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Meze 12 Classics

  1. OSiRiSsk
    Meze 12 : An instant Classics
    Written by OSiRiSsk
    Published Dec 4, 2016
    Pros - comfort, great imaging, overall warm, enjoyable, non-fatiguing sound
    Cons - average soundstage, not audiophile-like detail


    The Meze 12 Classics has been provided to me by the Meze company as part of the official European review tour in exchange for my honest opinion.
    Later on Meze decided the participants can keep their headphones which I am grateful for.
    I don't want to cloud this review with boring specs, so here is the link my fellow readers:
    Retail price is 79.99 $

    Non-sound characteristics

    First of all - and I know this is really subjective, the Meze 12 looks really beautiful. The wooden element just makes them feel special.
    The Meze 12 comes with a nice little black case and number of various tips - including silicon ones in different sizes and one pair of comply foam tips. Some sort of clip is included too, but I haven't figured out out the use case too, so doesn't look essential :).
    upon its arrival​


    Cable is non-detachable which is kind of a standard thing in the budget sector. I wish EU would issue a law that all headphones must have detachable cables :). No idea why this isn't a standard yet. Cable looks sturdy enough to me. It also has a a microphone but since I haven't used Meze 12 with my phone I can't comment on this any further.
    Initially I've experience pretty serious microphonics - but oddly, only when I *was not* walking with them. When I was listening Meze 12 in the office and the cable touched my desk the microphonics was almost unbearable. However, when using them on the go, I haven't experienced anything like this. Not sure how this can be explained, but it's a true story :wink:.

    Isolation & leak depends on the selected tips and the fit. With the comply tips, isolation was very high and leak was almost non-existent.

    Similarly to isolation & leak this is also dependant on the selected tips. You likely will need to experiment to find a right one, but this is the same with any other IEMs out there. It's fair to say that Meze 12 are really small and should fit in most ears really well.
    It certainly did into mines - I found the comfort exceptional, and wearing them for couple of hours is not issue at all. I was using comply tips and I was really impressed with the comfort. In this regard, I can nothing but recommend them.

    Sound characteristics

    I am not the one who can provide you with thorough description of each frequency range. I don't even find it all that useful. When I listen to music I don't measure - when I listen to music, I actually listen to music. And I can either find the headphones enjoyable or not. It's more of a feeling thing. You just know when something feels right. Let me know tell you what I hear & feel when I listen to Meze 12 classics.
    I have used them mostly with FiiO X7 AM2 and also little with Cayin i5.
    seriously just look at them..gorgeous​
    pairing with Cayin i5 squeezed that extra drop of detail​

    I find the overall signature to be rather on the warm side. It's really non fatiguing, listening to them for hours is not a problem.

    If I should really the shortest description possible I'd use *pleasant & enjoyable*. I'd also call this sound really full, almost juicy. You'll definitely get a mouthful of your favourite music when you listen to these.
     I've never experienced any sibilance in the treble area, so no need to worry. The midrange is also very pleasant to hear - vocals are really smooth and makes the whole listening experience very very natural.
     The bass gives these headphones that fun factor which many of us looks for. It goes deep, extends just the right amount, and the impact is also there. They are not for bassheads I'd say, but because of the bass I can't really call them neutral. I listen to lots of electronic, hip hop, d&b music, and these really work well with these genres.
     The soundstage is quite average though. When I first listened to them I almost wanted to say that soundstage is non existent. But when I listened to some more quality recordings I've realized that these headphones simply don't exaggerate or emphasizes the soundstage. If it's there, you will hear it. If not, you won't. All in all - the soundstage is just mediocre. And if you want to use this for listening to your classical concerts it may not be the best fit.
     The detail on these is actually quite nice - not the highest resolution, but for 79.99$ really impressive. You want to use good source to squeeze the maximum out of these. Both FiiO X7 and Cayin i5 managed to do it, Cayin providing slightly  better resolution which catapulted these into higher level. These really has potential to shine. 
     Unlike soundstage, the imaging is actually absolutely superb. Goes well above the asking price if you ask me. When you close your eyes you can totally see the instruments in your head. However, given the smaller soundstage, it's a bit crowded in there :).

     The average soundstage is in my opinion also the reason why the detail can't go that extra mile to make these audiophiles headphones.
     But that wasn't really expected I'd say.
     The detail, imaging, overall tonality, bass - all of these aspects goes well above the asking price, and I'd call them exceptional value. Soundstage is probably only part of the overall signature which I can all average. Everything else just kicks ass.
     Word of caution: All of these impressions are based on using Comply foam tips. With other tips I haven't had such a good experience.
     Especially some of the silicone tips didn't provide such a good seal, therefore the back was lacking, and the sound wasn't so full / warm.
     I strongly recommend to try various tips to fight the one providing best fit - as in other iems, these are no exception that good seal drastically influence the resultant sound.
     Meze 12 were reasonably easy to drive. With FiiO X7 AM2 I was using about 50-60 volume (out of 120). So roughly 50% was sufficient for my listening levels.
     Comparison with Fidue A71:

     Fidue A71 are selling for almost exactly the same price, which makes it a good candidate for a comparison. They are more easily to drive than Meze 12 classics. They are slightly larger which may them more prone to being uncomfortable. I was able to achieve a good seal and comfort, but this may not be true for everybody. I think it would be necessary to try them out before buying..
     Their sound is quite different - it's definitely darker, treble more recessed. The bass has more impact than Meze 12 - which with my music genres is actually pretty enjoyable. While the impact is bigger, I don't feel it leaks to other frequencies. They are actually quite midrange centric.
     There is something absolutely addictive about their bass and midrange - which I struggle to put in words. 
     The overall value they offer is pretty much the same as in Meze 12, it's just they are quite different animals. I'd call it a tie between these two  and leave it to your sound signature preference. Also, Meze 12 will most likely fit any ears, while Fidue may struggle in comfort area with some people.
    Collection is growing..​


     You already know this - I really like these headphones. They are beautiful, super comfortable (with right tips), offers great imaging, warm, enjoyable sound signature. While not offering the audiophile-like detail it still kicks well above the asking price. The only minus is the average soundstage - but they are simply honest about the recording, and even this is not reason enough to not give a great rating.
     With all being said I have no other choice than to recommend these - I've heard Meze 99 in the past, now Meze 12 and it seems Meze is really going in the great direction. Well done!
  2. Mightygrey
    Another gorgeous wooden classic from Meze
    Written by Mightygrey
    Published Dec 2, 2016
    Pros - Enjoyable warm sound profile; balanced; great design; accessories; price
    Cons - Cable microphonics; not entirely snug fit (for me); L/R marking
    Two things to get out of the way up-front:

    1. this review was undertaken as part of the world-tour for the launch of the Meze 12 Classics, and the team @ Meze kindly sent me a pair of their new IEM's in exchange for my unbiased opinion and thoughts on how they've done.

    2. I really like the cut of Meze's jib. For a company that's come out of relative obscurity in the past couple of years, they've certainly made their mark. Their "99 Classics" have managed to combine looks, build and sound, in a bloody well-executed package. I bought a pair sight-unseen (unheard?) on the strength of rave reviews, and left my thoughts on them here. I also have nothing to say but praise about their customer-service, website, and overall brand-presentation. The premium nature of their products is mirrored in their customer experience - great job.

    So when I heard they were releasing an IEM I shot my hand up immediately to be one of the first to give them a listen. I've spent a couple of weeks with them now, and I'm happy to say they're thoroughly impressive - particularly for the price ($79 USD) and they're my current OTG daily drivers.

    About me + testing set-up

    I'm a 34 y.o music/hifi/headfi-fan with good hearing up to about 17kHZ. I'm mainly a speaker-guy, and prefer full-sized cans where possible. I wear IEMs on public transport every day to and from work, using USB Audio Player PRO on my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with an Audioquest Dragonfly Red - this is the set-up I used to test the Meze 12 Classics.

    Music listened-to for testing:

    AC/DC - Highway to Hell
    Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
    The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
    Guns 'N Roses - Appetite for Destruction
    Tame Impala - Currents
    Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
    Radiohead - The Bends, In Rainbows, A Moon Shaped Pool

    Packaging and presentation

    A particular strong-point from Meze, and the 12's are no exception. As an ad-guy, I think it's pretty cool how they've made their logo using a posed photo of the 12's on the front cover. I must point out that there's a pretty obvious typo/spelling-mistake on the back of the box - I'll leave it to Meze to find that one : )

    Bravo. Inside, there's a sturdy and good-looking zip-up clamshell case; a pair of genuine Comply tips, and no less than four sets of silicone tips (large; medium; small; double-flange). There's also a spring-clip attachment inside, which I'll write on more below, but became essential for use.





    Design and build

    In a word? Sexy. The genuine walnut surrounding the drivers is simply gorgeous, and the unique wood patterns give them a special, personalised feel. The wood is complemented with a silvery brushed aluminium which is great to the touch and uber-cool. Sturdy rubberised strain-relief at each cable connection-point which inspires confidence in their longevity, especially as they'll likely be subjected to gym-bags, airline overhead compartments, pockets, and the like. There's a nice Nice Meze-branded Y-splitter as well.

    The cable overall feels well-built and slightly rubberised - it's on the thick-side, but springy and doesn't tend to kink or hold its memory. Being thick, I must add that getting it to fit into the plastic claw on the clip was extremely difficult - after five minutes of shimmying and bending, I was seriously worried about either kinking/damaging the cable, or breaking the clip! The inline mic has one button (play/pause from what I can tell), and works as intended.

    After searching high-and-low I genuinely thought there were no "L" or "R" markings on either driver. It took me listening to a very familiar tune which I knew the L/R stereo separation of to work out that the driver with the mic belonged on the right hand side. I've since noticed that they do exist - very faint raised embossing on the strain relief.




    Fit and ergonomics

    I've showed the 12 Classics below side-by-side with the Carbo Tenore from Zero Audio - another sub-$100 IEM wunderkind that's also received rave reviews (my own one here for reference), which are my closest and most relevant point of comparison. The 12's are much larger in diameter, but they're by no means huge - the Carbo Tenores are just miniscule...but I love them so. That being said, I'm not able to get a as good a snug insertion with the Mezes. I think it might be a case of the driver tip being slightly wider in diameter, and flaring out to the much wider-barrel sooner. It's not a huge-problem and I'm probably nit-picking here, but just what I've found.

    Ok so they're in, and now comes my single-biggest complaint with the Meze 12 Classics - that premium-feeling and sturdy cable I mentioned earlier is noisy. Terribly noisy. Any movement or brushing of the cable on clothing, desks or limbs sends "DOINKS" and "THUMPS" up the cable, and straight into your ear. I experienced some microphonics with the CT's as well, but this was easily overcome by using an over-the-ear fit. This is trickier with the Mezes, as the think cable and close proximity of the inline mic to the driver makes it somewhat awkward - it flops heavily against the side of your temple/face. So the only solution (aside from sitting absolutely still...) was to use the supplied clip and attach it to the front of my clothing and give the cable some slack to avoid it bouncing. It seems to work reasonably well, and I use it every time. But still, if your primary promise as a brand is "PERFECT NATURAL SOUND", I'd expect the sound to not be interrupted by the cable noise. The 99's which I love like a baby also have great quality knitted fabric-covered cables, but dammit they're noisy too. Can't win 'em all hey?

    Of the generously-included range of five tips, the ones I found worked best were the 'medium' and the Comply foam tips. The double-flange and smaller tips simply didn't give me a good seal. Interestingly, they don't give isolation - in my case anyway, even with the Comply tips, which act like sound-proofing ear-plugs on the CT's. There's a fair amount of ambient sound still noticeable with music at a low-medium volume.


    How do they sound?

    Very pleasant, actually. The lower isolation plus a surprisingly wide "head-stage" gives a slightly airy sense, and good L/R separation. Overall I'd describe the sound as fairly balanced with a slight mid-bass hump, and also a slight upper-mid/lower treble hump that makes male vocals in particular quite enjoyable. It's a slightly 'warm' presentation that's relaxing (but not laid-back), and can be enjoyed all-day. Compared to the Carbo Tenore's, there's slightly less sub-bass extension/impact, and also slightly less transparency - voices and instruments aren't quite as close and immediate, but they're bloody good.




    Very classy package, and incredibly great value. On build, packaging and pure sonic terms, they feel like they should be much more expensive than their price-tag denotes. I think Meze have another 'Classic' on their hands here, and they've made a welcome addition to my collection as my go-to-on-the-go audio solution. They just need to find a solution for their noisy cable! I hope this feedback's helpful in terms of informing your purchasing/listening choices - please hit me up if you have any questions, I'm only too happy to reply. I also hope this feedback is helpful for the Meze team with regards to future product development (and proof-reading!).

    Update: A year on.

    Sound stopped working in the Right-hand channel, and the wooden chamber had become disconnected from the driver section - could be my fault for all I know, bumping around in the bottom of my bag or something. Both the wires connecting to the driver had become separated. I shot a note to Meze tech support, who promptly sent me a shot indicating where I should re-solder the wires to the driver. I got out my soldering iron, made a couple of joins, re-glued the driver to the wooden barrel, and voila! Back working again.

    Thanks again to Vlad in Meze tech support for being so helpful.


      B9Scrambler, MezeTeam and Zedethree like this.
  3. B9Scrambler
    Meze 12 Classics: The Walnut Wonder
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Nov 29, 2016
    Pros - Design - Material Quality - Comforting Sound Signature
    Cons - Cable Noise - Their Less Expensive Sibling
    Greetings Head-fi!
    Today we will be checking out another wooden wonder from the brilliant minds at Meze, the aptly named 12 Classics.
    Hailing from Romania, Meze is a company that needs no introduction with the Head-fi crowd. Despite only being on the market for a short period of time, their 99 Classics model has become ubiquitously associated with all-round quality and a timeless design. When Meze released news of their upcoming 11 Neo and 12 Classics in-ears, it was clear they hadn't been resting on their laurels while relishing in the success of the 99 Classics.
    Both the 11 Neo and 12 Classics feature a titanium coated driver membrane. What sets the two apart and links the 12 Classics to their full-sized counterpart is the difference in housing material; all-aluminum versus an aluminum/walnut wood hybrid. The 12 Classics additionally toss in a copper-clad, aluminum voice coil for good measure.
    Do the 12 Classics live up to the Classics name, offering the premium build and sound quality we've come to expect from the Meze name. For the most part, they sure do.
    I would like to thank @MezeTeam for selecting me to take part in the Head-fi 12 Classics review tour. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of Meze or any other entity.
    The 12 Classics can be purchased from Meze at the cost of 79.99 USD; https://mezeheadphones.com/products/meze-12-classics-gun-metal-wood-earphones
    A Little About Me:
    Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I've had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done.
    The gear I use for testing is pretty basic composing of an XDuoo X3 (with Rockbox update) HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.

    IMAG2040.jpg       DSCN0668.jpg       IMAG2041.jpg

    Packaging and Accessories:
    The 12 Classics unboxing experience is price appropriate, with a few eye-catching aspects. The first thing that struck me was just how solid the cardboard used is. It's not that flimsy, thin stuff most manufacturer's opt to go with, but is thick, firm, and durable. Second, the direct nods to Meze's trident logo in the orientation of the image of the 12 Classics on the front of the box, and again inside nestled among the foam padding. This are nice details that show Meze put some thought into the packaging without going overboard and making it too extravagant.
    It's also refreshing to see a complete lack of marketing blurbs, mission statement, and the like, though sometimes that can be pretty entertaining. The closest Meze gets is with the statement, "Perfect Natural Sound," printed on the left side. This packaging is all business; images of the complete product, a breakdown of the components and construction, specifications, and key features.
    The included accessories are everything you need to ensure a good listening experience. You are provided the same silicone tips that come with a trillion other earphones in s/m/l, and a set of dual flange as well. Meze also includes a set of genuine Comply T500 Isolation tips. I didn't think they would suit the 12 Classics since they're not a bright earphone, but they paired surprisingly well and helped combat microphonics (cable noise). A handy little Velcro strip is provided and helps with cable management during storage.
    Overall the 12 Classic's unboxing experience is pleasant. The presentation is very clean and straightforward, and the included accessories pair well with the 12 Classics and their sound signature.

    DSCN0720.jpg       DSCN0721.jpg       DSCN0724.jpg

    Build, Design, Comfort, and Isolation:
    Meze's 99 Classics set a high standard for the build quality and design of all future Meze products in my opinion. They're absolutely stunning and look even better in person. Despite their sub-100 USD price tag, the 12 Classics uphold expectations with a unique design and quality materials, though fit and finish on the earpieces could use some additional TLC.
    There are minor nicks and blemishes at the edges of the walnut wood selected for the earpieces where it connects with the aluminum end cap and nozzle section. These pieces also happen to avoid sitting perfectly flush with each other. I would chalk this up to the use of natural materials, but this is not something I noticed to the same extent on other wood earphones like the Thinksound MS01 or even the House of Marley Smile Jamaica and Uplift.
    Meze selected a quality cable for the 12 Classics. It's thick and has a hefty, dense sheath that is flexible enough and doesn't retain memory of bends or kinks. It would be near perfect if it wasn't for the overly invasive microphonics that nearly ruin the experience. Luckily, wearing them cable over-ear effectively negates the issue, but not completely. I want to point out and give great thanks to Meze for getting strain relief right. Someone finally gets it! At all major intersections relief is present and effective; jack, y-split, in-line controller, and leading into the earpieces. To everyone who is not Meze; effective strain relief isn't difficult to implement.
    The 12 Classics are very comfortable and I can only see someone having issues if they need extremely slim nozzles like those found on the Shure SE215, Fidue A31s, or Klipsche S3. The front aluminum nozzle section is smooth and curves naturally into the rest of the housing, completely free of sharp edges or awkward angles. The curves continue along the body of the housing making gripping them easy and natural as they conform to the natural shape of your fingers. Finally, we get to what is oddly my favorite part of the 12 Classics; the rear dimple containing the Meze logo. For whatever reason I find it immensely satisfying to set the tip of my finger on there. Oh, and it's useful for inserting them into your ear. What I'm getting at is Meze did their homework and nailed the ergonomics.
    Isolation is solid, and better than I was expecting given there are two vents in each earpiece; one right behind the nozzle and another in front of the strain relief. At the overly low volumes I listen they were unable to fully snuff out the whirling dervish that is my work computer and it's horribly noisy fans; not so much of an issue at more average listening volumes. It was also enough for walking around in the real world, letting in just enough external stimuli to remain safe-ish. I live in London, Ontario, Canada, a city notorious for having some of the worst drivers in the country. You're never truly safe...
    Overall the 12 Classics are an attractive, comfortable earphone made from quality materials that suffers slightly from an abundance of cable noise and slightly sub-par fit and finish where the wood and aluminum meets. These negatives are in no way deal killers, just noteworthy items.

    DSCN0710.jpg       DSCN0718.jpg       DSCN0725.jpg

    Tips: I'm a big fan of tip rolling and feel it is integral to getting the most out of your earphone in terms of both comfort and sound. The stock tips Meze provides are about as generic as they get, but they work. I have no complaints about them whatsoever. They're comfortable, they don't feel cheap and flimsy, and they pair well with the 12 Classics sound signature. That said, I use KZ's new star tips. They give me a more consistent seal in my left ear, and the wider bore brings the treble forward a touch.
    Amping: I honestly didn't spend much time with them attached to my NX1 or Rig USB amp. It worked just fine with my HTC One M8 and XDuoo X3 so the need just wasn't there. I've read they scale quite well but since my gear is still more-or-less entry level, I recommend checking out other reviews for more in depth information on this subject.
    Meze played it safe, no, smart with the 12 Classics' tuning. They weren't being adventurous, trying to offer up something overly unique or polarizing. Instead, they dialed in a balanced sound with a mildly boosted mid-bass presence that gives the 12 Classics a warm, welcoming presentation. It's near perfectly weighted, never coming across too thin and wispy or thick and soupy. This balance really lets the natural mid-range stand out despite being slightly recessed. Treble is tight and well-controlled with excellent extension that falls well short of bright but isn't lacking energy and panache. They're very musical. Imaging is quite good with sound moving cleanly between channels without any 'dead-zones' or vague spots. Detail, however, is merely adequate. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, but at the same time they're not wowing me by picking up the smallest of nuances.
    Overall the 12 Classics present sound effortlessly. They don't struggle or distort, and simply provide listeners with a comforting and musical experience.
    Select Comparisons:
    House of Marley Uplift (39.99 USD): Really, B9? A House of Marley earphone. Yeah, because it's actually a pretty solid product and shares a similar signature. I found the Uplift to be even more balanced than the 12 Classics due to their more even mid-bass/sub-bass progression. Treble is similarly emphasized and extended, and the mid-range clear and prominent.
    Where the near 40 USD difference shows is in refinement. The 12 Classics are smoother in the treble and more detailed. The Uplift's bass hits with a slightly muffed thud vs. the 12 Classics clean, crisp thump. Soundstage is similarly presented, but the 12 Classics move sound around with more natural precision and greater accuracy.
    Material quality is split but build quality goes to the Uplift. They have what I think is one of the best fabric cables in the business, at least of those earphones I've tried with fabric cables, and fit and finish is excellent where the aluminum and wood meets. Strain relief is lacking at the y-split though.
    Meze 11 Neo (59.99 USD): How does the 12 Classics' little brother stack up? Quite well, to the point I feel the 11 Neo offers better value. It is the model to get if you don't absolutely need the sexy walnut wood housings and are willing to sacrifice what would to most listeners would be a negligible level of technical competence.
    The 12 Classics and 11 Neo share sound signatures, design, and for the most part, materials. The 12 Classics have slightly more emphasized treble and mids. The 11 Neo are a wee bit warmer, smoother, and slower, sacrificing some detail for listening ease. Unless listening to them back to back, your average listener probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
    Build quality and ergonomics are identical minus the 11 Neo swapping out the walnut for more aluminum. To me, that by default means the Neo will be the more durable and longer lasting of the two.
    Thinksound MS02 (99.00 USD): Yet another attractive wooden earphone, the MS02 makes for a great comparison with the 12 Classics. While they offer similar signatures, the MS02 comes across as the more 'hi-fi' of the two. They're brighter, less bassy, and have an even more prominent midrange. I found the MS02 offers a touch more clarity and detail at the cost of soundstage width/height. They come across as more direct and focused than the 12 Classics.
    The wooden portion of the MS02 is cleaner cut and better finished than the 12 Classics, and the aluminum front portion fits with great precision. Meze's cable is much thicker and more durable above the y-split. Gauge is very similar below the y-split. Thinksound's cable is the more flexible of the two, but also happens to retain very mild hints of bends and kinks.
    Overall they're both great earphones and it would be hard to choose one over the other.

    DSCN0711.jpg       DSCN0712.jpg       DSCN0713.jpg

    Final Thoughts:
    The Meze 12 Classics are an amazing looking product with a very appealing sound signature. They provide outstanding comfort and ergonomics. The cable is stellar if you can get around the near-crippling noise it funnels into your ears when worn down. The in-line mic is practical and a welcome addition, and the materials selected appear top notch. While the 11 Neo offers up nearly the same experience for 20 USD less, you can't deny the appeal of the 12 Classics beautiful walnut housings and the extra clarity afforded by the copper-coated voice coils.
    What is all comes down to is that Meze has released another stellar product into the market. It competes well with earphones in and above it's category, and their mass-appeal sound signature makes them easy to recommend. Great job again, Meze!
    Thanks for reading!
    - B9Scrambler
    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
    Test Songs:
    Aesop Rock - Saturn Missles
    BT - The Antikythera Mechanism
    Daft Punk - Touch
    Gramatik - Bluestep (Album Version)
    Incubus - 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey
    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians
    Infected Mushroom - Deeply Disturbed
    Jessie J - Bang Bang
    Kiesza - Hideaway
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
    Run The Jewels - Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)
    Skindred - Death to all Spies
    Supertramp - Rudy
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Bansaku
      2 thumbs up!
      Bansaku, Dec 1, 2016
    3. Aerosphere
      Great review!
      Aerosphere, Dec 4, 2016
    4. B9Scrambler
      Thanks all :)
      B9Scrambler, Dec 4, 2016
  4. FortisFlyer75
    12 Classics: another Meze punching above it's weight again.
    Written by FortisFlyer75
    Published Nov 28, 2016
    Pros - Detailed musical signature, scalability, similar house sound to the 99 Classics, Build quality, real value.
    Cons - Microphonic cable, - not detachable, recessed vocals, soundstage not as wide as other IEMs out there.
    Meze Classic 12 review
    November 2016
    I was lucky enough to recently review the Meze Classic 99’s which were a big revelation for a sensible price which took on other headphones in the industry costing a fair bit more than Meze was asking for on their 99’s so again I am lucky enough to be able to do a review on the Classic 12’s to see if these too also exhibit the same ability to out-perform their price point at all and how similar they may sound to their big brother headphone version in the 99’s for those who may own the 99’s already looking for that same house sound to take away with them on the go in the form of an IEM.
    I am accustomed now days to really only listening to higher price IEMs and own a set of custom monitors in the JH16Pros which I know are by today’s fast evolving paced world are getting dated now as I’ve heard the freq phase V2 version which is more refined and balanced more so to my original 16’s but still a good IEM which share a couple of traits of a Meze signature and to be honest was not looking at doing a review for the classic 12’s but finally got to meet the Meze team on their CanJam London stand earlier this year.
    It was then I had a brief listen to them and was pleasantly surprised with the quick listen I had to them how they sounded but that was in not ideal in show world conditions with background noise still of  a few hundred people all talking about their passion for the same subject which of course us Head-fi geeks don’t get to socialise on this scale too often so is understandable it is not going to be a monastery at these events.  So I decided as I loved my 99’s so much and intrigued with what I had briefly heard wanted to listen to these in a perfect home setting to see how they would compare to my 99’s as well as to see if Meze for the future are going in the right direction for other products with their IEMs as well as their headphones. 
    So big thanks again Meze for opportunity to be on the Classic 12 tour and been able to listen to these in comfort of my own home for several days.  
    Have to say I’m not quite sure how Meze do this especially with the packaging in terms of quality and design and the way it is presented for the price?  It was one thing to do this with the Classic 99’s with a nice outer box and one of the best headphone travel cases I have ever come across but for $79 I’m not sure how they manage it without compromising on the quality of the given product in hand. 
    Meze seem to have such an eye for detail I now realize it is no fluke with the 99’s and is carried over with the classic 12’s and there is always the right amount of detail and info on the box without over-crowding to let you know what you have in this box from top to bottom. The clever little touch was the IEMS on the front of the box shaped into the design of the Meze company crest and also the way the 12's are laid out in the foam insert again has accents of been designed to form of the company's crest. 
    Sorry but I’m anal like that and (it’s not the be all and end all as sound is preference but when you get this included anyway!) Meze eye for this sort of thing is just a guilty pleasure I appreciate. Can’t wait to see what they do with packaging when they start doing £1K headphones or £500 IEMS!
    Upon opening the box I was again further taken aback to see it laid out in a nice quality foam die cut insert holding the round zipper travel case and the 12’s greeting you laying in their moulded foam inserts. 
    DSC01409.jpg DSC01438.jpg DSC01411.jpg
    The great thing about the 12’s is the small size and how light these are so they fit straight into the ear with no fuss. It comes with a three different size Silicone tips, one pair of double flange silicone tips and most welcome attention to detail is Meze also throwing in a pair of medium size T500 comply tips which is a nice touch especially at this price range there may be some buying this never tried Comply tips before. Also there is a shirt clip included for those who find them useful.
    I found silicone or comply tips just as comfortable even though they yield different effects with the sound which I will describe in greater detail later on the Sound impressions section…
    They can be worn over ear which I actually found to hold in better into the ear than the hang down style of wearing but did find as they are primary designed for hang down wear the cable is not one for staying looped round the ear properly so gets annoying.  The cable itself is a little stiffer than some out there but not too much of an issue, in fact I found it nice for spooling for storage as was not so tangle happy as some cables and was easy to manage in this respect.
    I do wish and from experience no matter what budget of earphone they made the cable detachable by preference and then maybe at least give us the choice of having an over ear designed cable or hang down version and one without the in line control unit with mic for those who do not use this feature with a phone. Yes even on a budget IEM some of us still only use it with a dedicated dap and not a phone.
    In-Line remote and mic…
     For the sake of review purposes I did try the in line remote feature hooked up to my HTC M9 and its play/ pause function worked flawlessly and made a call to try out the mic and it sounded clear hearing the person the other end and they had no problem hearing me although they did notice it sounded a bit different to normal and I did find it a little strange talking like that with the isolation of both buds in my ear as cannot gauge your own voice level so was probably like Dom Jolly shouting down the mic piece! But in short it worked well and would be served well by those who use this feature on the move to take calls and have control pause button. 
    Even if they just supplied the current in line remote cable bundled and then done the over ear and normal hang down cable as optional extra to buy from them. At least everyone gets an option of how they want to adapt their Meze IEM for best use with their own personal reference of use. One noticeable thing which was present was micro-phonics on this cable which was apparent at times and for some reason there is an omission of a cinch on the “Y” section cable like most IEMS have which would still be nice to of been present.  
    Over all though it does feel like a quite strong durable cable and only time will tell how it holds up to the cable join into the actual shell. 
    Build and design….
    The first thing I noticed is how light these were when I picked them up as it feels like they weigh hardly anything which really aids the comfortable and easy fit I was about to experience with these small wooden delights.  The materials used are with purpose using a Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver with a copper clad aluminium voice coil with a front aluminium nozzle and rear casing plate with the wooden housing chamber in between to give natural timbres and detail with clear and balanced sound with good bass response.
    Spec list:
    1. Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz
    2. Impedance: 16Ohm
    3. Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
    4. Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
    5. Noise attenuation: up to 26dB
    6. Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
    7. Copper-clad aluminum voice coil
    8. 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
    9. 7N OFC cable, lenght: 1.2m
    To see more info on the classics and Meze in general: https://mezeheadphones.com/
    DSC01452.jpg DSC01449.jpg DSC01453.jpg
    Sound impressions…
    I had to delay this review as I caught an unfortunate case of man flu so had to wait until I was fully clear of it before starting so in the mean time I was fortunate enough as this was a new unit to burn these in continuously 24/7 for almost two weeks before listening to them in the safe knowledge I would be jumping into a less rigid or edgy pair of sounding IEMS. 
    Firstly a note on tips….  I have not owned universal IEM’s for a while (despite listening to many) having customs but recently seemed to gain two pairs of universals in quick succession before hearing the classic 12’s.  They were the balanced pair I received with my HIFIMAN SuperMini that came bundled in and probably come in around the same price area of the Classic 12’s and the RHA T20’s which I got just before that are in the £149 mark. 
    One thing I have found from these and some other universals I have had a listen to of late is how much the tips really change the signature for the worse or better or sometimes both so is a laborious job trying to find the best balance for listening to different equipment across the board so for listening consistency after long deliberation In this case I actually found the 12’s better suited to comply tips to the silicone ones as they provide better seal giving more tighter bass response and more depth.
    But then lay another problem as I have a few different types of Comply’s anyway ended up with the TS-500 series (rounded end with wax guard) which I found a better balance than their isolation models which gave better clarity and cohesion between the bass, mids and treble range on the 12’s. 
    There is nothing too wrong with silicone per-sae which give a more lively feel which some might prefer but in comparison the comply’s really pulled things together with better cohesion which is for me saying something as I have had a strange time with some Comply’s not been comfortable or even staying in no matter which size but these seem to stay there with good comfort and let the full range of frequency’s through to the ear canal. 
    Upon finally choosing which tips to go with my first impression was Okay… these do sound familiar, oh yes; it’s reminiscent of the 99’s to a degree straight of the bat signature wise with whichever source I used so I’m thinking we are on the right tracks there but it is not until later on with more time and listening to the 99’s back and forth the real intricate differences are there to be heard which I will touch upon later on under the heading 99’s & 12’s…
    Using with Daps…
     The HIFIMAN SuperMini seems to have a flatter signature with little bass roll off which the 12’s reflect in its delivery and resonates bass notes with a hard delivery or slam which has even more impact than the ZX1 actually delivers listening to the same songs. This is a good pairing for having a more reference flat style listening session from the 12’s then the SuperMini will provide this style with the 12’s.  You can still hear the warmth of the natural timbres the woody side of the 12’s bring but it is like having the best of both worlds with the SuperMini source providing more reference balanced signature. 
    Not sure how this combo sounds like this as the irony is the SuperMini is also tilted to been a bit warmer just like my ZX1 is which I think might be the SuperMini’s flatter response I the mids giving it a flatter feel as this becomes primary in what you hear before any lower or sub bass delivery. I do love the SuperMinis slam delivery of notes which are precise with authority.
    Sony ZX1 really has a great synergy with the 12’s which is really making them have more depth and dynamics with quicker imaging and speed than I’ve heard out of the 12’s although it sounds a little more closed in to the SuperMini which just sounded to have a bit more space to breath with the 12’s to the ZX1 but the ZX1 is the more musical sound when hooked up with the 12’s.
    The ZX1 also renders more micro details out of the 12’s to what the Supermini does and has more headroom control and vocals are a little less recessed to the SuperMini with the 12’s. The Meze warmth seems to match the Sony’s warmish signature side quite well and is not overkill having it like this. If anything it brings more musicality and involvement and the mids are closer yet the lower mids and sub bass have great transition between each other with the treble been articulate in detail with been finely balanced not over shouting the rest of the range. 
    Only thing I noticed was bass guitar notes could have been a bit more lower with more reverb on the strings as it had a tendency to sound a little underwhelming or muted on tracks using a bass guitar on this player to normal.  Other than that I found the 12’s with the ZX1 really enjoyable pairing with a good balance across the board with a speed to match the dynamism the ZX1 gave the 12’s.
    With Chord Hugo & Vorzuge Pureii+ …
    After finally trying this with a couple of daps as after all that is what most people will be using this for is trying this with my Chord Hugo with my laptop and this is pretty much the best I will get to squeeze every last ounce out of these 12’s and have to say it is the more balanced sound of the Hugo that matches the Meze warmer signature very well and gives the 12’s an even keel with it been a cross between both my daps having a natural balance with good levels of detail courtesy to the Hugo’s DAC which makes music sound analog to some DACS which helps make the Meze sound more free flowing and easy to listen too.
    I did find this on the dap which has become more apparent with the Hugo is the 12’s will sound just fine with run of the mill okay recorded material  as the 12’s are not an analytical IEM but what was a bolt out of the blue initially when I first heard it was with very good mastered recording’s on the 12’s it really transformed the little wooden Meze drivers into a different IEM.
    To be honest I was left quite shocked as there was more control and better rendering in details of notes are more accurate and full bodied yet transparency is improved also and to be honest I started to forget they just cost $79.  So with high quality recordings the 12’s scale very well and become a little bit closer too it’s big brother 99 classics as the intricacies in details are more apparent.
    Using the Vorzuge Pureii+ hooked up to the Hugo, (Reason being I found quite a few headphones and even certain IEMS like the Ortofon EQ8’s for example the Hugo had difficulty with them and could become too shrill on the top end and the Hugo could not reproduce low end bass the EQ8’s are capable of and sound anaemic with no real authority) and having a Vorzuge amp once before (DUO) found these was a good match for those that struggled synergy wise with the Hugo’s amp side… so the sound is more dynamic with a keen eye for detail  on the bass response region been more prominent and less treble happy with the Pure amp than the Hugo is, but good as it sounds with the Pure amp as most things do I felt the Meze was better balanced on this occasion with just the Hugo running on its own and had a perfect synergy as the Mayas are not that hard to drive.
    Sound in general….    DSC01429.jpg DSC01467.jpg
    Over all I was finding the evolving amount of detail with the overtures of the wooden timbre balanced by a steely side to it with the aluminium fittings make most genres sound good at minimum and excellent at its peak with Rock, Metal, Pop, Dance, R&B all at home and classical, OST’s  or jazz sounding good but just lacking that bit of air they need to excel like the other genres mentioned.
    Instruments sounded natural for most part and top end was tuned with good clarity and detail and not over powering. 
    Tonally vocals sound natural and contrasting but sound a little recessed and almost feels like been masked behind the music sometimes and just wish it was a little more forward, closer and engaging in this area. What makes the 12’s exhilarating to listen to is the mid bass which is the driving force to its punchy delivery but has a tight sub bass that can come from nowhere and your left wandering did that just happen!  I feel is only getting better with time still as these IEMS get more use as details for an IEM in this price point is quite an accomplishment as micro details is what just gives these IEMS that extra performance edge in its class.
    99’s & 12’s sibling rivalry?…
    So the 12’s start out sounding like a Meze signature I am now accustomed too but after X amount of hours in it is becoming apparent the tiny 8mm drivers have their own take on the Meze signature and deliver a more crisp, sharper and more present top end delivery to the 99’s. Where the 99’s was more in the mix and unobtrusive you can hear is more to the fore with the 12’s. There is still good overall balance on the 12’s but is more obvious the treble is wanting it’s place at the table without sounding piercing or shrill. Don’t think Meze know how to do one of them anyway!
     The 12’s possesses a good tight solid deep bass like the 99’s which is not maybe not the most tigh-test bass but has more of a blanket thunder rolling type of bass with having the luxury of 40mm drivers and bigger cups to an IEM to create that effect.  There is a clear cohesion between the mid and low bass with the 12’s but the 99’s seem to have better graduation of transfer through the range that can be heard on the 99’s. 
    The mids are similar in the approach with vocals on the 12’s not quite as close and seemed dialled down a couple of dbs’ in the mix to the 99’s but the timbre of instruments and vocals are 99’esque in approach to delivering that familiar 99 signature in a tiny light weight IEM.
    They do both share a house sound with similar tuning but the 99’s will always have that luxury of bigger soundstage, depth and height and more essentially more detail presentation which is what some headphones at more expensive prices struggled to reproduce like the 99’s do so it would always be asking a lot for these budget end pair of IEMs even by Meze to be level footing to the 99’s but if you already have the 99’s and love the sound, then the 12’s would give you that familiar tuning you have become accustomed in a more practical solution for on the move when commuting.
    In a “wooden” nut shell the 12 is like a little brother to the 99’s which you like to think will evolve with age into a mature IEM later on down the line with a model that is equal to the 99’s in an IEM.
    Over all sound verdict  of the 12’s is it’s not perfect by any means as it’s soundstage is a little to enclosed and narrow (even though this did improve on the Hugo to a degree) which even on an IEM this  affordable I was hoping for a bit more room for them to breath and did find sometimes the upper mids would get a little congested losing control and focus when faced with loud heavy music like rock or metal but that is really only couple of niggles apart from wanting the vocals just placed a bit more forward and concise I have to remember these are $79 after all and not my £1k customs!
    I have had experience of listening to this end of the scale with the likes of the RHA MA350 & 600’s as well as the Future Sonics Atrio MG7’s and the Meze 12’s probably mixes the best of both worlds between those two brands model versions I heard
    The up side was they do many thing’s for their price very well and was pleasantly surprised how they scaled with something like the Hugo’s ability to take on the detail it produced and the better recorded songs in general on any device made these shine.  It was when I heard them like this I got the distinct feeling they could of charged $100 -120 if Meze had wanted the way these scale with top recordings. 
    My experience after trying and owning the Classic 99’s is with the 12’s Meze are going in the right direction with making a good detailed musical IEM that punches above its weight and think Meze are one to watch for the future as they grow and evolve.
    For those who like the 99 classics and interested in a IEM version of this will like it despite it not quite been on the same level of the 99’s and for those who are just looking for an affordable IEM that is practical for on the go with in line remote control for your phone or just like a warmer side of neutral musical signature with reasonable amounts of detail at this price and a natural timbre produced by its wooden chamber which is not offensive on the top end with friendly mid-range that has a good tight punch and capable of a nice deep sub bass without been obtrusive or over blown which should keep bass heads happy may want to give these a try for sure. 
    Classic 12 Review has now ended and left the building….
    Thank you for getting this far!
      jinxy245, B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
  5. rebbi
    A Great Sounding Pair Of IEM's And A
    Written by rebbi
    Published Nov 25, 2016

    Hey, folks: Here's my "tour" review of the Meze 12 Classics IEM's. It's cut and pasted from my audio blog. Feel free to comment here and/or there. Enjoy!


    REVIEW: The Meze 12 Classics In Ear Monitors

    Posted on November 25, 2016 by rebbi1


    This review marks somewhat of a milestone for this blog. While I’ve written a bunch of reviews up to this point, they’ve all been for products that I’ve purchased with my own, hard-earned dollars.

    Then, a few months ago, I noticed on Head-fi.org that headphone manufacturer Meze Headphones was arranging a North American “tour” of their newest IEM, the 12 Classics. Those willing to write a review of the 12 Classics would receive a pair to evaluate. The reviewer would even get to keep the pair!

    I was a little reluctant to sign on, fearful of the possibility of positive bias. Would getting “free stuff” make me more prone to write a review with a positive slant? Or, if I hated the 12 Classics, would I have the nerve to say so?

    As you’ll see, all of this neurotic perseverating was for naught. The Meze 12 Classics are good, really good, and astonishingly good for the price.


    First the obligatory unboxing photos:


    I like the no-nonsense packaging of the 12 Classics. There’s a hook at the top for a retail store sales rack, and a box not much larger than needed for the phones and accessories. I am not a huge fan of wasteful, “luxury” packaging, but that’s just me. Notice, though, how the arrangement of the cables on the front of the box mimics the “trident” Meze logo at the top of the box. Nice.


    The back of the box gives some nice technical information on the 12 Classics, along with the exploded view of its innards.


    One side panel of the box.


    And the other side of the box.


    The inside is a refreshingly simple, functional affair, with the foam insert holding the earphones and the nicely embossed carrying case.


    Here are the contents of the carrying case. You get one pair of Comply foam tips, along with a plastic bag containing…


    …several pairs of silicon tips, including a dual-flange design, along with a cable shirt clip.

    Design and Materials

    Before we get to the most important part of this review – how the 12 Classics sound, of course – I want to comment on their physical design.

    At any price, but especially at their “bargain” price of US $79, the 12 Classics are an exceptionally beautiful product. Take at look at this side view of the housings:


    The walnut body of the earphone housing looks great, especially offset by the gunmetal grey aluminum end caps. Notice, too, the slight hourglass taper of the wood portion of the housing. This design note, the “hourglass” or concave surface, appears repeatedly throughout the design:


    In the concave, outer surface of the end cap, decorated with the Meze logo.


    In the subtle, hourglass shape of the mic/remote housing.


    And in the concave, hourglass shape of the Y-splitter.

    Additionally, the color of the cable jacket provides a beautiful match to the metal of the housings. A shout out, too, should be given to the tiny, light housings. I can’t imagine that anyone would find these IEM’s uncomfortable. They are definitely in the “you can forget you’re wearing them” category. Note, however, that these can’t be worn with the cable looped back over the top of your ear – they just don’t work that way.

    Now, normally, I wouldn’t devote this much time and attention to the physical form of a pair of IEM’s. In this case, though, the consistently elegant design of these earphones tells you that someone took a lot of time and care designing the exterior of these things, suggesting that they might have taken equal care in their sonic design, too. So, is that the case?

    A Digression and an Analogy: The Driver Wars

    The Meze 12 Classics feature one driver per side: a proprietary, titanium-coated-mylar diaphragm, dynamic (as opposed to balanced armature or planar magnetic) driver, a tiny 8 mm in diameter.

    That’s it? Just one driver per side, when so many IEM’s these days tout two or more drivers in each earpiece? Ah, you might think – no wonder they’re so inexpensive. Just one driver!

    Not so fast.

    Do you remember the “megapixel wars?” In the early days of digital photography (and still, today, to some extent) digital camera manufacturers did a lot to promulgate the meme that the number of pixels crammed into a camera’s sensor chip determined the quality of the images the camera could produce. In other words, the more pixels, the better. Over time this proved not to be true. In fact, the only sure advantage of more pixels was that a higher-resolution photo could be cropped and enlarged without becoming pixellated. On the other hand, it turned out that squeezing ever more pixels into tiny sensor chips often resulted in images with more graininess, digital “noise” and chromatic aberration (purple “fringing” around high-contrast areas of a photo). Gradually, savvy consumers learned that many other factors besides how dense the pixels were on the CCD chip( such as the quality of the camera’s lens) influenced the image quality one could expect. My aging but still excellent Nikon D50 DSLR, for example, is “only” 6 megapixels, but the image quality is still wonderful.


    Why the heck am I talking about digital cameras in an audio blog? Because the IEM equivalent of the megapixel wars seems to be the Driver Wars, a marketing proposition that suggests that the more drivers that a manufacturer has managed to cram into an IEM’s housing, the better it must sound. The result is that at both the very expensive high end (such as this six-balanced-armature driver-per-side custom IEM by JH Audio) or in more mid-priced territory (such as this “bargain priced,” 7-driver-per-side Chinese IEM) many shoppers assume that the number of drivers per earpiece is directly proportional to the sonic goodness of the IEM.

    To quote the great George Gershwin, “It ain’t necessarily so.”

    Consider home audio. The engineering challenge of integrating multiple drivers in home stereo loudspeakers is well documented. Using a complex, electronic crossover to dissect and distribute a musical waveform amongst several different drivers, each covering a different part of the frequency range, and then attempting to faithfully reconstitute that musical signal at the ears of the listener, is notoriously difficult. Most crossovers introduce phase and time distortions into the music that can make the music sound less coherent, less cut from the same cloth.

    That’s why there a whole home audio subculture devoted to single-driver speakers, which can exhibit an uncanny musical “rightness,” especially in the midrange where most music (vocals especially) lives. And yet, there’s no free lunch in physics, and so, to quote from this old blog post of mine:

    So, does the presence of more than one driver automatically equal better sound? No way. There are simply too many other variables (such as driver type and design, housing design and materials, crossover design and more) to make that kind of generalization. Thus I have purchased (and subsequently returned) several well reviewed, multiple driver IEM’s that I thought sounded dreadful (all boom and sizzle, so to speak) and I’ve heard several single driver designs that I loved. In the end, the number of drivers tells you very little about the musical goodness of an IEM. You just have to listen for yourself!

    Which, at last, brings us to…

    The Sound Of The Single-Dynamic-Driver Meze 12 Classics

    I guess I should note here that I did all my evaluative listening with my iBasso DX80 DAP. I gave them about 24 hours of break-in before doing any serious listening. All files referenced below are lossless CD rips or high-resolution commercial downloads. That said,

    The 12 Classics do something important (to me) that you’d hope a well designed and executed pair of single-driver IEM’s would do: they nail coherence. Music flows easily, sounds like a performance (and not just “sound”) and allows you to relax because your brain isn’t working overtime to decipher what you’re hearing. They render the aural cues that we interpret as ambient space with uncanny nuance, and their ability to place musical elements (singers, instrumentalists) on an almost visual sound stage is very strong. You can really hear this facility with spatial presentation on well recorded, live recordings like Chan Chan from the magnificent Buena Vista Social Club. The sense “air” and space around the voices of the magnificent Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa as they joyfully rip into this slow number is just gorgeous.


    The same goes for the placement and separation of the background singers in Traffic Jam on James Taylor’s (Live) double CD set. It’s quite thrilling.


    The 12 Classics also do a great job with tonality: a sax sounds like a sax, a voice sounds like a voice, an orchestral string section sounds woody and sweet and a guitar sounds like a guitar.


    The frequency extension of the 12 Classics is remarkable, especially considering that they’ve chosen to go the single driver route. The low end, while not exhibiting the ultimate in tightly controlled bass, goes quite deep, with plenty of grunt and rumble when called for. My favorite “bass test” track is Negative Girl from Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature CD. The opening ten or so bars of that tune feature some tasty lines played on a five-string electric bass guitar, with some extremely low notes. It’s quite impressive how well the 12 Classics render those very low bass notes!


    This facility with lower frequencies also does great things with percussion. For example, I was stunned with what the 12 Classics did in rendering the deep, yet tuneful THUD of the huge drumbeat that opens Hotel California on The Eagles Hell Freezes Overlive CD. And again, they do this all with a single, carefully tuned and executed dynamic driver.


    At the high end, the 12 Classics feel extended, but without the upper-midrange spike (masquerading as “detail”) that can make some IEM’s painful to listen to. My “test track” for this is Lorde’s Buzzcut Season from her Pure Heroine album. The vocals are very closely miked and Lorde’s voice is definitely EQ’ed with an upward tilt. The test comes near the beginning of this (wonderful) song, when she sings,

    Lesser earphones with a “fake detail spike” will render the sibilants in “kissed,” “scalp” and “caressed” as virtual icepicks to your eardrums. Ugh! The 12 Classics get this just right: “hot” but not abrasive. I’ve listened to $300 IEM’s that couldn’t get this right.

    Midrange, too, where most of our music lives, is excellent. Vocals sound great – warm, human and alive.

    What’s Not To Like?

    Alas, nothing’s perfect. Here are a few areas where I think the 12 Classics fall short:

    1. The cable is markedly microphonic. The texture of the insulation has a somewhat rubbery quality, which bodes well for long term durability but seems to have a role in increasing friction and thus transmitting and amplifying any noise generated by the cable rubbing against your clothing. The included cable clip should help with this, but I wish it weren’t that necessary.
    2. The L and R channel markings on the housings are nearly invisible. They are embossed on the outside of the light grey strain relief tube underneath each earpiece and are very hard to discern. This problem is mitigated by the fact that once you realize that the microphone is attached below the right channel earpiece, the need for R and L markings is not as great. Still, in a product this thoughtfully designed, it’s a bit of a surprise.
    3. The selection of ear tip sizes could be a little more varied. I have pretty large ear canals and the only tips that give me a good seal are the largest silicone tips. Both the Comply foams and the dual flange tips don’t cut it for my aural anatomy. Hardly a deal breaker, especially at this price, but something to be aware of.
    4. Soundstage width: I’m still pondering this one. It’s quite good, actually, but not as cavernous as I’ve experienced with some other IEM’s, such as my KEF M200’s (which, to be fair, retail for more than twice the price of the 12 Classics). But truthfully this is only a relative “minus” in comparison to some other IEM’s I’ve heard that are soundstage width champs. And at this price, it’s hard to complain.

    In Conclusion

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. love the Meze 12 Classics. Without regard to price, they are a very lovable, listenable (for hours on end without fatigue) coherent and musically satisfying pair of IEM’s. Factoring in their sub-$100 retail price, they are an astonishing bargain.

    Highly recommended!

    As always, I love it when my readers comment on a post, so feel free to do so. Until next time, be kind to others and enjoy your music!


      B9Scrambler likes this.
    1. rebbi
      Ah, my blog is here.
      rebbi, Nov 25, 2016
    2. jinxy245
      A really nice review...thanks!!
      jinxy245, Nov 25, 2016
    3. rebbi
      rebbi, Nov 25, 2016
  6. gprs007
    Looks good, sounds better
    Written by gprs007
    Published Nov 22, 2016
    Pros - Looks, Relaxed Sound and Accessories
    Cons - Could have been paired with better cable
    Finally, my long due review of Meze 12 Classics is here. 
    Note of Thanks:
    Meze team, thank you for including me in the review tour. I received this pair of earbuds as part of Meze 12 classics tour.
    This is my first encounter with Meze product and lets see the impression it leaves!
    About me:
    Nothing Fancy, Front of the box has a picture of Meze 12 arranged in Company logo (I kinda like their logo). Back of the box got a frequency graph, product specification and Company Information. Opening of the box is hassle free. 
    If you see back of the box, you can see the wording Perfect Natural Sound! Do they deliver what they say?
    Presentation of the product:
    Secured inside is the Meze 12 classics and Carry case which got a beautiful logo of Meze. The walnut wood finish was enough to get me excited :). It's beautiful !!!
    What it contains:
    Sturdy carry case, Earphones (default is silicone tips), a pair of Comply tips (they know what we want), additional silicone tips (S, M and L) and clip
    I couldn't resist myself from clicking this
    One last look at Housing with comply tips and Mic. (By this time you should be knowing, I am no fan of Silicone tips)
    Build Quality:
    The earphones are fairly built and can take some abuse for sure. Carry case is solidly built and have enough space to carry earphones and accessories (I mean silicone tips).
    (Advanced team, has raised my expectations with their solid offerings and they are my benchmark when I gauge build quality of sub 100 earphones. You want 5 beat them)
    You get what you need.
    3 pairs of Silicone tips
    Comply tips
    Sturdy Carry case to keep your possession safe :)
    Shirt Clip
    Comfort and ergonomics:
    I wear them around ear and they offer good comfort as well as fit. Walnut Housings are light and let you wear it easily for couple of hours. There is no discomfort or fatigue wearing them for 1.5 or 2 hours.
    Testing Equipment:
    Iphone 6s Plus + Spotify
    Motorola E + MP3
    Fiio X1 (Flac files)
    Meze 12 classics is Well balanced and Crisp sounding earphones. The sound stage is not wide but does good job in presenting the details and differentiating the instruments. They do justice to both male and female vocals. They offer tighter bass, clearer mids and highs. Yes they sound Natural as they claim.
    You can get the best out of them when paired with a good source. I could notice the difference when they were paired with Fiio and other phones. You can easily pair it with any of the Phones. Amp might be a overkill though did not try pairing it up with A3. 
    Meze has paired it with a single button Mic which perform quite well. I used it for some facetime and regular calls. The opposite party never had any issue hearing me. As it is winter never got to test it in open air. 
    At 75$ it is a good bargain. You get beautiful looking, well accessorized, good sounding earphones which can play any kind of music you ask to. 
    Overall Rating: 4/5
    Thanks Meze team for giving me the opportunity to be part of the tour and Introduction to Meze products. Wish you all the best.
      jinxy245 and MezeTeam like this.
  7. Army-Firedawg
    Great inexpensive pair that's perfect to unwind with
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Nov 19, 2016
    Pros - Very relaxing sound, smooth treble presentation, incredible looks
    Cons - Cable has a decent amount of microphonics, horn may be too large for smaller ears
        As I touched on in my 11 Neo review, it’s very humbling when a company sends you not just a product of theirs to review, but their entire lineup. At least to me, that means a lot that a company values my input to such a degree. Recently, I was sent the 11 Neo & 12 Classics to review and also compare the two and then to share my opinions with this amazing community we have.
        Short introduction but I pretty much gave my thoughts already. Anywho, pleasantries aside, how about we jump into this fine review shall we?
        I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
        My interests/hobbies are power lifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
        What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice some of that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
        My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have nice extension and detail reveal with a smooth roll off up top as to not become harsh in the least. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the (in no particular order) Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics.
        -Audio-Technica AT-PHA100
        -LG V20
        -Luxury & Precision L3
        I am by no means sponsored by this company or any of its affiliates. They were kind enough to send me a product for an arranged amount of time in exchange for my honest opinion. I am making no monetary compensation for this review.
        The following is my take on the product being reviewed. It is to be taken “with a grain of salt” per say and as I always tell people, it is YOUR opinion that matters. So regardless of my take or view on said product, I highly recommend you listen to it yourself and gauge your own opinion.
    The Opening Experience
    20161119_210954.jpg     20161119_211010.jpg     20161119_215554.jpg  

        The unboxing to the 12 Classics we the exact same as that of their younger brothers the 11 Neo’s. This isn’t to take away from the experience at all for even still at the $79 MSRP this is still a wonderfully appreciated unboxing.
        The box is made of a nice cardboard that isn’t too bogged down with boasting jargon, but there is still some on it. The front bestows a picture of the 12 Classics in a manner representing their Trident logo. The back shows the making of the iem (which never did anything for me personally), a frequency graph (always welcomed), the normal specification, and their name and company motto. Very simplistic, just how I like it.
        Upon opening the box I was presented the 12 Classics in a precision cut foam container that held the iems in Meze’s trident design (I’m really enjoying the attention to detail presented by Meze). Under the iems you’re given the same, rather nice,  semi-hard round case as the 11 Neo to carry and protect the 12 Classic’s in. Then finally, inside said case is a very nice assortment of tips as well as a pack of Comply memory foam.
    To sum, if I haven’t shown my point, I was rather impressed with the “handshake” that felt both full of pride and company competence.

        Always one of my bigger fears with a sub $100 product. But I honestly have minimal fears of this products construction; even less if they’re always treated with care. Though I don’t think they're as durable as the 11 Neo’s (made of wood vs aluminum) Meze did a wonderful job putting these together. The driver frame is encompassed with a nice, real wood, frame that also has some plastic around the edges of the wood, but still sporting their Meze trident logo on each earphone.
        The cable is respectably made even still in this price point. There is a fair bit of microphonics which did get irritating from time to time but so long as I wasn’t moving (as in relaxing in a chair/couch etc…) this posed no worries. On the right side is a single button. Universal, microphone that does do my voice rather well (no complaints from anyone I talk to with it).
        Then moving towards the bottom we’ve a cable splitter that’s unfortunately not wood wrapped but instead it’s either a really nice plastic or perhaps even aluminum, and then terminated with a standard 3.5mm aux jack.
        So overall in terms of durability, I’m quite confident in the 12 Classics, but I wish it had more of the wooden presence that I was expecting them to have being an in ear 99 classics (not a quote made from anyone by Meze but a comparison I’ve been seeing in the forums). However, I still feel great pride was paid to these when being crafted, and as a consumer I appreciate seeing that.

        This section is quite subjective but as a general synopsis I’ll say absolutely. Now, I didn’t use the tips that were supplied with the unit for I used my personal Comply memory foam tips (which the 12 Classics do come with 1 pair). Like the 11 Neo’s, the 12 Classics aren’t heavy in the slightest and after a short period of time I forget they are even in my ear. Being housed in what is essentially the same frame as the 11 Neo, the 12 Classics possess that same unfortunate protrusion from my ears as the 11 Neo do. This sucks because I would really like to sleep with these in my ears but they just push painfully in my ears if I’m lying on my sides.  
    Short section but they’re rather straightforward. As to the 12 Classics, they’re wonderful with everything except for sleeping in. Oh, about forgot, but the isolation factor (with the Comply tips) is alright; nothing really exceptional but I do find it difficult to hear my wife calling for me with these in and music playing :p.
        Upon first looking at the frequency graph I really thought that these were just a reskin of the 11 Neo’s but though they’re somewhat similar the 12 Classics I feel are more “tame” than that their younger brother. I’ll describe that of course here very soon in the individual aspects but for better or worse the intimate soundstage and respectable imaging hasn’t changed. I can still depict individual instruments from the orchestra or group playing so the separation is quite nice, especially to only be 80 bucks, but they all sound rather up close and personal to me. Also same with the imaging. If I close my eyes and really focus on what I’m listening to I can visualize the performance but by no means will these wisp me away (though granted I never expected a $79 product to).
        But as I mentioned earlier, allow me to do discuss my findings on the individual characteristics so that I may better explain why I find these to be more tame than the 11 Neo counterpart.
        I honestly don’t know what they changed in their tuning between the 11 Neo and the 12 Classics but man they hit it on the head. They extended the treble really nicely without it getting harsh at all. To add, one of my favorite treble test songs (and in general) is “Where Is My Mind” by Maxence Cyrin. This song on the 11 Neo just sounded ok but on the 12 Classics the beauty is ever present and the piano is just mesmerizing to listen to.
        Also, the mild distortion that was in the 11 Neo’s in the range that symbols are,  aren’t present in the 12 Classics. Perhaps that’s due to the sound being “free’er (is that even a word?)” with its better extension, I don’t know, but I sure like it.
        I really have zero complaints about the treble range in the 12 Classics. Meze did an amazing job with their tuning.
        This section is one I’m hit and miss with on the 12 Classics. As I’m sure those of you who follow my reviews know, I’m a huge stickler for the mid section in audio equipment. To me, it’s where the heart, soul, and feelings of the artist is portrayed. So I want the mids to be as clean and forward as possible while maintaining realistic sound.
        The mids in the 12 Classics are not as forward as they are in the 11 Neos, in fact I would say they’re very slightly recessed. Which would make since with the increases in the treble and bass ranges (to be discussed in the next section). A good song, or actually 2 I’ll add, is Sanctuary from the Kingdom Hearts Soundtrack, and “Muddy Water” by Trace Adkins. Both songs (especially by Trace Adkins) really portray a strong emotional connection to the audience but with the 12 Classics they sounded somewhat distant without body to their words (again even more present in male vocals such as with Mr. Adkins).
    Earlier I said I was hit and miss with these and thus far I’ve only been a miss. Well I’m a hit in the mids on artists with more neutral voices (pardon me for not being able to think of any off hand [and sure as snot as I’m typing this I find an artist on my “mix” on YouTube that sounds awesome, the video is “Boruto AMV- Ready Or Not”]). Those particular cases sound quite nice on the 12 Classics.
        My terminology by calling the bass the “heartbeat” of the music couldn’t be more present in the 12 Classics. Though overall they maintain the slower recovery and exaggerated decay, the 12 Classics have a much more prominent impact than I expected. A fun song to listen to a hear what I’m referencing is “Feel Invincible” by Skillet, or “When The Beat Drops” by (I’m honestly not sure for there’s so many variants but the Naruto AMV is the specific one I’m referencing).
    The upper bass to the upper mid bass maintains the same wonderful characteristics of being smooth and enjoyable that I enjoyed in the 11 Neo, but the bass doesn’t straight drop off. They do still recede don’t get me wrong in that but they have very interesting spikes in the drop off that gives it the “illusion” (best word I could come up with) as being heavier on the bass than it really is. Listen to pretty much any song with an actual bass drum and you’ll hear what I mean. The rest of the range is somewhat receded but on when the bass drum hits it sounds rather heavy (and perhaps out of place is a degree).

        To sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 12 Classics, they are an amazing buy for sub $100. They’re not as warm and relaxed sounding as their 11 Neo counterparts, but instead have become a much better all round iem. that really paired well with any genre (but not necessarily deep voiced male vocals). The build quality is above average of other products in this price range but the attention paid to the minor details really sets the 12 Classics aside. s
    Also, make sure to check out my unboxing and review videos. They’re pretty awesome AND you getta put a face to the Army-Firedawg name. If this review helped you out at all please hit that thumbs up button for it really helps me out a lot. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  8. ryanjsoo
    Meze 12 Classics Review – Different ≠ Better (See Sound Section for Manual Burn-in Tests)
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Nov 16, 2016
    Pros - Brilliant build/design, End to end extension, Bass texture, Natural treble, Large soundstage
    Cons - Unnatural midrange, Some long term comfort issues, Limited noise isolation
    Introduction –

    With all these “up and coming” brands seemingly emerging out of mist, it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. This is great for us consumers, it just means earphones are getting better and better, but for manufacturers, the market has never been so fierce. Enter Meze, an audio company that’s not new, but definitely not a veteran like Shure, Westone and Sennheiser. With their 99 Classics headphones they made quite a splash and now return with a similarly enticing in-ear earphone, the 12 Classics (not sure why it’s pluralized). With a visually striking design, luxury build and the promise of Meze’s tasteful signature sound, the $100 AUD 12 Classics sit at the apex of Meze’s earphone lineup. Big expectations lie on the shoulders of their latest product, let’s take a look.


    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Meze very much for sending me the 12 Classics for review. These are not a personal purchase and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. I will be as objective as possible during my evaluation of the 12 Classics.


    About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases

    I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.

    Read More


    Accessories –



    The unboxing experience is simple and well presenting, the white/blue colour scheme reminding me a lot of Denon’s packaging. The front face showcases the earphones and model number whilst the rear displays the specifications, an image outlining the internals of the earphones and a small frequency response graph. They also have the Hi-res audio approval stamp and a little logo denoting the inclusion of authentic Comply eartips.



    Sliding off the top reveals the earphones in a foam inlet and the carry case just beneath. The cable is coiled just beneath the foam insert, Meze use a small reusable Velcro strap to fix the cable as opposed to a cable tie which is nice.


    The case contains the eartips and shirt clip. It’s a very practical carrying case of your typical zipper style hard case but it’s one of the most compact solutions I’ve seen.


    They snugly fit the earphones coiled around 4 fingers with an elastic pocket that comfortably holds the shirt clip and an additional pair of eartips.


    The stock silicone tips themselves are decent but I had a hard time finding a comfortable fit among the various sizes (S,M,L and Double Flange). They’re well moulded but the hard reinforcement coming off the stem at the front is quite hard on the ear and the rounded shape of the tips don’t sit particularly well. Luckily Meze provide a set of Comply T series foam eartips which gave me a great fit.


    Since I do prefer a slightly brighter sound, I prefer to use silicone tips at home. For the sake of this review, I will be evaluating the 12 Classics Sony Hybrids, I would suggest that most buyers who prefer silicone tips pick up a set, they work for most earphones and provide greater comfort and seal than most stock tips. I also gave the Spinfit CP100’s a try but the flexible stems made the earphones unstable in the ear, I wouldn’t recommend using them with any of the Meze earphones.


    Design –


    Utilising real walnut combined with an aluminium sound tube and back-plate, the Meze 12 Classics look spectacular. Furthermore, this captivating design is executed through flawless build quality and the earphones feel similarly solid in the hand.


    With a reassuring weight, the earphones feel every bit as premium as any more expensive earphone, I would even say they have superior build quality to the Oriveti Primacy which had a small seam running through the centre of the housings.


    Oriveti Primacy with visible seam

    The 12 Classics are devoid of any imperfections and the wood is mated perfectly to the aluminium with visible but not palpable seam. Every edge is sculpted in a very eye catching manner, the indented rear makes insertion simple whilst the subtly curved housings allow for similarly effortless removal.


    Despite being fully sealed, there’s also no driver flex which will aid longevity. The walnut has a rich tone which is well complimented by the frosted aluminium. The Meze logo adorns the outer face, it feels laser etched not painted. The use of a metal sound tube is also great for strength and rigidity, the metal mesh protector is similarly well finished, there are no glue marks or other indication of poor workmanship.


    Visuals and feel aside, the housings are moderately sized for an in ear, they’re neither small nor large but easily dwarf the Shozy Zero and Klipsch X10. Due to the tapered design and relatively shallow insertion, the aluminium back did also produce a hot spot at the back of my outer ear after listening for about one and a half to two hours. It’s noticeable but never excruciating, though they still lack the long term comfort of smaller earphones such as those aforementioned. Fit stability is good for a cable down earphone, whilst I doubt they would stay put during a run, they sat perfectly fine during my daily commute without requiring any kind of adjustment. Isolation is strangely average, they actually isolate less than the semi-vented Shozy Zero despite being sealed which I can only attribute this to the shallow fitment of the earphones. They still isolate enough for public transport, barely, but the sub-bass boost prevents the sound from becoming overly lean when out and about. I wouldn’t take them near a plane though.


    Moving down to the cable, I really like the smooth, ever so slightly rubbery texture and generally beefier build. It’s not removable like the SE215 but few are around this price and the 12 Classics cable is a lot better than those usually installed on such earphones anyway. It’s pretty thick for an earphone cable yet remains very pliable if not super supple with a slightly springy quality. Combined with the smooth texture, the cable does resist tangles very well.


    Meze also implement a nice single button remote with integrated mic. The mic sounds fine, at least as good as that on my HTC 10, coming through nice and clear. The single button remote functions on both Android and IOS, allowing users to play/pause and skip tracks. The button is easily discerned and has a nice click.


    The jack and y-split are outstanding with a matching gunmetal aluminium finish and flexible strain reliefs on all terminations that are good but not the best I’ve seen. The earphones terminate in a gold-plated straight 3.5mm plug that’s tapered like the housings to aid traction on removal. I would have preferred a right angle plug seeing as this is an earphone designed for smartphone use but at least the plug is of great quality.


    Microphonics are somewhat concerning however and cable does transmit above average amounts of noise, but still less than the Klipsch X10’s and ie800’s. Meze do include a shirt clip but I would still like a chin slider at the y-split.

    Overall I have no real qualms with the build quality, the 12 Classics are right up there with the best regardless of price. In terms of design, the shape of the housings is very practical but did produce some comfort issues for me. I would like to see a slightly shorter housing in the future or perhaps one that is less fluted at the rear. The limited noise isolation is a concern but should suffice for daily use if you don’t mind turning the volume up a notch or two more than usual.


    Sound –

    I am very rarely immediately impressed by an earphone out of the box, I let the signature grow on me and think on the quality of the sound over an extended period of listening, usually a month, sometimes a lot more. Since I only had a week with the 12 Classics and 11 Neo combined, I had to be a bit more economical with my listening. Both actually sounded kind of strange out of the box, not uncommon, a few earphones have done this to me in the past; my Klipsch X10’s, for instance, changed radically in the first day of listening but have remained pretty much the same over the past 4 years. The 12 Classics in particular sounded very hollow whilst the 11 Neo sounded just slightly metallic and congested. So I let both burn in for around 75 hours and also let my ears adjust naturally to the sound. I didn’t listen in-depth before doing this so whether the sound differences noted are due to any physical changes or are simply attributed to “brain burn-in”, I’m not certain, it simply eliminates burn-in and potential sound improvements over time so I can judge the earphones as they are (perhaps especially pertinent with the 12 Classics since their walnut housings are especially susceptible to sound changes over their lifetime).


    So how has my experience with the Meze’s latest earphones developed? After a little more listening, I really like Meze’s 11 Neo; they’re very linear and balanced with a lot of technical ability, I’ll have a review up for them shortly. It also affirms that Meze make good dynamic drivers and understands how to tune them. The sound on the 12 Classics, or my perception of it, has also changed for the better since I unboxed them, yet the titanium 8mm dynamic driver in the 12 Classics still produces a sound that is neither linear nor balanced, not in the slightest. Instead, the 12 Classics pursues a more dynamic v-shaped sound signature with reasonable success and just a few caveats which I’ll address in more depth later on.


    In terms of pure tonality and tuning, the earphones are quite distinctive and deviate a lot from pretty much any other headphone/earphone/earbud I’ve listened to. For better or for worse, the Meze 12 Classics combine a very engaging, dynamic sound signature with plenty of raw technical ability. They provide a real listening experience that’s unique in a lot of ways, I suppose with a name like “12 Classics”, this is precisely what Meze was striving to achieve. From bottom to top, the earphones have a large sub-bass boost which slopes downwards in emphasis towards the lower midrange leaving mids unclouded and clear. The midrange is recessed behind the rest of the sound but not to the point that any details are lost, of course they still aren’t as linear as the more neutral earphones around $100. Treble is natural, not neutral. It’s perfectly present in the mix but doesn’t draw attention. This produces a nicely detailed listen that isn’t fatiguing nor boring, I think the high end is generally well considered, just on the smoother, more sedate side of neutral.

    Soundstaging is great overall despite the more tame treble response. Due to the strangely hollow, slightly recessed midrange, the soundstage has a lot of space, both in width and depth, especially for a closed earphone. Separation is also very good, the earphones have an almost exaggerated sense of space surrounding each instrument due to the unique tuning. Imaging is also quite accurate for the most part but again, due to the tuning, some notes can sound falsely distant and others overly intimate, I’ll detail the tuning in depth in the individual sound sections below.


    In terms of driveability, the 12 Classics are identical to the 11 Neo which made comparisons a breeze. With an impedance of 32ohms and a Sensitivity rating of 101 dB, the 12 Classics are very easy to drive but not the loudest earphone around. They’re pretty much identical to the Sennheiser ie800’s in terms of sensitivity which makes them similarly if not slightly less sensitive than the average earphone. They’re also similarly resistant to hiss, I didn’t notice any noise at all on my Oppo HA-2 even when listening on high-gain nor was there any background hiss when listening through my HTC 10, very good. The sound does seem to be slightly source dependent as they sounded slightly thinner through my HTC 10, but otherwise almost they were almost identical. Most portable sources will have no issues driving the Meze 12 Classics to sufficient volumes. They saw little benefit running through my Oppo HA-2 as opposed to my HTC 10 and amping is not required but will produce very small improvements to the sound, namely the midrange becomes more natural.


    Bass –

    Sub-Bass has great kick, all notes below 50Hz slam with real visceral impact, however the boost does make the bass response sound ever so slightly boomy. Mid-bass is less emphasised but still slightly accentuated in reference to more neutral earphones. As a result, bass is very punchy until notes descend into the lower and sub-bass regions where things start to get a little looser. However though relatively quick decay, bass remains tight enough and actually reveals a surprising amount of texture. Due to the leaner upper-bass response, mid-bass notes are also especially defined, coming through with great definition. The tuning isn’t linear but does strike a good balance, providing an entertaining if not particularly accurate listen. For instance, the Shozy Zero and Klipsch X10, both of which have somewhat similar low-end boosts, sound more organic and natural but lack the definition of the 12 Classics. The 12 Classics also have fantastic sub-bass extension which is unmatched by the single armature X10 and micro-driver Shozy Zero. This effect is enhanced by the sub-bass boost which mostly stays out of the way when not required but provides a lot of slam in well-mastered songs. I think the visceral bass response will work for a lot of listeners, especially since the boost is mostly confined to the very lowest notes, leaving the bass response bloat free and very textured. The uneven tuning will bother those who have heard higher end gear but quality is technically superior to the vast majority of earphones around this price.


    Mids –

    The midrange is interesting, not necessarily in a good way but some listeners might find it to their liking based upon individual preferences. The midrange deviates a lot from neutral, it’s the most sculpted midrange I’ve heard in a long time. Whilst it is sculpted, it is consistently different insinuating that the midrange is generally free of any peaks or troughs even if it is not particularly linear. Both lower and upper mids sit slightly behind the bass and treble making for a very dynamic sound but smaller midrange details can get lost in the mix. My biggest issue with the midrange is its thin body, both of the upper and lower midrange, which makes vocals sound hollow and lifeless. In culmination with the V-shaped tuning, midrange notes sound not only distant but also slightly metallic and unnatural, upper mids are even sibilant and raspy with some songs. Simply put, to my ears, the midrange simply sounds off. This is mainly an issue with tuning however as the quality of the midrange is actually quite good. For instance, there is plenty of detail, especially for the price and clarity is very good partly due to that thinner, slightly brighter upper midrange and lower treble. In addition, the midrange actually suits electronic music quite well’ anything synthesised benefits from the clarity of the midrange without being overly hampered by the thin body. So whilst the midrange does sound good, the tuning will definitely limit genre versatility.


    I was just contacted by Lorand from Meze who recommended I try some "manual burn-in" on the 12 Classics. I'm honestly not sure how to explain it so I'll put his own instructions below:

    "inhale and blow air in and out of them with power a few times. I just take the nozzle in my mouth and do it a couple of times. I like to call it "manual burn in" because sometimes the driver needs a bit of convincing. Yes, it is a bit unorthodox but maybe the problem is because the driver could be "stuck"  

    To test out the effect of manual burn-in, I applied pressure to the left driver only and compared it to the right one. Whilst not an ideal way to compare sound changes, the left driver had become slightly more sensitive than the right driver, so perhaps the driver really was stuck? I gave the right driver the same treatment until both were even in volume and compared them with the Meze 11 Neo for a few hours. Honestly, the actual sound changes are subtle, the midrange is still thin but it no longer exhibits that hollow quality it initially had. Vocals are still recessed and female vocals in particular retain a slightly raspy character. The midrange is by no means "fixed", but the difference is appreciable and I would take this sound any day over how they were before. I'm not sure I would recommend doing this on a personally purchased unit, but it does indicate that the earphones could naturally change in the same manner through regular burn-in. If you want to speed up the process, this is certainly a very interesting method in doing so. I have changed the cons in the review and sound rating accordingly but I will note that this is no magic fix and the midrange still sounds less natural and more metallic than that on the 11 Neo. All of my other opinions on the sound remain unchanged, perhaps the treble response is slightly more present but otherwise the bass response is pretty similar and the soundstage is still just as spacious.


    Highs –

    The high-frequency tuning of the 12 Classics is one of the better aspects of the sound; treble notes sound great even if they are a little uneven overall. Treble extension is also good but rolls off through the upper, treble sapping air and presence from micro-details residing in the upper extremities. Lower treble has a slight accentuation resulting in instruments such as cymbals having a forward presence in the sound. As a result, details pop a little more creating quite an engaging listen. Middle treble is more or less neutral in quantity whilst upper treble is a bit flaky, the very highest notes such as high hats can sound somewhat truncated and miss that last bit of air and definition due to the roll off.

    This is as critical as I can be however, and for a $100 earphone, the treble response offers plenty of impressive qualities. Brief comparison to other similarly priced earphones I have on hand reveals that the 12 Classics extends further and resolves slightly more detail than the brilliant Shozy Zero and is superior in almost every way to the more expensive Klipsch X10 and Shure SE215, both of which aren’t even comparable. Despite this, the treble still doesn’t compete with more expensive earphones, I think the $300-400 price range is somewhat of a sweet spot before diminishing returns kicks in big time. The Oriveti Primacy for instance, whilst three times the price, suffers from no roll off, resolves more detail and presents this detail in a more refined manner; I’m not saying that these earphones are directly comparable, I’m just putting the performance into perspective. So overall, whilst the 12 Classics don’t outperform their price range, they sit comfortably at the higher end of the pack, performing very well for a $100 earphone.


    Verdict –


    The Meze 12 Classics presents brilliantly with it’s walnut/gunmetal housings and sounds similarly intriguing. Whilst the tuning is a little too sculpted for my liking (specifically the midrange), a lot of buyers will have no issue with the 12 Classics and it does start to sound a little more natural as you acclimatise to the sound. Beyond tuning, the raw technical ability of the earphones are a standout in this price range; they have plenty of detail and dynamics, with a spacious soundstage to top it all off. Ironically, the 12 Classics thrive with any kind of electronic/synthesised music but end up sounding slightly unnatural with most other genres. If you’re looking for a detailed, non-fatiguing earphone with visceral sub-bass slam and a focus on clarity and definition, the 12 Classics deliver in spades. If you want a more neutral listen that retains the quality of the 12 Classics sound then Meze’s own 11 Neo is a fantastic choice.

    Accessories – 8.5/10, Nice unboxing with a reusable Velcro strap to keep the cable neat. The included carrying case is compact and protective with a pocket for additional accessories. The stock silicone ear tips are uncomfortable for me but others seem to be having more luck, the included Comply tips work wonders for ergonomics.

    Design – 8.5/10, Visually stunning and functionally brilliant, the earphones are easy to handle and have a stable fit in the ear. Comfort is as subjective as always but I would guess that a lot of listeners would have some form of contact with the sharply angled rear of the earphones forming a hotspot in the outer ear over long listening sessions. The build is fantastic, the cable is great and the inclusion of a remote with mic is extra practical for smartphone listeners. The cable is quite microphonic but the included shirt clip mostly alleviates this issue.

    Bass – 7.25/10, Great sub-bass extension and slam, textured mid and upper bass responses are nice and punchy with plenty of definition. Slightly boomy.

    Mids – 7.25/10, The tuning is a little off, thin body makes the midrange sound hollow but also spacious. Quality is great with nice clarity and detail retrieval. Sits slightly behind the bass and lower treble.

    Treble – 7.75/10, Nice extended treble response, rolls off at the very top. Well detailed without fatigue or excessive sibilance, upper treble sounds slightly truncated. Nice body and resolution.

    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation – 8/10, Great overall, the soundstage has a lot of space with copious width and a decent amount of depth too. Separation is impressive and imaging is generally accurate.

    Verdict – 7.5/10, The Meze 12 Classics are a well-rounded set of earphones around the $100 AUD price mark. They have fantastic build quality, a very capable if not versatile sound and are quite ergonomic to top it all off. The bass and treble performances are particularly impressive if you don’t mind the extra sub-bass boost and slight treble roll-off but the unnatural midrange will prevent a higher score. Meze already have the 11 Neo for those wanting a more neutral sound, the 12 Classics rather sounds much more dynamic and unique. If you want something new, a visceral audio experience unlike any other, you will find it in the 12 Classics, but manufacturers pursue balance for a reason.


    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review please have a look at my blog for guides and more articles like this:

      Brooko, H T T and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. B9Scrambler
      Great review! 
      B9Scrambler, Nov 17, 2016
    2. ryanjsoo
      ryanjsoo, Nov 17, 2016
  9. FUYU
    Another Classic? - The Meze 12 Classics
    Written by FUYU
    Published Nov 14, 2016
    Pros - Well executed singature; Clarity; Value
    Cons - Cable; Y-Axis depth;

    The Romanian based company Meze has earned quite a following over the last year. This comes to no surprise. Head-Fi and wooden headphones are easily compatible. Couple that with some pro-active marketing and voila: A match in heaven has been made. For instance, myself and many others were surprised by the Meze 99 Classics. Not only for its fun signature, but also for the technical prowess it exhibited. Now following the trail of success, Meze has released two new In-Ear Monitors: The Meze 11 Neo and Meze 12 Classics. The latter one being the focus for today.

    Enter Meze 12 Classics:

    Disclaimer: The Meze 12 Classics were send to me as part of their European Tour. I'm not affiliated with Meze in any shape or form.

    Meze 12 Thread:

    About me:
    My name is Noel aka. FUYU, I'm 19 years old and an avid lover for everything technical.
    While everything is subjective, I like to explain in more rational enclosure with graphs and technical prowess. I care about facts and only facts, meaning no fancy 300$ cables and value by price-to performance.

    • Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz
    • Impedance: 16Ohm
    • Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
    • Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
    • Noise attenuation: up to 26dB
    • Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
    • Copper-clad aluminum voice coil
    • 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
    • 7N OFC cable, length: 1.2m


    Build and fit:

    The first apparent feature of the Meze 12 is the wooden shell. For 79$ you get a well-build earphone featuring the wooden cabinet in the back and an aluminium nozzle at the front. The back plate is also made out the same aluminium and has the Meze logo engraved on it. The nozzle itself is on the wider side of things with 5mm.

    The 12 Classics uses a non-detachable cable with remote-line. Sadly the cable itself is rather stiff and tangles quite often. Furthermore the cable is very microphonic, rendering the earphone unsuitable for sports. You can wear the earphone over the ear, however I found that to be quite uncomfortable. Another little gripe is the lack of a neck clinch. While there is a shirt clip included, it is certainly only an half-assed solution.

    General fit is excellent. The small (2.8cm x 1cm x 1cm) body is suitable for all types of ears. The lightweight construction is perfect for long listening sessions and will be ideal for almost everyone.


    The earphone comes with a carrying pouch, the aforementioned shirt clip, 4 pairs of silicon tips and one pair of Complys. Standard affair at this price-point.



    General sound-signature is a moderate U-Shape with punchy mid-bass and slightly elevated upper mid-range and lower treble. There is a distinctive dip in the area around 1-2 kHz, adding a sense of cleanliness to the general sound.

    Bass is more akin to modern tuning with slightly recessed sub-bass and roll-off beginning at around 100hz going downwards. The bass tone will satisfy anyone but the biggest bass-head. There is a slight mid-bass hump, albeit it doesn't leak into the lower midrange. It has good reverb, but sounds a bit unnatural due to the not so great soundstage-depth.

    Mid-range is articulate and slightly dry sounding. Male and Female vocals have a good sense of articulation, but in the case of male vocals can sound slightly distant. Clarity and Imaging is excellent for the price-point. Soundstage is good in width and height, but is lacking depth making the sound often unnatural.

    The treble extends until around 12kHz before rolling off. It reaches its highest point at around 5kHz, which gives it a good airy feel. Detail retrieval is fantastic for the price. The 12 Classics has no sibilance to speak of: Areas of interest like 6kHz and 9kHz are well-balanced and never aggressive in execution.

    Some observations:

    • The Meze 12 Classics are benefitting from wide-bore or Comply tips. Wide-bores improve the soundstage-depth noticeably, whereas Comply make the overall signature slightly warmer and more inviting.
    • AMPing is overkill. Warmer sources are recommended, but pretty much everything is working.


    LZ A2S (50$):

    The A2S is a much warmer and more inviting earphone. It is pretty much the antithesis to the 12 Classics in signature with its lower midrange focused sound. Bass is fairly equal quantity, but the Meze appears to be slightly meatier and more impactful. The A2S is slightly better in terms of 3Dness, but lacks the imaging and much of the openness in comparison.

    Treble is much better on the Meze in both emphasis and extension. Detail is slightly more emphasised as a result. It's quite ironic thinking about it: The A2S is the more woody sounding out of the two.

    FLC8s - Red, Clear, Grey (329$):

    At first glance this might look unfair, but they are pretty comparable in terms of signature. The FLC8s in the Red, Clear configuration is more sub-bass tilted, thus it makes out for a more true sounding U-Shape. In comparison the Meze has similar soundstage width, but gets utterly demolished in stage-depth. Openness is similar, but the FLC8s is superior in terms of imaging, yet is smoother. Bass quantity is more akin to the Grey, Grey filters, albeit similar in quality.

    Trinity Phantom Sabre (150$):

    The Sabres is more extreme in both end of the spectrum. It sounds more vivid in the upper end and has more bass-impact (from gold onwards). The competition from Britain has similar bass quantity when equipped with the purple or gun-metal filters. I found the Sabres to be smoother in the mid-range, even though the treble peaks are more noticeable. Staging is similar, but the Sabres have the clear advantage in Y-axis perception.

    Final words:

    The 12 Classics are another great release by Meze. Equipped with an open and fun, but well-balanced signature makes for an easy recommendation. At just 79$, even more so.

      mgunin and MezeTeam like this.
    1. mgunin
      Thanks for reviewing! Would you rate Sable higher in terms of general SQ? The cost is about 2 times different.
      mgunin, Nov 14, 2016
    2. FUYU
      In terms of detail and clarity the Meze 12 is pretty much on par. I'd say the Sabres are overall slightly better sounding. Considering that you get them for 150$ + 20% discount, the value question is more about preference.
      FUYU, Nov 14, 2016
  10. nmatheis
    Meze 12 Classics Review with Video
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Nov 12, 2016
    Pros - Sound. Scalability. Aesthetics. Comfort. Price
    Cons - Microphonics. Over-ear wear difficult. No single-flange wide-bore tips.
    I want to thank Meze for giving me a spot on the 12 Classics tour. It's been fun giving these a listen!
    This is the second time I've had the opportunity to review Meze products, and I want to make sure I say a few things about them before moving on with the review. The first Meze product I reviewed was a very nice pair of closed headphones, the 99 Classics (LINK to review). I really liked those a lot, but there were a few things holding them back from being just good enough for me to shell out my hard-earned cash for. What were those? Well, one was aesthetics. At the time I reviewed them, they only came in Walnut/Gold/Black or Maple/Silver/White. Neither of those struck my fancy. I'm not a fan of white headphones, and I thought the gold was a bit too bling-bling for my tastes. I recommended that Meze make a version with Walnut/Silver/Black, and they responded quickly by releasing that version with a bit more restrained aesthetics. Nice! Next up was the choice of pads. They were a bit too shallow, so my ears touched the driver covers. I really don't like this, so I (and several others) suggested deeper pads. Last, the cable exits straight down out the cups and is wrapped in nylon fabric, resulting in scratchy microphonics when the cable rubs on your shoulders. I suggested that they keep the fabric below the y-splitter but change to a less microphonic covering above the y-splitter. Ok, that was quite a while ago. When I was at RMAF recently, I ran into Antonio and Mircea from Meze and topped at their booth to chat. They had a beautiful pair of Walnut/Silver/Black 99 Classics sitting there, so I hooked them up to my Lotoo PAW Gold and took a listen. Huh? What was this? My ears no longer touched the driver covers. Awesome! The cable was still completely sheathed in scratchy fabric, but with the aesthetic improvement and new pads I couldn't resist. I purchased a pair of 99 Classics of my own. Why did I take this detour? To let you know that the Meze team is small enough to be responsive to suggestions for improvement and nimble enough to implement them quickly. I think that's important when deciding how to spend your hard-earned cash, so I wanted to point out that the team at Meze are cool cats!
    Alright, for those of you who don't want to watch me ramble on about the 12 Classics (and 11 Neo) (well, and other stuff, to be honest [​IMG]), here's the down-low...
    1. Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz
    2. Impedance: 16Ohm
    3. Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
    4. Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
    5. Noise attenuation: up to 26dB
    6. Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
    7. Copper-clad aluminum voice coil
    8. 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
    9. 7N OFC cable, lenght: 1.2m
    FR Curve From Meze's 12 Classics Product Page
    IMG_20161029_164302-01.jpg IMG_20161029_164354-01.jpg IMG_20161029_164522-01.jpg
    I'll let the packaging speak for itself...
    You get the clamshell zipper case shown above in the packaging section plus a shirt clip and a few pairs of tips. Meze also includes a pair of Comply tips (not pictured). Single-flange wide bore tips would be a nice addition!
    IMG_20161029_164709-01.jpg IMG_20161029_164925-02.jpg
    The shells are wood barrels with aluminum end caps complete with fancy-schmancy Meze trident logo and aluminum nozzles. Strain reliefs are just fine. It would be nice if the L/R markings were more visible.

    Play/Pause + Receive/End Call Remote + Mic. I'm sure it's functional, but I used these with DAPs so I didn't test.

    Y-splitter is aluminum and again bears the Meze logo. Strain reliefs are fine and are reminiscent of those on the earpieces. Notice that there isn't a cinch. The cable feels quite rugged, and I don't have any concerns about durability. It is a bit thick above the y-splitter which, combined with the lack of cinch, makes wearing these over ear a no-go.    
    Gold-plated 3.5mm plug with aluminum construction. Strain relief is a bit short but fine.

    As mentioned above, these are obviously intended to be worn down and any attempt to do otherwise will almost certainly result in frustration. 
    The single dynamic driver 12 Classics have a slightly warmed-up sound with tight punchy bass, neutral mids, crisp highs, and good soundstage. I listened to them out of several sources from budget to TOTL DAPs with Electronic, Classic Rock, and Metal and found that they scale well as you use better sources and sound good with all of the music I threw at them. My experience with the Lotoo PAW Gold pairing was particularly eye opening, producing very tight, punchy, visceral bass and crisp highs that were well-defined but not hot.
    Tip rolling allows you to tweak the sound as usual. Stock single-flange tips were my point of reference, resulting in the sound  as described above. Comply provide an even warmer experience with smoother highs more akin to the 11 Neo. Stock double-flange tips reduced bass a slight bit, opening up the top end and increasing soundstage. Spiral Dots leaned them up quite a bit, giving a slightly warmed-up reference type sound.
    By comparison, the 11 Neo are warmer, smoother, and more relaxed with stock single-flange. Bass increases a bit, as does lower mid presence. Highs are smoother without losing too much definition. Soundstage is more closed in comparison but is still good for the pricing. Tip rolling provides similar results as above, with Comply probably warming these up too much for most people, stock double-flange tips open them up a bit, and Spiral dots bringing these pretty close to the sound of the 12 Classics with the stock single-flange tips. 11 Neo do lack technicality compared to the 12 Classics and don't scale as well, but they're still a good buy at their price point.
    In my opinion their responsiveness to tip rolling and increasingly better sources indicates that these punch above their price point, making them an easy recommendation with just a few minor caveats which are that the cable should be more pliable/supple above the y-splitter to allow for over-ear use, the lower cable is a bit prone to microphonics, and the accessories package lacks single-flange wide-bore tips. Great job Meze!
    With all that said, here's my video review. I hope it's useful. Enjoy!
    Thanks again to @MezeTeam for sponsoring this tour. You're cool cats, and I'm glad I had the chance to meet you at RMAF. Keep up the good work!
      B9Scrambler, MezeTeam and audio123 like this.
    1. Bansaku
      Great review!
      Bansaku, Nov 18, 2016