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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34559/5,
  1. FUYU
    Closed Goodness - The Meze 99 Classics
    Written by FUYU
    Published May 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build; Energetic Sound; Good detail and staging
    Cons - Cups are too small and non-removeable; Floppy Bass; A bit grainy in upper-mids
    Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were send to me as part of their European Tour. Impression are based on around a week of intensive usage.

    Preamble:

    First of all, welcome to another review here on Head-Fi.org.
    My name is Noel aka. FUYU, I'm 19 years old and a avid lover for everything technical.
    While everything is subjective, I like to explain in more rational enclosure with graphs and technical prowess.
    I care about facts and only facts, meaning no fancy 300$ cables and value by price-to perfomance.

    Headphones, my old love. When I first started my Head-Fi journey, I was a avid fan and modder of the legendary T50rp, which at the time was my first "audiophile" purchase I've ever done.
    And still at this day and time, my ZMF modded T50rp remains the only headphone in a rather small collection of audiophile products. Later on, my interests shifted to the world of IEM's.
    Headphones never seemed to suit me: Either they were not comfortable enough as I have a rather large head or just not my cup of tea sound-wise.
    However years later, a fine looking mix of brown and gold (actually the brown and silver version) sparked my interest once again.

    Enter Meze 99 Classics

    The Offical Meze 99 Thread:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/794593/meze-99-classics-discussion-impressions-thread


    Specifications:

    > Transducer Type: Neodymium Dynamic
    > 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; straight plug
    > Variants: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver, Marple Silver
    > Weight: 290g
    > MSRP: $309

    99-classics-lifestyle5.jpg


    Build and fit:

    Overall build is excellent. Construction has been done marvelously. The Meze 99 is build solely with high-quality materials. No plastic involved.
    Joints and construction are of high-caliber and as these are tour-units, possible longgevity-issues are highly unlikely to occur.
    The Meze 99 utilises an auto-adjusting headband, which works flawlessly. There is no wooble even on my head as these headphone remain flush on my head, at any time.
    While I'm a fan of industrial designs, the wooden cups and the metal construction are very well done. Only the ringing of the metal is slightly annoying, which happend quite often when touching the top of
    doorframes for example. (I'm 1.92m/6'4'')
    My biggest complaint with the Meze Headphones are the rather shallow cups, which cause discomfort after only a short period of time. It's unfortunate that you cannot change earcups on these,
    possibly improving comfort and isolation in the process.

    99-classics-problems-solutions3.jpg
    Not suited for those with jumbo-ears.


    Accesories:

    Acessories are plenty. You get a nice hard-case for transportation, a 3.5mm (1/8'') to 5.3mm (1/4'') adaptor, a airline-adapter, one 3m cable and a 1.2m cable with integrated microphone for mobile usage.
    The cables are braided and as such have moderate microphonics.

    Pairing:

    The Meze 99 are generally easy to drive. As always, improving your audiochain will also improve your listening-experience. However these are absolutly fine out of any smartphone or DAP and require no
    extra amping. I recommend a neutral source, as these headphones are more coloured.

    Overall sound:

    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg


    Overall sound is a fun and musical signature with emphasis on bass and an overall warm tonality:

    > Bass:
    The Bass is by far the most apparent of all the frequencies. It features a prominent bass-line consisting mostly of mid-bass around the 100-500hz area. Sub-Bass is also a slightly elevated, however lacking in comparision to the in my opinion slightly too loose mid-bass. In terms of quality the Classics are no slouch. Decay is almost always at it right place and feels really well implemented in the rest of the sound
    spectrum.

    > Mids:
    At first listening I was quite suprised. I expected the mids to be in typical V-shaped fashion we're used on seeing. This is not the case. The mids are quite well done, with a emphasis in the lower mids and some in the upper mid area giving the Classics a dynamic and engaging sound-signature. Detail is very good, however slightly grainy and somewhat slibilant in the upper mids. (Although I'm quite sensitive in that area)

    >Treble:
    One of the best aspects of the romanian headphone. While it doesn't extend infintely, it does have decent extention. The treble is slightly smoothed off to not offend anyone. A good trade-off as lots of detail is still eminent.

    >Soundstage:
    If there is a aspect of the 99 Classics I'd like to congratulate the folks over at Meze for, it would be soundstage and seperation. Really well done. It came as a big suprise to me, as these are closed headphones.
    It has great size in all three dimentions and at the same time remains crisp and with good "blackness" between instruments.

    >Overall thoughts:
    These are probably not the right bet for those seeking neutrality on the GO. However they spark a signature and smoothness almost anyone can enjoy. Thumbs up!

    Final Words:

    I'm quite suprised. Before receiving the Meze 99 Classics I was sceptical. Can a butic looking headphone move me away from IEMs? No, not quite. Still I enjoyed the Meze alot.
    But that doesn't mean it's bad in any way. In reality, the opposite is the case. If Meze can fix some of the small issues, primarily the one's in the confort department I would definitly see myself
    buying a pair or two. If you're looking for a fun and warm sounding headphone with lots of detail, look no further. The Meze 99 Classics combines style and sound unlike few headphones in it's class.
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. reddog
      A good, concise, informative review.
      reddog, May 3, 2016
  2. s1rrah
    Meze 99 Classic: an outstanding "all arounder"
    Written by s1rrah
    Published May 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Highly musical. Comfortable. Great staging for a closed can. Non-fatiguing
    Cons - Bass can be a tad "loose" at times.
    Thanks to Meze for allowing me to spend a week with these gorgeous headphones; it was a great listen!! And my apologies for taking a year to get something published regarding my impressions but suffice it to say, it's been a busy past few months for me.
     
    Considering the virtual inundation of Head-fi.org with one Meze 99 Classic review after another for the past couple months (seriously, I think there were like three different reviews featured on the entry page here at one time, LOL) ... I'm not going to be writing the longest bit of commentary on these as my comments/thoughts pretty much echo any and all that have already been written.
     
     
    Introductions
     
    I haven't been too big a fan of closed back headphones since first trying a pair of open backed headphones some 12 years ago or so; I've owned a couple different pair of closed back headphones over the years ... a pair of Shure SRH840's which I loved for their neutrality but ultimately became bored with and a pair of JVC Victor DX1000's ... which I could never figure out in regards to sound but which I thought were really pretty. I ended up selling both. Since then, I haven't forayed much more in to the world of closed back headphones as I've just had no need.
     
    But among the few closed back headphones that I've spent time with? Compared to the Shure SRH840 and the JVC DX1000?  Had I my choice?  I would keep the Meze 99 Classics in a heart beat, if only for the fact that they sound more "real" and musical than both the JVC and Shure while also not breaking the bank (like the JVC DX1000's).
     
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    Listening impressions
     
    All that considered, the first thing that struck me about the Meze 99 Classics was the sound stage ... well, more accurately, I was first taken with the fact that the sound was very detailed, unveiled and rich while also being 100% non-fatiguing (fatigue is the enemy as far as I'm concerned) ... and then I was taken with the sound stage; so much so that I had to take them off to see if there was venting or otherwise ports built into the cups but no ... completely closed. Seriously good sound stage for a completely closed cup headphone.\
     
    ...
     
    6.png
     
    ...
     
    Secondly, and perhaps the defining quality of this bit of gear is that they are insanely good "all around" listeners, not really sounding bad with anything I could throw at them: the high frequencies are plenty detailed while never sounding strident or exaggerated, the mids are dialed right about where I like them ... prominently in the middle, that is, and are neither what I would call forward or recessed. And the bass is deep and prominent while, for the most part sounding quite nice and balanced at moderate listening levels. I do consider the bass a bit forward and to my ear, it does at times impinge on the performance of the mid and high frequencies, at times taking on a bit of a "fluffy" tone or what one might call slightly "woolen" ... if there were any room for improvement at this price point and with the intentions of the headphone in so far as delivering, I would say a slight tightening up of the bass as well as backing it off a bit in the overall mix might be welcome but that's just my obviously subjective stance on things.
     
    ...
     
    4.png
     
    ...
     
    I would not consider the Meze 99 Classic to be what one might consider a seriously analytic headphone; I don't think it will appeal to person's looking for a "reference" headset unless your reference point is simple musicality, smooth sound and an easy listen. In other words, there is a great distance sonically between the Meze 99's and say, the Sennheiser HD800 or Grado PS1000's or any of the mid to high end Stax cans ... these latter headphones, admittedly being what one could call Detail Monsters(tm) when compared with the more relaxed listen that the Meze 99's provide. That being said, I don't believe this is what the Meze's intend to be (reference class audiophile headphones) ...
     
    But for the money and considering the build quality and general all around good sound, I don't think you can go wrong with the Meze 99's; especially if you hang them out where others can see them because the other fine qualities of the headphone not withstanding, they are really beautiful to look at.
     
    Comfort wise I find them excellent although, truth be told, I prefer a fully circumaural headset that fully encompasses my ear. The Meze 99's, much like the Grado RS1's, will rest smack dab on the flesh of your ear and some may find this more or less comfortable depending on individual sensitivities. The pads on the Meze 99's are very sumptuous however (unlike the scratchy Grado pads) and for me, are far more comfortable than say, the RS1's.
     
     
    Concluding
     
    All together I find the Meze 99 Classics to be a highly enjoyable headphone. The build quality is solid and they are visually quite beautiful. They are an excellent all around listen and work great with all genres of music. They are highly detailed while not being clinical or analytic; they are not fatiguing in the least but do represent the slightest bit of "bloat" in the bass region and this will at times and via a careful listen, bleed in to the other frequency regions. They have unusually good sound staging for a closed back headphone and in that regard, are some of the more enjoyable closed back cans I've listened too.
     
    Thanks again for the opportunity to demo!
     
     
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    1. jinxy245
      Nicely done...a good review...your conclusion sums it up perfectly...I miss these cans!
      jinxy245, May 3, 2016
    2. reddog
      A sweet review sir, with good pictures and informative impressions.
      reddog, May 3, 2016
  3. Defiant00
    Nicely Built Bass-Emphasized Headphones
    Written by Defiant00
    Published Apr 29, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Bass, impact, fun sound signature, great build quality.
    Cons - Vocals a bit recessed, small earcups, microphonic cable.
    I got to listen to these for a couple weeks as part of the USA tour, with the requirement that I write a review and pay to ship them to the next participant. I am not affiliated with, and was not compensated by Meze in any other way.
     

    Design

    The physical design is probably the best part about these headphones. Not to say that the sound is bad (we'll get to that later, but in short, it isn't), but the design and build quality is the standout feature of these. Everything is put together very well, the real wood looks quite classy, nothing creaks, and it's all very pleasant to the touch. The auto-adjusting mechanism works well, and I had no real difficulty in getting a good, comfortable fit.
     
    While the overall physical design is excellent, there are a few things I feel are worth talking about. First is that the cloth-covered cables (two are included, one with and one without inline controls), while very nice and durable seeming, are fairly microphonic.
     
    The second point may just be me, but as far as I was able to tell, there are no Left / Right markings on the headphones themselves. The ends of the detachable cable are clearly marked L and R, but the cans themselves are not. I suppose that means that they are symmetrical front-to-back and it doesn't matter which direction you have them facing, but it still seems like an odd omission.
     
    Third, and probably most important, is the size of the earcups, which are fairly small. They do go around my ears, but my ears are then touching the inside of the cups. One thing I was surprised about was how comfortable they are even with the smaller cups. Having my ears touch would typically bother me, but I found that I was able to wear these all day at work with little discomfort. I'm actually not entirely sure why, as the earpads are not super thick or anything, but they are nicely padded. So, in short, the earcups and pads are fairly small, but I found it bothered me a lot less than it usually does, and I actually found them surprisingly comfortable.
     

    Sound

    I am not a basshead, but to me these sound like what I would want a bass-heavy set of cans to sound like. If you're a hardcore basshead I can't make any guarantees that these will satisfy your craving for bass, but for me they had a tastefully-elevated amount of bass and impact that made these quite fun to listen to without completely drowning out the other frequencies. Vocals are a little overshadowed by the bass, but overall the 99 Classics still have a good amount of clarity and I don't feel like I'm sacrificing any real amount of detail to get the enhanced bass. If anything it's just fairly obvious that vocals are at a lower level than the bass that precedes them.
     
    When listening to some piano recordings, I do think that this (and acoustic music in general) are a slight weakness. I do want to emphasize slight though, as if I hadn't been switching between my various headphones at the time I doubt I would have had any real issue with the 99 Classics and piano. But compared to my other cans, piano sounds a bit boxed in and artificial, as in it's easier to tell that you're listening to a recording of a piano on closed cans, and it'd be unlikely to fool you into thinking that you were in a room with a piano. The 99 Classics seem to be missing the very leading edge of notes; I wouldn't necessarily call it slow-sounding, but the very leading percussive edge of piano notes or percussion just isn't as sharp and immediate as I've heard on other cans.
     
    Soundstage is also a relative weakness, they certainly sound like closed cans.
     

    Comparison

    I primarily listen to open cans, and have for the most part managed to keep myself to a single pair of closed cans at any one time. My current preferred reasonably-priced set of closed cans is the Shure SRH-840, which I've owned for years at this point. Certainly not the best I've heard, but with how infrequently I listen to closed cans, they've been a good price/performance tradeoff.
     
    Compared to the 99 Classics, the Shures have clearer and better highs, resulting in them sounding more open than the Meze cans. The 99 Classics, however, do low bass much better, and are what I'd consider a more "fun" set of cans. The Classics are also much better built, and are the obvious choice if you're looking for something portable. Since I personally only use my closed cans at home if I need sound isolation (rare), the Shures still make the most sense for my use case.
     

    Conclusion

    The Meze 99 Classics are a very well-built handsome set of cans that delivery a very pleasant, bass-elevated sound that is easy to listen to and non-fatiguing. It comes with a nice hard case and multiple cables, and would make an excellent portable headphone for anyone looking for their sound signature. They are also very sensitive, working well out of cell phones and portable players.
     
    Soundstage and treble are both (minor) weaknesses, but for on-the-go listening, I believe they have clearly focused on what matters the most for their intended audience.
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      I thought you articulated it well...I find it very challenging to write audio reviews. How do you take something as intricate & nuanced as sound (& music) & translate it into words...it's bound to be confusing. Gush too much & you sound like a tool, and it's also easy to sound too critical. Overall a good job...thanks!
      jinxy245, Apr 29, 2016
    3. Defiant00
      Thanks for the kind words, it is indeed a tricky balance :)
      Defiant00, Apr 29, 2016
    4. warubozu
      Thanks for the review, may look into getting a pair in the future
      warubozu, Apr 29, 2016
  4. swspiers
    A truly fun experience!
    Written by swspiers
    Published Apr 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Sound, impact, tuning, comfort
    Cons - Microphonic cable and frame, ear pads get a little warm.
    First, I’d like to thank Meze for this awesome tour. It’s been hard, reading all of the glowing reviews and waiting for my spot. By the time I got them, I was afraid that my “contrary nature” would put them at a disadvantage. I just tend to buck trends, and am skeptical about anything that gets such widespread praise.
    15 seconds with these headphones took care of that concern…

    BASS
    A lot of people believe the bass is one of the most important aspects of a headphone….
    You know what? My usual way of wanting to write a review just isn’t going to work with these headphones. In my experience, nothing about these headphones has anything to do with being ‘neutral’, ‘transparent’, or ‘revealing’. In fact, these cans sound like they don’t care about any of that.

    I just can’t imagine going in-depth on each song on my reference list and describing the sonic virtues and deficits (and there are a few). Because for this guy, these headphones made music, from Ufomammut, to Frank Zappa, to Tyler Swift, sound like I want them to sound. Everything was fun, lively, and energetic. I couldn’t help but tap my toes, bang my head, and rock back-and-forth while sitting on my deck chair. Even my girlfriend smiled and tapped her fingers to the beat when she had them on. Everything was just THERE!

    I did, of course, compare them to my Hifiman HE-400i’s and Mr. Speakers Alpha Primes through my Liquid Carbon amp. They 99’s did not fare so well in that decidedly un-fair competition. The just didn’t scale very well. The clarity and transparency of the Primes were just a totally different experience.But in the end, I just didn’t care. I just put them back into my iPhone, iPad, and laptop and let them do what they were born to do: BOOGIE!

    I read a lot of reviews and threads bemoaning the state of the hobby, with $5000 headphones and such. But there is a lot going on in the sub-$500 category that for me, redeems the excesses at the Top of The Line stuff. I think Meze really hit the target with the Classic 99’s.

    But not quite a bullseye. I found the cables, and even the frame itself, to be quite microphonic. The ear pads could be a little larger, and the pads do get a bit on the warm side.
    So, I’m giving these 4 stars. I just think Meze can and will do better, and if they ever join in the TOTL battles, I’ll pick up a pair. The Classic 99’s hint at greatness, and I would like to hear what they do if they go all-out. In the meantime, I’ll be buying these. I joined this hobby for fun, and the Classic 99’s deliver as well or better than any headphones I have tried to date.
      YtseJamer likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Bansaku
      Nice review! Short and sweet.
      Bansaku, Apr 13, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Nice review...I think you hit the nail on the head
       
      To paraphrase:
       
      "They 99’s did not fare so well in that decidedly un-fair competition. The just didn’t scale very well. The clarity and transparency...were just a totally different experience.But in the end, I... let them do what they were born to do: BOOGIE!"
       
      These aren't for the analytical & transparency freaks among us. These are just simply enjoyable headphones that don't stray so far from neutral to be bothersome...I remember smiling just about every time I put them on.
       
      Thanks for the review!
      jinxy245, Apr 17, 2016
    4. swspiers
      Thanks, jinxy and everyone else. More testament to how much I like them: I just got the HD 800 S on Friday, and the Classic 99's are still on my "must have" list.
      swspiers, Apr 17, 2016
  5. raulendymion
    Meze Classic 99 review by raulendymion
    Written by raulendymion
    Published Apr 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Robust, durable carrying case, detachable cables, a pleasant sound
    Cons - Resonant headband, kitschy gold inserts, non-movable pads
    For the beginning, I would like to thank Meze Team for providing me the headphones for this test.
    This is my first review on HF.
     
    Remember the group The Stranglers and their song "Golden Brown"? I had such an impression, when I saw these headphones out of the case. Wooden cups, metal connections, gilded elements - you can easily see that this is not just any product. But we can easily see that it is not for everyone - bronze and gold, you have to hate it or you have to like it. There is no third option. Beauty or kitsch, you have to decide.
     
    What’s in the box:
    Headphones come in matching gray pouch. There are two wires - one with microphone (1.2 m long) and second without (3 m long). As almost everyone now, the manufacturer adds the adapters: 6.3 mm jack and for airplane. Wires are pleasant in touch and looks very solid.
     
    Construction:
    Metal and wood, gold and black. There is something in this combination of Baroque paintings, hence probably the association with the name. The manufacturer offers also a white maple wood version with silver inserts, instead of dark walnut and gold. Check Meze home site for option. 
    Earpads are nice, shiny, but unfortunately small. In my home headphones (ATH - M50x) even stock pads are larger. And since I have changed my pads to Brainwavz HM5 replacement pads, those of Meze look just for older kids. Speaking of HM5 - legend says that they are supposedly somewhere in the world some headphones, which do not fit with HM5 pads :)
    The headband is made with leather bands and metal shields. And here, unfortunately, Meze made a mistake - because the headband strongly resonates with every touch (as every metal does) and even with rapid movement of the head. Gold clampings look very solid, nothing moves, nothing squeaks.
     
    Everyday use:
    Well headphones are good sitting on the head, only small earpads can make troubles in adjusting to the ears. They don't clamp like some AKG products. Headband, though solid, looks fine. Only this resonance - try to move his head and did not hear slithering sound - you can't. When it comes to isolation from the environment - is good, but not great. My stock M50x are better and there is no comparison with Focal Spirit Pro (my previous headphones).
     
    Rock or Classic?
    In my opinion these are the headphones tuned for fun, just not for analytical sound. Bass descends very low, but fortunately is well controlled and fast. Mids are slightly distanced, does not sound so crisp like Focal. However, the instruments are good recognized and in a proper separation one from another. Overall, not bad, but it could be a bit better. Trebles are quite good, but again there is no such resolution in highs, even my ATH takes advantage here. I miss the long playing of percussion instruments, but I am a treble-centred person.
     
    Wrap-up:
    In summary - the headphones are good and undemanding to the source - my Note 4 Exynos calmly drives them. My home PC with AIM SC808 sound card (with changed Opamps) drives them also without any problems. The sound is clear and crisp, I only miss some more highs. If I had bought, I would choose rather silver version with maple wood, but I understand Meze makers - gold version is made for winning audiophiles and esthetes hearts.
     
    Songs played during test (some of them):
    Assal & Zenn - Fontanna
    Azam Ali - Shirin
    Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55
    Chroma Key - Colorblind
    Eivør - Trøllabundin
    Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Kaneda/Requiem (Akira OST)
    Hooverphonic - Inhaler
    Kari Bremnes - Like før dagen går ned
    Nils Lofgren - Keith Don't Go
    Om - Haqq Al-Yaqin
    Vienna Teng - Unwritten Letter #1
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. reddog
      A good review.
      reddog, Apr 13, 2016
    2. taffy2207
      The 'Golden Brown' was Heroin lol Hope the case wasn't filled with that :p
      taffy2207, Apr 13, 2016
    3. raulendymion
      Thank you guys. Yeah, I know, that the song was about drugs :) But for me (and I never used any of them) it is only colour. White too :))
      raulendymion, Apr 14, 2016
  6. Amuro_Rey
    A suprise for a headset of this cost !
    Written by Amuro_Rey
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality , good materials and assembly, warm sound with good detail
    Cons - The pads is very hot after some times of useing and the sound losese impact with high volume
    Meze 99 Classics is a very surprising headset !
    When I received it a few days ago and I opened the box I was surprised by what he managed to do Meze especially knowing the selling price of this headset
    The box was fantastic, the hard case, the little box with a pair of cable and some jacks, very very good
    The 99 is not so little headset, and yes a portable headset but is one that is not possible to bend like many others on the market, the headband is a really surprise, the elastic control system for the head is very good, the wood pads are very well, a little small in my opinion and this is also because with the use I noticed that quite warm the ears
    The headset is still very light and easy to carry
    A very plus is the detachable cable, so you can take or use other cable and the other good news it’s that the cable uses a mini-jack to the pads
    Here perhaps I preferred assets in the accessories also provided with a standard jack cable
    We come to the sound , we say that is a headset that requires the famous burn in before playing them in a serious way. The sound after burn in changes significantly and becomes much more natural
    This headset has a warm sound very amazing warm sound, but at the same time has a shade of high sound beautiful and detail, the mids are warm and natural , a wide sound stage for a closed headphone
    For me it was a real surprise as sound for headphones in this category, sure can’t be a LCD-X category headset, but in his class of price is a really BEST !
    The bass is not so deep like a LCD-X but is the best part of this headset, and It’s not so present as to overpower the rest of the sound and the division of the instruments is fairly clear-cut
    All so positive ?
    No, the perfect headset does not yet unfortunately , and this 99 I noticed that with the increase of the volume (Burson Virtuoso) lost a little in the presence of the sound, with increasing volume high frequencies take, for my taste, too much the upper hand and against the low frequencies tend to flatten slightly by losing body to the sound
    The sound continues to be great anyway for that little baby, but still loses something
    In conclusion, we say it is a headset built in great way, with a packaging and accessories supplied above average and that if used to listen to moderate / low volume will give you great satisfaction
    GOOD work Meze !
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice review. Question though, what do you consider moderate volume?
      Bansaku, Mar 20, 2016
    2. Amuro_Rey
      With my Burson Virtuoso a "moderate" volume is 20/22
      After that the 99 lost a little of bass presence
      My LCD-X can rise high till 35/38 and the sound continue to be "full", yes the LCD-X and the 99 is not to be compared
      Amuro_Rey, Mar 20, 2016
  7. phonomat
    A great, non-fatiguing headphone
    Written by phonomat
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound, relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed
    Cons - Slight issues with overall build quality
    Caveat: This is my first review. Meze has been so kind as to provide me with this headphone. I'm not professional, I'm not an audiophile, just an enthusiastic hobbyist who likes to listen to (mostly instrumental electronic) music. I'm also not an English native speaker. Sorry!
     
    Well, with over 20 reviews, what is there to add? Not much, I'm afraid. By now, most of what's important about this headphone has been said and it's more a matter of underlining certain already well-covered aspects from my personal angle and experience.
     
    First of all, I have headphones in my possession that are many times as expensive as the Meze 99 Classics which retail for $309,- at the moment (my Pioneer SE-Master 1 costs almost eight times as much), and I have to shamefully admit that, currently, I reach for the Meze more often than not, which is mainly due to two reasons:
     
    • This can rocks! Head-noddingly, foot-tappingly rocks! I found that after the first couple of minutes they just got out of the way and let me enjoy the music, probably more so than other, more scrutinizing 'phones which sometimes tempt me to listen to the headphone rather than the music. I happen to think that this is a great character trait for a listening device. Are they very neutral? Are they analytical? Not, rather veeeery smooth and therefore
       
    • I can listen to them hours and hours … and hours and hours … on end without experiencing any fatigue whatsoever, which is more than I can say for certain "flagship" phones (yes, I'm looking at you, Fostex TH-900!).
     
     
    Sound
     
    I found that the Meze 99 Classics strike just the right balance between warmth and detail. While the aforementioned headphones and others that I've heard like the infamous Sennheiser HD 800 indubitably offer better resolution and microdetail, they tend to achieve that effect at the cost of a certain warmth or smoothness, resulting in a sound that, broadly speaking, can at times be perceived as harsh. Not so the Meze: Its highs are smooth as peanut butter (well, the smooth kind, not the crunchy kind). If you, like me, are sensitive to high frequencies or even happen some kind of tinnitus which is aggravated by those, this can be a godsend!
    The mids are just there (which I mean as compliment; there is nothing that bothers me in that section, nothing at all – neither do they feel overly recessed nor are they too present; just nothing off here), and the bass …
    Mmm, that bass! It's very warm, almost cozy, like you can wrap yourself in it as you would in a soft, cuddly blanket. While I guess there is a slight mid-bass hump, they amount of bass (for me at least, and I like me some bass) is just right, and it never sounds aggressive or too muchn in-your-face. Now, it may not be as clean as that of the Fostex TH-900, for example, but again, that headphone costs five times as much and is renowned for its bass qualities, so you would expect some differences. I just mention it because I have it readily available. With the Meze, the texture can be a tad soft here and there, a little less sharply contoured and precise; it's almost as if the manufacturer's emphasis lay on a warm enveloping sound signature. Funnily enough, this does not disturbe me in the leat, but I guess it is something to be aware of. This headphone is certainly south of neutral, with a warm yet punchy sound sig. It's probably closer to mid-fi than to summit-fi, and if you're looking for absolute fidelity, well, I guess you'll have to keep looking, but to my ears, they sound agreeably warm and smooth with a very nice, solid bass foundation that fits my preferred music genre like a glove.
    Also, don't get me wrong: The resolution the 99 Classics offer may not compete with some flagships out there, but even if it is not world class, it is certainly no less than great great among its price class:
     
     
    (Very) Brief comparison
     
    To compare it to two headphones in its own league, I like it better than the Ultrasone Pro 900 which, though having prodigious bass, can sound much more bright to the point of being annoying. Some swear by the Pro 900's soundstage, others not so much; I think this is due to Ultrasone's S-Logic technic working better for some listeners than for others. All in all, this aspect of the Pro 900 feels more finicky, while the 99 Classics are more relying and will just deliver in this regard.
    At the other end of the spectrum, there is the Audioquest Nighthawk, which retails for as much as $599,- or thereabouts and also has a warm sound signature, but to the point of sounding closed-in, constricted, mushy, bloated and veiled to my ears, all of which the Meze just does not. So if you have been eyeing the Nighthawk, give the 99 Classics a try first, and you might be able to save some money and get a superior headphone with a similar signature that will not polarize as much. It's just great value for money.
     
     
    Cons
     
    Those have been tackled extensively as well: Yes, the cups are a little small, which does not bother me, however, since my ears fit in them without a problem and they're nonetheless comfortable enough for longterm use (and this is where I see them in my repertoire: as a great headphone for long sessions that just won't get uncomfortable, neither comfort-wise nor sound-wise).
    My biggest issue by far are the cables. What's the problem? Well, let me put it this way: One comes with a microphone, both come with microphonics. I know this has been mentioned before, but even having read the previous reviews, I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by the degree to which this annoyed me. While I initially thought that this might be a great can to use on the go, I'm not so sure anymore, since even sitting down I'm somewhat bothered by the sounds the cable makes during quiet music passages when I turn my head and it chafes on my sweater, for example. This will happen alle the more easily since the connectors are not angled but directed in a way that they're pointing straight down so that contact with one's body/clothes is almost inevitable. Also, tapping on the headband while wearing the headphone will make it resonate very audibly. While this is something that is less likely to happen IRL, the cable microphonics are really bothersome and an alternative solution should be found. It's quite a shame really, since the Meze's sound is so very enjoyable otherwise.
    All in all, I have to take these issues in consideration when judging the build quality of this headphone and say that while I am impressed by the sound, I'm not with the overall quality. There are also some minor chips in the wood, but since I haven't reveived the 99 Classics fresh out of the box, I cannot judge on how they have been treated before being relaeses into my care and how easily this will happen.
     
     
    Summary
     
    All in all, this is a very enjoyable, very comfortable headphone with great sound -- relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed --, great value for money and unfortunately less than stellar build quality, but still very decent for what you pay. If you don't plan to take it outside, I'd wholeheartedly recommend that you take a listen to this fine creation by Meze.
     
    *This being my first review, I'd be very open to and grateful for any suggestions and criticism. Thanks, everybody!*
      Wilashort likes this.
  8. swnger
    Step out design with sonic quality to match Outstanding Value
    Written by swnger
    Published Mar 19, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful visual design First class construction materials natural sonics
    Cons - Ear cups could be a little bigger for full over the ear effect
    I'm not an absolutist.  I think a product should be reviewed from the view point of claims made for the product and the value that in represents to the user.
     
    Judging  the Mezze 99 Classics on those factors It's a purely outstanding product offering.  If your the kind of person that likes to read the first two lines of a review then hop over to the Meze site and give them your hard earned cash.  You wont be sorry.
     
    Want some more torture?  Please read on.
     
    I always get a big charge out of the unboxing Videos on YouTube.  They seem to be a voyeuristic guilty pleasure, kind of shoppers porno.  I wouldn't usually include packaging in a review for a product but I think Meze's packaging for the Classic 99 is well done.  I'm often a "B" stock buyer I think the company has had a second chance at making the product right so as you can see the white "B" box can work for me.
    Classic99boxfront.jpg
     
    Box Front   Simple classic
    Classic99boxback.jpg

    I think the line at the bottom of the back of the Box tells the story " Perfect natural sound Perfect natural Fit" 
    Classic99caseinbox.jpg
    The nicely done zippered semi-hard head phone storage case that contains the Meze 99 classic's and accessories.  The accessories come in a convenient separate zippered case
     
    classic99incase.jpg
    Meze99Acc.jpg
    The accessories pouch contains both wires standard and one with a microphone and remote control.  Airplane adapter and 1/4 inch head phone adapter.
     
    The package with the Meze Classic 99 is first rate.  So is the construction of the headphones.  Made with metal and wood they have a natural and substantial feel to them. 
    Classic99sideview.jpg
    Classic99headband.jpg
    Classic99frontview.jpg

    All you have to do is grab the ear cups spread the spring steel tension bars and place them on your ears and your ready to listen.  Comfortable, simple, with just the right tension. I have large ears so they touch my ear lobes but I don't find it objectionable.  Would it be better if my lobes fit inside.  Yes but this isn't a deal breaker for me.  I have several hours of listening to them under my belt and I find them comfortable.
     
    After all this I'm sure you're asking " Swnger for heavens sake what the heck do these things sound like?" 
     
    I don't have a desk full of Amps Headphones DACs but have decided to do the listening with a simple rig that you can put together for under $1000 including the Meze Classic 99.
    Classic99testrig.jpg

    The test rig consists of the Meze Classic 99 $309 , The Fiio X5 2nd Gen $349 and The Fiio K5 desk top amp and docking station $110  total $768
     
    I've been an audiophile since 1983 and one thing I've learned is that lots of audio gear gives you very little sonic improvement for extreme dollars.  I'm a vinyl guy with over 1000 Eps that I have ported over to Hi Rez in the last 10 years.  I also have an extensive collection on CD and Hi Rez downloads.  That being said I'm all about the music and not a total gear head.
     
    To prepare  the Meze Classic 99 for this review a burned in the headphones with over 40 hours of pink noise that I got from the Dr.Chesky  ultimate headphone Demo down load. Those 40 hours were torture.  I wanted to play with my new toy. Finally the moment of truth arrived and I put the Meze Classics over my ears and I started:
     
    First selection was Chilly Gonzales  " Chambers"  Piano and strings on tap.  Natural' engaging with clean attack and decay on both the strings and piano.  Satisfying acoustic realism. Showed Chilly's special touch on the piano delicate with an underling sense of power.
     
    Ella and Louis were up next.  Ella's voice like cream Louis voice like gravel on "Can't we be Friends" So strong mid range. Louis trumpet sole clean clear. lovely upper mid range.
    "Under a blanket of blue"  good drive in the bass line solid.  Mid bass good.
     
    How about James Browns " Mans world"  Good separation in the complex back ground so good definition  "Make it Funky" Super reproduction on the funky bass line. Hammond organ shuffling nicely.
     
    Daf Punk "Lose yourself to dance"  Solid dance bass line,  Channel  good separation for EDM .  Guitar drive very clean.
     
    John Barry "Diamonds are forever"  If your looking to see how things handle horns James Bond is the place to look.  The Meze Classic 99 handle the dynamics of this album very well. The strings and lush full and resolved..  The waltz "Circus Circus "  shows the violin and bells with good treble.
     
    Lets go for deep sub bass.  Boys Noize  Octave Mind  electronica deep bass hard for any thing to reproduce.  very well done can feel it in the tip of my toes.
     
    In Conclusion
    $309 No brainer.  I think the Meze Classic 99 punches well above its weight class in every way.  Like I said in line two it's a buy it.
      robbi22 likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice objective review! Too bad you are a "pink noise" type of guy. Personally I enjoy hearing the transformation of the sound during burn-in.
      Bansaku, Mar 20, 2016
    2. swnger
      I'm not a total Pink noise guy, but last week was busy and I wanted to give the headphones a fair review.  So Pinked them.  Made a nice improvement in the sonics from when I took them out of the box. Yes I would have liked to hear the progression.
      swnger, Mar 21, 2016
  9. buffer
    A fun headphone with punchy midbass and a forward midrange
    Written by buffer
    Published Mar 18, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - punchy midbass, open midrange, fleshed out vocals, reasonably good clarity
    Cons - over-emphasized midbass, tonal balance not completely neutral
    Summary
    The Meze 99 classics is an interesting headphone. So often I hear people characterize a headphone as fun, and I usually object to that characterization. After all, shouldn't all headphones be fun to listen to? But in this case I believe 'fun' is a perfect word to describe the Meze 99. Whether you like them or not is going to depend on your expectation. If you are looking for a neutral audiophile headphone with perfect tonal balance and absolute clarity, then look elsewhere. These headphones will not provide an 'audiophile' experience. But before I go more into the sound lets touch on some other points.
     
    Boxing and Packaging
    The box is not overly fancy but it is easy to access everything you need and easy to open and close. Within the box is the headphone case. At first, I thought the shape to be a bit odd. But it holds the headphones secure and comfortably, as well as the cables and other accessories. I think the packaging, therefore, strikes the proper balance of form and function. More extravagant and the price would probably start to rise.
     
    Ergonomics and general appearance.
    I'm a fan of wood headphones. I own many. It's really a matter of taste. The look of the headphone is good enough, but not quite my taste. That said, the quality of the build appears to be very good. The headphone I tried had no creeks, the wood appears to be real, and the fit and finish is excellent.
     
    I do like my headphone cups to swivel just a bit and the design of the Meze does not allow for that, though there is enough flex in the metal support portion of the headband to allow for a snug fit, without exhorting too much clamping pressure.
     
    When I place the headphone over my head I must pull the cups downward slightly each time for proper coverage over my ears. There is no memory with this design. One other comment. The headphone does not have a left and right channel per se. It is symmetric so the way you connect the cable will determine left and right channels. I do not see that as a positive or negative, I'm just attempting to be thorough in my description. What I do perceive in a slightly negative way is the pad size. As many have pointed out, the pads are not really over the ear. I consider my ears pretty average in size and while the headphone is not uncomfortable, the opening in the pads does not surround my ears. The headphone sits over top part of my ear lobes.
     
    The Sound
    I would characterize the overall sound to be bottom up ...that is, more focused on the mid to lower frequencies. The midrange is open sounding and the overall balance of frequencies feel pretty cohesive in the way they blend.
     
    Bass
    The bass is not neutral in quantity. There is a bass emphasis. I would describe the bass as full sounding, if not a slight bit plump. It is extremely punchy and of good quality. It also goes pretty deep, but certainly not the deepest I've heard. I feel the mid-bass is reasonably tight and tuneful, and I don't necessarily feel that it bleeds into the mid-range, though I could see where some may disagree.  I do feel, however, that depending on the music, the bass/mid-bass can overpower the other frequencies a bit. For example, on Godsmack (pretty much any album of theirs) where you have deep drum hits in combination with bass guitar and other lower frequencies the midbass appears to be too much and can rob the headphone of some clarity. I am no basshead, but I must admit the punchiness of the bass/mid-bass is something to behold and respect.
     
    Midrange
    The midrange is neither dark or bright (certainly not shouty). But I do feel there is an emphasis in the midrange. If you like a somewhat forward sound and you like fully fleshed out vocals, you will be pleased with the midrange of the Meze. It does vocals pretty well, though if you are sensitive to coloration you may be slightly less pleased. I myself like fully fleshed out vocals and enjoyed that aspect of the Meze. Because of the quantity and character of the midbass I feel the headphone is on the warm side.  But the midrange is open and possesses slightly forward vocals.  This provides a nice degree of clarity ….that is until the midbass becomes overbearing. Of course, many songs don't have lots of midbass and when that's the case the midbass is not prevalent so the midbass does not always overpower the midrange. It really depends on the music. While I cannot exactly put my finger on it, I would say that the upper mids start to fade into a treble that is less pronounced than the other frequencies. More on the treble in a minute.
     
    Clarity
    This headphone is reasonably clear sounding in all frequencies. But, in absolute terms, I certainly would not describe the headphone as crystal clear. In fact, I think from a driver technology standpoint, I suspect the driver is not the clearest or cleanest. There are probably many headphones, even at this pricepoint, that could compete in detail retrieval and clarity. The forward more intimate and fleshed out vocals help to paint the illusion of clarity. But other frequencies may be partially masked by this subtle coloration. I don't want to leave folks with the impression that the headphone is not clear. It is satisfyingly clear, but it certainly does not rival the best in this regard. Incidentally, in addition to vocals, I believe the Meze does piano pretty good.
     
    My Comparisons
    While I am it, I should have mentioned something. I'm an audiophile. I appreciate many different perspectives. I like warmer headphones, brighter ones, neutral ones, and others that might be defined as euphonic, but my preference is for a natural sound that is full-bodied, rich, impactful, and clear. I probably prefer a slightly brighter upper midrange and I do not like “V” shaped sound. I prefer neutrality overall, and possibly a slightly forward midrange with a slight sparkle in the treble. Tonal balance and cohesiveness through out the frequency spectrum is important to me. Furthermore, I do not like a 'dry' sound. When I do a compare headphones, I disregard price. So as I am comparing the Meze, please realize that I am comparing it to my standards and to the absolute best headphones I have heard. I have heard many of the flagships and I am not taking price into consideration when I comment on the Meze.
     
    Ok, on to a discussion of treble...
     
    The treble does not call attention to itself. I don't necessarily feel the treble lacking in quantity or rolling off but I don't hear that sparkle either. I believe between the mids and the treble, the headphone lacks a bit of 'air'. That said, I find the treble to be easy to listen to and of reasonably good quality. It's just not as forward as the other frequencies.
     
    Texture and Timbre
    Not exceptional, but not bad either. I was pleased, though I wasn't necessarily as musically engaged listening to the headphone as some others. I find sometimes I feel like that when the headphones lacks life-like realism. So while I enjoyed the punchiness (some of the punchiest midbass I've heard) and the open and forward mids, I think the slight lack of resolving power and slightly unnatural tonal balance, for me, detracted from the enjoyment just a bit. But again, I feel compelled to point out that my preferences are my own and others looking for different traits may be very pleased. In a nutshell, I think texture and timbre of voices and instruments is very good, and enjoyable but not quite as good as the best 'audiophile' headphones I've heard.
     
    Soundstage / Imaging
    The soundstage is a reasonable size. It did not leave me wanting. It's not the smallest or largest I've heard. If anything it added to the enjoyment rather than being a negative. Imaging was also fairly precise and I have no complaints in this area.
     
     
    Disclaimer, Music and Equipment
    I saved this for last, but if you are interested and still reading I thought I'd share a little bit. I listen to all kinds of music. I listen to dance, jazz, easy listening, rock, classic rock, and orchestral. My experience for this review is based on a loaner I received. I do not own the Meze headphones and have been guaranteed nothing, except the opportunity to hear them in an exchange for my honest review. So my listening time has been limited to about a week, or slightly less. I did listen to all kinds of music during this time. I enjoyed all types through the Meze but I do not feel I listened sufficiently to provide credible in-depth analysis of what genres work best for the headphone. I think it's fair to say that my opinions were present, regardless of genre.
     
    For the headphone amps, I used Grado Labs, JDS Labs, the Cavalli Liquid Carbon, a Behringer DAC/headphone output, a Denon DCD 1290 CD player and an Emotiva CD player. I used both balance and single ended as the source. I cannot recall with certainty, but I believe I also used my MicroZotl 2 tube amplifier. As you can tell, I did not take studious notes while listening. I do not log the songs and minutes and seconds as I know some do. I try to enjoy myself while listening and so my impressions are based on my overall listening experience to the headphones.
     
    Would I buy these?
    I think these headphones are an excellent value. I did enjoy listening to them, but at this point my preferences are such that they wouldn't be on the top of my list of headphones to purchase. That said, they have distinct qualities that would make a great addition to my stable of headphones and I would not hesitate to recommend this headphone to others so long as they understand going into the purchase that this is not an 'audiophile' $1000+ headphone. If you like midbass punch, strong midbass, an open midrange with good clarity, and fully fleshed out vocals and a forward midrange, then I have no doubt this headphone will be just what you are looking for and should bring years of satisfying listening pleasure.
     
    My rating and experience with other headphones
    I mentioned that when rating headphones I am basing my criteria in absolute terms. I would say these Meze Classics deliver great value. But in absolute terms I would rate them 3.5 stars. I would reserve 4 stars for the more audiophile phones (not necessarily correlating to cost) that deliver neutrality and excel on most all attributes I find important. Most all headphones are imperfect so very few would receive anything above 4.5 stars from me. I reserve the 5 star rating for those headphones that provide a near perfect match to my tastes.
      Wilashort likes this.
    1. reddog
      A good review, lots of information, I especially like your views on the bass and mid bass.
      reddog, Mar 18, 2016
  10. jinxy245
    A Most Welcome Surprise
    Written by jinxy245
    Published Mar 14, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Design, overall sound signature
    Cons - Controversial Ear Pads, Microphonics
    If you would have asked me a couple of months ago about Meze (I’ve read it is pronounced meh-zeh) I would have thought you were referencing a Sci-Fi character I’ve never heard of. To spite the fact that Meze has been around since at least 2009, they certainly haven’t been a household name, nor have I read much about them here or on any other audio website. After hearing the Classic 99s, I’d say that’s about to change (at the very least here on Head-Fi).
     
    Meze has created a simply beautiful (IMO) headphone with a MSRP of $309 (USD).I don’t often refer to the esthetics of headphones. I generally don’t care too much what it looks like; I care more about the sound. Looks are subjective anyway. But with the Meze, I feel I must touch on the looks for a second. Subjective or not, these headphones visually tic all the right boxes for me. From the wood, to the lines of the headband arch and the shape of the holes for the cable connectors on the ear cups, everything is just visually pleasing to me. The gold is not as flashy “in person” as they seem in photos, but if that is still not your style, there are 3 other options (different wood, white trim, silver accents etc.) available on their website (https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones).
     
    The materials used in creating the Classics are a welcome departure from the plastic world in which we live. Real wood and metal are used, and everything is replaceable down to the tiniest screw. From their website: “Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering we guarantee that the 99's are endlessly serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced because we built these headphones to last”. Thankfully, even though these are constructed with wood & metal, the headphones are relatively light, weighing 290 grams (approx. 10.3 ounces).
     
     I have had no problem at all comfort wise, other than my ears getting a little hot occasionally, which I’ve experienced with every over ear headphone. They weight is well distributed, and the pressure is fine for my small to medium sized head, though I can see the potential for larger noggins to experience some discomfort. If your experience is different, the metal frame seems pliable enough to stretch or compact as needed (of course I did not experiment as these are a review pair and I found them to be comfortable enough as is). The ears pads, although on the small size, fit fine over my ears, and were comfortable enough to be forgotten once the music started.
     
     I feel as though I have to give a little more attention to the ear pads, since many reviews have more to say about them than how the headphones actually sound. Lots of manufacturers use ear pads that both fit over the ear (on most people), yet still rest on the outer portion, and the Meze are one of these headphones. This is obviously an intentional design choice, whether it’s to have the headphone be as portable as possible, or to help create a better seal around the ear for better noise isolation, there are lots of examples of this design choice. As divisive as these ear pads are, I was impressed to learn that the Meze team is listening, and working on addressing this issue. They are constantly trying to better their products, and responded to my inquiry as follows: “…we take headfi reviewers feedback very seriously and will do our best to perfect every detail that can be improved with every production batch we release.” Well done.
     
    Before I offer my listening impressions, I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m pushing 50 and have less than perfect hearing (50 is pushing back). I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and I learned to listen a little more critically during the few years I sold audio equipment (and I continue to learn the more I listen). My fascination/infatuation with headphones began about 4 years ago, and has only gotten stronger. The majority of my listening was done listening to FLAC, WAV & various MP3s with my Shanling M3, Fiio x3 (1st gen.) or through my HP all in one PC and Audioquest Dragonfly. My tastes are fairly eclectic, but my listening centered on classic rock, folk, jazz, classical and some of the genres of EDM (dubstep? electro house? I can’t differentiate it, but it is enjoyable). I didn’t bother with burning in the headphones since this is a review pair and probably already have a few hundred hours on them, nor did I hear any difference throughout my evaluation.
     
    Isolation is about average for a closed back headphone, muting outside noise but not totally blocking it out. The metal frame I found to be highly microphonic (or is it prone to microphonism?) and the cable did as well, although to a lesser extent. Even with music playing at reasonable volumes, some sound can intrude, giving a small measure of situational awareness outdoors, however I did almost all of my listening at home. I never felt the need for more amplification during my time with the Meze, even when I briefly tested them through my cellphone (Samsung Galaxy Core Prime) and my old 512 MB SanDisk Sansa. Both were able to drive the 99 Classics to unsafe listening levels, but I found that they  scale well. The better the DAC, the better the files, the better they sang.
     
    And sing they did. This was another example of a headphone that grew on me the more I listened. Not that they didn’t grab me on first listen…I’d say they did. It’s just that I usually find myself drawn to headphones with more neutral bass. The Meze have a “fun” mid bass hump that doesn’t stray too far from neutral to be bothersome. In fact I found the bass to be engaging almost to the point of being distracting from the other things the Meze can do (but not quite). Especially on well recorded Rock & other genres of music that have a driving bass line, the bass simply demands attention, and for me it was not unwelcome. It upped the enjoyment factor and I was surprised how much I was digging the presentation.
     
     I wouldn’t call these basshead cans, though. Looking at the graph from Innerfidelity (http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/MezeClassic99.pdf ) there is a roll off starting about 50 Hz (more steeply rolling after 40 Hz). At first, I wasn’t able to clearly hear anything lacking, mostly because there isn’t a lot of music with bass that low. I’m sure there are some that will clearly hear the difference with the lowest notes of an Organ Concerto, but my musical preferences don’t include a lot of sub bass oriented music. I thought I could just discern a subtle difference when listening to deadmau5 and Fatali comparing them to the Sennheiser Momentum (1st gen.), but that could be me tricking myself, and I found those tracks no less pleasurable through the Classic 99s.  
     
    The midrange of the Meze is clear and doesn’t sound to be effected by the bass. There does seem to be a slight elevation in the upper mid-range, but I found this to be very track dependent. I don’t think it’s a matter of male vs. female vocals, so much as how the track was recorded. Vocals with less mid-range presence sound natural and well balanced. The mids never called attention to themselves when listening to Boston, Rush, or Vanessa Carlton. Live recordings, Opera and Binaural recordings also had no evidence of mid-range elevation. However, on certain pop recordings (Sia, Shel, Joe Bonamassa come to mind) where the vocals are a bit more prominent in the mix, they sounded a tad too forward, or at least more forward than I’m used to. I also noticed this was most evident when listening to lower bit rate file (MP3s). For me this was never too bothersome, and did help with intelligibility on some older recordings.
     
    The highs I found to be detailed and well enough extended with high hats & cymbals sitting further back in the mix than my personal preference would dictate. For instance, in Crystal Bowersox’s title track from Farmer’s Daughter, just before the bass kicks in the splash cymbals are just a touch more recessed than I like, but I accustomed myself to the difference fairly quickly. Soundstage I found to be above average for a closed back headphone, wider than any I own, with decent depth and height (I never feel it to be fair to compare soundstage between closed and open backed headphones).
    I have been asked to do a comparison between these and some of the other closed back headphones I have. The only headphones I have that (I think) warrant a comparison would be the Sennheiser Momentum (I have the 1st gen.), being in a similar price bracket (the original MSRP. was $349 USD.). I’ll start by saying these are general impressions only, I did all channel balancing by ear, and the Meze are definitely more sensitive than the Senns, so getting the levels right was a challenge. If I erred I always tried to give the Senns the volume advantage, and this is obviously in no way scientific, but this is what I heard.
     
    The bass on the Sennheiser seems to go a bit deeper and has more of an emphasis with just about everything I played, so you can say I find the Momentums to be more “V” shaped in their sound signature. The mids on the Senns have more of a wooly quality and seem more distant than on the Meze, making the Momentums bass sound a bit more thick and impactful, whereas I found the Meze to be tighter and more articulate overall in the bass and clearer in the midrange. The treble between the two was surprisingly similar with a good amount of detail and extension in both. Soundstage was wider and deeper when listening to the Meze, with similar height, and the Meze are more comfortable to me, too. For a relative newcomer to the headphone world, I’d say Meze knocked this one outta da park.
     
    So the bottom line is: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Meze Classics 99, even though these don’t have what I usually find to be my preferred sound signature. Once I let my ears settle into what the Meze can do, I found myself more & more looking forward to listening, not for evaluation, but for pleasure.  I’d say Meze has made a headphone that doesn’t just fit into the (already competitive) price point they’re in; I’d say they stand out. They are a most welcome surprise, indeed.
     
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      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      A sweet review, lots of good information, especially the comparison between the Meze and the Momentum.
      reddog, Mar 15, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Thank you, everyone!
      @gargani surprisingly enough, the Meze have the larger earcups.
       
      In Tyll's review on Innerfidelity, he gave the measurement's for a few different popular headphones:
       
      Meze 99 Classic, 45mm x 55mm;
       
      Oppo PM3, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      NAD VISO HP50, 35mm x 65mm;
       
      Focal Spirit Professional, 37mm x 50mm;
       
      Master & Dynamic MH40, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      Bowers & Wilkins P7, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      Sennheiser Momentum, 30mm x 55mm 
       
      He didn't specify, but I thing the Momentum is for the 1st generation.
      jinxy245, Mar 15, 2016
    4. gargani
      Thanks for the measurements.
      gargani, Mar 20, 2016