Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.37903/5,
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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).
     
    ...
     
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    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
     
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    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
     
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    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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. reddog
    a superb sounding, sexy looking portable headphone
    Written by reddog
    Published Mar 31, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - a fun sounding headphone, portable, easy to drive, sexy looking.
    Cons - the cups could be a tad larger, wish the headphones folded for more better portability.
    About Me
    I am a 52 year old audophile,  from Bradenton Florida.  I have been in this hobby, for about two years.   The sound from headphone blew me away, and I dived down the proverbial rabbit hole and have not come back up.   I use headphones to cope with pain from a back injury.  Furthermore  headphones allow me to hear the sound, without out side distractions. I suffer from a cognitive hearing disorder and headphones have allowed me to over come this problem and to enjoy music for the first time, in a very long time.   I am a temporarily  unemployed vcr repairman and improv pirate actor
    Equipment Used
    Source​
    MacBook Pro​
    Tidal​
    OPPO  BPD-103​
    ONKYO CD Player​
    Queststyle QP1R​
    Dacs​
    Schiit Audio Yggdrasil​
    Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit​
    Music​
    Frank Zappa​
    Apostrophe: track 8: Uncle Remus​
    Guitar: track 3: Republican​
    One Sise Fits All: track 7: San Ber'dino​
    Led Zeppeplin : Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp​
    Isao Tomita​
    The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War​
    Dave Brubeck​
    Time Out​
    Disk 1: track 3: Take Five​
    Charles Mingus​
    Mingus Ah Um​
    Track 3: Boogie Stop Shuffle​
    Track 4: Self-Portrait: in Three Colors​
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​
    Molto Allegro​
    Green Jelly​
    Cereal Killer Soundtrack​
    Track 2: Three Little Pigs​
    Kate Bush​
    The Sensual World.​
    The Headphone: The Build 
    I participated in the Meze 99 Classics Tour and here is the review.  When I signed for these headphones, I was really impressed with the box they came in.  The box is very sturdy,  and has a has a clever magnet  that keeps the box closed.  Within the box, one will find the headphones in  a  nice clam carrying case, and inside the case,  a small leather bag, that has the 1/4th adapter and  a cell phone lightning adapter. Also in the box are two headphone cables.  One cable is long and nice to use on desktop amps. The second cable, is  shorter and is meant to be used with a cell phone.  I thought the cables are well made, although they can be a bit microphonic, at times.   If I buy myself these headphones, I will see about getting  a custom balanced cable from Norne Audio.  
    These headphones look very nice and are well made.  The   walnut headphone cups are very nice, although they might be a tad small for some people.  The headband is covered in leather  and I found it was very comfortable, no over clamping, like a medieval torture device.  The twin manganese spring steal headband supports are tough and add to the natural beauty of these sexy headphones.  While out and about the town,  I found these cans to be quite light and comfortable to wear.  Furthermore my the foam on the ears cups breathe quite well and my ears rarely got overly warm.   These amazing portable closed cans do not leak out sound to much and isolate me from outside disturbances like the phone, the nagging  cat,  alarm clocks, or pesky storm warning alarms lol.
    SPECS 
    Tranducer Size: 40mm​
    Frequency responce: 15Hz- 25Khz​
    Sensitivity: 103db at 1KHz, 1mW​
    Impedance: 32Ohm​
    Rated input power: 30mW​
    Maximum input power: 50mW​
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
    Plug 3.5 mm Gold plated​
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
    Ear-cups: Walnut wood​
    SOUND
    The Meze 99 Classics is a great sounding portable headphone.  I found the sound to be fun, with nice emphasis on the bass, slight recessed mids,  great vocals and alright  non fatiguing treble.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fun sound signature.  Normally I want my headphones to sound balanced, and natural sounding.  But  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the bass. The bass on these cans satisfies the bass monkey, that sleeps on my back.  The bass emphasis  really made the guitars in  Frank Zappa's San Ber'dino fun to listen too.   Likewise the bass in Led Zeppelin" Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, sounded  so deep and satisfying.  Finally the bass made Frank Zappa's Republicans sound ominous, almost scary.
    Because of the emphasized bass, the mids seemed just a tad reccesed  but  the vocals have a texture to them and  are out of this world good.  The   vocals by Zappa, Kate Bush and Green Jelley sounded very pallable and real  through the Meze.   The mids on the Meze are still smooth sounding with a slight edginess, that really made jazz sound sweet.  Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus sound just right, coming through these amazing cans. The treble is non fatiguing and sounded alright to my ears.
    The soundstage is wide, but not to deep.  Still pretty good for a closed back can. Most of the music I listened too, the soundstage was quite nice, with a nice three-dimensional quality.  Tomita's The Planest sounded quite nice out of these sexy wooden headphones.  The soundstage was able to handle the different sounds and place them adequately around my ears.   Only when I was listening to Mozart did I think the soundstage was a bit congested sounding.
    These headphones are quite easy to drive.  I used a great many amps with them, but it was overkill.  Even on low gain, I did not have to crank up the volume at all, to get these cans to sing.  I hooked them up to the Liquid Crimson and the Ragnarok and the cans sounded great, but I could barely turn up the volume. I was afraid these big powerful amps might damage  these exquiste headphones   The best device I used to make these cans sing was the QP1R, on medium gain.  The QP1R made these headphones sound great,  a very good synergy between these two.  
    Conclusion
    I think the Meze 99 classics headphone is a great headphone.  it has a fun, slightly v shaped sound signature, with nice emphasis on the bass  The cans are quite well made and 
    sound great.  These headphones are quite portable and were a pleasure to take out and about.  These cans were the only ones I have worn, where two pretty ladies
    , thought I looked good wearing these sexy cans.  I even had a dishwasher come out and ask about the headphones.  I highly recomend these headphones to anyone who wants to just enjoy listening to music.  I love my other cans but these cans fun music signature are perfect for walking around, doing stuff. When at home I use my other cans, for critical listening.
    here are  some pictures of these amazingly fun and sexy headphones. IMG_20160327_112748.jpg
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090744.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090726.jpg
     
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
     
     
     ​
      Bert, gevorg, FortisFlyer75 and 11 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. pbui44
      My winking smiley did not show up for some reason, so take the above recommendation as a joke and tread lightly with the album in total enjoyment.
      pbui44, Apr 14, 2016
    3. mikemercer
      Great job! love em too!!!!
      mikemercer, Jun 7, 2016
    4. reddog
      Thank you everyone for the kind words.
      reddog, Jun 7, 2016
  9. glassmonkey
    Meze Headphones 99 Classics: Exuding class, with intricately layered lush mids
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Mar 26, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed layered midrange, gorgeous aesthetics, light weight, easy to drive, excellent accessories
    Cons - Bass heavy, some distortion at low end, small cup size, thin pads, some clamping related fatigue

    Acknowledgment    

    Thank you Meze Headphones for allowing me to participate in your European tour in exchange for my honest opinion of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

    Introduction

    Meze Headphones is a relatively new headphone manufacturer. The 99 Classics were funded through a Kickstarter campaign and are now out trying to conquer our ears with lush mid-range overtones. When I write reviews for items that I didn't buy, I use the lower price of Amazon.com or list price. The conquest proceeds after the break, but first here's a little bit-o-junk about me. There is no such thing as an impartial observer, so I suggest you know where reviewers you invest your trust in are coming from.
     
    Like most sensible people I starting falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane. My musical tastes started out with listening to what my friends liked (Dr. Dre and Green Day) and what my parents liked (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and I only really discovered my own musical tastes and sonic preferences in my late teens to early 20s. What I discovered is that I have very eclectic and some would say weird tastes. I could be listening to gay punk rock, Japanese dream garble pop, 8-bit chiptune, Scandinavian black metal, Latin guitar, the Mariinsky Orchestra, or Miles Davis, but I mostly listen to Classic Rock and Indie/Alternative. I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop like Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar and Aesop Rock, also.
     
    I tend to like headphones that are all-around performers, this generally means a balanced or neutral sound. I somehow never manage to have much money, so I don’t want to buy infinity headphones to switch between my myriad genres that I play. I can hear all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz—these are what I’ve heard doing test tones on headphones.  It has been a long time since I had a test with an audiologist. I’m sensitive to peaky treble but do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep rich tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper midbass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper midbass hump.  I hear soundstage better than just about anything I identify in music, but my words haven’t caught up to my ears. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (72 to 75 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
     
    I don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
     
    I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, none of them had labels and the cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us to replace my standard kettle lead on my amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by @dill3000 silver/gold) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.

     

    Manufacturer Specifications

    I’ve decided after a bit of reading around that @Brooko is right, if a manufacturer provides specs, we should list them. I’m not convinced that specs are always accurate, or that specs even matter on many headphones. Plenty of headphones don’t sound like their measurements, for better or worse.
     
    Here are the specs for the Meze Headphones 99 Classics from Meze Headphones' website:
     
    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

     
    Meze Headphones also provided a frequency chart for the 99 classics:
     
    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg
    [​IMG]
    I found that what Meze Headphones represented their headphones as was fairly accurate. Using test-tones from Audiocheck.net I ran through some frequency checks. You need a sampling rate of at least double the frequency to test any given frequency, so I use 16/48 tones. At 16Khz there was plenty of bass still there. At 10Khz, the sound bass was still audible, but very faint. These are definitely high performers on bass extension. I don’t think much of anybody hears up to 25Khz, but I did test these at 23Khz and the tone was still audible. I’ve never heard tones above 23Khz, and most people won’t hear that, so I don’t bother trying. Using my SPL meter, I found that roll-off on treble starts at about 16Khz. The dip before and then peak at 5Khz is audible on some tracks—we’ll return to that later.

     

    Form & Function

    The Meze 99 Classics come with a smorgasbord of goodness when it comes to form and function. They are dead sexy looking, and come with two cables in separate lengths (a shorter cable with microphone, and a longer one without), an airline adaptor, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack adaptor, a high quality hard-case (with a zipper pouch for carrying accessories), and all of the parts or 100% user serviceable. Meze Audio also used the increasingly popular 3.5mm dual mono connectors for their headphone cable (HiFiMan headphones from 2015 onward, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM2, Oppo PM1). This should allow cheap and easy custom cable acquisition for playing these in balanced mode. Pretty dang sweet. I didn’t get to try balanced mode during my demo, but it is an exciting prospect. If I receive the pair after the tour, I’ll update this review with impressions in balanced mode.
     
    The Meze Headphones 99 Classics are likely the most aesthetically beautiful headphones in their price bracket. The dark walnut wood and gold highlights ooze luxury and quality, and you don’t have to be a model on Meze Headphones’ website—there is more make-up in those photos than at a MAC counter—to immediately look more fashionable for wearing them. I hope Sex Bob-omb—
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    —headphones like these make certain B-words now owned and marketed by rounded corner rectangle slinging fruit merchants rapidly go out of fashion. I want to puke every time I see those cheap plastic crap cannons on anyone’s ears.  Please never get sponsorship from them, Head-Fi.
     
    The pads are made of artificial leather that feels and looks nice enough, but they have a small cup size and are too thin. Now I don’t discriminate on cup size normally, but if something says circumaural in its description, its perimeter better make it around my ears. I think these could go around my 8-month old daughter’s ears, but my 8 year old nephew might have some problems. My average size 34 year-old ears make the 99 Classics fall strictly in the supra-aural category. I found that the headphones built pressure on my ears over time, with the soreness most notable after removing them, especially on the lower ears for me. It took about two to three hours for this effect to happen. I think the clamping pressure could probably be relieved somewhat by relaxing the metal band tension a bit, but I didn’t want to stretch out headphones on loan to me.  I know it doesn't look as stylish, but I'll take comfort over style—give me bigger earholes and deeper pads.
     
    Isolation is pretty meager with these. Walking next to light traffic there is almost no isolation. They performed well in a quiet office, neither allowing me to hear much sound outside of the music I wanted to listen to and not allowing my neighbours to hear me blasting ‘a little silhouette of a man’ into their consciousness for all time. There was no Wayne’s World head-banging in my 1976 AMC Pacer of an office. My office-mates are not worthy, apparently.
     
    headbanging_waynes_world.gif


    Now for some audiophile content rated M (the headphones are inappropriately sexy):
    Meze99Classics2of14.jpg Careful when opening, this is actually the back of the box
    Meze99Classics3of14.jpg The real front of the box
    Meze99Classics5of14.jpg Side
    Meze99Classics6of14.jpg Other side

     
    Yeah, I know, those were good, but the lede was misleading. Here are the pictures you actually wanted to see:
    Meze99Classics12of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics9of14.jpg Meze99Classics11of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics7of14.jpg Meze99Classics14of14.jpg

     

    Testbed

    The equipment used for technical testing was as follows:
    1. Wensa SPL Meter
    2. iFi Micro iDAC2
    3. iFi Micro iUSB3.0
    4. iFi iPurifier2
    5. 2 LH Labs Lightspeed 2G cables
    6. Meze Audio 99 Classics Headphones
    7. Sennheiser HD600 (panty-hose mod, increases soundstage, removes ‘veil’)
    _1160677.jpg _1160739.jpg

     

    Audio quality

    For most of my impressions I was listening out of the iFi iDAC2 with the iPurifier2 (reviews here and here), but I also did some listening with my LH Labs Geek Out 1000 paired with the iPurifier2. There was never any point where the 99 Classics were under-powered, it only took about 20% volume to power these to loud with the GO 1000. They are remarkably easy to drive. They may be too easy to drive as I think a little bit higher impedance would make some tracks have less distortion on the low end.
     
    These do an excellent job separating out vocal layers. On Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (West German Target pressing) this is especially apparent in the chorus. Each of the three vocalists is distinctly identifiable in space. Well done, Meze Audio, this isn't usually the case. I think these do a little better than the HD600 on this song.
     
    On Eagles - Hotel California (DCC Gold), the jet pan is a little lost in the mix. I think it is due to some emphasis on other parts and the relatively limited soundstage depth. Imaging is generally good, but there isn't very much air around most instruments. There is an average sound stage. Bass sounds a touch warm and thick.
     
    Listening to the new jazz album from Jenny Maybee and Nick Phillips, Haiku, I'm caught off guard in a couple tracks by some dagger sharp piano. I think this may have to do with the 5Khz peak on the frequency response chart. One thing that is interesting about listening to headphones that push some frequencies to extremes, is that you notice peaky parts of recordings you hadn't noticed otherwise. When I switched to the 64Audio ADEL X2 (2 BA ADEL model), the sharp piano was still there, but it was less emphasized and not painful. The same was true with the HD600.
    San Francisco Orchestra - Mahler Symphony Number 8, Part I, IV. Gloria Patri Domino (DSD64) is a great track for looking at vocal extremes and separation. These headphones are very suited to choral work. Absolutely fantastic! The soprano sounds dynamic and vibrant and the other singers are nicely placed and layered. Similarly, Trondheim Solistene - Magnificat, Et Misericordia (24/352.8) has great vocal separation. You can't pick out individual voices in entirety, but the flourishes of individual vocalists pull away from the choir nicely.
     
    On Why - Strawberries the bass is a bit bloomy. It still sounds good and has decent extension (still shows up at 25hz, but doesn't drop as low as this track can go with any authority). The percussion is good but not among the best of headphones I own. It feels a touch slow on transient response. I get more out of my Trinity Audio Atlas IEMs and Echobox Finder X1 IEMs on transient speed and note decay. The slow decay gives a bit of a romantic character to the sound, but I tend to prefer incisive lighter tones.
     
    In another story of revealing characteristics of the headphones, the quality of Regina Spektor's track, Fidelity, is exposed a bit at the beginning when the bass is dropping. There is a little bit of noise in the track that I hadn't really noticed that the Meze 99 Classics amplify a bit. I confirmed it with the HD600 and one of my favourite in ears the 64Audio ADEL X2; it's definitely there. Similar listening on 2Pac – God Bless the Dead, a track I throw in because of its heavy bass and poor mastering that I happen to love, shows that the Meze 99 Classics amplify poorly mastered bass. There is a lot of that going around, especially if you listen to metal music. Not all headphones make that poorly mastered bass as apparent. I think that higher impedance would probably remove some of the amplification of bad bass noise, but I didn’t have an adapter to test that during the time I had them. If I get them again, I’ll test the effect of higher impedance. Proceed with care.

     

    Conclusions

    These have stunning vocals, beautiful design, premium feel, great accessories; some treble fatigue, unforgiving of noise in the low end of recordings, bass thick but not very textured, overall thickness to sound from bass, cup size not big enough (that's right I said it), and can cause ear soreness due to small pad size and clamping. I think that these compete well with the OPPO PM3 for best work headphone, but I find the OPPOs a little cleaner on sound and more comfortable on the ears. Both headphones have amazing mids, and warm bass.
     
    I had thought these would be easy to get a balanced cable, but I was mistaken, 2.5mm mono jacks are common on headphones, but not 3.5mm. The best route for Meze would be to manufacture their own balanced cables, but reterminating the stock cable is another option. Since it comes with two cables, this shouldn't be too much difficulty.
    One potential advantage that I haven't got to hear on these is the ease of getting a balanced cable. These have the now ubiquitous mono 3.5mm dual jacks (HiFiMan HE1000, HiFiMan HE-X, HiFiMan 400i and 400s circa 2016, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM1, Oppo PM2) so balanced cables are easily available. If I owned any of those headphones, I would have been able to do a balanced shoot-out between the HD600 and the Meze 99 Classics using the LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity. It would have been exciting. Maybe if I win these at the end of the tour I can update my review.
    1. reddog
      A sweet review, liked that you used some Fleetwood Mac, for your audio.
      reddog, Mar 26, 2016
    2. glassmonkey
      Thanks, reddog! I try to use a variety of tracks, but Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Roger Waters are probably my heaviest rotation. Though the new City of the Sun album is going to be moving into that territory really soon. :)
      glassmonkey, Mar 29, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Great review.... Very enjoyable read.... Love the musical rotation, I'll have to check out City of the Sun.
      (...and reddog is always good for a kind word!)
      jinxy245, Mar 29, 2016
  10. Army-Firedawg
    Beautiful in both body and sound
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Mar 23, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing warm non fatiguing sound, respectably affordable, user serviceable
    Cons - metal frame slightly too tight (but may stretch over time)
                                                                                     20160321_211706.jpg
     
     
        When first beginning my time with this unit I honestly never thought that it’d give my go to Bowers & Wilkins P7 a run for their money like they did but whew. These beauties really aren’t just good looking let me tell you that.  Before I begin this adventure I need to give a large thanks to @Mezeteam for approving me into this tour. I’ve been wanting to hear this ever since I first seen their design and the wait was most certainly worth it. So again Meze I thank you for my time with these was truly enjoyed and not just me either; many at the Carolina CanFest 5 found tremendous enjoyment out of these as well! But enough pleasantries, let’s dive into this shall we?
     
     I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
        My interests/hobbies are powerlifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
        What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
        My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have great extension and detail reveal but I don't like artificial treble in order to achieve that. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics & Stax SR009.
     
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    The Opening Experience
     
    For those who don’t know me, I’m a stickler for the unboxing experience. For to me this represents a company extending their hand out to introduce themselves. Perhaps it’s my Kentucky background who knows, but I believe wholeheartedly in delivering a firm handshake and introducing yourself with confidence and pride.
        It’s extremely rare that a consumer has the opportunity to meet with the people behind the brand you’re purchasing. So in my opinion a product that shows pride and is displayed professionally and with confidence (i.e. not bogged down with useless jargon) that’s a huge plus for me and is representative of receiving a firm handshake. I’ve met some fine people in my life that are very successful but have a very limp handshake, and even knowing their background I’m disappointed and bored everytime we initially meet and it takes them a while for me to get interested in what they have to offer.
        In the case of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics, from the outer box they score respectably to me. The front and sides of the box are exactly what I look for, they let my mind wonder into what these really look like, sound like and feel like. The box is well made and feels nice and the sides are equally teasing with only a frequency graph to lure me in a little more. And then there’s the back. I kinda relate these to romance time with your significant other, they’re in their sexiest outfit and building you up and despite knowing what they look like the build up just makes it much better. Then mid way into the build up they just drop everything suddenly. Again you know that what you were going to see is beautiful but there’s no need to rush things.
        That analogy describes the outer box of the 99 Classics perfectly. Everything builds up to you slowly opening the box and unveiling the treasure underneath but then when you check out the back NOPE DENIED. There it is with a whole buncha words, phrases and quotes about the perfection of these and other hype builders of these. Actually on that note,before I dive deeper I HATE that word. For there is NO such thing as perfect and I find that a little a bit arrogant to insignifi such. But I digress
        As I finally open the box I’m now greeted with a very nice presentation of the molded case that shapes to the headphones and gold colored Meze logo. Upon lifting the quite hard case up I’m enjoying the very nice curves of the case that outline the headphones inside beautifully. While unzipping the case, you begin to see the beautifully crafted art work that lies underneath and once the restrictive article is fully opened the artwork underneath truly is stunning.
        Real walnut wood cups and all aluminum framework makes these one of the most visually striking headphones I’ve ever seen. They possess a real nice weight to them that’s not heavy, but enough to feel sturdy in my hands. Also included is two very high quality cables (1 microphones mobile cable and 1 6’ standard cable), an airplane adaptor and a ¼” adaptor.
        So, was I given a memorable opening experience to the Meze Headphones 99 Classics? You better darn believe it!
     
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    Construction
     
    As I say in most of my reviews, this is an aspect that I feel is often overlooked; even amongst high end headphones. What’s the use of listening to audio nirvana if it only lasts one session? I touched on this in the previous section but the 99 Classics are build beautifully well. Real wood ear cups add an very nice and natural feel without any give. The aluminum (correction: It's actually spring steel) frame is rugged but has enough give as to not snap if accidental pressure is applied. The cords are well braided and very tangle resistant and what's more they’re detachable, so heaven forbid one becomes frayed you can very easily either buy another from their website or even an upgraded aftermarket cable. So I’ve no concern in my mind with regards to the longevity of the Meze 99 Classics. These should easily last you many years and countless hours or musical bliss, treated properly of course.
     
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    Comfort
     
        Now onto the thing I look for second most only to audio quality, and that’s how long can I comfortably wear these without having to adjust or worse remove them? Very little is more irritating than finding that great song but being unable to enjoy it because the gear you’re using to too uncomfortable and does nothing but distract from the piece being performed.
        In the case of the 99 Classics I find them to be acceptable but not perfect in this regard. The frame provides a decent amount of clamping force to my head that granted, I believe will stretch to my size over time (correction: due to the nature of spring steel it's highly unlikely the metal will give any contour), but until then it pushes just a little too much that added with the slightly too small ear cups (that also is subjective because my ears are above normal size) reduces my listening time to roughly 2 hours before I have to take a break from using them.
        If you didn’t notice I used the word “little” intentionally more than is necessary to show that it’s not a horrible thing but only a minor adjustment I feel to make these a top contender headphone in every aspect. Because the headband is wonderfully comfortable as is the memory foam ear pads, but just those two things combined was just what was needed to take away from them hitting the bullseye.
     
    EDIT: Meze has since sent me new, larger, ear pads that have made these freaking incredible and was exactly what it needed to send it to a top tier product regardless of ones price. Now, as of this moment I'm unsure if the larger pads now come standard with purchase of the 99 Classics or if you have to purchase those separately. if available standard, the rating of this product will be escalated to a 5. If not the scoring will remain the same but with this note.
     
    EDIT UPDATE: The larger earpads do in fact come standard with the Meze Headphones 99 Classics now.
        
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    Sound
     
        Hey, looky here we finally made it to the important stuff, the sound quality. Arguably the most important aspect of an audio piece is how well does it not just reproduce the audio signal but how does it relay and appeal that to the listener?
        For those who know and share my tastes in audio (check out my about me if you don’t) will, like me, find great enjoyment out of the 99 Classics. The overall sound signature is beautifully warm and hits me in all the right places and REALLY give my BW P7 a run for their money of my favorite consumer priced headphone!
        The sense of depth is incredible especially for these to be closed back! They provide a nice lifelike sound that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price range) and the only thing I can contribute with this is the wooden back. But allow me to diverge this a little better so that you can better understand how I come up with this overview.
     
    Treble
     
        The highs on these are pretty darn nice. They extend out but they do peak a little early. They reflect a lot of detail leaving me feeling satisfied and with plenty of energy. It is by no means at all fatiguing and in fact is quite relaxing. The only real downside I’ve found with the treble on the 99 Classics is that there’s a very notable dip in the mid to upper frequency range. It’s very small and doesn’t last long at all but it is very easily heard. Wanna hear it without having to focus on it? Play the song “Colour of the Moon” by Allan Taylor.
     
    Mids
     
    MIds are my personal favorite aspect of an audio piece for to me they represent the soul a given piece of gear possesses. The mids are where the vocals are and it’s the vocals that hold the artist's emotions and feelings that they’re trying to portray to the audience. I want to hear that, no, I want to feel that. And if a headphone doesn’t reproduce this range well then I’m left feeling empty and very unsatisfied with what I’m hearing.
    When it comes to the 99 Classics I couldn’t have less of a complaint to make. The mid range is truly breathtaking throughout the entire range. The vocals have a realism to them that as I said earlier is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price point). I really feel as if the artist is singing to me personally in a comfortable jazz club setting with very nice acoustics. Regardless if it’s male or female vocals I’m listening to I’m provided a great sense of body with a very welcomed touch of warmth that without continuously rambling on, is something that I will truly miss when I send these off.
     
    Bass
     
        The bass, the heartbeat of the music. This section is one that I’m most afraid of hearing for all too often a product will be almost spot on in every other category but because bass is what’s in right now they will pump up the thump to appeal that. Well, though bass is nice to have, I AM NOT a bass head and little turns me off quicker than an overly bass heavy thump machine that dilutes everything around it.
        This fortunately is not the case with the 99 Classics. These, though a slight bass emphasis, are very pleasant to listen to and have a very sensual presentation to its impact. The bass is well controlled but does possess an exaggerated decay that really meshes well with the overall signature of the headphone. The upper bass blends beautifully into the mid section and could be easily confused with each other.
     
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    Conclusion
     
        So to sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 99 Classics. I really loved pretty much everything about these. They hit home to me in almost every aspect, the sound is exactly what I look for and has become one of my all time favorite headphones. The warmth they consistently provide in non fatiguing and always leave me longing for a repeat performance.
        The build quality is absolutely top notch and the no glue construction makes these very user serviceable and much sturdier. If properly taken care of I can easily see these lasting a user many MANY years.  
     
    Also, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review videos. As well as my 2016 Army-Firedawg product of the year video! I really appreciate it and let me know what you think, if the review helped you don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
     
     
      Bert, Raptor34, HungryPanda and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Army-Firedawg
      @stellablues Please do follow up (in PM preferably comments NEVER give me any notifications so it may be a while before I check) for I'd love to hear your take on them.
       
      @Bansaku DUDE!!!!! Appreciate the insight that's very helpful, I'll update where I can with the info. But that's quite unfortunate though, I mean it's not super tight but it bending to the owners size is something I was looking forward too. BUT as I said it's not toooo much but JUST a little. 
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 24, 2016
    3. Beagle
      Nice phones but the dodgy fit, overcooked bass and ringing metal headband take it out of the running for me
      Beagle, Mar 24, 2016
    4. Army-Firedawg
      @Beagle That's unfortunate, I understand about the fit but hey not every headphones is everyone's glass of YooHoo (best strawberry mild ever of a personal side note). What kinda phones have you tried that you've really enjoyed?
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 28, 2016