Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34615/5,
  1. grizzlybeast
    Great Headphone from Meze that may even be a Classic
    Written by grizzlybeast
    Published Jan 28, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent attack, cohesive, easy listening, nice midrange, decent soundstage
    Cons - looks may be a bit flashy w/ the gold version for some. Not fully over ear

    MEZE 99 CLASSICS mini-REVIEW

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    Intro

    I signed up for the tour that Meze solicited for after being approached by them to give their headphones a listen. I have no ties or any personal bias so as always below is my honest opinion of these headphones. I just want to give a run down of the usual categories. I will start by saying that this is a very good headphone by Meze. 
     

    Design/ Comfort ​

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    The Meze 99 Classics have a sturdy and practical build that looks like a headphone for home usage but functions like a portable. The suspension strap provides effortless adjustment even for larger heads like my own. The headphone cups don't fold or bend but there is a pivot point under the gold plated joint caps that give enough way for an easy fit on various head shapes. It did take a little finagling to get a good fit but once I have a good seal I rarely find the need to reposition the headphones. While I wish every single headphone company in the world would avoid the half over ear, half on ear design I find these decently comfortable. The padding is somewhat soft yet my ears touch the inside of the cloth covering the driver and my ears are a little crammed inside.
     
    The isolation is pretty good and sound leakage is minimal. This would make an excellent work tool. Especially considering its sturdy, modular build. 
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    The cables are detachable and are dual entry. The cups are of a non glossy wood and everything else is metal. I find no plastic parts anywhere in the headphone. The 99's are of a premium build with good attention to aesthetics.
     
    From the Meze Website:
     

    "FEATURES

    We aimed for perfection in every component it designed. CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam, soft PU leather are the materials your hands and eyes will get to enjoy. No plastic here for you to see.

    Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering we guarantee that the 99's are endlessly serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced because we did not build this headphones for them to break after 2 years so you can go buy new ones. No glue, just nuts and bolts."

    Specs / Accessories

    PRICE 309.00_USD

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    FROM SITE

    "SPECS

    Transducer size: 40mm

    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    1. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    2. Impedance: 32Ohm
    3. Rated input power: 30mW
    4. Maximum input power: 50mW
    5. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    6. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    7. Ear-cups: walnut wood"
     
    Accessories
    Portable cable w/mute button
    Extra long cable
    Airplane adapter
    1/4 inch adapter
    Cable pouch
    Headphone travel case
    Manual

     ​

    Sound

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    Gear used
    2015 iMac 27 inch 5k
    Geek Pulse Infinity
    Tidal
    Sound Cloud
    Personal library of electronic, Hip hop, Soul, and many others of various formats

    Frequency response summary

    The Meze is a very musical headphone with a slightly elevated bass response, even natural midrange, and smooth unoffensive high end. Think HD650 with a better reach down low, less extension in the treble, less upper mids, and possibly slightly rougher in the treble but about the same quantity. This is a very agreeable headphone and overall I would say it is tuned very nicely for my tastes. 
     
    Bass
    The classics have a slightly fast decay on the bass but the attack, while punchy, is a bit murky at times yet still adequately solid. It's ability to sustain a deep rumble is fair but it's punchiness is very good. The bass slam is fairly weighted but not like a planar. The sub bass reaches pretty low to my ears. Even though the sub bass sounds elevated and the mid bass hump isn't really overdone, the kick drums are where this headphone displays it's tactility. 
     
    Midrange 
    The midrange of the Meze is very cohesive, full in the middle mids, not overly thick in the lower midrange, and a bit tapered in the upper mids. Sometimes I want a more airy sound with sharper presence region but unlike the MH40 I had a while back I rarely feel like its too overcast / murky sounding. There is enough clarity in the midrange to keep me satisfied and vocals sound great to me. There are only a couple of closed back headphones I have heard in it's price range to best it in overall transparency but the midrange on the 99's is a believable one. 
     
    Treble
    I find the headphone to be a little tinted with the ability to reveal sibilants and treble detail. The treble doesn't sound really airy but sparkle is present with high hats and cymbals being aloud to have their freedom without making you squint. You will be able to tell the poor recordings fairly easily vs the bad ones with this one. 

     

    Technicalities 

    This headphone has one of my most sought after qualities in music...punch. This headphones transient response works like a well lubricated set of pistons as the music drives the transducers into a very engaging performance. Everything pops, snaps, flickers, clicks, and sings on these set of cans. The instrument separation is great as well as the imaging for such a little headphone, while not the best in its price, it is still exceptional. 
     
    The soundstage is pretty decent as well. It sounds as if the music is decently spread out on the sides with a little bit of depth too. This is not just the flat and wide soundstage but a wholistic picture of soundscape. If the headphone had better treble extension it would really showcase what it has here. While I don't feel like I am listening to an open back headphone, I also don't hear too much clutter. This is a very nimble headphone with sounds being easily drawn out of the recording to dance in their own spaces. 
     
     

    CONCLUSION/VALUE

     
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    At 309.00 the Meze proves that good things do come in small packages and at a good value. I also have become aware that Meze will have different color schemes for those not so keen on a flashy look and want a more low profile piece of gear. This headphone earns an easy recommendation for those seeking good sound that offers some mobility and hours of fatigue free listening. In fact, this headphone will be on my shortlist when the time comes again for me to need a portable headphone... which may be soon. 
     
    Two thumbs up!
      Hawaiibadboy, MezeTeam and PsyMusic like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. grizzlybeast
      Kinda jonesing for these.
      grizzlybeast, Feb 2, 2016
    3. pablodiablo
      @GBansaku
       
      You're kind of reinforcing my point.  The better loudspeaker manufacturers don't use solid wood cabinets, like you seem to believe.  Solid wood, especially hardwoods, tend to be extremely resonant, making them great for building instruments, like drums, but horrible for making speaker cabinets.  Manufacturers like Wilson Audio use acoustically inert materials like MDF for the cabinets in order to eliminated resonance within the cabinet.  My Paradigm Studio Reference 100s have a beautiful rosewood finish, but it's just a veneer applied to the MDF the cabinets are made of.  I'd hardly call my Paradigms 'cheapo.'  Certainly not the $200,000 Wilsons I listened to last week.  The loudspeaker designers I've personally spoken with include Clayton Shaw of Spatial Audio, Robert Lee of Acoustic Zen and Sean Casey of Zu audio.  They would all disagree with pretty much everything you just said.
       
      Bottom line:  exotic woods impress neophytes and charlatans, but are a sign of inferior design for those of us who actually grasp the nuances of hi-fi audio.
      pablodiablo, Feb 9, 2016
    4. MezeTeam
      MezeTeam, Mar 1, 2016
  2. Dadracer
    Meze 99 Classic, a surprisingly good closed back headphone.
    Written by Dadracer
    Published Jan 27, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound balance, Good sound stage despite closed back, Very comfortable, High quality build
    Cons - Slighty microphonic cable
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    I have these headphones on loan from ifi Audio/Meze headphones due in part to my iClub membership and I thank both companies for this opportunity.
    But rather than spend time on specifications let me get straight on with practicalities and sound quality if I may as the specs are well covered in other posts and reviews already.
    The Meze headphones are nicely packaged and look and feel more premium product than I was expecting at their listed price. The wooden ear cups are especially good looking. They are very comfortable although they are over ear are not as large as the HD700s. They do not feel hot or heavy over a protracted period of listening and don’t have any pressure points. The headband especially is nice and wide so making it an easy and comfortable fit wherever you position them on your head.
    I used them with my laptop/ifi micro iDSD/iUSB power/iP2 system using Tidal Hi Fi as source and compared them to my existing headphone of choice for that system which is the Sennheiser HD700.
    Albums included……..
    Aretha, Chain of fools
    James Bay, Chaos & the calm
    Dusty, In Memphis
    Eagles, Hotel California
    Keb Mo', Keb Mo'
    Leon Bridges, Coming Home
    Lou, Transformer
    Rickie Lee Jones, RLJ
    Gregory Porter, Liquid Spirit
    Bob Marley, Legend
    T.Rex, Electric Warrior
    First I have to say I found it very difficult to concentrate on individual tracks and found myself drifting off and just enjoying the music. Perhaps that is enough of a review right there?
    Secondly and more perplexing I found it really difficult to choose which headphone I preferred overall. They both had individual strengths but I found time and time again I thought I had a winner only to change my mind when I swapped back.
    In terms of bass then the Meze is warmer and has a more obvious bass component but is not any more extended than the HD700 and is not a loose or thick bass. It sounds like you had activated the X bass on the micro iDSD and then left it out in the HD700. 
    The midranges of the 2 headphones are very close to ideal with the HD700 a bit more neutral and the Meze slightly more forward but left me unable to say which I would prefer overall.
    In the treble the HD700 feels more extended while the Meze is certainly not rolled off but just a little less crystal clear. I am sure that many people would find the Meze almost perfect in this respect but for me it was like the bass situation but reversed if you get my meaning.
    So on balance and if I had to choose only one based on sound across the board I would take the Meze by a hairs breadth.
    What the HD700 now does to turn the table back is to present a bigger, wider and more focussed sound stage. The Meze is very good and for a closed back phone very good compared to others I have heard. The HD700 is closer to my preferred imaging again by a small amount.
    So, and this is where my dilemma rests. I cannot say which overall I would pick and this despite I have paid my own money for the HD700s.
    If I was travelling a lot and needed more noise isolation then the Meze would be great. Likewise if I am at home and the family are not using all the Wi-Fi bandwidth then I might stick with the HD700s.
    It’s too close to call and much closer than I expected, and how and where did Meze get the expertise to develop these headphones compared to one of the biggest audiophile headphone companies globally?
    Let me conclude by saying the Meze 99 Classics are surprisingly good headphones of any type for the money and I could happily use them on a daily basis.
    Dear ifi Audio & Meze thanks for the loan, and are you sure that you want them back???????    
      Wilashort and MezeTeam like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. barondla
      Meze website says $309. Thought that might be more.
      barondla, Jan 27, 2016
    3. Dadracer
      Thanks and I didn't put the price on as I am not certain what the UK (my home) price will be in £GBP but the Euro price is on their website at €309. 
      Dadracer, Jan 27, 2016
    4. Murf926
      I've had my Meze 99 Classics for about 3 weeks now.  I ordered them because every review I read rated them very highly and described a sound profile that was just about exactly what I was looking for.  I have to say that I was blown away by how wonderful they sound!  They were everything I had hoped for and then some!  After listening to them I would have gladly paid an extra $100 or more if that were the price.  Great value!
      Murf926, Jan 28, 2016
  3. fleasbaby
    "...if you think ahm seeeeexy..."
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published Jan 16, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Pretty, pretty, pretty...
    Cons - Smaller ear cups, can get hot
    I would like to thank Meze for kindly allowing me to listen to a review sample of their 99 Classics model. I will freely admit to being a little bit of a review whore lately. I have become curious to hear what is going on outside of my normal headphone stomping grounds. I am a Grado modder and an earbuds enthusiast. I turn my own wooden cups on a lathe in my workshop, and am always trying new drivers, new shapes, new headbands, etc, etc. I am also a very devoted follower of the new earbuds being put out by Venture Electronics. The Zen V1 and V2 are like nothing I have heard in such a tiny package.
     
    I listen to a wide variety of music, but focus mainly on Jazz and the Blues. I believe firmly that there is “good” music and “bad” music in this world, the differentiator being the intent and sincerity of the artist in their delivery. This means any genre or era can tickle my fancy, but not just any artist or band in those genres. The truth is always conveyed in their work…
     
    I was not provided with any monetary compensation for listening to the 99 Classics, and spent 7 days with them before mailing them on to the next tour participant. During that time I took them to my office, and as is my habit spent my working hours listening as I worked….I usually use a Pono player or a Rockboxed Sansa Clip +. I also plug directly into my Macbook Air and listen to Bandcamp a lot.
     
    The Meze 99 Classics arrived in a very pretty box, that contained a very pretty carrying case, and in said case, the headphones themselves….which were very pretty. They are almost self-conscious in their beauty, with handsome wooden cups made from Walnut, black leather for their headband and pads, and a nice, matte black springsteel headband. They also have gold metal trim around the cable entry-points on the cups and on the suspension points for the headband pad.
     
    They come with two cables. A long one, with no microphone/buttons, and a short one, with the aforementioned doohickys. These are in a nice little soft pouchy-type thingy with an airplane seat adaptor. The pouchy-type thingy sits comfortably in the carrying case. I found the cables a little microphonic and noisy. The headband made a bit of a racket when I touched it with the cans on my head as well for some reason. Interestingly enough, the cups (which are flawlessly finished) aren’t labeled for left and right, but the cables are. I assume this means the cups can function as left and right, no problem, it’s just the connection on the cable that determines which side sits on which side of your head. This makes sense I guess….never thought of it, but if the cups are exactly alike (as they seem to be) then it doesn’t matter.
     
    The cups were a little smaller than I expected for some reason. From the pictures I thought they would be bigger and encompass my ears more easily. This was not the case, and I did start to hurt after a little while, and get hot ears using them. I am a taller person, with a bigger head and ears. Their connection to the headband was questionable. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on it for fear of breaking something. I am sure Meze stress-tested these though, and there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
     
    How did they sound? Very, very relaxed. Almost Sennheiser-esque. This isn’t my usual sound preference. I look for just south of neutral with good extension on both ends. I am not going to lie though, you could listen to these things for days without any fatigue if they fit you well. They also sounded best out of my Macbook Air.  Overall I enjoyed my experience with them…but I couldn’t help but feel my colleagues at the office thought they were just a little too ostentatious. I got several comments to the tune of “fancy-schmancy headphones buddy…”. This was my primary dislike about them (and if you’re a manufacturer this is the least of your worries I think).
     
    They were almost over-designed. They look like something you would buy if you deliberately wanted people to think you spent a lot of money on them. Some people want this, others don’t. I fall into the latter school, not the former. This is personal preference though, and admittedly a silly one at that.
     
    Meze has done a sterling job of releasing a headphone that, if they fit you comfortably, will provide endless hours of sexy-looking, fatigue-free listening via your sexy-looking iDevice at the coffee shop while you sip espressos and shop for fancy leather brogues, mustache wax and expensive cologne online before joining your friends that evening at your local gastropub to drink microbrews and fancy whisky while discussing the Coachella lineup for this year and what you will wear while you’re there.
      Mark Up likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      A great, informative review.
      reddog, Jan 16, 2016
    3. nmatheis
      Damn, Bruce. I love your reviews. Short, to the point, and injected with great, great humor. Head-Fi needs to keep feeding you gear!
      nmatheis, Feb 10, 2016
    4. fleasbaby
      LOL...thanks :).
      fleasbaby, Feb 11, 2016
  4. BloodyPenguin
    The Meze 99 Classics is Simply, Fantastic
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Nov 9, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Amazingly Fun Sound Signature, Wonderful Build, Big Soundstage, Very Comfortable, Dual Detachable Cables
    Cons - Braided Cable is Prone to Being Microphonic, Ear pads Can Get a Tad Warm Over Time
    --
    I’m rarely surprised by headphones.  If anything, most of the time I am slightly let down, I think a headphone is going to sound great, but it then disappoints.
     
    With the Meze 99 Classics, it was the complete opposite; I thought they were just going to be another pretty face, a headphone focusing more on looks than sound, but I was SO wrong, so VERY wrong.  The Meze 99 is now one of my favorite headphones.  I‘m blown away by so many aspects of the 99, let me share those with you. 
     
     
    **All Photo Were Taken By Me, No Stock Images Were Used From the Manufacture**
     
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    *Specs*
     
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 32Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 6.3mm gold plated
    Ear-cups: walnut wood
     
    https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones
     
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    *Accessories*

    As this is one of the first models out there, there are a few things missing from the full production run, like the 6.3mm to 3.5mm and airplane adapter.  But no worries about those as I have a million of them around the house. 

    The hard case itself is just awesome, as it is solid and understatedly handsome.  Inside the case you will find the 99 Classics sitting snug and safe along with another small, softer case for the cables.  It is a fully function and well laid out design. 
     
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    *Build*
     
    Over the top, beautiful; that is how I describe the Meze 99 Classics.  It is truly an elegant and tough built headphone.  This is a headphone that exquisite blends wood and metal.  You can tell Meze used very high end materials for this build, that include:  “CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather”.
     
    What caught my attention are the two braided cables.  One shorter with a microphone and one much longer without a mic (forgive me; I do not have exact lengths of each cable at this time).  Both cables are quite beautiful and have a very premium feel.  My only issue with the cables is that both seem to display a decent amount of Microphonics because of the cover material.  Being a detachable cable, maybe there will be an optional version that could be DIY or purchased through Meze at a later date. 

    Now, while I am more of a Function over form kind of guy, I feel like as long as it sounds good, it can also look this good.  I just hate when companies care about looks and catch phrases over actual sound substance.  With the Meze, there is no need to worry in any of those departments though.
     
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    *Fit*

    These are clearly an over ear headphone.  Comfort and distance around the ears is very good.  The only issue some might have is the pads getting a little warm with extended use, though I do love how soft the PU leather is, it is like a pillow around the ear. 

    The headband is very similar to the AKG K 240, with the headphone automatically adjusting to your head with some cleverly placed elastic materials.  I wish more headphones were like this as it allows for a perfect and quick fit.
     
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    *Sound*
     
    Bass – Does play a prominent role in the Meze 99 Classics sound signature.  There is a lot of warmth and fullness down low.  While I would say for the most part the bass stays controlled, it can wander a tad out of hand here and there.  Sub-bass kick is wonderful, a lot of force with its bite.

    Mids – I have a soft spot for the 99’s mids.  They are just north of neutral, while also being dynamic and detailed.  I think this is why I like these headphones so much, the middle is a great place to be.  A lot of speed, action and clarity resonate from here; this is where the magic happens.
     
    Highs – While the Meze 99 Classics don’t extend too high, I never feel a loss of detail.  A slightly early roll off leads to a smoothness and sophistication not often heard with many other headphones I have heard recently. 
     
    ­Isolation – Due to the easy fit and soft leather pads, the Meze 99 Classics can form quite a nice seal.  That seal in return leads to a really nice isolating headphone.  I just had my friend try these out a few minute ago while I was writing this, he was really impress how well these headphones block off noise.  He thought they were even noise canceling, until I quickly corrected him.
     
    Soundstage – Here I found the biggest surprise the 99 Classics had to offer, a huge, well-tuned soundstage.  It is so wide, yet instrument separation stays so crisp and organized.  I honestly can figure out how Meze got this broad feeling from a closed, well isolating headphone, it is remarkable.
     
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    *Overall Thoughts*

    As I you will have concluded from my review, I really like the Meze 99 Classics.  I think they are extremely fun and energetic, making them an obvious guilty pleasure for me.  They are analytical in their approach, yet still stay away from the label of monitoring.  They look incredible and have the personality to back it up.
     
    While these are almost perfect, I do have a few suggestions to expand the overall enjoyment of the 99 Classics.  As I already mentioned my thoughts on the braided cable, I think there is one more replacement part I would like to see available and that is set of velour pads.  I think those would help reduce a bit of the bass and also help a tad with longevity of wearing the Headphones.  If I find a pair of velour pads that work for the 99 Classics, I will update my review.
     
    I’ve reviewed over 30+ headphones this year alone and the Meze is a bright spot among them.  A surprise I honestly did not see coming. The 99 Classics is truly a great overall headphone for those looking for a warm, entertaining and detailed musical experience.
     
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    --
      Bert, Wilashort, Currawong and 11 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. apaar123
      is the soundstage good enough for gaming?
      apaar123, Oct 17, 2016
    3. MrOTL
      Nice pics!!! Gorgeous!
      MrOTL, Nov 1, 2016
    4. superuser1
      Great review.. so much so that im going to pick one up myself very soon. thank you
      superuser1, Jan 3, 2017
  5. dan.gheorghe
    Good all a rounder but excellent with classical / instrumental
    Written by dan.gheorghe
    Published Nov 3, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent soundstage, details, transient response, very comfortable, beautiful design & finish
    Cons - Little distorsion on lower bass
    The design and finish of these headphones are absolutely gorgeous and they're also very comfortable. 
     
    Meze 99 Classics was an unexpected surprise. I didn't expect such performance from them especially in the areas that closed headphones don't usually excel. 
     
    I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete here with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. 
     
    Let's make a summary with what impressed me the most:
     
    Soundstage
     
    I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete in this area with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. This and some other things make them perfect for instrumental/classical music, but these headphones can be used with almost any musical genre.
     
    Imaging and Instrument Separation
     
    This is another section that impressed me very much. Every instrument is very well delimited showing very good imaging, instrument separation and layering. They handled crowded music passages with ease.
     
    Transients
     
    The transients are wonderful on Meze 99 Classics. The attack is explosive and the decay is fast but well extended. This leads to an energetic and tactile sound experience which I appreciate very much in the sound reproduction both in headphones and speakers!
     
    Details
     
    These headphones are quite analytical. I was surprised with the level of details they are capable of.  This was a major plus for listening to classical music. Combined with other strong points of the Meze 99, every instruments is vibrant and full of life.
     
    Besides a small bass bump, I found these headphones to be quite neutral. 
     
    The bass is fast, punchy and quite well extended showing very good sub bass as well. It might have a slight might bass hump somewhere but nothing to worry about. The sub bass might present some distortion that was noticeable on some songs but overall it wasn’t disturbing. Overall, I found the bass to be quite nice, engaging and to put meat (muscle because of the speed and punch)  on the bones of the songs.
     
    The treble is sparkly and airy. Not harsh, but won't mask recording faults.
     
    I think that Meze 99 Classics just became my favorite closed headphones at the moment. Actually let’s forget for a little while that they are closed and just say that they are wonderful headphones in general.
     
    Besides the eye candy looks, good quality and very nice finish, they also offer an incredible sound quality which made me loose myself inside my music often offering me goose bumps along the way.
      FortisFlyer75, ameze and MezeTeam like this.
    1. Joeybgood
      I agree with you review wholeheartedly Dan, I don't , however , find the earpads to be very comfortable. Despite the lightweight of this headphone my ears get sore fairly quickly. Do you have a replacement pad that you would recommend for these? tks
      Joeybgood, Jan 10, 2016