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

Pros: Warm, thick bass presence
Lush and romantic mids
Relaxed and smooth treble
Cons: Slightly hot in the upper mids/lower treble
Cable is hard to determine which is left/right and easily tangles.
The Meze 99 Classic is a beautiful walnut wood headphone that can be purchased with either gold or silver accents, the ones we will be reviewing today are the walnut silver. Meze was kind and gracious to lend the 99 Classic to me for review, greatly appreciated. I am not being paid or influenced in any way to review the product; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Presentation, Build, Comfort:

The Meze 99 Classic comes in a small,durable box that has all sorts of pictures and specs on it. The magnetic flap on the right side flips open to reveal a small black carry case that has a silver/black Meze logo on the front. The case is rounded and curved to the perfect dimensions of the 99 Classic so they fit tight and snug. There is an included cable bag along with a 10’ cable and a 4’ cable with inline mic and a ¼” adapter and airplane adapter. I find that the cables are a little on the tangle and janky side, not terrible but I just seem to be constantly removing twists and tangles. The shorter inline mic cable is the worst culprit of them all. Also the silver on silver letters make it very hard to determine which is right and left. The headphones themselves are beautifully crafted with the walnut cups and the all metal headband. Everything just feels premium for the price. The lightweight build is very comfortable and the leather head strap disperses the weight evenly across the top of the head. The pads, even though on the smaller side, have just enough room for my ears. I did find that the pads were a little shallow and can be uncomfortable after 30-45 minutes of listening. I did change the pads to the Brainwavz micro-suede pads, more on that later. Overall, the presentation of the Meze 99 Classic is top notch, nothing to major complain about. Build of the Meze 99 Classic is also top notch but the cables are the disappointment. Comfort is fantastic but it is enhanced even more by swapping pads to the Brainwavz micro-suede. I found that swapping to the Brainwavz micro-suede pads did change sonics slightly.

Sound:

Meze Audio 99 Classic was an interesting headphone for me. I had heard them randomly in brief listening sessions at some audio meets and they always sounded dark and warm but nothing that was drawing me to purchase them. But, like all other headphones, I wanted to hear them on my own gear and with my own tunes, before making any final conclusions. So here is my attempt at reviewing the Meze 99 Classic walnut silver. I found that swapping to the Brainwavz micro-suede pads did change sonics slightly and more to my liking. The stock pads were a little more closed in and they had more treble energy which made them at times sound artificial. With the Brainwavz pads the treble was more tame but still had energy and the soundstage sounded more open.

Bass:

The Meze Audio 99 Classic has a warmer, thicker bass presence. The sub-bass is lightly implemented and most of the impact and thump comes from mid and upper bass. The bass has a nice punchiness and keeps the toes tapping. There is a decent amount of details within the bass, though it can get a little muddled on busier tracks. Also the warmth bleeds slightly into the mids. Tone and timbre of the bass is pleasing. Overall, the bass of the 99 Classic is fun, engaging and detailed.

Mids:

Mids of the Meze Audio 99 Classic are warm and lush. The upper mids do have a little bit of energy and can be slightly, aggressively hot in presentation on some recordings. Vocals are presented in a pleasant way and have a balanced approach. Vocals sound full and present with good clarity and tonality. Instruments have nice separation and detail portrayal. Instruments that reside in the upper mids region do sound somewhat forward and can at times be on the hot side. The “hotness”can be cooled with a pad swap; I found that the Brainwavz micro-suede pads made the upper mids smoother and less hot BUT did add a bit more warmth to the overall sound without losing any of the detail retrieval. Overall, the mids of the 99 Classic are full of warmth and lushness with good detail retrieval and clarity mixed with tone and timbre that will please the ears.

Treble:

Treble of the Meze Audio 99 Classic is relaxed and smooth for the most part. There is a slight hot presence in the lower treble region that is associated with the upper mids. There is a lot of detail retrieval in the treble and it is portrayed in a smooth way. The treble comes across with good air and presence without being too thick or too thin. I actually really enjoy the treble on the 99 Classic for it’s laid back, relaxed tone that doesn’t stress the ears all the while delivering a detailed sound. Overall, the treble of the 99 Classic is a stress free relaxation zone of details, tone and timbre.

Soundstage and Imaging:

The Meze Audio 99 Classic soundstage is medium sized. The width is larger than normal for a closed back and has a nice amount of depth. There is enough room that the vocalist and instruments are spaced around the stage with good separation and isolation. The depth is deep enough to determine seating and placement without too much effort. It is only on very busy tracks that the soundstage and imaging will sound confused and cramped. Imaging and placement is well done and it makes for a relaxed sound that is easy to dissect what is going onstage. Overall, the 99 Classic soundstage is an above average performer for a closed back headphone with good width, depth and a fun image presentation.

Sources:

Sources used during the review of the Meze Audio 99 Classic is listed below but I want to point out a few notes I made along the journey.
Samsung Note 10 Plus with the xDuoo Link:
Plenty of power to push the 99 Classic, rarely went over 60%, sound was lush and warm with plenty of details and clarity. My favorite portable closed headphone setup.

iFi Audio Pro iDSD:
Less warmth but more clarity and details and a bit more upper mids/lower treble excitement. My second favorite desktop with the Meze Audio 99 Classic.

Monoprice Monolith THX AAA 788:
A tad warmer then the Pro iDSD but not as much as the xDuoo Link. Smoother upper mids and lower treble. My favorite desktop with the Meze Audio 99 Classic.

Geshelli Labs Enog 2 Pro with the Geshelli Labs Archel and Archel 2:
Nice bass impact but mids sound thinner and too much upper mids/lower treble shimmer, gets hot easy. Least favorite desktop setup with the Meze Audio 99 Classic.

Grace Design SDAC-Balanced with Massdrop THX 789:
Very clean and clear sound with good bass impact, mids are more full and upper mids/lower trebles are better controlled then the Geshelli Labs.

Grace Design SDAC-Balanced with APPJ PA1502A:
Tube warmth, plenty of detail retrieval, controlled upper mids/lower treble. A fun, exciting, toe tapping time.

Comparison:

VibroLabs Curly Maple:

The only other wood headphone I own and one of my favorite closed back headphones along with the MrSpeakers Ether C. The Curly Maple is a lot harder to drive as it is based off a Fostex T50rp mkIII. The VibroLabs have better control in the upper mids/lower treble and also have a slightly more detailed tone and timbre. The Meze has a little more warmth and a little less air. Overall, these two are very similar with the technicalities going the way of the VibroLabs and the musicality going to the Meze. I am very content with either one of these on my head for a relaxation session.

Conclusion:

So in conclusion, the Meze Audio 99 Classic Walnut Silver has been a blast to review and I am really disappointed to have to return them. The 99 Classic have been on my radar for a long time and I wish that I had picked them up sooner. They are a fun, relaxed can that plays well with any genre of music that you want to relax with. I took these with me on a trip to a cabin in the woods and they felt right at home with the warm, relaxed tones blending in with the cabin setting, I was so comfortable sitting on the couch forgetting about all the hustle and bustle of my normal work week and just focusing on my favorite tunes. If you are searching for a headphone for those times of relaxation and forgetting about work then you should consider the Meze Audio 99 Classics.


YouTube:


Gear:

iFi Audio Pro iDSD
Monoprice Monolith THX AAA 788
Massdrop THX 789
APPJ PA1502A
Geshelli Labs Enog 2 Pro, Archel and Archel 2
Bellari HA540 mk2
Cavalli Liquid Carbon X
Cavalli Tube Hybrid
SMSL SU-8
Grace Design SDAC-Balanced
Pioneer XDP-30r
Sony Walkman NW-A105
Shanling M2x
Shanling Q1
xDuoo Link

Sources:

Tidal
Deezer
Foobar (local dsd and flac)

Songs:

https://tidal.com/browse/track/128215119 Sinne Eeg “We’ve Just Begun” - multiple layer soundstage

https://tidal.com/browse/track/77568002 Molly Johnson “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” - female vocal tone

https://tidal.com/browse/track/120190149 Leslie Odom Jr. “Under Pressure” - male vocal tone

https://tidal.com/browse/track/230625 Eric Clapton “Change the World” - soundstage layering and placement

https://tidal.com/browse/track/18016422 Yo Yo Ma “Ecstasy of Gold” - acoustic instrument timbre

https://tidal.com/browse/track/103401770 Adam Baldych “Spem in Alium” - acoustic instrument timbre

https://tidal.com/browse/track/31759874 Tingvall Trio “Beat” - piano tonality


https://tidal.com/browse/track/52532480 Pain of Salvation “Stress” - percussion balance

https://tidal.com/browse/track/98069001 Michael Buble “When I Fall in Love” - orchestral dynamics

https://tidal.com/browse/track/41094997 Patricia Barber “Code Cool” - sibilance check
Christian Scott “New New Orleans” - shouty upper mids

https://tidal.com/browse/track/116415078 Tool “Chocolate Chip Trip” - imaging

https://tidal.com/browse/track/1855831 Hans Zimmer “Why So Serious” - sub bass extension

https://tidal.com/browse/track/89386285 Marcus Miller “No Limit” - bass control

https://tidal.com/browse/track/77646106 Dave Holland Quartet “Conference Of The Birds”- bass check

https://tidal.com/browse/track/132139860 Ilhan Eshkeri “47 Ronin”- orchestra and bass dynamics

https://tidal.com/browse/track/79530261 Hans Zimmer “2049” - sub bass extension

https://tidal.com/browse/track/36764745 Queen “Somebody to Love” - dynamics, sharpness and transients

https://tidal.com/browse/track/114330493 Tool “Ticks & Leeches” - dynamics, sharpness and transients

https://tidal.com/browse/track/63345703 Galactic “Doomed” - sub bass extension

https://tidal.com/browse/track/3468730 Bela Fleck & The Flecktones “Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo” - sub bass extension

https://tidal.com/browse/track/118552925 Motley Crue “Dr. Feelgood” harshness and shouty

https://tidal.com/browse/track/55391456 Pink Floyd “Young Lust” - mid bass and soundstage

https://tidal.com/browse/track/72947822 Shawn Mendes “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” - forwardness

https://tidal.com/browse/track/85963727 Alexander Desplat “Ïsle Of Dogs: Toshiro” - dynamics

https://tidal.com/browse/track/107749134 Marina “No More Suckers”- sibilance

https://tidal.com/browse/track/75202408 Tauren Wells “Known” - male vocals and micro dynamics

https://tidal.com/browse/track/86330323 Kacey Musgraves “Wonder Woman” - female vocals

https://tidal.com/browse/track/84340438 Dennis Lloyd “Nevermind (Wankelmut Remix)” - soundstage

Playlists:
https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/3e4a5ae5-cde5-40fa-bbaa-4e432fe79e3e

https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/0ba4d6a8-9d95-4f16-b79e-ef084a091d73

https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/c5bc66bd-a907-4a0e-a976-9f02e75c126f

https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/0e3aa4a1-ba36-44fe-aabb-d8976dc8a908

https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/9e6568e7-8bdd-4ddd-964c-f5453d8761e8

https://www.deezer.com/playlist/744...utm_term=3243482124_1585500966&utm_medium=web

https://www.deezer.com/playlist/744...utm_term=3243482124_1585501023&utm_medium=web

https://www.deezer.com/playlist/744...utm_term=3243482124_1585502653&utm_medium=web

Attachments

Niyologist
Niyologist
The cable was made like that because it has something to do with the headphone itself determine the channels. Not the cable.
dbsylvia
dbsylvia
Interesting. Either way it is a minor gripe. I can live with it.
Pros: Fun and smooth, good value and nice looking. Provide two versions of pads.
Cons: None at this price.
Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir are smooth and fun headphones with elevation in bass. For closed headphones, the staging is wide. Before delivery, I have been aware that there are some discussion and comparison about the original pads and the new pads in Meze's later production (which are supposedly to be bigger and more comfortable).

At the end, the guys in Massdrop and Meze did a great decision for the MD version, which is providing both the new pads as well as the "Revised" original pads in the package. Having heard the previous discussion about how the pads affect the sound quality, I have decided to stick to the revised pads. Inside the earpads it is a bit congested but acceptable. I use a 8 core OFC 7N balanced cable with DP-X1A. Compared with the stock cable, I feel the vocal is a tad more forward. The bass is more impactful.

Some Impressions (All songs were listened thru the Revised Original (RO) pads. Some songs were also auditioned thru the new pads (and the impressions are denoted as "(NP)" below):

  • It is a bliss to listen to the titled track of Ondekoza's Fujiyama (鬼太鼓座 富嶽百景)- the drumming is just oh so powerful.
  • (RO) Listening to "Uh Uh" Thundercat's Drunk, I could hear the details in the bass solo quite clearly. (NP) The bass is less boomy here and less detailed.
  • (RO) For Norah Jones' "Burn" in Day Breaks, the separation is good that I could hear Wayne Shorter's pure sax clearly even when Norah sings (also the good separation between piano + double bass + sax in the outro). (NP) Wayne Shorter's sax is less prominent here. His sax is less detailed when Norah sings at the same time.
  • (RO) On the titled track + "Cure" of Moonchild's Voyager. the vocal of Amber Narvan is as intimate as ever against the good dynamic syn-bass. (NP) The bass is far less present and less dynamic and Amber's vocal has less sparkle.
  • (RO) On Queen's "Dragon Attack" in The Game, the bass solo is more present (but Brian May's guitar solo in the middle is somewhat recessed). John's bassline is more detailed even when Freddie sings. You can feel how groovy John is here. (NP)The bass solo is less forward and less detailed.
  • "Manha De Carnaval" in The Paul Desmond Quartet's Live, the double bass provides good dynamic to support Paul's more forward alto solo. The bass-solo in the middle is quite present and detailed.
  • I have some problem with "Capicornus" in Austin Peralta's Endless Planets, the double bass is so overwhelming. But I guess it is about the problem of the recording.
  • Marina and the Diamonds' "I'm a Ruin" in Froot is a song with strong bass and sweet vocal. The separation is good that the punchy bass does not veil Marina’s vocal.

  • On James Gang's "The Bomber" in Rides Again, the guitar and bass solo both manifest themselves in a nice balance way. Having said that, the bass is detailed and with slow decay.
  • Black Sabbath's songs like "Sabbra Cadabra" of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, or "Neon Knight" in Heaven and Hell, these phones help reproduce the signature wall of sound (Tony's guitar and Geezer's bassline).
  • On Judas Priest's "Painkiller" of The Essential, I am somehow surprised (in a nice way) by how detailed yet impactful the drum-kicking in the background.
  • On The Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Sounds of the Loop" in Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A., each note of the double bass, again, is detailed in the background. The imaging of the instruments is quite clear - Desmond's Alto and Dave's piano is the front and Joe's drum set is a bit farther and Gene's double bass is in the back. Joe Morello's lengthy drum solo is quite present here.
  • (RO) It is so fun to listen to Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" from the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction, especially the bassline. wow. You can hear Tommy Cogbill is walking his funky bassline here! (NP) Dusty's vocal is less forward here and the bigger disappointment is that the bass is more laid back
  • (RO) On 陳潔麗 Lily Chan's live rendition "非走不可/男朋友/祝君安好" from her Purely For You 2013 Concert, the vocal is sweet. (NP) The vocal has less sparkle here and bass is quieter.
  • The titled track of Michael Franks' Tiger in the Rain (WARNING: 2015 Remastered Version) is badly remastered and the the bass is unnecessarily elevated. The song has almost reached the point of unlistenable thru the Noir.
  • On Agnes Obel's "Familiar" from Citizen of Glass, the double bass here is very clear and dynamic.
  • BADBADNOTGOOD's "Kaleidoscope" from the III Album, the epic bass solo is impactful but it seems the decay is a tad too slow.
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Pros: Fun natural sound, very good build quality and one of the best if not the best for the price.
Cons: Not flagship killers
First off this headphone will arouse you to enjoy the music in anyway possible and not critical listening is what i have found with these headphones.

Despite the hype and excitement i just want to get to the point.

They are not titan killers when i say that things like flagship headphones like hd800 etc, but i am rather confident that can stand against headphones costing twice the price of these.

Secondly they are a fun listen in a natural way that does not sound artificial and good sound or great sound varying on the recording etc, but not the best but however for the price range they are one of the best and i am confident about that as also being a nice all rounder type sound but the sound is exceptional very exceptional when i mean when they sound great.

As for the price and being one of the best, for some people who is after sound quality highs mids and lows presented in a beautiful way then i would recommend them this headphone then at this price range and would be the very best for them as these would be hard to beat at this price range and also forgive me but i am not aware of any headphone sounding like these that i personally know of, but the 1 more triple driver headphones (European model) sound something like these for sure as i have them in my audio inventory and maybe the denon mh 400.

Since i am a audio newbie i have these paired with the pro-ject head box s2 digital which is recommended on the meze audio website and i would definitely recommend this amp/dac for audio newbies like myself.

So what do they sound like, Silky smooth for a start...as well as being lively and engaging sound never sounding emotionless for me anyways and the bass oh do i love sub bass, it is sub bass with a skirt which suits all bass types as best as possible whilst it is presented like that and yeah i am confident to say these do have ample bass to satisfy you also they have a spacious sound also more importantly they sound sweet also they have a surround sound type to the sound of these headphones anyhow they have a velvet sound to them which is perfect for jazz music when i say velvet sound, the music track you listen to either brings out the velvet sound or it doesn't and all in all these have lovely energy to them.

The reason why i gave these 4 stars was because my expectations for this headphone well put it this way, not a flagship killer for a start and people have to get real about this headphone when comparing this to flagship headphones when i mean that well this is hard to explain because these are very good value and i do think they do come close to a flagship but not bested or the same regarding their strengths and weakness and also i say that these really is worthy of being listened too for sure but i have the desire to hear more and more and more of the sound these baby's give you, so yea i reckon these really are worthy to be tested by anyone if that is possible because they do sing and for me this is impressive.

All in all since i own way to many headphones like 15-20, these hold a bright spot among them because of my music taste.

The build quality i might add is very good.

Well that is all i have to say.

If you have any opinions or criticism let me know because i know i have contradict my self when writing this review anyways i have never listen to a flagship headphone like the hd800 so i can't judge really but i have 15-20 headphones costing around about the same as these like hd 650 and the like and these really blow all of them out of the water with the great sound which is impressive and sensational for me anyways.

Headphones like dt 880, dt 990, dt 48, hd 650, k701, q 701, t50rp, ultrasone pro 900 and the list goes on and on and on and for me well nope.

Basically most of the the mid fi headphones promoted on this website and still nope.

These are a yes for me, and for people who is after music pleasure these have to be among the best for musical performance.

My 2 cents,

p.s. You will melt in the music.

If you was to introduce someone to the world of audio for me i would certainly tell them to go with this headphone for an epic start to the journey along with the head box s2 digital amp dac and the 99 series 2.5 balanced upgrade cable on meze audio website.

This headphone well i am addicted to it so yea with the right recording it will give you a big wow factor when i mean a big wow factor some recordings barely scratch the surface others are better like 3d sound and then the full potential which will i think make your jaw drop with the big wow factor, it sounds out of this world and out of my headphone collection they do not sound like these regarding out of this world sound which is what i find really impressing.

So yeah i for one am hooked on this headphone, i can spend hours and hours listening to music with these to no end.

Dan.
Greendriver
Greendriver
It's about the enjoyment of music, and these are fun phones...you have your priorities right,anyway. Enjoy, no criticism here...

Comments

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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