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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34559/5,
  1. TravAndAlex
    Style, I’d like to introduce you to substance. Oh, I see you’ve already met.
    Written by TravAndAlex
    Published Jun 10, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, design, materials, included accessories, fun engaging sound.
    Cons - Slightly loose bass, synthetic leather ear pads are warm.
    Meze 99 Classics Review
     
    COMPANY:  Meze
    MODEL:  99 Classics
    COST:  $309 USD  (approximately $400 CAD at time of writing)
    TYPE:  Closed, Dynamic, Over-Ear
    DRIVER SIZE:  40mm Neodynium
    FREQUENCY RESPONSE:  15 Hz – 25 kHz
    EFFICIENCY: 103 dB
    NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 32 Ohms
    WEIGHT:  260 Grams
    COLOURS:  Sustainable wood ear cups:  light maple with silver accents and beige ear pads or walnut with gold accents and black ear pads
     
    INCLUDES:
     
    Headphone Adapter – 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm and 3.5 mm to dual airline 3.5 mm.
    Headphone Cable – 1.2 meter OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) with single button remote, and 3 meter OFC.   Both are 3.5 mm with dual sided 3.5 mm mono connectors to ear cup and are Kevlar covered.  Cables are white or black depending on color of model.
    High quality padded cardboard box.
    Clamshell hard-sided carry case with zipper closure and color-match logo.
    Small zipper pouch to store cables and adapters.
     
    IMG_4017.jpg
     
    Build, Aesthetics and Comfort
     
    What’s the first thing you think of when I say “Romanian hi-fi audio?”  If it isn’t headphones, perhaps it should be.
     
    Smaller, boutique companies perhaps need to try harder than the established juggernauts.  In this case it is very obvious how this benefits the consumer and how it drives innovation and greatness.  Antonio Meze (pronounced "meh-zeh"), company founder and designer of the 99 Classics, has worked on creating anything from ski poles, to bottles, to cell phones for other manufacturers.  Now he’s designing products under a company bearing his own name, and the 99 Classics certainly bears all the hallmarks of a labour of love.
     
    In the best way, these remind me of vintage JBL speakers.  They exude the perfect industrial mix of wood and metal.  Clearly designed to be admired and not solely listened to.  Sure, there are other speakers out there that sound great and look fine, but only with their grills on.  1970’s JBL knew that the listener wants to take off those grills and see the modern design and quality of the hidden bits.  They knew that while you rocked out, you would admire both the beauty of design and the roaring beast of sound.  The 99 Classics are no different in this regard.
     
    I’ve written before that the Sennheiser HD598 “offers a distinctive design focused on luxury and refinement”, and I meant it.  However, side-by-side with the Meze 99 Classics, the overall impression of the HD598 is one of plastic, and plastic just doesn’t impress with any sort of intrinsic value, not like the solidity and feel of natural wood and metal.  The Meze headphones make the HD598s look and feel like a bit of a toy in comparison. 
     
    These headphones remind me why I fell in love with music playing gear in the first place.  The tasteful design sensibilities are seamlessly integrated with the headphone’s structure.  There is a wonderful balance (and not compromise) of form and function.  This starts with the high quality packaging, the abundance of included accessories and of course, the headphones themselves. 
     
    IMG_4014.jpg
     
    Meze proudly declares that there is neither plastic nor glue in any part that the user interacts with – actual screws hold everything together.  This strengthens the luxurious impression, but also creates a headphone that can be repaired (much like the quality items of yesteryear).  Wood, metal and high quality synthetic leather is what you feel and see.  Of note, the synthetic leather ear pads are very comfortable but on the warm side (expect to be a bit sweaty after an album on a balmy day).  Perhaps an option for HiFiMan Focus style pads (leather exterior with velour on the skin touching side) would offer a better balance and remain a bit cooler.  The foam in the ear pads appears to be memory foam, but it seems to rebound much more quickly than Sennheiser Momentum ear pads.
     
    Sizing is done via an elastic suspension headband that automatically adjusts depending on head size, and overall it works perfectly: pop them on your head and they fit first try.  Tension is perhaps just ever so slightly strong.  A metallic skeleton frame hovers above the suspension band and creates the clamping force (which is slightly on the tight side as well).  I applaud the thin profile and appealing curve, it is a FAR more attractive design than the similar one employed by HiFiMan. One drawback is that the design is non-folding so they cannot be made more compact for travel.  In many ways these remind me of the first generation Sennheiser Momentum (another easy to drive, mobile, sealed headphone of similar cost) from the thin, stylish design, to the shape and size of the ear cups and non-folding construction.
     
    Continuing that comparison, one of the main complaints about the original Momentum Over-Ear headphones was the small cup size, which was not friendly to those folks with larger ears.  The space within the 99 Classics’ cup is of approximately the same height as the Momentum and about 10-15 mm wider.  Depth is also on the shallow side, something to be aware of if you struggle to find headphones ample enough to contain your ears.  While I’m lucky enough that I can wear Momentums comfortably, the Classics fit me perfectly and do offer noticeable if slight, amount more room. 
     
    Overall, these are a very comfortable pair of headphones with light weight, soft ear pads, and reasonable clamping force.  Isolation from outside noise is about average for a headphone of this type.  Microphonics from fabric wrapped cables can bother some folks, but wasn’t an issue for me.  Another point of interest is that left and right are not marked on the headphones themselves, this is determined by how you insert the marked cables.
     
    Of note, the web site is excellent with pictures, descriptions and videos detailing the build and design.  It is well worth visiting to see how these headphones are put together.  Nothing is hidden behind the proverbial curtain and Meze certainly seems proud of their creation.
     
    IMG_4019.jpg
     
    Sound Signature and Quality
     
    The similarities to the Sennheiser Momentums continue, although in every way, I’d have to say the 99 Classics are the superior sounding headphone.  Both are relatively neutral and without fatal flaws in tonal balance, clarity nor dynamics.  The overall tonality of the 99 Classics is exceptional with a great balance of depth, mids and highs, while maintaining accuracy and excellent imaging.  The soundstage isn’t enormous like with some high-quality open backed headphones, yet placement of instruments in the mix seems very coherent, positional and not crowded.  Dynamics are very good (although not as punchy as planar type headphones provide), however the 99 Classics’ exceptional efficiency means they can be easily driven to dynamic levels from a phone or portable player and do not require an amplifier to enjoy.  Where vocals on the Momentum sound a bit recessed (although very even), on the 99 Classics they come much more to center stage.
     
    Midrange
     
    Vocals remain coherent and even in tone regardless of music style.  They incorporate well with the higher and lower frequencies, remain solid and clear, and offer a bit of punch and contrast to the background.  Unlike the Momentums, the midrange on the 99 Classics offers an even sound pressure with the highs and lows (the Sennheisers are more recessed).  Rich sounding in the lower-mid frequencies, they remain smooth and transition perfectly into the lower bass notes.  Overall impression is of good speed and detail.
     
    Treble
     
    Treble transitions seamlessly from the mid-range frequencies and remains clear and quick sounding across the board.  I found no harshness, and I wouldn’t describe these headphones as particularly bright, a good balance has been achieved with the midrange and bass.   The overall impression is intimate yet energetic. 
     
    Bass
     
    I tend to prefer an open headphone sound, and to me the bass response of the 99 Classics sounds slightly emphasized.  It doesn’t appear to be boosted, just is perhaps a tad loose and not quite so tightly controlled.  That being said, bass doesn’t overwhelm the mix and it certainly does create a fun sound signature.  Extension is good, reasonably deep and punchy, and the drivers seem capable with most music styles.  The lowest notes may create a bit of minor distortion or flutter, but this is not noticeable on the vast majority of songs, and wasn’t ever alarming.  The overall impression was engaging and enjoyable.
     
    IMG_4010.jpg
     
    Conclusion
     
    Although certainly a cliché, as a Canadian, I can’t help but see the number 99 and think of the finest hockey player of all time.  Gretzky embodied all the characteristics that truly made him ‘the great one’.  To put on the number 99, is to have a lot to live up to.  Amazingly, this little company from Romania has done it in the world of audio with this simply tremendous headphone. 
     
    They’ve made a comfortable, sealed headphone that can be used portably and is somehow an almost perfect balance of form and function.  The 99 Classics are undeniably beautiful in both construction and in sound.  They provide an energetic, vibrant experience and do so in a truly luxurious style.  They sound great with basically any type of music and look terrific anywhere headphones are welcome. 
     
    I’d like to personally thank the great folks at Meze and specifically the awesome Lorand Czibere for providing a pair of 99 Classics for me to review.   I look forward to where this company is headed.
     
     
    Style, I’d like to introduce you to substance.  Oh, I see you’ve already met.
     

      Wilashort, HungryPanda and MezeTeam like this.
  2. joeq70
    Pretty looking and sounding headphones that make for a great portable listen.
    Written by joeq70
    Published May 24, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Premium look and feel, easy to drive, sound great for portable use, fair price
    Cons - Bass could be both deeper and tighter, not something I would use as desktop headphone replacement

    *I am reviewing the Meze 99 Classics as a condition of the recent tour conducted by the fine folks at Meze. The following is simply my honest impressions.

    Introduction and Initial Observations

    First, a little bit about this headphone. The 99 Classics are marketed as a headphone built from the ground up with an aim at those looking for both high quality, neutral sound and high-end looks in one package. There are a few things I'd like to add to this, now having seen, touched, and heard the headphones myself--these promises are definitely delivered upon in my experience. I was impressed that the headphones use real wood and metal, with very little to no plastic being used at all. Further, I find the headphones to be quite attractively designed, though this will come down to personal preference.  Despite this, the headphone remains quite light and ideal for listening on the go.  My only qualm with the build quality of the headphones is that I would rather they cost about $40-50 more and come with lambskin earpads instead of the cheap feeling pleather ones that come with it at present.
     

    Equipment Used

    JRiver Media Center (FLAC files)→Aune T1 (with various tubes)
    Samsung Galaxy Note 5
     
    -Nothing fancy here, really. But, fortunately, the 99 Classics don't need anything fancy to sound great.
     

    How Do They Sound?

    I really liked listening to the 99 Classics. They have a lively, energetic sound, yet have a touch of warmth to them. The highs are clear, but not sharp. The mids are fairly intimate and bass has a pleasant fullness to it. The way these are tuned actually reminds quite a bit of a "smaller sounding" ZMF Omni. The Omni has deeper bass, more detail, larger soundstage, more depth, and better imaging BUT if you were to kind of take the core essence of that warmish, intimate, and yet detailed sound of the Omni and shrink it into a portable headphone, I think it would look a lot like the 99 Classics. Some more points on the 99 Classics:
     
    1. Extremely easy to drive.
    2. Sounded equally nice out of the T1 and my phone. I would be totally content using these portably with nothing but a phone or mp3 player. To emphasize: no dedicated amp needed.
    3. They are very light on head. Not the most comfortable headphone ever, but quite good still. I actually had this weird issue where the headband would pinch my hair and pull it when I removed the headphones. Despite this, I actually like the headband design.
    4. These lean warm and are energetic sounding. Treble-heads need not apply. Also, I'd say bassheads will be disappointed. However, those who like a lively sound that isn't overemphasized in any one area, you will probably dig the 99 Classics a lot.
    5. Many people have complained that the earpads are too small. I agree to an extent, and think the pads would be better if just a bit bigger, but I am overall OK with the way the pads are at present. One really cool thing is that Meze has taken this feedback into account and accordingly have made larger earpads available.
     

    Final Notes

    I haven't listened to a ton of portable headphones, but I like the 99 Classics more than all the ones I've heard. This included the NAD Viso HP50, Audioquest Nighthawk, Sennheiser Momentum, and Oppo PM-1 (cost is a factore here). When I decide to get a set of portables, it will almost certainly be the 99 Classics.
      Wilashort, MezeTeam and maxnik like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. joeq70
      @cyberslacker I would say that they are generally well built and definitely able to be used out an about, but they shouldn't be treated carelessly. I don't think they'd take well to being sat on. If I were going to go about town with them, I would keep then on my head/around my neck and then place them inside the carrying case that comes with them before placing them in a backpack or something like that.
      joeq70, May 25, 2016
    3. Philimon
      "... great for portable use ..."? If you like stares and snickers.
      Philimon, May 25, 2016
    4. pinoyman
      thanks for the review. i really like to buy one of these, specially the color white one. :)
      it looks clean to me.
      pinoyman, May 30, 2016
  3. glassmonkey
    Meze Headphones 99 Classics: Exuding class, with intricately layered lush mids
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Mar 26, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed layered midrange, gorgeous aesthetics, light weight, easy to drive, excellent accessories
    Cons - Bass heavy, some distortion at low end, small cup size, thin pads, some clamping related fatigue

    Acknowledgment    

    Thank you Meze Headphones for allowing me to participate in your European tour in exchange for my honest opinion of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

    Introduction

    Meze Headphones is a relatively new headphone manufacturer. The 99 Classics were funded through a Kickstarter campaign and are now out trying to conquer our ears with lush mid-range overtones. When I write reviews for items that I didn't buy, I use the lower price of Amazon.com or list price. The conquest proceeds after the break, but first here's a little bit-o-junk about me. There is no such thing as an impartial observer, so I suggest you know where reviewers you invest your trust in are coming from.
     
    Like most sensible people I starting falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane. My musical tastes started out with listening to what my friends liked (Dr. Dre and Green Day) and what my parents liked (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and I only really discovered my own musical tastes and sonic preferences in my late teens to early 20s. What I discovered is that I have very eclectic and some would say weird tastes. I could be listening to gay punk rock, Japanese dream garble pop, 8-bit chiptune, Scandinavian black metal, Latin guitar, the Mariinsky Orchestra, or Miles Davis, but I mostly listen to Classic Rock and Indie/Alternative. I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop like Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar and Aesop Rock, also.
     
    I tend to like headphones that are all-around performers, this generally means a balanced or neutral sound. I somehow never manage to have much money, so I don’t want to buy infinity headphones to switch between my myriad genres that I play. I can hear all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz—these are what I’ve heard doing test tones on headphones.  It has been a long time since I had a test with an audiologist. I’m sensitive to peaky treble but do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep rich tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper midbass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper midbass hump.  I hear soundstage better than just about anything I identify in music, but my words haven’t caught up to my ears. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (72 to 75 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
     
    I don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
     
    I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, none of them had labels and the cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us to replace my standard kettle lead on my amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by @dill3000 silver/gold) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.

     

    Manufacturer Specifications

    I’ve decided after a bit of reading around that @Brooko is right, if a manufacturer provides specs, we should list them. I’m not convinced that specs are always accurate, or that specs even matter on many headphones. Plenty of headphones don’t sound like their measurements, for better or worse.
     
    Here are the specs for the Meze Headphones 99 Classics from Meze Headphones' website:
     
    Transducer size
    40mm
    Frequency response
    15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity
    103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance
    32Ohm
    Rated input power
    30mW
    Maximum input power
    50mW
    Cable make and material
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug
    3.5mm gold plated
    Weight
    260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups
    Walnut wood

     
    Meze Headphones also provided a frequency chart for the 99 classics:
     
    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg
    [​IMG]
    I found that what Meze Headphones represented their headphones as was fairly accurate. Using test-tones from Audiocheck.net I ran through some frequency checks. You need a sampling rate of at least double the frequency to test any given frequency, so I use 16/48 tones. At 16Khz there was plenty of bass still there. At 10Khz, the sound bass was still audible, but very faint. These are definitely high performers on bass extension. I don’t think much of anybody hears up to 25Khz, but I did test these at 23Khz and the tone was still audible. I’ve never heard tones above 23Khz, and most people won’t hear that, so I don’t bother trying. Using my SPL meter, I found that roll-off on treble starts at about 16Khz. The dip before and then peak at 5Khz is audible on some tracks—we’ll return to that later.

     

    Form & Function

    The Meze 99 Classics come with a smorgasbord of goodness when it comes to form and function. They are dead sexy looking, and come with two cables in separate lengths (a shorter cable with microphone, and a longer one without), an airline adaptor, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack adaptor, a high quality hard-case (with a zipper pouch for carrying accessories), and all of the parts or 100% user serviceable. Meze Audio also used the increasingly popular 3.5mm dual mono connectors for their headphone cable (HiFiMan headphones from 2015 onward, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM2, Oppo PM1). This should allow cheap and easy custom cable acquisition for playing these in balanced mode. Pretty dang sweet. I didn’t get to try balanced mode during my demo, but it is an exciting prospect. If I receive the pair after the tour, I’ll update this review with impressions in balanced mode.
     
    The Meze Headphones 99 Classics are likely the most aesthetically beautiful headphones in their price bracket. The dark walnut wood and gold highlights ooze luxury and quality, and you don’t have to be a model on Meze Headphones’ website—there is more make-up in those photos than at a MAC counter—to immediately look more fashionable for wearing them. I hope Sex Bob-omb—
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    —headphones like these make certain B-words now owned and marketed by rounded corner rectangle slinging fruit merchants rapidly go out of fashion. I want to puke every time I see those cheap plastic crap cannons on anyone’s ears.  Please never get sponsorship from them, Head-Fi.
     
    The pads are made of artificial leather that feels and looks nice enough, but they have a small cup size and are too thin. Now I don’t discriminate on cup size normally, but if something says circumaural in its description, its perimeter better make it around my ears. I think these could go around my 8-month old daughter’s ears, but my 8 year old nephew might have some problems. My average size 34 year-old ears make the 99 Classics fall strictly in the supra-aural category. I found that the headphones built pressure on my ears over time, with the soreness most notable after removing them, especially on the lower ears for me. It took about two to three hours for this effect to happen. I think the clamping pressure could probably be relieved somewhat by relaxing the metal band tension a bit, but I didn’t want to stretch out headphones on loan to me.  I know it doesn't look as stylish, but I'll take comfort over style—give me bigger earholes and deeper pads.
     
    Isolation is pretty meager with these. Walking next to light traffic there is almost no isolation. They performed well in a quiet office, neither allowing me to hear much sound outside of the music I wanted to listen to and not allowing my neighbours to hear me blasting ‘a little silhouette of a man’ into their consciousness for all time. There was no Wayne’s World head-banging in my 1976 AMC Pacer of an office. My office-mates are not worthy, apparently.
     
    headbanging_waynes_world.gif


    Now for some audiophile content rated M (the headphones are inappropriately sexy):
    Meze99Classics2of14.jpg Careful when opening, this is actually the back of the box
    Meze99Classics3of14.jpg The real front of the box
    Meze99Classics5of14.jpg Side
    Meze99Classics6of14.jpg Other side

     
    Yeah, I know, those were good, but the lede was misleading. Here are the pictures you actually wanted to see:
    Meze99Classics12of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics9of14.jpg Meze99Classics11of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics7of14.jpg Meze99Classics14of14.jpg

     

    Testbed

    The equipment used for technical testing was as follows:
    1. Wensa SPL Meter
    2. iFi Micro iDAC2
    3. iFi Micro iUSB3.0
    4. iFi iPurifier2
    5. 2 LH Labs Lightspeed 2G cables
    6. Meze Audio 99 Classics Headphones
    7. Sennheiser HD600 (panty-hose mod, increases soundstage, removes ‘veil’)
    _1160677.jpg _1160739.jpg

     

    Audio quality

    For most of my impressions I was listening out of the iFi iDAC2 with the iPurifier2 (reviews here and here), but I also did some listening with my LH Labs Geek Out 1000 paired with the iPurifier2. There was never any point where the 99 Classics were under-powered, it only took about 20% volume to power these to loud with the GO 1000. They are remarkably easy to drive. They may be too easy to drive as I think a little bit higher impedance would make some tracks have less distortion on the low end.
     
    These do an excellent job separating out vocal layers. On Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (West German Target pressing) this is especially apparent in the chorus. Each of the three vocalists is distinctly identifiable in space. Well done, Meze Audio, this isn't usually the case. I think these do a little better than the HD600 on this song.
     
    On Eagles - Hotel California (DCC Gold), the jet pan is a little lost in the mix. I think it is due to some emphasis on other parts and the relatively limited soundstage depth. Imaging is generally good, but there isn't very much air around most instruments. There is an average sound stage. Bass sounds a touch warm and thick.
     
    Listening to the new jazz album from Jenny Maybee and Nick Phillips, Haiku, I'm caught off guard in a couple tracks by some dagger sharp piano. I think this may have to do with the 5Khz peak on the frequency response chart. One thing that is interesting about listening to headphones that push some frequencies to extremes, is that you notice peaky parts of recordings you hadn't noticed otherwise. When I switched to the 64Audio ADEL X2 (2 BA ADEL model), the sharp piano was still there, but it was less emphasized and not painful. The same was true with the HD600.
    San Francisco Orchestra - Mahler Symphony Number 8, Part I, IV. Gloria Patri Domino (DSD64) is a great track for looking at vocal extremes and separation. These headphones are very suited to choral work. Absolutely fantastic! The soprano sounds dynamic and vibrant and the other singers are nicely placed and layered. Similarly, Trondheim Solistene - Magnificat, Et Misericordia (24/352.8) has great vocal separation. You can't pick out individual voices in entirety, but the flourishes of individual vocalists pull away from the choir nicely.
     
    On Why - Strawberries the bass is a bit bloomy. It still sounds good and has decent extension (still shows up at 25hz, but doesn't drop as low as this track can go with any authority). The percussion is good but not among the best of headphones I own. It feels a touch slow on transient response. I get more out of my Trinity Audio Atlas IEMs and Echobox Finder X1 IEMs on transient speed and note decay. The slow decay gives a bit of a romantic character to the sound, but I tend to prefer incisive lighter tones.
     
    In another story of revealing characteristics of the headphones, the quality of Regina Spektor's track, Fidelity, is exposed a bit at the beginning when the bass is dropping. There is a little bit of noise in the track that I hadn't really noticed that the Meze 99 Classics amplify a bit. I confirmed it with the HD600 and one of my favourite in ears the 64Audio ADEL X2; it's definitely there. Similar listening on 2Pac – God Bless the Dead, a track I throw in because of its heavy bass and poor mastering that I happen to love, shows that the Meze 99 Classics amplify poorly mastered bass. There is a lot of that going around, especially if you listen to metal music. Not all headphones make that poorly mastered bass as apparent. I think that higher impedance would probably remove some of the amplification of bad bass noise, but I didn’t have an adapter to test that during the time I had them. If I get them again, I’ll test the effect of higher impedance. Proceed with care.

     

    Conclusions

    These have stunning vocals, beautiful design, premium feel, great accessories; some treble fatigue, unforgiving of noise in the low end of recordings, bass thick but not very textured, overall thickness to sound from bass, cup size not big enough (that's right I said it), and can cause ear soreness due to small pad size and clamping. I think that these compete well with the OPPO PM3 for best work headphone, but I find the OPPOs a little cleaner on sound and more comfortable on the ears. Both headphones have amazing mids, and warm bass.
     
    I had thought these would be easy to get a balanced cable, but I was mistaken, 2.5mm mono jacks are common on headphones, but not 3.5mm. The best route for Meze would be to manufacture their own balanced cables, but reterminating the stock cable is another option. Since it comes with two cables, this shouldn't be too much difficulty.
    One potential advantage that I haven't got to hear on these is the ease of getting a balanced cable. These have the now ubiquitous mono 3.5mm dual jacks (HiFiMan HE1000, HiFiMan HE-X, HiFiMan 400i and 400s circa 2016, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM1, Oppo PM2) so balanced cables are easily available. If I owned any of those headphones, I would have been able to do a balanced shoot-out between the HD600 and the Meze 99 Classics using the LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity. It would have been exciting. Maybe if I win these at the end of the tour I can update my review.
    1. reddog
      A sweet review, liked that you used some Fleetwood Mac, for your audio.
      reddog, Mar 26, 2016
    2. glassmonkey
      Thanks, reddog! I try to use a variety of tracks, but Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Roger Waters are probably my heaviest rotation. Though the new City of the Sun album is going to be moving into that territory really soon. :)
      glassmonkey, Mar 29, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Great review.... Very enjoyable read.... Love the musical rotation, I'll have to check out City of the Sun.
      (...and reddog is always good for a kind word!)
      jinxy245, Mar 29, 2016
  4. dan.gheorghe
    Good all a rounder but excellent with classical / instrumental
    Written by dan.gheorghe
    Published Nov 3, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent soundstage, details, transient response, very comfortable, beautiful design & finish
    Cons - Little distorsion on lower bass
    The design and finish of these headphones are absolutely gorgeous and they're also very comfortable. 
     
    Meze 99 Classics was an unexpected surprise. I didn't expect such performance from them especially in the areas that closed headphones don't usually excel. 
     
    I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete here with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. 
     
    Let's make a summary with what impressed me the most:
     
    Soundstage
     
    I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete in this area with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. This and some other things make them perfect for instrumental/classical music, but these headphones can be used with almost any musical genre.
     
    Imaging and Instrument Separation
     
    This is another section that impressed me very much. Every instrument is very well delimited showing very good imaging, instrument separation and layering. They handled crowded music passages with ease.
     
    Transients
     
    The transients are wonderful on Meze 99 Classics. The attack is explosive and the decay is fast but well extended. This leads to an energetic and tactile sound experience which I appreciate very much in the sound reproduction both in headphones and speakers!
     
    Details
     
    These headphones are quite analytical. I was surprised with the level of details they are capable of.  This was a major plus for listening to classical music. Combined with other strong points of the Meze 99, every instruments is vibrant and full of life.
     
    Besides a small bass bump, I found these headphones to be quite neutral. 
     
    The bass is fast, punchy and quite well extended showing very good sub bass as well. It might have a slight might bass hump somewhere but nothing to worry about. The sub bass might present some distortion that was noticeable on some songs but overall it wasn’t disturbing. Overall, I found the bass to be quite nice, engaging and to put meat (muscle because of the speed and punch)  on the bones of the songs.
     
    The treble is sparkly and airy. Not harsh, but won't mask recording faults.
     
    I think that Meze 99 Classics just became my favorite closed headphones at the moment. Actually let’s forget for a little while that they are closed and just say that they are wonderful headphones in general.
     
    Besides the eye candy looks, good quality and very nice finish, they also offer an incredible sound quality which made me loose myself inside my music often offering me goose bumps along the way.
      FortisFlyer75, ameze and MezeTeam like this.
    1. Joeybgood
      I agree with you review wholeheartedly Dan, I don't , however , find the earpads to be very comfortable. Despite the lightweight of this headphone my ears get sore fairly quickly. Do you have a replacement pad that you would recommend for these? tks
      Joeybgood, Jan 10, 2016
  5. bobbyblack
    Warm,inviting sound with a lovely look
    Written by bobbyblack
    Published Oct 26, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Natural and balanced sound,comfortable,beautiful design
    Cons - Mid bass can be a little bit to much on certain songs
    Background:

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

    Look and design:

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

    Sound:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Conclusions:

    Overall a beautiful looking headphone,very comfortable with nice accesories and with a good balanced sound ,good mids,voices and instruments always sound right,natural,highs with good air,never fatiguing,nice sparkle on top.The mid bass is sometimes on some tracks to much but in general unintrusive or lead to a fun presentation,never boring.
    I didn't test them on pop and rap because i never listen to this genres but i think they are doing very well.
      JediMa70 and MezeTeam like this.
  6. HansBarbarossa
    Headphones Meze 99 Classics: silver and gold walnut, emitting natural musicality
    Written by HansBarbarossa
    Published Aug 30, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound, quality of materials and workmanship, price.
    Cons - Not everyone may like more aggressive style of delivery in the midbass section.
    Commercial brands are pretty much like IT girls: should one of them flash her bare belly in the street, the next day the whole town would follow to vast enjoyment of the «other half of mankind», and then the whole country goes wild. Likewise, brands would hate to lose the race. It happens way too often that vendors are following trends, copying competitors' most eye-catching marketing moves, often compromising on the most important – it's the sound in this case.
    Sometimes it's just the opposite: the manufacturer invests heavily in development, natural sound qualities, with almost nothing left for the product's appeal and marketing. Prices will eventually soar, confusing customers’ minds and feelings. We, music fans, used to rush to quench our thirst for new flashy toys, which didn't quite sound like real music should – just making some odd sounds. But in the course of time, the «music brotherhood» learned how to discover a true "Turgenev Girl" with a deep and extraordinary inner world, where there is no place for a single false note!
     
    1472532458201591.jpg
     
     
    Today we have a guest model that is beautiful in every way. And it's not the question whether you like it or not, it's when the product is equally pleasant to observe and a pleasure to hold. I reverently hoisted it over my head. And it's so nice to listen to! In other words, today we will focus on overhead headphones Meze 99 Classics.
    Having put on a test track, I'd like to point out that Meze Company is a young and dynamic manufacturer that specializes in headphones.  Its "port of registry" is Romania. The company's motto: "Quality, style and sound! Only natural materials, bolts, nuts, and no glue and schlock! "
     
    Specifications
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Headphones Type: Dynamic / Closed
    Sensitivity: 103dB / 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Cable: removable / two
    Connector: Jack 3.5 + 6.3 mm adapter
    Weight: 260 g (without cable)
     
     
     
    1472532478378962.jpg
     
     
     
    Appearance and ergonomics
     
    Couple more seconds and I’d have started listening to the packaging box. The set is above all praise. Headphones picture on the box looks like a model on a glossy cover - Meze 99 Classics what else can you say? And the slogan is almost like saying, “I love you” (to music, of course!) - «Perfect natural sound - perfect natural fit».
    Inside the box it gets even more interesting: there’s a branded tablet case, black, and it feels like leather, convex shape, yes, it’s sending shivers down your spine. I grab the case, and a couple of seconds later music starts flowing like Pushkin’s poems. So very fine!
     
     
     
    1472532493824692.jpg
     
     
     
    Yes, and the black tablet dropped another dark "matryoshka" - a smaller one, also round, stuffed with an adapter / plug for music at 10,000 km above the earth, a 3.5 / 6.3 mm adapter and two detachable cables: for pairing with mobile devices and stationary equipment. All you need to spend a great night with a beautiful model. Seriously, great cans! Flawless. Metal, wood, leather and impressive screws and bolts. Quite aesthetic!
     
    Headphones are available in four colors. WALNUT GOLD, WALNUT SILVER and MAPLE SILVER. I chose the “maple silver” ones I do not know why, but at that time I was drawn to the "Light Side of the Force" (remember my review of the white German MAESTRO GMP 435 S?). And I do not regret it. Removable wires "blink" predictably: for the darker models - black, for lighter ones - white.
     
     
    1472532508897524.jpg
     
     
     
    As you may be aware, everyone has their own head, and Meze 99 Classics resided on mine so softly and comfortably that I wish somebody else’s head experienced the same. In the worst case scenario, one can use the mild adjustment, which slides also very elegantly.
    Perhaps my own ears may get too hot under such tight cans. I conducted a ruthless experiment on myself wearing the headphones for a few hours in row in the summer heat. And I heard nothing except comfort and favorite tunes. However, the a/c started right behind my back "to the music of Vivaldi's", but we won’t tell anyone... Let the a/c also have a listen and it was a nuclear meltdown outside the windows, but the music did not sound worse.
     
     
    1472532519182694.jpg
     
     
     
    Sound
    Main sound test was conducted with MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo PAW Gold, QLS qa-360, Colorfly C200 and iBasso DX80, and the smartphone Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
    With all sound sources, the headphones delivered at the appropriate level, including even the smartphone. Although there are some slight nuances, but in general everything is very good. My acquaintance with the Meze 99 Classics was in three steps.
    First. I took them out of the box, listened to some music briefly, I realized that I like them, and since I was supposed to come up with some other review, I put aside the pretty model for a while.
     
     
    1472532532899786.jpg
     
     
     
    Next time, I decided to test them a little longer (the night is long), going through a variety of musical genres. In the night, some issues were raised with regards to some tracks – namely, the aggressiveness of the midbass (sounding almost like a football hooligan). Eventually, I had to leave the headphones to burn up for about 50-70 hours.
     
    Finally, I sat down with the headphones in absolute ecstasy.
    I would describe the sound of Meze 99 Classics as neutral, slightly warm, with a very clear and elastic bass or even a slight rise in the midbass section.
    The headphones have good high-speed characteristics. Among the cans built on the base of the dynamic transducer, they are one of the fastest (we do not take into account planar models and BA in-ear monitors).
     
    Meze 99 Classic delivery is very natural and musical. You are welcome to follow my footsteps: I have tried such tracks as Megadeth - DystopiaMegadeth - Symphony of DestructionPantera - 5 Minutes Alone and Slipknot - Psychosocial. Although I am not a big fan of this kind of music, upon hearing it, I realised the true depths of my own soul. Rolling drums - fast, clear, you can almost feel the tension of the membrane on the drum,  its vibrating impact, and the bass drum is not just “breathing” , it’s breathing straight in your face. Captivating from the first roll ...
    Guitar riffs are strikingly natural and masterful. The bass is coming out clearly - simply great! Vocals are treated beautifully, it is clear, smooth and expressive. And the cymbals! I'm talking about the plates, and hi-hat. Rarely can you hear such a clear and precise spark in working out HF. After all I’ve heard I rushed to order Megadeth - «Countdown to Extinction» on Amazon. See what I mean? This is how you become a metal head.
     
     
    1472532580754079.jpg
     
     
     
    It's amazing how these headphones play out the “heavy” genres. And my favorite New Wave tracks also sounded fabulous. I completed the whole album of The Pretenders - «Get Close» in a blink, so I once again felt the charm of the 80’s music with the magnificent voice of Chrissie Hynde. I also had a listen to my favorites Buzzcocks - «Singles Going Steady».
    Great Meze 99 Classics sounded superb with Leftfield - «Leftism». It is breathtaking! The song called Original featuring vocalist from the Curve Toni Halliday literally blows your mind. And then there’s another great one Open Up feat. John Lydon ....
     
     
    But every sweet has its sour. Some badly mixed and slower tracks sounded unclear. Whether midbass sounded out of place, or was it something else ... Maybe I was out of shape: kept on searching for the “wrong” track, clicked and clicked but it could never be found ... Eventually, I played the rare recording of Architectural Abdabs - « Lucy Lea (In Blue Tight) », do you know them? If you don’t, I’ll tell you - this is very young Syd Barrett, and the very first name of the legendary Pink Floyd. It’s hard not to complain - the sound is terrible, but the song is good.
    There were some questionable moments - with shoegaze, and indie rock, but the flaws are not actual problems of the genre, but of the track itself and the way it’s mixed. There are tracks where the bass seems too aggressive like a fighting bull terrier.
     
     
     
    The bottom line:
     
    Bass - Crisp, fast, tight and a little aggressive in the midbass. The headphones play everything very clearly and polyphonic even in the subbass area. The rise and decay of sound are very clear.
     
    Mids – mid frequencies are very thorough, natural, with a good deal of details, the total flow is smooth. Cool!
     
    Treble - clear, without unnecessary aggression, accurate and smooth.
     
    The overall delivery is slightly warm, more on the bass side, but it will still depend on your sound source. They have  certain charm and the most powerful punch, smooth and clear mid and delicate treble. Some people like it, some people do not really, but if the sound of Meze 99 Classics once gets you, then it is for long.
     
     
    1472532614218603.jpg
     
     
     
    Conclusions
    The headphones are special, but quite very interesting, I would advise to buy them without a doubt, especially to those of you who listen to “heavy” genres, although not exclusively metal fans. Of course, before you buy them it is always good to have a listen. But these headphones are pleasing to the eye, very beautiful, elegant, comfortable, and most importantly, have a good sound. The price on the official website of the manufacturer is 309.00 USD. I think the price tag is just as good as those cans actually sound.
     
     
     
    Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
    We thank Meze for providing the sample for listening
     
     
     
     
      Halam and MezeTeam like this.
    1. Bansaku
      Fantastic review! It translated quite well into English (I did actually read the original Russian translated with Google and got quite a laugh at the translation).
      Bansaku, Aug 30, 2016
    2. HansBarbarossa
      Thx Bansaku :) I am very glad that you had liked my review!
      HansBarbarossa, Aug 30, 2016
    3. Halam
      Thank you for your review, it's pretty poetic)) I also like metal, and yes, Meze 99 Classic is very good for this music.
      Halam, Dec 15, 2018
  7. clagros
    Gorgeous piece of art with a clean and dynamic sound.
    Written by clagros
    Published Jul 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - High-end looking and finishing. Detailed sound. Very good value for money.
    Cons - None so far, but matter of personal taste, mids are in the high zone.
    MEZE 99 Classic Review
    Firstly, I’d like to thank the Meze team giving me the opportunity to do my very first public headphones review.
    Frankly speaking, I was somehow skeptic when I applied for the “Europe tour review”,  since technically, Israel does not belongs geographically to EU, while participates in sports, such as basketball in the European league, for instance. So, why not to jump in the European Headphone Tour then? Here we go.
    I got the Meze 99 Classics by mail last week, and  I got myself immediately on them.
    This review is divided in two sections: the full section and the inpatient’s one. You can decide by yourself which one fits you most.
    FULL REVIEW  
    1. PACKAGE

    The first impression I got after opening the mail parcel was the high level of quality of the outer box, black with engravings and golden fonts. On the side, relevant technical information, such as frequency, sensitivity and impedance, among others. On the back, a tempting headphones picture with some basic characteristics. Nice!
    M3.jpg
     
    Opening the outer box (from the side, it took me a couple of attempts  before I figured out it is not a sliding box) showed the carrying case . Here again, the cover of the outer box is cushioned to protect the headphones, giving an additional feeling of overall quality product. Along with the carrying case with the headphones inside, a leaflet provides some basic info along with a decibels table with safety recommendations.
    The carrying case contains the headphones (finally!) with other small pocket including: audio cable, iPhone cable, 3.5 mm jack adaptor and airplane audio adaptor. Cool! -  The audio cable is long enough to plug it to a desk amplifier giving enough free of movements, with no need to stay close to it when playing.
    M2.jpg
     
    The overall aspect of the Meze 99 Classic headphones is quite impressive: after opening the high quality box, finding a wooden cups headphone with PU leather cups and head support with a black matte finish metallic double spring that makes you smile, congratulating yourself for having  such a good product.  A quick check showed no sharp edges, lack of termination details, rattling or loose parts. No any special smell to mention. The tact feeling is always good and inviting to touch the ear cups, the head arch and the soft PU leather surfaces. Organoleptic tests: Pass!
    Despite they look solid and durable, they are quite light (290 grams) and you notice that each time you pick them  up.
    The L and R plugs are relatively small, but they are well designed with strain relieves. Cable is thick, braided and therefore, anti – tangling. The iPhone cable has a button for answering calls and play-stop music with next and previous track, but not volume up and down. Connectors are gold plated.
    No “L”eft  or “R”igh marks on the cups makes you scratch your head until you figure out the L and R marks are engraved in the cable, since they have separated cables to plug (or replace) instead of ‘built-in’ annoying typical cables.  Plugging the cables into the caps is smooth and the cables remain firmly attached, even if they are accidentally pulled out.  Well done Meze!
    I’d say that the Meze 99 Classic not only looks good, but also feels good, even sexy if I may say. The look and feel of these are just fantastic. You can just leave them in your table as a decorative item, or you can even play with them, getting amazed by the wooden cups, PU leather surfaces , the delicate yet solid springs and the golden details that get all the unit together an amazing aspect.  No doubt the designers invested a lot of thinking about the overall experience,  besides how well they may sound.
    M1.jpg
     
    Wearing them (after taking a second look to the cables to identify L and R sides, which I found to a little bit annoying) is very comfortable and natural, no further adjustment was needed.
    1. SOUND TESTING

    I have to confess that reading other headphones reviews (while I was aware of not reading the Meze 99 Classics’ ones to avoid biasing), I was curious why most reviewers do not jump directly into the sound itself, spending a lot of time with other no-sound related characteristics.
    Now I get it. No matter how good a pair of headphones may sound, if they are not comfortable, too heavy or even ugly, well… you won’t use them. This is not the case if the Meze 99 Classics: you WANT to wear them, hoping the sound would be at least as nice as the package and aesthetics.
    So let’s talk about the setup:
    1. Source files: TIDAL high resolution streaming
    2. Amplifier/ DAC: Vamp Verza, ‘flat’ settings with no 3D  effect neither extra-bass
    3. Comparison headphones:
      1. Sony MDR-10RNC (with cancelling function off when testing)
      2. V-Moda Crossfade M-100
      3. Velodyne V-True
      4. Sol Republic V10

    The above  headphones were selected since they are also over the ear and at the similar price range. I found not adequate to compare the Meze 99 Classics with other on-ear or in-hear ones due to different technologies and sounding aspects.
    Tracks were selected based on my personal taste, assuming that for those I like most, I’ll be able to identify  subtle  musical differences if any, and let me explain: if something sound less good than expected, well, too bad; but if something I familiar with sounds surprisingly good, then… Bingo! We have a winner here.
    Tracks list:
    For initial impression (no comparisons were done here)
    1. Terri Walker, Mos def: Guess you didn’t love me
    2. Aretha Frankly: Walk on By
    3. Led Zeppelin: The raining song
    4. Madonna: Vogue
    5. FYC: She drives me crazy
    6. Bossacucanova: Vai levando
    7. Arthur Beatrice: Carter
    8. Mocean Worker: The sky is black
    9. John Martin: Over the hill

    For testing comparing with the reference headphones:
    1. Holly Cole: Jersey girl; because the level of detail and high quality recording
    2. Bent: Terry; because the deepness of the ambience
    3. Baby Mammoth: because I l like this particular song very much and know it well
    4. Hiromi: Seeker, because the female voice
    5. Da Lata: Firefly, because the percussion instrumentation, soundstage and sound separation

    I hope those that have the opportunity and patience to read this review will be curious enough to check those tracks by themselves and like them as well. (Bonus track in section Update #1 below).
    So, how do they sound? Actually, quite well. Without coming into pompous hi-tech wording, I’d say these headphones sound very natural and mostly, clear and clean. Looking for the right term to define them, probably these can be filed under ‘happy’ headphones. They sound ‘happy’ and makes you feel that way.
    Let me explain: Both highs and lows (bass) are really good, not exaggerated whatsoever– that’s why they sound so natural- and couldn't find any tested track that could be felt as that the headphones are neither missing something (frequencies) or struggling with them (saturation).
    The point is with the middles: from my humble opinion, they are calibrated in the higher scale of mids, that’s why they sound so ‘clear’ and ‘happy’, yet not strident. The proof of this was more evident when playing female voice, where it is relatively easy to spot the mids are slightly higher than expected, especially if you are already familiar with a particular track. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s just matter of particular taste, that’s why I’d recommend these headphones to ‘happy’ songs, but less for those deep or blue ones. In that case, a more neutral, bass or even dark oriented headphone will suit better, again, just according to my particular taste.
    One word about ‘sound separation’ since I do not believe on soundstaging when playing music with headphones. The sound separation is actually very, very good. Each sound can be spotted around and above your head, contributing to the overall impression of ‘live’, ‘brilliant’ or ‘sparkling’ headphones.
    (If I have more time, I’m going to perform additional testing through a valve amplifier, just to see if that changes the sound signature).
    CONCLUSSION (AKA ‘Inpatients section’):

    I’m happy that I had the opportunity of testing these marvelous headphones and writing a review. Any comment, suggestion or correction is more that welcome.
    The Meze 99 Classics are gorgeous, well designed and better manufactured headphones, and no doubt that anyone that tried them would agree. They are really comfortable – I even felt asleep wearing them- so you can enjoy them during long listening sessions. The headphones are lightweight but build to last, and the carrying case certainly contributes to that end. Some friends of mine saw them and they were immediately feeling envy, asking where to buy them.
    Compared with other similar headphones (those I have in my collection), they are the clear winner, sounding natural, clear and ‘dynamic’ if I may say. Matter of taste, mids seem to be on the high side of the scale while again, that could be due to my personal taste of the set up used (I’ll try again later with a different setup). Probably that can be adjusted with any particular amplifier, tweaking bass and treble, while not cheating with any nasty equalization device or software.
    Hope others will enjoy the Meze 99 Classics as much as I did. Certainly I’ll get a pair of these, while I believe the white version fits most the heart and soul of these surprisingly good for its price headphones.
    UPDATE 1:
    After trying the Meze 99 Classics through a portable valve amplifier, the sound turned out ‘sweeter’ making the mids sounding more relaxed. No sure if other reviewers tested them with valve amps or compared them with digital and analog sources. In any case, they still sound amazing and far better than those compared with. (Track tested: “All Over Again”, Stanley Clarke, because the bright bass and the female voice).
    UPDATE 2:
    Since I tested they headphones alone home, couldn’t check noise leaking and noise isolation.
    Well, a friend of mine came home today and I give him a try. Then he told me the isolation was very good even when playing a normal volumes. I did not notice any leaking at that volume level either. One more star for Meze 99 Classics!
     
     
     
     
     
      B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. clagros
      Beauty in the eye of the beholder...
      clagros, Jul 19, 2016
    3. Cinder
      מה נישׁמה? אני יהודי! לא יוֹדה ישׁ ישראלים אחרים באתר זה.
      Cinder, Jul 19, 2016
    4. VingtorAsator
      Would you try listening to these with heavy metal or rock music? I'm looking for new headphones stepping up from my trusty Fostex T40 Mk3(modded) and I listen mostly to rock and metal. Thanks
      VingtorAsator, Jul 21, 2016
  8. obsidyen
    Great All-Rounder Headphones
    Written by obsidyen
    Published Jul 7, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Pleasant Sound Signature, Even Frequency Response, Superb Design, Comfortable
    Cons - Drivers Are Too Close to Ears, Mids Are a Bit Too Strong
    Background:
     
    I’m a 30 year old bank examiner and an audio enthusiast. My other hobbies are cars, fitness and occasional clubbing. I’ve been an “audiophile” since I got my first stereo system in 2010 (Yamaha amp and Monitor Audio speakers). I still enjoy speakers a lot, listen to Dali speakers these days, but I like headphones as well, especially when I’m doing stuff on computer or I’m outside somewhere.
     
    I prefer full, balanced sound with elevated bass. I dislike harsh treble and treble peaks, I also dislike pronounced upper midrange. I enjoy slight upper midrange dips for fatigue-free listening experience. I listen to most genres, but I prefer electronic music, dance music, alternative and other modern genres but I also enjoy classical a lot, especially when it’s a live performance. Extended and powerful bass response is important to me.
     
    Meze 99 Classics Specs:
     
    1. Transducer size: 40mm
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm
    5. Rated input power: 30mW
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW
    7. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    Accessories:

    Carrying case, 2 set of cables (1 long cable and 1 short cable with mic), aeroplane adapter, 3.5mm to 6.4mm adapter.
     
    99-classics-accessories.jpg
     
    Design and Fit:
     
     Meze 99 Classics could be the dream headphones for people who like headphones made from wood. The cups are made from walnut and have a satin finish wood grain. It feels very nice and luxurious in hand. It also looks very attractive and yummy. The design is also very fashionable. It is a headphone that can turn heads in public, as the combination of wood and gold look very attractive together. It is not a particularly manly or feminine design and will look good on everyone. The good thing is even if you don’t like the gold look, Meze offers other choices as well such as the silver design.
     
    Meze 99 Classics are over-ear headphones and cover around my ears. They are also fairly comfortable. However, my ears touch the fabric inside the cups, thus my ears are very close to the driver. This has a huge effect on the sound signature of 99 Classics and is probably the intended wearing style as the sound signature will be different if the pads were larger and ears were further from the driver. I will speak of this in Sound Analysis section of the review. For most people, 99 Classics will be very comfortable headphones, especially for the intended portability purpose. 
     
    Sound Analysis
     
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    I exclusively listened to EDM and contemporary pop with 99 Classics. Some tracks I have listened to: This One's For you by David Guetta, This Girl by Kungs, Tears by Clean Bandit, Sex by Cheat Codes, This is What You Came For by Calvin Harris, Bonbon by Era Istrefi, Too Good By Drake, Lyrics by Skepta and many others.
     
    99 Classics are very easy to drive. They sound good from iPhone 6s or Chord Mojo. I think they don’t scale much, if at all. Actually I think iPhone 6s’ flat and neutral sound signature fits better to 99 Classics than the slightly fuller and warmer tonality of Chord Mojo. In terms of bass performance or detail, I did not find to Mojo to add anything over iPhone 6s, only volume.
     
    99 Classics are fairly balanced headphones. The bass is slightly elevated but this is necessary since these are portable headphones and in noisy environments low frequencies are the first to suffer. Thus, out and about these will sound very neutral in low frequencies. In quiet environments, these will have slightly elevated bass response but not even that much. I do not find it anywhere near basshead levels. Just right enough to enjoy EDM, pop and other contemporary music.
     
    Mids are the strongest point of 99 Classics. If you are a mid lover, then you’re in for a treat. The reason why mids sound strong is due to the design of 99 Classics. The drivers are very close to ears and this makes the mids sound louder and stronger. Just try it with any V-shaped headphones you have. For instance, Fostex TH900s fit loosely around the ears and the ears are far from the drivers. TH900s are, by their nature, v-shaped headphones. However, if you press the earpads towards your ears, you will hear more mid detail and the sound will become less v-shaped. If, as people have been speaking in 99 Classics threads, Meze start to sell some bigger, traditional size earpads, I believe the sound will become less mid-focused. I would see this as a welcome change, because I like mids as neutral or slightly pushed back. I am not a fan of in-your-face mids. If you like your mids, however, 99 Classics will be great for you. There is actually a slight dip in upper mids and this was probably by choice to prevent upper mid harshness but low-mids and mid-mids are very strong.
     
    Treble of 99 Classics are airy and present but never harsh. If you like excitement in music and enjoy treble, you will like 99 Classics. Even if you prefer headphones with reduced treble, you will still like 99 Classics. The treble is present and extended but also flat and polite.
     
    As far as soundstage goes, both depth and width are very good for closed-back, portable headphones. These do not feel like closed-back headphones at all. I found 99 Classics great for multimedia purposes and enjoyed watching films with them very much as there was a very 3D soundstage and great explosions due to the bass capabilities of the headphones.
     
    As far as comparisons go, I find my Noble K10U Aluminium and Ultrasone Edition M  to be easily superior to 99 Classics as they should be due to the price difference. They play on a higher technical level on every part of the frequency response. Compared to Oppo PM-3, a more fair comparison can be made. PM-3 will give you more technical performance, more detail retrieval, more scalibility, more powerful bass and fuller sound. 99 Classics will give you a wider and bigger soundstage, more treble excitement (but not necessarily more detail) and better performance for films and games.
     
    IMG_2461.jpg
     
      
    Conclusion
     
    99 Classics are great headphones at their price point. They are very nice allrounders and can be used at home and outside for various purposes whether it be music, games or films. I would easily recommend them to people who enjoy fun factor rather than analysing music and for people who prefer to have only one set of headphones. In the future, I hope to see headphones with 50mm biocellulose drivers from Meze Headphones with the same wood design. As portable headphones, you cannot go wrong with 99 Classics. Recommended.
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  9. Mshenay
    Simply Enjoyable
    Written by Mshenay
    Published Jun 24, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Inviting Sound, Ease of Use, Comfort, Build
    Cons - Slides Back with Tilted Head
    I want to thank the MezeTeam over at Head Fi for allowing me the chance to review the 99 Classics as part of their Tour. 
     
    You can purchase the 99 Classics in three colors right from their web site
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones.
     
    20160511_090925.jpg
    The team over at Meze was kind enough to launch a Tour for the 99 Classics back in December, even better they will be awarding a pair of the 99 Classics to one of the participants! I always enjoy working with products from a company that's as passionate about their potential customer base as they are about their products! 
     
    Box and Packing 
     
    The 99 Classics arrive in an elegant black box. Gold lettering and the faded silhouette of the 99 Classics make for an excellent first impression. I always appreciate minimalist packing, there's something to be said for simplicity. 
     
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    The box is held closed by a magnetic flap, with the headphones secured inside of semi hard shell case. The shell it self has a textured black finish and forms itself around the unique shape head band and ear cups. I found the case to be extremely easy to handle and rugged. Again, I'm noticing a bit of a trend here with their design choices. 
     
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    Build Quality and Design
     
    The 99 Classics have a great in the hands feel to them, the metal head band is rigid while the suspension strap flexible to it. Overall, it feels solid, the metal headband does flex with a little effort and has just a little tension on it, allowing for an comfortable fit. It was neither loose, nor excessively tight on my head. 
    20160511_091008.jpg
     
    The Walnut cups are beautiful, and well complimented by the gold assembly. Personally, I think the gold compliment the walnut better than the silver. I love the shape and stain of the cups too. The overall design is gorgeous to look at.​
     
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    For a smaller headphone, I found the ePads to be rather spacious.  The material was supple and breathable, it didn't get nearly as warm as I would have expected it to. The addition of a removable cable is much appreciated as well, I had no issues with the 3.5mm jacks nor the termination ports. 
     
     
    Overall, I'm fond of the design! I love the visual style of the headphone in addition to how easy it is to operate, it didn't feel delicate or brittle. Taking it on and off my head was hassle free as was transporting it. While I wouldn't want to walk around with the headphone, it's design makes such portable use a realistic possibility.  It was comfortable to wear and simple. Again, I really appreciate the more minimalist design they've implemented. Even better is that each part can be individually replaced as needed. An with nothing glued down, assembly and disassembly is simple. 
     
    While, I do not know the full in's and outs of the warranty being offered by Meze, I can speak for the modding and DIY guys who will appreciate the simplicity of build, as well as the availability of parts. An I my self personally enjoy being able to repair and service my own equipment when possible. However please be aware that any modification of self imposed repairs my void the warranty, so always check with the manufacturer first. 
     
    Sound 
     
    If you'd like an idea of my preference and what I gauge as neutral check out this article.  
     
     Overall, I found the 99 classics to be very warm and organic. The sound stage and micro detail were on par with most of the closed back headphones I've heard in this price range. What really stood out to me, was how effortlessly the 99 classics switched from genre to genre. 
     
    Starting with the lows, there was ample punch and decay to the bass. They had enough impact for heavier faster genres like Drum n Bass or Dub Step, while also proving to be tame enough to handle acoustic folk and rock.  
     
    The mids are sweet, with a little less edge than I like but still enough excitement for me to enjoy both metal and jazz. It paired nicely with both high quality and poorly recorded music, proving to be warm but not mushy. 
     
    Up top the 99 classics have enough air to bring out some of the fainter details, without being overly transparent. Making an excellent compliment to both my binaural classical as well some of my poorly ripped 50's pop. 
     
    All in all, these are a touch bassy than true neutral, but offer a very inviting and forgiving sound! I loved being able to just enjoy my music without necessarily having to make a lot of EQ adjustments. 
     
    Specs & Comparisons 
    1. Transducer size: 40mm​
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz​
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW​
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm​
    5. Rated input power: 30mW​
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW​
    7. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated​
    9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
    10. Ear-cups: maple wood​
    11.  ​
    I sourced them from my LG V10, Audio GD NFB10ES2 and Hifiman HM901/601, an I again found them to be very consistent, offering a similar sound from source to source. While moving up to higher quality sources did yield a more detailed and controlled sound, there were no significant or major losses moving down. 
     
     99 Classics vs Sennheiser HD 25-1 ii
     
    In terms of sound, the two headphones have a very different signature. Overall, I found the 99 Classics to have a more balanced softer sound, again making it easier to move between genres. The HD 25-1 ii was darker overall with a better controlled sub bass, but was a touch grainy up top. 
     
    Still in terms of function, the headphones differ in design. You find the HD 25-1 ii popular with a lot of DJs for it's incredible isolation, and aptitude for bass heavy music. Not to mention it's nearly indestructible, how ever it's not really all that attractive and has a NASTY peak at around 8.4khz. So yea, with proper EQ  and a quality source the HD 25-1 ii can exceed the 99 Classics, but at the cost of simplicity and comfort.  
     
    That being said, I like using my HD 25-1 ii exclusively when I work out with a Rock Boxed hm601 with also has a rather complicated and very specific eq setting just for the HD 25-1 ii, so outside of the very specific chain that I have for the HD 25-1 ii, I enjoyed the 99 Classics out of all of my each of my sources, without the need for any EQ. 
     
     
    Conclusion 
    Again I'd like to thank the MezeTeam for offering me the chance to listen to these, and I would honestly recommend them to any one in the market for a closed back headphone within this price range. It's simplicity and versatility make it an excellent choice for both new and experienced listeners. Plus it's gorgeously assembled wood and metal build, will ensure that it's both a pleasure to listen to and look at. Candy for your eyes and ears! 
     
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  10. moedawg140
    Review: Meze Headphones 99 Classics
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Jun 17, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - One-of-a-kind build, pride in build and listening experience
    Cons - Some listeners may feel that the earpads may get warm over time
    Review: Meze Headphones 99 Classics
     
     
    I tried to post a review only to the review template, but I was unable to because the system stated I was above the maximum character count, hence the review thread creation.
     
    My main review is here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/811551/review-meze-headphones-99-classics.
     
    Here is the TL:DR version (my video with comparisons and full review is located in the review thread):
     
     
    Is the 99 Classics worth it?

     
    If you are interested in a headphone that has a terrific build, a smooth and punchy sound and a price that won’t break the band, the 99 Classics is worth an audition and purchase.  
     
     
    Final thoughts
     
    ...For a one-of-a-kind type of presentation: Walnut earcups, gold hardware and an overall bespoke sound - the 99 Classics is a true performer, inside and out.  Is the 99 Classics the most holographic headphone you will listen to in your life?  Maybe, maybe not.  What the 99 Classics manages to personify is a headphone that you will be proud to present and wear with pride, not worrying about exact technicalities, and to truly get lost in the music for a very comforting experience.

     
    Specifications
     
    1. Transducer size: 40mm
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm
    5. Rated input power: 30mW
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW
    7. Two Detachable Kevlar OFC cables (Length = 4 ft/ 1.2 m and ~9.84 ft/ 3 m)
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    9. Weight: 260 grams (9.2 ounces) without cables
    10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
    11. Earpad inner dimensions: Length = 6 cm/ 2.36 in X Width = 4.5 cm/ 1.77 in
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