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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34559/5,
  1. Cheaplad
    Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir with a Balanced Cable
    Written by Cheaplad
    Published Apr 21, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fun and smooth, good value and nice looking. Provide two versions of pads.
    Cons - None at this price.
    Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir are smooth and fun headphones with elevation in bass. For closed headphones, the staging is wide. Before delivery, I have been aware that there are some discussion and comparison about the original pads and the new pads in Meze's later production (which are supposedly to be bigger and more comfortable).

    At the end, the guys in Massdrop and Meze did a great decision for the MD version, which is providing both the new pads as well as the "Revised" original pads in the package. Having heard the previous discussion about how the pads affect the sound quality, I have decided to stick to the revised pads. Inside the earpads it is a bit congested but acceptable. I use a 8 core OFC 7N balanced cable with DP-X1A. Compared with the stock cable, I feel the vocal is a tad more forward. The bass is more impactful.

    Some Impressions (All songs were listened thru the Revised Original (RO) pads. Some songs were also auditioned thru the new pads (and the impressions are denoted as "(NP)" below):

    • It is a bliss to listen to the titled track of Ondekoza's Fujiyama (鬼太鼓座 富嶽百景)- the drumming is just oh so powerful.
    • (RO) Listening to "Uh Uh" Thundercat's Drunk, I could hear the details in the bass solo quite clearly. (NP) The bass is less boomy here and less detailed.
    • (RO) For Norah Jones' "Burn" in Day Breaks, the separation is good that I could hear Wayne Shorter's pure sax clearly even when Norah sings (also the good separation between piano + double bass + sax in the outro). (NP) Wayne Shorter's sax is less prominent here. His sax is less detailed when Norah sings at the same time.
    • (RO) On the titled track + "Cure" of Moonchild's Voyager. the vocal of Amber Narvan is as intimate as ever against the good dynamic syn-bass. (NP) The bass is far less present and less dynamic and Amber's vocal has less sparkle.
    • (RO) On Queen's "Dragon Attack" in The Game, the bass solo is more present (but Brian May's guitar solo in the middle is somewhat recessed). John's bassline is more detailed even when Freddie sings. You can feel how groovy John is here. (NP)The bass solo is less forward and less detailed.
    • "Manha De Carnaval" in The Paul Desmond Quartet's Live, the double bass provides good dynamic to support Paul's more forward alto solo. The bass-solo in the middle is quite present and detailed.
    • I have some problem with "Capicornus" in Austin Peralta's Endless Planets, the double bass is so overwhelming. But I guess it is about the problem of the recording.
    • Marina and the Diamonds' "I'm a Ruin" in Froot is a song with strong bass and sweet vocal. The separation is good that the punchy bass does not veil Marina’s vocal.
    [​IMG]
    • On James Gang's "The Bomber" in Rides Again, the guitar and bass solo both manifest themselves in a nice balance way. Having said that, the bass is detailed and with slow decay.
    • Black Sabbath's songs like "Sabbra Cadabra" of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, or "Neon Knight" in Heaven and Hell, these phones help reproduce the signature wall of sound (Tony's guitar and Geezer's bassline).
    • On Judas Priest's "Painkiller" of The Essential, I am somehow surprised (in a nice way) by how detailed yet impactful the drum-kicking in the background.
    • On The Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Sounds of the Loop" in Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A., each note of the double bass, again, is detailed in the background. The imaging of the instruments is quite clear - Desmond's Alto and Dave's piano is the front and Joe's drum set is a bit farther and Gene's double bass is in the back. Joe Morello's lengthy drum solo is quite present here.
    • (RO) It is so fun to listen to Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" from the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction, especially the bassline. wow. You can hear Tommy Cogbill is walking his funky bassline here! (NP) Dusty's vocal is less forward here and the bigger disappointment is that the bass is more laid back
    • (RO) On 陳潔麗 Lily Chan's live rendition "非走不可/男朋友/祝君安好" from her Purely For You 2013 Concert, the vocal is sweet. (NP) The vocal has less sparkle here and bass is quieter.
    • The titled track of Michael Franks' Tiger in the Rain (WARNING: 2015 Remastered Version) is badly remastered and the the bass is unnecessarily elevated. The song has almost reached the point of unlistenable thru the Noir.
    • On Agnes Obel's "Familiar" from Citizen of Glass, the double bass here is very clear and dynamic.
    • BADBADNOTGOOD's "Kaleidoscope" from the III Album, the epic bass solo is impactful but it seems the decay is a tad too slow.
  2. lltfdaniel
    This headphone will arouse you
    Written by lltfdaniel
    Published Feb 27, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fun natural sound, very good build quality and one of the best if not the best for the price.
    Cons - Not flagship killers
    First off this headphone will arouse you to enjoy the music in anyway possible and not critical listening is what i have found with these headphones.

    Despite the hype and excitement i just want to get to the point.

    They are not titan killers when i say that things like flagship headphones like hd800 etc, but i am rather confident that can stand against headphones costing twice the price of these.

    Secondly they are a fun listen in a natural way that does not sound artificial and good sound or great sound varying on the recording etc, but not the best but however for the price range they are one of the best and i am confident about that as also being a nice all rounder type sound but the sound is exceptional very exceptional when i mean when they sound great.

    As for the price and being one of the best, for some people who is after sound quality highs mids and lows presented in a beautiful way then i would recommend them this headphone then at this price range and would be the very best for them as these would be hard to beat at this price range and also forgive me but i am not aware of any headphone sounding like these that i personally know of, but the 1 more triple driver headphones (European model) sound something like these for sure as i have them in my audio inventory and maybe the denon mh 400.

    Since i am a audio newbie i have these paired with the pro-ject head box s2 digital which is recommended on the meze audio website and i would definitely recommend this amp/dac for audio newbies like myself.

    So what do they sound like, Silky smooth for a start...as well as being lively and engaging sound never sounding emotionless for me anyways and the bass oh do i love sub bass, it is sub bass with a skirt which suits all bass types as best as possible whilst it is presented like that and yeah i am confident to say these do have ample bass to satisfy you also they have a spacious sound also more importantly they sound sweet also they have a surround sound type to the sound of these headphones anyhow they have a velvet sound to them which is perfect for jazz music when i say velvet sound, the music track you listen to either brings out the velvet sound or it doesn't and all in all these have lovely energy to them.

    The reason why i gave these 4 stars was because my expectations for this headphone well put it this way, not a flagship killer for a start and people have to get real about this headphone when comparing this to flagship headphones when i mean that well this is hard to explain because these are very good value and i do think they do come close to a flagship but not bested or the same regarding their strengths and weakness and also i say that these really is worthy of being listened too for sure but i have the desire to hear more and more and more of the sound these baby's give you, so yea i reckon these really are worthy to be tested by anyone if that is possible because they do sing and for me this is impressive.

    All in all since i own way to many headphones like 15-20, these hold a bright spot among them because of my music taste.

    The build quality i might add is very good.

    Well that is all i have to say.

    If you have any opinions or criticism let me know because i know i have contradict my self when writing this review anyways i have never listen to a flagship headphone like the hd800 so i can't judge really but i have 15-20 headphones costing around about the same as these like hd 650 and the like and these really blow all of them out of the water with the great sound which is impressive and sensational for me anyways.

    Headphones like dt 880, dt 990, dt 48, hd 650, k701, q 701, t50rp, ultrasone pro 900 and the list goes on and on and on and for me well nope.

    Basically most of the the mid fi headphones promoted on this website and still nope.

    These are a yes for me, and for people who is after music pleasure these have to be among the best for musical performance.

    My 2 cents,

    p.s. You will melt in the music.

    If you was to introduce someone to the world of audio for me i would certainly tell them to go with this headphone for an epic start to the journey along with the head box s2 digital amp dac and the 99 series 2.5 balanced upgrade cable on meze audio website.

    This headphone well i am addicted to it so yea with the right recording it will give you a big wow factor when i mean a big wow factor some recordings barely scratch the surface others are better like 3d sound and then the full potential which will i think make your jaw drop with the big wow factor, it sounds out of this world and out of my headphone collection they do not sound like these regarding out of this world sound which is what i find really impressing.

    So yeah i for one am hooked on this headphone, i can spend hours and hours listening to music with these to no end.

    Dan.
    1. Greendriver
      It's about the enjoyment of music, and these are fun phones...you have your priorities right,anyway. Enjoy, no criticism here...
      Greendriver, Mar 27, 2019
  3. Zelda
    Meze Audio 99 Classics
    Written by Zelda
    Published Jan 7, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful design
    Excellent build quality
    Great comfort
    Engaging, musical and fun sound presentation with good detail
    Cons - Pads are a bit too soft and shallow.
    Best seal can be tricky at first
    Review - Meze Audio 99 Classics

    meze (1).jpg

    Website - Meze Audio


    Specifications
    Transducer size: 40mm, Dynamic
    Frequency response: 15Hz~25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32 Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 g. (9.2 ounces), without cables
    Ear-cups: Walnut wood


    Price: U$309.

    Official 99 Classics info

    Credits go to the Meze team for lending the 99 Classics unit. Had for more than a month before posting the full review. Thank you!

    meze (2).jpg

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    The 99 Classics headphones arrive inside a hard EVA case with no cables attached. In the middle of the case, there is a small round pouch holding the two cables and a pair of adapters (6.3mm and airplane).

    meze (4).jpg

    Build Quality & Design

    The Meze 99 Classics are closed-back headphones with a very unique design and excellent build quality. There is a mix of high quality materials that consists of metal (zinc and steel), wood and pu synthetic leather with no signs of cheap plastic components or glue used to attach any of the parts. The walnut wooden cups are made by CNC machine and well polished for completely smooth finish, and as any wood product they are not 100% identical to each other adding a classier look to them.

    meze (5).jpg

    The upper headband is made of spring steel, very solid and looks durable enough, holding the whole headphones' structure in a fixed shape. The lower headband is the part that actually sits over the head, made of an elastic material completely covered by a wide synthetic leather piece with the 99 Classics at the upper side. The design is quite interesting, as the headband naturally adjust to the user's head size.

    meze (6).jpg

    The walnut wooded cups are also very light. They are well attached to the metal band and feature a simple yet effective swing mechanism that allows them to adjust to the best angle for easier fit. The pads here are the new ones that were introduced on the 99 Neo version, made of soft and elastic pu leather and very soft memory foam inside.

    meze (7).jpg

    In terms of fit and comfort, with the combination of the self adjust headband and swing feature on the cups, the 99 Classics headphones are very easy to use with no need of readjusting them from time to time. Moreover, despite the 260g weight, in practice they sit very comfortable and less noticed than even a bit lighter headsets. However, the cushions size won't fit everyone the same way; for me they are like over-ear full size headphones, covering entirely the whole ears, but for others they could fit as a large on-ear set. There is also practically no clamping force (again, thanks to over-ear like fit), tough the pads aren't too deep. The seal is good but not always best, probably due the too soft memory foam material, which seems to have some effect on the sound (usually on the treble area). The level of isolation good for a closed headphone design and there is no sound leakage.

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    The headphones feature a detachable dual cable design. The package includes 2 cable options, one of standard 1.2m length with in-line remote single button (play, pause, call answer), and a much longer 3m cable with single 3.5mm plug. There are no right and left sides on the headphones part just the on the cables. The lower cable part is thick and well covered by Kevlar sleeve. The y-split has a mix of rubber coating and small metal part with Meze logo on it; there is no cable slider, tough. The upper cable right and left sides are covered by a rubbery coating and a bit stiffer than the cloth part on the lower half, but the whole cable doesn't carry any noise when moving around.

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    Sound Quality

    The 99 Classics headphones rate normal impedance and enough sensitivity for a portable closed set and in practice are very efficient with any portable source. They can get loud enough at moderate volume levels without asking for high gain or extra amplification. Even out of ultra portable DAPs like the Shanling M0 and Lotoo Pico, or even the pocket friendly Fiio M3K, the 99 Classics sounded good enough. However, most of the listening was trough the iBasso DX120 as a main source for best results, Aune M1s as a second option, as Dragonfly Red as DAC. Pairing the headphones with either a warmer or more neutral source was more a matter of taste, but they definitely benefit from a good sounding player with good overall control.

    meze (13).jpg

    The Meze 99 Classics signature is mostly balanced from lows, mids to highs, but not in a neutral, reference type of tuning. Considering the wood material one would expect a colored, warm and very rich presentation, however, with the 99 Classics there is very little coloration to the sound that avoids being too thick or overly warm. Instead, it brings a more musical and engaging presentation that occasionally may sound even bit of lively v-shaped depending on the paired source, but mostly full on the bass region, slightly forward on the midrange with well weighted notes.

    The bass is enhanced and full with more than enough power. Not a heavy bass type, but definitely more than just north of neutral. The emphasis is mainly presented on the thicker mid-bass region and drops a bit when going higher to the upper bass, leaving a cleaner lower midrange. It does bring a very enjoyable sense of warmth that plays well with many music genres, rich in texture and with good level of dynamics. The layering is good and so is the speed, though overall bass is a bit loose on more complex or faster tracks. Sub-bass is softer in impact, extended with enough rumble just less body than the mid-bass part.

    The midrange is probably the most favorable characteristic on the 99 Classics, rich and a bit forward with some coloration thanks the warmer bass response. The separation is quite good and there is some extra touch of sweetness for vocals. Timbre, while not best, is very natural; not tuned for critical reference listening, rather for a more enjoyable, relaxed presentation. There is a touch of sibilance that can be heard on the upper midrange, though may be because the lack of seal with the stock pads; not very annoying, but can be noticed with more neutral sounding DAPs. Overall, the mids are clear, dynamic and very musical.

    Highs have some accentuation but wouldn't classify as bright sounding. It's more about giving a better balance through the whole frequency. There is a small dip on the lower treble resulting in a less aggressive or 'hot' sound. A good thing for the 99 Classics as the sound results less tiring, smoother and still very detailed. It avoids the usual treble peaks and there is still more than enough energy and sparkle, though will missing the extra bite and crunchy texture for string or upper brass instruments at this region.

    For a closed design headphone the soundstage is surprisingly good, with a wider effect and fair height and depth. The slight midrange forwardness limits the dimensions, but it sounds coherent and very airy.

    meze (14).jpg
  4. XBTed
    To Be Continued---
    Written by XBTed
    Published Nov 12, 2018
    2.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality is superb! Repairable! Balanced cables are available. Customer service is fantastic! They are comfortable and beautiful!
    Cons - The sound is absolutely awful. Sounds more like a noisy factory than music. Maybe they were defective.
    I tried out the 99 Classics, and wrote up my opinions on the sound. My opinions were not positive. I've had a bunch of comments and messages that the pair I tried were probably defective. If this is the case, then I can't use the pair I tried as an honest standard to judge these headphones. So I am going to seek out another pair to test, and if they sound good, well, I'm going to rewrite my review. If they sound the same, well...
    1. betula
      I only tried the 99 Classics from Meze. To be honest I also didn't really understand the hype about them. They sound quite alright for a warm and bassy can but nothing special really. Resolution, balance, transparency all lack.
      betula, Nov 12, 2018
    2. trevinthefionaapplefan
      I had the same exact experience. Probably 6 or 7 people had recommended these headphones to me (on headfi) and then when I got them they sounded too boomy and messy.
      trevinthefionaapplefan, Feb 15, 2019
  5. ostewart
    Such an enjoyable listen
    Written by ostewart
    Published Jun 18, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, looks, overall sound
    Cons - slight mid-bass hump/resonance, cups are not the largest
    Firstly I would like to thank Meze for sending me this sample, they have been used for well over 50hrs before writing this review.

    *disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.

    Gear Used: HP Laptop > Keces S3 / JDS Labs OL DAC + O2 / iBasso DX200 / Audio Opus #2 > 99 Classics

    DSC_0309.jpg

    Tech Specs:
    · Transducer size: 40mm
    · Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    · Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    · Impedance: 32 Ohm
    · Rated input power: 30mW
    · Maximum input power: 50mW
    · Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    · Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    · Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    · Ear-cups: walnut wood
    https://www.mezeaudio.com/products/meze-99-classics-walnut-silver-wood-headphones

    Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
    The Meze 99 Classics come in a lovely box, with a picture of the headphones on the front, a frequency graph and tech specs on one side and features on the other. On the back it is just black with the shape of the headphones in a glossy black outline. The packaging looks and feels great, you open the front via a magnetic flap and inside you will find the headphone case, and inside this are the headphones and accessories. I really like the detailing on the outer packaging; it is a great first impression.

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    Built quality is flawless; each pair will be unique due to the wood having a different shade/grain naturally. The cups are impeccably finished and everything feels great. The cable is detachable, they come with 2 cables which are covered in fabric below the y-split and rubbery above, the 3.5mm jacks that go into the headphones are very slim so using aftermarket cables will be tricky, but the stock cables work fine and are well built. There is good strain relief and the microphone and controls on the shorter cable feel great. I have no issues with the build quality, and every part should be easily replaceable if anything goes wrong.

    Accessory wise you get a nice hard carry case that is just the right size to fit the headphones in, they do however fit better if you remove the cable before putting them in the case. You also get a little fabric pouch that holds the rest of the accessories, like both cables (1.2m with mic/controls + 3m regular), airplane adaptor and 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor. Overall the included accessories are brilliant and everything you need to get going.

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    Comfort and Isolation:
    The 99 Classics are super comfortable, the self adjusting headband distributes the weight perfectly and they are pretty lightweight anyway. The earpads have changed since they originally came out, to slightly larger ones that fit my ears fine and are just the right depth. These are closed back so your ears will heat up a little over time, but overall they are very comfortable and I can wear them for long periods of time with no issues.

    Isolation is pretty good on these, not as good as most IEM’s but they do drown out most moderate noises quite well and would be perfect for office use. They don’t leak either, and they would also suit general daily use well.

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    Sound:
    Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end.

    Lows: The 99 Classics have a great low end; they are full with good extension yet without sounding too bloated. There is great articulation of bass guitars, and they sound relatively well controlled too. There is one tiny bit of resonance in the mid-bass that creates a little bloat, but this can easily be fixed with EQ and this is a result of the newer larger earpads. I really like the low end response of these as they have enough quantity to please most, but they are also well behaved for the most part; without bleeding heavily into the midrange. As I said previously, bass guitars have really good articulation, and kick drums have good slam. The lows only fall slightly behind when it comes to very fast and technical passages of some heavy metal where that mid-bass resonance can be a little overpowering.

    Mids: The midrange is well separated from the lows, there is a small amount of bleed but for the most part they are clean and well detailed. The strengths here are timbre, acoustic guitars sound exceptional and there is great separation in the midrange. Both male and female vocals sound excellent, with plenty of detail but no harsh or sharp edges to notes. They are not quite as forward as the lows, but these are not really v-shaped sounding headphones, they manage to have a full low end with an insightful midrange too. Electric guitars don’t always have the bite that some more neutral headphones have and notes can sometimes sound a little rounded. But they are fatigue free with a smooth transition from the midrange to the highs.

    Highs: The treble response of the 99 Classics is actually fantastic, it is smooth and fatigue free but not lacking in detail or presence. I was worried with the bump in the mid-bass that these headphones may come across a little dark, but again after spending some time with them I was pleasantly surprised at how transparent they are in the treble regions. There are no annoying peaks, they are not aggressive but they are resolving with good air and extension. The key up here is the tonality, they avoid the slight metallic tone that some headphones suffer from, and they are very natural and effortless.

    The soundstage is wider than most closed back headphones, but they are not the most spacious sounding headphones. There is however good separation between everything and you can easily separate complex mixes.

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    Conclusion: As I said before, the more time I spent with these the more I came to appreciate their strengths and sound. At first some might find the bass to be the focus point, and in some ways it is, but they strike a fine balance between sounding fun and technical prowess. They do have a slightly elevated bass response, but the midrange comes across with excellent clarity and the highs have an effortless tone that is always present but never fatiguing. As a whole the 99 Classics individual attributes come together to create a relatively well balanced sound that is highly enjoyable without forgetting about the finer details.

    Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (slight mid-bass resonance, but highly enjoyable overall)

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      Halam, MezeTeam and Wyville like this.
  6. Loquah
    Meze 99 Classics - gorgeous, comfortable, fun
    Written by Loquah
    Published May 14, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Gorgeous looks, supreme comfort, warm sound, solid bass, excellent accessories, useful cable options, well-priced
    Cons - Slight lack of mid-range texture, treble may be lacking for some, treble quality is slightly grainy / edgy
    I recently reviewed the 99 Classics on my blog page so I thought I'd share a brief summary here and my video review.

    The 99 Classics are made by Meze Audio out of Romania. Retailing at approximately $300 they are at the lower end of the mid-price range of headphones and compete with many long-standing stalwarts of the industry, but they do it a bit differently.

    To summarise my thoughts, the 99 Classics look amazing - they are one of the best looking headphones on the market and they are supremely comfortable thanks to the very soft ear pads and suspension-style headband. In terms of sound, they are warm and bassy, but articulate and fairly precise. They lean strongly towards warmth and musicality, but I don't ever find them slow or thick. Check out the video below for more details...

      dwinnert, B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
  7. s_f_g
    Build and sound quality set the 99 Classics apart
    Written by s_f_g
    Published Jan 27, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Immersive natural sound, built to last, portability
    Cons - Ear pads can get a little warm
    Long-winded background

    While far from claiming to be an audiophile, I have always appreciated good quality sound – driving from Devon to Cornwall to buy Heybrook HB1s and later becoming obsessed with Irving M. Fried’s ‘IMF’ transmission lines. After a succession of headphones that broke far too soon I settled on the Soundmagic E10 and the Grado SR60s. After a year the Grado’s cables detached from the cup but welding them back proved a simple fix. After a while, however, it seems I had welded them one time too many and they packed up. The Soundmagics lasted a few days longer than their warranty before their (non-replaceable) cables also packed up, and the electrical shop wouldn’t even look at them – saying earphone cables were too small and fiddly to repair.

    I had had enough of headphones that were neither robust nor repairable. But I wanted good sound! I visited Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis in London to try on everything from high end open back to budget headphones – keeping an eye out for that rare thing, great sound and robustness.

    In the middle of trying on the much-commended Oppo PM-3 headphones in Selfridges, an employee pointed me towards the Meze 99 Classics, signalling that these were his favourites. I didn’t recognise the brand and had never been a tremendous fan of AKG-like headbands, which these had, but tried them on briefly. I was taken aback by their sound, which stood out from that of the other portables I had been trying. Later, seeing Meze’s claims about build quality with the rare words ‘built to last’, combined with the reviews on this page, I was even more curious about the headphones.

    Disclaimer:
    I wanted to trial the Mezes more thoroughly outside of the busy store and Meze very kindly provided me this pair for review.

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    Sound quality

    My interest in these headphones was based largely on accounts of sound quality on this page and many reviews cover this part well. Here is my novice interpretation.

    Immersive. When first listening to the Mezes in the store I was absorbed by the particular nature of their sound, unlike my experience with other headphones in the store. This quality held up while trialling them more thoroughly. The 99Cs make you want to listen; I found hours went by immersed in the music.

    Portable, adaptable. Another appeal to me was the fact that they were said to be driven well without an amplifier and that they suit many genres of music. To me, this made them both portable and adaptable. Playing through a phone (a Huawei P9 Lite) produces plenty of volume. They sound as good playing folk band Lau’s ‘Lightweights & Gentlemen’ as they do grime artist Kano’s (wonderfully produced) ‘Roadman’s Hymn’. Nitin Sawhney’s ‘The Pilgrim’ sounds as spellbinding as it should, with wonderful soundstage and separation. The detailed midrange means Joss Clapp’s guitar in Kathryn tickell’s ‘Air Moving’ is a joy. The sub bass isn’t conjured out of nowhere but controlled and satisfying where I want it, as in Murlo’s ‘Lava Leaf’ and Joker soundtrack ‘Why So Serious?’. The treble in Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s ‘In the Back of a Taxi’ is crisp. After listening to them briefly with an Arcam Alpha 8 amplifier, I'm sure there is even more to get out of the 99Cs with decent amplification.

    Sonically, the 99Cs impressed me more than the B&W P5, P7, PX, B&O Beoplays, Bose QuietComforts, Sennheiser Momentums and Oppo PM-3s. Of course, some of these have dramatically different emphases, but I found that unless you have a particularly strong liking for bass emphasis (Momentums) or accuracy (Oppo PM3 – which I didn’t find nearly as engaging!), the Mezes were an incredibly solid contender. It might be interesting to compare them to the Denon AH-MM400s, which I tried once and feel could be somewhat comparable – although I’m not sure if the Denons are as repairable.

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    Comfort, design

    I find the look and functionality come together very well. The wooden cups are exquisite, and the whole thing has a very 'quality' feel. The initial prejudice against the metal headband design is long gone, I find it brings the headphone together well.

    The ear cups feel good and isolate decently for commuting, although they can occasionally get a bit warm and sweaty. The adjustable headband strap is simple and works as it should. A very minor point I find is that the metal headband can resonate quite loudly when tapped or knocked.


    Overall thoughts

    It is impressive that a company’s first headphones can tick so many boxes that other manufacturers fail to address.

    I would choose these headphones alone for their sound character; soundstage, natural presentation and absorbing qualities alone, but their exquisite build and serviceability in the portable headphone market really sets them apart.

    It feels like a rare find, to come across a small company making such fine headphones in this price bracket; I wonder how long it will be before they appear everywhere?
  8. bobbyblack
    Warm,inviting sound with a lovely look
    Written by bobbyblack
    Published Oct 26, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Natural and balanced sound,comfortable,beautiful design
    Cons - Mid bass can be a little bit to much on certain songs
    Background:

    About me i can say i am a music lover,not an audiophile-if audiophile means to use music to listen to your equipment,that's not me -trying to find best ways to enjoy my music,because in the end that s all that matters -and started to be interested in headphones 5 years ago.Started like many others with Ath M50;AKG K550; after that i made the transition to open headphones:Sennheiser HD650,HD600(i loved these cans for their naturalness and neutrality);AKG K500 and K501(one of the best from AKG better in my opinion than AKG 7XX series,amazing for classical).After that i stepped into the high-end area with Beyerdynamic T1,followed by Hifiman HE500(which i curently own and will remain with me) and recently bought HD800S(i like them but to soon to have a clear opinion).

    Look and design:

    When i first received the headphones i did not know what to expect because i am a little bit skeptical knowing that many products are overly hyped but it was not the case here because is clear that guys from Meze have made much effort and have been very careful about the tehnicalities when they build these headphones.
    For me the most important thing when it comes to headphones is the sound (HE500,ok?)but i could not help seeing how much attention to the details was put into their construction and packaging and i want to mention briefly some of them:
    -stylish an compact box with a clever opening mode with magnets
    -nice removable cables with golden connectors
    -the headphones have a modular system designed in such a way that practically every part is replaceable
    -the drivers are symetrical which means the left and right is determined by the jacks on the cable
    -self adjusting headband with soft pleather,AKG style,very comfortable
    -the earpads are soft on medium size which fits me perfecly but probably guyz with bigger ears have a little discomfort here
    Overall what struck me when i first opened the box was their beauty with the classy look and lovely walnut wood cups,amazing job guys.

    Sound:

    For testing the heaphones i used Cavalli Liquid Carbon amp on single ended output with Peachtree daciTx:i have another good amplifier class A -Musical Fidelity m1HPA-also with very low output impedance(<1ohm) but the sinergy between LC and 99's was excelent,it surprised me because warm amp with warm headphones don't look promising,but like i said was v.good.
    I used tracks that i know very well and different genres:

    1.Glass Animals-Black Mambo(Zaba)-perfect track for testing punch,the size of the scene and imaging.The 99's make an amazing job here reproducing the ambiance,effects,sound stage with very good punch all the track.The vocalist sound clear and natural and the mid bass is good ,not overemphasized.

    2.Halie Loren-Ode to Billie Joe(After Dark)-the voice of Halie is very clear an nuanced in an intimate presentation,the stage has good depth with the double bass clearly behind her with good subbass and drums in the right side ,good imaging,nice rhythm.

    3.Muse-Psycho(Drones)-the guitar on the right side of the scene sound natural with good definition all the track,the width of the scene is medium with the back dialogs that are very clear.Overall good representation but with a little closed in sound normal for a closed back headphones(bear in mind i compare them with HE500 and HD800S).

    4.Primus-My name is Mud(Pork Soda)-this track is a real test for weaker headphones and it turns into a mess because of it's complexity with alot of things going on but of course is not the case here.The eco and ambiance are very well played with the voice behind with good depth and clarity ,guitar solo on the right sound superb.The only complaints here are that on the final solo guitar is missing a little bit attack and the midbass on the entire song is a little bit exagerated but does not negatively affect the entire presentation.

    5.Hans Theesink-Six Strings(Life Line)-amazing blues artist with very high grade recordings;this song sound beautiful on the Meze with hes amazing voice,the guitars a real pleasure with that nice choir of women,good separation,width and depth.

    6.Villa-Beats of love,C90s remix(Ritz bar Paris-session one)-this track have a good PRaT ,rhythm,all the instruments and effects sound very clear with perfect highs(for example on my HD800S the highs are a little piercing).The mids are good with the whispering voice that sounds clear.The midbass is not overbearing ,keeping a good tempo.

    7.Christina Pluhar-Orfeo Chaman,Act 2:Cubramonos con Cezinas(Orfeo Chaman)-this is a track test for voices and the size of the soundstage and i have to admit that on the HD800S is a real treat and it's hard to listen to another pair of the headphones,even on my HE500 it does not sound right.
    Voices on the 99's are nice but the other instruments are a little bit blurred,not enough air,the midbass is a little to much and the sound stage reaching its limits.

    8.Imagine Dragons-Believer(Evolve)-this song sound big with clear voices,good articulation,punch and attack.Excelent.

    9.Dexter Gordon-Tanya,Remastered 2015(One Flight Up)-i love this song,life changer :D,i was not expected such a perfect representation with all the instruments at their places,the drums on the right cup sounds punchy with that vibration,piano and saxophone perfect timbre and definition ,good imaging,a real pleasure.

    10.Erik Hassle,Vic Mensa-Talk about you(Somebody's Party)-This is the only track that doesn't sound quite right with to much sub and midbass,to thick,but again the voices sound correct with good separation,good spatiality.

    Conclusions:

    Overall a beautiful looking headphone,very comfortable with nice accesories and with a good balanced sound ,good mids,voices and instruments always sound right,natural,highs with good air,never fatiguing,nice sparkle on top.The mid bass is sometimes on some tracks to much but in general unintrusive or lead to a fun presentation,never boring.
    I didn't test them on pop and rap because i never listen to this genres but i think they are doing very well.
      JediMa70 and MezeTeam like this.
  9. crabdog
    Looks and personality combined
    Written by crabdog
    Published Oct 22, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Serviceable build with added longevity. Gorgeous, lightweight, comfortable. Fun, intoxicating sound.
    Cons - Quite a step up in price from the 99 Neo.
    DSC_0106.jpg

    Tabatha Coffey

    Introduction

    In 2015 Meze Audio released a headphone called the 99 Classics which led to what they call their "breakthrough year". It was their first headphone created entirely in house whereas before they were buying components externally. The Classics took the audio enthusiast community by storm and suddenly we were seeing it everywhere and just about everyone seemed to own one.

    What was it that made them so desirable? Well, there were a few reasons they have been so successful. First of all they look dope, especially if you're a fan of wooden earcups. They have a design aesthetic that's is immediately appealing with it's simplistic elegance. Not only that but they're built with longevity in mind, each individual part being easy and inexpensive to replace. They also sound good, which obviously matters as fickle audio aficionados aren't going to buy something purely on looks alone. Wrap all that up with a very affordable price tag and the rest is history. Today I'll be taking a much belated look at the walnut and gold variant of the Meze 99 Classics.

    Disclaimer

    This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

    The Meze 99 Classics cost $309 USD and are available from the Meze Audio website and Amazon.

    Packaging and accessories

    The 99 Classics come in a tasteful white box with a nice picture of one of the earcups on the front and back along with some of the various awards the headphones have collected since their release. There are some specifications and features listed on the sides and first impressions are positive.

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    Opening the box we find a very nice, contoured, clam-shell carry case with a smooth matte texture and finish. I actually like this more than the one that comes with the Neo although they're essentially the same albeit with a different finish.

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    Inside the case are the headphones and another small zippered pouch which contains two cables, an airline adapter, a 6.35mm adapter, user manual and warranty information.

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    Let's look at the two cables - one is ten feet long and ideal for desktop or living room use and the other four feet long with an inline control and microphone which is great for portable use, whether you're taking the Classics outdoors or just moving around the house. Both cables have a braided material cover from the plug to the Y-split where it changes to a rubberized style to reduce microphonics. They Y-split has a nice gold band with the company logo and this matches perfectly with the gold accents on the headphones. At the top are two 3.5mm plugs and both cables terminate in a straight, gold plated 3.5mm plug. These cables have just the right mix of strength and suppleness so they feel durable yet sit and roll up nicely.

    DSC_01271.jpg

    Specifications
    • Transducer size: 40mm
    • Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    • Impedance: 32 Ohm
    • Rated input power: 30mW
    • Maximum input power: 50mW
    • Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    • Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    • Ear-cups: walnut wood
    Build, comfort and isolation

    For many users appearance is an important factor when purchasing headphones. If you're one of those people then this could be the one for you. Enter the Meze 99 Classics with their simplistic yet sophisticated and elegant looks that are so easily distinguishable from all the rest.

    In a lot of cases if a single piece or section breaks you're up the brown creek in a barbed wire canoe or in other words, you're out of luck and have to start looking for a new headphone. Well this isn't the case with Meze's 99 series headphones as they've been designed in a way so they can be fully disassembled. Thus if a component breaks the headphones are still fully serviceable. You can simply order the replacement part and get yourself back up and running in no time. Kudos to Meze for doing this rather than going with the usual "designed to fail" practice of so many products.

    Starting with the spring steel headband which is very sturdy but also due to the minimalist design using two thin strips it's very lightweight. Attached to this via a cast zinc alloy cross structure is the wide and well padded self adjusting headband. The steel headband extends all the way down to where it's attached to the center of the earcups. The conical earcups are made from a single piece of wood - in this case walnut, which not only looks great but has wonderful, natural resonating properties. On the underside of each earcup is where the 3.5mm cable plugs connect, again highlighted with a subtle gold ring surrounding the holes to fit into the the overall style.

    DSC_0131.jpg

    Onto the earpads now and I believe that these have been improved since the early versions of the Classics and now share the same ones that are used on the 99 Neo, being a bit thicker and more plush than the original ones. They're large enough to fit around my big ears and deep enough so that my ears don't come into contact with the driver covers.

    These are very comfortable headphones and I can wear them for hours on end with no discomfort whatsoever. They are closed backs though so if the weather is hot your ears can become a little warm over time. The earpads are soft and plush, clamping force is just enough to hold the headphones steadily in place without putting the squeeze on your precious dome and the headband sits really nicely without any unnecessary pressure on the top of your head. This along with the light weight means top marks for comfort.

    Isolation is about average for a closed back headphone so they do block a good amount of external noise and should be suitable for most situations whether at home or out and about.

    DSC_01291.jpg DSC_01311.jpg

    Sound

    Gear used for testing

    Acoustic Research AR-M20

    ATC HDA-DP20

    Galaxy Note 5

    JRiver/flac > Arcam irDAC-II

    JRiver/flac > Topping DX7

    The 99 Classics are very easy to drive. With an impedance of 32 Ohm and 103dB sensitivity they can be paired with just about any device. The Galaxy Note 5 had no problems driving these and for my preferred listening level 70-80% volume was plenty loud enough without any noticeable drawbacks. Obviously using a high quality DAC or amplifier is likely to give even better results. Because of their warm and bass heavy nature I prefer to use them with a neutral or bright source but in fact they still sound great regardless.

    After having experience with the 99 Neo I had a fairly good idea what to expect from the Classics and I was not disappointed. Just like with the Neo the first thing that struck me was the bass - again there's a lot of it. Then there's the silky musicality and superb tonality. The 99 Classics have a fun approach to sound reproduction but that doesn't mean they can't also take on a serious tone. Listening to Beethoven's string quartets is just as satisfying as some hard hitting Infected Mushroom. There's an energy to the Classics that belies their technical ability.

    As I mentioned above there is loads of bass present and while it's not the most controlled and sometimes even a bit loose it does sound very natural. Bass notes are fairly rounded, so they don't have a sharp or etched presentation but one that is more liquid and relaxed. There is a little bass bleeding into the midrange but it's not a detriment, it just adds to the overall warmth and the mids are not compromised as a result but rather enhanced by it. Sub-bass hits pretty hard but isn't as prominent as the mid-bass. There's enough of it to give you that sense of an earthquake without bringing the house down around you.

    Midrange on the Classics is definitely one of the highlights. Despite the warm overtones the mids still manage to reveal a great amount of detail and maintain their excellent tonality. Vocals are forward sounding but not overly intimate and possess that same silky smoothness throughout. It's organic, natural, even and ridiculously easy to listen to. Just like with the Neo stringed instruments sound amazing from classical pieces to the crunch of electric guitars and everything in between.

    Treble has a crisp and airy appeal that brings some much needed lightness to balance the Classics' warmth. There's good extension without ever being harsh or sibilant. It really helps to bring out some of the detail that might otherwise be lost in the richness of the bass and mids but somehow Meze found the perfect amount to keep the balance without making the headphones overtly V-shaped.

    For a closed back headphone the Classics have a great soundstage that provides immersive depth and excellent layering throughout. Imaging is superb and instrument placement makes for a truly engaging experience. This also makes the 99 Classics a pretty good companion for gaming and watching movies too.

    DSC_0119.jpg

    Comparisons

    Meze 99 Neo ($249 USD)

    The Neo comes very close when it comes to audio quality but the Classics seem to have something that gives them a slight edge. Is it worth shelling out the extra money for the Classics? When it comes to pure sound there's not much in it but the Classics do seem to have a little more refinement, most notably for my ears in their treble which has a little more sparkle and air and in the bass which is slightly tamer and tighter. In terms of appearance the two are obviously very similar but for me there's something about wooden earcups that makes them that much more desirable. Either way if you buy one or the other I'm sure you'll be more than pleased with the results.

    *The next two comparisons are basically copied+pasted from my 99 Neo review (here) because the Neo and 99 Classics are so very alike in terms of sound quality.

    Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 Ohm ($179 USD)

    The DT990 is well known for its strong V-shaped signature so it has similarly boosted bass levels but also has a lot more treble as well. It’s more resolving than the Classics and reveals more small details but can get a little strident or overenthusiastic on the high frequencies. The DT990’s bass notes are more defined and controlled bringing more punch where the Classics brings the thump. Both headphones are exceptionally comfortable and well worth their respective prices.

    Ultrasone Performance 860 ($362 USD)

    The 860 is much more linear across the board so offers a very different sound compared to the Classics. Bass is tighter and faster without any of the same boomy properties found on the Meze. Midrange in comparison is a lot thinner and less lush than the Classics'. The treble is where these two have the most in common, being neutral-ish on both. The 860 reveals more details in music but presents itself in a more accurate and less emotive manner compared to the “fun” tuning of the Classics.

    DSC_0122.jpg

    Conclusion

    So there you have it. It was almost a forgone conclusion after experiencing the 99 Neo that I would enjoy the 99 Classics but I didn't expect to enjoy them that much more. Yes, they sound very similar indeed. Yes, they look similar but there's just something about the 99 Classics that I love. It's an experience from the moment you pick them up until real life obligations or things like food and sleep force you to put them down.

    They're attractive, lightweight, comfortable, portable and a totally enjoyable listen. They're fun but they also give you juicy detail, great extension on both ends, a full-bodied and rich midrange. They're easy to drive and sound good even straight from a smartphone. If you're looking for a pair of headphones and $309 is within your limits then the Meze 99 Classics come highly recommended from me.

    Maybe Meze Audio knew they had something special on their hands when they named these Classics because they have essentially become that in their own right.
  10. SOULSIK
    Meze 99 Classic – comparison with the neo
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Jun 19, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Wooden cups. Sound. Build. Less clamping force
    Cons - Not that different from the neo. debatable if its worth an extra 100.
    Video review:


    sound demo:



    INTRODUCTION


    Previously, I reviewed the Meze 99 neo, a great headphone that everyone on my team loved. I even put it as “all in one solution” for both home and portable usage. Now we review its bigger brother, the Meze 99 classic. With minimal differences, I was doubtful that there would be any sound differences. However, to my surprise there were few notable differences aside from the “looks.” Read on to find out more.

    ABOUT MEZE

    Meze is a Romanian audio company that has their values set right.

    Their values:

    Meze Headphones had stood by its values since the beginning of the company, we did not follow trends and let them influence the audio quality and design of our headphones. They are timeless objects that will not go out of style the next season. We achieved this through patience and dedication.

    And where there is values lies passion:

    Our passion for music and art is the drive behind Meze headphones. We created our range of headphones and earphones with this aspect in mind. We created them as if for ourselves.

    and their wood craftsman ship set above normal standards:

    The choice of wood is an inherently difficult one. Obtaining the desired qualities for wooden parts is a long and hard path. The rich colors of walnut require the use of air drying, the longer and more expensive process. Steam or kiln drying are cheaper techniques, but the colors tend to be washed out and there are also structural risks. It takes eighteen months for the wood to dry properly. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient: we know that the result is worth the wait.

    Then, the process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners, but we don’t sell ice cream. We fight time: this is the pride of the creator.
    The craftsmanship of our designs is paramount. It allows us to show the world our products almost exactly as imagined. The wooden components are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.

    It is worth mentioning that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from sources with certificate of origin. That is, mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. This way, we are helping the environment and we’re giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.

    DISCLAIMER

    This review unit was sent to me by Meze for this review. As usual, all my reviews will stay honest and unbiased

    SPECS

    • Transducer size: 40mm
    • Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz
    • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    • Impedance: 32 Ohm
    • Rated input power: 30mW
    • Maximum input power: 50mW
    • Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    • Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    • Ear-cups: walnut wood
    THE BUILD QUALITY

    The build quality is incredible for the price and I have no complaints. Might as well skip this section if you are looking for anything but praise.

    The headphone is asymmetrical, allowing you to plug in the connectors any way you like it. Left & Right is irrelevant. This might seem like a small thing but it is extremely convenient in the long run. – same as the 99 neo

    Meze also decided to magically make the headphones more comfortable and fit large types of head sizes be making the headphone adjustments “auto-adjustable,” with it stretching mechanism. There is nothing you need to do to get the perfect fit, Meze says “this is our job.” The headphone fit perfectly with great comfort and isolation. I felt like the headphones were customized for my head. – same as the 99 neo

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    [​IMG]
    Unlike its little brother, the classic comes in nice walnut wooden cups, which in my opinion looks incredible and contributed to the sonic characteristics of this unit.

    I do not understand how Meze can automatically find a way to make great stock cables when most companies out there cannot. With that being said, they do come with two cables, one longer cable for home use and one shorter one with control buttons for travel. The cables are braided up to the point of the splitters and then splits into a plastic/rubbery material that also do not feel cheap. I prefer this kind of mechanism (as long as it does not feel like cheap plastic/rubber) because it reduces the microphonic. – Same as the neo

    The connectors are 3.5mm and terminates in a 3.5mm with a ¼ inch adaptor.

    The case that comes with the headphones is very nice and sturdy however, the headphones do not fit unless you unplug the connectors. They do include a separate case just for the cables but this is very inconvenient on the go and I would like to see a case where you do not need to unplug the connectors. – same as the neo

    The clamping force is less than the neo, which I believe contributes to the sound differences.

    The metal suspension seems sturdy and very solid. Although I felt like it was a little bit thin, I understand that the headphone needed to lose all the weight it can, for transportation use. – same as the neo

    The pads are also very soft and surprisingly comfortable despite its small size. I did find that the cups were a little bit too small and may not fit everyone’s ears perfectly “inside the cups” – same as the neo

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    You want to talk about style. Let us talk about style. Hands down, my favorite looking headphones. I personally like the wooden design more than the 99 neo.

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    SOUND QUALITY

    Overall, the sound signature is like that of the neo, so go check out that review for more “how it sounds like,” here, I will be talking about the differences.

    What I believe changes the sound: different clamping force & wooden cups.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Overall Thoughts

    There is not much sound difference unless you really sit down and go back and forth numerous time on the same track. If you want a great all in one solution at a cheaper value, you go with the neo. If you have a big head or really like wood then you go with the classic.

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      rocksteady65, Richter Di and MezeTeam like this.