Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.375/5,
  1. PinkyPowers
    Earth and Fire, Wind and Water - A Review of the Meze 99 Classics
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Feb 5, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Tuning that shines with every device. Comfort. Detachable Cable. What a looker!
    Cons - Needs mods for custom cable, or a Meze proprietary plug.
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    The goal I set out with—the idea that drove me—was to find a set of portable cans which performed well enough to not make me crawl, desperate and hungry, back to my Top Of The Line IEMs. As much as I like the sound of my Sennheiser Momentums, they are simply not in the same league as the 64Audio ADEL U12 or Rhapsodio Solar CIEM. With options such as these, I rarely ever pull out the Momentum 2.0. I have to really, REALLY crave the over-ear experience to scorn my insanely expensive IEMs. That’s not a feeling I like. I want the option to go IEM or Circumaural, and experience equally good audio no matter which way I turn.

    You may be thinking, “$300 Senns vs $1,500 U12s? Of course they aren’t in the same league, you fat, balding jerk!”

    First off: Ouch! What’s with the hostility? Words can hurt, you know. Second: It takes a lot less to get a big-@ss dynamic driver to reach a certain level of performance than it does a small, itty bitty driver. That’s why so many of the top of the line in-ear monitors pack 9, 10, 12, 14 Balanced Armatures into those little shells. They’re trying to do what full-size headphones manage so easily. Physics be a cruel mistress. And it costs, jamming all those BAs in each ear.

    In the end, it pays off. As I said, I have two IEMs that put the Momentum to shame. Yet there are other headphones in the $300-$400 range that do indeed outperform my IEMs. The Sennheiser HD600 and 650, to name a couple. The thing to remember about large, high impedance cans is they are not designed with the same philosophy of use. My HD6XX is really meant for a powerful desktop amp, like the Audio-GD NFB-28 I own. My primary headphone, the Audeze LCD-2.2 Fazor, takes things even further, and utterly humiliates in-ear monitors. You do not plug those beasts into a mobile device and expect them to sound right.

    Low impedance, high efficiency circumaurals, like the Momentum, are designed for mobile use. They should sound “right”, driven from a smartphone. But to accomplish this, sacrifices are made. Metaphorical kittens are severed to the Gods. The Sennheiser Momentum is not as impressive in its audio fidelity as the Sennheiser HD600, even though they both cost around $300. Hence I do not put mobile full-size cans in the same category as desktop full-size cans. They are designed for different things. It’s not a fair fight.

    My experience, limited as it is, says TOTL, wildly expensive in-ear monitors can compete with mid-tier headphones, even desktop cans. Yet they fall behind, the closer you get to the likes of the LCD-2.

    So the question I posed to myself is, “Can I find a portable, mobile-driven full-size headphone for a reasonable price that matches the performance of my $1K+ IEMs?”

    I had my doubts.

    There are three categories of transducer I want stocked and on-hand at all times.
    Category I: Full-size, high impedance headphone meant for a desktop amp. (These sound the best. LCD-2 is my primary, used only for music. HD6XX is secondary, used for everything else.)
    Category II: Full-size, low impedance headphone meant for work/mobile use. (These will never sound quite as good. Being sourced by mobile gear doesn’t help matters. Momentum 2.0 belongs here, making this the weakest of the three classes.)
    Category III: In-Ear Monitors meant for work/mobile use. (These sound nearly as good from a quality DAP as they do from a desktop system. They are VERY efficient. U12 and Solar sit at the head of this table.)

    For a long time the Oppo PM-3 looked like my next upgrade, meant to bolster the ranks of my Category II gear. I wasn’t thrilled about the price. The sound signature, as described in reviews, gave me pause: Not enough bass, terms like “boring” were dropped. Not to mention, they benefit too much from stacking an Amp to your DAP. I know myself well. This would only lead to feelings of inadequacy for NOT doing so. However, all the reviews agreed, they delivered incredible audio quality.

    I held off. As inevitable as buying the Oppo seemed to be, I just wasn’t eager to take that plunge.

    Then, a few months ago, I started seeing a lot of talk on Head-Fi about this thing called the Meze 99 Classics. Seemed like a pretentious name for a new product, so I ignored it. The Oppo was going to be my next headphone. All my other bases were covered. I just needed that upgrade to my portable system. Then, a little later, I read the Meze was a portable headphone, easily driven by any mobile device. Then I learned about the Walnut wood cups, metal frame, a design philosophy that precludes cheap materials and glue. When at last intrigue drove me to search for reviews, I beheld the great flood. Meze had taken Head-Fi by storm. There’s an embarrassment of reviews out there, and a very great many of them are overwhelming in positivity.

    Pinky’s shield of indifference cracked, and the Meze 99 Classics jumped to the top of my list as a replacement for Sennheiser.

    It would still be a few months before I bought a pair. There were other monstrosities devouring my gold. All things in their own time. But as I waited for that perfect moment, lust grew in me.

    Finally I could wait no longer and dove into the Head-Fi Classifieds in pursuit of a used pair. There is not an abundance of 99Cs on the second-hand market. Folk are pretty d@mn happy with theirs and aren’t pawning them en masse. When one does show up, it sells fast. To get one at all I had to settle on a color scheme that was not my first-choice. On top of that, the unit I bought was modified with various dampeners and filters. All of which could be reversed. Still, it was a compromise. Beggars can’t be choosers, you know; I bought it for $240, shipped.

    99CAK120ii01.jpg

    Allow me this opportunity to say, Pinky is terribly pleased by the aesthetics. I probably lucked out not getting the black and gold version. This thing is dead gorgeous, with subtler elegance.

    After only a few minutes of listening, I brought the screwdriver out and opened her up. If I am going to review this product, I need to know how the REAL 99C sounds. So I removed all the modifications: a bunch of foam sticky’ed along the inside of the cups, and a few layers of dampeners in the pads, in front of the driver.

    Weeks have gone by now, listening to the legitimate Meze 99 Classics. I have no desire to reinstall any of the modifications. The original owner said the mods level-out the frequencies. No thanks, mate. To my ears, the sonics are too fabulous to 7*%# with.

    The comfort of the Meze is at a high grade. These have the larger pads than what shipped with the first batch. Those garnered many negative comments in reviews found throughout the Net. It is about the only bad thing folk have to say about the 1st edition. The larger pads are very nice, and the overall comfort is a step above the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. Since I already found the M2 quite pleasant to wear, that is a remarkable achievement. The elastic headband adjusts automatically to the size of your head, making the Meze an effortless thing to put on.

    I guess you could say the Meze 99 Classics is big for a portable headphone. But it comes with a nice carry case and fits easily inside my messenger bag, alongside all the villainous paraphernalia stored there. It doesn’t feel prohibitively cumbersome. No worse than the Momentum. In fact, I’d like the case to be a little larger, so I don’t need to detach the cable every time I zip her up. You’d think that might cause trouble down the road.

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    99CCase.jpg MezeLogo.jpg

    Wearing these headphones, they don’t feel very large at all. If you’re accustomed to cans like the HD6XX or the LCD-2, these feel low-profile and light. Maybe not as light as the mostly plastic HD6XX, but close, and smaller.

    The pads, even the newer, larger pads, are not genuine leather, which dismays Pinky to some extent. They are high quality synthetic, though, and feel very soft and pliable. I even used leather conditioner on them, and they absorbed the milk nicely. So I don’t have any real complaint in that regard. I just like my materials as organic as possible when pressed against my wanton flesh.

    In spite of the fact the 99C uses 3.5mm mono for its earcup connection, only Meze’s plugs will fit. Due to how deep they must go, and the angle of insertion, there are currently no 3rd party plugs that work. To satiate my obsession with building custom cables for my gear, I had to order the Double Helix Cables 3D Printed Meze Mod. This allowed me to build a cable for the Astell&Kern AK120II’s 2.5mm Balanced Output. I enjoyed the sound so greatly from the stock cable that I didn’t want to tinker too much with the signature. Instead of using SPC or pure silver, I went fairly traditional. Norne Audio’s basic OCC copper seemed like the right move. With their transparent black jacket, it gave the cable such a lovely visual and made a handsome pairing with the 99 Classics.

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    Clarity is the first trait which jumps at me each and every time I don the Meze 99 Classics. There is a glass-like clarity. Unlike bright headphones, however, this clearness has a liquid quality, instead of a sharp or detail-oriented one. That isn’t to say these aren’t detailed cans. They very much are. Resolution here is quite sophisticated, and the level of transparency is wonderful. Even driven from a mobile device, my music exploded to life with outstanding dynamics. Meze accomplishes all this under the auspices of smooth, silky rendering.

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    Soundstage and imaging are above average, and might be wider than the Momentum. I bought the M2 in large part because they had one of the widest stages in the portable closed-back arena. Meze feels wider and much deeper. Imaging and separation are excellent. These headphones make it easy to get lost in the performance when you close your eyes, layering the instruments out with visual accuracy.

    There is a wealth of bass that measures north of neutral. It’s not the tightest or most controlled bass, but it sounds very lifelike. It feels good and right. The lows bloom, bleeding a little into the lower mids, but not enough to do harm. It merely gives the 99C its warm characteristic. Her sub frequencies punch with moderate authority. Rather than a high degree of texture, the Meze’s low-end carries the same liquidity found throughout the whole spectrum. They are a delight to bask in.

    Her treble has nice extension and casts plenty of light over the presentation. These highs possess a purity and sweetness to them. They remind me most of JHAudio Angie’s treble: delicious honey. Yet there’s more treble than Angie gives you. Meze’s highs add so much air and brightness to the stage, without ever leaving the warm signature. Such sparkly treble is the much-needed counter balance to that serious bass. It keeps things open and airy, never straying into dark territory.

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    For me, the true star of the show is the midsection. Describing the lows and highs might seem like we’re dealing with a V-Shape signature. But the vocals are FAR too present for that to be true. They are front and center and so very intimate. Nowhere does the clarity play a bigger role than with the vocals. They are naked. So clean, clear, and transparent. Here, too, is where the resolution and detail get to shine, bringing out every nuance the recording contains. Above all this you get a heavenly timbre and the most natural tonality. It’s an enchanting experience.

    What excites me to no end about the Meze 99 Classics is that they don’t need a desktop amp to sound their best. Driven from a medium-powered DAP, like my AK120II, the dynamics are some of the best I’ve heard from any of my bigger and meaner headphones. Between 75-110/150, I can get them loud enough to satisfy anyone, no matter how quiet the track. My Galaxy S6 has no trouble, either. The same is true for the Momentum 2.0. They are, after all, mobile headphones. But unlike the M2, the Meze sounds truly and honestly complete from my Astell&Kern. The Sennheiser sounds a tiny bit underpowered. When I plugged them into a more powerful device, like the FiiO X5, Cayin i5, or Opus#1, they filled out nicely. The 99C is ready to impress at the drop of a hat, on whatever device you have on hand.

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    Due to the brilliant balance of frequencies, there is no DAP I would caution against pairing with the Meze. My AK is on the warmer side, while the Opus#1 is an exceptional case of neutral done like a warrior-king. The 99C celebrates the virtues of both devices. I’ve also read great things about the Cayin i5>99C pairing, Cayin being warmer still than my AK. That is Meze’s mastery of tuning at work. This headphone will never sound too dark, nor too bright. It will maintain a balance and sound splendid regardless.

    The 99 Classics are of a quality high enough to sit among my desktop phones. The HD6XX, being open-back, has an unfair advantage in some ways, like naturalness. Closed-backs will never sound quite like that. But the 99C matches it in resolution and tonal accuracy. I also hear more sub-bass and greater clarity. Although, the HD6XX has more texture and control over its low-end. The Meze’s treble is not as rolled-off. That lush, smooth, liquid sound is present in both.

    All in all, I feel the 99C has more in common with the Audeze LCD-2. Not that it’s closer in performance, but rather closer in character. Quality goes to Audeze by a not insignificant margin. But that transparency and treble puts them closer in nature than the HD6XX, which sounds darker by far.

    So what about the only comparison that really matters?

    Is there a single area where the Sennheiser Momentum beats the Meze 99 Classics? Well, not really. The M2’s treble is not as sparkly or as organic. The bass is not as memorable or as fulfilling. The vocals lack the clarity and vibrancy of the 99C. Soundstage, width and depth. Imaging. Transparency. Dynamics. On some of these points, the Momentum is only a tad behind the game. On others, like the treble and vocals, Meze exists in a higher realm entirely. The 99 Classics is better in every way.

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    Did I mention I am a fan of the Momentum? It may sound like I have an axe to grind. I don’t. I’ve enjoyed these cans for over a year. They have a sound I find exceedingly pleasant. Many people in the Help & Introduction forum have suffered my ceaseless recommendation of the Momentum 2.0 Over-Ear.

    I’ve simply found a better headphone. If you need portability, closed-back, easy to drive, and high levels of comfort, direct those creepy peepers right here. At $309 you can have a circumaural experience that matches IEMs that cost $1500 or more. When I put on these cans at work, no longer do I feel as though I’m slumming it. They hold their own in a big bad way. No matter what my ears are in the mood for, I have the equipment to immerse myself in transcendent audio.

    I can’t tell you how delirious it makes me the 99C are also so easy on the eyes. I love the retro styling of the Sennheiser Momentum, and the Meze have their own throwback elegance. The modern aesthetic of Oppo failed to get my juices flowing. Meze, on the other hand, does me in all the right ways. I’m a slut for wood.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

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    1. View previous replies...
    2. antz123
      PP - Awesome review, and fun reading it. I still have to work on cable as directed by you, but I shall get there :)
       
      Keep writing
      antz123, Feb 13, 2017
    3. senzen
      Great review, I too have greatly enjoyed my 99s. 
      senzen, Feb 13, 2017
    4. ModMax
      Nice review.  Very enjoyable read.  Quick question:  How is the isolation compared to the M2 in your opinion?
      ModMax, Apr 18, 2017
  2. SoundApprentice
    The 99 Classics’ organic and natural sound is truly special.
    Written by SoundApprentice
    Published Oct 29, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Warm and immersive sound. Excellent attention to details in build and design.
    Cons - Narrow ear pads can cause discomfort

    [​IMG]

    WOOD IS GOOD



     ​
     ​
    “Are those new? They look stylish.” “New headphones? They’re spiffy.” “Ooo, I love those.” I can’t make this stuff up folks. There’s been no shortage of compliments since donning the Meze 99 Classics headphone at my office. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes part of my reviewing process includes testing products from the cubicle of my nine-to-five. Music plays a big part in getting me through the workday—drowning out the chatter of my office mates is also an excellent test. But let’s get back to those compliments. When the look of your headphones catches the eyes of non-audiophiles, as in nearly 60-year-old finance guys and Gen X women, you know you’ve done something unique. That uniqueness is what’s helping put Romania’s Meze Headphones on the audiophile map.

    Successfully spurred ahead by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in late 2015, Meze Headphones has been running at full speed since launching the Meze 99 Classics, a gorgeous closed-back wooden headphone that, simply put, sounds as unique as it looks.

     

    First Look


    “Silver and gold, silver and gold. Ev'ryone wishes for silver and gold. How do you measure its worth? Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth.” Burl Ives certainly didn’t have headphones in mind when he wrote these lyrics for the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special (guilty pleasure; it’s a childhood favorite), but that song popped in my head the moment I saw the 99 in its gold and silver variants. Pleasurable indeed. The 99 is a prime example of #audioporn.

    Silver and gold. Black and silver. Walnut and maple. With rich, luxurious finishes—and a $309 price tag—there’s nothing subtle about the 99. It’s eye-catching, it’s elegant, and it’s one of the most aesthetically intriguing headphones I’ve used. From the box, to the cast hardware, to the sustainably sourced wood, Meze Headphones founder and designer Antonio Meze clearly aimed to make the 99 a statement piece. The result is a headphone that’s robust and relentlessly refined—and also surprisingly lightweight (260g). Of the wood headphones I’ve owned, including premium Grado and ZMF models, the precision CNC-cut and hand-finished cups of the 99 stand out. Their satin finish and flawless grain is simply lovely. As a former percussionist that once had an affinity for raw maple snare drums, the silver and maple 99 makes my heart skip a beat.

    Meze’s attention to detail doesn’t stop at the headphone itself. The 99 comes with a custom hard zippered travel case, gold-plated 6.3mm (1/4”) and airplane jack adapters, and two cables with a zippered felt storage pouch—a 1.2m portable cable with inline mic and remote and a 3m cable for your home listening room. Manufacturers often cut corners on cables, but Meze delivers a color-matched Kevlar-reinforced OFC cable that’s as refined from end to end as the rest of the 99.

    All this attention to detail is all well and good, but does the 99 sound good too?

     

    First Listen


    While the 99’s look is sharp and elegant, its sound is warm and inviting. And did I mention unique?

    The 99 positions you as a backstage VIP, center stage, behind the curtain. Behind the curtain? Don’t let that statement be a turn off. What I mean is that the 99 is intimate in its presentation. The closed-back cups make for an up close and personal listening experience that leaves the music floating just a few inches around your head while the 99’s sonic subtleties draw you in, its warmth envelopes your ears, and its dark balance allows for listening well into the night.

    The 99 has what I will call “well-rounded sound.” From its deep sub-bass, to its darker than expected treble, the 99 offers a smooth sliding scale of sound that seduces your ears. There’s not a hint of sharpness, sibilance or roughness, well, anywhere. The bass is boastful, perhaps a bit overzealous at times, but not what I would consider boomy. The mid-range is balanced, warm and robust. The healthy highs roll off in a nicely relaxed manner that, somehow, still sounds acoustically realistic. Revealing? Reference? Maybe not so much—the 99 seems too polite for those terms. But when you settle in and start listening to the music instead of listening to the headphone itself, the 99 becomes incredibly immersing.

    When I say that the 99 places you behind the curtain, I realize that implies that it sounds veiled. I hesitate to use that term as it’s so often used in a negative or derogatory way in audio reviews. What I mean is that the 99 has a natural softness to it; it has all the instrument details, all the tonality, and all the accuracy that you could ask for, yet it’s all done so… soothingly—the 99 forces nothing on you; it’s never harsh or in your face; it’s well-controlled, almost as if it’s mimicking the recording session in the dampened studio.

    For example, I expected the maple cups to give the 99 some bite—maple is usually a brighter sounding and resonant wood—but there’s no aggressiveness in the sonic signature of the 99. Time and time again it’s just smooth, smooth, smooth. The major perk here is that the 99 is a savior of ****ty sound. It easily tames the sizzle of hot recordings and poor playback devices. In fact, it plays well with every music genre I threw at it—Bjork, Lucy Rose, The Cinematic Orchestra, John Butler, Glass Animals, Ambient Jazz Ensemble, etc., etc.—and it plays well with damn near every device, too.

    With a rated sensitivity of 103 dB at 1 kHz/1 mW and 32-ohm impedance, the 99’s 40mm dynamic neodymium/Mylar transducers are so easy to drive that even the most basic smartphones, iPods and DAPs will push them to deafening levels. With that said, I found that amping the 99 made minimal differences performance-wise. I’m used to headphones performing vastly different from amp to amp, but that just wasn’t the case this time around, and I think that’ll be a welcomed trait by anyone looking for hi-fi sound without the desire to acquire other hi-fi devices. While there’s simply no denying that better quality amps and DACs produce better sound, the 99 lets you hear the gear for what it is while its own sonic signature stays pretty damn consistent. My only recommendation on gear is to skip pairing it with a high current amp because you will hear some current noise and background hiss.

    The most challenging part of reviewing the 99 is comparing it to other headphones. The 99 is so unique to my ears that quick comparisons to other staple headphones simply don’t do it justice. For instance, I commonly switch between headphones multiple times during a single track and replay certain parts with each one to do more critical comparisons. While I tried that with the 99, I found that it really ruined the experience. To really hear what the 99 does you need to spend time with it. But I know that most in this hobby are quick to judge and demand X versus Y comparisons. So here are a few things that I noticed when comparing the 99 to some other popular headphones.

     

    The Comparisons


    Meze 99 Classics vs. Shure SRH840 and SRH1540: Closed-back. Darkish. Descending highs. I fully expected the 99 to sound very similar to the Shure headphones that I’ve recommended so frequently. I was wrong. The 99 bested my daily drivers in many ways. The 99’s bass extends deeper and hits a bit harder—more oomph if you will. Both the Shure SRH840 (review) and SRH1540 (review), in comparison, seem to be a bit more controlled and punchy, but only at higher frequency ranges. The 99 is clearly fuller sounding when you get into bass-heavy tracks—take Bjork’s “Hyberballad” for instance. The 99’s mids are also smoother and more linear, albeit more relaxed. Mid-range is Shure’s sweet spot, but compared to the 99, both Shure offerings push the mids more aggressively into your ears. This makes vocalists sound more forward and in your face, and while I like this with some tracks, on others I prefer the 99’s subtler approach. While the pushed mids also help with instrument separation and atmospheric space compared to the more intimate and closed-in sounding 99, it introduces some roughness and grain. As for the highs, the 99’s are even more rolled off and relaxed than either of the Shure headphones mentioned. Simply put, the Shures have far more zing in the treble region. I found the SRH840 and SRH1540 to both be more revealing of micro details than the 99, but this comes at the expense of slightly sharper highs, occasional sibilance and increased graininess (mostly with poor recordings). The easiest way to put it is that the 99 sounds far more organic and natural than either Shure. Surprising indeed.

    Meze 99 Classics vs. Sennheiser HD650: The HD650 is a staple in the headphone community, so it only makes sense to offer a brief comparison. Much of what I said above about the Shures actually also rings true for the HD650 comparison. Further, the HD650 is simply a very different headphone from the 99; it’s mid-centric, open-back and much more picky with amps. But if you have an amp that’ll drive the HD650 and 99 equally, you’ll find that the HD650 again lacks the smoothness of the 99. The HD650 also can’t touch the 99’s deep bass lines. In fact, the 99 manages to make the “lush” HD650 sound surprisingly thin. What the HD650 offers, however, is more attack, a far wider and more three-dimensional sound stage, and better instrument separation than what the 99’s closed-back design can muster. Overall, the 99 is more versatile; it’s a headphone that anyone can listen to regardless of musical preference whereas the HD650 excels with only certain genres and certain amplifiers. I won’t say that one is better than the other because they’re just too different in all intents and purposes.

    Meze 99 Classics vs. ZMF Headphones The Omni: I don’t have The Omni (review) currently on-hand to do a direct comparison anymore, but from recent memory, the 99 sounds more like the ZMF Headphones offering than any of the others mentioned. Both the 99 and The Omni excel at being smooth operators. The Omni most definitely moves more air and has harder hitting and more emphasized bass; it also has slightly more upper-mid presence, sounds a touch more spacious due to the semi-open design, and has a bit more treble pop. But tonally, they both favor what I consider to be a thicker and darker sound, a more intimate sound stage, and both stray far, far away from being harsh or sibilant. If you like the ZMF Headphones house sound, the 99 might be a nice choice for your portable headphone needs.

     

    The Caveat


    If I could change one thing about the 99, it would be the ear pads—they’re simply too damn shallow. Give my ears some room to breathe, Meze! Seriously though, I have an issue with ear pads that touch the lobe and helix of my ears—especially during long listening sessions. I appreciate the sleek styling of the headphone itself, but the slim medium-density foam ear pads compress to the point that my ears press against the liners covering the driver housings. Their circumference also feels a bit cramped, as if they were stuck somewhere between being a large on-ear and narrow around-the-ear design. Are my ears too big? Do they stick out too far? I don’t think so, but your results may vary. The supple synthetic leather can also get a touch toasty, but perhaps that’s nitpicking.

    Nevertheless, I have a theory that the 99 could benefit from a roomier, deeper and angled genuine leather ear pad. First, I think comfort would drastically increase. Second, a deep angled pad (think ZMF or Brainwavz ear pads) would move the driver away from the ear, which should help to open up the sound stage and treble clarity just a touch. If that proves true, the 99 would be supremely comfortable and incredibly balanced sounding. In other words, it would be very hard to best, in my opinion.

    Ear pads aside, the 99 is incredibly comfortable. I find the elastic suspension strap to be better fitting than similarly designed AKGs or the Audioquest Nighthawk, and the clamping force and weight is comparable to the Sennheiser HD650, which I have no problem wearing for hours at a time.

     

    Final Word


    Do a quick Google search for audiophile headphones and the top results will include the likes of Audeze and Sennheiser, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Meze Headphones soon sits among the top ranks. The 99 Classics’ organic and natural sound is truly special. It’s admittedly relaxed at first listen, but as soon as you stop thinking about what you might be missing, you’ll start hearing just how immersive it is. The 99 Classics is without a doubt a hi-fi headphone worth experiencing. Meze’s aim is for perfection, and while I won’t claim that the 99 Classics is the be-all and end-all headphone for everyone, its performance most certainly sets you on the path towards Audio Nirvana.

    Here’s to hoping Meze Headphones forgets to ask for my review unit back.

      rafaelo, iano and Cinder like this.
  3. Cinder
    Fun Sound, Refined Build, and Classic Style.
    Written by Cinder
    Published Oct 7, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Tight, punchy bass, comfort, solid build, excellent case, no plastic
    Cons - Loss of treble resolution in busy songs, cable very long

    [​IMG]

    -Introduction-​

    I’ve reviewed for Meze once before, and gave their new 11 Neo earphone high praise. However, it was the release of the 99 Classics that really gained Meze the notoriety it has today. I’m lucky enough to be able to bring you a review of said headphone. Enjoy.
     
    The 99 Classics can be bought directly from Meze for $309 here.
     
    Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer or distributor in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Lorand at Meze for sending me this review unit.
     
    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
     
    Source: The 99 Classics was powered like so:
     
    PC optical out-> HifiMe SPDIF 9018 DAC 3.5mm out-> earphones
    or
    AP100 or AP60 -> earphones
     
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.
     
    As per Meze’s recommendation, I have burned in the 99 Classics for around 50 hours to get them “broken in”. While I intended to do a before-and-after comparison, it turns out my aural memory is too poor to pass judgement on such subtle distinctions between sound. I’ll have to trust Meze on this one.

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    -Sound Signature-​

    Initial Impressions:
    I’m hearing a balanced middle and upper range with a slightly elevated mid and sub-bass. Vocals are pulled out of the mix slightly farther than the bass, making them the most commanding part of the song (at least when present). It’s a very natural presentation that really shines no matter what I throw at it.
     
    Treble: Songs used: White Flag, Midnight City, Outlands
    Treble is definitely present, and lends a good amount of clarity to the presentation. It is placed slightly in front of the mids, and is slightly behind the bass. In both White Flag and Midnight City, the treble was able to cut through the mix without sounding overbearing or sharp. When played through poorly or aggressively tuned headphones, White Flag tends to become sibilant, regardless of source. But Meze was able to give the 99 Classics decent extension and treble emphasis without decreasing the overall long-term listenability of the headphone.
     
    The treble is very detailed and able to convey minute differences in the tonality of the violins of Outlands well. The litany of treble-bound background elements also come through the song well enabling a decently symphonic experience.
     
    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Good Life
    The attack and decay of the drums and guitars is quite good on the 99 Classics, as are their respective tonalities. A lot of detail comes through, and the instrumental separation is good. 
    Jacked Up was similarly good. The pianos, while not necessarily hard-edged, sounded pretty lifelike. The guitars in the background weren’t as tight and defined as I would have liked, but that’s simply because I hold Meze’s creations up to a higher standard, as its price should suggest. 
     
    The vocals of all my test songs were presented very well, with I Am The Highway and Flagpole Sitta taking the cake as best performers. While not pulled too far forwards, the vocals never loose control of the song, even when they are at their busiest. But my favorite feature of the vocals is their seemingly effortless integration into the dynamics of the song.
     
    Bass: Songs used: Lights, Gold Dust, 99 Problems (Hugo Cover), Leave Me
    The 99 Classics emphasizes the bass more than the 11 Neo does, and in my humble opinion, does so rightly. The kick-drum of Lights and 99 Problems resolves with a tight thud, having what I consider to be a near-perfect level of wetness.
     
    Gold Dust and Leave Me’s drops, as described by my roommate, are “filthy”. For those of you unacquainted with such youthful terminology, that’s synonymous to “pretty great”, and I’ll have to agree. The wetness that graces Lights and 99 Problems gives the aggressive bass sculpting in electronic songs a great tonality. However, please don’t confuse my comments on wetness for quantity of bass. While there’s certainly enough bass to go around, the 99 Classics are not a basshead’s pair of earphones, rather, they are somewhere around medium levels of bass.
     
    Clarity: Songs used: Throne, Map of The Problimatique, I’m Not Alright
    The 99 Classics performed decently across the board on my clarity test songs. My only point of concern is the articulation and range of the treble when the drivers are busy taking care of a lot of other sounds. In other words, the treble could be more resolving in busy songs.
     
    Sound Stage
    The sound stage of the 99 Classics is above average, but not large. This puts it at a nice middle-ground for listeners looking for a more energizing and intimate soundstage, but who don’t want to sacrifice the sense of airiness that a large soundstage can produce. Instrumental separation is good.

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    -Packaging / Unboxing-​

    Please excuse the unsightly sticker residue. I tried my best to get rid of it without damaging the box. Click on the images to expand them.
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    -Build-​

    Construction Quality
    I have to say, the 99 Classics is built rather nicely. The outer frame is made from what appears to be aluminum, while the inner frame holds the cushy leather headband in place. Hidden underneath the stitched leather is a self-adjustment system for the headband’s length, effectively eliminating the need to fiddle with the headphones to find the correct size to wear them at; an annoyance that I’m glad is gone. Then inner frame is secured to the outer frame using what looks like Torx screws. While I personally don’t see why they Meze couldn’t have gone with standard consumer-friendly screws, I still think the mechanism is quite secure, and feels solid. The Meze logo is emblazoned tastefully on the golden frame connector, and doesn’t appear to be wearing off any time soon. The real wood ear cups/driver housings are affixed to the frame via a ball joint that enables free rotation on two axes (not the tool, the plural of axis). Attached to the driver housings are medium-density memory foam ear pads. It’s a very impressive package that screams premium, with almost no real flaws.
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    If I had to make a single suggestion to Meze, it would be to try and tighten up the ear cups on their rotational joint. While this might not make a functional difference, it would definitely make the 99 Classics feel all the more sturdy.
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    Controls
    The 99 Classics does come with a cable that has inline controls on it, which consists of a single pause/play button and a microphone. It works well, and the button has a nice softness to it.
     
    Comfort
    I find the 99 Classics to be very comfortable. This is due mainly to the self-adjusting headband. The new, larger ear pads are just the right size for my ear, which is slightly above average in size. The 99 Classics isn’t very heavy, so expect it to disappear soon after you put it on. Natural, I have to put the disclaimer that my experiences won’t necessarily reflect yours given the fairly large number of possible anatomical differences between our heads.
     
    One thing to note about the new earpads is that they are only found in 99 Classics that have the updated packaging. If you bought an older pair, contact Meze about getting the larger ones, as they really do improve the long-term comfort of the cans. In some cases, they also help solidify the bass a bit.
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    -Accessories-​

    Meze bequeathed the 99 Classics with a solid set of accessories including: 
     
    1. 1 comically long 3.5mm cloth cable
    2. 1 well-sized 3.5mm cable with inline controls
    3. 1 semi-hard headphone case
    4. 1 1/4inch to 3.5mm adapter
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    Seriously though, one of the cables is waaay too long. I’m not sure what scenarios one might need so much cabling for, but I’m sure I won’t ever end up in one. That being said, the cable does feel very premium, with Meze giving even the Y-splitter special attention.

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    -Summary-​

    The 99 Classics are the epitome of what Meze has to offer. A fully-serviceable construction, great sound, good comfort, and impeccable style all push me to recommend these headphones, even at their $309 price point. If you’ve got the cash and don’t mind a splash of extra bass, you won’t be disappointed.
      HungryPanda likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Cinder
      @tacit It's a shame that you don't like the 99 Classics. But given that they have won Bronze for overall best product of show at Canjam Europe 2016, I'd say that you might be in the minority here.
       
      I can't speak for other reviewers, but I do my best to be as upfront, clear, and forward as possible. I'm not in the business of tricking people, so if you have some advice for me as to how I can improve my reviews, then by all means, send them to me.
      Cinder, Oct 10, 2016
    3. tacit
      Cinder, it is ok for you to like Meze, and may be Bronze is fine:) and your review is no problem. I feel that people mistake look for quality and would like to warn them to listen carefully to forget about looks because their look would not take them far. No offense is intended, just surprise:)
      tacit, Oct 10, 2016
    4. Cinder
      @tacit That's a valid point. People should try, if possible, to find a place to demo expensive headphones like this before they try it, as that will go a long way in ensuring the purchase is a good one.
      Cinder, Oct 10, 2016
  4. F700
    A-meze-ing! If 309 USD are still not enough to reach reference high end sound... Romania is seriously working on it!
    Written by F700
    Published Oct 3, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Amazing allrounder, nicely crafted piece of audio equipment setting a new standard for the price, lovely midrange, customer experience with Meze
    Cons - Earcups could be a tad larger and the bass a bit tighter with some music genres and recordings, average soundstage, slightly microphonic cables
    There already are a lot of reviews available for the Meze 99 Classics. So, why writing another one? Well, I used to buy and sell a respectable amount of headphones since approx. 7 years now - when the fever started - and never reviewed one of them until now. Today, I want to share my impressions on a product that IMHO stands out of the competition regarding the sound and the quality you get for the price. 
     
    English not being my first language, I thank you in advance for your comprehension while reading the following review
     
    I bought the 99 Classics in Walnut/Silver directly from Meze’s website and wasn’t asked for a review by that company. What follows is just my honest opinion. 
     
    Before starting with the review itself, you maybe would like to know what kind of music has been played and which pieces of equipment have been used for that purpose. So, I mainly am listening to pop/rock/alternative (Elbow, The National, Bruce Springsteen, Sufjan Stevens, i.a.), Vocalists (Amos Lee, Peter Gabriel, Alison Goldfrapp, Kate Bush, Julia Holter, i.a.), french male & female songwriter and, last but not least, dark ambient, electronic, drone and (techno) dub music, which represent a good 50% of « my sound ». Ok, I am also listening to Jazz and movie soundtracks, but these genres are not on my everyday tracklist, so I focused on the music I really can get lost in, but also be very critical with, when having "careful listening" sessions. For this review, I let a bit the instrumental pieces of music aside and concentrated on tracks containing lyrics. Regarding the gears I used for this review, this is where some readers may lose interest in reading it. I only am and will listen to the 99 Classics at home on my desktop setup, which is composed of a Violectric V200 and a Schitt Yggy in balanced mode. I usually use this setup with my reference headphones, that are the LCD-X and the HD 800S. The Yggy adds to the slightly dark V200 the sparkle that is missing just a bit. On the go, I use IEM (Cardas A8) with my iPhone 6S. Nothing like the size of the Meze, it’s a matter of taste and comfort. I mainly used ALAC and FLAC audio-files, from 16/44.1kHz to 24/192 kHz. When the music has been well recorded, I don’t notice any difference between these resolution levels. 
     
    Let’s start with the beginning, meaning ordering the headphone directly on the website of Meze. Nice website. Ordering a new pair of headphone is a always a pleasure :wink:. Once you’ve made the payment, you get an e-mail from a member of the team thanking you to have placed your order and offering you assistance if you have any question. Tracking number is included. This a service I am awaiting after having ordered a +1000 USD headphone. Not a 309 EUR one. Customer experience is top notch. 
     
    I won’t explain the story or philosophy behind the Meze company, which is situated in Romania. If you’re interested in knowing Meze better, have a look at their website or get some information on Head-Fi or the Internet.
     
    The postman knocked at the door five working days after I ordered the headphones. My « precious » have finally arrived. Inside the box, which looks premium as you can see on the following pictures, you get the 99 Classics, a solid carrying case made of premium plastic with a layer of leather on the surface. You also get a small box made of a nice cloth. Inside it, the cables (1.2 & 3 meters) and adapters are awaiting for you. I looked everywhere but didn’t find any L or R indications on the cups. Actually, this is the cable that defines the left and right channels. Nice feature. 
     
    Here are some pictures of the headphone and the packaging:
     
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    I usually don’t burn my headphones in. I’ve previously made it with my LCD-X and HD 800S, not with the other ones. Here again, I thought that a 72 hours pink noise program wouldn’t damage the headphone anyway. Moreover, I got them on a Tuesday and knew that I wouldn’t be able to hear them before the weekend. 
     
    Alright, Friday night, everyone’s sleeping at home, let’s start. When you put the 99 Classics on your head, you first may wish that the cups are a bit bigger. I have normal sized ears. For me, it remains an over-ear headphone. For people having large ears, it could become an on-ear headphone. This is an important aspect regarding the comfort I think. Otherwise, the 99 Classics are comfortable and the clamping force is quite low. You feel it just a bit, but personally I like to feel the weight of a headphone on my head (I love the 600 grams of my LCD-X). The replaceable pads are made of good quality synthetic leather and the wooden cups are really nice to the touch. I think that no glue has been used to assemble all the parts together. For a product « made in China », I am well surprised. No problem with the cables as well. They are made of good material, just a bit microphonic.  
     
    How is the sound? Well, if the customer experience was great and the unboxing a very nice moment, I have to admit that the first minutes spent with the 99 Classics were impressive. I don’t like superlatives. They tend to express emotions that are too immediate, without hindsight, often unable to stand the test of time. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not being immediately pleased by the details retrieval and the slightly warm and rich sound signature that is coming out of the Meze. Some reviewers used the word « fun » to describe the sound. I agree with that statement, but it goes beyond that, I think. Compared to other closed headphones I used to own or spent a few weeks with, the 99 Classics are more balanced, or, if I could say so, equilibrated. The ATH-MSR7 for example has a very pleasant sound and not harsh as usually stated if used with an appropriate setup. I like the sparkle in the treble, the imaging and the slightly forward sound presentation. Details retrieval is very good as well. The comfort, with your ears getting sweaty pretty fast, and the bass lacking impact, are the only issues. Overall, I would say that it can compete with headphones costing a few hundred bucks more, as long as you are looking for its specific sound signature along with a coherent setup. On the other hand, I liked to put the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 over-ear on my head (lend from a friend). Very well assembled and beautiful looking. The rolled-off treble is the main problem here. It has a pleasant warm sound, with a good bass and lovely midrange. But air is lacking in the highs. For me, with such a treble, it’s game over. Finally, the Mr. Speakers Alpha Dog is quite a piece of a headphone. Very comfy and sexy to look at, if I can express myself like that. If the Meze plays in the upper price category, I wasn’t satisfied with the sound of the Alpha Dog, especially at 699 USD. The imaging isn’t that good I think. Soundstage was great, but otherwise I found them pretty boring to listen at. The 99 Classics combines all the strong points of my previous closed cans, without the weaknesses. Okay, the highs of the ATH-MSR7 and the soundstage of the Alpha Dog remain unbeaten for me, but the Meze does a very good score, especially in the treble area. So, what about the sound characteristics?
     
    BASS: At high volume levels or with average quality recordings you will hear some distortion or get an unpleasant boomy effect. Most of the time the bass is powerful, with an impressive reverb effect and goes deep. It sometimes could be better controlled. Bassheads will likely love it. But not only them actually. I am not considering myself as a basshead, but this bass put a smile on my face a few times, when the recording quality was good enough. However, on some recordings, I would have preferred to have a tighter bass. It could be overwhelming at times and it doesn’t suit all music genres. All in all, the bass is good, doing the show it was meant to do, but could have been a tad more precise and tighter for my taste.
     
    MIDRANGE: The midrange is sweet and very good rendered. A nice touch of warmth on male and female vocals tracks easily makes you close your eyes and enjoy your music without analyzing what you’re listening to. A very positive point of that headphone. It makes you forget that you are wearing one, so you just can focus on your music and having fun. Great job Meze!
     
    TREBLE: With a sweet midrange and a powerful bass, you could think that the treble has gone forgotten and then will be rolled-off or damped. I was surprised to notice that I didn’t have to make that compromise with the 99 Classics. The treble is airy enough without being harsh or sibilant on well recorded tracks. Impressive job here as well. 
     
    DETAILS RETRIEVAL: Although we are not in presence of a sound surgeon like the HD 800S, I find the details retrieval to be very good, clearly better than what you could expect from a 300 EUR headphone.  
     
    IMAGING: The very slight forward presentation is a matter of taste. I like it personally. It’s easy to pinpoint the different instruments and to position the singer on vocal tracks. 
     
    SOUNDSTAGE: For a closed headphone, it does quite well. Honestly, it could be a bit wider. The good imaging made me sometimes forget that I was listening to a closed pair of cans. So, nothing bad here, but nothing fantastic either. 
     
    ISOLATION: Honestly, I don't care. My reference cans being open and having the opportunity to have a dedicated audio-room, I don't need isolation for my listening sessions. When I cover the inner pads with my hands, I don't hear much sound leaking out. I then assume that isolation should be good or sufficient enough to use the 99 Classics in public transport.
     
    OVERALL: I would say that the SQ of the Meze is better that the sum of every part taken separately. The Meze engineers and the resulting combination of the different sound characteristics gave birth to a great pair of headphones, which is really difficult to dislike IHMO. If someone does, I am very curious to know why. On averagely recorded music, you may hear distortion or being bothered by a slight sibilance and a bass that lacks precision and may get boomy. Please remember that I've done my listening on a desktop setup and that portable devices haven't been used for it. 
     
    CONCLUSION
    I am not giving 5 stars although I easily could do it regarding the concurrence at the price. Being firmly convinced that Meze will go even further and better in the months to come, my 5 stars are waiting for the extra mile to be done by an already serious european audio company. For 309 EUR, the 99 Classics is an amazing pair of headphones and a marvelous allrounder, beautifully and carefully crafted with premium materials. It’s difficult to find real weakness at that price point. The bass could be tighter, with more precision and the soundstage a bit wider. That’s all for me. If you’re on the market for a closed headphone that does a lot right and nothing wrong, while not having unusual large ears, I strongly recommend to give the Meze a listen or even to blindly purchase them without an audition as long as you trust all the positive reviews around enough for it. It definitely has the potential to put some headphones belonging to the same price category to shame, depending on what kind of sound signature you are looking for. Bravo Meze for that wonderful 99 Classics! 
      rafaelo and YtseJamer like this.
  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
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    Meze 99 Classic with Centrance hifi-skyn​
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     Meze 99 Classic review​
    (Silver walnut version)​
    -expatinjapan​
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    The MEZE 99 Classics have been getting a lot of air time on the internet and various review sites and forums. Even the most hardened of reviewers have agreed that the Meze 99 Classic is a headphone for the ages, one to add to the revolving roster of headphones that they would use and listen to on a regular basis.
     
     
    Unboxing and build​

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

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

    1. tacit
      I do not understand all the excitement about Meze, I tried them several times. They definitely look nice but their sound not even close to comparable in price Beyerdynamics or Senheisers. Actually if you look even in this review conclusions you see clearly that Meze are far from perfect or excellent but reviewers use these kind of words and IMHO they are just misleading. Please make yourself a favor - listen them carefully before buying.
      tacit, Sep 20, 2016
  6. musicday
    The Meze 99 Classics : simply, a great pair of headphones
    Written by musicday
    Published Sep 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detailed sound quality,great built quality, design
    Cons - synthetic leather,small ear pads that gets warm after long use
    The Meze 99 Classics : simply , an wonderful headphone.
    Introduction :
    Usually in life you get high end headphones that deserve lots of praise and they cost lots of money, but is not always true that more expensive mean particularly better. In this case here we have a rather affordable, good looking closed on ear headphone . At the time of writing this review the price of Meze 99 Classics is £259 in UK , so you do not have to break the bank to buy something that sounds and looks as good.
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    You still haven’t heard of the Meze 99 Classics headphones yet? Then take your time and  read further about those wonderful headphones. Meze is a small company located in Romania where they design in house all their products, and Meze 99 Classics is one of them.

    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
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    Once you open the rather luxurious box, you are delighted by the build quality of these headphones and how pretty they look.They seem to be built to last and all the used materials are premium with real walnut wood for the ear cups.
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    In the box :
    They come in a nice premium box and also a hard case for storage is included .
     
    1 x cable  1.2 m Kevlar OFC with mic and remote to use with your smartphone.
    1 x cable  3.0 m OFC for home use.
    1 x 6.3 gold plated jack
    1 x airplane adaptor jack
    1 x hard Case for storage with another small fabric case to store the cables when not in use. I am personally pleased with the accessories included in the package on top of the quality of the headphones itself. No doubt about it , this will make a wonderful gift for your friends.
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    Build :
    As soon as you take a closer look at the headphones you will realise that the construction is simply amazing with a great choice of nice materials being used here. “CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather”. My only criticism will be not including real leather for the headband and ear cups, but that’s like asking too much at this price point.
     
    On the head:
    The Meze 99 Classics being and over ear headphones, are not as comfortable as full size headphones, but are very close and the reduced weight really helps , 260 gr without cables. Overall they are comfortable to wear for long period of times and you don’t really notice that are on your head. I really like the feeling with that self adjusting spring headband. You put them on your head and that’s all, no need to adjust and readjust. With a clean, straight and simple design for sure are a winner.
     
     
    About the sound :
    The most important thing for anyone is the sound quality, apart from comfort and looks. And they do sound, great and detailed.
    Bass : While it doesn’t go as deep as other headphones in this price category the Meze 99 Classics have a wonderful, lighter bass, that’s not aggressive and in your face, but is there and is blending nicely with the mids and highs. Wonderful for instrument orchestra and vocal music.
    Mids : The mids are the best this headphone can deliver and they are wonderful presented ,dynamic and detailed with clarity and accuracy speed. You need to hear them for yourself to fully understand what i am trying to describe here.
    Highs : The highs are presented but can’t reach very high, and that is not particularly a bad thing, making for a non-fatique, easy laid back sound. Isolation is quite good for this headphone, making it pleasant to use in noisy environments, or where a closed back headphone is required.
    Soundstage : Meze 99 Classics soundstage is well defined and quite open with nice instrument separation and you literally  feel the music surrounding you, which i really enjoyed. Using straight out of my Asus laptop was a great experience watching movies where i could hear lots of micro detailes.
    DSCN2105.jpg
     
    Players used :
    Straight out of the box i have been really enjoying the Meze 99 Classics headphones with my Tera Player, Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge +, and LG Flex. If the sound signature will improve with the burn in, is even better, but very little criticise about.
    Tera Player : the pairing was really good, but lacking somehow bass, but a great detailed spacious sound, with plenty of headroom.
    LG Flex and Galaxy 6 Edge + with FLAC files sounded better with fuller sound because of the low impedance of those phones, where the Tera Player output is 10 Ohm and 20 Ohm.
    Final words :  Wow, this is simply all i can say about this pair of headphones and congratulation to the Romanian team for the overall complete package they have achieved : sound, built, materials use, packaging. If you are in the market looking to purchase a great sounding headphone then look no further, Meze 99 Classics are that second pair you want, even if you have more expensive headphones in your collection. This is a one all purpose headphone suitable for serious listening, gym use, walk in the park, watching movies, you name it. And being a low impedance headphone is not hard to be driven straight from your phone with great results.
    I fully recommend to try to hear them for yourself if you can, but at this price point is hard to recommend something else as good.
      rafaelo, Wilashort and MezeTeam like this.
  7. HansBarbarossa
    Headphones Meze 99 Classics: silver and gold walnut, emitting natural musicality
    Written by HansBarbarossa
    Published Aug 30, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound, quality of materials and workmanship, price.
    Cons - Not everyone may like more aggressive style of delivery in the midbass section.
    Commercial brands are pretty much like IT girls: should one of them flash her bare belly in the street, the next day the whole town would follow to vast enjoyment of the «other half of mankind», and then the whole country goes wild. Likewise, brands would hate to lose the race. It happens way too often that vendors are following trends, copying competitors' most eye-catching marketing moves, often compromising on the most important – it's the sound in this case.
    Sometimes it's just the opposite: the manufacturer invests heavily in development, natural sound qualities, with almost nothing left for the product's appeal and marketing. Prices will eventually soar, confusing customers’ minds and feelings. We, music fans, used to rush to quench our thirst for new flashy toys, which didn't quite sound like real music should – just making some odd sounds. But in the course of time, the «music brotherhood» learned how to discover a true "Turgenev Girl" with a deep and extraordinary inner world, where there is no place for a single false note!
     
    1472532458201591.jpg
     
     
    Today we have a guest model that is beautiful in every way. And it's not the question whether you like it or not, it's when the product is equally pleasant to observe and a pleasure to hold. I reverently hoisted it over my head. And it's so nice to listen to! In other words, today we will focus on overhead headphones Meze 99 Classics.
    Having put on a test track, I'd like to point out that Meze Company is a young and dynamic manufacturer that specializes in headphones.  Its "port of registry" is Romania. The company's motto: "Quality, style and sound! Only natural materials, bolts, nuts, and no glue and schlock! "
     
    Specifications
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Headphones Type: Dynamic / Closed
    Sensitivity: 103dB / 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Cable: removable / two
    Connector: Jack 3.5 + 6.3 mm adapter
    Weight: 260 g (without cable)
     
     
     
    1472532478378962.jpg
     
     
     
    Appearance and ergonomics
     
    Couple more seconds and I’d have started listening to the packaging box. The set is above all praise. Headphones picture on the box looks like a model on a glossy cover - Meze 99 Classics what else can you say? And the slogan is almost like saying, “I love you” (to music, of course!) - «Perfect natural sound - perfect natural fit».
    Inside the box it gets even more interesting: there’s a branded tablet case, black, and it feels like leather, convex shape, yes, it’s sending shivers down your spine. I grab the case, and a couple of seconds later music starts flowing like Pushkin’s poems. So very fine!
     
     
     
    1472532493824692.jpg
     
     
     
    Yes, and the black tablet dropped another dark "matryoshka" - a smaller one, also round, stuffed with an adapter / plug for music at 10,000 km above the earth, a 3.5 / 6.3 mm adapter and two detachable cables: for pairing with mobile devices and stationary equipment. All you need to spend a great night with a beautiful model. Seriously, great cans! Flawless. Metal, wood, leather and impressive screws and bolts. Quite aesthetic!
     
    Headphones are available in four colors. WALNUT GOLD, WALNUT SILVER and MAPLE SILVER. I chose the “maple silver” ones I do not know why, but at that time I was drawn to the "Light Side of the Force" (remember my review of the white German MAESTRO GMP 435 S?). And I do not regret it. Removable wires "blink" predictably: for the darker models - black, for lighter ones - white.
     
     
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    As you may be aware, everyone has their own head, and Meze 99 Classics resided on mine so softly and comfortably that I wish somebody else’s head experienced the same. In the worst case scenario, one can use the mild adjustment, which slides also very elegantly.
    Perhaps my own ears may get too hot under such tight cans. I conducted a ruthless experiment on myself wearing the headphones for a few hours in row in the summer heat. And I heard nothing except comfort and favorite tunes. However, the a/c started right behind my back "to the music of Vivaldi's", but we won’t tell anyone... Let the a/c also have a listen and it was a nuclear meltdown outside the windows, but the music did not sound worse.
     
     
    1472532519182694.jpg
     
     
     
    Sound
    Main sound test was conducted with MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo PAW Gold, QLS qa-360, Colorfly C200 and iBasso DX80, and the smartphone Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
    With all sound sources, the headphones delivered at the appropriate level, including even the smartphone. Although there are some slight nuances, but in general everything is very good. My acquaintance with the Meze 99 Classics was in three steps.
    First. I took them out of the box, listened to some music briefly, I realized that I like them, and since I was supposed to come up with some other review, I put aside the pretty model for a while.
     
     
    1472532532899786.jpg
     
     
     
    Next time, I decided to test them a little longer (the night is long), going through a variety of musical genres. In the night, some issues were raised with regards to some tracks – namely, the aggressiveness of the midbass (sounding almost like a football hooligan). Eventually, I had to leave the headphones to burn up for about 50-70 hours.
     
    Finally, I sat down with the headphones in absolute ecstasy.
    I would describe the sound of Meze 99 Classics as neutral, slightly warm, with a very clear and elastic bass or even a slight rise in the midbass section.
    The headphones have good high-speed characteristics. Among the cans built on the base of the dynamic transducer, they are one of the fastest (we do not take into account planar models and BA in-ear monitors).
     
    Meze 99 Classic delivery is very natural and musical. You are welcome to follow my footsteps: I have tried such tracks as Megadeth - DystopiaMegadeth - Symphony of DestructionPantera - 5 Minutes Alone and Slipknot - Psychosocial. Although I am not a big fan of this kind of music, upon hearing it, I realised the true depths of my own soul. Rolling drums - fast, clear, you can almost feel the tension of the membrane on the drum,  its vibrating impact, and the bass drum is not just “breathing” , it’s breathing straight in your face. Captivating from the first roll ...
    Guitar riffs are strikingly natural and masterful. The bass is coming out clearly - simply great! Vocals are treated beautifully, it is clear, smooth and expressive. And the cymbals! I'm talking about the plates, and hi-hat. Rarely can you hear such a clear and precise spark in working out HF. After all I’ve heard I rushed to order Megadeth - «Countdown to Extinction» on Amazon. See what I mean? This is how you become a metal head.
     
     
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    It's amazing how these headphones play out the “heavy” genres. And my favorite New Wave tracks also sounded fabulous. I completed the whole album of The Pretenders - «Get Close» in a blink, so I once again felt the charm of the 80’s music with the magnificent voice of Chrissie Hynde. I also had a listen to my favorites Buzzcocks - «Singles Going Steady».
    Great Meze 99 Classics sounded superb with Leftfield - «Leftism». It is breathtaking! The song called Original featuring vocalist from the Curve Toni Halliday literally blows your mind. And then there’s another great one Open Up feat. John Lydon ....
     
     
    But every sweet has its sour. Some badly mixed and slower tracks sounded unclear. Whether midbass sounded out of place, or was it something else ... Maybe I was out of shape: kept on searching for the “wrong” track, clicked and clicked but it could never be found ... Eventually, I played the rare recording of Architectural Abdabs - « Lucy Lea (In Blue Tight) », do you know them? If you don’t, I’ll tell you - this is very young Syd Barrett, and the very first name of the legendary Pink Floyd. It’s hard not to complain - the sound is terrible, but the song is good.
    There were some questionable moments - with shoegaze, and indie rock, but the flaws are not actual problems of the genre, but of the track itself and the way it’s mixed. There are tracks where the bass seems too aggressive like a fighting bull terrier.
     
     
     
    The bottom line:
     
    Bass - Crisp, fast, tight and a little aggressive in the midbass. The headphones play everything very clearly and polyphonic even in the subbass area. The rise and decay of sound are very clear.
     
    Mids – mid frequencies are very thorough, natural, with a good deal of details, the total flow is smooth. Cool!
     
    Treble - clear, without unnecessary aggression, accurate and smooth.
     
    The overall delivery is slightly warm, more on the bass side, but it will still depend on your sound source. They have  certain charm and the most powerful punch, smooth and clear mid and delicate treble. Some people like it, some people do not really, but if the sound of Meze 99 Classics once gets you, then it is for long.
     
     
    1472532614218603.jpg
     
     
     
    Conclusions
    The headphones are special, but quite very interesting, I would advise to buy them without a doubt, especially to those of you who listen to “heavy” genres, although not exclusively metal fans. Of course, before you buy them it is always good to have a listen. But these headphones are pleasing to the eye, very beautiful, elegant, comfortable, and most importantly, have a good sound. The price on the official website of the manufacturer is 309.00 USD. I think the price tag is just as good as those cans actually sound.
     
     
     
    Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
    We thank Meze for providing the sample for listening
     
     
     
     
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Fantastic review! It translated quite well into English (I did actually read the original Russian translated with Google and got quite a laugh at the translation).
      Bansaku, Aug 30, 2016
    2. HansBarbarossa
      Thx Bansaku :) I am very glad that you had liked my review!
      HansBarbarossa, Aug 30, 2016
  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. 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
  10. cleg
    Great headphones with nice price/value relation
    Written by cleg
    Published Aug 9, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - build quality, premium look, accessories set, sound
    Cons - too fancy for portable usage on streets
    Recently, I've joined the crowd of people, using Meze 99Classics as primary headphones (or at least one of them), and I'd like share my opinion and join the praising choir :)

    First of all, I'll save some of your time, if you'll decide to read a review, and I'll skip almost everything, related to design, accessories and wear comfort. There are few dozens of reviews on Head-Fi, most of them covers this perfectly, and I can't add more to them. Just to summarise, Meze 99 looks great, sits comfortably on your head and has good set of accessories (carrying case, 2 cables, etc.). They fit on my head perfectly, and I have zero issues wearing them. One minor issue — earpads can be a bit small for people with big ears, but Meze promised to create a bigger earpads set, so this won't be a problem anymore in nearest future.
    1MainPic.jpg

    So, I'm skipping all this unboxing and other staff, and moving on to sound.

    2Box.jpg

    I've used following equipment for evaluation purposes.

    • NuPrime DAC-10H and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and amplifier
    • Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2013 as a source
    • Fidelia as a player
    • Fiio X7 and Luxury & Precission L5Pro as portable players

    I gave this Mezes about 48 hours of break-in, and they really improved their sound after first 20 hours of so.

    Sound designers of this model decided not to follow current trend of neutral and audiophiliac sounding, and made main focus on "tasty" colored representation with a small hint of darkness. And 99 Classics definitely demonstrates that it was a good idea.
    3Acessories.jpg

    Bass has a small accent in mid-bass region, but it's polite and a slighly softened, so this cans doesn't sound as tough as typical basshead models. In general, lows resolution is enough for most genres, and there is a nice separation of lower register instruments. Also bass has good texture, but on low-quality recordings lows accent can be a bit "too much". Fortunately, those track are really rare and mostly occurred in modern pop-music. Deep bass in this model are rolled off a bit, but when necessary shows it's presence.

    Mids are probably the strongest side of this headphones. It's really easy to fall in love with them after a few seconds of listening. Mids are represented smoothly and coherently, giving listener a good analog representation. "Classics" don't try to disassemble the music and highlight tiny nuances, like plannars do, their strong parts are emotions and vigor. An imaginary scene is good for closed headphones, although expectedly smaller then in open models. This headphones really begs about adding some good brandy and comfortable armchair.
    7Inner.jpg

    Treble also bear traces of painstaking tuning. They are detailed, but they do not try to move to the forefront and pulled the attention. They are performing traditional role of the cream topping on the cake, they are crowning the composition, giving it necessary airiness and lightness.

    Several subjective comparisons.

    Oppo PM3 This model is more suitable for portable because of folding construction and more strict appearance. From the sound point of view, PM-3 are more "boring", they do not have this pleasant effect of smoothness that Meze do. PM-3 have a little less bass, though it deeper, also PM-3 have better resolution in the midrange, while 99 Classics have more forgiving treble.
    8Cable.jpg

    Audio Technica MSR-7 Typical confrontation of "Asian" and "European" sound. Slightly brighter MSR-7 offers a more aggressive sound that reminds me fireworks and festivities, while a bit darkened Meze 99 Classics is more like a pleasant evening in a nice restaurant in a circle of close friends.

    Sennheiser Momentum 2 Those ones do have a bit similar representation with accent on lows, but they simply don't reach the level of Meze. There is no such a noble and smooth mids, and treble is mory harsh and dry.

    Compatibility
    There is a wire with a headset included with the headphones, and indeed, "Classics" is quite usable with phones or tablets, their representation smoothes the shortcomings of today's mobile devices's sound. But this headphones really benefits from a good player or a desktop DAC/amp. So, this Meze well suited to the role of headphones that are bought "for growth", you can bought them and use with your existing source, and later upgrade the source to something better.
    10WithFiioX7.jpg

    Genre-wise headphones are pretty versatile, with the exception of the simplest styles of electronic music, badly recorded pop and styles like that. Tracks with a strong emphasis on the lows or with strong DR compression - not the best option for this headphones.

    Conclusion

    Meze spent few years, creating this headphones, and they are really worth that. Great stylish design, good sound and nice price — you have all three of those. For now, I'm pretty sure that 99 Classics are the best closed-back headphones in their price range.

    I'd like to thank to Meze for providing me a sample in exchange to my honest opinion.

    As usual, I've made a video, showing my initial impressions.

      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. cleg
      @oldmate next time I'll definitely ask you where I should place any sentence in my review
      cleg, Aug 11, 2016
    3. mikek200
      One of the worst reviews I ever read
      I agree with cleg,I had to read it 3x's,and still could not figure out ,what you were talking about
      From your review,I will never buy this headphone,I learned NOTHING
      mikek200, Aug 13, 2016
    4. jrflanne
      So you wouldn't buy a pair of these based on this review, but you would buy them based on another review? Hmm, logical. 
       
      Your review was fine, btw.How's the noise isolation?
      jrflanne, Aug 13, 2016