, and a tool for toggling the switches. The tool is a typical sim card tray remover eject pin key, branded with Mezzo name. Included with a cable was also a leather strap to keep the cable together. There is also a leather booklet with 2 pockets with a warranty card and other cards covering design details of Mezzo LE.
While there is nothing extra ordinary about these accessories, the unboxing experience itself is very satisfying. Also, I noticed that a similar packaging of Project Y also included VanNuys storage case. But Project Y was more expensive in comparison to Mezzo LE.
As I already mentioned in the intro, for this Limited-Edition 7th Anniversary release, FAudio decided to feature a tri-brid design like in their previous limited edition Project Y, but with different drivers. Here you will find 10mm DD bass driver, BA mid-high driver, BA full range driver, and Piezo tweeter. These 4 drivers are aligned with a 4-way crossover, referred to as T.C.T. (True Crossover Technology). For its dynamic driver, FAudio also implemented a similar acoustic chamber design as found in Dark Sky. Referred to as T.B.A.C., this patented Triple Built-in Acoustic Chamber is designed to control the airflow pumped by the dynamic driver. As far as the main spec goes, the iem is easy to drive, thanks to its average 108dB sensitivity and 20ohm impedance.
The shell size is relatively compact, though a bit taller in height to fit all the drivers and switches. Still, it doesn’t stick out too far from my average size ears. The nozzle is average length as well, with a lip at the edge to keep eartips secure and a mesh nozzle cover to keep wax away from the drivers. The shell has a swirling green and black pattern with Mezzo label (on the right) and FAudio (on the left). Right next to the flush 2pin socket, you will find metal-plated DD driver vent. Toward the back of the shell, there is a set of 3 tiny toggle switches, requiring a provide tool to flip each one. You can also use a toothpick or a paper clip wire, but it is more convenient to use the included tool.
Despite a thicker wire gauge, 23AWG, loosely braided 4 conductor design of FAudio Tone Master Shield cable is very flexible, non-microphonic, and comes with a soft PVC jacket matching the color scheme of Mezzo LE shells. According to FAudio, the wires are a mix of pure silver and OCC plated silver surrounded by a pure silver shielding. Typically, manufacturers use cheaper copper shielding and silver-plated copper wires, while here they opted for a premium pure silver shielding and copper plated silver wires. Knowing how particular FAudio about their cable selection, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since they pay close attention to every aspect of the design, down to an audiophile grade solder.
The wires of the cable have green and brown jackets, assuming one being pure silver and the other one is copper-plated silver. The only available termination choice is 4.4mm, more common since most of the DAPs have 4.4mm balanced jack. Also, the housing of a metal headphone plug matches the design and the finish of y-split, chin slider, and 2pin connector housing which is clearly labeled with L/R.
Page 2 – Sound analysis and Eartips selection.
Page 3 – Cable pair up, Comparison and Conclusion.
3 thoughts on “FAudio Mezzo LE”
Great review, very informative! I am on the market for new iem and struggling between these and Kr5 from FIR Audio. I know different beasts…
Main genre I am listening is prog rock, alternative and female. Sources are Cayins N6ii mostly with E01 and N8 in tube mode. Looking for an upgrade to my Anole VX. Thanks for your help
Did you hear both and trying to decide? Both should work for music you listen to. Mezzo shells will be lighter, if that matters. Another thing, Mezzo has switches to adjust and fine tune the sound. Some people want more bass, others want more treble. If you are not 100% happy with KR5 tuning, its atom module does very small sound adjustment. Mezzo, on the other hand, can change the sound more drastically to what you like. That is a huge advantage.
Thanks a lot. Unfortunately, I am not able to listen to them due to lack of possibilities. I do understand the differences of tuning but still uncertain which of these two would be the best upgrade. KR5 a lot of complete different comments from stellar to muddy, Mezzo only few. Which one is more detailed and has better layering? May be this helps to decide …….