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The Mezzas were unique in several ways. They offered the quickest, most nimble timing I have heard at anywhere near this price point. They were light on their feet, and extremely precise. Imaging and detail retrieval were very impressive. These were not classic BBC-styled, midrange-focused monitors. Driver design, materials, and cabinet construction have come a long way.
I delighted in the excellent dynamics and clear top end. Instruments like cymbals, percussion, and piano had nice articulation and definition. Coherence was also very good, with nuances in recordings nicely spotlighted, but no undue attention called upon them. I thought the midrange was clean and open, and that really allowed good vocal recordings to shine. An example includes Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, whose albums are a delightful Portuguese and African jazzy hybrid, with her delicate vocals front and center. Her Cafe’ Atlantico album is beautifully recorded, and plays to the Mezzas strengths, with excellent tonality, and her voice nicely framed.
Ray Lamongtagne’s vocal on “You Can Bring Me Flowers” -- from his superb second album, Til The Sun Turns Black -- sounded exquisite through the Mezzas. As did the excellent horn arrangement and creeping bass line. The Mezzas also wonderfully handled the delicate ballad “Lesson Learned” with equal aplomb. The Mezzas versatility was rare for a speaker in this price range. I felt they were tailor made for chamber pop, like that of Brooklyn-based collective, Hem. The Mezzas allowed their second album Eveningland to float by like a summer day.
On edgier music, such as the self-titled debut from Swedish folkmeister Jose Gonzalez’s group, Junip, the Mezzas had plenty of pizzazz, showcasing the group’s electro folk stylings and hypnotic rhythms. I found the Mezzas highly engaging with modern pop records, which showed me they were able to provide excitement and drive. I was really drawn in when I put on the self-titled debut album from Black Dub, Daniel Lanois’s latest project. The delicious mix of trance, blues, and atmospherics sounded just right through the Mezzas.
As wonderful as the Mezzas are, like any speaker, they are not perfect. Where do the Mezzas fall short? First, bass, though articulate, could be weightier. They lack a bit of heft below the mid-bass. This can sometimes be noticeable on orchestral work or on rock recordings with prominent bass guitar. This will obviously vary with your listening room. Secondly, the Mezzas do require a bit of power to get them to sing. A low-powered tube amp may run out of steam. I would venture to say at least 50 watts per channel would get the job done.
I had a few speakers on hand for comparisons to the Mezza, including the Polk LSi M703 ($1500) the Definitive Technology SM65 ($995), and the SVS Ultra Bookshelf ($1000), review forthcoming. The Polks were cut from similar sonic cloth as the Mezzas, but with punchier bass, the speaker being about double the size of the Operas. The Definitives were warmer overall; a bit less extended in the highs, but also had more subjective bass weight. The SVS were darker in tone than the Mezzas, and while not quite as nimble, they were a bit more fleshed out in the midrange. On styling, the Mezzas win hands down.