Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34615/5,
  1. AlexC1202
    Meze 99 Classics : The perfect combination of style and sound!
    Written by AlexC1202
    Published Mar 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Incredibly stylish, Great sound, Awesome sound stage for a closed headphone, Build quality
    Cons - Some small comfort issues, but at this point this is just nitpicking.
    INTRODUCTION
     
    I first heard about Meze last year, but only recently found out they are a small team of Romanians just like me.
    Needless to say, that really sparked my interest, as Romania is not known for anything other than Dracula.
    I started looking into this pair of headphones and i saw that the reviews they got were very good. So when i heard that Meze is organizing a review tour in Europe I got really pumped up.
    I am by no means an audiophile, I would consider myself to be an enthusiast at most. I have a few pairs of headphones that i got to compare these to, and I was very impressed with their sound quality.
    The other headphones i own are : Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7.
    My favorite pair of headphones out of the bunch were the B&W P7, but that quickly changed after I gave a listen to the Meze.
     
    DISCLAIMER
     
    I am by no means affiliated with the Meze brand or any of the team members. These headphones were sent to me as part of the European review tour that Meze has organized.
    This is my first review, and as you will see down bellow, I'm not very good at writing reviews. So it goes without saying that I didn't receive any compensation whatsoever to write this review.
     
    ABOUT ME
     
    As I stated previously, I am by no means a true audiophile, I'm just an audio enthusiast.
    I own some pair of headphones (Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7), and I had a chance to listen to many more since this virus got into me. I reached to the point where I was able to determine what was my preferred sound-signature, and what I'm expecting from a pair of headphones all around. 
    I got eclectic taste in music, so I enjoy listening to anything from Classical music to EDM, depending on my mood. I determined that I like headphones with a little emphasis on the low-end and high-end side. I know a true audiophile looks for a neutral sounding headphones, but that it's just not my style. That's why my favorite pair of headphones so far were the B&W P7. 
     
    FIRST ENCOUNTER
     
    I was sitting at my desk while working, and I remember exactly how it went because I had a very ****ty day at work. It was about 11 AM when the courier called me to let me know I need to pick a parcel.
    I was expecting the headphones to come, but i still couldn't help myself at acting like a child on Christmas Eve.
    Needless to say, I went and picked the package. Proceeded cutting through the carton, and then it hit me : The beautiful box containing the Meze 99 Classics!
    Now saying that the unboxing experience was nice would be an understatement. It was incredible. I'm a sucker for unboxings, but still, the box and the contents are so nicely packed that you cannot help yourself from enjoying it.
    The box contains a hard shell case, that for some reason it's reminiscent of a Lamborghini. Upon opening the case, you are prompted with the most beautiful pair of headphones in existence (I may exaggerate a bit, but they are definitely the most beautiful pair of headphones I have used). Also within a small cloth container you find one small wire for portable use, a longer one, a 1/4 inch adapter and a plane adapter. Basically, you get everything you need in the box.
    It took a full minute of admiring these beauties until I laid my hands on them. I was struck about the sturdiness of this piece of engineering. The wooden cups look and feel amazing, and the headphones although are not heavy, they feel consistent.
    I put them on my head and I was surprised about how well the headband adjusting mechanism works. They fit perfectly, and at first they seemed to be very comfortable. I started to feel some comfort issues a bit later, but i'll get into that a bit later.
     
    SOUND
     
    I guess that by this point you know that i didn't work at all for the rest of the day (Special thanks to my boss who understands what a big child I am).
     
    Step 1. 
    I plugged the headphones into my Iphone, and got a little disorientated when I couldn't find a left/right mark on the cup. It took a few seconds until I realized that the cable is the one who denotes left from right, so you can plug the cable as you please (I find this thing to be way more interesting than it actually is).
     
    Step 2.
    Proceeded going through my playlist.
     
    Step 3.
    Be freaking amazed!
    I was struck abut the beautiful sound these things produce. 
    I started out with some classical music, and I was very impressed. First thing you'll notice is the wide sound-stage for a closed headphone (please don't hit me, but I believe them to have a sound-stage almost as good as the open HD600). They are very good at imaging sounds "all around your head". The violin being my favorite instrument, I was really impressed about the sweet highs that were pouring through my ears while listening to Paganini. Not at all were the highs fatiguing. 
    Now I would love to be a novelist and be able to write a fancy description worthy of these headphones, but I'm more of a numbers person myself.
    There's nothing I can say that would make this headphones justice. So i'll let the other more experienced reviewers to the task, while I explain my experience with the product to the other neanderthals like myself.
    Now going through classical and jazz, I wanted to hear some low-end as well so I opened up my EDM playlist. While I'm not a bass head, I do enjoy a stronger presence there than most people and I was afraid that this will sound too boring for my taste. But just like my wife, these cans were there to tell me that I was wrong!  Now don't get me wrong, they are more to the neutral side, but I'm very happy to report to bass if very present and well extended. It's more present than the MDR-1R or Momentums. The only thing I could actually compare it to, was the B7, which I considered to have just a tad bit more bass as far as the quantity goes.But the difference is only distinguishable if you close your eyes and really concentrate on certain bits of the track.
    Listening to vocal tracks and ballads, the mids were extremely good as well. These are the type of headphones that can make Justin Bieber sound human (yes, I listen to a few tracks from him, I'll show myself out). Compared to the B7, this is a clear winner with regards to the mid section. Where the B7 leaves you with the impression that the vocalist is taking a few steps back, with the Meze you feel the vocalist to be right where he is supposed to. I really don't know how should I describe the sound in a more delightful way, but trust me, the headphones sound exquisite on all counts.
     
    As for the sound leakage, this product seals the sound very well. I really believe they are fit for portable use in public, and it blocks the sound in and out very very well.
     
    I plugged the headphones to my AMP/DAC Oppo Ha2 as well, and while there is a slight sound quality increase, it's barely distinguishable from the normal Iphone. So if you don't have a portable DAC/AMP combo, don't buy one for this pair. They don't need it. I don't know what to say about the more expensive desk headphones amplifiers as I don't own one yet, but as far as portable headphone amplifiers go, I feel like the Meze are very good without one as well.
     
    COMFORT AND MIRROR FACTOR
     
    Mirror factor is a term i just made up. It refers to the level of shame you would feel while wearing the headphones in public. 
    I have a big head, so while I go out with the B7's on my head I look like something resembling a Chupa-Chups candy.
    I saw in most pictures that the Meze's antennas stick out fairly much on other people's head, but I'm happy to report that if you have a big head that won't be a problem.
    The antennas will stay very close to the curvature of your head and it will not look weird in any way.
     
    As for the comfort, I said earlier that these headphones are comfortable. But I have to admit that the pads were a bit shallow so your ear will touch the sponge that is covering the drivers. I have issues with things that are touching my ears so maybe I'm too sensitive about it. But it's a thing worth noting if you are anything like me. I hope Meze will come back with some replacement pads that are deeper. Also, in a a few instances my hair got stuck in the gold hinges that are holding the headband, so the headphones pulled a few of my hairs out when taking them down.
    But these were not huge problems in my opinion, and at this point i'm just nitpicking. 
     
    In summary, this is a very good pair of headphones. It's a very good all rounder that strikes a point in every category worth mentioning. I'm definitely going to buy these as soon as I can convince my wife that I need a fifth pair of headphones in my life. 
     
    Thanks for reading!
    AlexC1202
    1. ArrancarV
      Thank you for the review! Great read :) Any chance of you also having heard the Oppo PM-3 and any comparison with the Meze 99?
      ArrancarV, Mar 3, 2016
    2. AlexC1202
      Hi ArrancarV,
       
      Yes, I owned the Oppo PM-3 for about 2 months, but I rarely given them a listen.
      I'm not saying that they are not good, but as I mentioned in the review, I like headphones with a bit more present bass, which unfortunately the Oppo were not able to deliver.
      Oppo are very neutral and boring for my taste, so I would definitely go for the Meze to please my ears. 
      I got the Oppo's for the planar magnetic drivers, as in theory they should produce more bass, but that's simply not the case.
       
      But if you are more interested in neutral sound, like most audiophiles, the Oppo will definitely deliver! But as far as my taste is involved, I would choose the Meze all day.
       
      Hope I answered your question. If you want me to get into more specifics, let me know and I'll try to formulate an answer as comprehensive as I can.
      AlexC1202, Mar 3, 2016
  2. elnero
    A Toe Tapping Good Time
    Written by elnero
    Published Feb 28, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - A fun and engaging headphone that strikes a very nice balance
    Cons - Fit is strange, not quite over the ear or on ear. An emphasis in the midrange that can give a honky or nasal quality.
    Introduction
     
    First off I would like to thank the Meze team for selecting me to take part in the Canadian leg of the 99 classic tour and I’d also like to apologize for it taking so long to get this written. This is my sons second year in hockey and between his practices, games and tournaments along with my daughters dance classes and my own work I’m starting to realize that from Christmas to March is the busiest time of year for me. This also limited my time with 99 Classics, I would have liked to have had more time to get to know them a little better.
     
    What’s Included
     
    Inside the 99 Classics outer box you’ll find a very nice hard case molded to the shape of the headphones. Inside the case is the 99 Classics themselves and a soft pouch including two cloth covered cables, one longer, the other shorter with a microphone for portable use. Also in the pouch is a ¼” as well as an airline adapter.
     
    I have to say, I really like the outer hard case. Honestly, I’d prefer a case like this was included with my Nighthawks instead of the softer case that came with those.
     
    Build Quality
     
    As a $300 US headphone I’m pretty impressed with the build quality and accessories. The pads and headband are a PU leather which seem to be of reasonably good quality although not quite up to the same standards of the materials used in my NightHawk. The wood cups have a very nice matte finish which I find very attractive. The overall presentation has an element of elegance but I’ll admit I don’t like the gold accents. I tend to prefer understated elegance though which I feel the gold detracts from.
     
    Meze99Classics.jpg
     
    Fit & Comfort
     
    There are some similarities between the 99 Classics and the NightHawks suspension. Both aim to have the user simply place the headphones on their head without the need for extra adjustments. The NightHawks ease of use and comfort has been a revelation, unfortunately the 99 Classics don’t quite hit the mark. Everytime I put them on I found I had to pull them down a bit and then try to stuff my ears inside the pads because the opening is just a little too small for my ears yet too big to sit on them comfortably. It also feels like the pads could be a tad thicker and softer as once I got my ears inside, the tops of my ears tended to touch the driver. Once set though the comfort wasn’t too bad, not too much clamp and I didn’t feel much need to readjust them all the time.
     
    Sound
     
    I was first on the Canadian tour so the 99 Classics were brand spanking new. Straight of the box I found the mids had an odd push and they sounded a little strained so I set them to play over the weekend before getting down to listening.
     
    After their weekend break-in period the 99 Classics seemed more at ease and the midrange push seemed to have lessened but was still there giving a slight honky or nasal quality that was most apparent on vocals. This emphasis in the mids also has the effect of bringing out some details that were previously masked so the 99 Classics gave an interesting, slightly different take on familiar music.
     
    The 99 Classics lean towards the warmer side yet they are one of the more fun headphones I’ve listened to. Bass has some added emphasis and it’s fast, tight and punchy with reasonably good extension into sub-bass. This tight and fast quality is predominant throughout the frequency spectrum giving the 99 Classics great PRaT making for a very fun listen at the expense of losing some ambient information as decay gets cut short.
     
    The decay being cut short may have some effect on soundstage as well as I found that, while it has decent width, there is a distinct lack of depth in comparison to what I’m used to with the NightHawks. Instrument placement is decent but does lack some of the separation I’ve become accustomed to. This is most noticeable on denser recordings where instruments and placement became a bit confused as they fight with each other for space.
     
    Treble has very good presence without any harshness or over emphasis on sibilance. In fact, I’d say this is one of the nicer presentations of treble I’ve heard in a headphone.
     
    As mentioned previously, I found the mids to have a bit of push I’d say in the upper range. Every time I put them on they sounded a bit odd at first. After a few minutes I could adjust but the timbre of some instruments and vocals always seemed a bit off. I wondered if the pads and fit might be to blame but it’s hard to say.
     
    Conclusion

    It might seem like didn’t like the 99 Classics but honestly, I was pretty impressed with them. They have a fun, energetic yet smooth sound that I found addictive. They give me some of what I’ve always liked about Grados without the sibilance and ringing ear issues I have with Grados. The 99 Classics do seem to have some irregularity in their frequency response but I suspect that at least some of this may come down to fit. If the Meze team were to update these with pads that are deeper and softer with a larger opening for the ear I think I would be very tempted to get a pair to complement my NightHawks. At $300 for the build and sound quality on offer the 99 Classics are a pretty darn good deal.
      mikemercer likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      Great review...fun, energetic & smooth is exactly how I'm finding them.
      I'm not sure it's fair to compare to the (semi-open & more expensive) Nighthawks, but the point of reference is understandable. The Meze isn't bad for a closed back (IMO).

      Thanks!
      jinxy245, Mar 5, 2016
    3. Miguel Ruiz
      Im looking into this ones vs the Nighthawks, Ive been reading a lot of reviews on both and almost never is Soundstage or localization, I listen mostly to classic rock and classical music, mostly piano, so a decent soundstage is a major thing for me. I know, they are close back but still, any input in this?
      Miguel Ruiz, Dec 19, 2016
    4. elnero
      @Miguel Ruiz It's been quite awhile since I've heard the 99 Classics but from my recollection I'd say the NightHawk would give you better soundstage depth and localization. The $349 sale price for the NightHawk right now is an absolute steal in my opinion. 
      elnero, Dec 19, 2016
  3. dweaver
    Wonderful Natural sounding headphone that looks as good as it sounds
    Written by dweaver
    Published Feb 27, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Wonderful craftmanship, warm detailed signature that is on the brighter side of warm. Most comfortable partial ear headphone I have tried.
    Cons - Cables are slightly noisy due to fabric. Cups are more like half to three quarter over ear versus fully over ear.
    First if I would like to thank Meze for including me in their review program. I did NOT receive these for free, like all other reviewers in the program I was given a 1 week window to review the headphone, then ship them on to the next reviewer. Having said that one of us will win a free pair as a thank you from Meze for reviewing their headphone. I personally do not feel the potential for a free headphone sways my opinion on how something sounds, looks, feels, or it's craftsmanship. To be blunt if I don't like it I wouldn't want to win it and if I do like it, well then any positive review I make is deserved...
     
    This headphone deserves a positive review...    [​IMG]
     
    Ok, so now that I have dealt with the usual disclaimers let get into the review.
     
    When the headphone arrived I loved how it looked. I personally love the dark walnut cups, the black headrest and suspension system and the gold accents. The headphone looks like a tasteful work of art and listening instrument. To be blunt I can't take pictures of the headphone that do it justice so I won't be lacing my review with pictures. Suffice it to say Meze's stock pictures look every bit as good as the finished product with no photo touching and glamorizing needed. Some will prefer the companies silver offerings more which is fine because I believe every picture offered by Meze is an honest depiction of their quality and craftsmanship so people can buy with confidence based on their personal fashion preference.
     
    The retail packaging also reflects the quality of the product without being excessive or over the top in an attempt to upsell an otherwise less than impressive product. Just as Meze has not needed to depict their product as more than they are in their pictures, they haven't felt the need to waste money with fancy packaging either. Which is great news because they then put that money into a great case to protect their works of art as well as a very nice soft case to hold their cables.
     
    Everything Meze has done shows their love for craftsmanship, design, and most importantly... MUSIC.
     
    So are there any flies in the ointment? Yes, there are two things that stand out.
    • The cables while looking very nice and being well built internally are cloth covered which makes then slightly noising when rubbing on things, with the smartphone cable being a bit less noisy due to the microphone/button acting as a noise absorber.
    • The cups are not truly over ear (at least for my average sized ears), being more of a 3/4 over ear, somewhat similar to the original Sennheiser Momentum. The good news for me is that while they are not truly over ear, they are far more comfortable than any other partial over ear headphone I have tried or owned and that's even when I wear my glasses. In fact I found them comfortable for several 2+ hour listening sessions.
     
    So how do these sound? In my opinion these sound as good as they look, reflecting the same esthetic values as their design. When I look at them I see a headphone that looks natural, with craftsmanship so solid there is no need for excessive coats of lacquer, over sized components, or glittery/shiny over polished accents. It's just so well put together it doesn't need to TRY THAT HARD! When I listen to them, THATS EXACTLY HOW THEY SOUND TOO! They have a boosted bass but it's never bombastic or over the top. They have a midrange that is clear, articulate, and engaging without ever feeling in your face and shouty. The treble similarly is detailed and slightly brighter than I have grown used to but never fatiguing. Their sound stage while smaller than my most expensive headphone and others I have owned or heard is still of a decent size and offers an above average 3D experience.
     
    In my testing I used these equally between my LG G4 phone and my Pono player with both devices sounding excellent with the headphone. I also did some listening sessions with my computer and Audio Engine 1 DAC. Again the headphone sounded impressive. In all 3 listening situations I was using a mix of standard and high definition FLAC files from a variety of musical genres from classical orchestra, choral, movie sound tracks (lots of Hans Zimmer), small ensemble, Celtic, classic rock, psychedelic rock, country, female jazz, and more.
     
    My usual review style is a breakdown of each area of the sound spectrum but I think I will fore go this process in favor of a brief comparison I wrote between the Meze 99 Classics, the VModa M100, and the Sony MDR-Z7.
     
    The bottom line is I think the Meze 99 Classic is EVER BIT THE TITLE. They are "classic".
     

     
    Meze 99, Vmoda M100, Sony MDR-Z7 shootout listening to 192kHz 24 bit FLAC song Code Cool by Patricia Barber on my Pono.

    Meze 99 and M100 played with standard stereo connection, Z7 played with balanced cable output.

    Ok before I get started I want to be clear about my preferences. Over the years I have fluctuated between bright and dark sounding headphones. Swaying as bright as the AKG K712 and as dark as RHA T10. The T10 actually started me down the path to darker headphones until I settled on the Z7 which found a good balance between a dark sound with just the right sparkle and treble detail for me. For the past year and half it has been my go to headphone for listening enjoyment in full size gear.

    M100 - Comparing the 3 headphones with this song really shows the M100's main stream signature and it's weaknesses. Starting with the bass while almost as strong as the Z7 it lacks the Z7 punch, detail and texture, sounding slightly hollow in comparison. The midrange is slightly subdued compared to the Z7 and the 99 while having a vocal pitch closer to the 99as compared to the warmer sounding Z7. Strangely the midrange sounds less cohesive due to the gap between the bass and the midrange. Treble is slightly hotter than the Z7 while still not being as bright or as detailed as the 99. The hotness of the treble makes the M100 ever so slightly more fatiguing than the 99 and Z7. The sound stage is slightly larger than the 99 but smaller than the Z7 but has an artificial quality assocated with its V shaped signature. Of the three the M100 has the least detail and imaging prowess.

    MDR-Z7 - The Z7 has the biggest bass of the three headphones while having good punch and texture. The bass is definitely the Z7 strength and for many will be its Achilles heel. In this song the Big Bass (instrument) sounds slightly slightly larger than normal. Personally I enjoy the slightly larger than life experience but again many would not appreciate the coloration. The midrange is the warmest of the three headphones and yet retains detail, urgency, and is very cohesive with the bass. But this also means vocals have a level of huskiness that some would again find colored. The treble is finely detailed and articulate while being slightly relaxed, never approaching anything close to fatiguing. 3D imaging and sound stage is immensly satisfying and large beating both 99 and M100 handily.

    Meze 99 - The bass of the 99 is the lowest in quantity while having as good a punch as the Z7 as well as detail and texture making it the most balanced of the three headphones. It is not a neutral headphone though, just more balanced than the other 2 in this comparison. The midrange similarly is brighter and as detailed and urgent as the Z7. The treble has none of the hotness of the M100 while being the brightest of the 3 headphones and yet fatigue free. While the 99 has the smallest sound stage it is very natural sounding and has as good instrument separation as the Z7.

    So given my leaning towards the dark side it would be easy to say I would like the Z7 the most, but strangely enough I found myself enjoying the Meze 99 as much or more than the Z7. Where the Z7 won in the 3D and sound stage department the 99 won in the clarity and natural department. Both were non-fatiguing.

    Comfort wise the Z7 wins but I actually found the 99 more comfortable than the M100 with extra large pads. In fact I can easily see living with the 99 from a comfort perspective which is shocking because I immensely prefer full over over versus on ear or half on ear. But the 99 has done a better job of comfort than any other half on ear headphone I have owned or tried.

    So there you have it. The Meze trounced the M100 and sounded as good as (or better if you don't like the sound of the Z7's signaure) my $700 Z7 running in its optimal balanced configuration. So I guess you could say I like the Meze 99 a lot [​IMG].
    1. View previous replies...
    2. MaxLee
      Well Should I Get The M100 Or Meze,Im A DJ But Still Love Classical Audiophile Music,And Love Bass Too.So...Which I Should Pick?
      MaxLee, Aug 1, 2016
    3. MadMusicJunkie
      Great review. I find comparisons the most effective way of getting an impression of a headphone over someone trying to just use words to describe complex sounds. As such, I've found this review to be the most helpful in my Meze 99 research!
      MadMusicJunkie, Apr 23, 2017
    4. dweaver
      MaxLee, I apologize for missing your question those many months ago, doubly so since I own both headphones! The 99 is the more balanced of the 2 headphones but the M100 is better for DJ purposes. From a purely audiophile pers[ective I think the Calssic's win hands down though. But if you REALLY love some bass the M100 is the more bassy headphone and darned fun to listen to.
       
      Thanks for the complement MadMusicJunkie, I have just finished a review / comparison between the 99 Classic and the new 99 Neo, which you might find a good read as well. www.head-fi.org/products/meze-99-neo/reviews/18490
      dweaver, Apr 23, 2017
  4. Bansaku
    A Timeless Classic
    Written by Bansaku
    Published Feb 25, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Beautiful design, intimate and engaging smooth sound, excellent detail and resolve
    Cons - Ear pads could be deeper
    Intro
     
        Meze Headphones is a company with a simple philosophy;  Motivation, Values, People. With a passion for art and music, achieved through patience and dedication, Meze design timeless masterpieces. Ignoring current trends that come and go with the seasons, influenced by none, they create headphones as if for themselves. Consisting of passionate specialists, with backgrounds in sound engineering, design, crafting, and music, the team has stood by their company’s values since the beginning.
     
        My first experience with Meze Headphones was shortly after the release of their 88 Classics. A couple years back my travels took me to a “men’s den” gift shop. The first thing I noticed upon entering the store, nestled between a rare Italian marble chess board with dragon forged obsidian pieces and a diamond crusted Zippo lighter made from platinum and unobtanium, was a gorgeous and unique looking headphone hanging on a stand behind a locked glass display case.  I had recently watched several glowing reviews of the 88 Classics from my tech-news sites, so I walked away disappointed to not be able to demo them. (For the record, I did ask.) 
     
        To celebrate the launch of the 99 Classics, Meze set up a North American review tour exclusive to Head-fi. Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity and was one of the first responders. To my pleasant surprise, I was chosen for one of the spots in the Canadian leg of the tour! However, my good fortune was about to take a turn for the better. Taking second place in iFi’s iCAN micro SE Intergalactic launch competition, I won myself my very own pair of 99 Classics!  This is awesome as I would have been very very sad to have to send off the review pair to the next tour member after only one week of use.
     
    fulltilt.jpg
     
     
    Disclaimer
     
        This is the tricky part, and I had to think a lot on how to go about this review. While I am part of the Canadian tour and obligated to write an honest review of the 99 Classics, I do own them personally. After much thought, I decided why does it matter? The fact is, I absolutely love the 99 Classics design and their sound. Review sample or not, in the end my words will be honest and objective, nothing more. 
     
     
    About Me
        
        37 years old, I grew up in a family consisting of musicians, broadcaster/sound engineers, and amateur DJs, I always had a deep appreciation and understanding of both music and sound. I was further educated in this self interest after taking courses in both electronics and sound (Electro-Acousto aka The Path to Golden Ears). While I believe a listener’s preference in sound is subjective, the science behind it is not. I am not swayed by buzzwords, hype, trends, brand recognition, or big numbers on charts; I am the nemesis of the commissioned salesperson. Opinionated as I am, my words are not only objective but honest. I view all criticism as constructive, as long as it is sincere. 
     
    Specifications
     
    1. Transducer size: 40mm
    2. Transducer Type: Dynamic Neodymium / Mylar
    3. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    4. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    5. Impedance: 32Ohm
    6. Rated input power: 30mW
    7. Maximum input power: 50mW
    8. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    9. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    Accessories
     
    1. 1.2m OFC cable with 1-button control talk module
    2. 3m OFC cable
    3. Airplane adapter
    4. 6.35mm adapter
    5. Cable pouch
    6. Headphone travel case
    7. Manual/Stickers
     
    box.jpg   case.jpg   logo.jpg
     
    For more information and nice eye candy, head over to the 99 Classics website.
    To read up on general discussion and impressions, check out the official thread here.
     
    Design & Ergonomics 
     
        Each pair of 99 Classics takes about 45 days to perfect, and it shows. Taking 18 months to cure before being CNC carved, each walnut ear cup has it’s own unique grain with no two cups looking alike. The metal hardware is a cast zinc alloy with electroplated coating, and are fastened to the spring steel headband with screws and nuts; There is zero adhesives and plastics used in their construction!  Both the memory foam ear pads and the headband are made of a soft polyurethane leather.
     
    front.jpg   band.jpg   side.jpg
     
        Despite the use of wood and metal in the 99 Classics’ design, the headphones are incredibly light, weighing in at 290 grams. Thanks to the extra wide headband and the double-wishbone style of the spring, wearing the 99 Classics feel almost weightless; The headband extends to a perfect fit every time. Clamping force is extremely tolerable, with very little discomfort coming from the ear pads. This combination of design features ensures for long term wearability. I would like to note that while personally I find the ear pads to be both wide and deep enough for my ears, some might find the fit to be on the small side. Meze has taken the initiative based off from reviewer feedback and are working on slightly larger/deeper ear pad design. Overall though, the pads do offer pretty good sound isolation from the outside world yet offer virtually 100% sound leakage at moderate to high volume.
     
    right.jpg   left.jpg   cup.jpg
     
        In regards to the included cables, Meze did not overlook their appearance and design. The detachable cloth sleeved cables are of the Y-design, meaning that the left and right channels connectors are separate. I have to commend Meze for using this connection method as I am not fond of the single insert cables. With no cable running through the headband, not only is there less microphonic noise, but less potential for channel imbalance due to unequal cable lengths, all while making the 99 Classics more user serviceable. All three of the 3.5mm plugs, as well as the Y-split have gold and black metal housings featuring seamless rubber stress reliefs. There is some microphonic noise when the cable is rubbed after the Y-split, but it is not too bothersome. I do have to give mention to the control-talk module as well. It's design is quite functional with an easy to locate rubber button that gives the user tactile feedback when pressed; You will never wonder if you are depressing it enough or not. I would also like to add that clicking the button once activates play/pause/answer, twice is to skip to the next track, and three times for previous track. Unlike most single button control talk units I have used in the past, I have yet to experience an instance where the 99 Classics' control talk button failed to register my click. Bravo! However, I do have one minor gripe. If I had to make a suggestion, the unit should be lower down on the cable to avoid inaccessibility when wearing collared outerwear. Inside while at my desk or on the couch, it's not an issue.
     
      y.jpg   ct.jpg   plugs.jpg
     
    *Pictures taken by me using my iPod Touch 
     
    First Impressions
     
        Inside and out, Meze presented me with a product that radiated elegance! The outside of the box is stunning; Against a matte black background with the words “Meze 99 Classics Gold, Designed by Antonio Meze” in gold, the embossed glossy outline of the 99 Classics could be seen. Upon opening the magnetic latch, I was immediately greeted by the stylish moulded hard travel case with a metal Meze logo in black and gold shinning up at me! Taking the 99 Classics out of their case, all I could do is stare; They looked absolutely stunning! The combination of the black and walnut with gold accents is tastefully done. Every screw, every line, every angle, and every curve serves the purpose of both function and aesthetics; The design and craftsmanship are an awe-inspiring work of art! I will admit, I did stare at myself in the mirror wearing the 99 Classics, capturing every nuance of their design from all angles.
     
        Once I finished admiring the 99 Classics’ design, fit, and comfort, it was time to put them to the test. To be honest, I did not know what to expect in terms of sound. Too many times I have been tricked into purchasing headphones based off from misleading advertising and over-hyped reviews so I am always expecting the worst (despite my optimistic outlook on life). It only took seconds into the first song for all reservations I had to vanish; The 99 Classics’ sound was beyond my expectations! Track after track, no matter what the genre, I was impressed!
     
    Sound - The Basics
     
        Meze promotes the 99 Classics as having a balanced sound that is crisp and clear. Adding in warmth, I whole heartedly concur.  Across the whole frequency spectrum, the 99 Classics remain solid with no exaggerations or peaks. The overall sound is liquid and transparent with excellent extension and detail, yet remain non-fatiguing to the ears. The transition from bass to mids to treble is incredibly smooth, with no bleed or bloat.
     
    Bass - Slightly north of neutral, bass is powerful and prominent. Sub-bass extends very deep with just the right amount of weight    as to not overpower the rest of the upper frequencies. Mid-bass, while relatively flat, does have a slight hump giving the 99 Classics a touch more punch. However, much like the sub-bass, mid-bass does not bleed into the lower-mids. Overall the speed of the bass is quite fast and controlled though there is a small bit of looseness in the sub-bass, giving the resonance a touch of rumbley fun.
     
    Mid Range - Impressively neutral, detailed, and transparent. The mids are neither recessed nor elevated, simply flat. This does not mean the 99 Classics are boring, or too analytical, quite the opposite. Possessing both body and breathe, vocals are beautifully rendered with zero peakiness or accentuation to the sibilance. Instruments are nicely detailed with excellent texture and transparency; There is no grain to be heard.
     
    Treble - Despite having a balanced frequency response, treble does take a slight backseat to the mids. However, this does not translate to being modest,  recessed, or having an early roll-off. Quite the opposite in fact. Treble is crisp and clean with fantastic extension; The sound is fairly airy and detailed with just the right amount of sparkle and shine. There is no exaggeration in the mid-treble, the classic 6 KHz spike that would add to the potential harshness of the sibilance or add piercing glare, nor is there any peakiness at 10 KHz region that adds fatigue. 
     
    Soundstage -  While the 99 Classics are of a closed back design the soundstage is slightly above par, giving the listener a good sense of 3D/holographic imaging. Left/right and up/down are of equal width, with the front/back width slightly behind. Instrument separation if great, never sounding congested or cramped. Although due to the warm, wood tone of the sound signature, holographic imaging does suffer a touch in comparison to the rest of the 3D sound-space. Overall, the 99 classics soundstage can be described in one word: Intimate.
     
    Sound - Music
     
         With the exception of a few, I listen to virtually every genre. What impressed me about the 99 Classics is their ability to handle every genre flawlessly. From Classical to Heavy Metal, Jazz to Electronica, I was never let down by their ability to do the song justice! I would like to point out that if the track is poorly mastered, or an mp3 of a low bit-rate, you will notice the flaws. On the plus side, high bit-rate/Hi-rez music will sound absolutely flawless!
     
        Listening to the audiophile classic Spanish Harlem - Rebecca Pidgin is a must for all music lovers. I always turn to this song as a test of a headphone’s dynamics, and the 99 Classics did not disappoint. Rebecca’s voice was well rendered, with a good sense of naturalness. The sibilance of her voice can pose problems for headphones of all quality, including ones that cost numerous times more that the 99 Classics, but not so here! Every note was pitch perfect with an airy naturalness. The bass had excellent definition and weight yet played perfectly, un-obscuring towards the rest of the sound.  Each draw of the bow across the violins had texture and resolve. Every shake of the rattle sounded unique, and could be easily discerned. The piano was well rendered without glare or congestion.
     
        Stravinsky’s The Royal March - Soloist New York is an excellent track to demonstrate a headphones ability to handle transients. Between the brass, strings, and percussion, this song features powerful transients. To fully appreciate the 99 Classics ability, I turned up the volume to above average listening levels. What I was presented with was an awesome sense of excitement! The drums were tight and taut, never sounding dull, sluggish, or lacking definition. The horns sounded crisp and clean, well defined with excellent ear-tickling bite! Cymbals splashed with very fast and accurate attack, sustain, decay, and release. The bass-strings resonated deep with both speed and definition.
     
        While the 99 Classics have the ability to render music of the more ‘natural’ variety admirably, their ability to handle the modern sounds of Pop and Electronica is equally fantastic. A mix between techno, jazz, and classical, Mona Lisa - Juno Reactor is a good example of fast and pumping modern sound. Bass is very fast and tight, with the sub-bass blooms rendered with the right amount of weight. The tribal drums are relentless in their assault, with each palm strike of the skin being easily discernible over the rest of the beat. Background vocals were upfront and mesmerizing, the strings had great dynamics, and the horns bite hard! This song can get very busy, yet the 99 Classics hold their own, never missing a beat nor subtle effect!
        
        Binaural tracks really excelled through the 99 Classics. I was happy to hear that despite the warm wood tone impending the sense of holographic imaging, binaural tracks did not suffer. Compared to a lot of closed back headphones I have owned/heard, the 99 Classics were able to render the imaging with greater accuracy. David Chesky sounded like he was in a large cathedral 30’ away as he walked up to the microphone and whispered into my ear; His breathe could be felt on my ear! Likewise, Edgar the Barber’s virtual haircut sounded equally impressive, giving me a good sense of moving his scissors around the sides, top, and back of my head. And yes, it did make my ears flinch a little.
     
        I know it’s kind of an odd area to touch on, but what really impresses me about the 99 Classics is their ability to handle electric guitar distortion. Whether it’s the raw sound of Heartbreaker - Led Zeppelin, the masterfully recorded classic 2112 - Rush, or the newly release Dystopia - Megadeth, I was not let down! Their ability to handle fuzz, squeals, wails, crunch, distortion and noise without butchering the sound or bleeding my ears is nothing short of impressive; The 99 Classics distort like a champ! 
     
        Lastly, I present to you what I call the ‘Captain Tractor Test’. Captain Tractor hails from my home city of Edmonton. Well traveled and decently know, they have been around for more than 20 years. Their sound can be described as Indie, with a mix of maritime folk and prairie rock. I have seen them play live in numerous venues, big and small, acoustic and amped, probably close to 30 times.  Simply put, the 99 Classics pass the test with flying colours! Absolutely perfect! Closing my eyes, I am placed in the sweet spot in front of the band! Every singer, every instrument sound flawless!
     
    Sound - Movies, Games, and General Use
     
        Movies & games are perhaps the most overlooked uses of headphones in many reviews for many headphones. In fact, for the 99 Classics I have yet to find a single mention here, or various other tech and review sites in regards to movies, video games, and every day use such as YouTube and Podcasts. Rest assured good folk, I got this covered!
     
        As a child of the 1980’s, I love giant robots and monsters hell bent on destroying man-kind. For this reason, Pacific Rim has been my go-to movie to demo equipment; The first 15 minutes of the movie is simply awesome! The movie starts off with a short narrative of the back-story, segueing into the plot’s present day scenario. Two Jaeger pilots, brothers, are awoken out of bed and changed with defending the city of Anchorage from a giant killer monster; The Kaiju. This movie’s sound engineering is phenomenal, with so many subtle and mundane sounds mixed with an epic, heart pounding soundtrack, Pacific Rim puts A/V equipment to the test. Normally I am listening for things such as the crackle of a fluorescent desk lamp warming up, the beating of the rain upon metal, how centred and clear the dialogue is, or how well I can hear the action over the soundtrack. However, while watching Pacific Rim with the 99 Classics I found myself so drawn in the next thing I realized is that I had watched 75% of the movie; I had to go back and re-watch the prologue again! Simple put, the 99 Classics offer a detailed and engaging sound. Every subtle and nuanced sound was easily heard, the dialogue remained completely centred and concise, and the music pounded my ears yet never treaded upon nor overpowered the other sounds in the mix.
     
        Because of their tweaked-neutral sound signature, gaming with the 99 Classics was also a treat. I find that while clean and clear, the majority of competitive gaming headsets offer nothing in terms of excitement, mostly due to their too flat sound signature and lacking in bass weight. The 99 Classics once again performs admirably with modern games of all genres. Spells, attacks, and the screams of hell-spawns in Diablo III were wonderfully rendered with excellent separation and clarity. I had absolutely no trouble hearing and pinpointing the sound of a Treasure Goblin amongst the horde of dozens of demons and undead trying their best to thwart my efforts of sending them back to the underworld! The beautiful Classical-Gregorian score sounded as dynamic as it was haunting, with each instrument possessing wonderful texture and resolve adding to the dark atmosphere of the game’s locations. Dialogue came across as centred and clear, with 3D positioning of on screen characters well represented. With games like Fallout 4 and Dying Light, 3D positioning and accurate location of sounds is critical to surviving. You must know where the dangers lay or else one can easily be caught off guard by an unruly group of individuals who want nothing more than to put and end to your life. I again had no issue being able to locate my enemies in the 3D soundscape; I never had to listen too hard to hear every nuanced environmental noise and sound. As both games are heavily story driven there is quite a bit of dialogue. Much like movies, voices were well rendered, sounding clean and natural.
     
        Given their excellent performance in regards to dialogue in movies and games, it’s not surprising that the 99 Classics sound great listening to online media. Commentary in Podcasts and YouTube vloggers sounded clear, centred, and natural. No one’s voice sounded muffled, boomy, or overly sibilant. Because of  the 99 Classics’ design, I had no issues listening to hours of YouTube with no discomfort on my inner-ears nor my head. The ear-pads did get a little warm, but never did I find them getting sticky or sweaty.
     
    Sound - Summary
     
        The 99 Classics do so much right offering a detailed, liquid smooth, engaging, and fatigue free listening experience. I simply could not find a fault with their overall transparency and resolve. While not in the same echelon as the Sennheiser HD800, they are easily in the same league as the Momentum offering a very similar sound in terms of both detail and sound signature, which to be honest is the type of sound I prefer in headphones. Unlike the latter, the 99 Classics offer the same balanced sound but with a sprinkle of pizzaz added in. Some audiophile purists may consider Meze’s tweaking to be more consumer friendly. I myself prefer to think that the 99 Classics are geared towards audiophiles who want to step away from analytical for a while and just relax with a smooth yet detailed and fun sounding headphone.
     
    Amping
     
        With an impedance of 32Ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB, the 99 Classics are efficient enough to be powered by virtually anything with a 3.5mm jack. Whether it be a Gameboy Advanced, HDTV, iPod Classic or iPod Touch 6 Gen, I never had to go above 50% volume to reach a moderate listening level. For both my Creative E3 and my iCAN micro SE (0 dB gain) I never had to go above 25%. As efficient as the 99 Classics are, I highly recommend giving them the love they deserve and pair it with an amp worthy of $300 headphones. For example, with both the E3 and iPod Touch, the bass sounds loose and less controlled than it does with the iCAN micro. In fact, pairing with the latter, the 99 Classics’ bass is more in line with what audiophile purists prefer. 
     
    Burn-in
     
        40 hours is what is recommended by Meze, and I highly encourage anyone to give the 99 Classics at least that amount of time before any critical reviews. Bass becomes more controlled, less loose and bloomy, and treble detail definitely comes up a few notches. Overall, after burn-in the sound becomes less ridged and and more liquid.
     
    Value
     
        The question begs, at a MSRP of $309 US, are the 99 Classics a good value? Absolutely! If I had not won my pair of 99 Classics, after spending a week with my tour pair would I have any reservation about purchasing my own pair? None! As mention earlier on in this review, I would have been very very sad to send the headphones off to the next reviewer. Their detailed and smooth sound coupled with gorgeous, timeless beauty through suburb craftsmanship are truly a welcome addition to anyone’s collection, including my own. Adding in the moulded hard travel case, 2 well crafted cables, and accessibility of the components definitely adds to their long term value. Eventually I am going to purchase a stylish mannequin head and proudly display the 99 Classics in my living room amongst my other cool items I like to show off.
     
    Conclusion
     
        If you are a headphone junky who wants to add to their growing collection, rest assured that the 99 Classics will be a proud addition. If you are simply someone in the market looking to find a headphone that offers a detailed fatigue free yet dynamic sound, you can’t go wrong choosing these over the other more well established brands. With a price of $309 US, Meze Headphones has a real winner with the 99 Classics. Combining a smooth and natural listening experience that promotes a timeless design in a visually stunning package all while maintaining superb fit and comfort, there are few reasons not to fall in love with these headphones. My hat’s off to you, Antonio Meze, and your team of professionals; You have made a fantastic headphone!
     
     
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      A great review, thanks!! I just received my pair for review, and I'm enjoying them thoroughly. So far a winner to my ears. Some have called the mids a bit pushed, but that doesn't seem severe to my ears, and can be track dependent. I'd love to hear your thoughts between these & the PSBs...I'm slowly narrowing my choices down....

      Thanks again!
      jinxy245, Mar 5, 2016
    3. Bansaku
      @jinxy245 Thanks! Actually, I have been slowly taking notes and a PSB vs Meze will be coming soon, once my sleep habits fall back to normal. :)
      Bansaku, Mar 5, 2016
    4. jinxy245
      Very cool and rest up!! I'll look forward to the comparison.
      jinxy245, Mar 6, 2016
  5. B9Scrambler
    Meze 99 Classics: Amazing!
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Feb 20, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality - Design - Comfort - Energetic and reasonably balanced signature
    Cons - Cloth cables are a tad noisy
     ​

    DSCN0322.jpg

     
    Greetings Head-fi!
     
    The 99 Classics first appeared on my radar when I read @BloodyPenguin's review. Not only did his description of the 99 Classics sound intrigue me, but his images showed off the physical beauty of this amazing headphone. When I laid eyes on the 99 Classics, it was love at first sight.
     
    When I saw that Meze was running a Canadian leg to their 99 Classics tour, it was pretty late in the application process. I'm not sure if it made a difference in @MezeTeam's selection process especially since I'm pretty inexperienced compared to the majority of their selected applicants, but I want to thank @nmatheis for putting in a good word for me.
     
    When Meze contacted me to advise that I would be put on the tour, I was taken aback. This amazing looking pair of headphones would eventually serenade my ears, even if only for a short period. To say that I was stoked was an understatement. The best headphones I've heard/owned to date have been the UE6000, AKG K512 MKii, and my current favorite, the AKG K553 Pro. I was VERY excited to hear how the Meze 99 Classics would compare to these headphones which I have become very familiar with.
     
    Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were sent to me for seven (seemingly very short) days as part of their Canadian tour. I am in no way affiliated with Meze and receive no financial compensation for this review.
     
    A little about me:
     
    While I'm still pretty new to the world of hi-fi portable audio, my love of budget earphones and headphones has allowed me to more-or-less find my preferred signature. Don't think this means that I avoid variety, because that couldn't be further from the truth!
     
    My gear is still pretty basic, consisting of the venerable Topping NX1, HTC One M8, and an Asus G73 laptop with Plantronics Rig USB amp. My current favorite earphone is the JVC HA-FXH30. I primarily listen to EDM (liquid drum and bass ftw), hip hop, and classic rock, but have been known to dabble in metal and jazz. While I enjoy a good sounding product, physical design is also key. If they look boring but sound great, that's cool, but I would like to have something interesting to look that is also great sounding. Since I have such an unnecessarily large collection of headphones and earphones, I spend just as much time listening to them as I do enjoying the variety of designs. Luckily, the 99 Classics had no problems nailing my criteria for beauty in both sound and design. Now, to the fun part.
     
    *****
     
    I flip back the magnetically sealed flap after spending a few moments dissecting the subtle images of the 99 Classics printed on the front and sides of the box. On the inside of the flap I see foam has been glued, preventing the beautifully molded case from being scratched or damaged in any way.
     
    I reach into the box and lift out the hard EVA case. It molds to my hands. The leather texture feels premium to the touch, smooth but not slick. The zippers, thick and durable, fluidly move their way around the case, splitting it in two.
     
    Tilting back the top half of the case I get my first glimpse of the 99 Classics. They look great in pictures, and even better in the flesh. I lift them out and set them to the side, picking up a small velvet case about the thickness of two hockey pucks. Coiled inside I find two cables, one for mobile use, one for home use. Let's set that aside too. Also inside is an airplane adapter and a 6.35mm adapter. Very nice. I zip up the case and return my gaze to the 99 Classics.
     
    Wow, what a glorious looking headphone. My eyes flow from the golden inserts where the cables plug in, across the flawless surface of the wooden ear cups, up to the leather headband that arcs gracefully between the two cups. I could stare at these for hours, but if they sound as good as they look that would be a waste.
     
    I plug the cable into each ear cup, lift the 99 Classics onto my head, and let them rest around my ears. Perfect. The weight distributes across my head flawlessly. My ears fit just inside the ear cups, held snug by the memory foam. Now this is comfort.
     
    So, what to listen to? Some Crystal Method? I don't think so. Rage Against the Machine? Not quite. Tool? That could be nice, but it doesn't feel quite special enough. Oh! I know. Supertramp's Crime of the Century, one of my favorite albums of all time. That's the perfect choice.
     
    I lay down on the couch, lean my head back, close my eyes, and hit 'play'. From the sweet harmonica intro of "School", to the Wurli piano solo in "Bloody Well Right", to the intense journey through jazz, rock, and progressive that is "Rudy", to the closing moments of "Crime of the Century", everything is played without effort. The emotion immaculately portrayed, no detail missed. Bass hits just right. Treble is prominent and sparkles with gusto. Hodgson's voice effortlessly echoes across the soundstage. My smile widens. Let's throw on King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" next...
     
    *****
     
    That was my intro to the 99 Classics, and an experience that carried over to practically every listening session I had with them. Their natural, slightly warm and mostly balanced sound, supreme comfort, and delicious good looks completely won me over. Not since first listening to the AKG K553 Pro, my primary headphone, was I so pleased.
     
    Sound Impressions:
     
    Since the K553 Pro was the best headphone I'd heard to date, it was only natural that this review compare the two. Prior to the 99 Classics crossing my path, the K553 Pro met pretty much all my needs. At times I felt they could be a little bright and their sub-bass presentation leaves a bit to be desired since they roll off early, but they offer up lots of detail with clean, smooth mids. As long as you avoid unnecessarily high volume listening, the AKG K553 Pro can be a very pleasant listen.
     
    To my surprise I found the 99 Classics and K553 Pro similar in many aspects, though they did differ in some important criteria, those being the areas where I had issues with the AKG. Treble provided just enough shimmer along with lots of detail, and never approached discomfort or sibilance. The 99 Classics don't have quite the same extension as the K553 Pro, but they never felt like they were lacking in any way. Mids were just as clean and clear, handling anything I tossed at them with aplomb. I particularly enjoyed them with male vocals and the lengthy guitar solos you find in many classic rock tracks. Sub-bass met the needs that my AKG K553 Pro fails to address. The 99 Classics have just the right amount of extension and rumble to work with all of my favorite music, something the K553 misses the mark on. Mid-bass is punchy and reasonably quick, never bleeding into the mids. I enjoy the snappy sound of the K553 Pro, but the 99 Classics retains most of that energy while being easier on the ears and more versatile across a variety of genres. I'll chalk that up to their additional warmth and slightly more relaxed treble presentation.
     
    Listening to all my favorite tracks again and again was nothing but pleasant, and there really wasn't anything about the 99 Classics that I disliked. They're just a darn good headphone. Every listen was an event, from the time I picked them up to examine their curvaceous design and flawless construction, to the last note played before they were returned to their case.
     
    If I were to make any suggestions for improvements, it would have to go to the cables. They look beautiful and feel wonderful, but being cloth-covered meant they could be a bit noisy, and will likely be subject to fraying down the road. Still, this is a VERY minor issue in my opinion, and is pretty much negligible.
     
    I can't say much on isolation since they were used only indoors in a relatively quite environment (no way I'm taking a loaner outside!!). That said, they were able to adequately block my lovely fiancee's music and videos, so there's something.
     
    Summary:
     
    The 99 Classics are my favorite audio device, hands down. The unboxing experience leaves nothing to be desired. Simple but effective. The accessories are of high quality. The headphones themselves are drop dead gorgeous. All that backed by amazing sound quality means the 99 Classics are just a stunningly good piece and worth every penny.
     
    Thank you @MezeTeam for giving me the opportunity to try these out, and for exposing me to my new favorite headphone. I'm excited to see what you have in store for us later this year. If you ever run another Canadian tour, I'll be the first to sign up!
     
    Thanks for reading!
     
    - B9Scrambler
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Bansaku
      Great review!
      Bansaku, Feb 21, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Very nice review...I enjoyed the description of your aural journey.
      jinxy245, Feb 21, 2016
    4. B9Scrambler
      Thanks guys! I found the soundstage on the K553 slightly larger. For a closed back they're pretty spacious. The 99 Classics have a pretty average soundstage in my opinion. Still, it works well with their signature so no complaints here.
      B9Scrambler, Feb 22, 2016
  6. Currawong
    Antonio Meze's 2 years of effort have resulted in a good-performing pair of headphones that look stylish and sound good.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Feb 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Light-weight and comfortable with an easy fit. Sound quality covers most genres well. A good case and portable cables are included.
    Cons - The cups don't fold, so they are bulky and not so portable. A bit of congestion in the sound. Cable noise.
    [​IMG]
    2017 Update: I've added pictures at the bottom with the new pads. This improves the comfort and sound, though they retain their sound signature for the most part.
     
    A few years ago a company from Romania caught my attention with some wood headphones that had attracted a few members. They quickly spotted that they were a rebrand of some Chinese wood headphones and nothing much came from it. However in the intervening few years after that initial bad start, Antonio Meze has been hard at work on making a pair of well-designed, good sounding, and most of all, unique headphones. The result of his toil are the Meze 99 Classics. Suffice to say the new design is certainly eye-opening with dark wood cups, black steel arcs, black leather and touches of gold-colored metal that he has been careful not to overdo. 
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4445.jpg
     
    Antonio Meze sought to attend to a number of issues he felt most needed addressing in headphones. Starting with fit, he has avoided anything like a regular adjustment mechanism, instead the entire headphone structure uses a large spring steel arc system connecting cups and headphones. The headpad is elasticised, making the headphones entirely self-adjusting in the manner of the Stax SR007s. This, at least with my kids and my average-sized head made it as easy as putting them on to get the right fit. I dropped by a large-headed friend of mine to see how they'd fit on him to complete the picture, and had the same results: An easy fit. Even if someone with an odd head shape has issues, the arcs can be strategically bent to make adjustments as required. 
     
    The down-side to the design is that the cups don't fold flat, so along with the large arcs, once cased in the simple, but suitably solid included case, they aren't as portable as might be ideal and they are really going to stick out if used on public transport.
     
    The cables for the headphones are dual-entry using very thin 3.5mm TS plugs. The standard cable, which is very long, terminates in a 3.5mm plug which can be adapted to 6.5mm with the included adaptor. A 3.5mm 3.5mm TRRS cable with an inline mic and play/pause buttons for smart phones is also included. Uniquely the headphones themselves don't have left and right cups, but are entirely symmetrical, so it doesn't matter which cup which plug is inserted. To determine left and right, the plugs themselves are marked, the left plug also having a protruding ring, making it easy to feel which side is left simply by touching the plug. This cable, due to the un-damped wooden cups can transmit some noise when rubbed, though I didn't find it a serious problem. Some people with noisy clothes might find it a bit of an issue, however. 
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4434.jpg
     

     
    Overall, the simplicity of the design has resulted in great ergonomics and a light and comfortable pair of headphones that are also very attractive.
     


     
    Listening impressions
     
    Impressions were taken using a Chord Mojo for the most part at a moderate listening level. Note that impressions are relative to Sennheiser HD800s and other high-end headphones I usually listen with.

     
    The overall sound signature is along the lines of a common "consumer" signature, with treble present but not too strong, the mid-range well-present and bass significantly stronger than neutral, with presence down as far as the deep bass. This lends itself to being about right for modern music while still having enough mid-range and top-end to be satisfying to classical and jazz.
     
    There is a good amount of detail with the main downside being a bit of congestion overall at moderate listening levels. At first the bass was a bit overwhelming and the treble a bit harsh, but with burn-in (recommended, I might add, by the manufacturer) the treble smoothed out and the bass tightened up. Overall the presentation makes the 99 Classics good for most genres of music, with enough kick in the bass for most tastes, including the deep bass, and a pleasant mid-range and not-too-sharp treble that is a bit muted for my preference (noting my regular headphones are somewhat brighter).
     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4414.jpg
     
    This is somewhat in the manner of what I remember from Ultrasone's Signature series and Edition 9s, where I wished for a more delicate treble and more space around instruments. This isn't so much a criticism given that they are much cheaper than those headphones! Someone who finds, say, Sennheiser Momentums to be a bit too bright in the treble might like the Meze instead, however.  I don't think that, for someone whom this is their first pair of expensive headphones, this will at all be an issue and, quite the contrary, they will find them very enjoyable. I can only imagine people with extreme tastes, eg: Very large amounts of bass or treble, to have any issue with their presentation of most genres. 
     
    For someone such as me who already has high-end headphones, I found them enjoyable to listen to out of my Chord Mojo, or any of the DAPs I have on hand, such as the FiiO X5II or Calyx M. They were good enough to show some of the difference in quality of what I drove them with. Most significantly was how light and comfortable they were to listen with and did a good job of giving a bit of a bass kick to music that my more expensive headphones don't. 
     
    Compared to other headphones I have on-hand, Sony's MDR-7Zs are more sophisticated, with deeper earpads and angled drivers and it showed, but I didn't feel I was getting a great deal more resolution. The Massdrop K7XX are different beasts altogether, with a more upper-mid focussed presentation that brings out vocals, but trades a thumping sound for spaciousness instead. 
     
    Selected tracks
     
    Mirrorball by Elbow
     
    The bass of the kick drum is very present yet spacious, if not impactful. Guy Garvey's vocals are just forward enough and come across slightly dark and a little muffled, though the bass interferes with them, as does the rest of the instruments when the music becomes complicated. The slight sibilance on the vocals comes through in a way that is a little annoying. 
     
    Don't Explain by Billy Holiday -- dZihan & Kamien remix from Fakes
     
    This tracks has a low bass line and the 99's brought the rumble across well and managed to get a good amount of detail and separate out of the different parts of this track, the bass keeping up well, albeit with a smaller soundstage than I'm used to, more "in your head" than around.
     
    Moths by Fiona Bevan (Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound binaural from the Accidental Powercut series)
     
    It was possible to get a good idea of how wonderful Fiona's voice is from the 99's, along with a good feeling of the recording space, though the slightly lowered treble takes away slightly from this. The binaural stereo image comes through well with a good amount of separation between each of the instruments, Fiona and the audience. The dynamics of the guitar playing are also readily apparent.
     
    Traitor - Menahan Street Band (Bonobo - Late Night Tales (Unmixed)
     
    The 99's well-formed bass and fairly balanced tuning come through again in this track, with everything from the bass notes to string plucks coming through well on this moderately busy track. This is where I feel the 99's are most spot-on.
     
    Too Rich for My Blood by Patricia Barber (Café Blue)
     
    One of my reference tracks. While not as airy or quite as detailed as does justice for Patricia's singing or the instruments, the 99's give a good sense of the music and feeling of her singing. A bit too much emphasis ends up on the lower notes of the cello. 
     


     
    Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4436.jpg
     
    Overall the "consumer" tuning makes the 99s good all-rounders, best in my opinion with modern acoustic "fusion", such as the above Menahan Street Band track where the overall feeling and kick of the bass are important, and less so the micro-fine details. It can be a bit grating on more distorted recordings (Elbow) and is a little bit dark for preference for acoustic. All the same, the overall delivery was very good for a pair of $300 headphones. 

     
    I think that a person newer to the hobby, buying their first pair of "audiophile" headphones will, unless they have very particular musical tastes (or very large ears) very much enjoy these headphones, compounded by their fantastically easy fit. Someone like me used to more expensive headphones may notice their flaws to some degree, but if you're looking for a comfortable, but not too expensive pair of over-ears to use for relaxing listening, or an attractive audio gift for someone, these might be the go.
     
    2017 update: Here are pictures of them with the new, bigger pads. This makes the sound a bit more open-sounding.
     
    Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02376.jpg   Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02363.jpg   Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02375.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Currawong
      Updated with pictures of the new pads.
      Currawong, Jan 15, 2017
    3. Condocondor
      Where did you get the pads?  What is the model number?
      Condocondor, Jan 25, 2017
    4. Currawong
      They sent me the pads, as they are now, as far as I know, the default option. Meze have a contact on Head-Fi that you can ask. 
      Currawong, Jan 25, 2017
  7. jon parker
    A really enjoyable ride for music lovers!
    Written by jon parker
    Published Feb 13, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Solid quality build, Good instrument separation / sound stage, Well balanced sound, Exciting 'live feel'
    Cons - Cup fit may be uncomfortable for some, Microphonic cable
    Introduction
     
    As other reviewers have already posted pics, company info etc I mainly want to talk about how they sound.
    I am a Sound Engineer and Producer by trade, an Audiophile for pleasure and sometimes a Music Lover as well :) 
    I listen to all genres but prefer 'Hi Res' 24/96 / Vinyl rips / SACD. My main DAP is the iBasso DX80
     
    In Brief...
     
    High's
     
    The highs have been wonderfully tuned, no sibilance yet never lacking in clarity or detail. I confess to
    being a bit of a 'high head' and not so much a 'bass head' Im also not a huge fan of 'warm sounding' headphones
    but I find the silky smooth crisp highs to be SO nice on these headphones.
    Listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday is simply divine
     
    Mid's
     
    Seem well tuned and sit nicely in their own area without being adversely effected by lows and highs
    Look to other reviews for a more detailed analysis in this area! (to be honest, mid's are not my strong point)
     
    Lows
     
    This is where it gets interesting for me. the bass is certainly a part of what this headphone is about. You
    wont ever find it lacking! I am no bass head so for me this is perhaps the only thing I would personally like
    to see toned down a bit. Another reviewer touched on this adding that 'although it is always there, its not really a
    problem'...but can be noticeable. However, when the bass works, it works Really well.
    Classical music is an absolute delight with cello bass for example, sounding warm and natural.
    Its important to add though that even when the bass is a tad prominent [for me] the mids and highs still shine and
    maintain their presence... a lovely quality of this headphone
    The Meze 99's are a good example of a headphone that rewards you with well mixed and mastered audio 
     
    Soundstage
     
    I think most reviews have reported the Meze 99's as having a wide sound stage, especially for a closed back headphone 
    I would agree with this but at times I have noticed that the sound stage has two other qualities that I really enjoy:
     
    1, They have a lovely 3D sound stage. Sometimes with classical you can hear and clearly visualise where the various
    instruments where in the auditorium during the recording session. There can therefore be a wonderful sense of space with
    each instrument having its own space to shine in - useful if you are a Bach lover!
    If the singer or band where recording in an area that had a lot of space these headphones do a delightful job of reproducing this
     
    2, One thing I noticed today was how the sound stage is not only great in the left and right but also does a great job filling in
    the middle as well, something I didn't realise other headphones don't always do so well until listening to the Meze 99's!
     
    Due to these points I find these to be something of an 'Audiophile' headphone in that they are great for detail.
     
    Over all sound
     
    Meze claim to have produced a neutral tuned and warm [fun?] sounding headphone. I find this a bit of a contradiction!
    not in a bad way although I do find elements of both [neutral & fun]
     
    When I read that these headphones had been tuned neutral I was excited because as an Audiophile I seek neutral headphones
    so that I can enjoy music that is well mixed and mastered on a DAP that has the quality, presicion and power to replicate as
    close as possible, the sound of the original studio recording
    When I read they had a 'warm wood earcup sound' and (did I read 'fun' somewhere?) I was also looking forward to this because sometimes
    I just like to listen to and enjoy music ( as oppose to 'critical detail' Audiophile listening!!)
    To be fair, it must be difficult to find a balance between tuning a 'neutral' headphone whilst keeping them interesting to listen to as well
    I feel Meze has done a very good job here with this although they don't sound to me like how the graph appears :) 
     
    So I find myself very happy and yet a tiny bit dissapointed with these headphones.
    A tad dissapointed because... I don't think they could be considered 'Audiophile' headphones BUT if that bass was a tad more balanced . . .  
    they would start getting into that area.
    To be fair though Meze have not sold them as such and I say this, if anything, as a compliment.
    I find myself very happy with these headphones though because they are such fun to listen too...for pleasure!
     
    >>> In essence, they have an energy, a life to them which reminds me of that 'live music feeling' you get at concerts.
    As soon as I put them on for the first time they just seemed to sing, straight out of the box. They seemed so happy and excited to play
    some music for me :)  They are a very endearing headphone and I already find they have a place in my heart
     
    The bad
     
    The cups - I have to agree with other reviewers - I have small ears and the fit is snug so for people with big ears...?
     
    The cable - If i scratch to cable above the cinch it sounds like my fingers are scratching inside the cups themselves! I tend to listen to headphones
    lying down so this is not as issue for me, but the microphonics are not great
     
    The bass - sometimes can be a little intrusive to my tastes but not to the degree that is becomes a problem
     
    Conclusion
     
    In conclusion the only downsides are the cable and the small cups (which may effect some)
    I feel they are priced about right.
    I think Meze have done a great job, producing a lovingly well made, high quality headphone with an interesting & wonderfully energetic, engaging sound
    that when given well mixed and mastered audio will give great delight and a wonderful dynamic experience to the listener 
    To give a score out of 100 I would probably only take off 10-15 points
     
    thank you Meze! I will be keeping a very close eye out for future headphones
  8. Mark Up
    Great Future Potential
    Written by Mark Up
    Published Feb 13, 2016
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Quality Build, General Honest Sound, No Hype
    Cons - Fit / Size Issues, Mids, Lacking Low Sub Bass
    Meze 99 Classic
    This is my first review. I was part of the review tour. I want to thank Meze for doing this. 

    Background
    I'm a lifelong musician, live and studio sound engineer, always with heavy duty earplugs. Often the only one in my band wearing them, but then, I've retained my unusually sensitive hearing because of it. I've tried too many headphones and in ears to list. I'll refer to what I've tried where it's relevant in the review, to keep it simple. I've got some I'm happy with now, but I'm never tired of trying new things, so that brought me to these.

    What I Look For
    I prefer warmer headphones, full lower mids, flat mids, reduced high mids. More than a moderate mid bass bump bothers me, and sub bass rarely extends low enough in most quality cans I'll try. I'll say "quality" since there are plenty that are explosive down there, but often at the expense of everything else. Some have said you can't have all frequencies well represented, but enough come close to this, so I know this can be done.

    Common Issues
    Fit has had me reject 80% of what I've tried. I much prefer over-ear. It's hard enough to get over-ear to go over everyone's ears (Senn. Momentum 1 for example, Momentum 2 isn't much better). My ears fairly flat and proportional to being 6'5". My head is also, with Triple X hat size (few of those fit either). Most companies could fit larger heads, with an inch more band extension, but only some seem to take that into consideration.

    Design and Comfort
    These arrived well package and designed. Nice solid case and aesthetics. Very light yet sturdy. The wood is a nice touch but as long as headphones don't look ridiculous, I'm more into the sound aspect (and the fit, naturally). The band auto-fits easily, though like many with this design on me, they tend to contract a bit when worn and have to be pulled back down sometimes. The design seems to allow some flex to fit you better.

    Still there was no way I would attempt radically bending these. Fully extended they just reached my ears but they exert pressure on the top part of the cup likely due to the width of my head, so I can not keep them on long. The pads are soft, not quite deep enough, and could be a bit longer top to bottom to fit my above average ears. This could reduce the bass a little more, but that could be addressed, in voicing the driver itself.

    Sound Quality and Ideas
    As commonly happens, I find them brighter than what I read in reviews, but not at all harsh. They do clarity very well, without sibilance or hype. This early in the game, they tamed one of the most difficult areas. There seems to be a mid-fi quality to them. A notch above Creative Aurvana Live! 2, but below the Sony MDR-Z7 / Sennheiser HD650. It's hard to quantify, but often (not always) cans can sound more or less "expensive".

    The high mids are just right, blending with the highs perfectly. Another big win. The true mids (roughly 500 hz to 2 khz) are flat, which to my ears is a bit more than I'd like. Particularly in the 1 khz area. Some have put dips there (Audio Quest Nighthawk V1 (should a V2 be in the works) that are too much, and some are worse there (some AKG). This isn't very bothersome, it's just slightly north of what I'd like, in these headphones.

    The lower mids seem a bit recessed. I'd call them just south of flat. Not as lacking as you think for two reasons. One, many like it just north of flat to warm it up. Two, the mids I talk about, and a slightly north of flat mid bass make these seem to be less than they really are. So these are actually close to just right. 1 db more, carefully done to avoid resonant "hollow" "ringy" sound some (as the ATH-M50 for example) can suffer from. 

    The mid bass is perfect. Just the right amount of boost. Not an overbearing "boop" in the kick drums that bother me in the higher end Fostex, not scooped like the Sennheiser HD380. The fun starts to end under 40 hz where it rolls off. This is common. Just slightly below where a Sennheiser HD650 rolls off. Extending slightly farther than the HD650, but leaving me wishing for more extension, with less roll off, to complete things.

    How They Make This Better
    They look like high grade home use in pictures. Out of the box - they're smaller and lighter than you expect, with mid grade sound. The above sonic ideas would help. What bugs me about attempts at portable is this. If they don't fold, and foldability depends on thin cups, make the cups thicker. Companies should try on the cans, and when normal ears barely fit / touch the driver, make thicker & longer pads. This may impact bass.

    Thus they should implement sonic changes to allow that. You can have longer, deeper pads with more sub bass (the Sony MDR-Z7 for example). The larger area around the ears should improve the spatial depth as that is another area lacking, as it does on most cans that barely get around your ears (ie. Momentum 2, Beats Studio, etc.). They could even look at angled drivers, some have that to add more natural spaciousness.

    Given this is my first review, I hope I was still able to convey my ideas. These headphones don't hype things, and have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results. I could mostly trust mixing on these if I had to (though I prefer to mix with studio monitors and a properly set up sub in a properly set up room). I can't say that about many headphones. Keep up the good work Meze and keep us posted.
      Currawong and MezeTeam like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      A very nice review, that has lots of information, especially on ear size and the ear hitting the driver.
      reddog, Feb 13, 2016
    3. jon parker
      Thanks for your review. you have added a few more details on top of other reviews which is most helpful
      agree 100% on this point you raised "have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results"
      Thanks :)
      jon parker, Feb 13, 2016
    4. Mark Up
      Thanks folks. jinxy245 - One star off for sound, very good, but not quite there. One star off for fit. These I consider accurate in general. Just not ideal for what I like, which I've described in my sonic suggestions.

      PS: jinxy245 - You have accidently posted your comment twice. You can delete one of them if you'd like.
      Mark Up, Feb 14, 2016
  9. nmatheis
    Meze 99 Classics: Great all-around woodie!
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Feb 11, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very nice, smooth sound. Fancy-schmany design. Pretty comfy.
    Cons - Small cups. Shallow pads. Microphonic cable.

    November 2016 Update

    ​I wanted to come back to these and let you all know that I bought my very own pair of Walnut and Silver 99 Classics at RMAF. I also had Maze send me the new, deeper pads. I'm so impressed with how Maze has responded to the community here on headfi. I'd suggested a less bling-bling design with silver instead of gold in my review, and they quickly responded. I also suggested deeper pads, and they responded to that, too. With that, the only complaint I have is with microphonics and would suggest that Maze look into putting a plasticized sheath above the y-splitter to cut down on the rubbing microphonics I get with the fabric cover. Other than that, Meze's got it nailed with these!
     
    And I want to give a big shout out to Antonio and Mircea from Maze. I met them, and we chatted a bit at RMAF. Seriously cool cats!
     

     

    INTRODUCTION

    Okay guys, this strange introduction. When I saw the Meze 99 Classics pop up in the sponsors forum, I didn't give it that much thought. Blinged-put woodies didn't look like my thing. Then one of my Head-Fi buddies PM'ed me and asked if I was going to review them. I've reviewed a fair amount of IEM and portable source gear but am a bit of a noob with headphones, but I thought I'd at least poke around and find out what these were. Searching the forums for Meze brought up some controversial posts regarding Meze's previous headphones. Go ahead, do a search sometime and see what you find. With that information in mind, I was intrigued and figured these deserved a listen. Would they stir up more controversy? Would they be the headphone that puts Meze firmly on the map? I wanted to find out of myself, so I threw in for the review tour. For those of you too impatient to wait for the end, I'll let you know right now that while not perfect the 99 Classics are a great-sounding headphone that suits my tastes very nicely but comes with a few caveats that I'll deal with in the review.
     
    ABOUT US
    OUR STORY
    As a team directly involved in arts and sports, we, here at Meze Headphones understand that music is not just a pastime but a way of life. Whenever we're creating or performing we're accompanied by our favorite tracks. We designed our headphones to transpose you in our world. The real wood design was specifically created to offer a warm sound, a sound that you can enjoy no matter the situation. Experience your music in a new way. Let us take you on the journey we followed, to the perfect natural sound.
     
    OUR MISSION
    Our mission is fairly simple: to raise the bars in terms of audio quality and design for headphones in general. We want you to feel the music you like, we want to give you the chance to enjoy that special song, just as the original artist intended it to sound. Besides offering a crisp and clear sound, our headphones will leave people wondering what is that special song that you're listening to. Allow yourself to experience music like never before, comfortably and with style.
     
    OUR CUSTOMERS
    Our first concern is to satisfy you, our fans and customers. Our customer support team is always looking to deliver the best solutions and answers to all of your questions. So, do not hesitate to ask us anything. We will get back to you as soon as possible. And do not forget: we're looking forward to your feedback.
     
    PHILOSOPHY
    MOTIVATION
    Our passion for music and art is the drive behind Meze Headphones. We created our range of headphones and earphones with this aspect in mind. We created them as if for ourselves.
    VALUES
    Meze Headphones has stood by its values since the beginning of the company. We did not follow trends and let them influence the audio quality and design of our headphones. They are timeless objects that will not go out of style the next season. We achieved this through patience and dedication.
     
    PEOPLE
    The team behind Meze Headphones is a team of passionate specialists, with backgrounds in sound engineering, product design, crafting, and music.
     
    TECHNOLOGY 
    Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.
     
    We chose to use only air dried walnut lumber for the spectacular colors that it can display. As a result, we have to wait up to eighteen months for the lumber to dry so that we can shape the wood into the emblematic Meze Headphones look. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient because we know that the end result is worth the wait.
     
    The process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners but we take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.
     
    The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.
     
    We are using walnut wood for its sturdiness and for its acustic qualities. Although harder to find and to work with, we chose walnut for the brighter, more balanced sound that it offers to our headphones. Simply put, it is a blend of technology, art, and nature.
     
    It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. This way, we are helping the environment and we're giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.
     
     
    LINKS OF INTEREST
    Meze 99 Classics Page: LINK
    Meze 99 Classics Tour Thread: LINK
    Meze 99 Classics Thread: LINK
     
     

    DISCLAIMER

    There is no financial incentive from Meze for writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze, and this is my honest opinion of the 99 Classics. I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for Meze.
     
     

    ABOUT ME

    I'm a 43 year old father who loves music. While I listen mostly to electronic and metal these days, I do listen to a wide variety of music - from electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush).  
     
    I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso.
     
    Being a portable audio enthusiast, I typically listen with IEMs but am enjoying listening with full-size headphones more and more and tend to like u-shaped sound signatures, although I break out v-shaped IEM & HP from time to time for fun.
     
    As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues. I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which can affect hearing in my right ear. I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears. That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear - just wanted to be transparent up front.



     
     

    SPECIFICATIONS



    1. Transducer Type: Dynamic Neodymium / Mylar
    2. Transducer Size: 40mm
    3. Frequency Response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    4. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    5. Impedance: 32Ohm
    6. Rated Input Power: 30mW
    7. Maximum Input Power: 50mW
    8. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    9. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    10. Ear-cups: walnut or maple
    11. Weight: 290g
    12. MSRP: $309
    13. Warranty: 2 years

     
     

    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES



    As usual, I'll go over the packaging and accessories in pictorial format with a wrap at the end. 
     
    UNBOXING
    Meze99Classics-15.jpg
     
    WHAT YOU GET
    1. 99 Classics
    2. 1.2m OFC cable with microphone and Play/Pause button
    3. 3m OFC cable
    4. Airplane adapter
    5. 1/4 inch adapter
    6. Cable pouch
    7. Headphone travel case
    8. Manual
     
     

    BUILD & ERGONOMICS

    Again, I'll attack this section in pictorial format, commenting on what I like and what I think could be improved as I go.
     
    CHOICES...
    Meze99Classics-17.jpg
     
    When I first saw a picture of the 99 Classics on the tour accouncement, I honestly thought they looked a bit too bling-bling. My recommendation was to replace all the gold trim with silver to tone things down a bit. Well, you know what? Meze listened, and they've now added a black/silver/walnut model to the lineup in addition to the original black/gold/walnut and white/silver/maple models.
     
     
     
    MEET the Meze 99 Classics
    Meze99Classics-16.jpg
     
     
    CABLE
    Meze99Classics-18.jpg
     
    When handling the 99 Classics, it was immediately apparent that a lot of thought went into their design. Simple and elegant are words that came to mind. A bit bling-bling, yes, but that can be overcome by choosing the black/silver/walnut model. 
     
    What did I like? I like the very comfortable self-adjusting suspension headband, comfortable ear pads, just right clamping force, pivoting cups, and the fact that the 99 Classics are primarily a metal + wood design held together with screws instead of glue. 
     
    What did I think could be improved? I'm not a fan of the cups, which aren't wide enough and end up feeling a bit cramped and kind of like a hybrid on/over ear design. My biggest recommendation to Meze is to strongly consider using a wider cup to give our ears a bit more breathing room. My second biggest recommendation is to make the pads a bit thicker, so my ears don't touch the drivers. My third recommendation is to lose the fabric sheath above the y-splitter cable to reduce microphonics. My final recommendation is to have the cable exit at a slight angle to the front. The straight-down exit combined with the fabric sheath caused a lot of scratchy microphonics whenever the cable brushed against my shoulders. Change these while keeping the same sound, and I'm all in Meze!
     
    Just a note that these don't fold flat. Didn't bother me, as I'd probably use these in the office but it might bother some of you so just be aware.
     
     
     
    SOUND
    Those of you who know me know that I've been listening to a lot of classic rock, electronic and metal lately. I might throw in some hard bop jazz or modern minimalist composition every now and then, too. Just wanted to make sure you know what kind of music I listen to for context. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't keep to a strict playlist (although I do have some songs I do always end up listening to). Instead, I choose songs I know well and feel like listening to. I feel it's more organic that way. I try to get at least 16/44 FLAC but don't shy away from using AAC or MP3 if that's what I've got on-hand. Anyways, on with the show, eh...
     
    I listened to the 99 Classics out of various sources from my iPhone 5S, various DAPs, and the Apogee Groove. I also did some casual comparisons with my AKG K553 Pro and Philips Fidelio L1.
     
    Here's the FR curve Meze threw up on their website, along with the following quote: "
    Artificially tweaked frequencies: Meze's solution - Tuning a balanced natural sound"
    Meze99ClassicsFR.jpg
     
    So did Meze succeed in creating a balanced, natural sound? Well, I think from the introduction you can tell I thought the answer is a yes. For context, I was just coming off the HiFiMan Edition X headphones (LINK to review) when I received the Meze 99 Classics. In fact, @grizzlybeast and I swapped the 99 Classics and HEX at our usual drop off spot, which quite amused @MezeTeam who thought it sounded very Noir-ish! Anyways, back to our story. Erm, I mean review... HEX were the best headphones I've heard to date, so I was figuring I'd be underwhelmed with the 99 Classics. But when first plugging them into my iPhone 5S for a quick listen, I read liked what I heard. Nice tastefully enhanced bass that felt a bit loose. Neutral mids. Smooth as silk treble. Good (but not great) soundstage. Ahh... Very easy to listen to. Moving on to my DAPs tightened things up a bit. The punchy bass extends deep with just a slight mid-bass hump. Mids again remain neutral and sound very natural. Treble remains clear and detailed but without accentuating sibilance. Soundstage gets a bit bigger but is still constrained by the closed nature of the 99 Classics.
     
    As mentioned above, I primarily listened to the 99 Classics with classic rock, electronic, and metal. I found it well-suited for those genres. Older, leaner classic rock recordings were filled out quite nicely. Bass kept up with my electronic collection pretty well, although the soundstage was a bit limiting. As far as metal, I don't listen to tech-death so can't comment on how technically capable these are for the more demanding sub-genres. However, the 99 Classics do pass my black metal test of allowing me to listen to black metal classics without feeling like my eardrums are being impaled. Score!!!
     
    Compared to my AKG K553 Pro, the 99 Classics sound much more natural with more action in the lower end and less action up top. The way the 99 Classics handles things is much more to my taste and is just another nail in the coffin for my K553 Pro, which are in the For Sale forums right now should you be a neutral head who wishes to take them off my hands.
     
    Compared to my Philips Fidelio L1, the 99 Classics sound much livelier with higher quality bass and increased upper mid and treble presence. I've been feeling that the L1 are too dark and veiled for my tastes for a while, and again this was the nail in the coffin. If you'd like a pair of L1, please visit the For Sale forums and take them off my hands.
     
     

    SUMMARY

    So, does all this mean I'm ready to sell off my lesser-used cans and buy the 99 Classics? Nope, and I'll tell you why. Despite really, really enjoying the sound, comfort, and build quality, I'm not a fan of the narrow cups. I need just a bit more room, and I've got smallish ears for a 5' 9" guy. If the ear cups were bigger and the pads a bit deeper, I can see this easily being my pair of "office cans". As mentioned above, I'd also love to see the fabric removed above the y-splitter, but this is something I could overcome with an aftermarket cable so it's not a biggie. But those cups just didn't get along well with my ears. Does that mean they won't get along with your ears? Nope. They might be perfect for you, so if you're looking for a new pair of smooth, natural sounding woodies, please give the 99 Classics a look!
     
    To wrap, I'd like to give a big thanks to @MezeTeam for choosing me to participate in this tour. After this, I'm really looking forward to the next headphones from Meze!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      I a great review, full of information, made for a fun read. I also like the photos.
      reddog, Feb 11, 2016
    3. Bansaku
      Nice review! :)
      Bansaku, Feb 11, 2016
    4. Laura Jia
      Hello
      I am Laura. sorry to interrupt you. Could you review our BT earphones? 
      here is my email: laura@ivafee.com
      I don't know how to get touch with you.
      I look forward to your reply.
      Best Regards,
      Laura
      Laura Jia, Feb 16, 2016
  10. newdoughboy
    Meze 99 Classics mini-Review, a well defined product
    Written by newdoughboy
    Published Feb 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful, Great Build Quality, Fun Sound, Easy to drive
    Cons - Sound signature lean toward energetic fun, with the bass a bit bloated
    Meze 99 Classics mini-Review
     
    Introduction:
    Let me start by stating that this is my third review of an audio product. I am an audio enthusiast, being that I spend tons of money on decent audio gear. I can tell what sounds good to me, and that generally falls in line with the general consensus amongst fellow audio enthusiasts. So take from this what you can, especially with my lack of audio vocab.  I have had 5 days to evaluate these headphones, so this is a mini-review at most.
     
    Equipment wise, I own/have owned HT Omega Claro Halo, K702, HD650, K550, Beats Studio, SE535 Reshelled (CIEM), Xiaomi Piston 2, TTPOD T1-E, Xuelin ihifi960, Blox BE03, Brainwavz S5, Bravo Audio Ocean, PreSonus HP4, Racoon SG-300, Audio Technica AT-LP120 Modded, Anthem Integrated 225, Burson Soloist, Supreme Sound Lycan. So I get a good sense of what I can get in terms of sound quality for the extra cost. My favourite combination is Foobar with ASIO playback to HT Omega to my K702. The source is very important, and most of my music is in FLAC.
     
    Methodology:
    The source of this review will be my Xuelin DAP (ihifi960), HT Omega Claro Halo, and LG G3. No separate amps will be added to the mix.
     
    Meze 99 Classics is a low impedance closed headphone, and it will mainly be compared to my K702, and Beats by Dre Studio.
     
    Build Quality and Ergonomics:
    The "99s" looks drop dead gorgeous. It exhibits exceptionally beautiful craftsmanship from the first moment I laid my eyes on them. The soft PU leather feels great, though I wished that they were a tad thicker to allow the pads to seal even better. The stitching on the pads has some imperfections, but only the moderate OCD person will be bothered by it. The wood and metallic parts are all manufactured beautifully. The 99s are very light and comfy on the head, and can be worn for extended periods without fatigue.  The internal spring mechanism hides beautifully within the leather band, however; it occasionally will catch my hair. The cord is good looking and plenty adequate for a headphone asking $300+.
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    Soundstage is very good for closed headphones. I feel that it is approximately 75% that of the K702s which has a huge soundstage. In my experience, it is only bested in this area by the K550s.
     
    The highs are quite detailed. It doesn't extend very high, though that is not all bad. The highs feel smooth and soft.
     
    The mids are very forward, a little too much so in my taste. It does make some genres more fun eg. R&B, Pop, EDM.
     
    The bass is very powerful; in some regards too much. It over-emphasizes the bass similar to the way Beats by Dre Studio does it. It is very good at massaging the ear drum, and makes you feel like you are at a club. The bass will bleed into the other frequencies, and lack a bit of control. It just contributes to its unique sound signature. Again, being that I prefer the more analytical approach of the K702s, the 99s not necessarily suit my taste, especially when I already own the Beats Studio already.
     
    Conclusion:
    These headphones are beautiful. If you want to convey to others that you are a person of sophistication and class, these are the headphones to get. That's without even talking about the sound quality. Let's not dismiss what is in my opinion a great asset for the 99s, low impedance. These headphones are light with low impedance; that makes for an awesome on-the-go pair of cans. If these were around when the Beats by Dre Studios hit the market, I would have purchased these in a heartbeat. They give me the same pleasure as the Studio in terms of enjoying Billboard's top 100 etc, with the bonus of not requiring additional amplification (Studios require 2 AAA).
    When comparing to K702s, they are too different. Though they costs approximately the same, the K702s are soft and controlled, compared to the in-your-face nature of the 99s. It's not that if you like the K702s, then you won't like the 99s. They are actually quite complimentary; I would want the K702s at home for relaxed or critical listening. I would want the 99s for commuting, where the closed back design eliminates most of the busy world while sounding good from my DAP or phone.
     
    Personal Note: Due to the relative easy nature of the assembly/disassembly of the 99s, I am very curious to see how the community will develop around these; whether home hobbyists will alter the wooden cups or the pads for a more custom approach.
     
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      Wilashort and jinxy245 like this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice review!
      Bansaku, Feb 3, 2016
    2. reddog
      A good review with good information and pictures.
      reddog, Feb 3, 2016