Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.375/5,
  1. Mark Up
    Great Future Potential
    Written by Mark Up
    Published Feb 13, 2016
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Quality Build, General Honest Sound, No Hype
    Cons - Fit / Size Issues, Mids, Lacking Low Sub Bass
    Meze 99 Classic
    This is my first review. I was part of the review tour. I want to thank Meze for doing this. 

    Background
    I'm a lifelong musician, live and studio sound engineer, always with heavy duty earplugs. Often the only one in my band wearing them, but then, I've retained my unusually sensitive hearing because of it. I've tried too many headphones and in ears to list. I'll refer to what I've tried where it's relevant in the review, to keep it simple. I've got some I'm happy with now, but I'm never tired of trying new things, so that brought me to these.

    What I Look For
    I prefer warmer headphones, full lower mids, flat mids, reduced high mids. More than a moderate mid bass bump bothers me, and sub bass rarely extends low enough in most quality cans I'll try. I'll say "quality" since there are plenty that are explosive down there, but often at the expense of everything else. Some have said you can't have all frequencies well represented, but enough come close to this, so I know this can be done.

    Common Issues
    Fit has had me reject 80% of what I've tried. I much prefer over-ear. It's hard enough to get over-ear to go over everyone's ears (Senn. Momentum 1 for example, Momentum 2 isn't much better). My ears fairly flat and proportional to being 6'5". My head is also, with Triple X hat size (few of those fit either). Most companies could fit larger heads, with an inch more band extension, but only some seem to take that into consideration.

    Design and Comfort
    These arrived well package and designed. Nice solid case and aesthetics. Very light yet sturdy. The wood is a nice touch but as long as headphones don't look ridiculous, I'm more into the sound aspect (and the fit, naturally). The band auto-fits easily, though like many with this design on me, they tend to contract a bit when worn and have to be pulled back down sometimes. The design seems to allow some flex to fit you better.

    Still there was no way I would attempt radically bending these. Fully extended they just reached my ears but they exert pressure on the top part of the cup likely due to the width of my head, so I can not keep them on long. The pads are soft, not quite deep enough, and could be a bit longer top to bottom to fit my above average ears. This could reduce the bass a little more, but that could be addressed, in voicing the driver itself.

    Sound Quality and Ideas
    As commonly happens, I find them brighter than what I read in reviews, but not at all harsh. They do clarity very well, without sibilance or hype. This early in the game, they tamed one of the most difficult areas. There seems to be a mid-fi quality to them. A notch above Creative Aurvana Live! 2, but below the Sony MDR-Z7 / Sennheiser HD650. It's hard to quantify, but often (not always) cans can sound more or less "expensive".

    The high mids are just right, blending with the highs perfectly. Another big win. The true mids (roughly 500 hz to 2 khz) are flat, which to my ears is a bit more than I'd like. Particularly in the 1 khz area. Some have put dips there (Audio Quest Nighthawk V1 (should a V2 be in the works) that are too much, and some are worse there (some AKG). This isn't very bothersome, it's just slightly north of what I'd like, in these headphones.

    The lower mids seem a bit recessed. I'd call them just south of flat. Not as lacking as you think for two reasons. One, many like it just north of flat to warm it up. Two, the mids I talk about, and a slightly north of flat mid bass make these seem to be less than they really are. So these are actually close to just right. 1 db more, carefully done to avoid resonant "hollow" "ringy" sound some (as the ATH-M50 for example) can suffer from. 

    The mid bass is perfect. Just the right amount of boost. Not an overbearing "boop" in the kick drums that bother me in the higher end Fostex, not scooped like the Sennheiser HD380. The fun starts to end under 40 hz where it rolls off. This is common. Just slightly below where a Sennheiser HD650 rolls off. Extending slightly farther than the HD650, but leaving me wishing for more extension, with less roll off, to complete things.

    How They Make This Better
    They look like high grade home use in pictures. Out of the box - they're smaller and lighter than you expect, with mid grade sound. The above sonic ideas would help. What bugs me about attempts at portable is this. If they don't fold, and foldability depends on thin cups, make the cups thicker. Companies should try on the cans, and when normal ears barely fit / touch the driver, make thicker & longer pads. This may impact bass.

    Thus they should implement sonic changes to allow that. You can have longer, deeper pads with more sub bass (the Sony MDR-Z7 for example). The larger area around the ears should improve the spatial depth as that is another area lacking, as it does on most cans that barely get around your ears (ie. Momentum 2, Beats Studio, etc.). They could even look at angled drivers, some have that to add more natural spaciousness.

    Given this is my first review, I hope I was still able to convey my ideas. These headphones don't hype things, and have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results. I could mostly trust mixing on these if I had to (though I prefer to mix with studio monitors and a properly set up sub in a properly set up room). I can't say that about many headphones. Keep up the good work Meze and keep us posted.
      Currawong and MezeTeam like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      A very nice review, that has lots of information, especially on ear size and the ear hitting the driver.
      reddog, Feb 13, 2016
    3. jon parker
      Thanks for your review. you have added a few more details on top of other reviews which is most helpful
      agree 100% on this point you raised "have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results"
      Thanks :)
      jon parker, Feb 13, 2016
    4. Mark Up
      Thanks folks. jinxy245 - One star off for sound, very good, but not quite there. One star off for fit. These I consider accurate in general. Just not ideal for what I like, which I've described in my sonic suggestions.

      PS: jinxy245 - You have accidently posted your comment twice. You can delete one of them if you'd like.
      Mark Up, Feb 14, 2016
  2. mark2410
    Meze 99 Classics Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Jul 5, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - WOW, seriously wow. Looks fantastic. Wow bass. Wow treble.
    Cons - Way too much wow. Shallow cups hurt my ears.
    Meze 99 Classics Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to Meze for the loaner.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/813263/meze-99-classics-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  All the wow and dazzle Romainia can muster.
     
    Price:  US$309 or 309 euro’s.  (£232 or £259)
     
    Specification:  Transducer size 40mm, Frequency response 15Hz - 25KHz, Sensitivity 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW, Impedance 32Ohm, Rated input power 30mW, Maximum input power 50mW, Cable make and material, Detachable Kevlar OFC cable, Plug 3.5mm gold plated, Weight 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
     
    Accessories:  Baggy for the cable and bits, a hard case for everything, a long non phone cable, a shorter phone cable, a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter and lastly a plane adapter.
     
    Build Quality:  Sumptuous.  Its looks superb, it feels superb.  This is an item of Quality.
     
    Isolation:  Pretty fair, you could maybe get away with using these on a bus.  Fine for walking out and about if you were so inclined.  Not one for Tube or flights though.  Oh and as ever you’ll need to look out for wheeled chariots of death because you won’t hear traffic.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Fit was great, on and done.  Comfort though, the pads got all around my ears but the cups were shallow enough that the insides rested directly on my ears.  This rapidly got oppressive and grew to pain.  After an hour I wanted them off and hurled across the room.
     
    Aesthetics:  They look stunningly good.  I didn’t love the cream but even still, damn they look great don’t they?  I can’t imagine anyone not thinking these look impressive even if they may not be to their own personal tastes.
     
    Sound:  Wow.  Wow again.  They are V shaped but with a flat bottom.  The bass is elevated, very seriously elevated and loves to come rip roaring out of nowhere at you.  Its great quality though so that I don’t mind so much.  It’s punchy with a hint of bloom, a pretty spot on blend actually.  Though a little less maybe of it.  Actually if it would maybe just take a Valium and sit the F down for a bit.  It’s like someone just fed it a bag of sugar and fistfuls of blue Smartie’s.  The treble is just the same.  Too excitable, super impressive for sure, I mean it is seriously impressive but oh good lord please just sit still for a bit, please.  Now these certainly make a massively impressive first impression.  It’s simply all of the wow, so much wow, it’s off the charts impressive.  The mids, they are less wild but have a great breadth to them.  Lots of openness and a touch dry, great detail retrieval though and great clarity.
     
    Still the V shaped nature of the bass and treble I find overwhelming.  If it were the bass on its own it would be fine but the treble, ahh for me that’s too much.  Its Grado esq treble with a spike in there up somewhere high that is just exhausting to my ears.
     
    Value:  So long as you want its sound then it quite comfortably beats the Senn Momentum Over-Ears acoustically and detail levels.  It also looks fantastic.  Overall it’s a high quality item, more than deserving of its price.
     
    Pro’s:  WOW, seriously wow.  Looks fantastic.  Wow bass.  Wow treble.
     
    Con’s:  Way too much wow.  Shallow cups hurt my ears.
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. voxie
      Hey Mark, thanks for sharing. Just wondering are they built to last re everyday commute? 
      voxie, Jul 6, 2016
    3. mark2410
      well time is the only true test but they are really very very nicely constructed. i would expect they would survive well especially given the cable is easily changed (they the bit that usually goes) and the whole things can be dismantled and repaired, i would expect them to live as long as you want them to. if anything i would say their somewhat noticeable looks could be the biggest problem, you look at them and you can tell they were expensive so it might be a bit of an invitation to thieves.
      mark2410, Jul 6, 2016
    4. voxie
      Thanks Mark for your reply, agree re an invitation to thieves.
      voxie, Jul 6, 2016
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. Loquah
    Meze 99 Classics - gorgeous, comfortable, fun
    Written by Loquah
    Published May 14, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Gorgeous looks, supreme comfort, warm sound, solid bass, excellent accessories, useful cable options, well-priced
    Cons - Slight lack of mid-range texture, treble may be lacking for some, treble quality is slightly grainy / edgy
    I recently reviewed the 99 Classics on my blog page so I thought I'd share a brief summary here and my video review.

    The 99 Classics are made by Meze Audio out of Romania. Retailing at approximately $300 they are at the lower end of the mid-price range of headphones and compete with many long-standing stalwarts of the industry, but they do it a bit differently.

    To summarise my thoughts, the 99 Classics look amazing - they are one of the best looking headphones on the market and they are supremely comfortable thanks to the very soft ear pads and suspension-style headband. In terms of sound, they are warm and bassy, but articulate and fairly precise. They lean strongly towards warmth and musicality, but I don't ever find them slow or thick. Check out the video below for more details...

      dwinnert, B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
  7. Ion Manascurtă
    Almost perfect for the price
    Written by Ion Manascurtă
    Published May 25, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very musical, well built, stylish
    Cons - Tends to get uncomfortable if worn for longer periods of time.
    A lot has been said about these headphones so I will try not to focus on how awesome they are, revealing some aspects a potential customer should take into account before spending his or her hard earned money.

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

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

    Sound:
    • Bass: coming from an open back DT-880 Vintage (where the bass is like a whisper), I was literally blown away by M99C. The bass is punchy, well defined and controlled. It feels too much at times, especially in quiet environments but that is normal for a closed back. 4.5 stars.
    • Mids: The main reason why I bought these and I was right. A very natural reproduction of piano and guitar sound. Vocals are a bit forward, "in front of the orchestra", you can hear every whisper, every drop of saliva in the mouth of the vocalist. That is truly something. 5 stars.
    • Highs: I'm a spoiled child here. I own a pair of Sony XBA-H3 and their armature drivers create a tremble that is hard to beat. Meze's dinamic driver is simply not in the same league. Highs are played accurately and only on very complicated compositions a slight loss of detail can be observed. Still, they are not sparkling like on XBA. If you are into jazz or trap, Meze may not be for you. 4 stars.
    • Soundstage: It is OK. No praise, no complains here. The average soundstage of a closed back. The separation is good, though and that is enough. 4.5 stars
    • Overall: a mature sound signature, very natural and pleasant, with an engulfing bass and forward mids. I don't think these headphones have a "warm " sound. That is an epitet reserved for Senns. That makes M99C your best bet for live music, rock and classical music. In fact, Meze are quite omnivore and I am almost sure that every genre could be enjoyed with these cans. 4.5 stars
    Requirements to source:
    They work well straight from my iPod touch but will scale significantly with a good DAC (I use them with a Pegasus II HP). 5 stars
      rafaelo likes this.
  8. Hisoundfi
    "Wood" you like to read another 99 Classics review? The Meze 99 Classics closed back headphone.
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Aug 21, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Premium build, Very cool design, Nice accessories package, Entertaining sound signature
    Cons - Microphonics from headband, Pads won't fit larger ears comfortably, Bass is a bit loose, Not for those looking for a linear tuning
    20160630_194158.jpg
    At the time of the review, the Meze 99 Classics headphones were for sale on their website. Here is a link for information and purchase:
     
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-walnut-silver-wood-headphones
     
    Introduction
    The force is strong in these…
     
    If you’ve been visiting Head-Fi over the last year, you’ve probably seen several Meze 99 Classics reviews on the front page of the website. They have gotten some rave reviews from fellow Head-Fiers.
     
    I had an opportunity to sample the 99 Classics at Axpona in April of 2016. They sounded decent, but to be honest I didn’t have enough time with them to get a fair impression. A few months later I was browsing the InnerFidelity Wall of Fame, and saw that they made Tyll’s list. At that point I knew I needed to see if I could get my hands and ears on a review sample and put them through their paces. I contacted Meze to see if I could borrow a pair.
     
    I did a little homework on Meze. The headphones were designed in Romania and assembled in China. Meze is committed to combining craftsmanship, art and music together into one great headphone. Here is a statement shared from a company representative:
     
    “Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.

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

    The process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners but we take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.

    The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.

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

    It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. This way, we are helping the environment and we're giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.”
     
    With that being said, let's take a closer look (and listen) to the Meze 99 Classics.

     
    Disclaimer
    I was given an opportunity to review the 99 Classics in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze aside from offering an unbiased review in exchange for an opportunity to sample their product. I would like to take this time to personally thank Razvan and Lorand for this opportunity.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
     
    REVIEW
    NOTE: The 99 Classics comes in three color variations. I received the walnut and silver pair. Please refer the link at the top of the page to see the other colors that are available.
     
    20160707_133518.jpg
    The 99 Classics come in a simple black box with vanilla lettering and accents. The front of the box features the product name and a gloss outlined drawing of the headphones.
     
    20160707_133532.jpg
    The back of the box displays a nice picture of the headphones, along with some key features of the product.
     
    20160707_133525.jpg    20160707_133512.jpg
    The left side of the box has another gloss outlined drawing of a side view of the 99 Classics. The right side of the box displays a frequency response graph, along with specifications and accessories.
     
    Specifications and Accessories
     
    Specifications
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    Accessories
    20160821_191129.jpg
    1X Headphone carrying case
    1x Cable carrying case
    1X 4ft Kevlar coated cable with single button microphone and remote
    1X 10ft Kevlar coated cable
    1X ¼ inch adapter
    1X airline adapter

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

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

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

     
    SPECS
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
    DSC03229.jpg
     
    DSC03241.jpg
     
    Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Adam I am 39yrs old and have been into high quality audio products since I was in high school. I am by no means an audiophile compared to the majority of members on Head-Fi.  I like to gear my reviews towards the average consumer since most searches on the internet land you on Head-Fi.  And to be honest more average consumers that are buying products are not audiophiles.  I was a little skeptical in what the Meze 99’s would sound like by first glance.  There are so many companies that are turning headphones and earbuds out.  Meze are what I would call a boutique style company, that doesn’t just turn products out. They have a very small lineup of products, but they are fairly new to the headphone scene.  
    DSC03230.jpg
     
     
     
    DSC03240.jpg
     
    Meze 99 Classics come packed in a very nice box that can be used for storage, the top and bottom of the box even have a soft foam inside.  The headphones come packed inside a hard clamshell case that’s a hard EVA with a zipper.  The carrying case is very nice and can be tossed in a backpack for traveling. In the center of the case is a case that holds all the cables and accessories.  The accessory case is a soft pouch with a zipper that sits nicely in the center of the headphones.
     
    Meze 99 Classics are engineered and designed in Romania, then sent to China for manufacturing.  The One thing that really stands out when you first lay eyes on these are the CNC machined walnut wood cups.  The overall look to the Meze 99 Classics is classy, the name says it all.  They feel very sturdy and durable all the hardware is a die-cast zinc alloy.  A self adjusting headband is connected to two metal bands to keep them light weight.  The earcups  pivot on a 2-axis swivel to get just the right angle on your ears.  I have to say these are one of the most comfortable over ear headphones that I have ever used.  The earcups contain a medium density memory foam to conform to your head.  I by no means have big ears, some people might find the earcups to shallow. Meze 99 Classics are more of a headphone that I would only use in the house.  There not the type I would take out to work out in or ride the train.  
     
    I am not going to get crazy and tell you every little detail about the accessories.  They do include two cables that are marked with a R & L. The one cable includes a mic and 3 function button for cell phone users. The headphones are symmetrical, so it doesn’t matter which way you put them on. Also included is a 6.3mm gold plated adaptor and a airplane jack, if anyone actually uses them on flights.  The cables are very nice and sturdy that are made with Kevlar and OFC wire.  The cables plug is slim enough that I had no problem using them with my phone with a case on.  You won’t find any cable slide on these, but they are just the right length that I didn't find it to be a problem. The Y splitter is constructed of some kind of durable rubber with a metal band on top.  Accessories are just a bonus and at certain price points I expect to see certain items included, Meze did a great job including the necessary items that I would expect.
     
    DSC03243.jpg
     
    Now to the part that’s most important the sound, Meze 99 Classics are very efficient and easy to drive.  All my listening was done with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and AK 100ii. Either using hi-res files or straight out of Spotify.  Like I said before I was very skeptical about these, I honestly haven’t heard much about this company until a few months ago.  I like to describe sound so the average consumer can understand if the headphone is worthy of their price tag.  Just being a little over $300 really isn't much for a quality headphone, but back when I first started to get into hi-res music I would think anything over $100 was to much.  So what do I think about them, I was pleasantly shocked after I let them burn in for 50+ hours.  If I had to sum them up in one word it would be very well balanced.  Ok that’s more than one word, by no means I would consider these neutral.  What I mean by balanced is there is just enough of the bass, mids and treble to make them sing in perfect harmony.  
     
    The bass even goes into the sub-bass region, with a very clean mid-bass. You get that airy feeling when the bass hits when your music calls for it, the punch is just right.  The mids are where the Meze 99 Classics stand out.  For some reason they sound extra special with male vocals. There is a smoothness and clarity of higher end headphones. The treble extends just far enough without being ear piercing. Every instrument sounds as it should, with above average separation of instruments.  It’s hard for a closed back headphone to give you a sense of out of head experience.  But the Meze 99 Classics do a great job of not having you feel like you have to speakers strapped to the sides of your head. A good amount of headphones in this price range won’t give you the punchy low end and good extension in the highs, Meze designed these to have both without over doing one or the other.  That’s why to my ears they sound very
    well balanced.  If they took away a little from the low end they would almost have a neutral sound signature.  
     
    DSC03228.jpg

    Meze 99 Classics are now one of my favorite goto headphones for in the house use.  The design might not be for everyone but the sound will sure win you over.  I listen to just about every kind of music besides country.  From 80s, 90,s rock, hip-hop to today's top hits.  Everything I throw at them the Meze 99 Classics did not disappoint.  I asked Razvan what we could expect in the future from Meze, there are plans down the road for a blue tooth and open back headphone.  That’s about all he could tell me, if there closed back headphone sounds this good you can count on me getting a pair of these open back headphones.  In the end I couldn’t be happier with the sound coming out of these. They are a jack of all and master many, the price may seem a little steep for the average listener. Besides the sound the one thing that really stands out is the quality of the materials and build. You won’t be disappointed if you audition these.
      earfonia, nimnz, twister6 and 4 others like this.
  10. obsidyen
    Great All-Rounder Headphones
    Written by obsidyen
    Published Jul 7, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Pleasant Sound Signature, Even Frequency Response, Superb Design, Comfortable
    Cons - Drivers Are Too Close to Ears, Mids Are a Bit Too Strong
    Background:
     
    I’m a 30 year old bank examiner and an audio enthusiast. My other hobbies are cars, fitness and occasional clubbing. I’ve been an “audiophile” since I got my first stereo system in 2010 (Yamaha amp and Monitor Audio speakers). I still enjoy speakers a lot, listen to Dali speakers these days, but I like headphones as well, especially when I’m doing stuff on computer or I’m outside somewhere.
     
    I prefer full, balanced sound with elevated bass. I dislike harsh treble and treble peaks, I also dislike pronounced upper midrange. I enjoy slight upper midrange dips for fatigue-free listening experience. I listen to most genres, but I prefer electronic music, dance music, alternative and other modern genres but I also enjoy classical a lot, especially when it’s a live performance. Extended and powerful bass response is important to me.
     
    Meze 99 Classics Specs:
     
    1. Transducer size: 40mm
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm
    5. Rated input power: 30mW
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW
    7. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    Accessories:

    Carrying case, 2 set of cables (1 long cable and 1 short cable with mic), aeroplane adapter, 3.5mm to 6.4mm adapter.
     
    99-classics-accessories.jpg
     
    Design and Fit:
     
     Meze 99 Classics could be the dream headphones for people who like headphones made from wood. The cups are made from walnut and have a satin finish wood grain. It feels very nice and luxurious in hand. It also looks very attractive and yummy. The design is also very fashionable. It is a headphone that can turn heads in public, as the combination of wood and gold look very attractive together. It is not a particularly manly or feminine design and will look good on everyone. The good thing is even if you don’t like the gold look, Meze offers other choices as well such as the silver design.
     
    Meze 99 Classics are over-ear headphones and cover around my ears. They are also fairly comfortable. However, my ears touch the fabric inside the cups, thus my ears are very close to the driver. This has a huge effect on the sound signature of 99 Classics and is probably the intended wearing style as the sound signature will be different if the pads were larger and ears were further from the driver. I will speak of this in Sound Analysis section of the review. For most people, 99 Classics will be very comfortable headphones, especially for the intended portability purpose. 
     
    Sound Analysis
     
    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg
     
    I exclusively listened to EDM and contemporary pop with 99 Classics. Some tracks I have listened to: This One's For you by David Guetta, This Girl by Kungs, Tears by Clean Bandit, Sex by Cheat Codes, This is What You Came For by Calvin Harris, Bonbon by Era Istrefi, Too Good By Drake, Lyrics by Skepta and many others.
     
    99 Classics are very easy to drive. They sound good from iPhone 6s or Chord Mojo. I think they don’t scale much, if at all. Actually I think iPhone 6s’ flat and neutral sound signature fits better to 99 Classics than the slightly fuller and warmer tonality of Chord Mojo. In terms of bass performance or detail, I did not find to Mojo to add anything over iPhone 6s, only volume.
     
    99 Classics are fairly balanced headphones. The bass is slightly elevated but this is necessary since these are portable headphones and in noisy environments low frequencies are the first to suffer. Thus, out and about these will sound very neutral in low frequencies. In quiet environments, these will have slightly elevated bass response but not even that much. I do not find it anywhere near basshead levels. Just right enough to enjoy EDM, pop and other contemporary music.
     
    Mids are the strongest point of 99 Classics. If you are a mid lover, then you’re in for a treat. The reason why mids sound strong is due to the design of 99 Classics. The drivers are very close to ears and this makes the mids sound louder and stronger. Just try it with any V-shaped headphones you have. For instance, Fostex TH900s fit loosely around the ears and the ears are far from the drivers. TH900s are, by their nature, v-shaped headphones. However, if you press the earpads towards your ears, you will hear more mid detail and the sound will become less v-shaped. If, as people have been speaking in 99 Classics threads, Meze start to sell some bigger, traditional size earpads, I believe the sound will become less mid-focused. I would see this as a welcome change, because I like mids as neutral or slightly pushed back. I am not a fan of in-your-face mids. If you like your mids, however, 99 Classics will be great for you. There is actually a slight dip in upper mids and this was probably by choice to prevent upper mid harshness but low-mids and mid-mids are very strong.
     
    Treble of 99 Classics are airy and present but never harsh. If you like excitement in music and enjoy treble, you will like 99 Classics. Even if you prefer headphones with reduced treble, you will still like 99 Classics. The treble is present and extended but also flat and polite.
     
    As far as soundstage goes, both depth and width are very good for closed-back, portable headphones. These do not feel like closed-back headphones at all. I found 99 Classics great for multimedia purposes and enjoyed watching films with them very much as there was a very 3D soundstage and great explosions due to the bass capabilities of the headphones.
     
    As far as comparisons go, I find my Noble K10U Aluminium and Ultrasone Edition M  to be easily superior to 99 Classics as they should be due to the price difference. They play on a higher technical level on every part of the frequency response. Compared to Oppo PM-3, a more fair comparison can be made. PM-3 will give you more technical performance, more detail retrieval, more scalibility, more powerful bass and fuller sound. 99 Classics will give you a wider and bigger soundstage, more treble excitement (but not necessarily more detail) and better performance for films and games.
     
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    Conclusion
     
    99 Classics are great headphones at their price point. They are very nice allrounders and can be used at home and outside for various purposes whether it be music, games or films. I would easily recommend them to people who enjoy fun factor rather than analysing music and for people who prefer to have only one set of headphones. In the future, I hope to see headphones with 50mm biocellulose drivers from Meze Headphones with the same wood design. As portable headphones, you cannot go wrong with 99 Classics. Recommended.
      ChickenWaffles and MezeTeam like this.