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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34559/5,
  1. Aornic
    Fun and organic sound with a unique look
    Written by Aornic
    Published Jun 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Good amount of bass, very strong mids, comfortably extended treble, easily driven, detachable cables, unique aesthetics, great isolation, carry case
    Cons - Space for ears a bit small, clamp needs time to break in, might get too hot after extended use in the summer, hard to lean back with due to the band
    [​IMG]
     
    Background
     
    It was a curious moment in my recent history of trying out various headphones, the day I first put on the Meze 99 Classics. I already knew, judging from other reviews, that I wasn’t in for a neutral experience, but rather one with a “fun” sound signature. Yet again, I find myself reviewing such a headphone – but this time I ran into far fewer shortcomings than I have in the past.
     
    The idea of this sound signature is that neutrality be damned, music is for pleasurable listening. They accentuate traits that sound enticing, vibrant and joyous at the sacrifice of an overall balanced sound. The ZMF Omni did this by having a very natural mids and bass-centric sound at the cost of slightly rolled off treble. The Fostex TH-X00 did this by having excellently deep and present bass, enjoyable lower-mids and extended treble – but it struggled to reproduce upper-mids and female vocals well. The treble also got quite harsh and sibilant to my ears at times. The Shozy Zero had a slightly bassy and mids-forward sound signature that did incredibly well with electronic music genres, but it too had slightly rolled off treble that prevented it from shining with other genres.
     
    Knowing full well that the 99 Classics were out to achieve a similar listening experience, one that lies to you in terms of presentation but in a way you can easily forgive given certain parameters, I was honestly surprised – and in a good way. But more on that later.
     
    20160619_132210-min.jpg 20160619_132349-min.jpg 20160619_132645-min.jpg 20160619_132737-min.jpg
     
     
    Specifications (from the Meze website)
     
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
     
    Build, Design & Comfort
     
    I find the design of the 99 Classics to be a rather contentious issue in the headphone community. I rarely find any indifference toward it as individuals either seem to love it or think it is tacky. My first thought was “this is rather unique.” Given my biases in headphone aesthetics, the Meze offering fell well into my spectrum of appreciation because I have a strong affinity for wooden earcups. However, the reason I like the design goes beyond that. Out of all the headphones I have seen yet, this looks the most like something out of a steampunk setting, and that by itself is unique in a world populated with plastic and Beats style brand-shouting. If Corvo from Dishonored owned a pair of headphones, it would look a lot like the Meze 99 Classic.
     
    99-classics-fully-serviceable1.jpg
     
    On further inspection, you will not find plastic in its construction either. There are three visible materials to the eye – walnut wood, leather and metal. Apparently the construction does not make use of glue either, preferring screws. The slider adjustment is without any incremental changes, rather going for an approach where you pull the earcups into place, after which they hold steadily.
     
    It comes in three color configurations: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver (which I have with me) and Maple Silver. The Maple Silver makes use of white pleather, cables and metal in its design to complement the paler wood. If I had to choose between the three, I would choose what I have – the Walnut Silver. Once again, my bias is showing because I prefer darker wood in both the construction of headphones and acoustic guitars.  
     
    These are very light headphones indeed. After bouts with the Hifiman HE-500 and ZMF Omni, the 99 Classics are very much an unencumbered fit on my head for long periods of time. The clamp force is a bit high at first, but adjusts over the course of a few days. The seal provided is a very good factor in its isolation, which is a great deal higher than the other full-sized headphones mentioned in this review. However, the earpads themselves are only big enough to just fit your ears. Mine just about make it and I have medium-large ears. As summer comes to England, I have found the pads to get quite hot on extended usage. Due to the extremely fitted design, there is less space for the ears to breathe – a tradeoff for an incredibly good seal and its musical benefits.
     
    I could not find any discernible difference in earpad width on either side as they are quite uniform. Any distinguishing of the left and right channels will purely rely on the placement of the attached cable – which have the markings on them rather than on the headphones themselves.
     
    Lying down with these headphones can be a bit awkward due to the metal ring on top. Leaning against a pillow or wall can be met with a sharp knock against it, making it so you have to re-adjust. Lounging around in these will take some getting used to.
     
    20160619_134100-min.jpg 20160619_134114-min.jpg 20160619_134200-min.jpg 20160619_133810-min.jpg
     
     
    Features
     
    On that note, I am very satisfied with the two cables provided by Meze. One is a cable for portable use with your smartphone as it has a play/pause button attached and is at the preferred length. The other is 10ft and for home usage. Both cables terminate in 3.5mm, with a 1/4 adapter being provided in the box. They are lean, flexible and braided and will last a good while. There is no neck adjustment however. The existence of detachable cables alone is a big plus in my book and makes for easier transportation.
     
    And speaking of transportation, the carrying case provided in the box is another feature I am quite impressed by. It is sturdy and quite handsome, ready for a home in any backpack for easy transport. The box itself is not easily discarded either, it too has a premium look to it.
     
    20160619_134430-min.jpg 20160619_134553-min.jpg 20160619_133155-min.jpg 20160619_133555-min.jpg
     
     
    Sound
     
    A major reason I like my ZMF Omni Cherry is because of how it reproduces acoustic guitars. It has a very natural sound to it, making it an excellent pairing with acoustic songs. My first big, and lasting, impression from the Meze Classic 99 was just how well it did in this regard too. One of my favourite tests for a headphone’s capability in this field is to run my own recorded acoustic guitar playing through it. It had a similar natural feel that the Omni had, with the major differences being in how it was not as laid back and how the soundstage was far more intimate.
     
    The sound of the Meze’s goes into the “fun” tuned realm, with a major element of doing so being its slightly boosted bass. The bass extends quite far down too, undoubtedly aided by the isolation provided by the seal. After switching back and forth with the Fostex TH-X00, I found that it was the second deepest sub-bass in my current headphone collection after those. I never found it to be too much, too overbearing or too artificial. Instead, it has a very punchy sound signature with a lot of oomph to it that goes immensely well with electronic music genres. I don’t hear any bleed into the mids either, the separation is quite clean. However, the bass has a slight earthy quality that removes from any sense of cleanliness, with a tiny bit of distortion that isn’t audible on most recordings. However, I find that this might aid the sound signature rather than hinder it as it is a very organic sound.
     
    The mids are very, very impressive. I would sing an ode the lower-mid magic that is taking place that allows the reproduction of acoustic guitars to be so inviting, similar to the Omni but a bit more energized - to the slight detriment of a natural touch. There is a smoothness to the midrange that insists on reproducing the body of vocals, both male and female, quite amply with quite stellar clarity. If a song, such as Stairway to Heaven or In the Air Tonight, chooses to build up slowly - you will hear each and every instrument addition in the mix and be able to discern it quite aptly. I find this a feat on a headphone with this narrow of a soundstage, with this isolated and closed of a design. I do not know if it is the walnut wood cups, but it feels like the midrange has more room to breathe than a plastic pair of headphones would. Therefore, separation is quite good to say the least.
     
    The treble is the region I slightly feared for before I put these on for the first time. I had heard good things about the bass and mids, but in my experience such characteristics are often at the cost of the high end. It would either feel too artificial and forced, be too rolled off to make way for the other frequencies or be too sibilant. Interestingly, it was none of these things. It does not venture into problematically sibilant territory and neither does it seem to linger around, banging on a ceiling limit that would stifle cymbals and other instruments that make use of treble.
     
    I would even go so far to call this a balanced pair of headphones, to an extent. Yes, the bass is a bit boosted – but it does not take away from just how well the other frequencies are represented. A  pleasant low-end, coupled with a warm and accurate midrange (vocal harmonies and the like showing with ease) and a comfortably extended high-end makes this a definite fun listen. The only detraction in terms of how it presents sound would be the soundstage. I’m not a designer, but I feel that it couldn’t be helped much with the closed design – which also lends to just how impressive it is that the mids separate so well.
     
    This is one of the few headphones I have come across that I can recommend for all genres of studio-recorded music. Live recordings could be heard on open cans, for the soundstage and the like, but a well-recorded studio track will come out and play just fine on the Meze 99 Classics. I don’t face trouble from older genres like classic rock any more than I do with electronic dance music. It just does it all so, so well for its price range.
     
    Amping
     
    Rated at 32 ohms, these headphones are not hard to drive at all. Meze themselves allude strongly to this because they provide the play/pause switch on the shorter cable for smartphones. I did however try them with my three amplifiers on hand to see what differences occurred. All were fed from my Schiit Gungnir USB Version 2 DAC.
     
    2016-04-0917.33.19-Copy.jpg
     
    Schiit Magni 2:
     
    Simply made louder. The same effect can be reproduced by the volume knob on your portable player of choice.
     
    2016-05-2812.09.11-Copy.jpg
     
    Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon:
     
    Sadly, the sensitivity of the Meze is such that I heard the first-run Liquid Carbon power issue – with a slight hum intruding on my listening. I did gauge that the sound was overall warmer, as expected from the amp.
     
    20160611_140036.jpg
     
    Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus:
     
    Now this was impressive and the pairing I chose for listening to the Meze from now on. The portable RunAbout Plus does not emit much power on paper, but in practical usage it is a little powerhouse. Its signal has a tiny touch of warmth and sweetness to it, but it is overall quite articulate. It greatly aided the strengths of the Meze’s – particularly in the midrange and its stellar pairing with acoustic guitars.
     
    The bottom line of this, to my knowledge, would be that it does not require amping, but it can benefit from it with the right pairing. Of course, as efficient volume can be easily achieved, you could obtain a magical sound signature with your DAP of choice as they all have their own characteristics that are brought to the table.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Bass Quantity: TH-X00 > Classic 99 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Mids: HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > TH-X00 > DT990
     
    Treble Quantity: DT990 > HE400i > TH-X00 > Classic 99 > HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I
     
    Soundstage: DT990 > HE-500 > ZMF Omni > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > Classic 99 > TH-X00
     
    Comfort: DT990 > TH-X00 > HE400i > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE-500
     
    Aesthetics: Classic 99 > TH-X00 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Lightness: Classic 99 > DT990 > TH-X00 > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > ZMF Omni > HE-500
     
    Conclusion
     
    There is no two-ways about it, colour me impressed by the Meze 99 Classics. Yes, the clamp and earpad warmth will take some getting used to, but the sound is very impressive for the pricerange in which it sits. Aesthetically, whether you love or hate how it looks, it is unique and that alone is something to be considered with just how many headphones are being designed and released every year as the audio industry blossoms and grows further.
     
    I’m mostly about the sound quality however, and I respect this headphone most of all for how effortlessly it goes with my vast and diverse music collection. I would wear this on a flight and not miss my other headphones at all as a playlist continues on – each song being well served.
     
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    Thanks for stopping by. You can follow me at:
     
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aornicreviews
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aornic
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/aornic1024
    Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jesuschristonxtc
     
    Song Impressions
     
    Equipment used: Foobar200 WASAPI Event > Schiit Wyrd > Schiit Gungnir USB Ver. 2 > Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus.
    All tracks in lossless FLAC in at least 16/44.1
     
    Aerosmith – Dream On (2012 Remaster)
     
    The low end reminds me of when I listened to this song through the TH-X00, but with more lush and present mids and overall balance. While the soundstage is not as vast as the HE-500, there is no confusion in the instrumentation and overall sound structure.
     
    a-ha – Take On Me
     
    A punchy and immediate listen due to the low-end representation, but without losing the warmth and smoothness of the vocals or the delicate background acoustic guitar and cymbal patterns.
     
    Nine Inch Nails – Closer
     
    The Meze absolutely conveys the attitude of this song. The deep bass extension aids the heartbeat drum beat while the mids and highs accentuate the swirling synthesizers and cymbal loops. All the while, Trent Reznor’s tortured vocal takes centre stage. Great listen due to the Meze’s strengths.
     
    Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan
     
    Geezer Butler’s bassline drives this song but never intrudes into the vocals/mids. The pleasing mid-bass is at work here. The soundstage, while constricted, does reproduce the separated and panning instrumentation quite well – particularly the hand-struck drumming by Bill Ward.
     
    Prince – Controversy
     
    From the first hit, you know the Meze means business due to how this funky track’s bassline just digs deep and steady as the drums accompany it. As the clean-guitar work on the right track strums, quite clearly, you can clearly hear Prince’s vocal and the repeating voice going “OOMPH” in the beat.
     
    Childish Gambino – Heartbeat
     
    I always turn to this song when I want to test sub and mid-bass response. Compared to the TH-X00, which handled the sub-bass frequencies effortlessly and quite impressively, the Meze doesn’t dive as low but does a far better job with the rest of the frequencies. Also, the snare sounds a lot more immediate – with more body bouncing off the vocal as the song continues.
     
    Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
     
    Once again, the Meze 99’s impress me with how they reproduce acoustic guitars. Couple that with the fact that the midrange brings forth the sultry vocal so well makes this a great listen. If I had to find a flaw, it would be that the backing vocal “this world is only gonna break your heart” is slightly less pronounced than on some other headphones like the Omni or the HE-500 – which are in different price categories. This is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I really appreciate what the Meze can do for it.
     
    Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna
     
    The mids shine further on this track due to how well they manage to separate the different string tracks, an important and distinguishing feature because of how easily overlapped they can be on some headphones. The percussion has a lot of impact due to the bass impact, helped by the seal.
     
    Coldplay – Clocks
     
    While the soundstage is constricted, it is notable that this highly layered track maintains a good amount of separation in its presentation. The vocal absolutely soars, as it should.
     
    Daichi Miura – Unlock
     
    The TH-X00 reproduces the vocals in this song in a sibilant manner so I was glad to see that the Meze absolutely did not. The rest of the instrumentation is well served, only hampered due to the soaring and reverb-laden nature of the song and just how well it does with a large soundstage.
     
    Eminem – Without Me
     
    While the synth bassline doesn’t sound as incredible as on the TH-X00, the tradeoff is that the instrumentation is much more immediate and clear – especially the vocals/rap.
     
    Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
     
    A song I re-visit with every new piece of gear and one I know as well as the back of my hand. While it is much more intimate than the Omni and the HE-500, the superb separation the Meze possesses aids greatly in the vocal harmonies of the chorus. The acoustic guitars and vocals sound warm and are well distinguished from the bassline.
     
    Peter Gabriel - Flood & Mercy Street
     
    I choose both these tracks because of how intricate the instrumentation is. The 99 Classics do really well with both, particularly in the shimmering cymbals/percussion of mercy street and the acoustic guitar in Flood. Coupled with just how nicely the vocal harmonies ring out in both, this is a great listen.
     
    Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls (2016 Remastered)
     
    The Meze properly represents the fire and brimstone production of this thunderous track. The drums hit hard and he guitars absolutely bite as they should, all while Cliff Burton's basswork is audible beneath it all. I'm especially impressed with how vibrant the cymbal crashes are in the mix.
      w00x, bgbkt, PinkyPowers and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Taowolf51
      @Aornic They used to not offer returns on opened headphones, but after looking on their site, this may have changed! Hopefully it did. :)
      Taowolf51, Jun 21, 2016
    3. cyberslacker
      im tossed between the Meze and MH30, anybody did a side by side ?
      in price/performance and both not needing an amp.
      they are at the top of my list, for office listening.
      cyberslacker, Jun 23, 2016
    4. pytter
      Thanks for the great review! Hadn't actually heard of these before so will definitely be looking to audition!
      pytter, Jun 25, 2016
  2. bala
    Pairing good looks with good sound.
    Written by bala
    Published Jun 19, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Design, comfort, build, easy-to-drive & lovely sound.
    Cons - Size/portability, microphonic cable, slight fit issue.
    The 99 Classics have an eye-catchy refined style about them. I had the Walnut Gold finish, though I like the both the Walnut and maple silver finishes more.The premium cable looks wonderful and complements the headphone design. These are a "good size" headphone provided with a nice hard pouch. There are two sets of detachable cables provided one for more mobile/smartphone use and the other for at-home listening.The headphone does not have predetermined LR (though the cables are marked), so it could in principle be worn either way which is a cool design in my book. Meze has done a wonderful job on the build of this headphone and one can "feel" the sturdiness the moment you lay hands on it. The solid metal band, lovely polished wooden earcups, and well-set earpads all rounded up by a compartmental design (have a look at the teardown on their homepage) makes this a thing of beauty. The headphone design also ensures an almost completely serviceable product.
     
    2016-05-2212.21.391.jpg
     
     
     

    The 99 Classics is a headphone that one cannot easily dislike - if that does not sound like a compliment, let me tell you that it is! The bass is catchy, pushed a bit forward and slightly loose or boomy (but I am of the opinion that's the "woody" character). Soundstage is very good for a closed headphone with appreciable dimensionality.Good treble presence with enough liveliness without getting into the "bright" territory.The mids are clean and clear and presented in a very neutral style (though I was expecting a mid-forward presentation). There are times when I felt that the bass got in the way of the music but these instances were far and few, sufficient to say that suitable source matching would make this headphone better but improper ones don't pull down the enjoyment factor much.Together, the presentation makes this a wonderful all-round headphone. On the go, the added bass warmth was very satisfying and complemented by the clean and clear mids and highs (this just made pop & electronic much more appealing). At home, the clarity provides a very engrossing listen.These headphones are driven well right out of my iPod Classic, Fiio X3 and my laptop. An entry level amp/DAC setup (say the Dragonfly) can only make things better by providing a cleaner source with more clarity - and they deserve it!
     
    Meze99classicsocialimage.jpg
     
    The comfort on these are wonderful if the earpads are seated in circumaural fashion (which it did for most of my friends!) but in my case the earpads actually turned to be smaller, applying more pressure on the upper ear! That meant I would have to re-adjust them every now and then to minimize discomfort. During outdoor use, I found the size of the headphone and the fact that the earcups do not fold flat as issues hampering comfort. Considering the sound quality, I decided to carry the headphone in a backpack than leaving haging on around my neck. These were the niggles that affected my experience with the otherwise wonderful headphone.
     
    The Meze 99 Classics are worthy of being considered as a good choice for the discerning music listener. They traverse the border of clarity and a fun sound very adept manner. Apart from the small complaints regarding comfort/fit I can heartily recommend them to everybody looking for a stylish, well built and good sounding headphone. My full review is available on my blog.
      MezeTeam likes this.
  3. moedawg140
    Review: Meze Headphones 99 Classics
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Jun 17, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - One-of-a-kind build, pride in build and listening experience
    Cons - Some listeners may feel that the earpads may get warm over time
    Review: Meze Headphones 99 Classics
     
     
    I tried to post a review only to the review template, but I was unable to because the system stated I was above the maximum character count, hence the review thread creation.
     
    My main review is here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/811551/review-meze-headphones-99-classics.
     
    Here is the TL:DR version (my video with comparisons and full review is located in the review thread):
     
     
    Is the 99 Classics worth it?

     
    If you are interested in a headphone that has a terrific build, a smooth and punchy sound and a price that won’t break the band, the 99 Classics is worth an audition and purchase.  
     
     
    Final thoughts
     
    ...For a one-of-a-kind type of presentation: Walnut earcups, gold hardware and an overall bespoke sound - the 99 Classics is a true performer, inside and out.  Is the 99 Classics the most holographic headphone you will listen to in your life?  Maybe, maybe not.  What the 99 Classics manages to personify is a headphone that you will be proud to present and wear with pride, not worrying about exact technicalities, and to truly get lost in the music for a very comforting experience.

     
    Specifications
     
    1. Transducer size: 40mm
    2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    4. Impedance: 32Ohm
    5. Rated input power: 30mW
    6. Maximum input power: 50mW
    7. Two Detachable Kevlar OFC cables (Length = 4 ft/ 1.2 m and ~9.84 ft/ 3 m)
    8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    9. Weight: 260 grams (9.2 ounces) without cables
    10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
    11. Earpad inner dimensions: Length = 6 cm/ 2.36 in X Width = 4.5 cm/ 1.77 in
      B9Scrambler and MezeTeam like this.
  4. Takeanidea
    Meze 99 Classic - wooden elegance Indiegogo smash hit....and a great set of headphones
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Jun 13, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Bass Soundstage Value
    Cons - Isolation

    MEZE 99 CLASSIC
    What beats beneath the elegance?

     
    99-gold-product1_21_08_2015_13_12_44_0_570x720.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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

     

    Introduction
     

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

     

    Sound Quality Conclusions
     
     

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

     
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    99-classics-accessories.jpg
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Introduction and Initial Observations

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

    Equipment Used

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

    How Do They Sound?

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

    Final Notes

    I haven't listened to a ton of portable headphones, but I like the 99 Classics more than all the ones I've heard. This included the NAD Viso HP50, Audioquest Nighthawk, Sennheiser Momentum, and Oppo PM-1 (cost is a factore here). When I decide to get a set of portables, it will almost certainly be the 99 Classics.
      Wilashort, MezeTeam and maxnik like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. joeq70
      @cyberslacker I would say that they are generally well built and definitely able to be used out an about, but they shouldn't be treated carelessly. I don't think they'd take well to being sat on. If I were going to go about town with them, I would keep then on my head/around my neck and then place them inside the carrying case that comes with them before placing them in a backpack or something like that.
      joeq70, May 25, 2016
    3. Philimon
      "... great for portable use ..."? If you like stares and snickers.
      Philimon, May 25, 2016
    4. pinoyman
      thanks for the review. i really like to buy one of these, specially the color white one. :)
      it looks clean to me.
      pinoyman, May 30, 2016
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. s1rrah
    Meze 99 Classic: an outstanding "all arounder"
    Written by s1rrah
    Published May 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Highly musical. Comfortable. Great staging for a closed can. Non-fatiguing
    Cons - Bass can be a tad "loose" at times.
    Thanks to Meze for allowing me to spend a week with these gorgeous headphones; it was a great listen!! And my apologies for taking a year to get something published regarding my impressions but suffice it to say, it's been a busy past few months for me.
     
    Considering the virtual inundation of Head-fi.org with one Meze 99 Classic review after another for the past couple months (seriously, I think there were like three different reviews featured on the entry page here at one time, LOL) ... I'm not going to be writing the longest bit of commentary on these as my comments/thoughts pretty much echo any and all that have already been written.
     
     
    Introductions
     
    I haven't been too big a fan of closed back headphones since first trying a pair of open backed headphones some 12 years ago or so; I've owned a couple different pair of closed back headphones over the years ... a pair of Shure SRH840's which I loved for their neutrality but ultimately became bored with and a pair of JVC Victor DX1000's ... which I could never figure out in regards to sound but which I thought were really pretty. I ended up selling both. Since then, I haven't forayed much more in to the world of closed back headphones as I've just had no need.
     
    But among the few closed back headphones that I've spent time with? Compared to the Shure SRH840 and the JVC DX1000?  Had I my choice?  I would keep the Meze 99 Classics in a heart beat, if only for the fact that they sound more "real" and musical than both the JVC and Shure while also not breaking the bank (like the JVC DX1000's).
     
    ...
     
    3.png
     
    ...
     
    Listening impressions
     
    All that considered, the first thing that struck me about the Meze 99 Classics was the sound stage ... well, more accurately, I was first taken with the fact that the sound was very detailed, unveiled and rich while also being 100% non-fatiguing (fatigue is the enemy as far as I'm concerned) ... and then I was taken with the sound stage; so much so that I had to take them off to see if there was venting or otherwise ports built into the cups but no ... completely closed. Seriously good sound stage for a completely closed cup headphone.\
     
    ...
     
    6.png
     
    ...
     
    Secondly, and perhaps the defining quality of this bit of gear is that they are insanely good "all around" listeners, not really sounding bad with anything I could throw at them: the high frequencies are plenty detailed while never sounding strident or exaggerated, the mids are dialed right about where I like them ... prominently in the middle, that is, and are neither what I would call forward or recessed. And the bass is deep and prominent while, for the most part sounding quite nice and balanced at moderate listening levels. I do consider the bass a bit forward and to my ear, it does at times impinge on the performance of the mid and high frequencies, at times taking on a bit of a "fluffy" tone or what one might call slightly "woolen" ... if there were any room for improvement at this price point and with the intentions of the headphone in so far as delivering, I would say a slight tightening up of the bass as well as backing it off a bit in the overall mix might be welcome but that's just my obviously subjective stance on things.
     
    ...
     
    4.png
     
    ...
     
    I would not consider the Meze 99 Classic to be what one might consider a seriously analytic headphone; I don't think it will appeal to person's looking for a "reference" headset unless your reference point is simple musicality, smooth sound and an easy listen. In other words, there is a great distance sonically between the Meze 99's and say, the Sennheiser HD800 or Grado PS1000's or any of the mid to high end Stax cans ... these latter headphones, admittedly being what one could call Detail Monsters(tm) when compared with the more relaxed listen that the Meze 99's provide. That being said, I don't believe this is what the Meze's intend to be (reference class audiophile headphones) ...
     
    But for the money and considering the build quality and general all around good sound, I don't think you can go wrong with the Meze 99's; especially if you hang them out where others can see them because the other fine qualities of the headphone not withstanding, they are really beautiful to look at.
     
    Comfort wise I find them excellent although, truth be told, I prefer a fully circumaural headset that fully encompasses my ear. The Meze 99's, much like the Grado RS1's, will rest smack dab on the flesh of your ear and some may find this more or less comfortable depending on individual sensitivities. The pads on the Meze 99's are very sumptuous however (unlike the scratchy Grado pads) and for me, are far more comfortable than say, the RS1's.
     
     
    Concluding
     
    All together I find the Meze 99 Classics to be a highly enjoyable headphone. The build quality is solid and they are visually quite beautiful. They are an excellent all around listen and work great with all genres of music. They are highly detailed while not being clinical or analytic; they are not fatiguing in the least but do represent the slightest bit of "bloat" in the bass region and this will at times and via a careful listen, bleed in to the other frequency regions. They have unusually good sound staging for a closed back headphone and in that regard, are some of the more enjoyable closed back cans I've listened too.
     
    Thanks again for the opportunity to demo!
     
     
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    1. jinxy245
      Nicely done...a good review...your conclusion sums it up perfectly...I miss these cans!
      jinxy245, May 3, 2016
    2. reddog
      A sweet review sir, with good pictures and informative impressions.
      reddog, May 3, 2016
  10. 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