Simple Answer: sound quality and style.
Less Simple Answer: I’ve been reviewing Meze headphones and earphones for a couple years now, and I continue to be impressed. Antonio Meze started out making high-end headphones with the most gorgeous wood shells, and since then he’s moved on to earphones that continue to use real wood to deliver a look and sound combination that you don’t get elsewhere.
His new release is the 11 Deco, an in-ear set that makes you feel like you’re wearing Copenhagen furniture with their birch and brushed aluminum stylings. Functionally, they appear to use the same 8mm neodymium driver as his earlier 11 Classic, which gives really good bass response (down to 17Hz), and significant volume (up to 101dB, which is way louder than one should ever use them at). I find them to give a wonderfully balanced sound, with clear speech for podcasts, and a low-end that you can feel punch against your ears when you have things up a little loud.
I actually like them better than the 11 Classics, because this time around the cord is a heavy rubberized cord that feels strong enough not to break down, flexible enough to roll up and slip in a pocket, but stiff enough that they don’t knot up, and will uncoil with a few shakes. The microphone is functional (there is no remote for volume control), and the silicon earbuds are pretty standard.
The bottom line is that unlike their higher-end headphone brethren at Meze, these live in the mid-range, $50-$100, nice quality, single-driver earphone category with brands like Klipsch and Sennheiser, for people who want a step up from the cheap earbuds that hang near the register at the electronics store. While they won’t give you the mind-blowing sound of multi-driver monitors (that can cost in the many hundreds of dollars), they will let you hear your music pretty much the way it was intended.
And they look really, really good. Check them out at the Meze Headphones site.
[Note: I was sent a set of these for the purpose of this review.]