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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.33582/5,
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. acain
    A touch of Class
    Written by acain
    Published Jul 31, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very comfortable, balanced sound, light weight
    Cons - shallow ear cups, style not for everyone
    It’s been awhile since I have posted a review here on Head-Fi, months ago I was talking with the company Meze about a review.  Just recently they asked me if I was still interested in reviewing there 99 Classics.  From hearing a bunch of positive things about them how could I say no.  Before I get started I would like to say thank you to Razvan from Meze for sending me out a demo unit to review.  I am in no way affiliated with Meze and this review is based on my honest opinion.  The Meze 99 Classics can be purchased directly from the link below for $309.00, the review sample I am reviewing is there Silver/Walnut headphone.
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones

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

    Meze 99 Classics are now one of my favorite goto headphones for in the house use.  The design might not be for everyone but the sound will sure win you over.  I listen to just about every kind of music besides country.  From 80s, 90,s rock, hip-hop to today's top hits.  Everything I throw at them the Meze 99 Classics did not disappoint.  I asked Razvan what we could expect in the future from Meze, there are plans down the road for a blue tooth and open back headphone.  That’s about all he could tell me, if there closed back headphone sounds this good you can count on me getting a pair of these open back headphones.  In the end I couldn’t be happier with the sound coming out of these. They are a jack of all and master many, the price may seem a little steep for the average listener. Besides the sound the one thing that really stands out is the quality of the materials and build. You won’t be disappointed if you audition these.
      earfonia, nimnz, twister6 and 4 others like this.
  5. clagros
    Gorgeous piece of art with a clean and dynamic sound.
    Written by clagros
    Published Jul 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - High-end looking and finishing. Detailed sound. Very good value for money.
    Cons - None so far, but matter of personal taste, mids are in the high zone.
    MEZE 99 Classic Review
    Firstly, I’d like to thank the Meze team giving me the opportunity to do my very first public headphones review.
    Frankly speaking, I was somehow skeptic when I applied for the “Europe tour review”,  since technically, Israel does not belongs geographically to EU, while participates in sports, such as basketball in the European league, for instance. So, why not to jump in the European Headphone Tour then? Here we go.
    I got the Meze 99 Classics by mail last week, and  I got myself immediately on them.
    This review is divided in two sections: the full section and the inpatient’s one. You can decide by yourself which one fits you most.
    FULL REVIEW  
    1. PACKAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Carrying case, 2 set of cables (1 long cable and 1 short cable with mic), aeroplane adapter, 3.5mm to 6.4mm adapter.
     
    99-classics-accessories.jpg
     
    Design and Fit:
     
     Meze 99 Classics could be the dream headphones for people who like headphones made from wood. The cups are made from walnut and have a satin finish wood grain. It feels very nice and luxurious in hand. It also looks very attractive and yummy. The design is also very fashionable. It is a headphone that can turn heads in public, as the combination of wood and gold look very attractive together. It is not a particularly manly or feminine design and will look good on everyone. The good thing is even if you don’t like the gold look, Meze offers other choices as well such as the silver design.
     
    Meze 99 Classics are over-ear headphones and cover around my ears. They are also fairly comfortable. However, my ears touch the fabric inside the cups, thus my ears are very close to the driver. This has a huge effect on the sound signature of 99 Classics and is probably the intended wearing style as the sound signature will be different if the pads were larger and ears were further from the driver. I will speak of this in Sound Analysis section of the review. For most people, 99 Classics will be very comfortable headphones, especially for the intended portability purpose. 
     
    Sound Analysis
     
    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg
     
    I exclusively listened to EDM and contemporary pop with 99 Classics. Some tracks I have listened to: This One's For you by David Guetta, This Girl by Kungs, Tears by Clean Bandit, Sex by Cheat Codes, This is What You Came For by Calvin Harris, Bonbon by Era Istrefi, Too Good By Drake, Lyrics by Skepta and many others.
     
    99 Classics are very easy to drive. They sound good from iPhone 6s or Chord Mojo. I think they don’t scale much, if at all. Actually I think iPhone 6s’ flat and neutral sound signature fits better to 99 Classics than the slightly fuller and warmer tonality of Chord Mojo. In terms of bass performance or detail, I did not find to Mojo to add anything over iPhone 6s, only volume.
     
    99 Classics are fairly balanced headphones. The bass is slightly elevated but this is necessary since these are portable headphones and in noisy environments low frequencies are the first to suffer. Thus, out and about these will sound very neutral in low frequencies. In quiet environments, these will have slightly elevated bass response but not even that much. I do not find it anywhere near basshead levels. Just right enough to enjoy EDM, pop and other contemporary music.
     
    Mids are the strongest point of 99 Classics. If you are a mid lover, then you’re in for a treat. The reason why mids sound strong is due to the design of 99 Classics. The drivers are very close to ears and this makes the mids sound louder and stronger. Just try it with any V-shaped headphones you have. For instance, Fostex TH900s fit loosely around the ears and the ears are far from the drivers. TH900s are, by their nature, v-shaped headphones. However, if you press the earpads towards your ears, you will hear more mid detail and the sound will become less v-shaped. If, as people have been speaking in 99 Classics threads, Meze start to sell some bigger, traditional size earpads, I believe the sound will become less mid-focused. I would see this as a welcome change, because I like mids as neutral or slightly pushed back. I am not a fan of in-your-face mids. If you like your mids, however, 99 Classics will be great for you. There is actually a slight dip in upper mids and this was probably by choice to prevent upper mid harshness but low-mids and mid-mids are very strong.
     
    Treble of 99 Classics are airy and present but never harsh. If you like excitement in music and enjoy treble, you will like 99 Classics. Even if you prefer headphones with reduced treble, you will still like 99 Classics. The treble is present and extended but also flat and polite.
     
    As far as soundstage goes, both depth and width are very good for closed-back, portable headphones. These do not feel like closed-back headphones at all. I found 99 Classics great for multimedia purposes and enjoyed watching films with them very much as there was a very 3D soundstage and great explosions due to the bass capabilities of the headphones.
     
    As far as comparisons go, I find my Noble K10U Aluminium and Ultrasone Edition M  to be easily superior to 99 Classics as they should be due to the price difference. They play on a higher technical level on every part of the frequency response. Compared to Oppo PM-3, a more fair comparison can be made. PM-3 will give you more technical performance, more detail retrieval, more scalibility, more powerful bass and fuller sound. 99 Classics will give you a wider and bigger soundstage, more treble excitement (but not necessarily more detail) and better performance for films and games.
     
    IMG_2461.jpg
     
      
    Conclusion
     
    99 Classics are great headphones at their price point. They are very nice allrounders and can be used at home and outside for various purposes whether it be music, games or films. I would easily recommend them to people who enjoy fun factor rather than analysing music and for people who prefer to have only one set of headphones. In the future, I hope to see headphones with 50mm biocellulose drivers from Meze Headphones with the same wood design. As portable headphones, you cannot go wrong with 99 Classics. Recommended.
      ChickenWaffles and MezeTeam like this.
  7. mark2410
    Meze 99 Classics Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Jul 5, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - WOW, seriously wow. Looks fantastic. Wow bass. Wow treble.
    Cons - Way too much wow. Shallow cups hurt my ears.
    Meze 99 Classics Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to Meze for the loaner.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/813263/meze-99-classics-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  All the wow and dazzle Romainia can muster.
     
    Price:  US$309 or 309 euro’s.  (£232 or £259)
     
    Specification:  Transducer size 40mm, Frequency response 15Hz - 25KHz, Sensitivity 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW, Impedance 32Ohm, Rated input power 30mW, Maximum input power 50mW, Cable make and material, Detachable Kevlar OFC cable, Plug 3.5mm gold plated, Weight 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
     
    Accessories:  Baggy for the cable and bits, a hard case for everything, a long non phone cable, a shorter phone cable, a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter and lastly a plane adapter.
     
    Build Quality:  Sumptuous.  Its looks superb, it feels superb.  This is an item of Quality.
     
    Isolation:  Pretty fair, you could maybe get away with using these on a bus.  Fine for walking out and about if you were so inclined.  Not one for Tube or flights though.  Oh and as ever you’ll need to look out for wheeled chariots of death because you won’t hear traffic.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Fit was great, on and done.  Comfort though, the pads got all around my ears but the cups were shallow enough that the insides rested directly on my ears.  This rapidly got oppressive and grew to pain.  After an hour I wanted them off and hurled across the room.
     
    Aesthetics:  They look stunningly good.  I didn’t love the cream but even still, damn they look great don’t they?  I can’t imagine anyone not thinking these look impressive even if they may not be to their own personal tastes.
     
    Sound:  Wow.  Wow again.  They are V shaped but with a flat bottom.  The bass is elevated, very seriously elevated and loves to come rip roaring out of nowhere at you.  Its great quality though so that I don’t mind so much.  It’s punchy with a hint of bloom, a pretty spot on blend actually.  Though a little less maybe of it.  Actually if it would maybe just take a Valium and sit the F down for a bit.  It’s like someone just fed it a bag of sugar and fistfuls of blue Smartie’s.  The treble is just the same.  Too excitable, super impressive for sure, I mean it is seriously impressive but oh good lord please just sit still for a bit, please.  Now these certainly make a massively impressive first impression.  It’s simply all of the wow, so much wow, it’s off the charts impressive.  The mids, they are less wild but have a great breadth to them.  Lots of openness and a touch dry, great detail retrieval though and great clarity.
     
    Still the V shaped nature of the bass and treble I find overwhelming.  If it were the bass on its own it would be fine but the treble, ahh for me that’s too much.  Its Grado esq treble with a spike in there up somewhere high that is just exhausting to my ears.
     
    Value:  So long as you want its sound then it quite comfortably beats the Senn Momentum Over-Ears acoustically and detail levels.  It also looks fantastic.  Overall it’s a high quality item, more than deserving of its price.
     
    Pro’s:  WOW, seriously wow.  Looks fantastic.  Wow bass.  Wow treble.
     
    Con’s:  Way too much wow.  Shallow cups hurt my ears.
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. voxie
      Hey Mark, thanks for sharing. Just wondering are they built to last re everyday commute? 
      voxie, Jul 6, 2016
    3. mark2410
      well time is the only true test but they are really very very nicely constructed. i would expect they would survive well especially given the cable is easily changed (they the bit that usually goes) and the whole things can be dismantled and repaired, i would expect them to live as long as you want them to. if anything i would say their somewhat noticeable looks could be the biggest problem, you look at them and you can tell they were expensive so it might be a bit of an invitation to thieves.
      mark2410, Jul 6, 2016
    4. voxie
      Thanks Mark for your reply, agree re an invitation to thieves.
      voxie, Jul 6, 2016
  8. Mshenay
    Simply Enjoyable
    Written by Mshenay
    Published Jun 24, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Inviting Sound, Ease of Use, Comfort, Build
    Cons - Slides Back with Tilted Head
    I want to thank the MezeTeam over at Head Fi for allowing me the chance to review the 99 Classics as part of their Tour. 
     
    You can purchase the 99 Classics in three colors right from their web site
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones.
     
    20160511_090925.jpg
    The team over at Meze was kind enough to launch a Tour for the 99 Classics back in December, even better they will be awarding a pair of the 99 Classics to one of the participants! I always enjoy working with products from a company that's as passionate about their potential customer base as they are about their products! 
     
    Box and Packing 
     
    The 99 Classics arrive in an elegant black box. Gold lettering and the faded silhouette of the 99 Classics make for an excellent first impression. I always appreciate minimalist packing, there's something to be said for simplicity. 
     
    20160511_104517.jpg
     
     
     
    The box is held closed by a magnetic flap, with the headphones secured inside of semi hard shell case. The shell it self has a textured black finish and forms itself around the unique shape head band and ear cups. I found the case to be extremely easy to handle and rugged. Again, I'm noticing a bit of a trend here with their design choices. 
     
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    Build Quality and Design
     
    The 99 Classics have a great in the hands feel to them, the metal head band is rigid while the suspension strap flexible to it. Overall, it feels solid, the metal headband does flex with a little effort and has just a little tension on it, allowing for an comfortable fit. It was neither loose, nor excessively tight on my head. 
    20160511_091008.jpg
     
    The Walnut cups are beautiful, and well complimented by the gold assembly. Personally, I think the gold compliment the walnut better than the silver. I love the shape and stain of the cups too. The overall design is gorgeous to look at.​
     
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    For a smaller headphone, I found the ePads to be rather spacious.  The material was supple and breathable, it didn't get nearly as warm as I would have expected it to. The addition of a removable cable is much appreciated as well, I had no issues with the 3.5mm jacks nor the termination ports. 
     
     
    Overall, I'm fond of the design! I love the visual style of the headphone in addition to how easy it is to operate, it didn't feel delicate or brittle. Taking it on and off my head was hassle free as was transporting it. While I wouldn't want to walk around with the headphone, it's design makes such portable use a realistic possibility.  It was comfortable to wear and simple. Again, I really appreciate the more minimalist design they've implemented. Even better is that each part can be individually replaced as needed. An with nothing glued down, assembly and disassembly is simple. 
     
    While, I do not know the full in's and outs of the warranty being offered by Meze, I can speak for the modding and DIY guys who will appreciate the simplicity of build, as well as the availability of parts. An I my self personally enjoy being able to repair and service my own equipment when possible. However please be aware that any modification of self imposed repairs my void the warranty, so always check with the manufacturer first. 
     
    Sound 
     
    If you'd like an idea of my preference and what I gauge as neutral check out this article.  
     
     Overall, I found the 99 classics to be very warm and organic. The sound stage and micro detail were on par with most of the closed back headphones I've heard in this price range. What really stood out to me, was how effortlessly the 99 classics switched from genre to genre. 
     
    Starting with the lows, there was ample punch and decay to the bass. They had enough impact for heavier faster genres like Drum n Bass or Dub Step, while also proving to be tame enough to handle acoustic folk and rock.  
     
    The mids are sweet, with a little less edge than I like but still enough excitement for me to enjoy both metal and jazz. It paired nicely with both high quality and poorly recorded music, proving to be warm but not mushy. 
     
    Up top the 99 classics have enough air to bring out some of the fainter details, without being overly transparent. Making an excellent compliment to both my binaural classical as well some of my poorly ripped 50's pop. 
     
    All in all, these are a touch bassy than true neutral, but offer a very inviting and forgiving sound! I loved being able to just enjoy my music without necessarily having to make a lot of EQ adjustments. 
     
    Specs & Comparisons 
    1. Transducer size: 40mm​
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz​
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW​
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm​
    5. Rated input power: 30mW​
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW​
    7. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated​
    9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
    10. Ear-cups: maple wood​
    11.  ​
    I sourced them from my LG V10, Audio GD NFB10ES2 and Hifiman HM901/601, an I again found them to be very consistent, offering a similar sound from source to source. While moving up to higher quality sources did yield a more detailed and controlled sound, there were no significant or major losses moving down. 
     
     99 Classics vs Sennheiser HD 25-1 ii
     
    In terms of sound, the two headphones have a very different signature. Overall, I found the 99 Classics to have a more balanced softer sound, again making it easier to move between genres. The HD 25-1 ii was darker overall with a better controlled sub bass, but was a touch grainy up top. 
     
    Still in terms of function, the headphones differ in design. You find the HD 25-1 ii popular with a lot of DJs for it's incredible isolation, and aptitude for bass heavy music. Not to mention it's nearly indestructible, how ever it's not really all that attractive and has a NASTY peak at around 8.4khz. So yea, with proper EQ  and a quality source the HD 25-1 ii can exceed the 99 Classics, but at the cost of simplicity and comfort.  
     
    That being said, I like using my HD 25-1 ii exclusively when I work out with a Rock Boxed hm601 with also has a rather complicated and very specific eq setting just for the HD 25-1 ii, so outside of the very specific chain that I have for the HD 25-1 ii, I enjoyed the 99 Classics out of all of my each of my sources, without the need for any EQ. 
     
     
    Conclusion 
    Again I'd like to thank the MezeTeam for offering me the chance to listen to these, and I would honestly recommend them to any one in the market for a closed back headphone within this price range. It's simplicity and versatility make it an excellent choice for both new and experienced listeners. Plus it's gorgeously assembled wood and metal build, will ensure that it's both a pleasure to listen to and look at. Candy for your eyes and ears! 
     
      B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
  9. yage
    A headphone for the closet basshead audiophile
    Written by yage
    Published Jun 22, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Midrange and treble performance found on much more expensive headphones
    Cons - Sometimes overeager bass response
    Meze Headphones is a newcomer to the headphone scene, though you wouldn't know it if you gave their full-size 99 Classics Gold headphone a look and a listen. If there was ever a situation in head-fi-dom that gives cause to the maxim "don't judge a book by its cover," the 99 Classics might well be it. I know I was guilty of running afoul. I thought that Meze was competing more on looks than performance. Time to eat some crow.
    Description
    The 99 Classics have quite the distinctive appearance. The review sample came dressed in walnut and gold trim. Personal preference left me feeling that it might look slightly out of place in the office. Meze offers two other combinations - walnut / silver and maple / gold. Out of the three, I think the walnut / silver is definitely the most elegant.
    The walnut ear cups are satin finished and smooth to the touch. Their size was on the smallish side, which reminded me a lot of the Sennheiser Momentum. And like the Senns, I had to move the ear cups back so that the backside of the my earlobe just slid into the opening. The ear pads didn't sit against the nape of my neck like most full-size cans do, but I felt that I got a good seal anyway. (This was also borne out in the listening - you'll understand later.) The ear pads themselves are fairly thin and firm.
    Clamping force provided by the steel headband is comfortably snug. I didn't feel like my head was clamped in a vise, nor was I worried that the headphones would fly off my head if I had to suddenly look up from typing on the keyboard. Height adjustments are automatic, there's an elastic band hidden in the leather wrapped head pad that lengthens or shortens as you move the headphones down or up. They're also quite light - definitely comfortable enough for long listening sessions.
    A great feature is the fact that the earcups are symmetrical - left and right only exist when you plug in the cables. The left connector has a slight ridge to let you know by feel which side you're grasping. The only quibble I have here is that the cable is fairly microphonic. It's probably not much of a concern when moving about, but can be a little distracting in a quiet environment.
    Another set of cables with mic and volume controls are included, as well as a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, an airplane adapter, a microfiber pouch to hold the loose items, and a stylish rigid carrying case to keep everything together.
    Overall, I was very pleased at the level of fit and finish that the 99 Classics displayed. Meze clearly did their homework here.
    Listening
    Now, build quality is one thing, sound quality is another. Here, the 99 Classics deliver... mostly. The tonal balance and articulation of the midrange and treble is simply exquisite. On "I'm Old Fashioned", Coltrane's opening exposition had a nearly perfect blend of warmth, inner detail, and air. Fuller's trombone and Kelly's trumpet also possessed a warm glow that would match the performance from much more expensive headphones. Cymbal strikes didn't devolve into tizz and fizz. Drew's piano solo sounded expressive, warm, and eminently human. The Meze was clearly punching above its weight class in these frequency registers. Bass, however, came across a little too juiced. It didn't quite strike the right balance as the mids and highs did, electing to telegraph weight and tone at the expense of relaying the finer points of Chambers' technique. Swapping in "Al vaiven de mi carreta" from Afrocubism, the bass sounded nicely filled in and better balanced with the rest of the mix. Vocals were spot on and images well delineated, but I noted a lack of depth to the presentation.
    Pumped up bass can sometimes prove to be an Achilles' heel on classical music. I cued up 'Jupiter' from Charles Dutoit's interpretation of The Planets, and encountered a decidedly pleasant surprise. In this case, the bass response of the 99 Classics imbued the presentation with a concert hall-like feel. In other words, it made the headphone sound bigger than it actually was. The presentation was very immediate - you definitely have a front row seat with the 99 Classics. Spatial resolution was good, but again it was in the traditional sense where images appear in a straight line from left to right through the head. The 99 Classics proved their worth in the deft way it handled the dynamics of the orchestra while finessing the sonics with detail and air. Impressive. Moving on to Chesky's release of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, I detected a slight unevenness during Wild's opening run on the keys, possibly due to the tipped-up bass. Strings possessed good body and pizzicatos had a clear pluck with a halo of tone following soon thereafter. However, the 99 Classics struggled to fully reproduce the acoustic of the performance hall.
    The slight unevenness in the lower registers held the Meze back from consistently turning in stellar performances on modern pop and rock. On "Ship to Wreck", the bass line and kick drum were a little too phat, but still tuneful. And I registered no complaints on the portrayal of Welch's vocals - smooth and with a hint of warmth. When I listened to "Intervention" from Arcade Fire's second album, Neon Bible, lower notes from bowed bass had a slight emphasis while the kick drum was a touch overbearing. Contrast this with "Since I've Been Loving You", where John Paul Jones' bass line was more prominent than usual but still believably balanced within the mix. The 99 Classics also turned in a satisfying performance on Adele's "Water Under the Bridge" from her latest album, 25. Vocals were neither sexed up nor toned down, snare hits possessed good snap and air, and cymbal strikes were portrayed with clean timbre. But another track on that same album, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," had the lows sounding a bit overhyped.
    I also noticed that the 99 Classics seemed to shine on the AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 rather than my Sonett 2 / C-5xeMP, so most of the impressions I've laid out are from the former setup rather than the 'he-man' rig. I detected a slight bit of chestiness around Joao Gilberto's introductory vocals in "Girl from Ipanema" with the Sonett 2 in charge, along with a more resonant character to plucked bass and guitar notes. Perhaps the lower output impedance of the DragonFly controlled the drivers better.
    Comparisons
    The NAD VISO HP50 has been somewhat of a benchmark in relatively affordable sealed headphones. It has a slightly warmer sound signature and the midbass displays a propensity for coloring the sound just a hair. Its midrange and treble clarity are a small notch down from the 99 Classics, which seem to capture inner detail a bit better. However the HP50's offer better bass control, whether driven from a tube or solid state amp.
    The Oppo PM-3 is a step up in price and a slight jump in sound quality. Its midrange is creamy smooth, but treble presence is a little softened next to the 99 Classics. The Oppo also takes a step back from articulation in favor of tone, but offers a more even-keeled presentation. The Meze counters with a more dynamic, impactful experience.
    Conclusions
    Meze clearly has a very competitive headphone in the 99 Classics. I feel that if the bass response was dialed in just a bit more without touching the midrange and treble, they'd have an instant classic in their hands. For now, I think the 99 Classics work best for the closet basshead with a low output impedance amp who doesn't want to sacrifice midrange and treble refinement. My bet is that probably describes a lot more audiophiles than they'd like to admit.
     
    Associated Equipment
    Headphones - Audeze LCD-XC, NAD VISO HP50, Oppo PM-3
    Amplification - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, DNA Sonett 2
    Sources - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP
    Cabling - Analysis Plus Pro Oval Studio balanced, Analysis Plus Pro Power Oval
    Power / tweaks - Bryston BIT 15, UpTone Audio USB REGEN
  10. Aornic
    Fun and organic sound with a unique look
    Written by Aornic
    Published Jun 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Good amount of bass, very strong mids, comfortably extended treble, easily driven, detachable cables, unique aesthetics, great isolation, carry case
    Cons - Space for ears a bit small, clamp needs time to break in, might get too hot after extended use in the summer, hard to lean back with due to the band
    [​IMG]
     
    Background
     
    It was a curious moment in my recent history of trying out various headphones, the day I first put on the Meze 99 Classics. I already knew, judging from other reviews, that I wasn’t in for a neutral experience, but rather one with a “fun” sound signature. Yet again, I find myself reviewing such a headphone – but this time I ran into far fewer shortcomings than I have in the past.
     
    The idea of this sound signature is that neutrality be damned, music is for pleasurable listening. They accentuate traits that sound enticing, vibrant and joyous at the sacrifice of an overall balanced sound. The ZMF Omni did this by having a very natural mids and bass-centric sound at the cost of slightly rolled off treble. The Fostex TH-X00 did this by having excellently deep and present bass, enjoyable lower-mids and extended treble – but it struggled to reproduce upper-mids and female vocals well. The treble also got quite harsh and sibilant to my ears at times. The Shozy Zero had a slightly bassy and mids-forward sound signature that did incredibly well with electronic music genres, but it too had slightly rolled off treble that prevented it from shining with other genres.
     
    Knowing full well that the 99 Classics were out to achieve a similar listening experience, one that lies to you in terms of presentation but in a way you can easily forgive given certain parameters, I was honestly surprised – and in a good way. But more on that later.
     
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    Specifications (from the Meze website)
     
    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
     
     
    Build, Design & Comfort
     
    I find the design of the 99 Classics to be a rather contentious issue in the headphone community. I rarely find any indifference toward it as individuals either seem to love it or think it is tacky. My first thought was “this is rather unique.” Given my biases in headphone aesthetics, the Meze offering fell well into my spectrum of appreciation because I have a strong affinity for wooden earcups. However, the reason I like the design goes beyond that. Out of all the headphones I have seen yet, this looks the most like something out of a steampunk setting, and that by itself is unique in a world populated with plastic and Beats style brand-shouting. If Corvo from Dishonored owned a pair of headphones, it would look a lot like the Meze 99 Classic.
     
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    On further inspection, you will not find plastic in its construction either. There are three visible materials to the eye – walnut wood, leather and metal. Apparently the construction does not make use of glue either, preferring screws. The slider adjustment is without any incremental changes, rather going for an approach where you pull the earcups into place, after which they hold steadily.
     
    It comes in three color configurations: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver (which I have with me) and Maple Silver. The Maple Silver makes use of white pleather, cables and metal in its design to complement the paler wood. If I had to choose between the three, I would choose what I have – the Walnut Silver. Once again, my bias is showing because I prefer darker wood in both the construction of headphones and acoustic guitars.  
     
    These are very light headphones indeed. After bouts with the Hifiman HE-500 and ZMF Omni, the 99 Classics are very much an unencumbered fit on my head for long periods of time. The clamp force is a bit high at first, but adjusts over the course of a few days. The seal provided is a very good factor in its isolation, which is a great deal higher than the other full-sized headphones mentioned in this review. However, the earpads themselves are only big enough to just fit your ears. Mine just about make it and I have medium-large ears. As summer comes to England, I have found the pads to get quite hot on extended usage. Due to the extremely fitted design, there is less space for the ears to breathe – a tradeoff for an incredibly good seal and its musical benefits.
     
    I could not find any discernible difference in earpad width on either side as they are quite uniform. Any distinguishing of the left and right channels will purely rely on the placement of the attached cable – which have the markings on them rather than on the headphones themselves.
     
    Lying down with these headphones can be a bit awkward due to the metal ring on top. Leaning against a pillow or wall can be met with a sharp knock against it, making it so you have to re-adjust. Lounging around in these will take some getting used to.
     
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    Features
     
    On that note, I am very satisfied with the two cables provided by Meze. One is a cable for portable use with your smartphone as it has a play/pause button attached and is at the preferred length. The other is 10ft and for home usage. Both cables terminate in 3.5mm, with a 1/4 adapter being provided in the box. They are lean, flexible and braided and will last a good while. There is no neck adjustment however. The existence of detachable cables alone is a big plus in my book and makes for easier transportation.
     
    And speaking of transportation, the carrying case provided in the box is another feature I am quite impressed by. It is sturdy and quite handsome, ready for a home in any backpack for easy transport. The box itself is not easily discarded either, it too has a premium look to it.
     
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    Sound
     
    A major reason I like my ZMF Omni Cherry is because of how it reproduces acoustic guitars. It has a very natural sound to it, making it an excellent pairing with acoustic songs. My first big, and lasting, impression from the Meze Classic 99 was just how well it did in this regard too. One of my favourite tests for a headphone’s capability in this field is to run my own recorded acoustic guitar playing through it. It had a similar natural feel that the Omni had, with the major differences being in how it was not as laid back and how the soundstage was far more intimate.
     
    The sound of the Meze’s goes into the “fun” tuned realm, with a major element of doing so being its slightly boosted bass. The bass extends quite far down too, undoubtedly aided by the isolation provided by the seal. After switching back and forth with the Fostex TH-X00, I found that it was the second deepest sub-bass in my current headphone collection after those. I never found it to be too much, too overbearing or too artificial. Instead, it has a very punchy sound signature with a lot of oomph to it that goes immensely well with electronic music genres. I don’t hear any bleed into the mids either, the separation is quite clean. However, the bass has a slight earthy quality that removes from any sense of cleanliness, with a tiny bit of distortion that isn’t audible on most recordings. However, I find that this might aid the sound signature rather than hinder it as it is a very organic sound.
     
    The mids are very, very impressive. I would sing an ode the lower-mid magic that is taking place that allows the reproduction of acoustic guitars to be so inviting, similar to the Omni but a bit more energized - to the slight detriment of a natural touch. There is a smoothness to the midrange that insists on reproducing the body of vocals, both male and female, quite amply with quite stellar clarity. If a song, such as Stairway to Heaven or In the Air Tonight, chooses to build up slowly - you will hear each and every instrument addition in the mix and be able to discern it quite aptly. I find this a feat on a headphone with this narrow of a soundstage, with this isolated and closed of a design. I do not know if it is the walnut wood cups, but it feels like the midrange has more room to breathe than a plastic pair of headphones would. Therefore, separation is quite good to say the least.
     
    The treble is the region I slightly feared for before I put these on for the first time. I had heard good things about the bass and mids, but in my experience such characteristics are often at the cost of the high end. It would either feel too artificial and forced, be too rolled off to make way for the other frequencies or be too sibilant. Interestingly, it was none of these things. It does not venture into problematically sibilant territory and neither does it seem to linger around, banging on a ceiling limit that would stifle cymbals and other instruments that make use of treble.
     
    I would even go so far to call this a balanced pair of headphones, to an extent. Yes, the bass is a bit boosted – but it does not take away from just how well the other frequencies are represented. A  pleasant low-end, coupled with a warm and accurate midrange (vocal harmonies and the like showing with ease) and a comfortably extended high-end makes this a definite fun listen. The only detraction in terms of how it presents sound would be the soundstage. I’m not a designer, but I feel that it couldn’t be helped much with the closed design – which also lends to just how impressive it is that the mids separate so well.
     
    This is one of the few headphones I have come across that I can recommend for all genres of studio-recorded music. Live recordings could be heard on open cans, for the soundstage and the like, but a well-recorded studio track will come out and play just fine on the Meze 99 Classics. I don’t face trouble from older genres like classic rock any more than I do with electronic dance music. It just does it all so, so well for its price range.
     
    Amping
     
    Rated at 32 ohms, these headphones are not hard to drive at all. Meze themselves allude strongly to this because they provide the play/pause switch on the shorter cable for smartphones. I did however try them with my three amplifiers on hand to see what differences occurred. All were fed from my Schiit Gungnir USB Version 2 DAC.
     
    2016-04-0917.33.19-Copy.jpg
     
    Schiit Magni 2:
     
    Simply made louder. The same effect can be reproduced by the volume knob on your portable player of choice.
     
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    Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon:
     
    Sadly, the sensitivity of the Meze is such that I heard the first-run Liquid Carbon power issue – with a slight hum intruding on my listening. I did gauge that the sound was overall warmer, as expected from the amp.
     
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    Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus:
     
    Now this was impressive and the pairing I chose for listening to the Meze from now on. The portable RunAbout Plus does not emit much power on paper, but in practical usage it is a little powerhouse. Its signal has a tiny touch of warmth and sweetness to it, but it is overall quite articulate. It greatly aided the strengths of the Meze’s – particularly in the midrange and its stellar pairing with acoustic guitars.
     
    The bottom line of this, to my knowledge, would be that it does not require amping, but it can benefit from it with the right pairing. Of course, as efficient volume can be easily achieved, you could obtain a magical sound signature with your DAP of choice as they all have their own characteristics that are brought to the table.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Bass Quantity: TH-X00 > Classic 99 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Mids: HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > TH-X00 > DT990
     
    Treble Quantity: DT990 > HE400i > TH-X00 > Classic 99 > HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I
     
    Soundstage: DT990 > HE-500 > ZMF Omni > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > Classic 99 > TH-X00
     
    Comfort: DT990 > TH-X00 > HE400i > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE-500
     
    Aesthetics: Classic 99 > TH-X00 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Lightness: Classic 99 > DT990 > TH-X00 > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > ZMF Omni > HE-500
     
    Conclusion
     
    There is no two-ways about it, colour me impressed by the Meze 99 Classics. Yes, the clamp and earpad warmth will take some getting used to, but the sound is very impressive for the pricerange in which it sits. Aesthetically, whether you love or hate how it looks, it is unique and that alone is something to be considered with just how many headphones are being designed and released every year as the audio industry blossoms and grows further.
     
    I’m mostly about the sound quality however, and I respect this headphone most of all for how effortlessly it goes with my vast and diverse music collection. I would wear this on a flight and not miss my other headphones at all as a playlist continues on – each song being well served.
     
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    Thanks for stopping by. You can follow me at:
     
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aornicreviews
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    Twitter: https://twitter.com/aornic1024
    Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jesuschristonxtc
     
    Song Impressions
     
    Equipment used: Foobar200 WASAPI Event > Schiit Wyrd > Schiit Gungnir USB Ver. 2 > Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus.
    All tracks in lossless FLAC in at least 16/44.1
     
    Aerosmith – Dream On (2012 Remaster)
     
    The low end reminds me of when I listened to this song through the TH-X00, but with more lush and present mids and overall balance. While the soundstage is not as vast as the HE-500, there is no confusion in the instrumentation and overall sound structure.
     
    a-ha – Take On Me
     
    A punchy and immediate listen due to the low-end representation, but without losing the warmth and smoothness of the vocals or the delicate background acoustic guitar and cymbal patterns.
     
    Nine Inch Nails – Closer
     
    The Meze absolutely conveys the attitude of this song. The deep bass extension aids the heartbeat drum beat while the mids and highs accentuate the swirling synthesizers and cymbal loops. All the while, Trent Reznor’s tortured vocal takes centre stage. Great listen due to the Meze’s strengths.
     
    Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan
     
    Geezer Butler’s bassline drives this song but never intrudes into the vocals/mids. The pleasing mid-bass is at work here. The soundstage, while constricted, does reproduce the separated and panning instrumentation quite well – particularly the hand-struck drumming by Bill Ward.
     
    Prince – Controversy
     
    From the first hit, you know the Meze means business due to how this funky track’s bassline just digs deep and steady as the drums accompany it. As the clean-guitar work on the right track strums, quite clearly, you can clearly hear Prince’s vocal and the repeating voice going “OOMPH” in the beat.
     
    Childish Gambino – Heartbeat
     
    I always turn to this song when I want to test sub and mid-bass response. Compared to the TH-X00, which handled the sub-bass frequencies effortlessly and quite impressively, the Meze doesn’t dive as low but does a far better job with the rest of the frequencies. Also, the snare sounds a lot more immediate – with more body bouncing off the vocal as the song continues.
     
    Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
     
    Once again, the Meze 99’s impress me with how they reproduce acoustic guitars. Couple that with the fact that the midrange brings forth the sultry vocal so well makes this a great listen. If I had to find a flaw, it would be that the backing vocal “this world is only gonna break your heart” is slightly less pronounced than on some other headphones like the Omni or the HE-500 – which are in different price categories. This is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I really appreciate what the Meze can do for it.
     
    Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna
     
    The mids shine further on this track due to how well they manage to separate the different string tracks, an important and distinguishing feature because of how easily overlapped they can be on some headphones. The percussion has a lot of impact due to the bass impact, helped by the seal.
     
    Coldplay – Clocks
     
    While the soundstage is constricted, it is notable that this highly layered track maintains a good amount of separation in its presentation. The vocal absolutely soars, as it should.
     
    Daichi Miura – Unlock
     
    The TH-X00 reproduces the vocals in this song in a sibilant manner so I was glad to see that the Meze absolutely did not. The rest of the instrumentation is well served, only hampered due to the soaring and reverb-laden nature of the song and just how well it does with a large soundstage.
     
    Eminem – Without Me
     
    While the synth bassline doesn’t sound as incredible as on the TH-X00, the tradeoff is that the instrumentation is much more immediate and clear – especially the vocals/rap.
     
    Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
     
    A song I re-visit with every new piece of gear and one I know as well as the back of my hand. While it is much more intimate than the Omni and the HE-500, the superb separation the Meze possesses aids greatly in the vocal harmonies of the chorus. The acoustic guitars and vocals sound warm and are well distinguished from the bassline.
     
    Peter Gabriel - Flood & Mercy Street
     
    I choose both these tracks because of how intricate the instrumentation is. The 99 Classics do really well with both, particularly in the shimmering cymbals/percussion of mercy street and the acoustic guitar in Flood. Coupled with just how nicely the vocal harmonies ring out in both, this is a great listen.
     
    Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls (2016 Remastered)
     
    The Meze properly represents the fire and brimstone production of this thunderous track. The drums hit hard and he guitars absolutely bite as they should, all while Cliff Burton's basswork is audible beneath it all. I'm especially impressed with how vibrant the cymbal crashes are in the mix.
      w00x, bgbkt, PinkyPowers and 3 others like this.
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    2. Taowolf51
      @Aornic They used to not offer returns on opened headphones, but after looking on their site, this may have changed! Hopefully it did. :)
      Taowolf51, Jun 21, 2016
    3. cyberslacker
      im tossed between the Meze and MH30, anybody did a side by side ?
      in price/performance and both not needing an amp.
      they are at the top of my list, for office listening.
      cyberslacker, Jun 23, 2016
    4. pytter
      Thanks for the great review! Hadn't actually heard of these before so will definitely be looking to audition!
      pytter, Jun 25, 2016