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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34615/5,
  1. PinkyPowers
    Earth and Fire, Wind and Water - A Review of the Meze 99 Classics
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Feb 5, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Tuning that shines with every device. Comfort. Detachable Cable. What a looker!
    Cons - Needs mods for custom cable, or a Meze proprietary plug.
    99CAK120ii06.jpg

    The goal I set out with—the idea that drove me—was to find a set of portable cans which performed well enough to not make me crawl, desperate and hungry, back to my Top Of The Line IEMs. As much as I like the sound of my Sennheiser Momentums, they are simply not in the same league as the 64Audio ADEL U12 or Rhapsodio Solar CIEM. With options such as these, I rarely ever pull out the Momentum 2.0. I have to really, REALLY crave the over-ear experience to scorn my insanely expensive IEMs. That’s not a feeling I like. I want the option to go IEM or Circumaural, and experience equally good audio no matter which way I turn.

    You may be thinking, “$300 Senns vs $1,500 U12s? Of course they aren’t in the same league, you fat, balding jerk!”

    First off: Ouch! What’s with the hostility? Words can hurt, you know. Second: It takes a lot less to get a big-@ss dynamic driver to reach a certain level of performance than it does a small, itty bitty driver. That’s why so many of the top of the line in-ear monitors pack 9, 10, 12, 14 Balanced Armatures into those little shells. They’re trying to do what full-size headphones manage so easily. Physics be a cruel mistress. And it costs, jamming all those BAs in each ear.

    In the end, it pays off. As I said, I have two IEMs that put the Momentum to shame. Yet there are other headphones in the $300-$400 range that do indeed outperform my IEMs. The Sennheiser HD600 and 650, to name a couple. The thing to remember about large, high impedance cans is they are not designed with the same philosophy of use. My HD6XX is really meant for a powerful desktop amp, like the Audio-GD NFB-28 I own. My primary headphone, the Audeze LCD-2.2 Fazor, takes things even further, and utterly humiliates in-ear monitors. You do not plug those beasts into a mobile device and expect them to sound right.

    Low impedance, high efficiency circumaurals, like the Momentum, are designed for mobile use. They should sound “right”, driven from a smartphone. But to accomplish this, sacrifices are made. Metaphorical kittens are severed to the Gods. The Sennheiser Momentum is not as impressive in its audio fidelity as the Sennheiser HD600, even though they both cost around $300. Hence I do not put mobile full-size cans in the same category as desktop full-size cans. They are designed for different things. It’s not a fair fight.

    My experience, limited as it is, says TOTL, wildly expensive in-ear monitors can compete with mid-tier headphones, even desktop cans. Yet they fall behind, the closer you get to the likes of the LCD-2.

    So the question I posed to myself is, “Can I find a portable, mobile-driven full-size headphone for a reasonable price that matches the performance of my $1K+ IEMs?”

    I had my doubts.

    There are three categories of transducer I want stocked and on-hand at all times.
    Category I: Full-size, high impedance headphone meant for a desktop amp. (These sound the best. LCD-2 is my primary, used only for music. HD6XX is secondary, used for everything else.)
    Category II: Full-size, low impedance headphone meant for work/mobile use. (These will never sound quite as good. Being sourced by mobile gear doesn’t help matters. Momentum 2.0 belongs here, making this the weakest of the three classes.)
    Category III: In-Ear Monitors meant for work/mobile use. (These sound nearly as good from a quality DAP as they do from a desktop system. They are VERY efficient. U12 and Solar sit at the head of this table.)

    For a long time the Oppo PM-3 looked like my next upgrade, meant to bolster the ranks of my Category II gear. I wasn’t thrilled about the price. The sound signature, as described in reviews, gave me pause: Not enough bass, terms like “boring” were dropped. Not to mention, they benefit too much from stacking an Amp to your DAP. I know myself well. This would only lead to feelings of inadequacy for NOT doing so. However, all the reviews agreed, they delivered incredible audio quality.

    I held off. As inevitable as buying the Oppo seemed to be, I just wasn’t eager to take that plunge.

    Then, a few months ago, I started seeing a lot of talk on Head-Fi about this thing called the Meze 99 Classics. Seemed like a pretentious name for a new product, so I ignored it. The Oppo was going to be my next headphone. All my other bases were covered. I just needed that upgrade to my portable system. Then, a little later, I read the Meze was a portable headphone, easily driven by any mobile device. Then I learned about the Walnut wood cups, metal frame, a design philosophy that precludes cheap materials and glue. When at last intrigue drove me to search for reviews, I beheld the great flood. Meze had taken Head-Fi by storm. There’s an embarrassment of reviews out there, and a very great many of them are overwhelming in positivity.

    Pinky’s shield of indifference cracked, and the Meze 99 Classics jumped to the top of my list as a replacement for Sennheiser.

    It would still be a few months before I bought a pair. There were other monstrosities devouring my gold. All things in their own time. But as I waited for that perfect moment, lust grew in me.

    Finally I could wait no longer and dove into the Head-Fi Classifieds in pursuit of a used pair. There is not an abundance of 99Cs on the second-hand market. Folk are pretty d@mn happy with theirs and aren’t pawning them en masse. When one does show up, it sells fast. To get one at all I had to settle on a color scheme that was not my first-choice. On top of that, the unit I bought was modified with various dampeners and filters. All of which could be reversed. Still, it was a compromise. Beggars can’t be choosers, you know; I bought it for $240, shipped.

    99CAK120ii01.jpg

    Allow me this opportunity to say, Pinky is terribly pleased by the aesthetics. I probably lucked out not getting the black and gold version. This thing is dead gorgeous, with subtler elegance.

    After only a few minutes of listening, I brought the screwdriver out and opened her up. If I am going to review this product, I need to know how the REAL 99C sounds. So I removed all the modifications: a bunch of foam sticky’ed along the inside of the cups, and a few layers of dampeners in the pads, in front of the driver.

    Weeks have gone by now, listening to the legitimate Meze 99 Classics. I have no desire to reinstall any of the modifications. The original owner said the mods level-out the frequencies. No thanks, mate. To my ears, the sonics are too fabulous to 7*%# with.

    The comfort of the Meze is at a high grade. These have the larger pads than what shipped with the first batch. Those garnered many negative comments in reviews found throughout the Net. It is about the only bad thing folk have to say about the 1st edition. The larger pads are very nice, and the overall comfort is a step above the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. Since I already found the M2 quite pleasant to wear, that is a remarkable achievement. The elastic headband adjusts automatically to the size of your head, making the Meze an effortless thing to put on.

    I guess you could say the Meze 99 Classics is big for a portable headphone. But it comes with a nice carry case and fits easily inside my messenger bag, alongside all the villainous paraphernalia stored there. It doesn’t feel prohibitively cumbersome. No worse than the Momentum. In fact, I’d like the case to be a little larger, so I don’t need to detach the cable every time I zip her up. You’d think that might cause trouble down the road.

    99CInCaseWithBalancedCable.jpg

    99CCase.jpg MezeLogo.jpg

    Wearing these headphones, they don’t feel very large at all. If you’re accustomed to cans like the HD6XX or the LCD-2, these feel low-profile and light. Maybe not as light as the mostly plastic HD6XX, but close, and smaller.

    The pads, even the newer, larger pads, are not genuine leather, which dismays Pinky to some extent. They are high quality synthetic, though, and feel very soft and pliable. I even used leather conditioner on them, and they absorbed the milk nicely. So I don’t have any real complaint in that regard. I just like my materials as organic as possible when pressed against my wanton flesh.

    In spite of the fact the 99C uses 3.5mm mono for its earcup connection, only Meze’s plugs will fit. Due to how deep they must go, and the angle of insertion, there are currently no 3rd party plugs that work. To satiate my obsession with building custom cables for my gear, I had to order the Double Helix Cables 3D Printed Meze Mod. This allowed me to build a cable for the Astell&Kern AK120II’s 2.5mm Balanced Output. I enjoyed the sound so greatly from the stock cable that I didn’t want to tinker too much with the signature. Instead of using SPC or pure silver, I went fairly traditional. Norne Audio’s basic OCC copper seemed like the right move. With their transparent black jacket, it gave the cable such a lovely visual and made a handsome pairing with the 99 Classics.

    BalancedCable.jpg

    Clarity is the first trait which jumps at me each and every time I don the Meze 99 Classics. There is a glass-like clarity. Unlike bright headphones, however, this clearness has a liquid quality, instead of a sharp or detail-oriented one. That isn’t to say these aren’t detailed cans. They very much are. Resolution here is quite sophisticated, and the level of transparency is wonderful. Even driven from a mobile device, my music exploded to life with outstanding dynamics. Meze accomplishes all this under the auspices of smooth, silky rendering.

    99CWoodGrain01.jpg

    Soundstage and imaging are above average, and might be wider than the Momentum. I bought the M2 in large part because they had one of the widest stages in the portable closed-back arena. Meze feels wider and much deeper. Imaging and separation are excellent. These headphones make it easy to get lost in the performance when you close your eyes, layering the instruments out with visual accuracy.

    There is a wealth of bass that measures north of neutral. It’s not the tightest or most controlled bass, but it sounds very lifelike. It feels good and right. The lows bloom, bleeding a little into the lower mids, but not enough to do harm. It merely gives the 99C its warm characteristic. Her sub frequencies punch with moderate authority. Rather than a high degree of texture, the Meze’s low-end carries the same liquidity found throughout the whole spectrum. They are a delight to bask in.

    Her treble has nice extension and casts plenty of light over the presentation. These highs possess a purity and sweetness to them. They remind me most of JHAudio Angie’s treble: delicious honey. Yet there’s more treble than Angie gives you. Meze’s highs add so much air and brightness to the stage, without ever leaving the warm signature. Such sparkly treble is the much-needed counter balance to that serious bass. It keeps things open and airy, never straying into dark territory.

    99COpus02.jpg

    For me, the true star of the show is the midsection. Describing the lows and highs might seem like we’re dealing with a V-Shape signature. But the vocals are FAR too present for that to be true. They are front and center and so very intimate. Nowhere does the clarity play a bigger role than with the vocals. They are naked. So clean, clear, and transparent. Here, too, is where the resolution and detail get to shine, bringing out every nuance the recording contains. Above all this you get a heavenly timbre and the most natural tonality. It’s an enchanting experience.

    What excites me to no end about the Meze 99 Classics is that they don’t need a desktop amp to sound their best. Driven from a medium-powered DAP, like my AK120II, the dynamics are some of the best I’ve heard from any of my bigger and meaner headphones. Between 75-110/150, I can get them loud enough to satisfy anyone, no matter how quiet the track. My Galaxy S6 has no trouble, either. The same is true for the Momentum 2.0. They are, after all, mobile headphones. But unlike the M2, the Meze sounds truly and honestly complete from my Astell&Kern. The Sennheiser sounds a tiny bit underpowered. When I plugged them into a more powerful device, like the FiiO X5, Cayin i5, or Opus#1, they filled out nicely. The 99C is ready to impress at the drop of a hat, on whatever device you have on hand.

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    Due to the brilliant balance of frequencies, there is no DAP I would caution against pairing with the Meze. My AK is on the warmer side, while the Opus#1 is an exceptional case of neutral done like a warrior-king. The 99C celebrates the virtues of both devices. I’ve also read great things about the Cayin i5>99C pairing, Cayin being warmer still than my AK. That is Meze’s mastery of tuning at work. This headphone will never sound too dark, nor too bright. It will maintain a balance and sound splendid regardless.

    The 99 Classics are of a quality high enough to sit among my desktop phones. The HD6XX, being open-back, has an unfair advantage in some ways, like naturalness. Closed-backs will never sound quite like that. But the 99C matches it in resolution and tonal accuracy. I also hear more sub-bass and greater clarity. Although, the HD6XX has more texture and control over its low-end. The Meze’s treble is not as rolled-off. That lush, smooth, liquid sound is present in both.

    All in all, I feel the 99C has more in common with the Audeze LCD-2. Not that it’s closer in performance, but rather closer in character. Quality goes to Audeze by a not insignificant margin. But that transparency and treble puts them closer in nature than the HD6XX, which sounds darker by far.

    So what about the only comparison that really matters?

    Is there a single area where the Sennheiser Momentum beats the Meze 99 Classics? Well, not really. The M2’s treble is not as sparkly or as organic. The bass is not as memorable or as fulfilling. The vocals lack the clarity and vibrancy of the 99C. Soundstage, width and depth. Imaging. Transparency. Dynamics. On some of these points, the Momentum is only a tad behind the game. On others, like the treble and vocals, Meze exists in a higher realm entirely. The 99 Classics is better in every way.

    99COpus03.jpg

    Did I mention I am a fan of the Momentum? It may sound like I have an axe to grind. I don’t. I’ve enjoyed these cans for over a year. They have a sound I find exceedingly pleasant. Many people in the Help & Introduction forum have suffered my ceaseless recommendation of the Momentum 2.0 Over-Ear.

    I’ve simply found a better headphone. If you need portability, closed-back, easy to drive, and high levels of comfort, direct those creepy peepers right here. At $309 you can have a circumaural experience that matches IEMs that cost $1500 or more. When I put on these cans at work, no longer do I feel as though I’m slumming it. They hold their own in a big bad way. No matter what my ears are in the mood for, I have the equipment to immerse myself in transcendent audio.

    I can’t tell you how delirious it makes me the 99C are also so easy on the eyes. I love the retro styling of the Sennheiser Momentum, and the Meze have their own throwback elegance. The modern aesthetic of Oppo failed to get my juices flowing. Meze, on the other hand, does me in all the right ways. I’m a slut for wood.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

    99CMetalWork01.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. antz123
      PP - Awesome review, and fun reading it. I still have to work on cable as directed by you, but I shall get there :)
       
      Keep writing
      antz123, Feb 13, 2017
    3. senzen
      Great review, I too have greatly enjoyed my 99s. 
      senzen, Feb 13, 2017
    4. ModMax
      Nice review.  Very enjoyable read.  Quick question:  How is the isolation compared to the M2 in your opinion?
      ModMax, Apr 18, 2017
  2. reddog
    a superb sounding, sexy looking portable headphone
    Written by reddog
    Published Mar 31, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - a fun sounding headphone, portable, easy to drive, sexy looking.
    Cons - the cups could be a tad larger, wish the headphones folded for more better portability.
    About Me
    I am a 52 year old audophile,  from Bradenton Florida.  I have been in this hobby, for about two years.   The sound from headphone blew me away, and I dived down the proverbial rabbit hole and have not come back up.   I use headphones to cope with pain from a back injury.  Furthermore  headphones allow me to hear the sound, without out side distractions. I suffer from a cognitive hearing disorder and headphones have allowed me to over come this problem and to enjoy music for the first time, in a very long time.   I am a temporarily  unemployed vcr repairman and improv pirate actor
    Equipment Used
    Source​
    MacBook Pro​
    Tidal​
    OPPO  BPD-103​
    ONKYO CD Player​
    Queststyle QP1R​
    Dacs​
    Schiit Audio Yggdrasil​
    Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit​
    Music​
    Frank Zappa​
    Apostrophe: track 8: Uncle Remus​
    Guitar: track 3: Republican​
    One Sise Fits All: track 7: San Ber'dino​
    Led Zeppeplin : Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp​
    Isao Tomita​
    The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War​
    Dave Brubeck​
    Time Out​
    Disk 1: track 3: Take Five​
    Charles Mingus​
    Mingus Ah Um​
    Track 3: Boogie Stop Shuffle​
    Track 4: Self-Portrait: in Three Colors​
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​
    Molto Allegro​
    Green Jelly​
    Cereal Killer Soundtrack​
    Track 2: Three Little Pigs​
    Kate Bush​
    The Sensual World.​
    The Headphone: The Build 
    I participated in the Meze 99 Classics Tour and here is the review.  When I signed for these headphones, I was really impressed with the box they came in.  The box is very sturdy,  and has a has a clever magnet  that keeps the box closed.  Within the box, one will find the headphones in  a  nice clam carrying case, and inside the case,  a small leather bag, that has the 1/4th adapter and  a cell phone lightning adapter. Also in the box are two headphone cables.  One cable is long and nice to use on desktop amps. The second cable, is  shorter and is meant to be used with a cell phone.  I thought the cables are well made, although they can be a bit microphonic, at times.   If I buy myself these headphones, I will see about getting  a custom balanced cable from Norne Audio.  
    These headphones look very nice and are well made.  The   walnut headphone cups are very nice, although they might be a tad small for some people.  The headband is covered in leather  and I found it was very comfortable, no over clamping, like a medieval torture device.  The twin manganese spring steal headband supports are tough and add to the natural beauty of these sexy headphones.  While out and about the town,  I found these cans to be quite light and comfortable to wear.  Furthermore my the foam on the ears cups breathe quite well and my ears rarely got overly warm.   These amazing portable closed cans do not leak out sound to much and isolate me from outside disturbances like the phone, the nagging  cat,  alarm clocks, or pesky storm warning alarms lol.
    SPECS 
    Tranducer Size: 40mm​
    Frequency responce: 15Hz- 25Khz​
    Sensitivity: 103db at 1KHz, 1mW​
    Impedance: 32Ohm​
    Rated input power: 30mW​
    Maximum input power: 50mW​
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
    Plug 3.5 mm Gold plated​
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
    Ear-cups: Walnut wood​
    SOUND
    The Meze 99 Classics is a great sounding portable headphone.  I found the sound to be fun, with nice emphasis on the bass, slight recessed mids,  great vocals and alright  non fatiguing treble.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fun sound signature.  Normally I want my headphones to sound balanced, and natural sounding.  But  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the bass. The bass on these cans satisfies the bass monkey, that sleeps on my back.  The bass emphasis  really made the guitars in  Frank Zappa's San Ber'dino fun to listen too.   Likewise the bass in Led Zeppelin" Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, sounded  so deep and satisfying.  Finally the bass made Frank Zappa's Republicans sound ominous, almost scary.
    Because of the emphasized bass, the mids seemed just a tad reccesed  but  the vocals have a texture to them and  are out of this world good.  The   vocals by Zappa, Kate Bush and Green Jelley sounded very pallable and real  through the Meze.   The mids on the Meze are still smooth sounding with a slight edginess, that really made jazz sound sweet.  Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus sound just right, coming through these amazing cans. The treble is non fatiguing and sounded alright to my ears.
    The soundstage is wide, but not to deep.  Still pretty good for a closed back can. Most of the music I listened too, the soundstage was quite nice, with a nice three-dimensional quality.  Tomita's The Planest sounded quite nice out of these sexy wooden headphones.  The soundstage was able to handle the different sounds and place them adequately around my ears.   Only when I was listening to Mozart did I think the soundstage was a bit congested sounding.
    These headphones are quite easy to drive.  I used a great many amps with them, but it was overkill.  Even on low gain, I did not have to crank up the volume at all, to get these cans to sing.  I hooked them up to the Liquid Crimson and the Ragnarok and the cans sounded great, but I could barely turn up the volume. I was afraid these big powerful amps might damage  these exquiste headphones   The best device I used to make these cans sing was the QP1R, on medium gain.  The QP1R made these headphones sound great,  a very good synergy between these two.  
    Conclusion
    I think the Meze 99 classics headphone is a great headphone.  it has a fun, slightly v shaped sound signature, with nice emphasis on the bass  The cans are quite well made and 
    sound great.  These headphones are quite portable and were a pleasure to take out and about.  These cans were the only ones I have worn, where two pretty ladies
    , thought I looked good wearing these sexy cans.  I even had a dishwasher come out and ask about the headphones.  I highly recomend these headphones to anyone who wants to just enjoy listening to music.  I love my other cans but these cans fun music signature are perfect for walking around, doing stuff. When at home I use my other cans, for critical listening.
    here are  some pictures of these amazingly fun and sexy headphones. IMG_20160327_112748.jpg
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090744.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090726.jpg
     
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
     
     
     ​
      Bert, gevorg, FortisFlyer75 and 11 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. pbui44
      My winking smiley did not show up for some reason, so take the above recommendation as a joke and tread lightly with the album in total enjoyment.
      pbui44, Apr 14, 2016
    3. mikemercer
      Great job! love em too!!!!
      mikemercer, Jun 7, 2016
    4. reddog
      Thank you everyone for the kind words.
      reddog, Jun 7, 2016
  3. BloodyPenguin
    The Meze 99 Classics is Simply, Fantastic
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Nov 9, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Amazingly Fun Sound Signature, Wonderful Build, Big Soundstage, Very Comfortable, Dual Detachable Cables
    Cons - Braided Cable is Prone to Being Microphonic, Ear pads Can Get a Tad Warm Over Time
    --
    I’m rarely surprised by headphones.  If anything, most of the time I am slightly let down, I think a headphone is going to sound great, but it then disappoints.
     
    With the Meze 99 Classics, it was the complete opposite; I thought they were just going to be another pretty face, a headphone focusing more on looks than sound, but I was SO wrong, so VERY wrong.  The Meze 99 is now one of my favorite headphones.  I‘m blown away by so many aspects of the 99, let me share those with you. 
     
     
    **All Photo Were Taken By Me, No Stock Images Were Used From the Manufacture**
     
    P1050421.jpg
     
     
     
    *Specs*
     
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 6.3mm gold plated
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones
     
    P1050409.jpg
     
     
     
    *Accessories*

    As this is one of the first models out there, there are a few things missing from the full production run, like the 6.3mm to 3.5mm and airplane adapter.  But no worries about those as I have a million of them around the house. 

    The hard case itself is just awesome, as it is solid and understatedly handsome.  Inside the case you will find the 99 Classics sitting snug and safe along with another small, softer case for the cables.  It is a fully function and well laid out design. 
     
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    *Build*
     
    Over the top, beautiful; that is how I describe the Meze 99 Classics.  It is truly an elegant and tough built headphone.  This is a headphone that exquisite blends wood and metal.  You can tell Meze used very high end materials for this build, that include:  “CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather”.
     
    What caught my attention are the two braided cables.  One shorter with a microphone and one much longer without a mic (forgive me; I do not have exact lengths of each cable at this time).  Both cables are quite beautiful and have a very premium feel.  My only issue with the cables is that both seem to display a decent amount of Microphonics because of the cover material.  Being a detachable cable, maybe there will be an optional version that could be DIY or purchased through Meze at a later date. 

    Now, while I am more of a Function over form kind of guy, I feel like as long as it sounds good, it can also look this good.  I just hate when companies care about looks and catch phrases over actual sound substance.  With the Meze, there is no need to worry in any of those departments though.
     
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    *Fit*

    These are clearly an over ear headphone.  Comfort and distance around the ears is very good.  The only issue some might have is the pads getting a little warm with extended use, though I do love how soft the PU leather is, it is like a pillow around the ear. 

    The headband is very similar to the AKG K 240, with the headphone automatically adjusting to your head with some cleverly placed elastic materials.  I wish more headphones were like this as it allows for a perfect and quick fit.
     
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    *Sound*
     
    Bass – Does play a prominent role in the Meze 99 Classics sound signature.  There is a lot of warmth and fullness down low.  While I would say for the most part the bass stays controlled, it can wander a tad out of hand here and there.  Sub-bass kick is wonderful, a lot of force with its bite.

    Mids – I have a soft spot for the 99’s mids.  They are just north of neutral, while also being dynamic and detailed.  I think this is why I like these headphones so much, the middle is a great place to be.  A lot of speed, action and clarity resonate from here; this is where the magic happens.
     
    Highs – While the Meze 99 Classics don’t extend too high, I never feel a loss of detail.  A slightly early roll off leads to a smoothness and sophistication not often heard with many other headphones I have heard recently. 
     
    ­Isolation – Due to the easy fit and soft leather pads, the Meze 99 Classics can form quite a nice seal.  That seal in return leads to a really nice isolating headphone.  I just had my friend try these out a few minute ago while I was writing this, he was really impress how well these headphones block off noise.  He thought they were even noise canceling, until I quickly corrected him.
     
    Soundstage – Here I found the biggest surprise the 99 Classics had to offer, a huge, well-tuned soundstage.  It is so wide, yet instrument separation stays so crisp and organized.  I honestly can figure out how Meze got this broad feeling from a closed, well isolating headphone, it is remarkable.
     
    P1050433.jpg
     
     
     
    *Overall Thoughts*

    As I you will have concluded from my review, I really like the Meze 99 Classics.  I think they are extremely fun and energetic, making them an obvious guilty pleasure for me.  They are analytical in their approach, yet still stay away from the label of monitoring.  They look incredible and have the personality to back it up.
     
    While these are almost perfect, I do have a few suggestions to expand the overall enjoyment of the 99 Classics.  As I already mentioned my thoughts on the braided cable, I think there is one more replacement part I would like to see available and that is set of velour pads.  I think those would help reduce a bit of the bass and also help a tad with longevity of wearing the Headphones.  If I find a pair of velour pads that work for the 99 Classics, I will update my review.
     
    I’ve reviewed over 30+ headphones this year alone and the Meze is a bright spot among them.  A surprise I honestly did not see coming. The 99 Classics is truly a great overall headphone for those looking for a warm, entertaining and detailed musical experience.
     
    P1050410.jpg
     
     
    --
      Bert, Wilashort, Currawong and 11 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. apaar123
      is the soundstage good enough for gaming?
      apaar123, Oct 17, 2016
    3. MrOTL
      Nice pics!!! Gorgeous!
      MrOTL, Nov 1, 2016
    4. superuser1
      Great review.. so much so that im going to pick one up myself very soon. thank you
      superuser1, Jan 3, 2017
  4. Currawong
    Antonio Meze's 2 years of effort have resulted in a good-performing pair of headphones that look stylish and sound good.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Feb 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Light-weight and comfortable with an easy fit. Sound quality covers most genres well. A good case and portable cables are included.
    Cons - The cups don't fold, so they are bulky and not so portable. A bit of congestion in the sound. Cable noise.
    [​IMG]
    2017 Update: I've added pictures at the bottom with the new pads. This improves the comfort and sound, though they retain their sound signature for the most part.
     
    A few years ago a company from Romania caught my attention with some wood headphones that had attracted a few members. They quickly spotted that they were a rebrand of some Chinese wood headphones and nothing much came from it. However in the intervening few years after that initial bad start, Antonio Meze has been hard at work on making a pair of well-designed, good sounding, and most of all, unique headphones. The result of his toil are the Meze 99 Classics. Suffice to say the new design is certainly eye-opening with dark wood cups, black steel arcs, black leather and touches of gold-colored metal that he has been careful not to overdo. 
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4445.jpg
     
    Antonio Meze sought to attend to a number of issues he felt most needed addressing in headphones. Starting with fit, he has avoided anything like a regular adjustment mechanism, instead the entire headphone structure uses a large spring steel arc system connecting cups and headphones. The headpad is elasticised, making the headphones entirely self-adjusting in the manner of the Stax SR007s. This, at least with my kids and my average-sized head made it as easy as putting them on to get the right fit. I dropped by a large-headed friend of mine to see how they'd fit on him to complete the picture, and had the same results: An easy fit. Even if someone with an odd head shape has issues, the arcs can be strategically bent to make adjustments as required. 
     
    The down-side to the design is that the cups don't fold flat, so along with the large arcs, once cased in the simple, but suitably solid included case, they aren't as portable as might be ideal and they are really going to stick out if used on public transport.
     
    The cables for the headphones are dual-entry using very thin 3.5mm TS plugs. The standard cable, which is very long, terminates in a 3.5mm plug which can be adapted to 6.5mm with the included adaptor. A 3.5mm 3.5mm TRRS cable with an inline mic and play/pause buttons for smart phones is also included. Uniquely the headphones themselves don't have left and right cups, but are entirely symmetrical, so it doesn't matter which cup which plug is inserted. To determine left and right, the plugs themselves are marked, the left plug also having a protruding ring, making it easy to feel which side is left simply by touching the plug. This cable, due to the un-damped wooden cups can transmit some noise when rubbed, though I didn't find it a serious problem. Some people with noisy clothes might find it a bit of an issue, however. 
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4434.jpg
     

     
    Overall, the simplicity of the design has resulted in great ergonomics and a light and comfortable pair of headphones that are also very attractive.
     


     
    Listening impressions
     
    Impressions were taken using a Chord Mojo for the most part at a moderate listening level. Note that impressions are relative to Sennheiser HD800s and other high-end headphones I usually listen with.

     
    The overall sound signature is along the lines of a common "consumer" signature, with treble present but not too strong, the mid-range well-present and bass significantly stronger than neutral, with presence down as far as the deep bass. This lends itself to being about right for modern music while still having enough mid-range and top-end to be satisfying to classical and jazz.
     
    There is a good amount of detail with the main downside being a bit of congestion overall at moderate listening levels. At first the bass was a bit overwhelming and the treble a bit harsh, but with burn-in (recommended, I might add, by the manufacturer) the treble smoothed out and the bass tightened up. Overall the presentation makes the 99 Classics good for most genres of music, with enough kick in the bass for most tastes, including the deep bass, and a pleasant mid-range and not-too-sharp treble that is a bit muted for my preference (noting my regular headphones are somewhat brighter).
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4414.jpg
     
    This is somewhat in the manner of what I remember from Ultrasone's Signature series and Edition 9s, where I wished for a more delicate treble and more space around instruments. This isn't so much a criticism given that they are much cheaper than those headphones! Someone who finds, say, Sennheiser Momentums to be a bit too bright in the treble might like the Meze instead, however.  I don't think that, for someone whom this is their first pair of expensive headphones, this will at all be an issue and, quite the contrary, they will find them very enjoyable. I can only imagine people with extreme tastes, eg: Very large amounts of bass or treble, to have any issue with their presentation of most genres. 
     
    For someone such as me who already has high-end headphones, I found them enjoyable to listen to out of my Chord Mojo, or any of the DAPs I have on hand, such as the FiiO X5II or Calyx M. They were good enough to show some of the difference in quality of what I drove them with. Most significantly was how light and comfortable they were to listen with and did a good job of giving a bit of a bass kick to music that my more expensive headphones don't. 
     
    Compared to other headphones I have on-hand, Sony's MDR-7Zs are more sophisticated, with deeper earpads and angled drivers and it showed, but I didn't feel I was getting a great deal more resolution. The Massdrop K7XX are different beasts altogether, with a more upper-mid focussed presentation that brings out vocals, but trades a thumping sound for spaciousness instead. 
     
    Selected tracks
     
    Mirrorball by Elbow
     
    The bass of the kick drum is very present yet spacious, if not impactful. Guy Garvey's vocals are just forward enough and come across slightly dark and a little muffled, though the bass interferes with them, as does the rest of the instruments when the music becomes complicated. The slight sibilance on the vocals comes through in a way that is a little annoying. 
     
    Don't Explain by Billy Holiday -- dZihan & Kamien remix from Fakes
     
    This tracks has a low bass line and the 99's brought the rumble across well and managed to get a good amount of detail and separate out of the different parts of this track, the bass keeping up well, albeit with a smaller soundstage than I'm used to, more "in your head" than around.
     
    Moths by Fiona Bevan (Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound binaural from the Accidental Powercut series)
     
    It was possible to get a good idea of how wonderful Fiona's voice is from the 99's, along with a good feeling of the recording space, though the slightly lowered treble takes away slightly from this. The binaural stereo image comes through well with a good amount of separation between each of the instruments, Fiona and the audience. The dynamics of the guitar playing are also readily apparent.
     
    Traitor - Menahan Street Band (Bonobo - Late Night Tales (Unmixed)
     
    The 99's well-formed bass and fairly balanced tuning come through again in this track, with everything from the bass notes to string plucks coming through well on this moderately busy track. This is where I feel the 99's are most spot-on.
     
    Too Rich for My Blood by Patricia Barber (Café Blue)
     
    One of my reference tracks. While not as airy or quite as detailed as does justice for Patricia's singing or the instruments, the 99's give a good sense of the music and feeling of her singing. A bit too much emphasis ends up on the lower notes of the cello. 
     


     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4436.jpg
     
    Overall the "consumer" tuning makes the 99s good all-rounders, best in my opinion with modern acoustic "fusion", such as the above Menahan Street Band track where the overall feeling and kick of the bass are important, and less so the micro-fine details. It can be a bit grating on more distorted recordings (Elbow) and is a little bit dark for preference for acoustic. All the same, the overall delivery was very good for a pair of $300 headphones. 

     
    I think that a person newer to the hobby, buying their first pair of "audiophile" headphones will, unless they have very particular musical tastes (or very large ears) very much enjoy these headphones, compounded by their fantastically easy fit. Someone like me used to more expensive headphones may notice their flaws to some degree, but if you're looking for a comfortable, but not too expensive pair of over-ears to use for relaxing listening, or an attractive audio gift for someone, these might be the go.
     
    2017 update: Here are pictures of them with the new, bigger pads. This makes the sound a bit more open-sounding.
     
    Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02376.jpg   Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02363.jpg   Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02375.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Currawong
      Updated with pictures of the new pads.
      Currawong, Jan 15, 2017
    3. Condocondor
      Where did you get the pads?  What is the model number?
      Condocondor, Jan 25, 2017
    4. Currawong
      They sent me the pads, as they are now, as far as I know, the default option. Meze have a contact on Head-Fi that you can ask. 
      Currawong, Jan 25, 2017
  5. dany111777
    A very personal review of the Meze 99 Classics
    Written by dany111777
    Published Mar 28, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Design, overall sound quality, soundstage, value for money, easy to drive
    Cons - Nothing of importance, see details
    The review you are about to read is very personal and contains details some might find boring or unimportant. You have been warned.
     
    My personal search for a great headphone began with a love for music. As my tastes changed over the ears, getting very into jazz and classical, so did the need for a headphone to better express the genres. Though, I remember with great emotion a period from 10-15 years ago, owning a pair of Senns CX95 and a Sony Walkman NW3, strolling through the city, enjoying notes on a fun level. At some point I began to feel the need for a on/over ear headphone, as the earpiece began to feel somewhat uncomfortable.
     
    As my budget started growing I bought and then sold a big number of headphones: Koss Porta Pro, Senns PX100, Grado Sr60, Grado Sr225, Senn HD600, Audio Technica AD900 ... and ultimately The HD800. I just loved the soundstage on the HD800 ... yet the headphone sounded a bit tiring. I switched from a SS Burson to the Wooaudio WA2, then bought too many lamps for it...
     
    In the meantime I also spent a fortune on a Meridian G08 CD player and a large number of CDs. One day I found myself inside the house with a huge headphone over my had, not being able to enjoy the music elsewhere, having to manually change the CDs and, on top of that, with a sound quality impressive yet fatiguing.
     
    Having previously heard a large number of headphones, I decided to sell the combo and buy a pair of fun speakers with an amp, ending up owning the Focal Aria 906... A mature decision.
     
    After a while I began craving for music on the go... the previous experience felt like a rock on my heart, so I wanted nothing of importance. One day, as I was on vacation I saw the PX 100 II, for sale in a store in Paris, 40 euros. Paid the price, got the phones, got another inexpensive piece of equipment, the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ and suddenly I could enjoy music again, of very decent quality and more important, with great soundstage. All that for  a little over 100 euros.
     
    Two years later, a friend managed to convince me of the bass on the PXs is a bit enhanced. An idea then started to grow in my head. Months later I managed to listen to the new Sennheiser Orpheus along with the LCD4 and other great stuff. I found superb music quality in headphones I would never buy, not solely because of the price (!), but lack of portability.
     
    Being so interested in soundstage, I would never thought of trying closed headphones. Yet, a few weeks ago I ended up listening to the Sennheiser Momentum M2, and I couldn't believe my ears. I wanted to buy the pair on the spot, but somehow managed to retain myself, pending further investigation. 
     
    So I dwelled into the dark depths of the head-fi forums and other internet pages, seeking for the perfect no-amp headphone at a decent price, because I would never want to spend 1000+ dollars on audio equipment, not when I have the PX 100 II for 40 euros.
     
    So did the Meze 99 appear in the picture. I couldn't believe all the good reviews, so I decided to buy a pair. Of course, I was a little afraid that the good marketing of the company would influence those reviews, not to mention the bad experience I previously had with other people's ears (the LCD2? really?). On top of that, the company is romanian, so a state of patriotism began to grow...
     
    Having received the phones yesterday, I can only tell you the following: sell the other **** and get a pair. If you happen to own the Stax SR009 and the BHSE, sell it, get a pair, and travel the world for a month or two with the money, and I guarantee you will enjoy your music and you will forget about equipment, bass, treble, soundstage, amps, etc... It's gonna be just you and Mozart (or Ozzie?).
    Do the headphone sound as good as the Focal Utopia or the Audeze LCD4? No, they don't. But if you happen to love music, I urge you to forget about all the technical stuff and to find a phone you will be happy for the rest of your life. Instead of discovering new planar magnetic drivers, discover new recordings of Mahler's 5th, or new albums by Miles (or new death metal?).
     
    The sound of the Mezes? You have the innerfidelity review on that, it's accurate. The bit about the loose bass too :). I honestly hope everyone will rediscover the love for music with these headphones, as I did. Because, man, it was really a painful journey!
    1. Murmel
      Great and passionate review. I can't wait to tinker with the ear pads of the Mezes (my ears are simply too big) and create the ultimate headphone for travelling. Don't get me wrong, these cans have accompanied me on quite some journeys already, but after around four hours of excessive listening, my ears start to hurt. Then I put them down for some minutes and after a short while, I am good to go for another round. A great pair of headphones and I approve your words.
      Murmel, Mar 28, 2017
    2. Dobrescu George
      Interesting review!

      The secret is in the drivers actually, the distortion figures are crazy low and this is why they play music very well. I tested this using my mastering tools actually. The soundstage is also much better than I expected. With some EQ, the soundstage extends way more than it usually does for closed back headphones! 
       
      Also, don't worry. I am neutral in my reviews! I try to describe things in detail, not sweeten things out! Taste is subjective, I want to help people get what would make them happy! The fact that 99C after EQ fits right in with my taste is one of the best things to happen to me, but I tried to describe them as neutral as I could! Still rocking them every day and I also own ie800, this should say enough. 
      Dobrescu George, Mar 29, 2017
    3. Dobrescu George
      By the way, you didn't deliver! You promised a boring review! This was an interesting review! =_=

      Keep up the fun! 
      Dobrescu George, Mar 29, 2017
  6. Dobrescu George
    Warm + Friendly sound, elegant design and a premium package for a small price!
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Mar 13, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Instrument texture, Instrument Separation, Soundstage, Vivid presentation, Great potential for EQ, Price is very good
    Cons - Pads are a bit small
    IMG_20170309_165605.jpg


    Introduction

    Meze Classics 99. The title says it all – great potential and elegant style.

    Head-fi banners showing a classy headphone started popping up a while ago and you can’t stop but wonder, how does that sound like?

    Meze is a Romanian headphone producer that even though new, made a statement with their headphones and their great customer support. They’re one of the companies that not only offer great support to their customers but actually listen to them, as seen with C99 which was modified after reviewer and market support came in to Meze. Even though very few companies to answer to customer requests, those who do always do a good job as the customer knows best what they wish for.

    I didn’t really know about Meze before and I’m actually sad about it. For one thing, I am Romanian, and it is a shame for me to not know that there is a Romanian headphone producer and for the other thing, the headphones themselves sound really interesting.




    About me

    My name is George and I enjoy music. I listen music while working, listen to music for enjoyment and listen to music while I'm gaming. Music surrounds me and it is part of my life, there are very few moments in the day when there’s no music around me. I also listen to music while working on our games at here https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/ and here https://twitter.com/7heartstudios . My love for music has had impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best space to sound quality ratio.

    I have a pretty good hearing and the higher treble means quite a lot to me (8-18kHz area), and I generally hear even minor changes in equipment but it takes bigger changes to amaze me. I’m also hard to impress since I already own Sennheiser ie800.



    First Impression

    IMG_20170223_000049_HHT.jpg

    IMG_20170309_171545.jpg

    IMG_20170309_165729.jpg



    First impression with Meze as a whole company is a very good one. They respond very well to customer requests, are very supportive and are ready to walk that extra mile for you.

    Meze 99 Classics come with a carry box that slightly reminds one of a biker helmet, but with a unique elegance to it. The zippers were really smooth (appreciable on high end products) and the case did not degrade one bit even after some usage, being thrown in backpack with other supplies.

    The headphones themselves sound similar to Oppo PM series or Sennheiser HD5XX series, depending on the music and source that’s being used. Given the price range and looks, the sound was fair upon first listening and they were not necessarily a WOW headphone but rather a good headphone. In the 300$ price range the fight is quite fierce, but then again, no other 300$ headphone received a rather better than good or fair upon first audition.

    Another thing that’s related to the first audition is the comfort. While 99C looked a bit small after opening them, with a bit of adjusting, the ears fit well inside the cups and the headphone makes the headphones themselves really comfortable. 99C upon first listen was comfortable and sits well on the head. The weight is low and they don’t cause fatigue.



    Packaging

    Ver11.png

    ver3333.jpg


    Ver2222.jpg

    IMG_20170309_172017_HHT.jpg



    99C comes in a cardboard box, in which is the carry case. Inside the carry case are the headphones themselves, two cables, a pouch for carrying the cables and an airplane (I think?) adapter. The inside of the carry case is made of a fine material that leaves no scratches on the headphones and the carry case is hard, preventing damage to the headphones, even if they are thrown in a backpack with other objects. The cables must be disconnected for the headphones to be carried inside the carry case, but the connectors are easy to use and the whole experience was nice. HD380Pro for example, has really awkward connectors that are a pain to connect, even after owning them for more than 3 years.

    The addition of two cables to 99C is very welcome as they are different lengths and one of the cables includes a remote (and I think microphone). The short cable is ideal for outdoors usage while the longer cable makes a fine computer companion, especially if working as a digital artist and having to move around quite a bit. The cables are braided and look resistant, any damage that’s to be done, will be done to the thing they are plugged in , before the cables will get damaged.

    Given the size and shape of the headphones, the only accessory that might be lacking from the box is a second pair of ear pads, as seen with Ultrasone headphones, but 99C pads might hold up better in time, so it seems like a fair trade.

    The inside of the cardboard box is made of a hard sponge, this adds to the unpacking experience.

    I really appreciate that Meze included a little warning about listening levels in their little book – instructions paper. It is always good to know that prolonged exposure to loud noises can be dangerous. The paper also includes a frequency response graph which shows that 99C is fairly flat in its response.



    Technical Specifications

    Impedance
    32 ohm
    Connector
    3.5 mm
    Rated Input Power
    30 mW
    Frequency Response
    15 Hz – 25kHz
    Sensitivity
    103dB (1kHz, 1mW)
    Ear coupling
    Circum-Aural
    Cable length
    1.2m, 3m
    Transducer type
    Dynamic transducer, closed back
    Power (load rating)
    50mW
    Weight without cable
    260g
    Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
    <0.03% (1kHz, 1Vrms)
    Contact pressure
    3.4 N approx.




    Build Quality/Aesthetics

    IMG_20170309_170902.jpg

    IMG_20170223_000948.jpg

    99C is one of the classiest / most elegant headphones out there. The headband design, while slightly reminding of Autio Tehnica series, feels good and it is sturdy. The headband is made out of leather or pleather, but it is soft and doesn’t seem to take any damage from being worn.

    The cups of 99C swivel a bit and this makes the headphones more adjustable. This comes in handy as they need a bit of swiveling around for getting the best fit possible, but I also have big ears.

    The cups are made out of wood, and have a smooth design. Since this is a rare feature, Meze must be commended for walking that extra mile for delivering a better experience to their customers by including a real wood.

    The cables are braided and come in different lengths, making 99C a good headphone for both indoors usage and outdoors. The jacks with which the cables are connected to the cups are 3.5mm and they feature a tight and secure lock. In the time I had 99C, the cable did not fall once and it didn’t get any scratches either (from plugging and unplugging the cables)

    The headband mechanism is actually nice to wear and while I feared that the metal parts will get scratched, they are good and well, even after a considerable amount of usage. There are no scratches on any art of the headphone after extended usage, so the build quality is good. The earpads did not degrade either in the time I spent with 99C.

    Aesthetically speaking, 99C would easily fit with a bow and tie costume, but they will fit in with a sport shirt and a pair of jeans as well.



    Comfort / Isolation

    When asked about the comfort of 99C, the best way to describe them would be comfortable. The cups are a bit small in size for people with larger ears, but will fit most people well. The cups have good depth and provide comfort for many hours of listening.

    Being word outside, 99C does not get very hot and can be worn even when jogging or taking a longer walk outside though the weather will play a role in this.

    The isolation of 99C is extremely good, to the point where I was able to listen to music very loud and my wife couldn’t hear my music at all, and the headphones isolate very well from the outside noise. It is almost impossible to hear a conversation while wearing the headphones, even louder noises are muted, making 99C a great choice for those in need of a well isolating headphone.

    IMG_20170309_170005.jpg




    After 8 hours of continuous usage, 99C still feels nice to wear and the headband didn’t get uncomfortable at all. This is even more interesting as I did doubt the system itself before trying them on, but 99C surprises in a good way, making them a very interesting choice even for long nights of work.


    Compared to Dj1P and HD380Pro, 99C isolates much better and it is the most comfortable to wear out of the bunch, both because the cable is long enough, the headphones are not heavy and the cups have enough width / height / depth.

    This came as a surprise, especially as they are not advertised as this, but 99C are one of the best isolating headphones I tested to date, regardless of price segment or other constraints.



    SOUND QUALITY

    99C offers two different types of sound: One is their natural sound and the other is their Equalized sound. They also respond very well to different sources making source synergy an interesting pursuit, but they will play really good with any source thrown at them.

    Because my Equalization algorithm for 99C is very aggressive, I will split every part of the audio spectrum in Natural and Equalized descriptions. All components of the sound change with aggressive Equalization due to the phase change, but certain aspects of the sound will stay the same, regardless of the EQ applied.

    99C is a natural sounding headphone, with sweet sounding mids, smooth treble and good extension both ways. They amazed me again in their sound as the presentation is rather wide, and instrument separation is very good, thing which is amazing since they were not advertised as such. The instruments are vivid in general and the texture quality is insane for their price point and very good for any price point. The sound without any EQ can be described as enthusiastic and detailed, well textured, smooth and airy. There is a hump on 250-500 Hz. I tracked this specific sound to the wood in the cups as wood has its own acoustic properties and tends to enhance the 250 – 500Hz area.



    Channel imbalance
    I detected no channel imbalance on 99C even though I am sensitive to channel imbalance. Especially when it comes to loud music, even a slight channel imbalance is very easy to detect.



    Bass

    Classics 99 have a solid bass that can hit even down to the lowest octaves, but is also very fast and can respond well to tracks, playing textures with very good agility. On the stock setting, the bass is slightly enhanced, or rather the 250 – 500 Hz area is enhanced due to the wood in the cups. Wood is known for its acoustic properties and for offering this kind of resonance. After hearing 99 Neo which have their cups made of plastic and them not presenting the same bump in this area, but having the same drivers, it is easy to point the small bump in bass to the wood construction.

    This bump in bass gives the headphones an euphoric and sweet presentation, the drums in rock songs sound crisp and the snare drum has a very good presence. Regardless of the Equalization applied, the bass is generally well rounded and it is a delight to listen to. Although the bass is enhanced sometimes, it does not take over the mids and the presentation is well balanced.


    When put against a much more expensive model, namely ie800, C99 is able to hold its ground and shows a similar presentation in bass quality and detail but a smaller amount of sub-bass. This change is actually for the better as the amount is feels just right.

    With the song Gorillaz – El Manana, the bass area is well rounded, clean and albeit the headphones are very solid in general, the bass of this song has a good reverberation and has the fluid feeling of this song. The bass also has good stage for this song, being heard through all the stereo space.

    With Infected Mushroom – Becoming Insane, the bass has good hit and impact, it also covers the right amount of space it should. The texture is there and doesn’t lag behind (as seen on some models, where the bass doesn’t keep up with the song). The upper bass also has enough speed to do its part for the mid parts of this song, making all effects sound their best.

    The Glitch Mob – Our demons: The bass doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the frequencies, but is strong enough to give the song the impact it needs, the drops having the right amount of strength and presence. The texture of the bass is vivid and it doesn’t lag behind the mids, giving the whole song an overall coherent sound.



    Midrange

    This is where the Equalization begins to play a role in the sound. The default midrange is pretty forward, detailed, well textured and all instruments are rendered well. This would be a similar signature when compared with most 300$ headphones, so there is no problem with going for this signature. The soundstage with no EQ is pretty intimate, and 99C are great headphones for metal music since the forward mids will make all voices sound strong and guitars have a sweet / euphoric tint to them. It is pretty important to know what you pair 99C with. Paired with FiiO X5-3, the music sounds happy and even death metal has a friendly tone to guitars. Combined with the rather silky top end in the default presentation, 99C + X5-3 sounds friendly and every single piece thrown at them is returned enjoyable and most mistakes in songs are slightly masked leading to a sound that is well detailed, forward but never dull.

    After Equalizing the sound with custom phase and Frequency response tests, the midrange improves to the point where it easily competes with that of Sennheiser ie800, a headphone costing more than twice the price of 99C. The phase of the sound is affected as well, but the negative effects by phase changes are mitigated by a wider soundstage albeit with less depth. The tests are made using mastering and analysis tools, but the results are staggering. Since the EQ applied is quite aggressive, it is possible for 99C to have even better transient response and texturing than Sennheiser ie800 with enough EQ, but it makes the sound a bit excited leading to every single error / bit of noise come as twice as strong.

    The higher midrange is slightly recessed in the default signature, making the pianos and violins have a friendlier sound, especially for people who are sensitive to treble. On the other hand, the default signature does not present any loss in detail.

    Rammstein – Ich Will: Regardless whether we’re talking about the Equalized or the default signature, I was surprised to notice that the little noise at the first “Ich Will” parts was there. It sounded like it was part of the song on the default signature, while the equalized signature made it clear that it was a noise, and even made it an offending noise. Another really nice effect is that the “Ich Will” that was coming from the monitors worn during the record are easily heard in the mix.

    Obscurcis Romancia – Sanctuare Damne: The piano is always heard and every note, regardless of the length is easy to be heard. The voices bear the strength they should and there is a good texture to all guitars and the voices. It is easy to discern all guitars and they don’t smear on each other. The effects / keys are kept in their designated place and don’t come neither too forward nor are lost. The guitars have a really nice transient response and the textures are really crisp resulting in a very well rounded general sound. Cold guitar picks bear the necessary resonance to them in both mids and bass, and the fastest parts of the song have precise attack and don’t lag behind. It is also possible to notice the fingers moving on the frets at times, effect which I greatly appreciate.

    Iron Maiden – Dance of the dead: The guitar picks are really crisp and they don’t come too forward but are not erased either. The voice has great presence, but it has a more natural response after EQ albeit it is very good without any EQ. Unique guitar notes are easy to discern and there is no smearing between distinct notes. The guitar solo is tasty and is presented vivid, with enough bite and the background guitars are not erased but rather create the right type of rhythm and company to the song.

    Female voices present just the right amount of sweetness and crispness Jill Tracy’s voice sounds fluid and melodic, the prophecies made in her music are received through the entire body and the music works well.

    Teddy Loyd w Daoko – Me Me Me : Her voice sounds clear, has the right amount of sweetness and depth. Without EQ, the song is euphoric and has a special type of melody to it. It is a fun experience and the whole song sounds sweet and warm. The song is easy to listen to and will cause no listening fatigue. Even though the song is slightly prone to sibilance, 99C presents no sibilance in either stock form or after applying aggressive EQ.



    EQ
    By now it is time that I explain what EQ I have been applying to them. The treble is changed entirely by EQ and the stock treble and EQ’ed treble have less in common compared to the midrange and bass, which are less affected by the EQ.

    The EQ applied is:

    Untddditled.png



    31 Hz - 5dB

    62 Hz - 3dB

    125 Hz - 0 dB

    250 Hz - -3 dB

    500 Hz - 3 dB

    1 kHz - 3 dB

    2 kHz - 3 dB

    4 kHz - 3 dB

    8 kHz - 0 dB

    16 kHz - 21 dB

    As for more details, the 250 Hz area is where it is a bit strong by default, and if increasing the 16 kHz area, it is a must to decrease the 8kHz area otherwise the treble can come in a bit hot. There is a specific spike that happens in the treble if the 8 kHz area is not decreased when applying such a strong enhancement on the 16 kHz area.

    The magic part of Equalizing 99C : Most headphones do not respond very well to aggressive EQ. For example, EQ-ing Ultrasone Dj One Pro with a similarly aggressive EQ results in distortions all across the soundscope and will be unbearable. With 99C, the amount of EQ that can be applied before distortion occurs is incredible. To put it in better words, I didn’t get any distortion regardless of how much EQ I applied – be it a 21 dB enhancement or a over 30 dB of treble enhancement. This is quite exciting as most headphones will distort from as little as 10 dB of EQ.

    From this perspective, the drivers found in 99C are a golden grail of headphone drivers and act like a pot of clay which you can model to your liking. If you like sound vivid and sparkly, you can achieve it, if you like your sound bassy and impactful, you can do that and if you like your sound sweet and euphoric – then it is your lucky day as this is their default sound.

    I generally don’t get as excited about this since I haven’t been able to apply this much EQ and adaptation to any headphone in the past.

    The EQ profile applied above will allow for a much stronger (and questionably harsher) treble, a larger sounstage and a slightly more sibilant sound. The disadvantages are vastly overwhelmed by the advantages in this case, at least for those ears. 99C is able to sound more or less like Sennheiser ie800, a pair of IEMs costing more than 2X their price. The signature of ie800 was the guide to obtaining this EQ as well.

    While the stock sound will be loved by a large part of the buyers and 99C does not appeal to exactly the same market as ie800, it is baffling to know that you can obtain the sound of ie800 out of them. The same applies for most signatures as 99C does not distort under heavy EQ.



    Treble

    The treble of 99C in stock form is silky smooth, slightly rolled off and it is extremely forgiving. This means that many songs that would otherwise sound harsh will now sound smooth and happy. With Jazz and Classical, the music keeps its euphoric tonality that is present in 99C in general, leading to a very fun and pleasurable experience.

    With metal, the treble can be too smooth and silky at times, resulting in an experience that is more fun and friendlier than it should. Many people prefer this type of signature, where the treble is silky smooth, but I frankly prefer a harsh / sparkly treble.

    On the happy side, 99C responds extremely well to EQ and after applying the trick above, the treble extends up to 20kHz and has the right amount of sparkle and fizzle to it, without being sibilant or too harsh. Taste being relative, the EQ I apply might be too aggressive or not aggressive enough for you. The only way to get the best results for you is to play with it until you’re happy with the results.

    Royal Repulic – 21st Century Gentleman:

    No EQ: The treble is clear and vivid, all instruments are audible, but they are not very loud and the cymbal crashes are very smooth. The sibilance is absolutely zero and there is no trace of listening fatigue. I could get used to this relaxing sound – the bass is smooth, the mids are forward and melodic and the treble is laid back and relaxed.

    EQ’ed: The treble is a bit sibilant, it is much louder and it is harsh. The decay of treble is a bit longer than it should. The whole sound is sparkly but there is no trace of distortion or aliasing. The coherency is still very good. Because the treble is increased, the bass to treble ratio changes and this makes the headphones sound less bassy, but there is no loss of impact.

    The offspring – Me and my old lady

    No EQ: The cymbals are audible, but they are quite quiet and there is a trace of very slight roll-off. There is no sibilance to this song (this song can be quite sibilant). The rhythm of the cymbals is not lost either way and it works well for the whole composition. The bass is strong and has a good presence, but it gets a bit strong in the 200-400 Hz region making the attack strong. It works fairly well with this song and it increases both the musicality and the euphoria of this song. (Me and my old lady is a song that’s supposed to have some Euphoria to it.)


    EQ’ed: Each cymbal crash is pretty long and it leaves a trace of tingling. The spark in treble are there and the cymbals sound crash-y as they would sound when a cymbal is hit in the same room as the listener. The song is a bit colder after the EQ is applied, but it sounds very good nevertheless.

    Incubus – Summer Romance:

    No EQ: The singer’s voice is very deep and it is well separated from the bass. The bass is pretty strong and it is enhanced over the whole song, giving it a warm presentation. Due to the treble being slightly recessed, the song is very smooth but it is not dark. There is no rolloff noticeable in this song and the song is airy but silky smooth. The symbols and special percussion instruments are always heard and are not masked but the smooth nature of the headphones and the strong bass makes them sound like a background instrument. The soundstage of the song is quite good and it extends well on all planes, except for the bass which is forward and which sounds a bit stronger. This also gives the song more impact and considerably increases all low notes attack and decay. The textures are not affected and they sound just right on both guitar and voices and trombone. The bass texture is fluid and fairly precise while it stays forward.

    EQ’ed: The singer’s voice is deep and profound, it plays well along the bass notes. The cymbal crashes are harsh and sparkly, the effects are coming from a wide area around the listener and the guitar notes come from where they were recorded. The bass is considerably recessed after the EQ is applied. As the song had some effects applied at certain parts (Like a static noise), this is also enhanced by the EQ while without EQ it is almost not noticed. The sound is arguably harsher and there is less overall bass impact, a very similar mids impact and there is much more treble impact with the EQ applied. Since many people are sensitive to strong treble, the EQ might not work well for everybody. The background guitars are not affected in their texture and details, but are affected in their tonality. There are certain effects that are better exposed this way – some of those effects can be considered noise or distractions from the song so it is a matter of taste whether you prefer hearing every single detail in the song (including the errors) or a relaxed and smooth sound.



    Soundstage

    The soundstage of 99C is very good for headphones of all types and one of the best soundstages in a closed back headphone. It can easily rival the soundstage of the largest soundstage bearing headphones like Ultrasone Signature Dj or Ultrasone Dj One Pro. Compared with most headphones in the ~300$ range, 99C has a larger and deeper soundstage (With EQ applied). With no EQ applied, the soundstage is still large and will expand well in both width and depth, but the bass will be forward and it will not fill the whole stereo space. Since this is a typical characteristic of wood, Meze 99 Neo will feature a different bass and their soundstage is well expanded in all directions.

    Regardless whether there is an EQ applied or not, the soundstage expands very well and will be one of the first things to notice when you first listen to 99C. When coming from ATH – mXX series, 99C will sound considerably less congested, will sound open and airy. In 99C sound, the sound comes from every area in the 3D audio space.

    The soundstage and instrument separation are comparable to ie800 and given that ie800 is my current benchmark for both soundstage and instrument separation (in both terms of quality and precision), 99C does a much better job than expected. It is generally easy to tell the voice apart from the bass notes on which certain syllables are sang and it is easy to tell even four guitars apart in one song, even if the guitars are singing at the same time.

    Inubus – Calgone: The song has parts that are very hard to render for most headphones, like the bass notes that are overly aggressive or the guitars that are already quite distorted. 99C plays all well and doesn’t add any more distortion so each musical note is easy to tell apart. The voice stays clean although with no EQ added it does a pretty strong impact.

    Dope – Addiction: The song has an effect at the start of the song that’s supposed to be played somewhere in the right and to the back of the listener. 99C plays it exactly in that spot and doesn’t bring it forward nor displace the effect. The guitars are easy to tell apart from each other during the solo and there is absolutely no smearing. The scream is sustained very well during the solo and the whole song has a certain enthusiasm / sweetness to it, albeit the screamed part keeps its intended warmth and strength.

    Space electro – xxx: The song has a very good width to it and there is no congestion to the voice nor the instruments / effects. The bass has very good presence across the entire sonic scape. The key effects are played at their intended positions (they move around the listener both in the front and in the back of the listener) and there is no trace of smearing between instruments. With Dj1P, there is smearing on certain parts of the song and this causes many of the details / effects to be lost.

    Infected Mushroom – Wanted to: The soundstage is really good. The female voice has just the right amount of drive to it and it doesn’t sound try but melodic. The male voices are melodic as well and act to their intended role. All effects are very wide and have a good depth to them. The bass attack is very good and the whole song is clear and vivid. The cymbals are pretty smooth regardless of whether the EQ is added or no, leading to a very fun experience either way. The speed of the song in the very fast segments of it is good and the song doesn’t feel lagging, the decay times are very good and the song has the right amount of speed.



    Drive factor

    99C has been tested with FiiO X5ii, X5-3, Xiaomi mi max, Custom ESS DAC solution and a few other devices. The overall impression is that 99C is fairly easy to drive, but responds very well to a better source. It is able to pick small changes in the sound caused by different DACs (both Dj1P and ie800 are less sensitive to different DACs). 99C requires very little power to be driven to their maximum potential but won’t distort even at extremely loud, being really good headphones for metal music or loud listeners.

    The transient response is affected quite a bit by the source, but it is not affected by the volume at which music is played. This means that a higher volume will not result in worse transients and 99C will keep its qualities across a wide range of volumes.

    Listened directly from Xiaomi mi max (smartphone), the sound is pretty fluid and the transient response is nowhere near as good as from the custom ESS solution or FiiO X5-2. With X5-3, the transient reponse gets even better and the textures of each instrument are even better, making X5-3 one of the best DAP s you can pair 99C with. Xiaomi mi max is seriously rolled off in comparison and while X5-3 is a very smooth DAP, there is no trace of roll-off and the music is sweet and euphoric.

    I cannot forget the first time I noticed the crisp textures of 99C as I was using them together with the tour unit of FiiO X5-3. I was listening to a song from The Offspring – vultures. This song has quite an interesting texture to all the instruments, especially to the guitars. A lot of this texture is only heard on ie800 and very expensive headphones / IEMs, so I had a shock when I noticed the fine details while I was walking outside with the headphones on my head. It was just a matter of seconds before I synced my steps to the beat of the music and there was no way for me to pause the song until the last second of it.

    FiiO X5ii is no slouch either, but its bigger brother offers a much better texture and transient response in comparison. I didn’t have enough time to test 99C with other sources like ifi iDSD or Chord products or Sony 1Z, but as soon as I get a bit of free time, I promise to test and continue this description page.



    Comparisons

    Ie800 – This is a hard comparison. When it comes to price, ie800 costs about 2 times as much or more new. In their default shape, 99C has a texture that is comparable to ie800, but ie800 has an upper hand when it comes to the crispness of textures. This upper hand is given especially by the different bass to treble ration which causes the bass to have another decay for ie800. After applying the EQ which intended to simulate an ie800 inside 99C, they are about on par, with 99C having the upper hand in instrument textures, but ie800 having a slight upper hand in transient response. All in all, 99C performs way above its price point and can be compared to TOTL headphones after applying the EQ. If you want to walk the extra mile and EQ 99C, you can have an ie800 in headphone form (I was searching for this for a good year before first hearing 99C!!!!!!!). This being said, my FiiO X5ii and X5-3 are not able to apply the said EQ as good as my computer is. This is partially because X5-3 is very smooth and X5ii only has a play range of 12dB and the EQ presented above requires a larger dB sway to work as it is intended and achieve the phase shift.

    Dj One Pro – In stock form for both, DJ1P has a considerably less forward bass range and midrange, sounding distant at times. Dj1P has a very good soundstage for a closed back headphone, and 99C has more or less the same width, height but better depth. 99C has a smoother top end. Dj1P has a very recessed snare hit that makes most percussion instruments sound weak. After applying EQ on both, 99C has a better overall soundstage, a considerably better drum impact and general sound and a considerably better texture and instrument separation. The amount of EQ that Dj1P can take is less than what 99C can take, resulting in a signature that isn’t even half through close to the ideal point. Dj1P will distort after too much EQ, while 99c stays crisp and clean. 99C wins in almost all aspects when compared with DJ1P and this stays true when it is compared to most other ~300$ - 500$ headphones.

    LCD2 / LCD4 / HD650 – 99c has a similar sound to all of those, but 99C presents a considerably more forward bass and mids. Compared to HD6XX, 99C has a larger soundstage in both width and depth, and comparable textures and instrument separation. HD6XX is an open back headphone so there are sound characteristics that are inherent to the open back design that 99c does not poses. Comfort wise, 99C is actually quite comfortable, and it is comparable with HD6XX even though 99C has a smaller cup size and a different mechanism of adjustment on the head. When compared to LCD series, 99C boasts a similar signature, but LCD series are quite heavy and I couldn’t wear them for more than 20-30 minutes in a row, where 99C is quite light and can safely be worn for hours in a row with no back neck. I do recommend that they are taken at 20-30 minute intervals to let the ears breathe and it is always recommended to take a pause from computer work at 30 minute intervals for best health.



    Value

    99C will not leave you poor and given their rather sane price point of 300$, I would call 99C one of the best value headphones on the market at this moment. There are very few other headphones that boast a similarly good value. The stock performance of 99C is good, but the potential found in them makes the value be rather crazy good when everything is taken into account.



    Conclusion

    A cheap headphone? A comfortable headphone? A Romanian headphone? An incredible headphone?

    Yes.

    IMG_20170223_000051_HHT.jpg


    You might think that I had a bias towards liking them as Meze is a Romanian company, but after hearing every single headphone that I could hear to date, I am quite hard to impress. To be honest I was rather curious what a Romanian headphone producer could make. I did not expect this. I don’t even know what I was expecting to be honest and it doesn’t matter.

    99C is one of the best headphones you can get your hands on provided you either like the default tuning or provided you’re ready to play a bit with them and EQ them. Always remember that there is no single headphone that has a perfect tuning and that every single headphone needs some EQ to achieve the best sound for you. Everyone hears differently so there are chances that you will want a different signature from me from the start, but this is even more the reason to play and experiment. 99C is one of the headphones with the highest tolerances to EQ I had ever played with and besides headphones that are really hard to drive and which inherently allow for a large EQ headroom, 99C is the most EQ’able headphone I had. Ie800 cannot accept 4dB of treble to be added as it causes sibilance, and DJ1P will cause distortions after 14dB of treble being added, while 99C safely holds its ground regardless of the EQ added.

    You can enjoy 99c even with a smartphone or a laptop, but they will tell you when you feed them from a good source. A FiiO X5-3, FiiO X5-2, FiiO X7, or similar device is able to drive 99C very well and I probably wouldn’t ask for a different DAP than a FiiO one since they also offer the best Price/Performance ratio of the moment.

    I hadn’t had the chance of testing the Balanced mode of 99C, but I’ll make sure to let you know if I manage to test it.

    In this point in time, I fully recommend 99C as the sweetest deal you can get at this price, and I personally recommend them for a broad range of preferences as you can EQ them to sound as you like, but keeping the advantage of crisp and clear sound, well defined textures and good details. And good soundstage.
      Rinaldin, iano, Wilashort and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dobrescu George
      @superuser1 Similar situation for me. I would need even bigger pads than the big ones, but they are comfy either way. It takes me 10-15 seconds of adjustments, moving them around and snuggling my ears inside the cups, but once the fit is sealed, there are no problems with the comfort. 
      Dobrescu George, Mar 17, 2017
    3. Preachy1
      @Dobrescu George, thanks very much for the great review.  Based on your words, I found a gently used pair on Amazon.  They arrived today along with my shiny new FiiO X5 III.  At first pass, the pairing is as good as a good Cabernet and a perfectly seared NY Strip.
       
      Break-in playlist so far:
       
      Mark Knopfler - Je Suis Desoles
      The Who - Baba O'Reilly
      Neil Young - A Man Needs a Maid
      Dixie Dregs - Free Fall
      Bob Weir w/ Ratdog - Odessa
       
      I'll get to some smooth jazz later.  :)
      Preachy1, Mar 20, 2017
    4. Dobrescu George
      @Preachy1  You're in for a lot of fun with that setup! 

      Hope it serves you well and don't forget to always have fun! You have some of the best equipment on the market right now! 
      Dobrescu George, Mar 24, 2017
  7. Hisoundfi
    "Wood" you like to read another 99 Classics review? The Meze 99 Classics closed back headphone.
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Aug 21, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Premium build, Very cool design, Nice accessories package, Entertaining sound signature
    Cons - Microphonics from headband, Pads won't fit larger ears comfortably, Bass is a bit loose, Not for those looking for a linear tuning
    20160630_194158.jpg
    At the time of the review, the Meze 99 Classics headphones were for sale on their website. Here is a link for information and purchase:
     
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-walnut-silver-wood-headphones
     
    Introduction
    The force is strong in these…
     
    If you’ve been visiting Head-Fi over the last year, you’ve probably seen several Meze 99 Classics reviews on the front page of the website. They have gotten some rave reviews from fellow Head-Fiers.
     
    I had an opportunity to sample the 99 Classics at Axpona in April of 2016. They sounded decent, but to be honest I didn’t have enough time with them to get a fair impression. A few months later I was browsing the InnerFidelity Wall of Fame, and saw that they made Tyll’s list. At that point I knew I needed to see if I could get my hands and ears on a review sample and put them through their paces. I contacted Meze to see if I could borrow a pair.
     
    I did a little homework on Meze. The headphones were designed in Romania and assembled in China. Meze is committed to combining craftsmanship, art and music together into one great headphone. Here is a statement shared from a company representative:
     
    “Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.

    We chose to use only air dried walnut lumber for the spectacular colors that it can display. As a result, we have to wait up to eighteen months for the lumber to dry so that we can shape the wood into the emblematic Meze Headphones look. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient because we know that the end result is worth the wait.

    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 take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.

    The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products 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.

    We are using walnut wood for its sturdiness and for its acoustic qualities. Although harder to find and to work with, we chose walnut for the brighter, more balanced sound that it offers to our headphones. Simply put, it is a blend of technology, art, and nature.

    It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. 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.”
     
    With that being said, let's take a closer look (and listen) to the Meze 99 Classics.

     
    Disclaimer
    I was given an opportunity to review the 99 Classics in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze aside from offering an unbiased review in exchange for an opportunity to sample their product. I would like to take this time to personally thank Razvan and Lorand for this opportunity.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
     
    REVIEW
    NOTE: The 99 Classics comes in three color variations. I received the walnut and silver pair. Please refer the link at the top of the page to see the other colors that are available.
     
    20160707_133518.jpg
    The 99 Classics come in a simple black box with vanilla lettering and accents. The front of the box features the product name and a gloss outlined drawing of the headphones.
     
    20160707_133532.jpg
    The back of the box displays a nice picture of the headphones, along with some key features of the product.
     
    20160707_133525.jpg    20160707_133512.jpg
    The left side of the box has another gloss outlined drawing of a side view of the 99 Classics. The right side of the box displays a frequency response graph, along with specifications and accessories.
     
    Specifications and Accessories
     
    Specifications
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    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
     
    Accessories
    20160821_191129.jpg
    1X Headphone carrying case
    1x Cable carrying case
    1X 4ft Kevlar coated cable with single button microphone and remote
    1X 10ft Kevlar coated cable
    1X ¼ inch adapter
    1X airline adapter

     
    Overall Build
    20160630_194158.jpg
    First things first, Meze guarantees and backs its product. There is a tremendous amount of pride in engineering behind the 99 Classic. A big selling point for me is that they don’t use adhesive or non-replaceable parts. Every component of these headphones are replaceable. If you blow a driver or crack a cup ect., Meze will have a replacement part for you. It’s as simple as removing some screws, removing the component and replacing it. The build of the 99 Classics is pretty nice. Holding them in my hand they feel both lightweight and solid at the same time. One thing I really appreciate is that I see virtually no plastic used in their build (the only exceptions being the driver plates and one part of the headband).
     
    20160821_192215.jpg
    The headband is a very solid design, similar to many AKG designs but with upgraded materials used. Two spring steel bands operate as a frame for the headphones, and are supported by a synthetic leather coated piece of plastic and elastic that allows the headband to stretch and rest comfortable on the user’s head. The design looks well done and able to withstand the test of time and daily abuse. If not, remember that replacement parts are available thanks to the Meze product guarantee.
     
    20160707_131759.jpg
    The 99 Classics’ wooden cups attach to the spring steel headband frame via an oscillating rubber plastic ball and socket design. The walnut cups are on the smaller side and a very nice satin finish. They seem very solid and have a nice aesthetic.  A mono 3.5 mm plug is located on the bottom of each cup, making it possible to run them in balanced mode with the proper aftermarket cable.
     
    20160630_194249_HDR.jpg
    The pads of the 99 Classics are made of a synthetic protein material with foam padding. They aren’t the thickest pads I’ve seen, nor do they have a large circumference. I had no problem with them in regards to this, but I can see this being a dealbreaker for someone with ears that stick out farther than average. Even still, if this is an issue pad rolling is possible thanks to the fact that the 99 Classics pads are removeable/replaceable.
     
     
     
    Cable, Cable Jacks, Strain Reliefs
    Two kevlar coated cables come with the 99 Classics. One is a four foot cable with a single button microphone and remote for portable use. The other is a ten foot cable without any functionality beyond music playback, and is designed for home use. Both cable have Mono 3.5 mm jacks at each channel.  The cables are tangle resistant and have very little spring or memory. I enjoyed using both of them for their intended purpose.
     
    Comfort, Microphonics, Isolation
    20160707_131534.jpg
    I have a fairly average size head and ears for a grown man. With that being said, the comfort of the 99 Classics is very decent, but not their best attribute.
     
    The Spring steel headband frame creates some issues for me. AKG has a similarly designed  headband frame but they use a cheaper material for their headband frame (and I understand why). Although the spring steel frame of the 99 Classics is far more durable and looks a heck of a lot better, it also creates more squeeze on my head, and the formed metal frame creates a considerable amount of microphonics if it comes in contact with anything. If you bump or rub the frame against a chair or wall you’re going to hear it and it’s going to be quite loud. Also, the stretchable elastic inside the synthetic portion of the headband creates some microphonics when adjusting them or turning my head. This isn’t significant, but does impact my listening experience when using them on the move. I also get some microphonics from the headphone cable at and above the Y-split. Any time this part of the cable rubs against my clothes, microphonics can be heard. Putting them through their paces, I came to the conclusion that these headphones aren’t ideal for using them on the go.
     
    Their lightweight design is a big positive. The cups oscillate enough for me to get an even pressure distribution from the pads. Aside from a slightly more than average squeeze, the 99 Classics are comfortable enough to be worn for long listening sessions, with only a minimal amount of readjusting. Due to the fact that these are closed headphones, they will get warm on the ears. Even still, they aren’t bad in this sense. I’ve listened to other headphones that struggle much more than these in terms of heat dissipation.
     
    For a closed headphone, the 99 Classic isn’t a tremendous isolator. They block out some ambient noise, but won’t be recognized as a great headphone for blocking out sound. When music wasn’t playing, I was easily able to hear what’s going on and carry on normal conversations with people around me. When listening to music (even at moderate volumes) ambient noise wasn’t an issue for the most part. For some this will be a big positive.
     
    Sound Review
    I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V10 for smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or iBasso DX80 DAP for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use, I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192 kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS), and also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.
     
    Source Selection
    One of the things I liked most about the 99 Classics is how well they worked with just about any source I used them with. The 99 Classics sounded good through my smartphone, laptop, DAPs, portable amplifiers and desktop rigs. As with most earphones, 32 Ohms is a sweet spot in terms of universal source applicability. It was a very pleasant experience being able to use them on the go with my smartphone and DAPs, and also with my desktop rigs, all with no worries about creating a mismatch.
     
    The tuning of these headphones makes them forgiving with low bitrate files and poor recordings. They also scale up well with higher bitrate files and sources. Using a warmer source will further emphasize the bass lift the 99 Classics have. I enjoyed these the most when listening to them through a neutral sounding DAP. Your mileage may vary.
     
    Sound Signature
    I consider the tuning of the 99 Classics to be a somewhat safe tuning. They will sound really good to many people’s ears at the expense of not creating a big “wow factor.”  They have a balanced sound with slight bass emphasis. There are no radical spikes or dips, and give listeners a musical experience with hints of smoothness and detail. A great big positive about this tuning is they will work excellent with any genre of music your throw at them.
     
    These might be dangerous for me. To my ears it seems like the louder I turn them up the better they sound. I’m warning you, these things sound great with the volume turned past the halfway mark. Be careful, either resist the temptation to crank these things up too loud, or at least not for too long!
     
    Bass
    Bass on the 99 Classics is forward and has enough body to give them a full and robust sound. To my ears, the lower the bass extends the looser it gets. The 99 Classics sub bass is very present and it seems to extend well, but it loses its tone at sub bass levels and becomes slightly monotone and sloppy at the lowest audible frequencies. This doesn’t ruin the 99 Classics sound whatsoever, but prevents me from saying their bass response is elite. I can appreciate the fact that they have enough soundstage depth to say it's better than a lot of headphones out there.
     
    Midbass is well done. It’s responsive and doesn’t intrude on the midrange at all. It colors the sound enough to give it some good dynamics, but not enough to throw things out of whack. I really liked the way the 99 Classic presents midbass and lower midrange sounds. It borders on thick without going overboard, and has a nice sense of texture and clarity.
     
    Midrange
    In my opinion the 99 Classics midrange is the best thing about their sound. It’s very balanced and fun, with a touch of warm tilt and a spacious feel. All vocals sounded very natural, including male vocals.
     
    Guitar chugs and pianos, as well as just about any midrange instruments will sound great. There really isn’t anything I can fault about the 99 Classics’ midrange. The only way I can imagine someone having an issue with them would be more a matter of someone who prefers a very dry and cold sounding headphone. Upper midrange is very smooth to my ears, and maybe the farthest back in the mix aside from the upper treble frequencies.
     
    Treble
    If there was one word to sum up the treble response, the word I would use is polite. You will get all the treble sounds but without any type of harshness. Do I think it could use a little more sparkle and extension? For my ears the answer is yes, it could use just a touch more. Even still, don’t let that lead you to believe that the Classics’ treble is rolled off or missing because it isn’t. Meze has taken a very safe approach to its treble presentation with this headphone. You get all the treble without any harshness. Many are going to like it for this reason.
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    Although not the tightest and responsive bass you will ever hear, the Meze offers a decent sense of soundstage depth. Height is average at best. Throw in some very spacious and nicely layered midrange, and the the Classics have a better than average soundstage. Thanks to the superbly tuned midrange, the Meze imaging is really good.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Soundmagic HP150 ($130 to $200 USD on many sites)
    This is a very interesting comparison because where one headphone isn’t elite, the other one is and vice versa. The HP150 is a personal favorite, offering a level of sound quality that rivals headphones that cost many times more its asking price.
     
    Comparing the two, the HP150 has the sub bass response the 99 Classics can’t achieve. Moving over the midrange, the HP150 midrange is dry and has less dimension compared to the musical and three dimensional presentation of the Classics. As far as treble goes, Soundmagic has more sparkle and extension, but will also flirt with revealing sibilance much more than the Meze headphones. Soundstage goes to the HP150, with imaging going to the Meze. This is a toss up and a matter of preference. I might like the slightly cleaner and more extended HP150 sound just a bit more, but I can see many (especially those who are more treble sensitive than myself) preferring the more musical and smooth sound of the Classics.
     
    Build quality goes to the Classics. The HP150 is mostly plastic, while the Meze is anything but that. Accessories are very similar, but I prefer the way the kevlar cables perform on the Meze 99 Classics.

     
    Audio Technica ATH-M50 ($125 to $150 USD on many sites)
    The ATH-M50 is a gateway drug the hobby of HiFi headphones. They are a reference monitor for many recording professionals. They have a very balanced sound with slight bass emphasis, similar to the Classics.
     
    Comparing the two, the Classics is a more musical sounding headphone. They have more resonance at lower frequencies and have a warmer and more colored presentation at the lower part of the sound spectrum. The ATH-M50 seems more technical, cleaner and airy sounding, but doesn’t have the same quality midrange as the Meze offering.
     
    Meze gets a decisive advantage in both build and accessories. They are all wood and metal while the M50 is mostly plastic parts. They offer detachable cables and a nice case while the M50 offers a synthetic leather pouch and an attached cable (the more expensive M50X comes with a detachable cable.

     
    Conclusion
    The Classics is a sexy looking pair of headphones. While I enjoy their sound, I think some more minor tweaks (like some driver/cup damping material) would help clean up the bass response. Fortunately for most of us Head-Fiers, we are ready, willing and able to do these types of things ourselves. Even if not, the sound presentation is respectable.
     
    The build of the 99 Classics is excellent. They will make a showcase piece when resting on a nice headphone stand or next to your laptop in your listening quarters. Meze knows how to make a great looking, and pretty good sounding pair of cans.
     
    When coming up with a star rating for the Classics I had to do an average of all aspects. I give the Classics three and a half stars for sound and comfort, and four and a half stars for design and build quality. Average that out, and I give the 99 Classics four stars. Just as advertised, they are a fun combination of art and music.
     
    20160630_194354.jpg
    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. antz123
      Felt earnest and honest review. love the disclaimer stating no numbers or graphs :D as i dont understand that bit. and way you explained music was very much for someone like me to understand. Thank you
      antz123, Aug 24, 2016
    3. earfonia
      It looks gorgeous! I would love to try it :)
      Thanks for the awesome review!
      earfonia, Aug 26, 2016
    4. yawg
      I suggest you should also try the BossHifi B8. They also have a great build quality with bigger walnut earcups, in fact this review reminds me of the B8's sound signature. But the B8 are more sensitive with 50 mm Beryllium drivers and have 16 Ohms impedance. They sound gorgeous even straight out of my Nokia N8 with FLACs. Plus their price is only 71 € on Ali Express.
      yawg, Sep 10, 2016
  8. acain
    A touch of Class
    Written by acain
    Published Jul 31, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very comfortable, balanced sound, light weight
    Cons - shallow ear cups, style not for everyone
    It’s been awhile since I have posted a review here on Head-Fi, months ago I was talking with the company Meze about a review.  Just recently they asked me if I was still interested in reviewing there 99 Classics.  From hearing a bunch of positive things about them how could I say no.  Before I get started I would like to say thank you to Razvan from Meze for sending me out a demo unit to review.  I am in no way affiliated with Meze and this review is based on my honest opinion.  The Meze 99 Classics can be purchased directly from the link below for $309.00, the review sample I am reviewing is there Silver/Walnut headphone.
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones

     
    SPECS
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    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
    DSC03229.jpg
     
    DSC03241.jpg
     
    Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Adam I am 39yrs old and have been into high quality audio products since I was in high school. I am by no means an audiophile compared to the majority of members on Head-Fi.  I like to gear my reviews towards the average consumer since most searches on the internet land you on Head-Fi.  And to be honest more average consumers that are buying products are not audiophiles.  I was a little skeptical in what the Meze 99’s would sound like by first glance.  There are so many companies that are turning headphones and earbuds out.  Meze are what I would call a boutique style company, that doesn’t just turn products out. They have a very small lineup of products, but they are fairly new to the headphone scene.  
    DSC03230.jpg
     
     
     
    DSC03240.jpg
     
    Meze 99 Classics come packed in a very nice box that can be used for storage, the top and bottom of the box even have a soft foam inside.  The headphones come packed inside a hard clamshell case that’s a hard EVA with a zipper.  The carrying case is very nice and can be tossed in a backpack for traveling. In the center of the case is a case that holds all the cables and accessories.  The accessory case is a soft pouch with a zipper that sits nicely in the center of the headphones.
     
    Meze 99 Classics are engineered and designed in Romania, then sent to China for manufacturing.  The One thing that really stands out when you first lay eyes on these are the CNC machined walnut wood cups.  The overall look to the Meze 99 Classics is classy, the name says it all.  They feel very sturdy and durable all the hardware is a die-cast zinc alloy.  A self adjusting headband is connected to two metal bands to keep them light weight.  The earcups  pivot on a 2-axis swivel to get just the right angle on your ears.  I have to say these are one of the most comfortable over ear headphones that I have ever used.  The earcups contain a medium density memory foam to conform to your head.  I by no means have big ears, some people might find the earcups to shallow. Meze 99 Classics are more of a headphone that I would only use in the house.  There not the type I would take out to work out in or ride the train.  
     
    I am not going to get crazy and tell you every little detail about the accessories.  They do include two cables that are marked with a R & L. The one cable includes a mic and 3 function button for cell phone users. The headphones are symmetrical, so it doesn’t matter which way you put them on. Also included is a 6.3mm gold plated adaptor and a airplane jack, if anyone actually uses them on flights.  The cables are very nice and sturdy that are made with Kevlar and OFC wire.  The cables plug is slim enough that I had no problem using them with my phone with a case on.  You won’t find any cable slide on these, but they are just the right length that I didn't find it to be a problem. The Y splitter is constructed of some kind of durable rubber with a metal band on top.  Accessories are just a bonus and at certain price points I expect to see certain items included, Meze did a great job including the necessary items that I would expect.
     
    DSC03243.jpg
     
    Now to the part that’s most important the sound, Meze 99 Classics are very efficient and easy to drive.  All my listening was done with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and AK 100ii. Either using hi-res files or straight out of Spotify.  Like I said before I was very skeptical about these, I honestly haven’t heard much about this company until a few months ago.  I like to describe sound so the average consumer can understand if the headphone is worthy of their price tag.  Just being a little over $300 really isn't much for a quality headphone, but back when I first started to get into hi-res music I would think anything over $100 was to much.  So what do I think about them, I was pleasantly shocked after I let them burn in for 50+ hours.  If I had to sum them up in one word it would be very well balanced.  Ok that’s more than one word, by no means I would consider these neutral.  What I mean by balanced is there is just enough of the bass, mids and treble to make them sing in perfect harmony.  
     
    The bass even goes into the sub-bass region, with a very clean mid-bass. You get that airy feeling when the bass hits when your music calls for it, the punch is just right.  The mids are where the Meze 99 Classics stand out.  For some reason they sound extra special with male vocals. There is a smoothness and clarity of higher end headphones. The treble extends just far enough without being ear piercing. Every instrument sounds as it should, with above average separation of instruments.  It’s hard for a closed back headphone to give you a sense of out of head experience.  But the Meze 99 Classics do a great job of not having you feel like you have to speakers strapped to the sides of your head. A good amount of headphones in this price range won’t give you the punchy low end and good extension in the highs, Meze designed these to have both without over doing one or the other.  That’s why to my ears they sound very
    well balanced.  If they took away a little from the low end they would almost have a neutral sound signature.  
     
    DSC03228.jpg

    Meze 99 Classics are now one of my favorite goto headphones for in the house use.  The design might not be for everyone but the sound will sure win you over.  I listen to just about every kind of music besides country.  From 80s, 90,s rock, hip-hop to today's top hits.  Everything I throw at them the Meze 99 Classics did not disappoint.  I asked Razvan what we could expect in the future from Meze, there are plans down the road for a blue tooth and open back headphone.  That’s about all he could tell me, if there closed back headphone sounds this good you can count on me getting a pair of these open back headphones.  In the end I couldn’t be happier with the sound coming out of these. They are a jack of all and master many, the price may seem a little steep for the average listener. Besides the sound the one thing that really stands out is the quality of the materials and build. You won’t be disappointed if you audition these.
      earfonia, nimnz, twister6 and 4 others like this.
  9. Army-Firedawg
    Beautiful in both body and sound
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Mar 23, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing warm non fatiguing sound, respectably affordable, user serviceable
    Cons - metal frame slightly too tight (but may stretch over time)
                                                                                     20160321_211706.jpg
     
     
        When first beginning my time with this unit I honestly never thought that it’d give my go to Bowers & Wilkins P7 a run for their money like they did but whew. These beauties really aren’t just good looking let me tell you that.  Before I begin this adventure I need to give a large thanks to @Mezeteam for approving me into this tour. I’ve been wanting to hear this ever since I first seen their design and the wait was most certainly worth it. So again Meze I thank you for my time with these was truly enjoyed and not just me either; many at the Carolina CanFest 5 found tremendous enjoyment out of these as well! But enough pleasantries, let’s dive into this 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 powerlifting, 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 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 great extension and detail reveal but I don't like artificial treble in order to achieve that. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics & Stax SR009.
     
          20160321_212234.jpg       20160321_212704.jpg       20160321_212403.jpg
     
     
    The Opening Experience
     
    For those who don’t know me, I’m a stickler for the unboxing experience. For to me this represents a company extending their hand out to introduce themselves. Perhaps it’s my Kentucky background who knows, but I believe wholeheartedly in delivering a firm handshake and introducing yourself with confidence and pride.
        It’s extremely rare that a consumer has the opportunity to meet with the people behind the brand you’re purchasing. So in my opinion a product that shows pride and is displayed professionally and with confidence (i.e. not bogged down with useless jargon) that’s a huge plus for me and is representative of receiving a firm handshake. I’ve met some fine people in my life that are very successful but have a very limp handshake, and even knowing their background I’m disappointed and bored everytime we initially meet and it takes them a while for me to get interested in what they have to offer.
        In the case of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics, from the outer box they score respectably to me. The front and sides of the box are exactly what I look for, they let my mind wonder into what these really look like, sound like and feel like. The box is well made and feels nice and the sides are equally teasing with only a frequency graph to lure me in a little more. And then there’s the back. I kinda relate these to romance time with your significant other, they’re in their sexiest outfit and building you up and despite knowing what they look like the build up just makes it much better. Then mid way into the build up they just drop everything suddenly. Again you know that what you were going to see is beautiful but there’s no need to rush things.
        That analogy describes the outer box of the 99 Classics perfectly. Everything builds up to you slowly opening the box and unveiling the treasure underneath but then when you check out the back NOPE DENIED. There it is with a whole buncha words, phrases and quotes about the perfection of these and other hype builders of these. Actually on that note,before I dive deeper I HATE that word. For there is NO such thing as perfect and I find that a little a bit arrogant to insignifi such. But I digress
        As I finally open the box I’m now greeted with a very nice presentation of the molded case that shapes to the headphones and gold colored Meze logo. Upon lifting the quite hard case up I’m enjoying the very nice curves of the case that outline the headphones inside beautifully. While unzipping the case, you begin to see the beautifully crafted art work that lies underneath and once the restrictive article is fully opened the artwork underneath truly is stunning.
        Real walnut wood cups and all aluminum framework makes these one of the most visually striking headphones I’ve ever seen. They possess a real nice weight to them that’s not heavy, but enough to feel sturdy in my hands. Also included is two very high quality cables (1 microphones mobile cable and 1 6’ standard cable), an airplane adaptor and a ¼” adaptor.
        So, was I given a memorable opening experience to the Meze Headphones 99 Classics? You better darn believe it!
     
    20160321_211824.jpg    20160321_212150.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Construction
     
    As I say in most of my reviews, this is an aspect that I feel is often overlooked; even amongst high end headphones. What’s the use of listening to audio nirvana if it only lasts one session? I touched on this in the previous section but the 99 Classics are build beautifully well. Real wood ear cups add an very nice and natural feel without any give. The aluminum (correction: It's actually spring steel) frame is rugged but has enough give as to not snap if accidental pressure is applied. The cords are well braided and very tangle resistant and what's more they’re detachable, so heaven forbid one becomes frayed you can very easily either buy another from their website or even an upgraded aftermarket cable. So I’ve no concern in my mind with regards to the longevity of the Meze 99 Classics. These should easily last you many years and countless hours or musical bliss, treated properly of course.
     
                                                                                                                                20160321_211805.jpg
     
    Comfort
     
        Now onto the thing I look for second most only to audio quality, and that’s how long can I comfortably wear these without having to adjust or worse remove them? Very little is more irritating than finding that great song but being unable to enjoy it because the gear you’re using to too uncomfortable and does nothing but distract from the piece being performed.
        In the case of the 99 Classics I find them to be acceptable but not perfect in this regard. The frame provides a decent amount of clamping force to my head that granted, I believe will stretch to my size over time (correction: due to the nature of spring steel it's highly unlikely the metal will give any contour), but until then it pushes just a little too much that added with the slightly too small ear cups (that also is subjective because my ears are above normal size) reduces my listening time to roughly 2 hours before I have to take a break from using them.
        If you didn’t notice I used the word “little” intentionally more than is necessary to show that it’s not a horrible thing but only a minor adjustment I feel to make these a top contender headphone in every aspect. Because the headband is wonderfully comfortable as is the memory foam ear pads, but just those two things combined was just what was needed to take away from them hitting the bullseye.
     
    EDIT: Meze has since sent me new, larger, ear pads that have made these freaking incredible and was exactly what it needed to send it to a top tier product regardless of ones price. Now, as of this moment I'm unsure if the larger pads now come standard with purchase of the 99 Classics or if you have to purchase those separately. if available standard, the rating of this product will be escalated to a 5. If not the scoring will remain the same but with this note.
     
    EDIT UPDATE: The larger earpads do in fact come standard with the Meze Headphones 99 Classics now.
        
                                                                                                                                  20160321_211924_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Sound
     
        Hey, looky here we finally made it to the important stuff, the sound quality. Arguably the most important aspect of an audio piece is how well does it not just reproduce the audio signal but how does it relay and appeal that to the listener?
        For those who know and share my tastes in audio (check out my about me if you don’t) will, like me, find great enjoyment out of the 99 Classics. The overall sound signature is beautifully warm and hits me in all the right places and REALLY give my BW P7 a run for their money of my favorite consumer priced headphone!
        The sense of depth is incredible especially for these to be closed back! They provide a nice lifelike sound that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price range) and the only thing I can contribute with this is the wooden back. But allow me to diverge this a little better so that you can better understand how I come up with this overview.
     
    Treble
     
        The highs on these are pretty darn nice. They extend out but they do peak a little early. They reflect a lot of detail leaving me feeling satisfied and with plenty of energy. It is by no means at all fatiguing and in fact is quite relaxing. The only real downside I’ve found with the treble on the 99 Classics is that there’s a very notable dip in the mid to upper frequency range. It’s very small and doesn’t last long at all but it is very easily heard. Wanna hear it without having to focus on it? Play the song “Colour of the Moon” by Allan Taylor.
     
    Mids
     
    MIds are my personal favorite aspect of an audio piece for to me they represent the soul a given piece of gear possesses. The mids are where the vocals are and it’s the vocals that hold the artist's emotions and feelings that they’re trying to portray to the audience. I want to hear that, no, I want to feel that. And if a headphone doesn’t reproduce this range well then I’m left feeling empty and very unsatisfied with what I’m hearing.
    When it comes to the 99 Classics I couldn’t have less of a complaint to make. The mid range is truly breathtaking throughout the entire range. The vocals have a realism to them that as I said earlier is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price point). I really feel as if the artist is singing to me personally in a comfortable jazz club setting with very nice acoustics. Regardless if it’s male or female vocals I’m listening to I’m provided a great sense of body with a very welcomed touch of warmth that without continuously rambling on, is something that I will truly miss when I send these off.
     
    Bass
     
        The bass, the heartbeat of the music. This section is one that I’m most afraid of hearing for all too often a product will be almost spot on in every other category but because bass is what’s in right now they will pump up the thump to appeal that. Well, though bass is nice to have, I AM NOT a bass head and little turns me off quicker than an overly bass heavy thump machine that dilutes everything around it.
        This fortunately is not the case with the 99 Classics. These, though a slight bass emphasis, are very pleasant to listen to and have a very sensual presentation to its impact. The bass is well controlled but does possess an exaggerated decay that really meshes well with the overall signature of the headphone. The upper bass blends beautifully into the mid section and could be easily confused with each other.
     
                                                                                                          20160321_212543.jpg
     
     
     
    Conclusion
     
        So to sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 99 Classics. I really loved pretty much everything about these. They hit home to me in almost every aspect, the sound is exactly what I look for and has become one of my all time favorite headphones. The warmth they consistently provide in non fatiguing and always leave me longing for a repeat performance.
        The build quality is absolutely top notch and the no glue construction makes these very user serviceable and much sturdier. If properly taken care of I can easily see these lasting a user many MANY years.  
     
    Also, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review videos. As well as my 2016 Army-Firedawg product of the year video! I really appreciate it and let me know what you think, if the review helped you don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
     
     
      Bert, Raptor34, HungryPanda and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Army-Firedawg
      @stellablues Please do follow up (in PM preferably comments NEVER give me any notifications so it may be a while before I check) for I'd love to hear your take on them.
       
      @Bansaku DUDE!!!!! Appreciate the insight that's very helpful, I'll update where I can with the info. But that's quite unfortunate though, I mean it's not super tight but it bending to the owners size is something I was looking forward too. BUT as I said it's not toooo much but JUST a little. 
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 24, 2016
    3. Beagle
      Nice phones but the dodgy fit, overcooked bass and ringing metal headband take it out of the running for me
      Beagle, Mar 24, 2016
    4. Army-Firedawg
      @Beagle That's unfortunate, I understand about the fit but hey not every headphones is everyone's glass of YooHoo (best strawberry mild ever of a personal side note). What kinda phones have you tried that you've really enjoyed?
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 28, 2016
  10. nmatheis
    Meze 99 Classics: Great all-around woodie!
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Feb 11, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very nice, smooth sound. Fancy-schmany design. Pretty comfy.
    Cons - Small cups. Shallow pads. Microphonic cable.

    November 2016 Update

    ​I wanted to come back to these and let you all know that I bought my very own pair of Walnut and Silver 99 Classics at RMAF. I also had Maze send me the new, deeper pads. I'm so impressed with how Maze has responded to the community here on headfi. I'd suggested a less bling-bling design with silver instead of gold in my review, and they quickly responded. I also suggested deeper pads, and they responded to that, too. With that, the only complaint I have is with microphonics and would suggest that Maze look into putting a plasticized sheath above the y-splitter to cut down on the rubbing microphonics I get with the fabric cover. Other than that, Meze's got it nailed with these!
     
    And I want to give a big shout out to Antonio and Mircea from Maze. I met them, and we chatted a bit at RMAF. Seriously cool cats!
     

     

    INTRODUCTION

    Okay guys, this strange introduction. When I saw the Meze 99 Classics pop up in the sponsors forum, I didn't give it that much thought. Blinged-put woodies didn't look like my thing. Then one of my Head-Fi buddies PM'ed me and asked if I was going to review them. I've reviewed a fair amount of IEM and portable source gear but am a bit of a noob with headphones, but I thought I'd at least poke around and find out what these were. Searching the forums for Meze brought up some controversial posts regarding Meze's previous headphones. Go ahead, do a search sometime and see what you find. With that information in mind, I was intrigued and figured these deserved a listen. Would they stir up more controversy? Would they be the headphone that puts Meze firmly on the map? I wanted to find out of myself, so I threw in for the review tour. For those of you too impatient to wait for the end, I'll let you know right now that while not perfect the 99 Classics are a great-sounding headphone that suits my tastes very nicely but comes with a few caveats that I'll deal with in the review.
     
    ABOUT US
    OUR STORY
    As a team directly involved in arts and sports, we, here at Meze Headphones understand that music is not just a pastime but a way of life. Whenever we're creating or performing we're accompanied by our favorite tracks. We designed our headphones to transpose you in our world. The real wood design was specifically created to offer a warm sound, a sound that you can enjoy no matter the situation. Experience your music in a new way. Let us take you on the journey we followed, to the perfect natural sound.
     
    OUR MISSION
    Our mission is fairly simple: to raise the bars in terms of audio quality and design for headphones in general. We want you to feel the music you like, we want to give you the chance to enjoy that special song, just as the original artist intended it to sound. Besides offering a crisp and clear sound, our headphones will leave people wondering what is that special song that you're listening to. Allow yourself to experience music like never before, comfortably and with style.
     
    OUR CUSTOMERS
    Our first concern is to satisfy you, our fans and customers. Our customer support team is always looking to deliver the best solutions and answers to all of your questions. So, do not hesitate to ask us anything. We will get back to you as soon as possible. And do not forget: we're looking forward to your feedback.
     
    PHILOSOPHY
    MOTIVATION
    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.
    VALUES
    Meze Headphones has 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.
     
    PEOPLE
    The team behind Meze Headphones is a team of passionate specialists, with backgrounds in sound engineering, product design, crafting, and music.
     
    TECHNOLOGY 
    Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.
     
    We chose to use only air dried walnut lumber for the spectacular colors that it can display. As a result, we have to wait up to eighteen months for the lumber to dry so that we can shape the wood into the emblematic Meze Headphones look. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient because we know that the end result is worth the wait.
     
    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 take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.
     
    The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products 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.
     
    We are using walnut wood for its sturdiness and for its acustic qualities. Although harder to find and to work with, we chose walnut for the brighter, more balanced sound that it offers to our headphones. Simply put, it is a blend of technology, art, and nature.
     
    It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. 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.
     
     
    LINKS OF INTEREST
    Meze 99 Classics Page: LINK
    Meze 99 Classics Tour Thread: LINK
    Meze 99 Classics Thread: LINK
     
     

    DISCLAIMER

    There is no financial incentive from Meze for writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze, and this is my honest opinion of the 99 Classics. I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for Meze.
     
     

    ABOUT ME

    I'm a 43 year old father who loves music. While I listen mostly to electronic and metal these days, I do listen to a wide variety of music - from electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush).  
     
    I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso.
     
    Being a portable audio enthusiast, I typically listen with IEMs but am enjoying listening with full-size headphones more and more and tend to like u-shaped sound signatures, although I break out v-shaped IEM & HP from time to time for fun.
     
    As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues. I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which can affect hearing in my right ear. I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears. That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear - just wanted to be transparent up front.



     
     

    SPECIFICATIONS



    1. Transducer Type: Dynamic Neodymium / Mylar
    2. Transducer Size: 40mm
    3. Frequency Response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    4. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    5. Impedance: 32Ohm
    6. Rated Input Power: 30mW
    7. Maximum Input Power: 50mW
    8. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    9. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    10. Ear-cups: walnut or maple
    11. Weight: 290g
    12. MSRP: $309
    13. Warranty: 2 years

     
     

    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES



    As usual, I'll go over the packaging and accessories in pictorial format with a wrap at the end. 
     
    UNBOXING
    Meze99Classics-15.jpg
     
    WHAT YOU GET
    1. 99 Classics
    2. 1.2m OFC cable with microphone and Play/Pause button
    3. 3m OFC cable
    4. Airplane adapter
    5. 1/4 inch adapter
    6. Cable pouch
    7. Headphone travel case
    8. Manual
     
     

    BUILD & ERGONOMICS

    Again, I'll attack this section in pictorial format, commenting on what I like and what I think could be improved as I go.
     
    CHOICES...
    Meze99Classics-17.jpg
     
    When I first saw a picture of the 99 Classics on the tour accouncement, I honestly thought they looked a bit too bling-bling. My recommendation was to replace all the gold trim with silver to tone things down a bit. Well, you know what? Meze listened, and they've now added a black/silver/walnut model to the lineup in addition to the original black/gold/walnut and white/silver/maple models.
     
     
     
    MEET the Meze 99 Classics
    Meze99Classics-16.jpg
     
     
    CABLE
    Meze99Classics-18.jpg
     
    When handling the 99 Classics, it was immediately apparent that a lot of thought went into their design. Simple and elegant are words that came to mind. A bit bling-bling, yes, but that can be overcome by choosing the black/silver/walnut model. 
     
    What did I like? I like the very comfortable self-adjusting suspension headband, comfortable ear pads, just right clamping force, pivoting cups, and the fact that the 99 Classics are primarily a metal + wood design held together with screws instead of glue. 
     
    What did I think could be improved? I'm not a fan of the cups, which aren't wide enough and end up feeling a bit cramped and kind of like a hybrid on/over ear design. My biggest recommendation to Meze is to strongly consider using a wider cup to give our ears a bit more breathing room. My second biggest recommendation is to make the pads a bit thicker, so my ears don't touch the drivers. My third recommendation is to lose the fabric sheath above the y-splitter cable to reduce microphonics. My final recommendation is to have the cable exit at a slight angle to the front. The straight-down exit combined with the fabric sheath caused a lot of scratchy microphonics whenever the cable brushed against my shoulders. Change these while keeping the same sound, and I'm all in Meze!
     
    Just a note that these don't fold flat. Didn't bother me, as I'd probably use these in the office but it might bother some of you so just be aware.
     
     
     
    SOUND
    Those of you who know me know that I've been listening to a lot of classic rock, electronic and metal lately. I might throw in some hard bop jazz or modern minimalist composition every now and then, too. Just wanted to make sure you know what kind of music I listen to for context. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't keep to a strict playlist (although I do have some songs I do always end up listening to). Instead, I choose songs I know well and feel like listening to. I feel it's more organic that way. I try to get at least 16/44 FLAC but don't shy away from using AAC or MP3 if that's what I've got on-hand. Anyways, on with the show, eh...
     
    I listened to the 99 Classics out of various sources from my iPhone 5S, various DAPs, and the Apogee Groove. I also did some casual comparisons with my AKG K553 Pro and Philips Fidelio L1.
     
    Here's the FR curve Meze threw up on their website, along with the following quote: "
    Artificially tweaked frequencies: Meze's solution - Tuning a balanced natural sound"
    Meze99ClassicsFR.jpg
     
    So did Meze succeed in creating a balanced, natural sound? Well, I think from the introduction you can tell I thought the answer is a yes. For context, I was just coming off the HiFiMan Edition X headphones (LINK to review) when I received the Meze 99 Classics. In fact, @grizzlybeast and I swapped the 99 Classics and HEX at our usual drop off spot, which quite amused @MezeTeam who thought it sounded very Noir-ish! Anyways, back to our story. Erm, I mean review... HEX were the best headphones I've heard to date, so I was figuring I'd be underwhelmed with the 99 Classics. But when first plugging them into my iPhone 5S for a quick listen, I read liked what I heard. Nice tastefully enhanced bass that felt a bit loose. Neutral mids. Smooth as silk treble. Good (but not great) soundstage. Ahh... Very easy to listen to. Moving on to my DAPs tightened things up a bit. The punchy bass extends deep with just a slight mid-bass hump. Mids again remain neutral and sound very natural. Treble remains clear and detailed but without accentuating sibilance. Soundstage gets a bit bigger but is still constrained by the closed nature of the 99 Classics.
     
    As mentioned above, I primarily listened to the 99 Classics with classic rock, electronic, and metal. I found it well-suited for those genres. Older, leaner classic rock recordings were filled out quite nicely. Bass kept up with my electronic collection pretty well, although the soundstage was a bit limiting. As far as metal, I don't listen to tech-death so can't comment on how technically capable these are for the more demanding sub-genres. However, the 99 Classics do pass my black metal test of allowing me to listen to black metal classics without feeling like my eardrums are being impaled. Score!!!
     
    Compared to my AKG K553 Pro, the 99 Classics sound much more natural with more action in the lower end and less action up top. The way the 99 Classics handles things is much more to my taste and is just another nail in the coffin for my K553 Pro, which are in the For Sale forums right now should you be a neutral head who wishes to take them off my hands.
     
    Compared to my Philips Fidelio L1, the 99 Classics sound much livelier with higher quality bass and increased upper mid and treble presence. I've been feeling that the L1 are too dark and veiled for my tastes for a while, and again this was the nail in the coffin. If you'd like a pair of L1, please visit the For Sale forums and take them off my hands.
     
     

    SUMMARY

    So, does all this mean I'm ready to sell off my lesser-used cans and buy the 99 Classics? Nope, and I'll tell you why. Despite really, really enjoying the sound, comfort, and build quality, I'm not a fan of the narrow cups. I need just a bit more room, and I've got smallish ears for a 5' 9" guy. If the ear cups were bigger and the pads a bit deeper, I can see this easily being my pair of "office cans". As mentioned above, I'd also love to see the fabric removed above the y-splitter, but this is something I could overcome with an aftermarket cable so it's not a biggie. But those cups just didn't get along well with my ears. Does that mean they won't get along with your ears? Nope. They might be perfect for you, so if you're looking for a new pair of smooth, natural sounding woodies, please give the 99 Classics a look!
     
    To wrap, I'd like to give a big thanks to @MezeTeam for choosing me to participate in this tour. After this, I'm really looking forward to the next headphones from Meze!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      I a great review, full of information, made for a fun read. I also like the photos.
      reddog, Feb 11, 2016
    3. Bansaku
      Nice review! :)
      Bansaku, Feb 11, 2016
    4. Laura Jia
      Hello
      I am Laura. sorry to interrupt you. Could you review our BT earphones? 
      here is my email: laura@ivafee.com
      I don't know how to get touch with you.
      I look forward to your reply.
      Best Regards,
      Laura
      Laura Jia, Feb 16, 2016