Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.37903/5,
  1. s_f_g
    Build and sound quality set the 99 Classics apart
    Written by s_f_g
    Published Jan 27, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Immersive natural sound, built to last, portability
    Cons - Ear pads can get a little warm
    Long-winded background

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

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

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

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

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    Sound quality

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

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

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

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

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    Comfort, design

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

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


    Overall thoughts

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

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

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

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

    Look and design:

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

    Sound:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Conclusions:

    Overall a beautiful looking headphone,very comfortable with nice accesories and with a good balanced sound ,good mids,voices and instruments always sound right,natural,highs with good air,never fatiguing,nice sparkle on top.The mid bass is sometimes on some tracks to much but in general unintrusive or lead to a fun presentation,never boring.
    I didn't test them on pop and rap because i never listen to this genres but i think they are doing very well.
  3. SOULSIK
    Meze 99 Classic – comparison with the neo
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Jun 19, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Wooden cups. Sound. Build. Less clamping force
    Cons - Not that different from the neo. debatable if its worth an extra 100.
    Video review:


    sound demo:



    INTRODUCTION


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

    ABOUT MEZE

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

    Their values:

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

    And where there is values lies passion:

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

    and their wood craftsman ship set above normal standards:

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

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

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

    DISCLAIMER

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

    SPECS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    SOUND QUALITY

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

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

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    Overall Thoughts

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

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  4. Ion Manascurtă
    Almost perfect for the price
    Written by Ion Manascurtă
    Published May 25, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very musical, well built, stylish
    Cons - Tends to get uncomfortable if worn for longer periods of time.
    A lot has been said about these headphones so I will try not to focus on how awesome they are, revealing some aspects a potential customer should take into account before spending his or her hard earned money.

    Construction: These babies are built to last. The wood is prone to scratching of course but other than they will not break so easily. And don't forget you can always replace almost every single part in case it breaks. 5 stars.

    Design and fit: Best for casual or classic style. I would not recommend taking these headphones for a hike or in the gym. The band tends to stretch on every abrupt move and you'll get quite a lot of microphonics. Especially from the metal parts. Also the pads will get hot over time so you'll need to literally cool your head once in a while. The clamping force is very well managed and you can even wear glasses with the headphones (which is big plus in my case). Even so, a few minutes of rest every hour or two would be welcome for your ears and jaw muscles. 4 stars for comfort.

    Sound:
    • Bass: coming from an open back DT-880 Vintage (where the bass is like a whisper), I was literally blown away by M99C. The bass is punchy, well defined and controlled. It feels too much at times, especially in quiet environments but that is normal for a closed back. 4.5 stars.
    • Mids: The main reason why I bought these and I was right. A very natural reproduction of piano and guitar sound. Vocals are a bit forward, "in front of the orchestra", you can hear every whisper, every drop of saliva in the mouth of the vocalist. That is truly something. 5 stars.
    • Highs: I'm a spoiled child here. I own a pair of Sony XBA-H3 and their armature drivers create a tremble that is hard to beat. Meze's dinamic driver is simply not in the same league. Highs are played accurately and only on very complicated compositions a slight loss of detail can be observed. Still, they are not sparkling like on XBA. If you are into jazz or trap, Meze may not be for you. 4 stars.
    • Soundstage: It is OK. No praise, no complains here. The average soundstage of a closed back. The separation is good, though and that is enough. 4.5 stars
    • Overall: a mature sound signature, very natural and pleasant, with an engulfing bass and forward mids. I don't think these headphones have a "warm " sound. That is an epitet reserved for Senns. That makes M99C your best bet for live music, rock and classical music. In fact, Meze are quite omnivore and I am almost sure that every genre could be enjoyed with these cans. 4.5 stars
    Requirements to source:
    They work well straight from my iPod touch but will scale significantly with a good DAC (I use them with a Pegasus II HP). 5 stars
  5. ExpatinJapan
    Meze 99 Classics - A winner at a great price
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Sep 20, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Comfortable, well designed, balanced sound
    Cons - none

    Meze 99 Classic Headphone Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie 
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    Meze 99 Classic with Centrance hifi-skyn​
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     Meze 99 Classic review​
    (Silver walnut version)​
    -expatinjapan​
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    The MEZE 99 Classics have been getting a lot of air time on the internet and various review sites and forums. Even the most hardened of reviewers have agreed that the Meze 99 Classic is a headphone for the ages, one to add to the revolving roster of headphones that they would use and listen to on a regular basis.
     
     
    Unboxing and build​

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    The Meze come in an appropriate sized box and comes with a solid traveling case.
     
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    The Meze 99 Classic comes with a short cable with a built in microphone and also a long cable. 
    One for on the move with your choice of portable dap (four foot long) and a longer cable (Ten foot long) for relaxing at home.
    Also included is an 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter for your home system and an adapter for when traveling by airplane.
     
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    The nice hard cover case protects the Meze 99 Classic whilst on the move.
    Its hard to see in this photo but there is also a soft round case for the cables.
     
     
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    The Meze 99 Classics fit me so well I did not even notice that the headband can be adjusted.
    It does so by itself automatically. super design.
     
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    Stats
     
    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
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    Exquisite build and solid well thought out design makes the Meze 99 Classic a headphone for the ages.
    Each cable is marked with R and L, you can plug into either jack which makes set up easy and stress free.
     
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    Fully serviceable! The 99 Classic.​
     
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    Nice reinforced Y cable split.​
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    Fit
     
    I find the fit to be very comfortable, they cover over my ears: circum-aural. This would not be the case for people with larger ears or ears that stick out I guess. But for me they slip right in there like a bug in a rug.
     
    I think as usual with most headphones fit and comfortable is dependent on individual head and ear size.
     
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    Meze 99 Classic with Centrance Hifi-m8​
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    Value
    At around US$300 the Meze 99 Classic comes in at the sub mid fi price tier.
    But don`t let the price of the Meze 99 Classic fool you, they could easily up the price and still be within an acceptable asking price.
     
    Well designed, simply beautiful.
    Decent well sourced materials
    Solid and functional build.
    Replaceable parts.
    Excellent sound.
     
    Whats not to like?
     
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    Meze 99 Classic with the Opus#1 dap​
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    Sound​
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    First impressions were positive. The Meze 99 Classic comes across silky smooth and resolving with fabulous instrument placing and separation.​
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    As usually I got a considerable number of hours on the 99 Classics before I started the review.​
    I tried them with the Opus#1 dap, Shozy Alien Gold, Centrance Hifi skyn and the Hifi-M8.​
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    Vocals: Neither too forward nor recessed the vocals on the Meze 99 Classic hit the sweet spot for me.​
    Bass: A slight slow decay is present, but overall is fast enough to please with most music.​
    Mids: As with most woodies the mids play an important part in the overall presentation, not overly warm as such, more on the liquid side of things rather than a deep lushness. fairly neutral and dynamic with a quick decay.​
    Treble: It is clear and offers the detail one expects, it veers away from being extended to the point of harshness or sibilance and is pleasing to the ears. It reaches far enough for a good balance with the bass and the mids, each not over stepping their individual bounds.​
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    Instrument separation: Good separation, not crisp as such with a slight smudging at times. Overall very good.​
    Sound stage: A decent soundstage that feels larger than my head, good instrument placement.​
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    So many reviews have already been written on the Meze 99 Classic that the interested consumer now has many to read through to help them in choosing whether the 99 Classic is for them. They all seem to agree that it is a decent product.
     
    If you are after a great sounding, well priced headphone with beautiful design then the Meze 99 Classic could be for you.
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    Overall​

    The Meze 99 Classic is a headphone I have enjoyed reviewing, comfortable to wear and pleasurable to listen to. It makes my task as a audio review hobbyist that much better when I am really happy to spend time with the product.
     
    I find the fit to be very comfortable, they cover over my ears: circum-aural. This would not be the case for people with larger ears or ears that stick out I guess. But for me they slip right in there like a bug in a rug.
     
    The sound is very relaxing, silky smooth with a softness to it and that ever present gorgeousness that I love so much when it comes to lush wooden headphones.
     
    The pads seem to be made of pleather, I would like to see Meze change them to leather.
     
    The Meze 99 Classic come in a maple or walnut wood, Head pie reviewed the walnut version.
     
    The sound is quite balanced overall. The vocals just above the music and not too far forward, the bass is fast but with a slow decay at times, mids are prominent and fast but not over bearing nor muddy, the treble is clear without harshness or sibilance.
     
    It is an easy to drive headphone and is powered adequately out of a smart phone. My ipod touch 6G was at 55% volume.
     
    Using a dedicated Dap will yield the best results. I prefer a brighter source with the Walnut version.
     
    The sound is a universal one. One I expect would appeal to most listeners as it treads the middle ground, no real emphasis on vocals, bass, mids nor treble but providing a suitable and enjoyable mix between them all whilst retaining that certain woodie signature.
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    Thank you again to Meze for sending Head pie the Meze 99 Classic headphones for review​
    -expatinjapan​

    1. tacit
      I do not understand all the excitement about Meze, I tried them several times. They definitely look nice but their sound not even close to comparable in price Beyerdynamics or Senheisers. Actually if you look even in this review conclusions you see clearly that Meze are far from perfect or excellent but reviewers use these kind of words and IMHO they are just misleading. Please make yourself a favor - listen them carefully before buying.
      tacit, Sep 20, 2016
  6. Mightygrey
    More than just lookers, exciting and musical cans.
    Written by Mightygrey
    Published Aug 20, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build, detachable cables, comfort, bass, balance, value.
    Cons - Cable noise, not entirely 'portable'.
    Ok, so I was kinda curious to see what the fuss was about with these Romanian wonders after reading a bunch of glowing reviews, but when my GF saw them onscreen she said "WOW...PRE-TTY!"...and so I simply had to pull the trigger on them, and add them to my growing little family of cans. And after a quick run through two of my favourite albums ('Siamese Dream', Smashing Pumkins; Weezer self-titled a.k.a 'Blue album'), I think we're going to be fighting over them. These things are frikkin' awesome.

     

    Ok, so they're lookers. In a particularly 'flashy' kinda way. Not really my thing, and I certainly wouldn't wear them in public (especially in the silver/maple colour), but the craftsmanship is A1. My GF thinks they're beautiful AF. The woodgrain on the maple is awesomely smooth, and the leather on the earpads feels like it's made out of a unicorn's ballsack. Big tick on materials and construction.

     

    The packaging (nice magnetic box; hardshell case; zip-up bag for the 2 x cables) is bloody premium, and all-in-all it feels a lot more expensive than its $309 price-tag implies. And I haven't even gotten to the SQ yet. Detachable cables! A short one with play/pause button for portable use, and a longer one for home/hifi use (plus included 6.3mm adapter + airline adapter). They're nice threaded fabric-y ones with a cool Y-splitter.

     

    The 99's aren't foldable, and kinda big (but LIGHT) so they're not the most portable pair out there, but my GF will be using these mainly in the office so no worries there.

     

    So next, putting them onto your melon. I mentioned they're light, but they're LIGHT. Impossibly comfortable, and the leather strap has a neat elastic stretchy thingy that fits itself to your head-size no worries (I have a big noggin). I'd heard complaints that the earcups were on the small-size, but to their credit Meze have upped the size of the cups, and this pair is genuinely over-ear. Snug, and after 1.5 hours not a hot-spot nor sore piece of cartilage. Those awesome cables I mentioned earlier are a bit microphonic. Brushing them does transfer noise immediately into the wooden earcups, but only if you violently thrash about. Those cool (aluminium?) metal bands over the top make a distinct ringing noise when bumped...so I guess don't go hitting things while using them, not too much of a problem.

     

    Ok onto the important part. In short, WOW. These things aren't just fashion cans, they are EXCITING. I'll need to give them more time and play with more genres, but my first impression is that they are surprisingly balanced. My immediate comparison is against the Beyer DT770 (80ohm) as I own those too, and I must say the level of bass is almost as big as theirs. But they're detailed, and not V-shaped at all. There's mids. Glorious mids, with fat electric guitar and all that kind of rock-y goodness. Vocals are detailed too, but not in your face. They have soundstage. Kinda in the same way as the DT770s - there's good L/R detail, and good imaging/separation for a closed pair of cans. Not sibilant or piercing at all in the treble, which is intimate and detailed. I could listen to them for hours (which I plan to), there's not the slightest hint of fatigue.

    20160820_160525.jpg

     
    In short, big surprise. Perhaps the most impressive closed cans I've heard this side of $500, and for a 'portable' they're the best I've heard. I have to say they're incredible value, and Meze have done a knock-out job. I was considering buying the Audeze SINE over these, but having given them a listen in-store I'm glad I chose these. Yes, they're probably more portable, but I found them underwhelming and couldn't get a good seal on-ear. Plus, my GF doesn't really care that they have "Planar Magnetic technology"...
    1. Sonic Defender
      Nice review. It is a big bonus when your significant other actually likes the hobby as well. I agree with her, these are very nice looking headphones that apparently sound as good as they look. May have to get me a set one day.
      Sonic Defender, Aug 20, 2016
    2. Mightygrey
      Thank you! It's been great sharing my favourite records and getting to enjoy/share what makes them great all over again.
      Mightygrey, Aug 20, 2016
    3. husafreak
      Sweet. Spot on review. I just ordered a pair for my wife a couple of days ago after listening (and looking) at them at a recent head-fi meet in San Francisco. Very impressive. My wife likes to listen to headphones while watching tv and she has a very old pair of Sennheiser HD280's for that. I was listening to them the other day and they are kind of creaky and beat now. Well, she has definitely noticed my headphone and general audio related purchases in the past couple years (in a good way) so this is a great way to say thank you and keep her understanding my hobby. They will definitely be a big improvement sound wise over the 280's. I might just have an occaisional listen myself!
      husafreak, Aug 20, 2016
  7. yage
    A headphone for the closet basshead audiophile
    Written by yage
    Published Jun 22, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Midrange and treble performance found on much more expensive headphones
    Cons - Sometimes overeager bass response
    Meze Headphones is a newcomer to the headphone scene, though you wouldn't know it if you gave their full-size 99 Classics Gold headphone a look and a listen. If there was ever a situation in head-fi-dom that gives cause to the maxim "don't judge a book by its cover," the 99 Classics might well be it. I know I was guilty of running afoul. I thought that Meze was competing more on looks than performance. Time to eat some crow.
    Description
    The 99 Classics have quite the distinctive appearance. The review sample came dressed in walnut and gold trim. Personal preference left me feeling that it might look slightly out of place in the office. Meze offers two other combinations - walnut / silver and maple / gold. Out of the three, I think the walnut / silver is definitely the most elegant.
    The walnut ear cups are satin finished and smooth to the touch. Their size was on the smallish side, which reminded me a lot of the Sennheiser Momentum. And like the Senns, I had to move the ear cups back so that the backside of the my earlobe just slid into the opening. The ear pads didn't sit against the nape of my neck like most full-size cans do, but I felt that I got a good seal anyway. (This was also borne out in the listening - you'll understand later.) The ear pads themselves are fairly thin and firm.
    Clamping force provided by the steel headband is comfortably snug. I didn't feel like my head was clamped in a vise, nor was I worried that the headphones would fly off my head if I had to suddenly look up from typing on the keyboard. Height adjustments are automatic, there's an elastic band hidden in the leather wrapped head pad that lengthens or shortens as you move the headphones down or up. They're also quite light - definitely comfortable enough for long listening sessions.
    A great feature is the fact that the earcups are symmetrical - left and right only exist when you plug in the cables. The left connector has a slight ridge to let you know by feel which side you're grasping. The only quibble I have here is that the cable is fairly microphonic. It's probably not much of a concern when moving about, but can be a little distracting in a quiet environment.
    Another set of cables with mic and volume controls are included, as well as a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, an airplane adapter, a microfiber pouch to hold the loose items, and a stylish rigid carrying case to keep everything together.
    Overall, I was very pleased at the level of fit and finish that the 99 Classics displayed. Meze clearly did their homework here.
    Listening
    Now, build quality is one thing, sound quality is another. Here, the 99 Classics deliver... mostly. The tonal balance and articulation of the midrange and treble is simply exquisite. On "I'm Old Fashioned", Coltrane's opening exposition had a nearly perfect blend of warmth, inner detail, and air. Fuller's trombone and Kelly's trumpet also possessed a warm glow that would match the performance from much more expensive headphones. Cymbal strikes didn't devolve into tizz and fizz. Drew's piano solo sounded expressive, warm, and eminently human. The Meze was clearly punching above its weight class in these frequency registers. Bass, however, came across a little too juiced. It didn't quite strike the right balance as the mids and highs did, electing to telegraph weight and tone at the expense of relaying the finer points of Chambers' technique. Swapping in "Al vaiven de mi carreta" from Afrocubism, the bass sounded nicely filled in and better balanced with the rest of the mix. Vocals were spot on and images well delineated, but I noted a lack of depth to the presentation.
    Pumped up bass can sometimes prove to be an Achilles' heel on classical music. I cued up 'Jupiter' from Charles Dutoit's interpretation of The Planets, and encountered a decidedly pleasant surprise. In this case, the bass response of the 99 Classics imbued the presentation with a concert hall-like feel. In other words, it made the headphone sound bigger than it actually was. The presentation was very immediate - you definitely have a front row seat with the 99 Classics. Spatial resolution was good, but again it was in the traditional sense where images appear in a straight line from left to right through the head. The 99 Classics proved their worth in the deft way it handled the dynamics of the orchestra while finessing the sonics with detail and air. Impressive. Moving on to Chesky's release of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, I detected a slight unevenness during Wild's opening run on the keys, possibly due to the tipped-up bass. Strings possessed good body and pizzicatos had a clear pluck with a halo of tone following soon thereafter. However, the 99 Classics struggled to fully reproduce the acoustic of the performance hall.
    The slight unevenness in the lower registers held the Meze back from consistently turning in stellar performances on modern pop and rock. On "Ship to Wreck", the bass line and kick drum were a little too phat, but still tuneful. And I registered no complaints on the portrayal of Welch's vocals - smooth and with a hint of warmth. When I listened to "Intervention" from Arcade Fire's second album, Neon Bible, lower notes from bowed bass had a slight emphasis while the kick drum was a touch overbearing. Contrast this with "Since I've Been Loving You", where John Paul Jones' bass line was more prominent than usual but still believably balanced within the mix. The 99 Classics also turned in a satisfying performance on Adele's "Water Under the Bridge" from her latest album, 25. Vocals were neither sexed up nor toned down, snare hits possessed good snap and air, and cymbal strikes were portrayed with clean timbre. But another track on that same album, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," had the lows sounding a bit overhyped.
    I also noticed that the 99 Classics seemed to shine on the AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 rather than my Sonett 2 / C-5xeMP, so most of the impressions I've laid out are from the former setup rather than the 'he-man' rig. I detected a slight bit of chestiness around Joao Gilberto's introductory vocals in "Girl from Ipanema" with the Sonett 2 in charge, along with a more resonant character to plucked bass and guitar notes. Perhaps the lower output impedance of the DragonFly controlled the drivers better.
    Comparisons
    The NAD VISO HP50 has been somewhat of a benchmark in relatively affordable sealed headphones. It has a slightly warmer sound signature and the midbass displays a propensity for coloring the sound just a hair. Its midrange and treble clarity are a small notch down from the 99 Classics, which seem to capture inner detail a bit better. However the HP50's offer better bass control, whether driven from a tube or solid state amp.
    The Oppo PM-3 is a step up in price and a slight jump in sound quality. Its midrange is creamy smooth, but treble presence is a little softened next to the 99 Classics. The Oppo also takes a step back from articulation in favor of tone, but offers a more even-keeled presentation. The Meze counters with a more dynamic, impactful experience.
    Conclusions
    Meze clearly has a very competitive headphone in the 99 Classics. I feel that if the bass response was dialed in just a bit more without touching the midrange and treble, they'd have an instant classic in their hands. For now, I think the 99 Classics work best for the closet basshead with a low output impedance amp who doesn't want to sacrifice midrange and treble refinement. My bet is that probably describes a lot more audiophiles than they'd like to admit.
     
    Associated Equipment
    Headphones - Audeze LCD-XC, NAD VISO HP50, Oppo PM-3
    Amplification - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, DNA Sonett 2
    Sources - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP
    Cabling - Analysis Plus Pro Oval Studio balanced, Analysis Plus Pro Power Oval
    Power / tweaks - Bryston BIT 15, UpTone Audio USB REGEN
  8. AlexC1202
    Meze 99 Classics : The perfect combination of style and sound!
    Written by AlexC1202
    Published Mar 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Incredibly stylish, Great sound, Awesome sound stage for a closed headphone, Build quality
    Cons - Some small comfort issues, but at this point this is just nitpicking.
    INTRODUCTION
     
    I first heard about Meze last year, but only recently found out they are a small team of Romanians just like me.
    Needless to say, that really sparked my interest, as Romania is not known for anything other than Dracula.
    I started looking into this pair of headphones and i saw that the reviews they got were very good. So when i heard that Meze is organizing a review tour in Europe I got really pumped up.
    I am by no means an audiophile, I would consider myself to be an enthusiast at most. I have a few pairs of headphones that i got to compare these to, and I was very impressed with their sound quality.
    The other headphones i own are : Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7.
    My favorite pair of headphones out of the bunch were the B&W P7, but that quickly changed after I gave a listen to the Meze.
     
    DISCLAIMER
     
    I am by no means affiliated with the Meze brand or any of the team members. These headphones were sent to me as part of the European review tour that Meze has organized.
    This is my first review, and as you will see down bellow, I'm not very good at writing reviews. So it goes without saying that I didn't receive any compensation whatsoever to write this review.
     
    ABOUT ME
     
    As I stated previously, I am by no means a true audiophile, I'm just an audio enthusiast.
    I own some pair of headphones (Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7), and I had a chance to listen to many more since this virus got into me. I reached to the point where I was able to determine what was my preferred sound-signature, and what I'm expecting from a pair of headphones all around. 
    I got eclectic taste in music, so I enjoy listening to anything from Classical music to EDM, depending on my mood. I determined that I like headphones with a little emphasis on the low-end and high-end side. I know a true audiophile looks for a neutral sounding headphones, but that it's just not my style. That's why my favorite pair of headphones so far were the B&W P7. 
     
    FIRST ENCOUNTER
     
    I was sitting at my desk while working, and I remember exactly how it went because I had a very ****ty day at work. It was about 11 AM when the courier called me to let me know I need to pick a parcel.
    I was expecting the headphones to come, but i still couldn't help myself at acting like a child on Christmas Eve.
    Needless to say, I went and picked the package. Proceeded cutting through the carton, and then it hit me : The beautiful box containing the Meze 99 Classics!
    Now saying that the unboxing experience was nice would be an understatement. It was incredible. I'm a sucker for unboxings, but still, the box and the contents are so nicely packed that you cannot help yourself from enjoying it.
    The box contains a hard shell case, that for some reason it's reminiscent of a Lamborghini. Upon opening the case, you are prompted with the most beautiful pair of headphones in existence (I may exaggerate a bit, but they are definitely the most beautiful pair of headphones I have used). Also within a small cloth container you find one small wire for portable use, a longer one, a 1/4 inch adapter and a plane adapter. Basically, you get everything you need in the box.
    It took a full minute of admiring these beauties until I laid my hands on them. I was struck about the sturdiness of this piece of engineering. The wooden cups look and feel amazing, and the headphones although are not heavy, they feel consistent.
    I put them on my head and I was surprised about how well the headband adjusting mechanism works. They fit perfectly, and at first they seemed to be very comfortable. I started to feel some comfort issues a bit later, but i'll get into that a bit later.
     
    SOUND
     
    I guess that by this point you know that i didn't work at all for the rest of the day (Special thanks to my boss who understands what a big child I am).
     
    Step 1. 
    I plugged the headphones into my Iphone, and got a little disorientated when I couldn't find a left/right mark on the cup. It took a few seconds until I realized that the cable is the one who denotes left from right, so you can plug the cable as you please (I find this thing to be way more interesting than it actually is).
     
    Step 2.
    Proceeded going through my playlist.
     
    Step 3.
    Be freaking amazed!
    I was struck abut the beautiful sound these things produce. 
    I started out with some classical music, and I was very impressed. First thing you'll notice is the wide sound-stage for a closed headphone (please don't hit me, but I believe them to have a sound-stage almost as good as the open HD600). They are very good at imaging sounds "all around your head". The violin being my favorite instrument, I was really impressed about the sweet highs that were pouring through my ears while listening to Paganini. Not at all were the highs fatiguing. 
    Now I would love to be a novelist and be able to write a fancy description worthy of these headphones, but I'm more of a numbers person myself.
    There's nothing I can say that would make this headphones justice. So i'll let the other more experienced reviewers to the task, while I explain my experience with the product to the other neanderthals like myself.
    Now going through classical and jazz, I wanted to hear some low-end as well so I opened up my EDM playlist. While I'm not a bass head, I do enjoy a stronger presence there than most people and I was afraid that this will sound too boring for my taste. But just like my wife, these cans were there to tell me that I was wrong!  Now don't get me wrong, they are more to the neutral side, but I'm very happy to report to bass if very present and well extended. It's more present than the MDR-1R or Momentums. The only thing I could actually compare it to, was the B7, which I considered to have just a tad bit more bass as far as the quantity goes.But the difference is only distinguishable if you close your eyes and really concentrate on certain bits of the track.
    Listening to vocal tracks and ballads, the mids were extremely good as well. These are the type of headphones that can make Justin Bieber sound human (yes, I listen to a few tracks from him, I'll show myself out). Compared to the B7, this is a clear winner with regards to the mid section. Where the B7 leaves you with the impression that the vocalist is taking a few steps back, with the Meze you feel the vocalist to be right where he is supposed to. I really don't know how should I describe the sound in a more delightful way, but trust me, the headphones sound exquisite on all counts.
     
    As for the sound leakage, this product seals the sound very well. I really believe they are fit for portable use in public, and it blocks the sound in and out very very well.
     
    I plugged the headphones to my AMP/DAC Oppo Ha2 as well, and while there is a slight sound quality increase, it's barely distinguishable from the normal Iphone. So if you don't have a portable DAC/AMP combo, don't buy one for this pair. They don't need it. I don't know what to say about the more expensive desk headphones amplifiers as I don't own one yet, but as far as portable headphone amplifiers go, I feel like the Meze are very good without one as well.
     
    COMFORT AND MIRROR FACTOR
     
    Mirror factor is a term i just made up. It refers to the level of shame you would feel while wearing the headphones in public. 
    I have a big head, so while I go out with the B7's on my head I look like something resembling a Chupa-Chups candy.
    I saw in most pictures that the Meze's antennas stick out fairly much on other people's head, but I'm happy to report that if you have a big head that won't be a problem.
    The antennas will stay very close to the curvature of your head and it will not look weird in any way.
     
    As for the comfort, I said earlier that these headphones are comfortable. But I have to admit that the pads were a bit shallow so your ear will touch the sponge that is covering the drivers. I have issues with things that are touching my ears so maybe I'm too sensitive about it. But it's a thing worth noting if you are anything like me. I hope Meze will come back with some replacement pads that are deeper. Also, in a a few instances my hair got stuck in the gold hinges that are holding the headband, so the headphones pulled a few of my hairs out when taking them down.
    But these were not huge problems in my opinion, and at this point i'm just nitpicking. 
     
    In summary, this is a very good pair of headphones. It's a very good all rounder that strikes a point in every category worth mentioning. I'm definitely going to buy these as soon as I can convince my wife that I need a fifth pair of headphones in my life. 
     
    Thanks for reading!
    AlexC1202
    1. ArrancarV
      Thank you for the review! Great read :) Any chance of you also having heard the Oppo PM-3 and any comparison with the Meze 99?
      ArrancarV, Mar 3, 2016
    2. AlexC1202
      Hi ArrancarV,
       
      Yes, I owned the Oppo PM-3 for about 2 months, but I rarely given them a listen.
      I'm not saying that they are not good, but as I mentioned in the review, I like headphones with a bit more present bass, which unfortunately the Oppo were not able to deliver.
      Oppo are very neutral and boring for my taste, so I would definitely go for the Meze to please my ears. 
      I got the Oppo's for the planar magnetic drivers, as in theory they should produce more bass, but that's simply not the case.
       
      But if you are more interested in neutral sound, like most audiophiles, the Oppo will definitely deliver! But as far as my taste is involved, I would choose the Meze all day.
       
      Hope I answered your question. If you want me to get into more specifics, let me know and I'll try to formulate an answer as comprehensive as I can.
      AlexC1202, Mar 3, 2016
  9. crabdog
    Looks and personality combined
    Written by crabdog
    Published Oct 22, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Serviceable build with added longevity. Gorgeous, lightweight, comfortable. Fun, intoxicating sound.
    Cons - Quite a step up in price from the 99 Neo.
    DSC_0106.jpg

    Tabatha Coffey

    Introduction

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

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

    Disclaimer

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

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

    Packaging and accessories

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

    DSC_0130.jpg

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

    DSC_0123.jpg

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

    DSC_0126.jpg

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

    DSC_01271.jpg

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

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

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

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

    DSC_0131.jpg

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

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

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

    DSC_01291.jpg DSC_01311.jpg

    Sound

    Gear used for testing

    Acoustic Research AR-M20

    ATC HDA-DP20

    Galaxy Note 5

    JRiver/flac > Arcam irDAC-II

    JRiver/flac > Topping DX7

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DSC_0119.jpg

    Comparisons

    Meze 99 Neo ($249 USD)

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

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

    Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 Ohm ($179 USD)

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

    Ultrasone Performance 860 ($362 USD)

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

    DSC_0122.jpg

    Conclusion

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

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

    Maybe Meze Audio knew they had something special on their hands when they named these Classics because they have essentially become that in their own right.
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  10. adeypoos
    A-Meze-ing cans!
    Written by adeypoos
    Published May 17, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Light, comfortable, musical, dynamic and warm sound
    Cons - Earpads can get a bit warm, bass can be over emphasised
    My route to headphone bliss!


    My story wouldn't have started at all if it wasn't for the crappy headband quality of my previous pair of headphones, the Focal Spirit Professional. After a 2nd pair cracked-up on me, believe me when I say I wasn't! Pity, because the sound was all I wanted in a headphone, or at least I thought that to be the case at the time. Comfort, on the other hand was bearable, certainly not in the same league as my Sennheiser HD558's but noticeably better than my Grado SR80's. I have to start by saying that my headphone requirements have somewhat changed since my early foray into head gear. I used to be of the opinion that closed back headphones were boxy sounding and lacking in "air" and soundstage qualities. That was largely true at the time(early 90's) and I went for the highly-rated and reasonably priced Grado SR-80's, which to my ears were dynamic and free-flowing in sound but also quite harsh sounding as well. About 4 or 5 years ago I picked-up the Sennheiser HD-558's for a bargain price(about £90 if remember correctly). These were so comfortable, very smooth sounding and their soundstage was excellent. Quite the opposite of the Grado's in fact but lacking dynamic expression. However, I was able to listen to them for hours on end in comfort, without my ears getting fatigued as they did with the Grado's.

    So coming more up to date, a couple of years ago I decided that in a busy household I needed sealed headphones to keep sound both in and out for everyone's sanity. I had listened to the Bose QC25's, which were amazing for keeping out sound, but made me feel like I was on a train going through a tunnel at times. They also lacked clarity and refinement, so were out of the running. I went into a branch of GAK and checked out the Shure SR840(good value but harsh), Shure 940(very bright and lacking bass - these were on special offer and I could see why based on what I'd heard), Beyer Dynamic DT770(comfy but closed and muffled sounding to me), Audio Technica M50's(boomy bass and harsh treble). I also listened to the Sennheiser HD650's as a reference, just in case there is, in fact, something wrong with my hearing. Fortunately for me, these sounded great, even on an iphone, but being open cans, they were contrary to my headphone objectives. Onwards to Richer Sounds. I listened to the AKG 550's, which are highly rated by many publications. Good open sound for closed cans, but they were harsh in the upper midband and treble. Onto the Shure SR1540's. Incredibly well made and comfortable. Very smooth sounding(too smooth and a bit boring really), but with an elevated upper bass and treble in a "loudness button" fashion. Expensive too! The Oppo PM3's were very neutral and clean but unexciting to my ears. Probably didn't give these enough of a chance, but none of these cans compared to the Focal Spirit Pros! So after 2 years of headphone contentment from a sound point of view, if not comfort and build quality, I found myself in the market for headphones once again. Step forward the Meze 99 Classics! As I had done with the FSP's, I read many reviews to gauge the quality of sound and comfort, especially as there were no dealers within a sensible distance to audition. It would cost me almost as much in travel costs to audition as to buy, so I took a punt based on reviewers I have come to know and trust as having sound preferences similar to my own and ordered a Walnut/Silver pair of 99 Classics.


    Comfort

    As soon as I put these onto my head I knew the comfort concerns were not going to be a problem. My main concern would be with the earpads getting warm and they do a bit. However providing the ambient temperature isn't too high and you are not doing anything too strenuous they're not too bad. Head clamp force seems fine to me, although after the FSP's I was used to this and the 99C's are much nicer to wear. Not Sennheiser 558 comfort, but close enough. They are nice and light too!


    Construction

    After the Focal Spirit Pros, I could not bring myself to trust Focal's quality of construction again. So when I was looking into the 99 Classic's, the metal headband(even if it does ring occasionally when you go to scratch your head, it won’t snap in a hurry), wooden ear-cups(look and feel quality), kevlar cables(cable microphony isn’t a big deal to me) et al definitely had an influence on my purchase decision. Opening the box, surveying the walnut and silver finish, quality of fit and finish is first class. They are stunning to behold and every pair is unique to boot!




    Sound

    Straight out of the box, the bass bloats a bit and the treble is wispy and lacking in detail - all the usual qualities of a brand new set of cans really.

    After a few hours things improved noticeably in the areas mentioned and I could clearly hear the potential of these cans.


    On the third day with my new Meze 99 Classics. Sound-wise, the changes are more subtle now. I think the bass is a bit more solid but it still has a luscious warmth to it, which I am liking for the most part. My Focal Spirit Pros were more controlled throughout the bass region, but burn-in times are not on a par just yet so it's too early to say, although I think the bass warmth of the 99C's is here to stay. I'm not sure if I prefer it to the FSP's but it is a nice change after having got used to a particular sound signature for a couple of years, one that was punchy and extended, albeit slightly drier and more neutral in presentation. One area where I think the 99C's have improved is in what “Naimee's" would call P.R.A.T. which I guess falls into line with my previous comment about improved solidity in the bass region. I imagine this will be where the 40 hour burn in time comes into play - not there yet, but homing in rapidly. Reckon I'm on 25 hours now. The treble seems a little more incisive at this point, with a more natural decay to cymbals. Now I'm only listening via a Macbook Pro headphone output and I haven't hooked up my Firestone Fubar 4 headphone amp at this point, so it'll be interesting to see if this makes any difference at all(it certainly did with my FSP's but I'm not convinced it'll make such a difference with the 99C's).

    I think the stand out sound point for me is the sheer sweetness and musicality of the 99C's, they are a lot more of an easy listen than the FSP's, unsurprising really as they are a studio monitoring headphone. Liquid comes to mind and at the moment I am loving it.


    Day 4 - things have settled down across the frequency range now. Far less of the errant bass and treble of day 1, but the lovely, musical warmth the 99C's exhibit still shines through like a beacon. Been listening to some more rock today and another thing has struck me about the sound, the 99C's really shine when there is a distorted guitar sound. I guess the effect is akin to that of tube v solid-state amp and you fellow guitarists will know what I mean by that. There is something about the way distortion is rendered, in that it makes the music much creamier and more listenable. I often find the sound of distorted guitars to be a problem for headphones(and hi-fi equipment generally) in that there is often a glare to the sound that is harsh, making certain genres of music unpleasant to listen to. Now the 99C’s certainly aren’t perfect, but my hearing isn't and I'm not sure that ultra high end headphones would do a "better" job than the 99C's in terms of listenability. I am convinced that the slightly elevated bass warmth and possibly the wooden maple tonality may be the reason for this. Again, I have to stress that I am listening through the bare output of a Macbook Pro, so I'm sure the sound will notch up further when a dedicated headphone amp is used.

    Something I haven't mentioned yet is the soundstage. Wow, for closed back headphones the 99C's are very good and that along with fairly good sound isolation means they are very practical for all kinds of situations. The sense of space instruments are given is fine indeed, not in a sterile, analytical way, but retaining the feeling of togetherness at all times and the focus on the emotion and performance of a song. Don’t get me wrong here, they are detailed enough, without being overly analytical.


    So here we are just over a week in. I reckon I'm just past the 40 hour burn in point and I can speak more clearly about my impressions of the 99C's. The bass seems to be getting better as time goes on. Listening to "Forgotten places" by Alif Tree there is a pronounced double bass line which sounds wonderfully fluid and tactile without being boomy. This track would highlight bass inadequacies quite clearly and I'm happy that the drivers in the 99C's are subtly changing for the better. The bass has P.R.A.T. whilst remaining warm. The treble seems to have smoothed out and become more detailed as well. These headphones are so easy to listen to and yet they are not "easy listening" in their presentation owing to the vivacity and musical pleasure they convey. My first week has been immensely satisfying and I'm glad I didn't splurge on the B&W P7 wireless I'd auditioned in a shop the week before. These headphones are much better than those, sonically speaking, although the bluetooth convenience would have been nice.


    Three weeks in and I'm not sure if my ears are deceiving me but I'm still hearing improvements in the bass. The tubbiness has largely gone, although the warmth is still there. Midrange performance seems to be better as well, although I think this may be because the bleed from bass region has reduced, bringing out the midrange qualities. Listening to James Brown’s classic album “In the Jungle Groove”, snare and drum hits seem to have more dynamic expression and those subtle shuffles that Clyde Stubblefield produces on the “Funky drummer” have more impact and separation than before. Charles Sherrell’s bass line is rich and mellifluous. Some people scoff at burn-in time on equipment - I beg to differ!


    I am about 6 weeks into ownership of these cans now. I have been listening with my iPhone 5S, MacBook Pro headphone output and finally, my headphone amp, the Firestone Fubar 4 amp/dac.

    The sound definitely steps up in definition and clarity through this amp, but the fundamental musicality of the 99C’s remains the same. What is nice is that I don’t really miss not having playback through a higher end source, which I thought might be the case when I finally got around to using a dedicated headphone amp. Having said that, one can definitely appreciate a better source - it doesn’t go un-noticed when it’s there.

    Just sounding out my thoughts(pun intended), I’m amazed by how the 99C’s scale up or down without embarrassing the sound source. The quality of the recording matters, of course, but a lot of headphones are barely listenable on poor, compressed recordings - not the case with these. This is good news because I don’t feel the need to seek out the best recordings any more, which makes a lot of music more accessible now. This would not be the case with my Grado SR80’s, which would literally strip the skin off the inside of my ear drum on poor recordings that I can listen to quite comfortably with the 99C’s. Critics might say this is the transparency superiority of the Grado’s - say what you like, but if I can listen to music comfortably for longer, both physically and aurally, that is good news as far as I’m concerned.


    At the 2 month point, I would say the 99 Classics have really settled in now, to the point where they are, to my ears, not going to change noticeably any more. They are not perfect sonically, but musically they are divine. I have continued to hear their sound attributes blossom. Whether this is still burn-in or me getting used to their sonic signature, I don’t know anymore. What I can say is that these are extremely enjoyable and sound exceptional for the money. Highly recommended, whatever your choice of music or means of playback, as a long-term investment in head-fi pleasure. Enjoy!
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