Meze Audio 99 Classics

General Information

The 99 Classics are taking headphone design to a new level by combining modern with hand crafted design, using natural materials and focusing on delivering the best premium sound.

It delivers perfect natural sound even to the pickiest of audio lovers. The real wood earcups, soft earpads, and the spring steel headband will make the 99 Classics an heirloom rather than just a pair of headphones.
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Latest reviews

BonGoBiLai

New Head-Fier
Smooth Operator
Pros: 1. Organic timbre, superb natural sound
2.Fun quality bass, not overblown or anything. Just very very fun
3.Cymbal hits sound amazing
4.Awesome vocals
5.Good imaging and soundstage for a closed back
6.Exceptionally good build and timeless aesthetics
7.Extremely easy drive. sounds varying degrees of good depending on the source used
8.No sibilance, no upper midrange shout. Smoothness reminiscent of the Sony IER series iems
Cons: 1.Not for trebleheads. Lacks air in the upper treble
2.Can be too warm and bassy for people used to flat/bright neutral sound
3.Stock cables are well made but kink easily, retain shape
4.Average technicalities if compared to open backs in the same price range
Disclaimer:
I am posting this review as a co reviewer at Amplify, a hobby project founded by Mr. Sajid Amit, a veteran audiophile from Bangladesh . Our reviews are made for fun and to share our passion for audio with the rest of the community. This Unit was sent by Meze in exchange of our honest opinion. No external influence as always.
Our YT: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9EqdhwdpmxZxzNxEC42FOg
Our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/amplify.audiophile.show/


Meze 99 Classics Impressions
Meze is a Romanian brand and offers a limited number of offerings compared to its peers. 99 classics is not a new model. It was released back in 2015 and the only thing Meze changed thus far are the pads. Is the 99 Classics/Noir (noir is the drop version. Costs 110 usd less and has a less fancy packaging) still relevant years after its release? Let's dive right in.
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Build, Comfort and Aesthetics
Simply put, a marvel when it comes to overall design, build and aesthetics. Looks like an art piece and there is no sign of hard cheap plastic anywhere (only plastic part being the elastic material used in the self adjusting headband system, that too being vv high quality). Ear Cups are made of CNC cut hand polished walnut and those are held together by steel arches over the self adjusting headbands. Everything is bolted/screwed on and nothing is glued together (take notes, Hifiman). They are also incredibly light at just 260 grams. Quite an achievement for cans made of wood and metal.
Comfort Wise, they are solid. The pads are a bit on the smaller side but I have larger than avg ears and never had any comfort issue even with my glasses on as the pads are super soft non sweat prone. Self adjusting headband system works perfectly and takes away the hassle of readjusting
All in all 10 out of 5 stars in B.C.A Dept.

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Accessories and Packaging:
Great. Meze provides a high quality carry case made of EVA material that houses the headphones perfectly. Two cables of different lengths and adapters are supplied in a different pouch that can be perfectly stored in the EVA case as well. The outer packaging is made of hard cardboard material and opens magnetically. Overall luxurious unboxing experience that matches the luxurious looks of the 99 Classics
5 stars
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Sound:
It will be wrong to pass any verdict without trying them out for at least 3 or 4 days. They sound good out of the box but if you are coming from highly technical bright sounding headphones these will sound a bit too dark and mellow at first. These are kinda the full sized version of final audio e4000 and distant cousins of Sennheiser HD650. Very slightly V shaped with superb natural timbre. 99 classic is the master of bass under 500 usd. It's not overblown or too forward. The bass decay & rumble is just perfect and that's the ultimate recipe of fun here. Midrange remains fairly neutral and natural (very slight coloration in the lower mids but not as much as the senn HD599, negligible) and the smoothness is the upper mids and presence region can be compared to Sony IER M7/M9. This can be a double edged sword. I actively look for this type of smoothness in iems and headphones while many find this sort of tuning boring and muffled. Thus if you are into energetic upper mids and leaner lower mids (will sound perceptively cleaner but tonality might suffer. Will be less organic/natural) then 99 classics are not for you. Treble is interesting. Just like the bass, Cymbal hits have the perfect decay in these cans. Vinyl ver. of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams (Search in YouTube, published by Rhino. Best version of this track IMO) are mad mad fun on these thanks to how the cymbals and bass sound. Treble extension and detail is good but loses some air in the top end resulting in a more mellow, less energetic treble. Big no for treble heads, big huge yes for those who crave chill fatigue free listening sessions.
The sound overall ticks all the boxes for me at this price point. This is probably my fourth most favorite headphone so far followed by Final D8000,Susvara and HD650.
5 star for me, 3 or 2 stars probably if you are in the different club
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Technicalities:
These are pleasant sounding headphones for chill sessions like I mentioned before. Won’t win any awards in the technical dept.
Surprisingly though, despite being closed backs, they don’t sound that closed. Fairly expansive and wide. Imaging is impressively good tho. Perfect for gaming and movies. Explosions and gunshots sound visceral with authority. Instrument separation was avg in the beginning but I suspect there is some sort of burn in going on as they are sounding incredibly good with every passing day (or can be mental burn in). Details are not as good as open back headphones in this range (HD 600/650, Sundara, Beyers) but good enough in my book.
Oh and forgot to mention, incredibly easy to drive and sounds good out of everything. You can probably run them off a calculator lol.
All in all, Great headphones and completely worth the MRP in my opinion despite my initial doubts.

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rohanjd
rohanjd
Great Review! Been enjoying these for over 18 months and funnily enough apart from using them as a "chill go-to" headphone...I've been using them for work for all my conference calls....
BonGoBiLai
BonGoBiLai
yes great as a communication device thanks to that mic cable and how good the vocals sound. I wish the mic had a bit more gain though, quieter than usual

CK Moustache

100+ Head-Fier
Link to my review and measurement index thread where one can also find a full review overview, more information about myself as well as my general-ish audio and review manifesto: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/956208/




I only give full stars. My ranking/scoring system does not necessarily follow the norm and is about as follows:

5 stars: The product is very good and received the "highly recommended" award from me.

4 stars: The product is very good and received the "recommended" award from me.

3 stars: The product is good/very good, but not outstanding/special enough to get any of my two awards. ["Thumbs Up"]

2 stars: The product is only about average or even somewhat below that and somewhat flawed/flawed in some areas. [neither "Thumbs Up" nor "Thumbs Down"]

1 star: The product is bad/severely flawed to outright bad. ["Thumbs Down"]





Meze 99 Classics


Source:

Personal unit. (I won them as part of a gear bundle in a competition.)


Miscellaneous


Come with a sturdy hard case (headphones fit in even when the cable is attached) that looks good and is very protective.
Two cables are included – a short one with microphone/remote unit, and a longer one. Both have got a 3.5 mm plug. Last but not least, a 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm adapter, airplane adapter and zipped bag (for the spare cable) are included as well.

There are no side indicators on the headphones (Meze dedicated that job to the cable).
Build quality and design are good, however ultimately the headphones don’t appear as premium. Still very good.
I really like the wood grain. Beautiful.

Self-adjusting height adjustment mechanism (somewhat comparable to that of my AKG K701). Likes to pull my hair out, though (at least as badly as my Koss Porta Pro, probably even worse).
Headband bracket made of metal; very unpleasantly microphonic and ringing when touched, which is a big factor of annoyance.

I don't like the cable. It's fabric-coated everywhere, even above the y-splitter. Quite microphonic as well. Will show signs of wear fairly quickly due to that fabric, as it will fray over time (mine already does a little in some places).
3.5 mm mono plugs on the cable’s headphone-facing side.

Fairly small and shallow ear pads. Still manage to seal well, though. Good noise isolation.




Sound:

Tonality:


Big, bassy, smooth, natural, dark.

Really strong bass elevation with only moderate roll-off towards the sub-bass. Lots of impact and punch.

Warm fundamental range transition into the upper fundamentals; therefore warm, lush lower mids without becoming overly muddy or muffled sounding.

Treble generally evenly in the background, even already in the lower treble. Therefore on the darker side but relaxed and smooth instead of lacking. Natural kind of relaxed. Not fatiguing.
Pleasantly lacking any noticeable dips or peaks.

Resolution:

Good midrange and treble resolution; nothing to criticise here.

Unfortunately the bass doesn't really blend in with the rest. Appears somewhat dull and also a bit loose, lacks some differentiation; doesn't have the details of the mids and highs. Also shows some already slightly audible distortion even at quiet listening levels.
While not very bad, I expect better bass quality for the price. What the 99 Classics deliver is the bass performance I'd expect from a set of 150$ headphones. That said, I'd rate my Sennheiser Amperiors’, Shure SEH440s’, Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros’ (250 Ohm) and the 1More Mk801s’ bass quality above that of the 99 Classics. Solely the Mee audio Air-Fi Matrix² (wired use) and Brainwavz HM2 are about comparable to the Meze in terms of bass quality, but both headphones cost much less.

Soundstage:

Average for closed-back headphone in terms of dimensions.

Not too much width but fairly good localisation and decent layering. Instrument separation could be a little better, just like the separation (it's not foggy but not spot-on sharp and exact either).

Still fairly decent imaging overall.


Conclusion:

Beautiful wood. Unfortunately highly microphonic headband arch (rings when touched). The headband really likes to pull hair out. Small ear pads.
Bassy. Smooth and natural, warm-dark midrange and treble tuning; even response that lacks peaks/dips. Decent midrange and treble resolution. Underwhelming bass quality and low-range details, though.

rev92

100+ Head-Fier
Meze 99 Classics
Pros: Great build quality
Lovely design
Lightweight
Comfortable
Accessories
Easy to drive
Very energetic, rich and powerful sound
Engaging
Cons: Not the best technicalities in it's price range
Might be too bassy for some
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Meze 99 Classics is an over-ear headphone that has been present on the market for some time now. Let’s check if it’s still worth getting in 2020 for 309$.


Packaging



If you saw our Meze Empyrean’s review then you would know that Meze is pretty serious about the unboxing experience of their products. The box of 99 Classics is great looking, it packs some exciting accessories and the overall experience is joyful.

Inside you’ll find your headphones, a very useful hard case, a 1.2m cable with mic and remote and a 3m cable. Also, there is a soft puch for your cables, a flight adapter and a 6.3mm adapter for your stationary gear.

It’s worth to mention the hard case one more time. It is nicely made of hard shell imitating leather. It is quite spacious, so you won’t have to worry about your headphones being squished, and you can easily fit both of your cables inside. Great touch.

Cables

As I’ve mentioned before, you’re getting two different cables in the box. First is a 1.2m one with mic and remote terminated in 3.5mm jack, to use with your smartphone (which you easily can, as these are very easy to drive). The second one is a 3m cable, also terminated in 3.5mm jack. The longer cable is pretty useful if you plan to use the 99 Classics in your home, as you won’t have to be glued to your desk.

Build quality

I believe that the 99 Classics are the best made pair of headphones in this price range. No sight of plastic, beautiful wooden cups, metal headband with an elastic band for improved comfort, detachable cables in both ear cups. There is really nothing to be afraid of in terms of durability. Also, Meze has a fantastic customer service, so even if you’d murder a part of your 99 Classics, these guys will easily deliver spare parts for you to fix your headphones yourself.

Comfort
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Thanks to the lightweight construction (260g without the cable) and a great headband construction Meze 99 Classics sits on your head very comfortably and it’s a pleasure to use, even for a long period of time.

The only problem I see for some people is that the ear pads are not the deepest, so if you have large ears it could result in some slight problems with fitting your entire ear inside, or you can end up touching the driver cover. Not happening to me, but I have rather small ears and I’ve heard that some users had this kind of problem. It wasn’t a deal breaker in any of this cases, but it’s surely worth mentioning.

Sound

I believe that the simplest way to describe the sound of 99 Classics is – bassy, fun and energetic. It’s nowhere close being neutral or analytical, focusing more on a huge dose of fun and being just easy to listen to.


The bass is quite dominant, but it’s not in your face like in Sony WH-1000XM3. It sound’s full and thick, but it lack’s a bit of this subsonic rumble, thanks to a slight recession in the sub-bass region. Anyway, it sounds energetic, has a very pleasing rhythm and sense of presence. Compared to Hifiman Sundara is lacks definition and texture, but it’s a completely different approach to the sound, rather than being worse.


The midrange is more neutral than the bass response, yet thank’s to the defined focus on the higher bass male vocals sound thick and full. The rest of the midrange’s spectrum is quite flat and neutral, presenting a very universal representation of the sound. Also, 99 Classics have this lovely timbre of vocals and live instruments, which is pretty easy to love. Again, compared to the Sundara it is less texturized and the overall resolution is better on the Hifiman, but 99 Classics are more pleasing sounding of the two.

Treble is pretty much delicate up until the higher notes, when the interesting things are starting to happen. Once again I’d call the sound quite neutral and even up until around 10k, where the focus is being held on. It isn’t prone to sibilate, yet is quite detailed and defined. Treble response isn’t neither dark nor bright, but I find it quite temperamental.

The soundstage is probably the least expressive and impressive part of the sound of 99 Classics. Compared to the Sundara it sounds a bit hollow, the imaging isn’t exactly on the level of the Hifiman’s and it is not as spacious. I know it’s unfair to compare an open back headphone to the closed back 99 Classics tho. Overally, the staging of 99 Classics is pretty good, but nothing extraordinary, even for a closed-back pair of headphones.

Summary

It’s pretty hard for me to objectively rate the Meze 99 Classics. While the overall sound quality isn’t on the same level as for example Hifiman Sundara, it is a very enjoyable pair of headphones and you just simply want to listen to them. I believe that’s the definition of a great product. At the end of the day, some customers are looking for the best quality in a specific price range, and others just want to have a fun experience with a very pleasingly tuned pair of headphones. If you lean more towards the latter, I’d highly recommend the Meze 99 Classics, as it’s just an emotional sounding headphone, but keep in mind that in terms of pure SQ the Sundara is an overally better product, and by some margin.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:

  • Headphones– Hifiman Sundara, Sony WM1000XM3, Meze 99 Neo, Meze Empyrean, Audeze LCD3, MrSpeakers AEON2, Sendy Aiva
  • Source – Smartphone, DX3 Pro, Hip-Dac, Fiio M11, Cayin N5ii, iFi iDAC2, Topping A50+P50

www.ear-fidelity.com
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Comments

prasri92

New Head-Fier
Hi Meze team,

I am looking for a good deal on a 99 classics walnut gold this Black Friday 2017 or/and trade ins on this website!! I am here because of the raving reviews from Tyll of Innerfidelity, who I have trusted in the past. However, he and many others have made it clear that some sound quality is compromised for comfort in the larger pads (new batch). Will you guys be doing sales of the 99 classics on the older pads. It would also be clear if you guys can clarify the iterations on the classics pads. Hoping to hear back from you folks and wishing you all a happy holiday season!!
 
Hi Meze team,

I am looking for a good deal on a 99 classics walnut gold this Black Friday 2017 or/and trade ins on this website!! I am here because of the raving reviews from Tyll of Innerfidelity, who I have trusted in the past. However, he and many others have made it clear that some sound quality is compromised for comfort in the larger pads (new batch). Will you guys be doing sales of the 99 classics on the older pads. It would also be clear if you guys can clarify the iterations on the classics pads. Hoping to hear back from you folks and wishing you all a happy holiday season!!
Hi Prasri92, thank you for your questions!

We do have some Black Friday sales going on, a bundle on the Meze 99 Classics: https://www.mezeaudio.com/products/meze-audio-black-friday And a discount for the Meze 99 Neo: https://www.mezeaudio.com/collections/all/products/99-neo

Unfortunately, we do not offer the older pads yet.
 
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