Meze 12 Classics V2


500+ Head-Fier
Updating a Classic
Pros: Beautiful shell design
– Comfortable
– Well-executed (for the most part) V-shaped sound signature
– Good imaging and staging
Cons: Meze 12 Classics V2 are tip sensitive
– 6KHz peak can be fatiguing
– Slight metallic timbre
– Fixed cable that’s tangle-prone

I have always admired Meze’s philosophy in terms of product development. In stark contrast to recent craze of releasing “Pro” versions and numerous rehashes of the same IEM within months of each other, Meze develops products with a long shelf-life in mind.

The Meze 12 Classics V2 is the successor/upgrade to their original Meze 12 Classics model which was released almost 5 years ago. The intention of the original model was to have a similar sound signature to Meze 99 Classics (their most popular headphone model) and the updated model tries to do the same.

Let’s see if Meze’s long awaited budget offering can hold against the current competition.

This review originally appeared on Audioreviews.
Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Meze was kind enough to send me the 12 Classics V2 for the purpose of evaluation.

Sources used: Sony NW-A55, Hidizs AP80Pro
Price, while reviewed: $70. Can be bought from Meze’s Official Website.


The Meze 12 Classics V2 have the usual bunch of tips (3 pairs of regular tips, 1 pair of dual-flange) and a nifty carrying case. That’s about all you get. I do wish the single-flange tips were of higher quality as I found them inadequate to provide a good seal (and thus made the Meze 12 Classics V2 sound subpar).



Wooden IEM shells usually look gorgeous and the Meze 12 Classics V2 is no exception. The housing is a 3-piece design with a walnut housing sandwiched between two aluminium “caps”. The dark walnut wood is contrasted by the copper color-trim of the aluminium pieces and the design exudes class.


Too bad that the fabric-covered cable is a pain to use while commuting. It’s janky, it’s bouncy, it gets coiled in your pocket, forms kinks easily – not a fan at all. Also the cable is fixed but my old Meze 11 Neo is still alive after 5 years (!) so I’d not be too wary of the fixed cable provided you use these carefully. There is a raised nub on the left strain-relief for channel identification.


There is a single vent right beside the cable-entry in the housing. There is adequate strain-relief all around. My biggest gripe is the cable, otherwise the build quality belies the price-tag.


Given the bullet-style shell, it’s a fairly comfortable IEM and can be worn both cable-up and cable-down. There is some minor driver flex that subsides after a while. The isolation is good but depends on the tips used.


For this review, I mostly used the Sony NW-A55 player and the Spinfit CP-100+ tips. The warmer signature of the A55 somewhat mitigated the treble peak on the 12 Classics V2 and was quite enjoyable for on-the-go listening. I’d recommend pairing the Meze 12 Classics V2 with a warm source for best results.



Meze 12 Classics V2 is utilizing an upgraded 8mm Titanium-coated PET driver with a copper-clad Aluminium wire voice-coil. This driver isn’t as fast as the Titanium coated driver on the Dunu Titan 1 but is better than a regular PET driver.



The general sound signature of the Meze 12 Classics V2 can be described as V-shaped. However, this is a rather well executed V-shape since the lower mids aren’t too recessed and male vocals have good intelligibility. Bass frequencies dominate the spectrum with deep bass tones having some added reverberation, likely due to the slower decay of the driver. However, the bass has decent texture and thus doesn’t sound one-note. Sub-bass rumble is lacking though, and I expected more slam from the driver (as it was the case with the old 11Neo).

The lower-mids get some warmth from the rise in the upper-bass and in some tracks you can feel the bass bleed into the mids. In most cases though this was kept well under control and lower-mids didn’t sound muffled (albeit they sound distant). The upper-mids are fairly prominent thanks to the 3KHz peak and female vocals sound more in balance with the rest of the frequencies.

The point of contention would then be the lower-treble peak which is rather scary in the graphs. Playing a sine-sweep with the IEMs in my own ear, I can hear the lower-treble peak become strong post 4KHz and sustain itself until 5.6KHz. Then, another peak starts from ~7KHz and sustains until 8KHz. However, these peaks aren’t as fatiguing in real-world scenarios and I couldn’t hear sibilance in any of my test tracks (incl. Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life). This tuning, however, may cause fatigue if you’re sensitive in those regions in the long run.

Dynamics are decent, esp macrodynamics. However, microdynamics (gradual change in volume) isn’t as noticeable and the lack of sub-bass rumble makes sudden bass drops sound less dramatic. Soundstage is impressively wide but lacks depth. Imaging is mostly left/right but due to above-average instrument separation things don’t sound congested at all. Timbre had a metallic sheen to it, a common problem in most Titanium-coated PET drivers.

Bass: 4/5
Mids: 4/5
Treble: 3/5
Imaging/Separation: 4/5
Staging: 4/5
Dynamics/Speed: 3/5




vs Meze 12 Classics (discontinued): So, did Meze really improve upon the original 12 Classics? Yes, they did. The driver is noticeably faster, bass is better controlled, the imaging/staging are better, and I prefer the new copper-trim a lot more. A true upgrade in all aspects barring the cable.

vs Moondrop Aria ($80): The Moondrop Aria (2021) is my current benchmark in the <$100 price-bracket. Does the Meze 12 Classics V2 dethrone them? Not really. I find the Aria to have better tonal balance overall and better imaging/faster transients.

However, these are differently tuned IEMs with vastly difference preferences in mind. Those who need an exciting, colored, V-shaped presentation will find the extra energy in the Meze 12 Classics V2 that’s lacking on the Aria. However, the detachable cable on the Aria just makes it a better deal for just $10 extra if you want a more balanced sound signature.


vs Final E3000 ($50): The Final E3000 is another favorite of mine under the $100 mark. It also shares a V-shaped sound profile and has a fixed cable + bullet style shell just like the Meze 12 Classics V2.

In terms of sound, three areas where the E3000 absolutely trounces the 12 Classics V2 are: staging, imaging, instrument separation. I also find the vocals to be more “engaging” on the Final E3000, but that’s more down to personal preference (slightly thicker lower-mids on the Final IEM). The Meze 12 Classics does have a more prominent treble, better bass extension, has a more robust stock cable vs the E3000, and is easily driven from most budget sources (the E3000 needs a good source).



Upgrading a classic like the OG Meze 12 Classics V2 is a tough task, but Meze has done well with the version 2.0. However, competition is far stronger than it was 5 years back, and the 12 Classics V2 isn’t as straightforward a recommendation as the OG was.

For me (and many potential buyers) the fixed cable may be a deal-breaker. Also those who are sensitive to peaky treble may find the 12 Classics V2 over long listening sessions. However, it’s one of the few well-tuned V-shaped sound signature under $100, and that counts as a strong point.

The Meze 12 Classics V2 gets my recommendation if you’re looking for an IEM with V-shaped sound signature (under $100). The design is excellent, the tuning mostly solid, and Meze usually supports their IEMs for a long time. That’s more than you can say about a lot of offerings lately, so there’s that.

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Previously known as sub30
Pros: Excellent and straightforward fit
Exquisite build quality
Beautiful shell design
Well-done V tuning
Exceptional technicalities and SQ, especially for a single-DD
Easy-to-drive – a phone will do
Cons: Upper midrange elevation (for others)
A tinge of metallic timbre especially in the treble region
Highly microphonic and tangly cable
Nondetachable cable

I would like to thank Ms. Alexandra and Meze Audio for providing a review unit of the 12 Classics V2. Rest assured that my impressions written in this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions and in no way influenced by outside parties.

I am not an expert in this hobby nor claim to be an audiophile. I just love listening to music and am fond of writing articles.


The Meze Audio 12 Classics V2 is a titanium-coated single-DD, bullet-style IEM, selling for 69 USD. It has attached cables terminating in a 3.5mm jack with a rated impedance of 16 ohms and a sensitivity of 101 dB. Spoiler alert: this is the best IEM SQ-wise I’ve heard in this price range but there’s one deciding factor not related to sound.


These were plugged to my Oppo Reno 4/Asus X409 with the Earstudio HUD100 MK2 (bypass, high power) for the review. There was no significant difference observed compared to low power and thus the 12 Classics V2 is an easy-to-drive IEM. A phone will do.

Build and Comfort:
Beautiful. Unique. Special. This IEM was designed by Antonio Meze and I have to say, the 12 Classics V2 is exquisite, looks-wise. Housing is a combination of walnut and copper-anodized aluminum, which complements the overall image of the IEM. Fit is straightforward and shouldn’t be a problem for any type of ear. Nozzle is of regular length and width. You can wear them two ways – cable-up or cable-down and that’s where the deciding factor enters.

For 69 USD, it has nondetachable cables. The cable, while feels good and well-built, is highly microphonic and tangle-prone. Splitter and jack follow the palette of the 12 Classics V2 and complements the look.

Oh, and one more thing – there’s no easy-to-know indication which is left and right. There’s this very small lettering of L and R at the bottom of the strain relief which is hard to see even in broad daylight.

Package: 3 pairs of narrow-bore black silicone tips (S/M/L). 1 pair of double-flange silicone tips. Paperwork. Protective case.


Now, onto sound:

For this review, the IEM was left in stock mode without mods, other than using a M short-stem, wide-bore silicone tip with a low-medium listening volume. I had to go 1 size up because the housing was touching my ears.

The included narrow-bore tips I found to adversely affect the SQ as it was a V-shape and with said tips congested the sound. A wider bore tip will open it up.


It’s definitely elevated. However, the elevation doesn’t favor a particular sub-region and sounds balanced-going-lean (influenced by driver characteristic). Bass, due to that titanium-coated driver, is punchy, fast, tight, hits hard and well-textured. Sub-bass extension is excellent, controlled and will satisfy bassheads (especially when you use the double-flange tips). Truth be told, this was not the response I expected of the 12 Classics V2. I was thinking of something along the lines of warm, with a mid-bass emphasis, average attack and slow decay. And while what I got aligns with my personal preference, I can’t say I wouldn’t have preferred my expected Meze Audio house sound.

Midrange: Reminds me so much of the Moondrop SSP, with a very slightly less elevated upper midrange but similar, nonetheless. That would make the 12 Classics V2’s midrange neutral sounding - clean, forward, articulate and detailed but is unforgiving on certain tracks (badly recorded) and would be thin if you’re sensitive to upper midrange/lower treble frequencies. Guitars have that crunchy bite that makes for an engaging and emotional listening experience. This is where I would’ve preferred that warm bass. Alas, with the bass response and timbral characteristic of the 12 Classics V2 due to the driver, that is not the case. Highly depended on what you want and expect of this IEM.

Treble: A lower treble emphasis extending to treble proper with limited extension to the far-end-of-the-spectrum frequencies. It is very controlled and crisp. However, there is a metallic tint to it which I’m attributing to the driver coating. Not quite BA-timbre but definitely not the most natural. Regarding sibilance, the tuning is like it’s a step away from it – where it feels like you should have heard it but then the “ssss” is like at the edge of the cliff, almost falling but not quite.


With the titanium-coated DD, there is a hint of metallic timbre especially in the upper midrange/lower treble region. While it is a single-DD where one would expect to have natural timbre, the coating which is a major player for me to consider the 12 Classics V2 the best sonic-wise of the few IEMs I’ve heard under this price range brought with it the aforementioned issue. The listener can get used to this timbre with brain burn-in.

Soundstage, Imaging, and Separation: Soundstage is just outside of your head, with no dimension being more than the other. Couple that with the accurate and sharp imaging, well-presented instrument layering and the excellent separation that can handle any track you throw at it, and you have yourself a treat. It’s a holographic experience. Awesome considering that it’s a single-DD sub-70 USD.

Detail-retrieval: Decent enough. Due to the treble extension not reaching the “above human hearing capabilities” frequency/ies, for tracks that use that, it won’t be heard. However, with the tuning of the upper midrange/lower treble/treble proper regions and the titanium-coated driver capabilities, macrodetails are audible and registered clearly. The articulate bass response also plays a positive role on this.



For 69 USD, this is easily the best IEM I’ve heard under 100. A well-done V (objectively) with technicalities nothing short of exceptional. Add to that the exquisite design and build quality of the Meze Audio 12 Classics V2 and we have ourselves a winner.

However, there is one huge caveat – it has nondetachable cables. In the year of 2021, where even sub-6 USD IEMs have detachable cables, this is a major deciding factor. Add to that the fact that the cable is sleeved resulting in more microphonics and being more tangle-prone, oh well… BUT, there’s an easy solution for this problem – let a local modder perform an MMCX mod. From where I live, that would cost me around 15 USD which I would say is very much worth-it, as for the base price of 69 USD, you’re gonna be set for a long time with this IEM.

****If you have other questions/concerns with the IEM mentioned, feel free to message me****​
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Good review. I have the same thoughts about them. The cable is my sore point of contention, otherwise such a well performing DD. I love how much body the tuning adds to snare hits without bleeding into lower mids.


Headphoneus Supremus
Meze 12 Classics V2: Updated and Enhanced
Pros: Timeless design with good build and ergonomics - Cohesive tune with accurate timbre and plenty of detail - Affordable
Cons: Fixed cable - Boosted upper mids will bother some - Average accessory kit (needs some wide-bore tips)

Today we're checking out the reworked 12 Classics from Meze Audio.

The original 12 Classics released in 2016 brought a more affordable product to Meze's lineup alongside yet another timeless design. While it was a very competent earphone there were some areas that could have used attention; the cable and an overly safe tune that was somewhat lacking micro detail.

Meze must agree that they hit the nail on the head with the look and ergonomics of the original 12 Classics as the V2 shares it's predecessors shell, save for a new colourway. They've also swapped out the cable for a much more pleasing cloth-coated unit and reworked the sound into something I find considerably more entertaining.

Let's take a closer look as the 12 Classics V2 and why I think this is how you successfully rework a product.

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What I Hear

Tip: The included tips feature a smaller bore which helps raise the low end of the 12 Classics V2 slightly. They sound fine, but my preference was for wide bore tips which balanced out the sound slightly, namely those from JVC, the ADV Eartune Fidelity U, and the Spinfit CP145. I recommend the CP145 for those that need a deeper fit, the JVC's for cable down wear, and the Fidelity U for cable up wear. Sony Hybrids are a more comfortable alternative to the stock tips should you like how those sound but want something a bit more plush. I didn't try the 12 Classics V2 with longer bi-flange tips since I prefer a shallow fit. If you have a set of the Sennheiser style bi-flange tips that come with the Rai Solo (which I wish were included with the 12 Classics V2), those are a solid alternative to the JVC set, but with slightly improved isolation.

Treble out of the V2 is very well-tuned to my ears. Notes are clean and well-controlled without any splash or grain. Just clean, smooth, fatigue-free sound. The bias towards lower treble regions provides lots of detail without crossing over into harshness. Upper treble is pretty chill for the most part save for a small peak at 7k that adds shimmer and sparkle and helps to keep the presentation airy and spacious. Since the peak is quite mild, it's not a tiring sound and even on busy, messy tracks like King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black”, the V2 avoids congestion or the blending of instruments and effects. The fairly rapid attack and decay the V2 possess helps, possibly due to the use of Titanium for the driver coating. It all sounds very JVC-esque and reminds me of the HA-FXH series of tip-mounted micro-driver earphones that I loved so much many moons ago.

The midrange is one of my favourite aspects of the 12 Classics V2 thanks to a satisfying upper midrange push, similar in effect to what Moondrop did with their Spaceship series. Vocals are prominent and extremely clear, but avoid crossing into shouty territory. Notes are warm and weighty with a satisfying density to them that finds a middle ground between overly thick or thin. It suits my preferences quite well. Detail, clarity and coherence are all strong points too with the V2 consistently impressing from track-to-track. Sibilance is also well-managed, though not quite as impressive as the class leader KB EAR Diamond where it is almost completely absent, even on tracks like The Crystal Method's “Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)”. Timbre is yet another strong point with instruments sounds like they should. Nothing comes across overly bright, woody, or dry sounding.

Bass is where the V2 surprised me most. As an avid listener of the original 12 Classics, I found the low end plenty satisfying. While mid-bass biased, it was well-weighted and warm but somewhat lacking visceral feedback. Perfectly competent and inoffensive with a relaxing quality to it. The V2 evens out the sub- to mid-bass transition, dials down the warmth, and greatly improves upon texture, detailing, and speed. Sub-bass also hits harder. It leaves the original sounding somewhat lethargic and bloomy in comparison. The new bass tuning does a fantastic job of supporting the V2's overall more lively and energetic presentation. On tracks like Havok's “D.O.A.” where the rapid double bass notes can slightly blend and smear on the original 12 Classics, the V2 keeps everything well-defined and crisp. It's all very technically sound while losing none of the musical nature of the original.

When it comes to sound stage the 12 Classics V2 follow in the footsteps of their more premium cousin, the Rai Solo. Staging is quite wide and fairly deep with a generally well-rounded balance. Vocals have a default positioning just outside the ear which helps quite a bit with the initial feeling of space. Also helping with this feeling of space is the V2's instrument separation. As mentioned earlier, sounds remain separated and distinct. They are also well layered, though I wish this were slightly more exaggerated. Imaging is tops in this price range for a single dynamic. I really enjoyed listening to Infected Mushroom through the V2 as it did justice to the way sounds fly from channel-to-channel. It also worked well with gaming enabling me to pretty easily track movement.

Compared To A Peer (volumes matched using Dayton iMM-6)

Dunu DM-480 (69.00 USD): Bass out of the DM-480 is less balanced with more of a skew towards sub-bass regions. This gives it a more visceral presentation, but with less warmth and mid-bass punch. I also found the V2 to provide slightly more texture and detail, though the difference is not profound. Leading into the mids the DM-480's are less forward. Timbre is on the cool, dry side compared to the V2, though detail and clarity are matched. Treble out of the Meze is smoother and provides a bit less detail I find them equally snappy, though the Dunu can feel slightly out of control when things get busy. Sound stage on the two is comparable with the Meze's less intimate vocals giving it an edge. Imaging is more precise out of the Meze, while I found the Dunu to provide slightly improved layering qualities. Instrument separation out of the Meze is more impressive, with the Dunu's mild splashiness hindering it's performance here. The biggest difference, however, is just how much more refined the 12 Classics V2 sound. Despite both using titanium coated drivers, the drivers in the Dunu add quite a bit more grain to the sound. It also crosses into harshness every once in a while, and is notably more subject to sibilance.

In terms of build and ergonomics, these two could could not be much more different. The Dunu's shells are a low profile, 3D printed acrylic design while the Meze have a more traditional bullet-shape with walnut wood and aluminum construction. They both look fantastic and are equally well-built. I guess it comes down to which style you prefer, or which you think is more attractive. For me it's a toss up. I prefer the look of the Meze, but the low profile, highly isolating design of the Dunu. When it comes to their cables the Dunu uses a removable 2-pin design. I've used numerous other earphones with the same or very similar cable, and it has proven to be very durable. It also has low microphonics. As much as I appreciate the upgrade Meze applied to the V2's cable, it's fixed, cloth-sheath design isn't as confidence inspiring in the long term.

Overall I greatly prefer the sound of the Meze, but the ergonomics and cable of the Dunu. If I had to pick just one, Meze all the way. The sound quality is a pretty notable step up in my opinion, while the fit and cable are more than good enough.

Shozy Form 1.1 (74.00 USD): The Form 1.1 is a 1+1 hybrid with a beryllium-coated dynamic driver. Shozy did an outstanding job selecting and tuning the balanced armature to match the tonality of the dynamic, but even so, it doesn't sound quite as coherent as the 12 Classics V2. Treble on the Form 1.1 is brilliance region biased with more relaxed lower treble and a stronger 7k peak. As a result, it provides a more vibrant listening experience at the expense of fatigue over longer listening sessions. It also brings with it more detail and improved clarity over the Meze, though notes aren't as tight and sound a bit more loose vs. the 12 Classics V2. Heading into the mids they are quite a bit more forward on the Meze. Vocals out of the 12 Classics are thicker but slightly cooler. The Form 1.1 offers slightly improved detail and clarity. Timbre on both is good with the Meze sounding a hint more natural. While bass quantities aren't vastly different, the Form 1.1's significantly altered balance leads to me perceiving it as much bassier. While the Meze's bass is tighter and more textured, the Shozy's provides a more visceral experience thanks to great sub-bass emphasis and a slower, punchier mid-bass. When it comes to sound stage I much prefer the Meze. The Form 1.1 has quite an average stage. It feels well balance din terms of width and depth, like the Meze, but comes across decidedly closer to the ear. Imaging is just a tight and nuanced as the Meze with the Shozy providing slightly better layering and instrument separation.

When it comes to build and design I definitely prefer the looks of the Meze. The Shozy is more comfortable for me, however, thanks to the low profile design that fits my outer ear perfectly. I also found it to have better fit and finish while makes sense given it's not using imperfect, organic materials like the Meze. For 12 Classics has the superior cable to me though, even if it is fixed. Like the Meze, the Form 1.1 uses a cloth-coated sheath. Unlike Meze's cable, this one is prone to tangles and kinks. Noise is kept to a minimum thanks to the over-ear design, and even after almost a year of use there is no apparent fraying, so that's a plus. Even so, I'd much prefer it to have the cable from the 12 Classics V2.

I'd be perfectly happy owning either, but the Meze's tuning and appearance is more to my taste. The Shozy is the more ergonomic earphone though, and I would much rather have a removable cable than fixed, but those aren't quite enough to give it the edge for me.

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In The Ear Meze's design chops are pretty much unmatched in the hobby, in my opinion. The 99 Classics are some of the most beautiful headphones ever produced. The 12 Classics V2 utilize a much simpler design, but are no less attractive. Like their predecessors, the V1, the housings are a fairly traditional barrel-shape, but with some sensual curves. Around the waist the housing tapers in which is not only a gorgeous, subtle design queue, but it makes it easy to grip the earphone. On the rear my favourite feature of the V1 returned, that being the dimple containing the Meze logo. It's useful for inserting the earphone, but also fits the tip of my finger perfectly. I rarely sit still and tend to always be tapping my foot, clicking a pen, spinning the dials on my camera, etc. The rear of the housing acts almost like a fidget aid and keeps me distracted, when I'm not listening to music through both earpieces of course.

In addition to looking lovely in the new black and copper colour scheme, the V2 is built quite well. I would say it's even improved slightly over their predecessor. The walnut wood and aluminum front and back plates fit perfectly together now with none of the rough(ish) edges found on the V1. All logos are writing are laser etched and will not wear off over time. The aluminum hardware is flawless with smooth curves and rounded edges. Strain relief at the compact straight jack is short but weighted just right to provide protection from bends. I was very pleased to see that both ends of the y-split are relieved which is a rarity. Even more rare is that the rubber used is soft enough to flex and provide protection to the cable, and protection is just what the cable needs.

As with the original 12 Classics, the cable is fixed so when it eventually fails you'll be in the market for a new earphone (12 Classics V3?). Unlike the original 12 Classics cable, this is one I can get behind. The original's cable was very durable and looked nice, but it was stiff and the microphonics were extremely intrusive. The user experience was poor. The new cable is fabric coated and provides a much more satisfying experience. It is very light and flexible with good tangle resistance. Cable noise is still an issue and I wish Meze installed a chin cinch to help with this, but it's not unbearable and can be reduced significantly by wrapping the cable up and around the ear. I also worry that it will start to fray at common bend points (y-split and jack) as is typical of cloth sheaths, but only time will tell. Not a single thread has frayed after two months of heavy use, which I consider a good sign for overall longevity. I've found most cloth cables to start fraying within the first couple days of testing.

Thanks to the standard barrel-shape and light weight, I found the V2 to be a very pleasant earphone to wear. The nozzles at their widest are about 5.5-6mm which is pretty standard. Only those who need slim nozzles like those found on the Shure SE215 or ADV Model 3 are likely experience fitment issues. For everyone else, these will fit just like you are used to. No tricks required to get a good seal and find comfortable positioning. If you decide to swap tips, the prominent nozzle lip does a great job of holding most third party tips in place. For me, I like a wider bore so I've been using the V2 with medium JVC tips or Spinfit's CP145 which helps get a deeper seal.

When it comes to passive sound isolation, the V2 does a good job. I'd say it's improved over the V1 and maybe slightly above average in the grand scheme of things. There are small vents are the base of the nozzle and just in front of the strain relief where the cable enters the housing, but they don't let in much noise, nor cause a racket when walking around in a windy environment. I can easily wear these when out and about at just a couple notches above my typically low volumes. Indoors, I can keep volumes low since so little passes through when music is playing.

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In The Box The 12 Classics V2 come in a fairly flat, squat, lift top box. On the front is the usual branding and model info, as well as an image of the earphones positioned to reflect Meze's logo. Down the right spine you find a list of product highlights and contents. Flipping to the rear you find a breakdown of the construction of the V2, along with the all-important specs and a couple highlights repeated from the spine. Lifting the lid you find the V2 and straight plug nestled tightly into some protective foam, shaped in a way to match the design on the lid. Nice touch. Below them is a slender clam shell case embossed with the Meze logo. Inside the case are the accessories. In all you get:
  • 12 Classics V2 earphones
  • Clamshell carrying case
  • Velcro cable tie
  • Single flange ear tips (s/m/l)
  • Bi-flange tips (m)
Overall a very straightforward unboxing experience with few frills and little waste. Receiving a case and one set tips is pretty much standard for the price. While it would have been nice to see more included, Meze matched the norm while exceeding what some more stingy brands provide, such as KZ and their tips-only approach.

Final Thoughts Meze has been working hard over the years to create a competitive, class-leading lineup within a wide variety of price segments. The 12 Classics (and 12 Neo for that matter) were getting long in the tooth and the market moves quickly, so the time for Meze to re-enter the budget realms with a bang was overdue. The 12 Classics V2 is just the ticket. Not only does it uphold Meze's design chops but it sounds fantastic and goes toe-to-toe with some of my favourites of the past year.

The Moondrop SSP-like tuning has tight, textured bass, gloriously forward mids, and clean crisp treble. It's not fatiguing, the presentation is spacious and technically capable, and it's a joy to listen to. The raised upper mids will undoubtedly bother some listeners, but for me it's just right. I wish Meze had equipped the 12 Classics V2 with either a 2-pin or MMCX removable cable system, but at least the new cable is vastly superior to its predecessor so such an omission isn't much of a loss.

Overall the 12 Classics V2 is a very successful update to an older model. It marriages a modern tuning to a classic design and is one of the more pleasurable earphones to cross my path so far in 2021.

Thanks for reading!

- B9


A huge thanks to Alexandra with Meze for arranging a sample of the 12 Classics V2 for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review of my subjective opinions and do not represent Meze or any other entity. At the time of writing the 12 Classics V2 were retailing for 69.00 USD:

  • Frequency response: 16Hz – 24KHz
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
  • Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
  • Noise attenuation: up to 26dB
  • Driver: Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
  • Cable: 1.2m 6N OFC with 3.5mm gold-plated jack
Gear Used For Testing LG Q70/G6, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp/Sparrow, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
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The cable was the main let-down from the V1, this sounds like a good upgrade and option for a cheap and good-sounding IEM.
@Mightygrey Definitely a great sounding cheap iem. Cable still isn't amazing or anything, but unquestionably an upgrade from the V1. Would love to see another revision in the future with a removable cable.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: + Rich sound signature, "western" tuning
+ Not lacking in technicalities for its price
+ Prettiest earbuds around
Cons: - Tuning not well-rounded for every genre
- Prominent microphonics with movement
Video Review

Special thanks to Meze Audio for arranging to have the 12 Classics V2 sent over for a full review. You may purchase the these earbuds with the non-affiliate link below.

Price and specifications
Price: USD69/69€
Meze Audio Official Store

Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz
Impedance: 16Ω
Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
Noise attenuation: Up to 26dB
Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
6N OFC cable, length: 1.2m
No mic & remote

EVA carrying case
(S), (M), (L) and 1x double-flange silicone ear tips

Comments on accessories
I would have liked to see a shirt clip included with these and I'll explain down below. Apart from that, the case and tips are probably the only accessories I'll need since both the earbuds and assortment of tips can be stored in that case.

Build, comfort and isolation
The 12 Classics V2 have a stunning body made of dark walnut wood which complements the shiny copper-anodized aluminum parts. This is easily one of the most pretty set of earbuds on the market right now. Meze is one to never fall short in terms of design choice, exemplified by their current portfolio of headphones and IEMs. I think it would be interesting to see how Meze chooses to integrate these design elements into future IEMs in the RAI series.

It seems like the cable is laced with a fabric which might be nylon; it is soft and pliable while remaining durable for extensive use. However as with most earbuds, this cable is also highly prone to microphonics. This issue can be resolved with a cable clip to the shirt but this was not included as an accessory. This cable transmits sound readily so I feel that it is important to have this accessory, especially for active users. Putting the great sound quality aside, if this is being marketed to the mass consumer market to be "the companion that makes your tunes feel right at home, wherever you are", it has to live up to the standard of convenience and practicality of an every-day-carry - a very high bar set by the wireless market. The Classics 12 V2 almost nailed it, with my only complaint being the strong presence of microphonics and the lack of a means to reduce it without purchasing a shirt clip from elsewhere.

Otherwise, these earbuds are very comfortable and I could achieve a proper seal with the medium tips supplied. Isolation is just below average but my average is compared to IEMs in my collection. But that is expected due to the smaller form factor of the Meze earbuds because my IEMs have a larger housing and fill up my ear, which equates to better passive noise isolation.

Tonal breakdown

In today's market, Meze's entry level 12 Classics V2 effectively competes with the multitudes of budget and even wireless options in the same sub 100 price bracket for the role of the "daily companion". I can see how Meze released this product with confidence despite the competition because the updated sound signature is fundamentally different from the sea of V-shaped consumer friendly IEMs. The update to the original 12 Classics calls for a different flavour, which Meze accomplished with the V2's coloured sound signature.

Bass and mids
The 12 Classics V2 has a bold sound signature characterised by its prominent lower-mid emphasis to give a soulful and relaxed presentation, with just enough sparkle in the treble for balance. Despite having the lower-mids at the forefront, the sub-bass is well extended to give the mix a firm foundation on the lower bass registers. This is well controlled to give the upper registers of the bass and lower-midrange space to drive melodies; the double bass section of orchestral tracks are full-bodied with sufficient rumble, solidifying its presence.【1】

On initial listen, deeper vocals came forward so significantly that I was taken aback by how close these vocals were playing at my ear. The 12 Classics V2 excels in emotional ballads with deep vocals; but it doesn't stop there. When the crescendo hits and all the sections of the orchestra play at once, the grandeur is something I've never experienced in this price range.【2】I believe that this is primarily because these earbuds have that warm, "tube-like" sound.

When listening to duets, differences are highlighted as higher pitched vocals don't carry as much weight as deeper ones. While these higher vocals maintain the forward presence in the mix, I find that they are recessed by a notch when compared side by side.【3】This trait is preserved on playback of songs with high vocals, for example, in a Japanese style mix.【4】

Although the rich energy in the lower-midrange is not preserved into the upper-midrange, there certainly isn't a suckout in this region either. This is where the 12 Classics V2 stray from a neutral presentation and as with pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the coloured tuning of an earphone may not match all music libraries due to different genres. To complicate things further, differences in frequency emphasis selected by the audio engineer can affect transparency of the mix. The 12 Classics V2 sounds fuller with "Western" style of music as compared to "Japanese" style which have a little more presence in the upper-midrange. As a result, J-rock tracks balance the 12 Classics V2 tuning and are marginally more transparent【5】than the likes of Western-rock which offer a thicker quality to the sound.【6】

The 12 Classics V2 balances the low-end with energy up top that is inclined toward the lower-treble at 6kHz, with tapering off into and past the mid-treble at 8kHz. The single dynamic driver employed adequately fleshes out detail that might otherwise have been be smoothed over with the big focus on the bottom-end. Cymbals and hats in a busy mix have a tendency to sound compressed because of bigger emphasis on the lower-treble than the mid-treble.【7】 Even though the 12 Classics V2 don't pay particularly close attention to aggressive micro-detail, it is reasonable for the 12 Classics V2 to trade off chasing after micro-detail for the musical approach with just 1 DD and in this price range.

Technical summary
Meze 12 Classics V2 2.png

Instrument separation and articulation are just better than average, scoring 2.5 for resolution.
As discussed above, detail-retrieval is not the 12 Classic V2's strong suit but sufficient for it to not be lacking with a score of 2.
Although stage depth is fairly average with a score of 2, the emphasis around the mid-bass to upper-bass possibly lends a mild sense of spaciousness in terms of stage width, with a score of 2.5.
The intimacy of the 12 Classics V2 sacrifices some perceived "pin-point accuracy" of individual instruments, scoring 2 for imaging.

Coloured tunings are remarkably challenging to pull off and I feel that we don't often see an IEM in this price range accomplish what the 12 Classics V2 have to the same calibre. Attaining this type of JH Audio-esque sound signature for their sub 100 entry-level product, yet refusing to compromise on technicalities is a big win in my books. This is an exciting new addition to the Meze family and I'm excited to see what they have to offer in future products.

Thanks for reading! You may find more reviews on my Head-fi thread.

These are some of the notable tracks used to come to my conclusions for those who're interested (not exhaustive).
Sample tracks for reference: Artiste 1Song 1, Song 2. Artiste 2Song 1…
1. Joe Hisaishi - My Neighbour Totoro (Dream Songs).
2. Gerard Butler - The Music Of The Night. Falling In Reverse - I Am Not A Vampire (Revamped).
3. Sarah Brightman - Amigos Para Siempre
4. Reona - ANIMA. YOASOBI - 夜に駆ける
6. Bring Me The Horizon - Mother Tongue. Falling In Reverse - Popular Monster
7. ONE OK ROCK - Nobody's Home. Royal Blood - Figure It Out.
thanks for the writeup!

such cool branding, with everything matching their it.