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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34559/5,
  1. albaman
    Best Romanian Export Since Dracula
    Written by albaman
    Published Mar 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - "full sized portables" build quality, design language, sound signature
    Cons - slight garishness in looks but not tone, slightly shallow earcups, slightly suppressed treble.

    MEZE 99 CLASSICS REVIEW
     
    Best Romanian Export Since Dracula.
     
     
    Romania is best known for its cloudy Carpathian topography and its misty Transylvanian mythology. But there is nothing unclear about it’s latest export, the Meze 99 Classics headphones.
     
    Technical reviews of these phones abound on headfi so I am going to limit myself to personal impressions. I was loaned a pair by Team Meze as part of their Euro tour and forwarded them to the next recipients without favour in the black casket provided.
     
    Context
    A Romanian folk hero by the name of Mr Vlad Impaler was reputed to suck the blood out of unsuspecting visitors but the good people of Meze have designed a pair of quality headphones that demand only £240 in travellers’ cheques. That’s Master & Dynamic MH40 / Kef M500 money at the more sublime end of the getting blood out of a stone business and Dr Dre’s BEATS / Bose Quiet Comfort at the more ridiculous end.
     
    So I’m judging the Meze offering to the hifi gods within these parameters and frankly, they are a bit of a steal at that price.
     
    Build
    The 99 Classics are mesmerizingly beautifully put together headphones – see my pix -  from a distance and, close up, there are no horrors in the sturdy design whatsoever. OK. The ‘gold’ fittings are a tad short of tasteful but there are silver and walnut or white and walnut options should you choose to be slightly more discrete. In fact, the satin finished wood grain earcups are spellbindingly good quality for this kind of stake.
     
    The phones are also light for a full size wooden design although the cups are slightly on the shallow side but this makes them an even better option for portable listening. No coffin up for heavy cases (sorry) here either as they come with a sleek semi-hard carry case that will fit in any travel holdall.  Interchangeable cables also make for atypical longevity in use on the go or under cover of darkness.
     
    So as a portable offering, the Meze are built for the best part of your average eternal life; almost but not quite immortal.
     
    Supporting the idea that these phones will not be joining the undead any time soon, are the lack of plastics and zinc alloy and steel construction that allow for replaceable body parts throughout their lifetime. And Kevlar cables ensure a surreal connection day in night out.
     
    Fellow travellers / commuters will find it hard to avert their gaze as the Classics allow prolonged and unamplified listening from a 32ohm impedence and 103db sensitivity. And a dead weight of only 260grams ensures a sudden pain in the neck will not follow.
     
    But how do they sound?
    Imagine Justine Bieber as a wolf howling at the moon… Unfortunately, on the Meze 99s Justin Bieber will sound pretty much like Justin Bieber.
     
    Yes these phones are accurate, offering an only slightly ethereal take on a no man’s land neutral sound signature. If a see-saw represents a flatline then imaging it slightly raised at the bass end and slightly lowered at the treble end and neutral in the middle. Yes this is a slightly two dimensional sound picture and that is what the Meze 99 Classics deliver.
     
    For an almost on ear design that is truly portable, this is actually a compliment rather than a criticism and, in my opinion, their performance exceeds portable offerings by B&W and Beyer. Genuinely, a sound signature to get your teeth into.
     
    Add a more than decent soundstage, vocals that are in no way unnatural and you have phones to go that are good. Dead good.
     
    Power requirements are easily met; my AK120 Titan provided a match made in heaven – or a slightly darker version of it. Run through a desktop system, the Meze needed little or no effort to deliver unexpectedly good cut through from a Yulong A28 Sabre.
     
    Conclusion
    An only slightly unreal sound signature shrouded in an almost immortal build quality makes the Meze 99 Classics an irresistible deal, carriage included.
     
    If you disagree, bite me!
     
    albaman
     
     
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      trellus likes this.
    1. albaman
      Hi everybody, just one detail to correct. I intended to give these 'phones four stars but seem to have managed to split the fourth star. Anyone know how to correct?
      albaman, Mar 4, 2016
    2. albaman
      Duly corrected!
      albaman, Mar 4, 2016
  2. elnero
    A Toe Tapping Good Time
    Written by elnero
    Published Feb 28, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - A fun and engaging headphone that strikes a very nice balance
    Cons - Fit is strange, not quite over the ear or on ear. An emphasis in the midrange that can give a honky or nasal quality.
    Introduction
     
    First off I would like to thank the Meze team for selecting me to take part in the Canadian leg of the 99 classic tour and I’d also like to apologize for it taking so long to get this written. This is my sons second year in hockey and between his practices, games and tournaments along with my daughters dance classes and my own work I’m starting to realize that from Christmas to March is the busiest time of year for me. This also limited my time with 99 Classics, I would have liked to have had more time to get to know them a little better.
     
    What’s Included
     
    Inside the 99 Classics outer box you’ll find a very nice hard case molded to the shape of the headphones. Inside the case is the 99 Classics themselves and a soft pouch including two cloth covered cables, one longer, the other shorter with a microphone for portable use. Also in the pouch is a ¼” as well as an airline adapter.
     
    I have to say, I really like the outer hard case. Honestly, I’d prefer a case like this was included with my Nighthawks instead of the softer case that came with those.
     
    Build Quality
     
    As a $300 US headphone I’m pretty impressed with the build quality and accessories. The pads and headband are a PU leather which seem to be of reasonably good quality although not quite up to the same standards of the materials used in my NightHawk. The wood cups have a very nice matte finish which I find very attractive. The overall presentation has an element of elegance but I’ll admit I don’t like the gold accents. I tend to prefer understated elegance though which I feel the gold detracts from.
     
    Meze99Classics.jpg
     
    Fit & Comfort
     
    There are some similarities between the 99 Classics and the NightHawks suspension. Both aim to have the user simply place the headphones on their head without the need for extra adjustments. The NightHawks ease of use and comfort has been a revelation, unfortunately the 99 Classics don’t quite hit the mark. Everytime I put them on I found I had to pull them down a bit and then try to stuff my ears inside the pads because the opening is just a little too small for my ears yet too big to sit on them comfortably. It also feels like the pads could be a tad thicker and softer as once I got my ears inside, the tops of my ears tended to touch the driver. Once set though the comfort wasn’t too bad, not too much clamp and I didn’t feel much need to readjust them all the time.
     
    Sound
     
    I was first on the Canadian tour so the 99 Classics were brand spanking new. Straight of the box I found the mids had an odd push and they sounded a little strained so I set them to play over the weekend before getting down to listening.
     
    After their weekend break-in period the 99 Classics seemed more at ease and the midrange push seemed to have lessened but was still there giving a slight honky or nasal quality that was most apparent on vocals. This emphasis in the mids also has the effect of bringing out some details that were previously masked so the 99 Classics gave an interesting, slightly different take on familiar music.
     
    The 99 Classics lean towards the warmer side yet they are one of the more fun headphones I’ve listened to. Bass has some added emphasis and it’s fast, tight and punchy with reasonably good extension into sub-bass. This tight and fast quality is predominant throughout the frequency spectrum giving the 99 Classics great PRaT making for a very fun listen at the expense of losing some ambient information as decay gets cut short.
     
    The decay being cut short may have some effect on soundstage as well as I found that, while it has decent width, there is a distinct lack of depth in comparison to what I’m used to with the NightHawks. Instrument placement is decent but does lack some of the separation I’ve become accustomed to. This is most noticeable on denser recordings where instruments and placement became a bit confused as they fight with each other for space.
     
    Treble has very good presence without any harshness or over emphasis on sibilance. In fact, I’d say this is one of the nicer presentations of treble I’ve heard in a headphone.
     
    As mentioned previously, I found the mids to have a bit of push I’d say in the upper range. Every time I put them on they sounded a bit odd at first. After a few minutes I could adjust but the timbre of some instruments and vocals always seemed a bit off. I wondered if the pads and fit might be to blame but it’s hard to say.
     
    Conclusion

    It might seem like didn’t like the 99 Classics but honestly, I was pretty impressed with them. They have a fun, energetic yet smooth sound that I found addictive. They give me some of what I’ve always liked about Grados without the sibilance and ringing ear issues I have with Grados. The 99 Classics do seem to have some irregularity in their frequency response but I suspect that at least some of this may come down to fit. If the Meze team were to update these with pads that are deeper and softer with a larger opening for the ear I think I would be very tempted to get a pair to complement my NightHawks. At $300 for the build and sound quality on offer the 99 Classics are a pretty darn good deal.
      mikemercer likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      Great review...fun, energetic & smooth is exactly how I'm finding them.
      I'm not sure it's fair to compare to the (semi-open & more expensive) Nighthawks, but the point of reference is understandable. The Meze isn't bad for a closed back (IMO).

      Thanks!
      jinxy245, Mar 5, 2016
    3. Miguel Ruiz
      Im looking into this ones vs the Nighthawks, Ive been reading a lot of reviews on both and almost never is Soundstage or localization, I listen mostly to classic rock and classical music, mostly piano, so a decent soundstage is a major thing for me. I know, they are close back but still, any input in this?
      Miguel Ruiz, Dec 19, 2016
    4. elnero
      @Miguel Ruiz It's been quite awhile since I've heard the 99 Classics but from my recollection I'd say the NightHawk would give you better soundstage depth and localization. The $349 sale price for the NightHawk right now is an absolute steal in my opinion. 
      elnero, Dec 19, 2016
  3. Cheaplad
    Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir with a Balanced Cable
    Written by Cheaplad
    Published Apr 21, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fun and smooth, good value and nice looking. Provide two versions of pads.
    Cons - None at this price.
    Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir are smooth and fun headphones with elevation in bass. For closed headphones, the staging is wide. Before delivery, I have been aware that there are some discussion and comparison about the original pads and the new pads in Meze's later production (which are supposedly to be bigger and more comfortable).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The build quality i might add is very good.

    Well that is all i have to say.

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

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

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

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

    My 2 cents,

    p.s. You will melt in the music.

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

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

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

    Dan.
    1. Greendriver
      It's about the enjoyment of music, and these are fun phones...you have your priorities right,anyway. Enjoy, no criticism here...
      Greendriver, Mar 27, 2019
  5. ExpatinJapan
    Meze 99 Classics - A winner at a great price
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Sep 20, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Comfortable, well designed, balanced sound
    Cons - none

    Meze 99 Classic Headphone Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie 
    2
    [​IMG]
    Meze 99 Classic with Centrance hifi-skyn​
     ​
     Meze 99 Classic review​
    (Silver walnut version)​
    -expatinjapan​
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     ​
    The MEZE 99 Classics have been getting a lot of air time on the internet and various review sites and forums. Even the most hardened of reviewers have agreed that the Meze 99 Classic is a headphone for the ages, one to add to the revolving roster of headphones that they would use and listen to on a regular basis.
     
     
    Unboxing and build​

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    The Meze come in an appropriate sized box and comes with a solid traveling case.
     
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    The Meze 99 Classic comes with a short cable with a built in microphone and also a long cable. 
    One for on the move with your choice of portable dap (four foot long) and a longer cable (Ten foot long) for relaxing at home.
    Also included is an 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter for your home system and an adapter for when traveling by airplane.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    The nice hard cover case protects the Meze 99 Classic whilst on the move.
    Its hard to see in this photo but there is also a soft round case for the cables.
     
     
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    The Meze 99 Classics fit me so well I did not even notice that the headband can be adjusted.
    It does so by itself automatically. super design.
     
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    [​IMG]
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    Stats
     
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     ​
     ​
    [​IMG]
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    Exquisite build and solid well thought out design makes the Meze 99 Classic a headphone for the ages.
    Each cable is marked with R and L, you can plug into either jack which makes set up easy and stress free.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    Fully serviceable! The 99 Classic.​
     
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    Nice reinforced Y cable split.​
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    Fit
     
    I find the fit to be very comfortable, they cover over my ears: circum-aural. This would not be the case for people with larger ears or ears that stick out I guess. But for me they slip right in there like a bug in a rug.
     
    I think as usual with most headphones fit and comfortable is dependent on individual head and ear size.
     
    [​IMG]
    Meze 99 Classic with Centrance Hifi-m8​
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    Value
    At around US$300 the Meze 99 Classic comes in at the sub mid fi price tier.
    But don`t let the price of the Meze 99 Classic fool you, they could easily up the price and still be within an acceptable asking price.
     
    Well designed, simply beautiful.
    Decent well sourced materials
    Solid and functional build.
    Replaceable parts.
    Excellent sound.
     
    Whats not to like?
     
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    Meze 99 Classic with the Opus#1 dap​
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    Sound​
     ​
    First impressions were positive. The Meze 99 Classic comes across silky smooth and resolving with fabulous instrument placing and separation.​
     ​
    As usually I got a considerable number of hours on the 99 Classics before I started the review.​
    I tried them with the Opus#1 dap, Shozy Alien Gold, Centrance Hifi skyn and the Hifi-M8.​
     ​
     ​
    Vocals: Neither too forward nor recessed the vocals on the Meze 99 Classic hit the sweet spot for me.​
    Bass: A slight slow decay is present, but overall is fast enough to please with most music.​
    Mids: As with most woodies the mids play an important part in the overall presentation, not overly warm as such, more on the liquid side of things rather than a deep lushness. fairly neutral and dynamic with a quick decay.​
    Treble: It is clear and offers the detail one expects, it veers away from being extended to the point of harshness or sibilance and is pleasing to the ears. It reaches far enough for a good balance with the bass and the mids, each not over stepping their individual bounds.​
     ​
    Instrument separation: Good separation, not crisp as such with a slight smudging at times. Overall very good.​
    Sound stage: A decent soundstage that feels larger than my head, good instrument placement.​
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    So many reviews have already been written on the Meze 99 Classic that the interested consumer now has many to read through to help them in choosing whether the 99 Classic is for them. They all seem to agree that it is a decent product.
     
    If you are after a great sounding, well priced headphone with beautiful design then the Meze 99 Classic could be for you.
     ​
    [​IMG]
     
    Overall​

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

    20160820_160525.jpg

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