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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34615/5,
  1. Takeanidea
    Meze 99 Classic - wooden elegance Indiegogo smash hit....and a great set of headphones
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Jun 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Bass Soundstage Value
    Cons - Isolation

    MEZE 99 CLASSIC
    What beats beneath the elegance?

     
    99-gold-product1_21_08_2015_13_12_44_0_570x720.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    It has been mentioned that a review has the potential for bias. [​IMG]The headphones are sent to us for free evaluation for 7 days in return for an honest review on Headfi. [​IMG]We ship them onwards at our own cost and for the majority of us we do not get to keep the headphones. Reviewers are doing this because they like listening to different headphones and writing about them. [​IMG]As for the companies who are offering their product to the community for testing , I believe this is something to celebrate and to embrace. In my opinion , it gives the products offered up for review a positive start. From thereon all bets are off . The headphones sink or swim accordingly. Thankfully , all ears are different all headphones are different and all musical tastes are different. This is why we hope as reviewers you will find this as some benefit in your decision as to which headphone or headphones you choose to buy with your hard earned cash.
     
    A tale of Trev and his tumultuous trip with the wooden marvel that is sure to be talked about until revision II hits the market.
    Many months ago I was perusing the head fi threads and found the Meze page scouting for reviewers for a European Tour. The looks alone convinced me that these would be worth a listen so I put my name forward and luckily was chosen.
    Finally my turn has come up. I can give you my findings based on a week with them.

     

    Introduction
     

    Meze are an up and coming Romanian company who did a kickstarter campaign for the 99 Classics. We can speculate as to why this was but I believe this phone is the first bespoke full size product they have made.  Their website is well presented and currently only 2 products are on sale, the 99 and an IEM. Clearly there are high hopes for this phone.
    With thanks to Meze ,I have had the pleasure of listening to their sole over the ear headphone for a little over a week.
    I hope I can give you a flavour of their sound signature and some insight into comfort, fit, looks, sensitivity and versatility.
    The 99 Classics are the result of in house development and a successful Indiegogo campaign. I am not a fan of Indiegogo because of having to pay money up front for a product which may not have a working prototype. Meze, being an established company carry no such pitfalls and reached their investment goal in 2 days.
    The 99 Classics are an over the ear design. They have chosen wood for their cup design in keeping with previous models. Meze believe that a wood design is timeless and they have built their headphones to last. The wood cups take 45 days of work before they are ready. They are highly polished and each cup is unique in the grain it has.
    The cups and pads are relatively thin and of a medium width. They are a closed design. The drivers are close to the ear. My ears fit inside the cups but I do have small ears. Meze are looking at the design to see if larger cups ,thicker pads etc are feasible but for now let us look at what is real.

     

    The Sound
     
     
    The sound signature is a fun one, many reviewers seem agreed on this. I found the bass to be quite prominent without bleeding markedly into the mids and highs. There are advantages to this signature particularly with regard to tracks which are considered bass shy.
    Modern tracks are not bass shy in my opinion. Even to the point of eqing some bass off hip hop /loudness wars type material, I have had more fun listening to other genres.
    Classical music has a new lease of life with the 99. Without sacrificing the grandeur of the violins and piano and horn sections there is a pleasant background oomph that gives a nice body to the presentation. I would encourage any owners to send us their impression of Classical Music for good or for bad. For me I found it really lent something and had me searching for my favourite selections. For those who are not necessarily die hard classical fans but don't mind a few strings lending some depth to a song , please try Eve of the War by Jeff Wayne.

    [​IMG]
    The extra bass lifts the track in my opinion.
    There are many tracks out there that lend themselves to the Meze style of delivery - Gary Numan’s Replicas

    [​IMG]
     
    sounds like a different recording for example.
    The low end I would describe as somewhat slow in it’s decay possibly even a little flabby. This is not a criticism because I found it extremely pleasing on much of the music I listened to.

     
    For all the bass weight here there are other redeeming factors for those seeking a refinement in their sound quality.  Put any track you like on - there is a clarity here that makes it’s way through the bass. I felt that the obvious characteristic of this clarity could be heard through the echo and separation of the instruments. The Meze headphones have got this right, certainly for the sound I look for in a headphone.
    We have bass and we have clarity so in terms of a €300 headphone we have some very good plusses.
     
    As a comparison I have a pair of Pendulumic Stance S1+ bluetooth closed phones .
     
    267971-stereoheadphones-pendulumic-stances1.jpg
     
     

    They retail at £174.99 or €221.56 , approximately 26% cheaper.
     
    They are a neutral sounding headphone with what I’ve considered to be a competitive sound quality for this price brand. The Stance sounded relatively boring when pitted against the 99s.
    Next up , the more expensive Mr Speakers Alpha Dogs, a closed full size with larger cups and larger pads.

    DSC01749.jpg
     
    A quote from a head announcement from Dan as of May 2016  -
    “To celebrate the end of an era and thank our customers, especially the Head-Fi community for so much encouragement and support, we're holding a "Thank You" sale for our entire line of T50-based Mad Dog and Alpha headphones.  These will be the last we make, and once these Alpha and Mad Dog headphones are gone… “That's all folks!”
     
    Mad Dog:  $299.99 now $269.99
    Mad Dog Pro: $449.99 now $379.99
    Alpha Dog: $599.99 now $499.99
    Alpha Prime: $999.99 now $799.99
    …which makes the Alpha Dogs €434 or 44% more expensive.


    The Alpha Dogs sound more airy and refined than the Meze 99 Classics. The Meze Classics have more bass extension , far more, than the Alpha Dogs. The difference is not a subtle one.  The Dogs have an arguably more accurate , faster decaying low end response.  
     
    How do the Meze Classics compare to similar priced IEM’s? The concept behind the full size and In Ear is entirely different but the results are the same - sound comes out. I had a set of Sony XBA4ips knocking about so I tested the 2 side by side.
    Sony-XBA-4-400x300.jpg
     

    The Sony ’s have 4 drivers each side - all balanced armature - 1 full range 1 tweeter 1 woofer and 1 super woofer.
    They are now discontinued but are highly regarded in the In Ear world.

     
    A pair can now be had for £199 or €252 - 16% cheaper than the Meze.
    The Meze has better sound quality in my opinion. The bass is far bigger on the Classics, the sound is much richer and thicker , the sound stage is bigger and the clarity and separation beats the Sonys.

     

    Sound Quality Conclusions
     
     

    The Meze 99 Classics have a bassy, rich , thick , clear, wide sound signature. They can compete favourably with IEMs and closed headphones in the same price bracket and some will prefer the sound signature over closed headphones  costing significantly more.
    Is the hump in the bass likely to become fatiguing over weeks , months and years? This is a question many may ask.  I feel a responsibility to addressing this issue , particularly as it seems I have recommended these headphones for classical recordings. Most people I know are using the classical genre as a means to relax ; to use a headphone that is screaming and punching rather than soothing and caressing is not really what we are looking for! The reason I am hoping the Meze won’t fatigue is because they are not just about bass ; they have lots of other qualities. Those qualities do not need lots of volume to become part of the signature , they are present at relatively low listening levels. I believe one of the key factors in listening fatigue stems from not only listening to artificially enhanced frequency ranges , it also comes from being forced to listen at a high volume to bring all of the dynamics of the music into the mix.

     
     

    The Style
     
     
    The unit I was sent was one of 3 models being sold.
    The Walnut Classic Gold model - elegance with the wood cups, the 3 colour scheme and the size is understated. The understated has been achieved with the thinness of the pads the ear cups and the non solid dual rings supporting the headband.

    99-gold-product1_21_08_2015_13_12_44_0_570x720.jpg
     
    The Walnut Silver - for those who will love the walnut effect but may feel the gold as a darker colour may look perhaps a little too much. The silver offsets the darkness of the finish of the cups quite pleasantly in my opinion.
    99-platinum-product1_09_02_2016_12_56_51_0_570x720.jpg
     
     
    The Maple Silver - a much more modern styling , much brighter and lighter in colour scheme of course. My favourite combination of traditional wood with advanced minimalism. Beautiful.
    99-silver-product1_22_09_2015_15_53_53_0_570x720.jpg
     

    The Fit
     
     The headphones fit my ears extremely well. I have small ears. The drivers are very close to my ears. I am certain this is giving the bass a lift. However, I have no feeling that there is a lack of upper range frequency loss due to the proximity. For this reason , I am wondering whether there would be an advantage with thicker pads. This may well over time lend more comfort to the listening experience for those with larger ears so if Meze manage to achieve the same sound quality with bigger pads then this is surely some research worth pursuing.
    The headband has just the right amount of tension in it that the leather adjustment band rests easily around the top of the head ; no pulling clamps and adjustment bolts at the side of the headphone and everything is done in a second.
    There is a degree of movement on the cups against the ears and there is a slight clamping effect.to This will maintain that proximity to the ears and help to generate the bass. It’s all about the bass!

    giphy.gif
     
     
    Sensitivity
     
    The Meze Classics are loud enough to use on your phone and ask for no amplification. Below my Cubot H1
    Cubot.H1.jpg
     
    tested extensively with Deezer on numerous 320 kps tracks as well as some uploaded flacs. They respond to a cleaner crisper source and you will hear differences between a phone and a DAP.  I was fortunate to coincide this review with a loan from HiFiHeadphones of the Audio Opus 1 Digital Audio Player.
    the-bit-opus1-dap-baladeur-hifi-dac-cs4398-x2-24bit192khz-dsd_1__1.jpg
     

    I loved the sound of this player hooked up to the Meze headphones. They performed extremely well together and in fact the vast majority of my testing was done sat in a comfortable chair as close to the outside as the weather would allow.
    On some days , this was directly outside in sweltering heat with only my music and a chilled pint or two of beer to comfort me. I have no hesitation in recommending this as ideal listening conditions. The writing was done when it was raining and the listening was done when the sun was shining.

    Tequila-Sunrise.jpg
     
     
    The correct way round I’m sure you’ll agree.

    In the spirit of researching this article , I decided to see what difference, if any , adding the Chord Mojo Dac/Amp par excellence to the stack would make.
    eabd6-Image.jpg
     
    Attaching the optical out cable from the Opus 1 to the Mojo the Classics were put into 1 of the 2 headphone outs of the Mojo. To my surprise , I did not like the output from the Mojo. The Meze Classics sounded better direct from the Opus 1! Amezing!
    The sound thickened up using the Mojo, it sounded like the Meze were being pushed too hard.  This makes life much easier in my opinion. ……or does it? Much experimentation can be done with sources for the Classics; some will make the Meze sound too bassy some will hit that sweet spot. Many of the cheaper sources are bass light that I have heard; the Colorfly C3 for example may be a good bet.

    Capture.png
     
     
    Lovely looking very small not particularly powerful or great storage or UI but sounded lovely with the Classics. And pretty cheap…
     
     
    Isolation
     
     
    The Meze 99s have average isolation. At moderate listening levels in a quiet environment none of the outside world gets in.  With the TV on sat beside your loved one there will be an issue.
    The headphones don’t bleed so they can’t be heard by anyone else whilst they are being worn. The thinness of the pads and cups leads to some outside noise getting in. Whether people consider the Meze suitable for out and about  is a moot point ; there is an advantage to a headphone with some isolation but not overmuch. Some traffic noise can be considered  necessary for safety.

    The finish of these may lead people to consider them for indoor
    Versatility use only.  Maze however have supplied 2 leads - 1 is a 3 metre cable for indoor listening ,the 2nd much shorter with an inline mic for hands free phone calls.

    99-classics-accessories.jpg
     

    Out and about use is further enhanced by the large carry case provided.
    99-classics-design.jpg
     
     

     The phones do not fold flat so the case is too large for pockets but will fit in a backpack for  commuter  / tourist use.
    I would strongly recommend when not being worn and carried around that the headphones stay in their case. God forbid that they might be dropped on their cups and get scraped on the pavement.
    Oh hang on……

     
     
    The Company
     
     
     The next part of the story is a tale of disaster! Yes, even reviewers get clumsy sometimes. For reasons unknown to me I ended carrying the Meze 99s into work from my vehicle in a velour bag. I was that confident they couldn’t possibly be dropped by me ; I am far too careful for such things.  Suffice it to say , I tripped on a crack in the pavement that didn’t exist, stopped myself from falling by means of a double fast trot on the spot and a good bit of windmilling and grabbing at air, and something had to give. The Meze 99 Classics did just that. They came out of my hands which were too busy flailing around to save them from hitting the ground! To my horror I noticed I had created some small chips on both wooden cups! This is both a testimony to the Meze’s strength (they didn’t crack right down the middle or on any of the seams-there aren’t any) and the fragility of the veneer finish.  
    Had the same happened to any set of headphones I am sure the result would have been similar. In short, please look after them!
    I immediately contacted Meze and offered to pay for them in full.  To their credit Meze sent me a prompt reply stating accidents happen , the headphones were repairable and there would be no question of me buying these headphones.
    Bear in mind that all parts of Meze 99 Classics are replaceable.

    99-classics-fully-serviceable1.jpg
     
    No glue is used. I have a pair of AKG K1000s , built to last , looking as good as the day they were made. Apart from they are struggling with  subbass on the right driver. I believe the reason to be that the glue has deteriorated over the course of the 20+ years since they were made. Not an impossible task to remedy by any means , but a long discontinued phone of this sort of value means either an expensive specialist repair or an unenviable DIY repair. All this for a pinprick hole in a bead of glue. Maze have sensibly avoided this pitfall . No glue is used, everything can be unscrewed.  Another consumer friendly aspect to these phones.
     

    Conclusions
     
     
    The Meze 99 Classics have a distinctive rich sound. They add bass to tracks , some will benefit from this , some will not . There is much more to these headphones sound than bass. Due to the combination of all these things, I would recommend them for classical music and bass shy music. I had a great deal of fun listening to all my favourite tracks and genres of music with them.
    There are 3 distinctive styles, hopefully there is a style available for everyones taste.
    The headphones can be used outdoors as well as indoors and go very loud even from a smartphone. Isolation is not in the top tier - tube rides and busy roads may lend themselves to a different headphone. If you do use them outside be careful. If you can’t be careful, don’t worry! They’ll fix them for you.
    Meze have a winner on their hands with the Meze 99 Classics. They are fun sound with some serious styling and are built to last.

    1. View previous replies...
    2. FortisFlyer75
      Very enjoyable read and to the point with nice smattering of humor ; )
       
      (I long to hear these again and have missed the Classic's sound sig.)
      FortisFlyer75, Jun 14, 2016
    3. Takeanidea
      @Bansaku thanks for your observations - that's exactly what we needed to hear
      @FortisFlyer75 thanks for the kind comment
      Takeanidea, Jun 15, 2016
    4. glassmonkey
      Nice review! I totally agree with using a leaner source on these. Love the Meghan Trainor gif!
       
      Here's a cover of All About That Bass with some actual bass for all the fans of Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix.
      glassmonkey, Jun 15, 2016
  2. TravAndAlex
    Style, I’d like to introduce you to substance. Oh, I see you’ve already met.
    Written by TravAndAlex
    Published Jun 10, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, design, materials, included accessories, fun engaging sound.
    Cons - Slightly loose bass, synthetic leather ear pads are warm.
    Meze 99 Classics Review
     
    COMPANY:  Meze
    MODEL:  99 Classics
    COST:  $309 USD  (approximately $400 CAD at time of writing)
    TYPE:  Closed, Dynamic, Over-Ear
    DRIVER SIZE:  40mm Neodynium
    FREQUENCY RESPONSE:  15 Hz – 25 kHz
    EFFICIENCY: 103 dB
    NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 32 Ohms
    WEIGHT:  260 Grams
    COLOURS:  Sustainable wood ear cups:  light maple with silver accents and beige ear pads or walnut with gold accents and black ear pads
     
    INCLUDES:
     
    Headphone Adapter – 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm and 3.5 mm to dual airline 3.5 mm.
    Headphone Cable – 1.2 meter OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) with single button remote, and 3 meter OFC.   Both are 3.5 mm with dual sided 3.5 mm mono connectors to ear cup and are Kevlar covered.  Cables are white or black depending on color of model.
    High quality padded cardboard box.
    Clamshell hard-sided carry case with zipper closure and color-match logo.
    Small zipper pouch to store cables and adapters.
     
    IMG_4017.jpg
     
    Build, Aesthetics and Comfort
     
    What’s the first thing you think of when I say “Romanian hi-fi audio?”  If it isn’t headphones, perhaps it should be.
     
    Smaller, boutique companies perhaps need to try harder than the established juggernauts.  In this case it is very obvious how this benefits the consumer and how it drives innovation and greatness.  Antonio Meze (pronounced "meh-zeh"), company founder and designer of the 99 Classics, has worked on creating anything from ski poles, to bottles, to cell phones for other manufacturers.  Now he’s designing products under a company bearing his own name, and the 99 Classics certainly bears all the hallmarks of a labour of love.
     
    In the best way, these remind me of vintage JBL speakers.  They exude the perfect industrial mix of wood and metal.  Clearly designed to be admired and not solely listened to.  Sure, there are other speakers out there that sound great and look fine, but only with their grills on.  1970’s JBL knew that the listener wants to take off those grills and see the modern design and quality of the hidden bits.  They knew that while you rocked out, you would admire both the beauty of design and the roaring beast of sound.  The 99 Classics are no different in this regard.
     
    I’ve written before that the Sennheiser HD598 “offers a distinctive design focused on luxury and refinement”, and I meant it.  However, side-by-side with the Meze 99 Classics, the overall impression of the HD598 is one of plastic, and plastic just doesn’t impress with any sort of intrinsic value, not like the solidity and feel of natural wood and metal.  The Meze headphones make the HD598s look and feel like a bit of a toy in comparison. 
     
    These headphones remind me why I fell in love with music playing gear in the first place.  The tasteful design sensibilities are seamlessly integrated with the headphone’s structure.  There is a wonderful balance (and not compromise) of form and function.  This starts with the high quality packaging, the abundance of included accessories and of course, the headphones themselves. 
     
    IMG_4014.jpg
     
    Meze proudly declares that there is neither plastic nor glue in any part that the user interacts with – actual screws hold everything together.  This strengthens the luxurious impression, but also creates a headphone that can be repaired (much like the quality items of yesteryear).  Wood, metal and high quality synthetic leather is what you feel and see.  Of note, the synthetic leather ear pads are very comfortable but on the warm side (expect to be a bit sweaty after an album on a balmy day).  Perhaps an option for HiFiMan Focus style pads (leather exterior with velour on the skin touching side) would offer a better balance and remain a bit cooler.  The foam in the ear pads appears to be memory foam, but it seems to rebound much more quickly than Sennheiser Momentum ear pads.
     
    Sizing is done via an elastic suspension headband that automatically adjusts depending on head size, and overall it works perfectly: pop them on your head and they fit first try.  Tension is perhaps just ever so slightly strong.  A metallic skeleton frame hovers above the suspension band and creates the clamping force (which is slightly on the tight side as well).  I applaud the thin profile and appealing curve, it is a FAR more attractive design than the similar one employed by HiFiMan. One drawback is that the design is non-folding so they cannot be made more compact for travel.  In many ways these remind me of the first generation Sennheiser Momentum (another easy to drive, mobile, sealed headphone of similar cost) from the thin, stylish design, to the shape and size of the ear cups and non-folding construction.
     
    Continuing that comparison, one of the main complaints about the original Momentum Over-Ear headphones was the small cup size, which was not friendly to those folks with larger ears.  The space within the 99 Classics’ cup is of approximately the same height as the Momentum and about 10-15 mm wider.  Depth is also on the shallow side, something to be aware of if you struggle to find headphones ample enough to contain your ears.  While I’m lucky enough that I can wear Momentums comfortably, the Classics fit me perfectly and do offer noticeable if slight, amount more room. 
     
    Overall, these are a very comfortable pair of headphones with light weight, soft ear pads, and reasonable clamping force.  Isolation from outside noise is about average for a headphone of this type.  Microphonics from fabric wrapped cables can bother some folks, but wasn’t an issue for me.  Another point of interest is that left and right are not marked on the headphones themselves, this is determined by how you insert the marked cables.
     
    Of note, the web site is excellent with pictures, descriptions and videos detailing the build and design.  It is well worth visiting to see how these headphones are put together.  Nothing is hidden behind the proverbial curtain and Meze certainly seems proud of their creation.
     
    IMG_4019.jpg
     
    Sound Signature and Quality
     
    The similarities to the Sennheiser Momentums continue, although in every way, I’d have to say the 99 Classics are the superior sounding headphone.  Both are relatively neutral and without fatal flaws in tonal balance, clarity nor dynamics.  The overall tonality of the 99 Classics is exceptional with a great balance of depth, mids and highs, while maintaining accuracy and excellent imaging.  The soundstage isn’t enormous like with some high-quality open backed headphones, yet placement of instruments in the mix seems very coherent, positional and not crowded.  Dynamics are very good (although not as punchy as planar type headphones provide), however the 99 Classics’ exceptional efficiency means they can be easily driven to dynamic levels from a phone or portable player and do not require an amplifier to enjoy.  Where vocals on the Momentum sound a bit recessed (although very even), on the 99 Classics they come much more to center stage.
     
    Midrange
     
    Vocals remain coherent and even in tone regardless of music style.  They incorporate well with the higher and lower frequencies, remain solid and clear, and offer a bit of punch and contrast to the background.  Unlike the Momentums, the midrange on the 99 Classics offers an even sound pressure with the highs and lows (the Sennheisers are more recessed).  Rich sounding in the lower-mid frequencies, they remain smooth and transition perfectly into the lower bass notes.  Overall impression is of good speed and detail.
     
    Treble
     
    Treble transitions seamlessly from the mid-range frequencies and remains clear and quick sounding across the board.  I found no harshness, and I wouldn’t describe these headphones as particularly bright, a good balance has been achieved with the midrange and bass.   The overall impression is intimate yet energetic. 
     
    Bass
     
    I tend to prefer an open headphone sound, and to me the bass response of the 99 Classics sounds slightly emphasized.  It doesn’t appear to be boosted, just is perhaps a tad loose and not quite so tightly controlled.  That being said, bass doesn’t overwhelm the mix and it certainly does create a fun sound signature.  Extension is good, reasonably deep and punchy, and the drivers seem capable with most music styles.  The lowest notes may create a bit of minor distortion or flutter, but this is not noticeable on the vast majority of songs, and wasn’t ever alarming.  The overall impression was engaging and enjoyable.
     
    IMG_4010.jpg
     
    Conclusion
     
    Although certainly a cliché, as a Canadian, I can’t help but see the number 99 and think of the finest hockey player of all time.  Gretzky embodied all the characteristics that truly made him ‘the great one’.  To put on the number 99, is to have a lot to live up to.  Amazingly, this little company from Romania has done it in the world of audio with this simply tremendous headphone. 
     
    They’ve made a comfortable, sealed headphone that can be used portably and is somehow an almost perfect balance of form and function.  The 99 Classics are undeniably beautiful in both construction and in sound.  They provide an energetic, vibrant experience and do so in a truly luxurious style.  They sound great with basically any type of music and look terrific anywhere headphones are welcome. 
     
    I’d like to personally thank the great folks at Meze and specifically the awesome Lorand Czibere for providing a pair of 99 Classics for me to review.   I look forward to where this company is headed.
     
     
    Style, I’d like to introduce you to substance.  Oh, I see you’ve already met.
     

      Wilashort, HungryPanda and MezeTeam like this.
  3. joeq70
    Pretty looking and sounding headphones that make for a great portable listen.
    Written by joeq70
    Published May 24, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Premium look and feel, easy to drive, sound great for portable use, fair price
    Cons - Bass could be both deeper and tighter, not something I would use as desktop headphone replacement

    *I am reviewing the Meze 99 Classics as a condition of the recent tour conducted by the fine folks at Meze. The following is simply my honest impressions.

    Introduction and Initial Observations

    First, a little bit about this headphone. The 99 Classics are marketed as a headphone built from the ground up with an aim at those looking for both high quality, neutral sound and high-end looks in one package. There are a few things I'd like to add to this, now having seen, touched, and heard the headphones myself--these promises are definitely delivered upon in my experience. I was impressed that the headphones use real wood and metal, with very little to no plastic being used at all. Further, I find the headphones to be quite attractively designed, though this will come down to personal preference.  Despite this, the headphone remains quite light and ideal for listening on the go.  My only qualm with the build quality of the headphones is that I would rather they cost about $40-50 more and come with lambskin earpads instead of the cheap feeling pleather ones that come with it at present.
     

    Equipment Used

    JRiver Media Center (FLAC files)→Aune T1 (with various tubes)
    Samsung Galaxy Note 5
     
    -Nothing fancy here, really. But, fortunately, the 99 Classics don't need anything fancy to sound great.
     

    How Do They Sound?

    I really liked listening to the 99 Classics. They have a lively, energetic sound, yet have a touch of warmth to them. The highs are clear, but not sharp. The mids are fairly intimate and bass has a pleasant fullness to it. The way these are tuned actually reminds quite a bit of a "smaller sounding" ZMF Omni. The Omni has deeper bass, more detail, larger soundstage, more depth, and better imaging BUT if you were to kind of take the core essence of that warmish, intimate, and yet detailed sound of the Omni and shrink it into a portable headphone, I think it would look a lot like the 99 Classics. Some more points on the 99 Classics:
     
    1. Extremely easy to drive.
    2. Sounded equally nice out of the T1 and my phone. I would be totally content using these portably with nothing but a phone or mp3 player. To emphasize: no dedicated amp needed.
    3. They are very light on head. Not the most comfortable headphone ever, but quite good still. I actually had this weird issue where the headband would pinch my hair and pull it when I removed the headphones. Despite this, I actually like the headband design.
    4. These lean warm and are energetic sounding. Treble-heads need not apply. Also, I'd say bassheads will be disappointed. However, those who like a lively sound that isn't overemphasized in any one area, you will probably dig the 99 Classics a lot.
    5. Many people have complained that the earpads are too small. I agree to an extent, and think the pads would be better if just a bit bigger, but I am overall OK with the way the pads are at present. One really cool thing is that Meze has taken this feedback into account and accordingly have made larger earpads available.
     

    Final Notes

    I haven't listened to a ton of portable headphones, but I like the 99 Classics more than all the ones I've heard. This included the NAD Viso HP50, Audioquest Nighthawk, Sennheiser Momentum, and Oppo PM-1 (cost is a factore here). When I decide to get a set of portables, it will almost certainly be the 99 Classics.
      Wilashort, MezeTeam and maxnik like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. joeq70
      @cyberslacker I would say that they are generally well built and definitely able to be used out an about, but they shouldn't be treated carelessly. I don't think they'd take well to being sat on. If I were going to go about town with them, I would keep then on my head/around my neck and then place them inside the carrying case that comes with them before placing them in a backpack or something like that.
      joeq70, May 25, 2016
    3. Philimon
      "... great for portable use ..."? If you like stares and snickers.
      Philimon, May 25, 2016
    4. pinoyman
      thanks for the review. i really like to buy one of these, specially the color white one. :)
      it looks clean to me.
      pinoyman, May 30, 2016
  4. kosq83
    Little cans BIG sounding!
    Written by kosq83
    Published May 8, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Easily driven of a smartphone, very portable, fun sounding, airy, some stronger base withoit a V shape sounding
    Cons - Microphone effect, imo not for home use
    Welcome everybody to my review. It is a first one for me - so please take it easy, have a beer or two, popcorn handy and have fun reading. I don't mind if Yous will slap me for that what You'll read - but it is what I think.
     
    I would like to thank you Meze Team for letting me testing these cans for a little bit longer than usually as I have a quite limited time for tunes in my every day life. And as a disclaimer I would like to mention that this review is genuinely what I think and what I hear.
     
     
    Shortcut:

    Meze produces some big big sound - being such a light and quite little cans - they can even massage ears. All the frequencies are well pronounced, I didn't hear any V shape sounding listening them - but there is some stronger base in them. The base gives a really fun drive - but it never goes too far into other frequencies. Mids - and so vocals are rather forward and well present in tunes.I had no issues whatsoever with the high tones - they are airy - even very airy, well separated and not stingy at all. On the HTC M9 everything was coherent I wasn't missing anything in the sound.
     
     
    The Unimportant
     
    You can skip that to the part below immediately.
    My audio background. As a quite non-existent headfier I'll let to describe myself. I'm in audio world about six years now, started with the help of other much more experienced audio hardcore maniac - ave Adivxv!- getting Xonar STX (and later on a few sets of decent opamps)and ATH-A700X + DT770 PRO 250Ohm - so my start was with not too bassy sounding with quite good soundstaging.  The soundstaing - and other aspects connected with - happen to be my thing in sound. And so it started. Today and for the sake of the tests I had been using as follow:
    Aune S16, Yulong D200 as source/amp combos
    Yulong A28 as Amp
    Ultraviolet 7 and some cheap interconnectors, and power conditioning plug
    And the most important - HTC M9 phone
    Nothing super special as you can see.
    The rivals for the Meze Classic99 were:
    Philips Fidelio X2 (big thanks to Mr Pepis!)
    Audio Technica ATH-AD700X ATH-A700X
    Ultrasone PRO900 and HFI-780
    AKG K550

    The last thing I would like to mention is that I've never read any review about the Meze cans. Yes, You may not believe in it - I don't mind - but I retained not to read anything online or anywhere else - first because my time is quite limited, and later on when I knew I will receive them for testing I wanted to have a clear mind of the other reviewers thoughts. What else I am a person who is hype resistant - so I take everything rather cold. Okay enough mumbling. So let's get to the point:
     

    The somewhat important

    Somewhat important to me reviewing the headphones is the other things which comes along with them apart of the sound. The cans - when I got the parcel from FortisFlyer75 - they came immaculate, looking as a new and untouched, so the impression was like buying a new cans. First thoughts very positive. The build quality - nothing to grip. Feels like a luxury product. The feel and the look just spot on. The wood very nice in touch. The pads rather shallow, but very soft and super nice in touch. The two different length "wires" are like a shoe lace covered in a cloth (similar to the ATH-A700X cable) which of my preference is the best cable to live with. They're soft as well. One is with the microphone - which I've tested as well using HTC M9 - loud and clear both ways, no issues at all. There is some extras as well in the box - but that probably everybody knows anywhere. So the package is complete - which I think is a good thing and nicely thought by the producer.
    The only bad thing is the microphone effect when the metal band is touched by anything. There is a minor microphone effect of the cables - but really minor- and disappearing when music plays even at low volume. The headband adjusts itself - I have quite a big potato head - and had no problems with the comfort at all.
    The comfort - as I mention the pads are very soft. The cans aren't big at all. From all the cans I own they're the smallest ones - I was a little bit suprised bu the size of the cups - my ears just just fit in - they don't seat on the ears - but I wouldn't call them totally over the ear. The closest cans I know well comfortwise are the HFI-780 - which are less comfy than the Meze.
    The circumstances I most of the time listen the music - is mostly the night time when I'm off - so I put a playlist on, lay back relaxed in bed and totally spacing myself out - I'll mention about that later on - but the comfortwise Meze during such a sessions were less comfy than the big cans (X2, AD700x, A700X or DT150 - but these are bigger full cans, so really there is no wonder..) - and I had to be careful not to cause the microphone effect of the headband - so they wouldn't be my first choice for these kind of night sessions.
    The look - furthermore it is worth to mention about the look - but from the other, not a quality side - but the look as a fassion thing (or such, you know what I mean). I was taking Meze with me to the public places - parks, cafe places and such - and I can report that the people were looking at them - in my opinion they would fit to the person wearing smart or formal clothes - shirts, ties and such - it is just a classy look. I personally don't give a duck how do I look like in the headphones when I'm out and about - as I am taking out with me HFI-780, K550 or even A700X - but none of them look classy at all. Meze are.
     
     
    And the important - the sound
     
    Now the only really important bet of the review. First impressions - when I got them it just happened I was listening some tunes on D200+ OTG cable+ USB Audio Player Pro and A700X. First impressions were quite sour - as I just simply preferred A700X over the Meze. Why? What I'm after the sound is the soundstaging - as wider, as deeper as more holographic - then better. A700X were producing to my taste better soundstage. So the first impressions were a little bit disappointing. Later on on next occasion I teamed them up with all my equipment and X2, AD700X, DT150 - and each time I wasn't so impressed with the Meze. The X2 weren't mine and they had to go back to the owner (thanks again Pepis!) so I had feelings that I am wasting time with Meze - cause I knew I had to review them. I know You must be boiling here by now - I know that. X2 are semi opened AD700X are opened, A700X is a soundstaging wide killer at the price point - well all of my cans are super spatial - the Meze were not. Than - than I had an idea to plug them to HTC M9 and take them with me going out. And from then on the magic started. What is my opinion (I may be here a captain obvious - but honestly I didn't read a word about them at all) these cans are ment for on the go use. Than longer I had been using them with the phone the more I liked them - hmm I loved them from the first tune - and It just was progressing till the last day. The are like K550 (not sounding like for a record) - the similarity is that  they play so good of a phone it is quite impressive. Really the worse source the better sounding (metaphor). After I undiscovered that - I didn't plug them into the stationary machinery at all - and I've been listening all the time of my phone.
     
     
    Sounding:

    If it is about the soundstaging presentation - It is all there. The show is rather happening inside the head deeper than wider- but everything is well separated and with some good imagining. Well made tracks were taking me "there" with ease.
    Meze produces some big big sound - being such a light and quite little cans - they can even massage ears. All the frequencies are well pronounced, I didn't hear any V shape sounding listening them - but there is some stronger base in them. The base gives a really fun drive - but it never goes too far into other frequencies. Mids - and so vocals are rather forward and well present in tunes.I had no issues whatsoever with the high tones - they are airy - even very airy, well separated and not stingy at all. On the HTC M9 everything was coherent I wasn't missing anything in the sound.
    Sitting in a cafe or any other place I was totally chewed in the tunes every time I was listening anything - and the repertuar was spread in between the edm, pop, rock, and some other random music - even Rihana tracks hehe. Every time wow effect on.
    During relaxing home sessions in my bed - I also was chewed in the tracks. I started liking the soundstaging more and more - and the drive of the base - It is really pleasant and interesting. It may not be going down like in PRO900 (but that I will mention next).
    Overall - my opinion (again I'm most likely a Captain Obvious) the Meze are ment to be a headphones to take them outdoors, for a journey, for a delegation, wherever when we can't take our gear. There is no need for them to pair them with any audiophile stuff - they fly of the phone.The sound doesn't scale with stationary amps and DACs - but they are so good without it... Other cans are better in other ways - Meze to my ears are very musical - more musical than spatial, they give tons of fun listening to basically anything I was listening to - they make me want to listen more and more - yes, they can be fatiguing - but such is a fun listening.
     
     
    Final thoughts:

    I can totally recommend the Meze cans - but only, only for a portable, on the go cans. They got all the attributes needed.
    I can totally recommend them as well for the people without any home audio gear. Since they really shine just plugged to the smarphone - there is no need for anything else.
    Since they look classy - I think it could be a good material for a gift to anybody.
    For a sit at home - stationary gear - I would never use them - cause other cans do that better.
     
     
    Thanks for reading!
    Peter
    1. View previous replies...
    2. kosq83
      Thanks Guys for good words!
      FortisFlyer75
      Yes, Classics scale higher with better gear - but to me they are left behind if it is about the soundstaging - but considering the cans whey had to rival with - I am not supprised at all. I would get them purely for their tonality :)
      Villy
      I did my best to produce an honest one - that was the point Mate :)
      kosq83, May 12, 2016
    3. FortisFlyer75
      No one can deny it was an honest one bud, that's what I liked about it.

      Soundstage, I've heard better with closed backs but at same time have heard worse, ie. like my Sony 7520's but I still love them!

      Yes tonality is what melts the heart with these I guess which is something to a lot with those lovely wooden cups : )
      FortisFlyer75, May 12, 2016
    4. reddog
      A good, informative review.
      reddog, May 12, 2016
  5. FUYU
    Closed Goodness - The Meze 99 Classics
    Written by FUYU
    Published May 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build; Energetic Sound; Good detail and staging
    Cons - Cups are too small and non-removeable; Floppy Bass; A bit grainy in upper-mids
    Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were send to me as part of their European Tour. Impression are based on around a week of intensive usage.

    Preamble:

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

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

    Enter Meze 99 Classics

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


    Specifications:

    > Transducer Type: Neodymium Dynamic
    > Transducer Size: 40mm
    > Frequency Response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    > Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    > Impedance: 32Ohm
    > Rated Input Power: 30mW
    > Maximum Input Power: 50mW
    > Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    > Plug: 3.5mm gold plated; straight plug
    > Variants: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver, Marple Silver
    > Weight: 290g
    > MSRP: $309

    99-classics-lifestyle5.jpg


    Build and fit:

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

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


    Accesories:

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

    Pairing:

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

    Overall sound:

    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Final Words:

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

    Design

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

    Sound

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

    Comparison

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

    Conclusion

    The Meze 99 Classics are a very well-built handsome set of cans that delivery a very pleasant, bass-elevated sound that is easy to listen to and non-fatiguing. It comes with a nice hard case and multiple cables, and would make an excellent portable headphone for anyone looking for their sound signature. They are also very sensitive, working well out of cell phones and portable players.
     
    Soundstage and treble are both (minor) weaknesses, but for on-the-go listening, I believe they have clearly focused on what matters the most for their intended audience.
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      I thought you articulated it well...I find it very challenging to write audio reviews. How do you take something as intricate & nuanced as sound (& music) & translate it into words...it's bound to be confusing. Gush too much & you sound like a tool, and it's also easy to sound too critical. Overall a good job...thanks!
      jinxy245, Apr 29, 2016
    3. Defiant00
      Thanks for the kind words, it is indeed a tricky balance :)
      Defiant00, Apr 29, 2016
    4. warubozu
      Thanks for the review, may look into getting a pair in the future
      warubozu, Apr 29, 2016
  8. FortisFlyer75
    99 Classics an instant Classic?
    Written by FortisFlyer75
    Published Apr 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build, Design, Warm yet clear exciting natural detailed sound with plenty of bass, case and accessories. Price
    Cons - Cable tangles to easily, could do with a shorter option without playback control, Micro phonics on cable. Pads tend to get warm to hot over time

    Meze 99 Classics (Gold) review

    April 2016
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DSC05257.jpg
     
     
     
     
    DSC05311.jpg DSC05283.jpg DSC05330.jpg
     
     
     
     

    Sources used:

    Sony ZX1 Walkman, HP X360 Spectre with MS Win 10 laptop, Tag Mclaren DVD32R cd player.
     

    Amp & Dacs used:

    Chord Hugo & Mojo with QED Reference & Vertere DFI USB cables & Audioquest “jitterbug”,
     Vorzuge PureII+ portable amplifier with Whiplash Hybrid V3 LOD
     

    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
    Ear-cups
    Walnut wood


    For more insight and info please visit here>>> Meze - 99 Classics
     
    The review model is Walnut with Gold finish.  
    2 other finish versions available: Walnut & Silver / Maple wood finish with silver.
     

    My Meze story…

     
    It all started for me when I was browsing Head-fi as usual a few months back and noticed the banner on the side of the page and noticed a uniquely different striking looking pair of headphones I had not seen before to the norm with the lovely wooden cup and gold accented metal which is cast zinc had me intrigued and thinking to myself these must be a £1K headphone just by the just on looks alone so headed on over to their website to have a look and was surprised to see the price was only 309 Euros.
     
    I thought nothing of it after that hoping one day I might get to listen to these at a show or I bumped into another Head-fier who might own them to have a listen then I noticed the Meze tour and thought to myself I could not turn down the chance to listen to these for seven days and here is where I have to say thanks to Meze for letting me listen to these 99 Classics in the bliss of my own home for several days so finally my turn has arrived to have these unique looking beautiful headphones, but do they sound as good as they look?
    Before I start on the sound of these without too much teasing I will firstly start from the beginning with the Ergonomics and design….
     

    Ergonomics & Design

    (Please scroll down to “99 Classic sounds” for review on how they sound)
     
    Firstly you are presented with a nice sturdy high finish printed box with which opens up like a book to reveal the EVA moulded hard case for storage & travel which protects the 99 Classics. This case is the start of the eye to detail that you see Meze apply to the headphones with the case been contoured as low profile as possible so the case is relatively bulk free for when in transportation anywhere. It has a double zipped entry and a nice loop hook for hanging the case. 
     
    Once open you will find the Meze sitting there in the velour glove like protection of the EVA moulded hard case with the cables and accessories stored in a clever round soft case which has zip up closure.  I wish more headphone company’s had this rather common sense approach with eye to detail with thought given to how best to store the cables and plugs and the accessory case sits nicely in the gap between the headband and ear cups. 
     
    In the accessories bag they have supplied two cables, both copper OFC Kevlar cable one with a shorter run which has a remote/microphone cable for use with both Android and Apple phones as well as any other dap that has a 3.5 jack is 1.2 Metre in length and and has play/ stop button which doubles up as next and previous track and phone / end call buttons.
     
    The other cable is a generous 3 Metre length for use at home and then they complete the accessories set with a Gold plated 6.3mm jack adaptor plug and Aeroplane adaptor plug. The Headphone drivers are symmetrical which means the left and right is in the headphone is determined by the L & R marked 3.5 mono jack plugs which are easy to hook up for listening.
     
    Also the left hand cable jack input has a raised ridge to differentiate it from the right cable so can be identified without having to look for the marked L & R symbols which is another simple yet nice touch.
    The Classic headphones are light to hold in the hand and are not big as conventional full size headphones making these ideal for travelling especially been closed back headphones although I know for hardcore commuters there is no foldable design or swivel on the cups to make them more compact for storage when travelling which for me would take away from the overall design and implementation of the build on these headphones.
     
    First thing I noticed was how light they feel on the head and this is helped I think by the way the headband is also designed with a simple yet clever and effective way the adjustment works. The PU leather headband is fairly thick and nice soft and supple which contributes to the non-fatiguing fit for listening sessions.
    It’s the least fiddling I’ve had to do with headbands for quite a while which becomes bit of a god send, like I say it is the eye for detail for the simple little things that having been taken into the design aspect of these 99 classic’s that makes you start to warm to them before you even put them on.
     
    The ear pads themselves are also a PU leather which have a memory foam inside and for me my ears just fit inside the cups but for some of you who have bigger lobes (like my father who tried them on) may find these become more a case of “on ears” instead of “over the ears” pair of headphones. I will come back to the pads a bit more in the “99 Classic sound” section…
     
    Everything on this headphone is meant to be serviceable in the long term and used no glue, just nuts and bolts so if anything was to go at some stage down the road it can be replaced although hopefully by the feel and look of the way these have been designed they should last a long time unless you are a professional rock star who likes to throw them around in room destroying tantrums then they should be okay.
     
     
     
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    So how do the 99 Classics sound?….
     
    I am by nature someone that is mid centric with my listening taste and is the first thing I make sure this is the first stop in hearing the music if my ears like this area making sure it is not recessed at all but I am not adverse to a signature that delivers a bass happy signature as I do own the JH16pros as my custom iem’s which are tuned to something like +6 db if I remember rightly and then I have the Sony 7520’s which although not obvious with their bass authority do have some bellows on them in the lows after owning the too bass light EU version of the ZX1000 Sony made which was essentially the same headphone with edgy treble and very light bass response.
     
    Then last year have been listening too a lot of top end open backs after longing for a nice pair of high end pair of cans I finally purchased a pair of Grado GS1000e’s which I love and adore and if I had the money could imagine two or three more flagship open backs I would love to own and have also still been keeping my ears on the pulse with mid-price cans like the Beyer T90’s which I was really surprised with last year how good they were for the money so with looks and the cost box been ticked already on these Meze Classics would the sound match its design & build or was it going to be a shallow listening experience with just a pretty pretentious pair of headphones trying to just shift numbers on its designer looks?
     
    Please roll up finally for sounds from another galaxy far-far away, Well Romania to be precise for design and manufactured in China.
     
     
     

    99 Classic sound impressions

     
    First thing I had to try these with was to see if my Sony ZX1 would be enough too drive them as I’ve had a few apparently efficient headphones the ZX1 has struggled with (including my Sony 7520’s) to get the optimum from them so wanted to know if it would be enough to drive the 99 Classics 32 ohms and thankfully they also did not just drive them with ease and effort they still had plenty left on the volume scale if needed so was nice to know they could pair with my ZX1 if I needed to use this for a trip somewhere with just my Walkman without my Hugo or Pure amp.
     
    First thing I noticed before getting into the nitty gritty details on the sound is once I had these on I noticed the cable does suffer from micro phonics, although I personally use them just sitting in my armchair I detect this were also designed to be used mobile given their size, isolation and remote cable supplied so could be an issue for the Meze commuter out there who would want to use them on the go.  I personally love the feel and flexibility of the cable despite its micro phonics but the only other sticking point for me at the same time with this cable is it does tend to get tangled up a bit too easy and the 3 metre cable can be a separate game of un-ravel the snake before you get to have a listening session. 
     
    Back to how this sounds, first thoughts were WOW! The bass immediately stands out when playing these on my ZX1 and you know from the word go you will not be lacking any bass from these headphones ever!  Meze state they are naturally balanced sound with no artificial tweaking but you cannot help but feel these are bass tuned driven from the front line with their signature and does set the stall out for these as been a fun and exciting sounding headphone yet after a few tracks I was starting to notice there was more to them than just been a bass hungry headphone which my fears are when you get a headphone with plenty of bass is; does this mean the mids are recessed or does it bleed into the mids at all but luckily the mids are pretty balanced.
     
     
     

    The Meze Bass

     
    What makes these different? Well the more I was listening to these although predominantly they feel like they are on a soul driven bass carpet ride - the bass on these is not just quantity here, bass = quality also on the 99 Classics and has plenty of layers and tonal balance to the bass makes these feel quite life like with plenty of punch and control and can easily differentiate the mid to low bass notes and can be subtle or brutal in their impact especially the sub bass kick it is capable of as the Classics with any recording will engage that into the delivery of what you hear. 
     
    When hooked up to the Hugo or Mojo the bass only gets better as it tightens up even more and becomes focused and even more controlled with even more detail nuances to be heard in the bass notes is what actually makes or breaks these headphones as there are plenty of headphones that can do bass but not with the level of detail, tonality and timbre which feels at home with almost any genre I throw at it.
     
    It’s not totally perfect as there are some songs where it can sound just a tad over cooked with the low bass notes making it sound bloated, this is a hit and miss thing I encountered which seemed to happen with some good recordings as well as the more average ones so could just be a mix of the generous Meze bass colliding with the way it is mixed on that particular recording for whatever reason beyond my technical knowledge in the sound engineering department...
     
    For the most part for someone that has been listening to a lot of open back headphones with a more neutral tuned bass in the last year I found these really addictive as it has an uncanny knack of just sounding quite natural to listen too musically rather than analytical listening sense although it is the ability they have to be analytical enough with details which is mixing well in the warm exciting dynamic fun melting pot with this seductive bass signature which is also in part to the rest of how Meze have built the building blocks of how this sounds overall has a sense of cohesion to everything. 
     
    After all it’s okay having a great bass presence which actually has quality as well as quantity but what about how it co- exists with the rest of the sound on these 99 Classics?...
     
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    The Meze Mids
     
    The one thing I started to notice after a few tracks is that the Classics were not just a one trick pony with just been all about the bass as the more I listened the more it became apparent that what I was hearing with the amount of detail in the bass I was hearing across the mids on this headphone and even started to notice nuances in details on recordings I had heard a hundred times over down the years actually sounding different even after hearing those songs on some more expensive headphones in the last couple of years. It was like they had somehow paved a way in the mids for the little details in recordings to stand out quite distinctively on their own.
     
    The mids in general have a good balance of been evident without been to aggressive or forward with a hump to them or recessed and sound clear with an ability for good timing, rhythm & speed which never makes a song slouchy or slow. 
     
     It did make me start to wonder how they were doing this as I thought I had heard it all before until now considering how much these classics are priced at so somehow they are finding a way for the detail to shine through that you will sit up and notice when listening.
     
    The soundstage quite wide for a closed back considering it’s small cup size also and it is this soundstage with the excellent stereo imaging which gives these headphones a sense of 3D sound with plenty of depth and height which is contradictive to the small cup design appearance from the outside then putting them on is like taking a step inside the Tardis!
     
    These are well insulated closed backs but have to say the imaging is done really well and placement of instruments still have plenty of space around each other and has a very clear presentation which I think lends to the micro details coming through in the mids really well, so well I am trying to work out how I have not heard some of this detail on more expensive cans in last couple of years in the way Meze have managed to do it. 
     
    Vocals are clear and focused in the centre and well placed to rest of the soundstage, like the mids they are not recessed and can clearly hear the lead singer at all times and female or male vocals sound equally as good with a fragile/ tender or powerhouse vocalist sounding just as impressive. 
     
    The mids also have a good sense of speed, rhythm and timing for a dynamic driver and seem to keep up easy with fast music and the more I listened to my vast eclectic library of Flac & WAV files the more I noticed these are suited to any music even classical as the classics portray very good sense of depth and height which the dynamics of the bass range helps give that sense of feeling with recordings. 
     
     
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    The Meze Treble

     
    One thing I did worry about initially was the treble which is smooth as butter at times as the highs were not harsh or edgy (which is always my biggest worry with a headphone or iem) nor forward started to think they may have been a bit lost in the balance of the mids and the powerhouse bass but with more songs that went by started to notice it was there but is evenly spread in the mix with complex songs with a lot happening but with something like acoustic music or more easy going music you can hear the top end very easily with a precision to the ringing echoes in micro details of hi-hats and symbols been struck and with very good recordings can portray an uncannily very realistic sounding treble note with Hi Hats & symbols.
     
    Finger picking of acoustic guitars or sliding the fret board started to re assure me the treble can have a nice extension giving it the lively enough feel a treble still needs all though always though it doesn’t feel like the most forward of sounding treble sounding headphones it is there and with a refined smooth quality. 
     
    With a few straight days under my belt now although you know these are a headphone with a sense of bass on tap in its spades it has a nice balance although not a neutral one with a warmth to its signature and nice natural timbres with anything it plays as even Piano’s do not sound artificial so far but drums and guitar do stand out with this Meze yet it sounds on the most part clear and precise in its execution and delivery and have never heard them sound like they want to distort during music that is hectic, loud and fast and I have been known to listen to my stuff on the louder side of the moon to some out there although not to points of distortion to the ears with treble losing it composure and making the ears bleed. 
     
    I usually do spout about different songs and artist I have heard along the way when listening as references but with just listening too so much across a broad range over last few days (as it’s been that addictive) suggests I actually am enjoying and liking these more than I thought I ever would.
     
    Last few days of repeated listening to some artist as they sound so good on the Meze like I’ve heard guitars from Rodrigo & Gabriel which is very well suited with the way the hand slapping on the guitars comes through with a resonating wooden echo on the bass which I guess is complimented by it actually coming from a wooden cup driver in the 99 Classics.
     
    Fine guitarist such as Antonio Forcione, Lee Ritenour, Kaki King, Joe Bonamassa sound great with good realistic string tones with good speed & decay and just perfect leading and trailing edges to notes with plenty of micro detail in the picking of each string been played with the likes of  AC-DC, Muse, Foo fighters or Pink Floyd have that fluid speed, power and drive that makes electric rock guitars come to life.
     
    Where the quality meets depth and slam with clarity on the Meze and can hear how life like the bass is with Imelda May albums with the string bass really hitting through the floor and another great recording with Imelda’s albums as there can be many instruments and harmony’s on top of each other when one of their songs is in top flight but every one of her band can be heard with ease due to the sense of space and soundstage the Meze lends to this good recording.
     
    One of my favourite bands Fleetwood Mac rocks with the drive of Mick Fleetwoods signature drumming with the lower mids of Mcvie’s bass guitar sounding multi toned notes with good reverb and meat to the strings and Lindsey’s upper mid guitar sounds pin point without been overly sharp and the harmonys of the group are layered on imaginary clouds and correctly placed in the soundstage and re-living Rumours or Tusk remastered with the added studio outtakes & alternative versions of the album songs are meant for these Meze headphones as the 99 Classic 40mm drivers compliment that already rich punchy layered bass and laid back blues sounds Fleety Mac excel at time and time again.
     
    Moving away from my world of Rock genres Dance music really has a kick and slam and this really is how you know how much bass these can throw at you as dance tracks like Sia with her last two albums 1000 Forms of fear & This is acting have bass lines that gradually work their way down to the basement or just a sudden explosion of bass impact like a subwoofer can really emphasis Sia’s vocals which are powerful in their own right but the Classics bring her voice to life with a very energized and clear engagement that is right at the front of the stage. I think I had goose bumps listening to Sia with a few of her songs on the Meze.
     
    … Zola Jesus, Leftfield, Rob D or Daft Punk’s Tron OST has dimension and impact depth, power, height and control with sounding and feeling (yes, feeling) like a real club like Jamo or JBL bass through these CNC & hand crafted wooden cups as it resonates which some might not like but I happen to love it as long as the actual tonality and realism of the bass sounds correct to the relevant song.
     
    This is also why live music really excels on the 99 Classics and really takes you to another place with that vast soundstage with the recordings actually making the Meze soundstage sound bigger than it usually does with studio recordings yet Fleetwood Mac – The Dance Live is where the Meze bass is at home as it makes the drum kicks just like they sound live as the drum sound travels around you as it pans out from Micks centre point on stage and the frequent use of chimes, symbols, hi-hats show how capable it can handle the treble as good as it does in the mids and bass on this album.
    Stevie Nicks “Soundstage sessions” Live another example of this with her gritty V10 powered blues tilt into rock driven vocals.
     
    Cream live at Royal Albert Hall especially the ten minute drumming showcase song “Toad” is exceptional to listen to on the 99 Classics and captures the spectrum of frequency ranges and instruments been played whilst capturing the feeling of actually been there with the soundstage presence of width and distance with the crowd in the background. 
     
    I am quite a sucker for female vocalist including Stevie Nicks as already mentioned but listening to female artist like Nina Simone, Sia, Birdy, Tori Amos, Ellie Goulding, Lissie or Florence & the Machines big sound all take control and the addictive bass presence with good textured mids takes a back seat whilst you become transfixed to the focus the 99 Classics vocals manage to capture with the sense of raw emotion and placement with timing and tonal rendering of the vocal pallet feel and sound real enough to captivate and belief allowing me to lose myself in the music. 
     
    Kate Bush - Aerial  is another very well recorded album although there are some oddity tracks on these two cd’s which really exemplifies the spaces and airiness of this album which makes even the obscure tracks on here interesting too.
     
     Tori Amos Crucify & Under the Pink remastered it really shows what the 99 Classics can do with recordings that are mastered really well and can perform on a level of reference listening in terms of detail and natural feel of music that connects when you listen to these which let you just enjoy rather than analyse the music so must be something about how they have struck a balance despite the uncanny ability to be one of the really bass pronounced sounding pair of headphones I’ve heard for a while but it’s how it handles the mid bass and sub bass with distinction of tonal accuracy and timbre reality has helped me relive these remasters of Tori Amos like the first time I ever heard them.
     
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    Despite these been a warmer sounding pair of cans with that Meze sound classical music is really suited to the 99 classics also because although warmish it has the clarity room to breathe with detail to still make symphony’s like Mahler No.5 have authority yet a spatialness and air without It becoming trapped or muffled in the horn section when during the lively passages and the higher than average detail for the price tier can be heard during the quite passages in the background gives the sense of how big the venue is with sound reverb from various movements of sounds made by people rustling and moving.
     
    Wood kid big wide open power sound with Tracks like Run Boy Run and Iron becoming addictive in the mid-range building layers as the song develops and the sub bass again excels with Woodkid recordings and his crescendo high that builds continuously towards the end of Run Boy Run never loses control even when at a high volume lending to the impact the final section of that song builds up too.
     
    Again there are a few songs that have at times when the Meze shows the tendency to bloat with the bass it can bleed a little to the lower mids and muffle or cancel out the clarity of the song yet with Nina Simone it shows the 99 Classics are capable of the nailing it when it keeps the bass in check rhythm and timing really captivating and the classic song “Sinner Man” on the 99 Classics shows the Meze’s ability to shine with the treble section on a track like this.
     
    The piano seems to flow quite naturally and sounds good when it hits the breakdown section at approx. 8.30mins before the final melee run of all the instruments portrays the piano keys not overblown on the bass note edge and the upper mids to highs of notes the timbre sounds natural enough to me so the warmth of the Meze does not ruin the spacious trebly feel of this song or ruin that mid to high driven rhythm & timing that had me tapping my feet along with this 10 min journey of a song.
     
    The reason I think the 99 Classics is managing to pull at my heart strings is because of the way Meze have made this have a cohesion of sound which although warm and no matter how they say it is tuned it has a more than neutral or studio flat tuned feel bass about it to my ears yet there is a lovely balance to these headphones which is only really set apart from the amount of detail they manage to somehow extract in the right areas at the right moments to compliment the overall exciting bass driven signature.
     
    With all this Meze have managed to really gel this into sounding a *non fatiguing fun & enjoyable yet accurate enough for serious listening headphone at the same time which has left me feeling perplexed in a happy way!?
     
    *denote is for as many hours as they are good to listen to with plenty of listening time with them the PU leather pads can get a bit warm at times so not sure how that would bear for people who it will fit on the ear over a prolonged listening session. 
     
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    Finally what album I find will pretty much try any headphone in all departments in their songs is an old favourite of mine that I almost forgot to try until the 11th hour of having these on loan and have down the years used: Yello – The Race album as one of my demo track cds for auditioning my speaker Hi-Fi seperates and now use in same way in the head-fi world with trying out equipment which I now have the luxury of now days having the much improved remaster version and have to say listening to this really did blow my mind as it was just spot on as if I was hearing this through my B&W floor standing speakers.
     
    The balance between the different frequency’s is very coherent has an amazing sense of speed and clarity in the mids whilst this bass impacts with a sub bass rumble is continuing in the background to the soundtrack of major drum rolling and and the hi-hats resonate just perfectly as they clash repeatedly.
     
     The Race track is a very dynamic track and the Meze is faithful to this and adds that meat to the bone where a lot of neutral headphones will lack in reproducing how this track should sound with a really slick and fast presentation with plenty of dynamics and a proper sub bass feel which makes the most of the soundstage and imaging with the sound of old racing cars panning from side to side.
     
    There are few headphones out of all of them that have managed to capture this album just right like always hearing these track on a pair of big speakers and I can truthfully say I have heard it on only two or three headphones that were two open backs and one closed back costing between £500-£1700 which really done this song justice so was in my element listening to this album again to how the recording is across the spectrum.
     
    The Classics also sounded really competent when I heard trumpets and trombone’s with Trombone Shorty’s “For true” album and the trumpet having a focused centralized point of sound delivery with plenty of body and verve blasting the air with a feel of power which gives a very 3D dynamic feel in listening as if been at a parade in New Orleans which then gave me the bug to listen to more blues music orientated music on these 99 Classics. 
     

    Conclusion

    The 99 Classics have really surprised me after first visually liking these with intrigue through to hearing them finally thanks to the Meze tour coming along.
    Though at first hearing these can predominantly just sound bass accentuated with not much treble end but after listening to this for prolonged period they are more balanced than they appear as my biggest dread is a recessed mid in a headphone so having just the right amount of mids which do not seem to humped or recessed helps build the foundation allowing the really low bass to work on these.
     
    Oh yes that bass, which really would not work if not so much attention had been paid to getting them to sound very detailed with a good sense of accuracy of timbre, speed and space leading to good separation with that BASS and have a good frequency sweep with clarity from the upper mid bass all the way down to the sub bass floor all with a smooth cohesion of dynamics which makes these become addictive despite not all tracks benefitting from this it is few and far between with its warmish tint but not overly warm sound that it becomes a bit fuzzy and sluggish sounded is the quality of detail that is combined and intertwined into this quite inconspicuous fun, rich, dynamic and responsive open sounding closed back cans.
     
    It all adds up to meaning you can just sit back and relax to the music on these and hear a great amount of detail retrieval at this level the Classics are set at without it been over analytical in the detail department that makes these sound good with lesser recordings and sound really great with superior recordings whether Red book or Hi-res tracks so they scale well.
     
    I really think this maybe be the headphone that could ween the bass happy Beats generation onto a headphone that still can do bass but with a natural balance to the order of putting tonality and detail in the music first with a dynamic feel and engagement that has made me rethink that headphones at this price can and maybe still have a place when you own more expensive offerings.
     
    So for that young Beats owner making the jump they might not need to upgrade to the next level for a while before the day comes they feel ready to go flagship level if they ever go that far which then does make me also wonder if Meze can produce this build, design with this sound for this price would and could they do with a bigger budget for a flagship model one day?
     
    Will be keeping my eye on Meze in the future for sure but for now will seriously consider getting one of these later on despite owning the very talented detailed Grados which I love and my current Sony 7520s feel the urge to still have a pair of these for sure which has surprised me as I went into this really thinking they cannot sound good as they look! How wrong I was, sorry Meze, somehow I find myself listening to the 99 Classics happily for hours (when pads do not get to hot) and do have to remind myself I am listening to a pair of headphones that are priced at only 309 euros currently. 
     
    … they may not be totally perfect after all there is room for improvement in some areas the 99 Classics are a lot closer to overall cohesion perfection musically than others at this price point and the few negatives I pointed out would not be a deal breaker for me especially at this price and sure this is a company which will work on those things in time with the amount of attention and effort  they pay putting into the design and build as well as most of it has been a common sense approach with a reasoning behind the design to have a use and not to just look pretty so look forward to the future offerings as I feel Meze could be one to watch grow over time into a bigger player if they can cook up more  headphones like this. 
     
    Although as you can tell by now I am concluding to liking these Meze I will say this with an impartial approach still, if you like your bass in your music you will like these with the added benefit of still sounding fairly balanced still with clarity and more than average detail at this price point with good eye for detail and great thought behind the build. 
     
    But if you are the type of person that likes a more neutral  flatter bass like studio monitoring style reference of bass reproduction or a lighter bass not so much bottom end then you might want to try something else but if you like a real sense of how music is not about analytics in details only and more about emotion and soul with dynamical power and excitement to its signature on tap then these my friend are for you (probably!)
     
    Lastly...  DSC05344.jpg  
    Thank you for the opportunity to have these for seven fast and fun days that opened my eyes once again to how the audio world can still surprise and is evolving at all levels.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. rocketron
      A great and insightful review. Out standing photographic skills. Makes this one of the best reviews I have read on Headfi. Thank you.
      rocketron, Jun 10, 2016
    3. erich6
      Awesome review.  Thanks for taking the time to do this and share with all of us.
      erich6, Nov 26, 2016
    4. FortisFlyer75
      Thanks erich6, It was my pleasure as I found a headphone that really does not have to cost the earth to be good.  I am still enjoying these and won't say it too loud but these get more listening time than my Grado GS1K's!  Funny enough I am doing a review on the classic 12 IEM at the moment so is interesting to compare how they have transferred the 99 sound from a headphone into an IEM...
      FortisFlyer75, Nov 26, 2016
  9. swspiers
    A truly fun experience!
    Written by swspiers
    Published Apr 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Sound, impact, tuning, comfort
    Cons - Microphonic cable and frame, ear pads get a little warm.
    First, I’d like to thank Meze for this awesome tour. It’s been hard, reading all of the glowing reviews and waiting for my spot. By the time I got them, I was afraid that my “contrary nature” would put them at a disadvantage. I just tend to buck trends, and am skeptical about anything that gets such widespread praise.
    15 seconds with these headphones took care of that concern…

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

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

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

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

    But not quite a bullseye. I found the cables, and even the frame itself, to be quite microphonic. The ear pads could be a little larger, and the pads do get a bit on the warm side.
    So, I’m giving these 4 stars. I just think Meze can and will do better, and if they ever join in the TOTL battles, I’ll pick up a pair. The Classic 99’s hint at greatness, and I would like to hear what they do if they go all-out. In the meantime, I’ll be buying these. I joined this hobby for fun, and the Classic 99’s deliver as well or better than any headphones I have tried to date.
      YtseJamer likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Bansaku
      Nice review! Short and sweet.
      Bansaku, Apr 13, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Nice review...I think you hit the nail on the head
       
      To paraphrase:
       
      "They 99’s did not fare so well in that decidedly un-fair competition. The just didn’t scale very well. The clarity and transparency...were just a totally different experience.But in the end, I... let them do what they were born to do: BOOGIE!"
       
      These aren't for the analytical & transparency freaks among us. These are just simply enjoyable headphones that don't stray so far from neutral to be bothersome...I remember smiling just about every time I put them on.
       
      Thanks for the review!
      jinxy245, Apr 17, 2016
    4. swspiers
      Thanks, jinxy and everyone else. More testament to how much I like them: I just got the HD 800 S on Friday, and the Classic 99's are still on my "must have" list.
      swspiers, Apr 17, 2016
  10. raulendymion
    Meze Classic 99 review by raulendymion
    Written by raulendymion
    Published Apr 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Robust, durable carrying case, detachable cables, a pleasant sound
    Cons - Resonant headband, kitschy gold inserts, non-movable pads
    For the beginning, I would like to thank Meze Team for providing me the headphones for this test.
    This is my first review on HF.
     
    Remember the group The Stranglers and their song "Golden Brown"? I had such an impression, when I saw these headphones out of the case. Wooden cups, metal connections, gilded elements - you can easily see that this is not just any product. But we can easily see that it is not for everyone - bronze and gold, you have to hate it or you have to like it. There is no third option. Beauty or kitsch, you have to decide.
     
    What’s in the box:
    Headphones come in matching gray pouch. There are two wires - one with microphone (1.2 m long) and second without (3 m long). As almost everyone now, the manufacturer adds the adapters: 6.3 mm jack and for airplane. Wires are pleasant in touch and looks very solid.
     
    Construction:
    Metal and wood, gold and black. There is something in this combination of Baroque paintings, hence probably the association with the name. The manufacturer offers also a white maple wood version with silver inserts, instead of dark walnut and gold. Check Meze home site for option. 
    Earpads are nice, shiny, but unfortunately small. In my home headphones (ATH - M50x) even stock pads are larger. And since I have changed my pads to Brainwavz HM5 replacement pads, those of Meze look just for older kids. Speaking of HM5 - legend says that they are supposedly somewhere in the world some headphones, which do not fit with HM5 pads :)
    The headband is made with leather bands and metal shields. And here, unfortunately, Meze made a mistake - because the headband strongly resonates with every touch (as every metal does) and even with rapid movement of the head. Gold clampings look very solid, nothing moves, nothing squeaks.
     
    Everyday use:
    Well headphones are good sitting on the head, only small earpads can make troubles in adjusting to the ears. They don't clamp like some AKG products. Headband, though solid, looks fine. Only this resonance - try to move his head and did not hear slithering sound - you can't. When it comes to isolation from the environment - is good, but not great. My stock M50x are better and there is no comparison with Focal Spirit Pro (my previous headphones).
     
    Rock or Classic?
    In my opinion these are the headphones tuned for fun, just not for analytical sound. Bass descends very low, but fortunately is well controlled and fast. Mids are slightly distanced, does not sound so crisp like Focal. However, the instruments are good recognized and in a proper separation one from another. Overall, not bad, but it could be a bit better. Trebles are quite good, but again there is no such resolution in highs, even my ATH takes advantage here. I miss the long playing of percussion instruments, but I am a treble-centred person.
     
    Wrap-up:
    In summary - the headphones are good and undemanding to the source - my Note 4 Exynos calmly drives them. My home PC with AIM SC808 sound card (with changed Opamps) drives them also without any problems. The sound is clear and crisp, I only miss some more highs. If I had bought, I would choose rather silver version with maple wood, but I understand Meze makers - gold version is made for winning audiophiles and esthetes hearts.
     
    Songs played during test (some of them):
    Assal & Zenn - Fontanna
    Azam Ali - Shirin
    Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55
    Chroma Key - Colorblind
    Eivør - Trøllabundin
    Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Kaneda/Requiem (Akira OST)
    Hooverphonic - Inhaler
    Kari Bremnes - Like før dagen går ned
    Nils Lofgren - Keith Don't Go
    Om - Haqq Al-Yaqin
    Vienna Teng - Unwritten Letter #1
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. reddog
      A good review.
      reddog, Apr 13, 2016
    2. taffy2207
      The 'Golden Brown' was Heroin lol Hope the case wasn't filled with that :p
      taffy2207, Apr 13, 2016
    3. raulendymion
      Thank you guys. Yeah, I know, that the song was about drugs :) But for me (and I never used any of them) it is only colour. White too :))
      raulendymion, Apr 14, 2016