Meze Audio 99 Classics

ExpatinJapan

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Comfortable, well designed, balanced sound
Cons: none

Meze 99 Classic Headphone Review - Expatinjapan

 Head Pie 
2
Meze 99 Classic with Centrance hifi-skyn​
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 Meze 99 Classic review​
(Silver walnut version)​
-expatinjapan​
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The MEZE 99 Classics have been getting a lot of air time on the internet and various review sites and forums. Even the most hardened of reviewers have agreed that the Meze 99 Classic is a headphone for the ages, one to add to the revolving roster of headphones that they would use and listen to on a regular basis.
 
 
Unboxing and build​
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The Meze come in an appropriate sized box and comes with a solid traveling case.
 
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The Meze 99 Classic comes with a short cable with a built in microphone and also a long cable. 
One for on the move with your choice of portable dap (four foot long) and a longer cable (Ten foot long) for relaxing at home.
Also included is an 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter for your home system and an adapter for when traveling by airplane.
 
 
 
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The nice hard cover case protects the Meze 99 Classic whilst on the move.
Its hard to see in this photo but there is also a soft round case for the cables.
 
 
 
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The Meze 99 Classics fit me so well I did not even notice that the headband can be adjusted.
It does so by itself automatically. super design.
 
 
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Stats
 
Transducer size: 40mm
Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
Impedance: 32Ohm
Rated input power: 30mW
Maximum input power: 50mW
Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
Ear-cups: walnut wood
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Exquisite build and solid well thought out design makes the Meze 99 Classic a headphone for the ages.
Each cable is marked with R and L, you can plug into either jack which makes set up easy and stress free.
 
 
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Fully serviceable! The 99 Classic.​
 
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Nice reinforced Y cable split.​
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Fit
 
I find the fit to be very comfortable, they cover over my ears: circum-aural. This would not be the case for people with larger ears or ears that stick out I guess. But for me they slip right in there like a bug in a rug.
 
I think as usual with most headphones fit and comfortable is dependent on individual head and ear size.
 
Meze 99 Classic with Centrance Hifi-m8​
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Value
At around US$300 the Meze 99 Classic comes in at the sub mid fi price tier.
But don`t let the price of the Meze 99 Classic fool you, they could easily up the price and still be within an acceptable asking price.
 
Well designed, simply beautiful.
Decent well sourced materials
Solid and functional build.
Replaceable parts.
Excellent sound.
 
Whats not to like?
 
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Meze 99 Classic with the Opus#1 dap​
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Sound​
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First impressions were positive. The Meze 99 Classic comes across silky smooth and resolving with fabulous instrument placing and separation.​
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As usually I got a considerable number of hours on the 99 Classics before I started the review.​
I tried them with the Opus#1 dap, Shozy Alien Gold, Centrance Hifi skyn and the Hifi-M8.​
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Vocals: Neither too forward nor recessed the vocals on the Meze 99 Classic hit the sweet spot for me.​
Bass: A slight slow decay is present, but overall is fast enough to please with most music.​
Mids: As with most woodies the mids play an important part in the overall presentation, not overly warm as such, more on the liquid side of things rather than a deep lushness. fairly neutral and dynamic with a quick decay.​
Treble: It is clear and offers the detail one expects, it veers away from being extended to the point of harshness or sibilance and is pleasing to the ears. It reaches far enough for a good balance with the bass and the mids, each not over stepping their individual bounds.​
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Instrument separation: Good separation, not crisp as such with a slight smudging at times. Overall very good.​
Sound stage: A decent soundstage that feels larger than my head, good instrument placement.​
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So many reviews have already been written on the Meze 99 Classic that the interested consumer now has many to read through to help them in choosing whether the 99 Classic is for them. They all seem to agree that it is a decent product.
 
If you are after a great sounding, well priced headphone with beautiful design then the Meze 99 Classic could be for you.
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Overall​
The Meze 99 Classic is a headphone I have enjoyed reviewing, comfortable to wear and pleasurable to listen to. It makes my task as a audio review hobbyist that much better when I am really happy to spend time with the product.
 
I find the fit to be very comfortable, they cover over my ears: circum-aural. This would not be the case for people with larger ears or ears that stick out I guess. But for me they slip right in there like a bug in a rug.
 
The sound is very relaxing, silky smooth with a softness to it and that ever present gorgeousness that I love so much when it comes to lush wooden headphones.
 
The pads seem to be made of pleather, I would like to see Meze change them to leather.
 
The Meze 99 Classic come in a maple or walnut wood, Head pie reviewed the walnut version.
 
The sound is quite balanced overall. The vocals just above the music and not too far forward, the bass is fast but with a slow decay at times, mids are prominent and fast but not over bearing nor muddy, the treble is clear without harshness or sibilance.
 
It is an easy to drive headphone and is powered adequately out of a smart phone. My ipod touch 6G was at 55% volume.
 
Using a dedicated Dap will yield the best results. I prefer a brighter source with the Walnut version.
 
The sound is a universal one. One I expect would appeal to most listeners as it treads the middle ground, no real emphasis on vocals, bass, mids nor treble but providing a suitable and enjoyable mix between them all whilst retaining that certain woodie signature.
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Thank you again to Meze for sending Head pie the Meze 99 Classic headphones for review​
-expatinjapan​

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tacit
tacit
I do not understand all the excitement about Meze, I tried them several times. They definitely look nice but their sound not even close to comparable in price Beyerdynamics or Senheisers. Actually if you look even in this review conclusions you see clearly that Meze are far from perfect or excellent but reviewers use these kind of words and IMHO they are just misleading. Please make yourself a favor - listen them carefully before buying.

reddog

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: a fun sounding headphone, portable, easy to drive, sexy looking.
Cons: the cups could be a tad larger, wish the headphones folded for more better portability.
About Me
I am a 52 year old audophile,  from Bradenton Florida.  I have been in this hobby, for about two years.   The sound from headphone blew me away, and I dived down the proverbial rabbit hole and have not come back up.   I use headphones to cope with pain from a back injury.  Furthermore  headphones allow me to hear the sound, without out side distractions. I suffer from a cognitive hearing disorder and headphones have allowed me to over come this problem and to enjoy music for the first time, in a very long time.   I am a temporarily  unemployed vcr repairman and improv pirate actor
Equipment Used
Source​
MacBook Pro​
Tidal​
OPPO  BPD-103​
ONKYO CD Player​
Queststyle QP1R​
Dacs​
Schiit Audio Yggdrasil​
Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit​
Music​
Frank Zappa​
Apostrophe: track 8: Uncle Remus​
Guitar: track 3: Republican​
One Sise Fits All: track 7: San Ber'dino​
Led Zeppeplin : Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp​
Isao Tomita​
The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War​
Dave Brubeck​
Time Out​
Disk 1: track 3: Take Five​
Charles Mingus​
Mingus Ah Um​
Track 3: Boogie Stop Shuffle​
Track 4: Self-Portrait: in Three Colors​
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​
Molto Allegro​
Green Jelly​
Cereal Killer Soundtrack​
Track 2: Three Little Pigs​
Kate Bush​
The Sensual World.​
The Headphone: The Build 
I participated in the Meze 99 Classics Tour and here is the review.  When I signed for these headphones, I was really impressed with the box they came in.  The box is very sturdy,  and has a has a clever magnet  that keeps the box closed.  Within the box, one will find the headphones in  a  nice clam carrying case, and inside the case,  a small leather bag, that has the 1/4th adapter and  a cell phone lightning adapter. Also in the box are two headphone cables.  One cable is long and nice to use on desktop amps. The second cable, is  shorter and is meant to be used with a cell phone.  I thought the cables are well made, although they can be a bit microphonic, at times.   If I buy myself these headphones, I will see about getting  a custom balanced cable from Norne Audio.  
These headphones look very nice and are well made.  The   walnut headphone cups are very nice, although they might be a tad small for some people.  The headband is covered in leather  and I found it was very comfortable, no over clamping, like a medieval torture device.  The twin manganese spring steal headband supports are tough and add to the natural beauty of these sexy headphones.  While out and about the town,  I found these cans to be quite light and comfortable to wear.  Furthermore my the foam on the ears cups breathe quite well and my ears rarely got overly warm.   These amazing portable closed cans do not leak out sound to much and isolate me from outside disturbances like the phone, the nagging  cat,  alarm clocks, or pesky storm warning alarms lol.
SPECS 
Tranducer Size: 40mm​
Frequency responce: 15Hz- 25Khz​
Sensitivity: 103db at 1KHz, 1mW​
Impedance: 32Ohm​
Rated input power: 30mW​
Maximum input power: 50mW​
Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
Plug 3.5 mm Gold plated​
Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
Ear-cups: Walnut wood​
SOUND
The Meze 99 Classics is a great sounding portable headphone.  I found the sound to be fun, with nice emphasis on the bass, slight recessed mids,  great vocals and alright  non fatiguing treble.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fun sound signature.  Normally I want my headphones to sound balanced, and natural sounding.  But  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the bass. The bass on these cans satisfies the bass monkey, that sleeps on my back.  The bass emphasis  really made the guitars in  Frank Zappa's San Ber'dino fun to listen too.   Likewise the bass in Led Zeppelin" Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, sounded  so deep and satisfying.  Finally the bass made Frank Zappa's Republicans sound ominous, almost scary.
Because of the emphasized bass, the mids seemed just a tad reccesed  but  the vocals have a texture to them and  are out of this world good.  The   vocals by Zappa, Kate Bush and Green Jelley sounded very pallable and real  through the Meze.   The mids on the Meze are still smooth sounding with a slight edginess, that really made jazz sound sweet.  Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus sound just right, coming through these amazing cans. The treble is non fatiguing and sounded alright to my ears.
The soundstage is wide, but not to deep.  Still pretty good for a closed back can. Most of the music I listened too, the soundstage was quite nice, with a nice three-dimensional quality.  Tomita's The Planest sounded quite nice out of these sexy wooden headphones.  The soundstage was able to handle the different sounds and place them adequately around my ears.   Only when I was listening to Mozart did I think the soundstage was a bit congested sounding.
These headphones are quite easy to drive.  I used a great many amps with them, but it was overkill.  Even on low gain, I did not have to crank up the volume at all, to get these cans to sing.  I hooked them up to the Liquid Crimson and the Ragnarok and the cans sounded great, but I could barely turn up the volume. I was afraid these big powerful amps might damage  these exquiste headphones   The best device I used to make these cans sing was the QP1R, on medium gain.  The QP1R made these headphones sound great,  a very good synergy between these two.  
Conclusion
I think the Meze 99 classics headphone is a great headphone.  it has a fun, slightly v shaped sound signature, with nice emphasis on the bass  The cans are quite well made and 
sound great.  These headphones are quite portable and were a pleasure to take out and about.  These cans were the only ones I have worn, where two pretty ladies
, thought I looked good wearing these sexy cans.  I even had a dishwasher come out and ask about the headphones.  I highly recomend these headphones to anyone who wants to just enjoy listening to music.  I love my other cans but these cans fun music signature are perfect for walking around, doing stuff. When at home I use my other cans, for critical listening.
here are  some pictures of these amazingly fun and sexy headphones.IMG_20160327_112748.jpg
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pbui44
pbui44
My winking smiley did not show up for some reason, so take the above recommendation as a joke and tread lightly with the album in total enjoyment.
mikemercer
mikemercer
Great job! love em too!!!!
reddog
reddog
Thank you everyone for the kind words.

Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Pros: Instrument texture, Instrument Separation, Soundstage, Vivid presentation, Great potential for EQ, Price is very good
Cons: Pads are a bit small
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Introduction

Meze Classics 99. The title says it all – great potential and elegant style.

Head-fi banners showing a classy headphone started popping up a while ago and you can’t stop but wonder, how does that sound like?

Meze is a Romanian headphone producer that even though new, made a statement with their headphones and their great customer support. They’re one of the companies that not only offer great support to their customers but actually listen to them, as seen with C99 which was modified after reviewer and market support came in to Meze. Even though very few companies to answer to customer requests, those who do always do a good job as the customer knows best what they wish for.

I didn’t really know about Meze before and I’m actually sad about it. For one thing, I am Romanian, and it is a shame for me to not know that there is a Romanian headphone producer and for the other thing, the headphones themselves sound really interesting.




About me

My name is George and I enjoy music. I listen music while working, listen to music for enjoyment and listen to music while I'm gaming. Music surrounds me and it is part of my life, there are very few moments in the day when there’s no music around me. I also listen to music while working on our games at here https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/ and here https://twitter.com/7heartstudios . My love for music has had impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best space to sound quality ratio.

I have a pretty good hearing and the higher treble means quite a lot to me (8-18kHz area), and I generally hear even minor changes in equipment but it takes bigger changes to amaze me. I’m also hard to impress since I already own Sennheiser ie800.



First Impression

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First impression with Meze as a whole company is a very good one. They respond very well to customer requests, are very supportive and are ready to walk that extra mile for you.

Meze 99 Classics come with a carry box that slightly reminds one of a biker helmet, but with a unique elegance to it. The zippers were really smooth (appreciable on high end products) and the case did not degrade one bit even after some usage, being thrown in backpack with other supplies.

The headphones themselves sound similar to Oppo PM series or Sennheiser HD5XX series, depending on the music and source that’s being used. Given the price range and looks, the sound was fair upon first listening and they were not necessarily a WOW headphone but rather a good headphone. In the 300$ price range the fight is quite fierce, but then again, no other 300$ headphone received a rather better than good or fair upon first audition.

Another thing that’s related to the first audition is the comfort. While 99C looked a bit small after opening them, with a bit of adjusting, the ears fit well inside the cups and the headphone makes the headphones themselves really comfortable. 99C upon first listen was comfortable and sits well on the head. The weight is low and they don’t cause fatigue.



Packaging

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99C comes in a cardboard box, in which is the carry case. Inside the carry case are the headphones themselves, two cables, a pouch for carrying the cables and an airplane (I think?) adapter. The inside of the carry case is made of a fine material that leaves no scratches on the headphones and the carry case is hard, preventing damage to the headphones, even if they are thrown in a backpack with other objects. The cables must be disconnected for the headphones to be carried inside the carry case, but the connectors are easy to use and the whole experience was nice. HD380Pro for example, has really awkward connectors that are a pain to connect, even after owning them for more than 3 years.

The addition of two cables to 99C is very welcome as they are different lengths and one of the cables includes a remote (and I think microphone). The short cable is ideal for outdoors usage while the longer cable makes a fine computer companion, especially if working as a digital artist and having to move around quite a bit. The cables are braided and look resistant, any damage that’s to be done, will be done to the thing they are plugged in , before the cables will get damaged.

Given the size and shape of the headphones, the only accessory that might be lacking from the box is a second pair of ear pads, as seen with Ultrasone headphones, but 99C pads might hold up better in time, so it seems like a fair trade.

The inside of the cardboard box is made of a hard sponge, this adds to the unpacking experience.

I really appreciate that Meze included a little warning about listening levels in their little book – instructions paper. It is always good to know that prolonged exposure to loud noises can be dangerous. The paper also includes a frequency response graph which shows that 99C is fairly flat in its response.



Technical Specifications

Impedance
32 ohm
Connector
3.5 mm
Rated Input Power
30 mW
Frequency Response
15 Hz – 25kHz
Sensitivity
103dB (1kHz, 1mW)
Ear coupling
Circum-Aural
Cable length
1.2m, 3m
Transducer type
Dynamic transducer, closed back
Power (load rating)
50mW
Weight without cable
260g
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
<0.03% (1kHz, 1Vrms)
Contact pressure
3.4 N approx.



Build Quality/Aesthetics

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99C is one of the classiest / most elegant headphones out there. The headband design, while slightly reminding of Autio Tehnica series, feels good and it is sturdy. The headband is made out of leather or pleather, but it is soft and doesn’t seem to take any damage from being worn.

The cups of 99C swivel a bit and this makes the headphones more adjustable. This comes in handy as they need a bit of swiveling around for getting the best fit possible, but I also have big ears.

The cups are made out of wood, and have a smooth design. Since this is a rare feature, Meze must be commended for walking that extra mile for delivering a better experience to their customers by including a real wood.

The cables are braided and come in different lengths, making 99C a good headphone for both indoors usage and outdoors. The jacks with which the cables are connected to the cups are 3.5mm and they feature a tight and secure lock. In the time I had 99C, the cable did not fall once and it didn’t get any scratches either (from plugging and unplugging the cables)

The headband mechanism is actually nice to wear and while I feared that the metal parts will get scratched, they are good and well, even after a considerable amount of usage. There are no scratches on any art of the headphone after extended usage, so the build quality is good. The earpads did not degrade either in the time I spent with 99C.

Aesthetically speaking, 99C would easily fit with a bow and tie costume, but they will fit in with a sport shirt and a pair of jeans as well.



Comfort / Isolation

When asked about the comfort of 99C, the best way to describe them would be comfortable. The cups are a bit small in size for people with larger ears, but will fit most people well. The cups have good depth and provide comfort for many hours of listening.

Being word outside, 99C does not get very hot and can be worn even when jogging or taking a longer walk outside though the weather will play a role in this.

The isolation of 99C is extremely good, to the point where I was able to listen to music very loud and my wife couldn’t hear my music at all, and the headphones isolate very well from the outside noise. It is almost impossible to hear a conversation while wearing the headphones, even louder noises are muted, making 99C a great choice for those in need of a well isolating headphone.

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After 8 hours of continuous usage, 99C still feels nice to wear and the headband didn’t get uncomfortable at all. This is even more interesting as I did doubt the system itself before trying them on, but 99C surprises in a good way, making them a very interesting choice even for long nights of work.


Compared to Dj1P and HD380Pro, 99C isolates much better and it is the most comfortable to wear out of the bunch, both because the cable is long enough, the headphones are not heavy and the cups have enough width / height / depth.

This came as a surprise, especially as they are not advertised as this, but 99C are one of the best isolating headphones I tested to date, regardless of price segment or other constraints.



SOUND QUALITY

99C offers two different types of sound: One is their natural sound and the other is their Equalized sound. They also respond very well to different sources making source synergy an interesting pursuit, but they will play really good with any source thrown at them.

Because my Equalization algorithm for 99C is very aggressive, I will split every part of the audio spectrum in Natural and Equalized descriptions. All components of the sound change with aggressive Equalization due to the phase change, but certain aspects of the sound will stay the same, regardless of the EQ applied.

99C is a natural sounding headphone, with sweet sounding mids, smooth treble and good extension both ways. They amazed me again in their sound as the presentation is rather wide, and instrument separation is very good, thing which is amazing since they were not advertised as such. The instruments are vivid in general and the texture quality is insane for their price point and very good for any price point. The sound without any EQ can be described as enthusiastic and detailed, well textured, smooth and airy. There is a hump on 250-500 Hz. I tracked this specific sound to the wood in the cups as wood has its own acoustic properties and tends to enhance the 250 – 500Hz area.



Channel imbalance
I detected no channel imbalance on 99C even though I am sensitive to channel imbalance. Especially when it comes to loud music, even a slight channel imbalance is very easy to detect.



Bass

Classics 99 have a solid bass that can hit even down to the lowest octaves, but is also very fast and can respond well to tracks, playing textures with very good agility. On the stock setting, the bass is slightly enhanced, or rather the 250 – 500 Hz area is enhanced due to the wood in the cups. Wood is known for its acoustic properties and for offering this kind of resonance. After hearing 99 Neo which have their cups made of plastic and them not presenting the same bump in this area, but having the same drivers, it is easy to point the small bump in bass to the wood construction.

This bump in bass gives the headphones an euphoric and sweet presentation, the drums in rock songs sound crisp and the snare drum has a very good presence. Regardless of the Equalization applied, the bass is generally well rounded and it is a delight to listen to. Although the bass is enhanced sometimes, it does not take over the mids and the presentation is well balanced.


When put against a much more expensive model, namely ie800, C99 is able to hold its ground and shows a similar presentation in bass quality and detail but a smaller amount of sub-bass. This change is actually for the better as the amount is feels just right.

With the song Gorillaz – El Manana, the bass area is well rounded, clean and albeit the headphones are very solid in general, the bass of this song has a good reverberation and has the fluid feeling of this song. The bass also has good stage for this song, being heard through all the stereo space.

With Infected Mushroom – Becoming Insane, the bass has good hit and impact, it also covers the right amount of space it should. The texture is there and doesn’t lag behind (as seen on some models, where the bass doesn’t keep up with the song). The upper bass also has enough speed to do its part for the mid parts of this song, making all effects sound their best.

The Glitch Mob – Our demons: The bass doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the frequencies, but is strong enough to give the song the impact it needs, the drops having the right amount of strength and presence. The texture of the bass is vivid and it doesn’t lag behind the mids, giving the whole song an overall coherent sound.



Midrange

This is where the Equalization begins to play a role in the sound. The default midrange is pretty forward, detailed, well textured and all instruments are rendered well. This would be a similar signature when compared with most 300$ headphones, so there is no problem with going for this signature. The soundstage with no EQ is pretty intimate, and 99C are great headphones for metal music since the forward mids will make all voices sound strong and guitars have a sweet / euphoric tint to them. It is pretty important to know what you pair 99C with. Paired with FiiO X5-3, the music sounds happy and even death metal has a friendly tone to guitars. Combined with the rather silky top end in the default presentation, 99C + X5-3 sounds friendly and every single piece thrown at them is returned enjoyable and most mistakes in songs are slightly masked leading to a sound that is well detailed, forward but never dull.

After Equalizing the sound with custom phase and Frequency response tests, the midrange improves to the point where it easily competes with that of Sennheiser ie800, a headphone costing more than twice the price of 99C. The phase of the sound is affected as well, but the negative effects by phase changes are mitigated by a wider soundstage albeit with less depth. The tests are made using mastering and analysis tools, but the results are staggering. Since the EQ applied is quite aggressive, it is possible for 99C to have even better transient response and texturing than Sennheiser ie800 with enough EQ, but it makes the sound a bit excited leading to every single error / bit of noise come as twice as strong.

The higher midrange is slightly recessed in the default signature, making the pianos and violins have a friendlier sound, especially for people who are sensitive to treble. On the other hand, the default signature does not present any loss in detail.

Rammstein – Ich Will: Regardless whether we’re talking about the Equalized or the default signature, I was surprised to notice that the little noise at the first “Ich Will” parts was there. It sounded like it was part of the song on the default signature, while the equalized signature made it clear that it was a noise, and even made it an offending noise. Another really nice effect is that the “Ich Will” that was coming from the monitors worn during the record are easily heard in the mix.

Obscurcis Romancia – Sanctuare Damne: The piano is always heard and every note, regardless of the length is easy to be heard. The voices bear the strength they should and there is a good texture to all guitars and the voices. It is easy to discern all guitars and they don’t smear on each other. The effects / keys are kept in their designated place and don’t come neither too forward nor are lost. The guitars have a really nice transient response and the textures are really crisp resulting in a very well rounded general sound. Cold guitar picks bear the necessary resonance to them in both mids and bass, and the fastest parts of the song have precise attack and don’t lag behind. It is also possible to notice the fingers moving on the frets at times, effect which I greatly appreciate.

Iron Maiden – Dance of the dead: The guitar picks are really crisp and they don’t come too forward but are not erased either. The voice has great presence, but it has a more natural response after EQ albeit it is very good without any EQ. Unique guitar notes are easy to discern and there is no smearing between distinct notes. The guitar solo is tasty and is presented vivid, with enough bite and the background guitars are not erased but rather create the right type of rhythm and company to the song.

Female voices present just the right amount of sweetness and crispness Jill Tracy’s voice sounds fluid and melodic, the prophecies made in her music are received through the entire body and the music works well.

Teddy Loyd w Daoko – Me Me Me : Her voice sounds clear, has the right amount of sweetness and depth. Without EQ, the song is euphoric and has a special type of melody to it. It is a fun experience and the whole song sounds sweet and warm. The song is easy to listen to and will cause no listening fatigue. Even though the song is slightly prone to sibilance, 99C presents no sibilance in either stock form or after applying aggressive EQ.



EQ
By now it is time that I explain what EQ I have been applying to them. The treble is changed entirely by EQ and the stock treble and EQ’ed treble have less in common compared to the midrange and bass, which are less affected by the EQ.

The EQ applied is:

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31 Hz - 5dB

62 Hz - 3dB

125 Hz - 0 dB

250 Hz - -3 dB

500 Hz - 3 dB

1 kHz - 3 dB

2 kHz - 3 dB

4 kHz - 3 dB

8 kHz - 0 dB

16 kHz - 21 dB

As for more details, the 250 Hz area is where it is a bit strong by default, and if increasing the 16 kHz area, it is a must to decrease the 8kHz area otherwise the treble can come in a bit hot. There is a specific spike that happens in the treble if the 8 kHz area is not decreased when applying such a strong enhancement on the 16 kHz area.

The magic part of Equalizing 99C : Most headphones do not respond very well to aggressive EQ. For example, EQ-ing Ultrasone Dj One Pro with a similarly aggressive EQ results in distortions all across the soundscope and will be unbearable. With 99C, the amount of EQ that can be applied before distortion occurs is incredible. To put it in better words, I didn’t get any distortion regardless of how much EQ I applied – be it a 21 dB enhancement or a over 30 dB of treble enhancement. This is quite exciting as most headphones will distort from as little as 10 dB of EQ.

From this perspective, the drivers found in 99C are a golden grail of headphone drivers and act like a pot of clay which you can model to your liking. If you like sound vivid and sparkly, you can achieve it, if you like your sound bassy and impactful, you can do that and if you like your sound sweet and euphoric – then it is your lucky day as this is their default sound.

I generally don’t get as excited about this since I haven’t been able to apply this much EQ and adaptation to any headphone in the past.

The EQ profile applied above will allow for a much stronger (and questionably harsher) treble, a larger sounstage and a slightly more sibilant sound. The disadvantages are vastly overwhelmed by the advantages in this case, at least for those ears. 99C is able to sound more or less like Sennheiser ie800, a pair of IEMs costing more than 2X their price. The signature of ie800 was the guide to obtaining this EQ as well.

While the stock sound will be loved by a large part of the buyers and 99C does not appeal to exactly the same market as ie800, it is baffling to know that you can obtain the sound of ie800 out of them. The same applies for most signatures as 99C does not distort under heavy EQ.



Treble

The treble of 99C in stock form is silky smooth, slightly rolled off and it is extremely forgiving. This means that many songs that would otherwise sound harsh will now sound smooth and happy. With Jazz and Classical, the music keeps its euphoric tonality that is present in 99C in general, leading to a very fun and pleasurable experience.

With metal, the treble can be too smooth and silky at times, resulting in an experience that is more fun and friendlier than it should. Many people prefer this type of signature, where the treble is silky smooth, but I frankly prefer a harsh / sparkly treble.

On the happy side, 99C responds extremely well to EQ and after applying the trick above, the treble extends up to 20kHz and has the right amount of sparkle and fizzle to it, without being sibilant or too harsh. Taste being relative, the EQ I apply might be too aggressive or not aggressive enough for you. The only way to get the best results for you is to play with it until you’re happy with the results.

Royal Repulic – 21st Century Gentleman:

No EQ: The treble is clear and vivid, all instruments are audible, but they are not very loud and the cymbal crashes are very smooth. The sibilance is absolutely zero and there is no trace of listening fatigue. I could get used to this relaxing sound – the bass is smooth, the mids are forward and melodic and the treble is laid back and relaxed.

EQ’ed: The treble is a bit sibilant, it is much louder and it is harsh. The decay of treble is a bit longer than it should. The whole sound is sparkly but there is no trace of distortion or aliasing. The coherency is still very good. Because the treble is increased, the bass to treble ratio changes and this makes the headphones sound less bassy, but there is no loss of impact.

The offspring – Me and my old lady

No EQ: The cymbals are audible, but they are quite quiet and there is a trace of very slight roll-off. There is no sibilance to this song (this song can be quite sibilant). The rhythm of the cymbals is not lost either way and it works well for the whole composition. The bass is strong and has a good presence, but it gets a bit strong in the 200-400 Hz region making the attack strong. It works fairly well with this song and it increases both the musicality and the euphoria of this song. (Me and my old lady is a song that’s supposed to have some Euphoria to it.)


EQ’ed: Each cymbal crash is pretty long and it leaves a trace of tingling. The spark in treble are there and the cymbals sound crash-y as they would sound when a cymbal is hit in the same room as the listener. The song is a bit colder after the EQ is applied, but it sounds very good nevertheless.

Incubus – Summer Romance:

No EQ: The singer’s voice is very deep and it is well separated from the bass. The bass is pretty strong and it is enhanced over the whole song, giving it a warm presentation. Due to the treble being slightly recessed, the song is very smooth but it is not dark. There is no rolloff noticeable in this song and the song is airy but silky smooth. The symbols and special percussion instruments are always heard and are not masked but the smooth nature of the headphones and the strong bass makes them sound like a background instrument. The soundstage of the song is quite good and it extends well on all planes, except for the bass which is forward and which sounds a bit stronger. This also gives the song more impact and considerably increases all low notes attack and decay. The textures are not affected and they sound just right on both guitar and voices and trombone. The bass texture is fluid and fairly precise while it stays forward.

EQ’ed: The singer’s voice is deep and profound, it plays well along the bass notes. The cymbal crashes are harsh and sparkly, the effects are coming from a wide area around the listener and the guitar notes come from where they were recorded. The bass is considerably recessed after the EQ is applied. As the song had some effects applied at certain parts (Like a static noise), this is also enhanced by the EQ while without EQ it is almost not noticed. The sound is arguably harsher and there is less overall bass impact, a very similar mids impact and there is much more treble impact with the EQ applied. Since many people are sensitive to strong treble, the EQ might not work well for everybody. The background guitars are not affected in their texture and details, but are affected in their tonality. There are certain effects that are better exposed this way – some of those effects can be considered noise or distractions from the song so it is a matter of taste whether you prefer hearing every single detail in the song (including the errors) or a relaxed and smooth sound.



Soundstage

The soundstage of 99C is very good for headphones of all types and one of the best soundstages in a closed back headphone. It can easily rival the soundstage of the largest soundstage bearing headphones like Ultrasone Signature Dj or Ultrasone Dj One Pro. Compared with most headphones in the ~300$ range, 99C has a larger and deeper soundstage (With EQ applied). With no EQ applied, the soundstage is still large and will expand well in both width and depth, but the bass will be forward and it will not fill the whole stereo space. Since this is a typical characteristic of wood, Meze 99 Neo will feature a different bass and their soundstage is well expanded in all directions.

Regardless whether there is an EQ applied or not, the soundstage expands very well and will be one of the first things to notice when you first listen to 99C. When coming from ATH – mXX series, 99C will sound considerably less congested, will sound open and airy. In 99C sound, the sound comes from every area in the 3D audio space.

The soundstage and instrument separation are comparable to ie800 and given that ie800 is my current benchmark for both soundstage and instrument separation (in both terms of quality and precision), 99C does a much better job than expected. It is generally easy to tell the voice apart from the bass notes on which certain syllables are sang and it is easy to tell even four guitars apart in one song, even if the guitars are singing at the same time.

Inubus – Calgone: The song has parts that are very hard to render for most headphones, like the bass notes that are overly aggressive or the guitars that are already quite distorted. 99C plays all well and doesn’t add any more distortion so each musical note is easy to tell apart. The voice stays clean although with no EQ added it does a pretty strong impact.

Dope – Addiction: The song has an effect at the start of the song that’s supposed to be played somewhere in the right and to the back of the listener. 99C plays it exactly in that spot and doesn’t bring it forward nor displace the effect. The guitars are easy to tell apart from each other during the solo and there is absolutely no smearing. The scream is sustained very well during the solo and the whole song has a certain enthusiasm / sweetness to it, albeit the screamed part keeps its intended warmth and strength.

Space electro – xxx: The song has a very good width to it and there is no congestion to the voice nor the instruments / effects. The bass has very good presence across the entire sonic scape. The key effects are played at their intended positions (they move around the listener both in the front and in the back of the listener) and there is no trace of smearing between instruments. With Dj1P, there is smearing on certain parts of the song and this causes many of the details / effects to be lost.

Infected Mushroom – Wanted to: The soundstage is really good. The female voice has just the right amount of drive to it and it doesn’t sound try but melodic. The male voices are melodic as well and act to their intended role. All effects are very wide and have a good depth to them. The bass attack is very good and the whole song is clear and vivid. The cymbals are pretty smooth regardless of whether the EQ is added or no, leading to a very fun experience either way. The speed of the song in the very fast segments of it is good and the song doesn’t feel lagging, the decay times are very good and the song has the right amount of speed.



Drive factor

99C has been tested with FiiO X5ii, X5-3, Xiaomi mi max, Custom ESS DAC solution and a few other devices. The overall impression is that 99C is fairly easy to drive, but responds very well to a better source. It is able to pick small changes in the sound caused by different DACs (both Dj1P and ie800 are less sensitive to different DACs). 99C requires very little power to be driven to their maximum potential but won’t distort even at extremely loud, being really good headphones for metal music or loud listeners.

The transient response is affected quite a bit by the source, but it is not affected by the volume at which music is played. This means that a higher volume will not result in worse transients and 99C will keep its qualities across a wide range of volumes.

Listened directly from Xiaomi mi max (smartphone), the sound is pretty fluid and the transient response is nowhere near as good as from the custom ESS solution or FiiO X5-2. With X5-3, the transient reponse gets even better and the textures of each instrument are even better, making X5-3 one of the best DAP s you can pair 99C with. Xiaomi mi max is seriously rolled off in comparison and while X5-3 is a very smooth DAP, there is no trace of roll-off and the music is sweet and euphoric.

I cannot forget the first time I noticed the crisp textures of 99C as I was using them together with the tour unit of FiiO X5-3. I was listening to a song from The Offspring – vultures. This song has quite an interesting texture to all the instruments, especially to the guitars. A lot of this texture is only heard on ie800 and very expensive headphones / IEMs, so I had a shock when I noticed the fine details while I was walking outside with the headphones on my head. It was just a matter of seconds before I synced my steps to the beat of the music and there was no way for me to pause the song until the last second of it.

FiiO X5ii is no slouch either, but its bigger brother offers a much better texture and transient response in comparison. I didn’t have enough time to test 99C with other sources like ifi iDSD or Chord products or Sony 1Z, but as soon as I get a bit of free time, I promise to test and continue this description page.



Comparisons

Ie800 – This is a hard comparison. When it comes to price, ie800 costs about 2 times as much or more new. In their default shape, 99C has a texture that is comparable to ie800, but ie800 has an upper hand when it comes to the crispness of textures. This upper hand is given especially by the different bass to treble ration which causes the bass to have another decay for ie800. After applying the EQ which intended to simulate an ie800 inside 99C, they are about on par, with 99C having the upper hand in instrument textures, but ie800 having a slight upper hand in transient response. All in all, 99C performs way above its price point and can be compared to TOTL headphones after applying the EQ. If you want to walk the extra mile and EQ 99C, you can have an ie800 in headphone form (I was searching for this for a good year before first hearing 99C!!!!!!!). This being said, my FiiO X5ii and X5-3 are not able to apply the said EQ as good as my computer is. This is partially because X5-3 is very smooth and X5ii only has a play range of 12dB and the EQ presented above requires a larger dB sway to work as it is intended and achieve the phase shift.

Dj One Pro – In stock form for both, DJ1P has a considerably less forward bass range and midrange, sounding distant at times. Dj1P has a very good soundstage for a closed back headphone, and 99C has more or less the same width, height but better depth. 99C has a smoother top end. Dj1P has a very recessed snare hit that makes most percussion instruments sound weak. After applying EQ on both, 99C has a better overall soundstage, a considerably better drum impact and general sound and a considerably better texture and instrument separation. The amount of EQ that Dj1P can take is less than what 99C can take, resulting in a signature that isn’t even half through close to the ideal point. Dj1P will distort after too much EQ, while 99c stays crisp and clean. 99C wins in almost all aspects when compared with DJ1P and this stays true when it is compared to most other ~300$ - 500$ headphones.

LCD2 / LCD4 / HD650 – 99c has a similar sound to all of those, but 99C presents a considerably more forward bass and mids. Compared to HD6XX, 99C has a larger soundstage in both width and depth, and comparable textures and instrument separation. HD6XX is an open back headphone so there are sound characteristics that are inherent to the open back design that 99c does not poses. Comfort wise, 99C is actually quite comfortable, and it is comparable with HD6XX even though 99C has a smaller cup size and a different mechanism of adjustment on the head. When compared to LCD series, 99C boasts a similar signature, but LCD series are quite heavy and I couldn’t wear them for more than 20-30 minutes in a row, where 99C is quite light and can safely be worn for hours in a row with no back neck. I do recommend that they are taken at 20-30 minute intervals to let the ears breathe and it is always recommended to take a pause from computer work at 30 minute intervals for best health.



Value

99C will not leave you poor and given their rather sane price point of 300$, I would call 99C one of the best value headphones on the market at this moment. There are very few other headphones that boast a similarly good value. The stock performance of 99C is good, but the potential found in them makes the value be rather crazy good when everything is taken into account.



Conclusion

A cheap headphone? A comfortable headphone? A Romanian headphone? An incredible headphone?

Yes.

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You might think that I had a bias towards liking them as Meze is a Romanian company, but after hearing every single headphone that I could hear to date, I am quite hard to impress. To be honest I was rather curious what a Romanian headphone producer could make. I did not expect this. I don’t even know what I was expecting to be honest and it doesn’t matter.

99C is one of the best headphones you can get your hands on provided you either like the default tuning or provided you’re ready to play a bit with them and EQ them. Always remember that there is no single headphone that has a perfect tuning and that every single headphone needs some EQ to achieve the best sound for you. Everyone hears differently so there are chances that you will want a different signature from me from the start, but this is even more the reason to play and experiment. 99C is one of the headphones with the highest tolerances to EQ I had ever played with and besides headphones that are really hard to drive and which inherently allow for a large EQ headroom, 99C is the most EQ’able headphone I had. Ie800 cannot accept 4dB of treble to be added as it causes sibilance, and DJ1P will cause distortions after 14dB of treble being added, while 99C safely holds its ground regardless of the EQ added.

You can enjoy 99c even with a smartphone or a laptop, but they will tell you when you feed them from a good source. A FiiO X5-3, FiiO X5-2, FiiO X7, or similar device is able to drive 99C very well and I probably wouldn’t ask for a different DAP than a FiiO one since they also offer the best Price/Performance ratio of the moment.

I hadn’t had the chance of testing the Balanced mode of 99C, but I’ll make sure to let you know if I manage to test it.

In this point in time, I fully recommend 99C as the sweetest deal you can get at this price, and I personally recommend them for a broad range of preferences as you can EQ them to sound as you like, but keeping the advantage of crisp and clear sound, well defined textures and good details. And good soundstage.
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@superuser1 Similar situation for me. I would need even bigger pads than the big ones, but they are comfy either way. It takes me 10-15 seconds of adjustments, moving them around and snuggling my ears inside the cups, but once the fit is sealed, there are no problems with the comfort. 
Preachy1
Preachy1
@Dobrescu George, thanks very much for the great review.  Based on your words, I found a gently used pair on Amazon.  They arrived today along with my shiny new FiiO X5 III.  At first pass, the pairing is as good as a good Cabernet and a perfectly seared NY Strip.
 
Break-in playlist so far:
 
Mark Knopfler - Je Suis Desoles
The Who - Baba O'Reilly
Neil Young - A Man Needs a Maid
Dixie Dregs - Free Fall
Bob Weir w/ Ratdog - Odessa
 
I'll get to some smooth jazz later.  :)
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@Preachy1  You're in for a lot of fun with that setup! 

Hope it serves you well and don't forget to always have fun! You have some of the best equipment on the market right now! 

PinkyPowers

Reviewer: The Headphone List
Pros: Tuning that shines with every device. Comfort. Detachable Cable. What a looker!
Cons: Needs mods for custom cable, or a Meze proprietary plug.
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The goal I set out with—the idea that drove me—was to find a set of portable cans which performed well enough to not make me crawl, desperate and hungry, back to my Top Of The Line IEMs. As much as I like the sound of my Sennheiser Momentums, they are simply not in the same league as the 64Audio ADEL U12 or Rhapsodio Solar CIEM. With options such as these, I rarely ever pull out the Momentum 2.0. I have to really, REALLY crave the over-ear experience to scorn my insanely expensive IEMs. That’s not a feeling I like. I want the option to go IEM or Circumaural, and experience equally good audio no matter which way I turn.

You may be thinking, “$300 Senns vs $1,500 U12s? Of course they aren’t in the same league, you fat, balding jerk!”

First off: Ouch! What’s with the hostility? Words can hurt, you know. Second: It takes a lot less to get a big-@ss dynamic driver to reach a certain level of performance than it does a small, itty bitty driver. That’s why so many of the top of the line in-ear monitors pack 9, 10, 12, 14 Balanced Armatures into those little shells. They’re trying to do what full-size headphones manage so easily. Physics be a cruel mistress. And it costs, jamming all those BAs in each ear.

In the end, it pays off. As I said, I have two IEMs that put the Momentum to shame. Yet there are other headphones in the $300-$400 range that do indeed outperform my IEMs. The Sennheiser HD600 and 650, to name a couple. The thing to remember about large, high impedance cans is they are not designed with the same philosophy of use. My HD6XX is really meant for a powerful desktop amp, like the Audio-GD NFB-28 I own. My primary headphone, the Audeze LCD-2.2 Fazor, takes things even further, and utterly humiliates in-ear monitors. You do not plug those beasts into a mobile device and expect them to sound right.

Low impedance, high efficiency circumaurals, like the Momentum, are designed for mobile use. They should sound “right”, driven from a smartphone. But to accomplish this, sacrifices are made. Metaphorical kittens are severed to the Gods. The Sennheiser Momentum is not as impressive in its audio fidelity as the Sennheiser HD600, even though they both cost around $300. Hence I do not put mobile full-size cans in the same category as desktop full-size cans. They are designed for different things. It’s not a fair fight.

My experience, limited as it is, says TOTL, wildly expensive in-ear monitors can compete with mid-tier headphones, even desktop cans. Yet they fall behind, the closer you get to the likes of the LCD-2.

So the question I posed to myself is, “Can I find a portable, mobile-driven full-size headphone for a reasonable price that matches the performance of my $1K+ IEMs?”

I had my doubts.

There are three categories of transducer I want stocked and on-hand at all times.
Category I: Full-size, high impedance headphone meant for a desktop amp. (These sound the best. LCD-2 is my primary, used only for music. HD6XX is secondary, used for everything else.)
Category II: Full-size, low impedance headphone meant for work/mobile use. (These will never sound quite as good. Being sourced by mobile gear doesn’t help matters. Momentum 2.0 belongs here, making this the weakest of the three classes.)
Category III: In-Ear Monitors meant for work/mobile use. (These sound nearly as good from a quality DAP as they do from a desktop system. They are VERY efficient. U12 and Solar sit at the head of this table.)

For a long time the Oppo PM-3 looked like my next upgrade, meant to bolster the ranks of my Category II gear. I wasn’t thrilled about the price. The sound signature, as described in reviews, gave me pause: Not enough bass, terms like “boring” were dropped. Not to mention, they benefit too much from stacking an Amp to your DAP. I know myself well. This would only lead to feelings of inadequacy for NOT doing so. However, all the reviews agreed, they delivered incredible audio quality.

I held off. As inevitable as buying the Oppo seemed to be, I just wasn’t eager to take that plunge.

Then, a few months ago, I started seeing a lot of talk on Head-Fi about this thing called the Meze 99 Classics. Seemed like a pretentious name for a new product, so I ignored it. The Oppo was going to be my next headphone. All my other bases were covered. I just needed that upgrade to my portable system. Then, a little later, I read the Meze was a portable headphone, easily driven by any mobile device. Then I learned about the Walnut wood cups, metal frame, a design philosophy that precludes cheap materials and glue. When at last intrigue drove me to search for reviews, I beheld the great flood. Meze had taken Head-Fi by storm. There’s an embarrassment of reviews out there, and a very great many of them are overwhelming in positivity.

Pinky’s shield of indifference cracked, and the Meze 99 Classics jumped to the top of my list as a replacement for Sennheiser.

It would still be a few months before I bought a pair. There were other monstrosities devouring my gold. All things in their own time. But as I waited for that perfect moment, lust grew in me.

Finally I could wait no longer and dove into the Head-Fi Classifieds in pursuit of a used pair. There is not an abundance of 99Cs on the second-hand market. Folk are pretty d@mn happy with theirs and aren’t pawning them en masse. When one does show up, it sells fast. To get one at all I had to settle on a color scheme that was not my first-choice. On top of that, the unit I bought was modified with various dampeners and filters. All of which could be reversed. Still, it was a compromise. Beggars can’t be choosers, you know; I bought it for $240, shipped.

99CAK120ii01.jpg

Allow me this opportunity to say, Pinky is terribly pleased by the aesthetics. I probably lucked out not getting the black and gold version. This thing is dead gorgeous, with subtler elegance.

After only a few minutes of listening, I brought the screwdriver out and opened her up. If I am going to review this product, I need to know how the REAL 99C sounds. So I removed all the modifications: a bunch of foam sticky’ed along the inside of the cups, and a few layers of dampeners in the pads, in front of the driver.

Weeks have gone by now, listening to the legitimate Meze 99 Classics. I have no desire to reinstall any of the modifications. The original owner said the mods level-out the frequencies. No thanks, mate. To my ears, the sonics are too fabulous to 7*%# with.

The comfort of the Meze is at a high grade. These have the larger pads than what shipped with the first batch. Those garnered many negative comments in reviews found throughout the Net. It is about the only bad thing folk have to say about the 1st edition. The larger pads are very nice, and the overall comfort is a step above the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. Since I already found the M2 quite pleasant to wear, that is a remarkable achievement. The elastic headband adjusts automatically to the size of your head, making the Meze an effortless thing to put on.

I guess you could say the Meze 99 Classics is big for a portable headphone. But it comes with a nice carry case and fits easily inside my messenger bag, alongside all the villainous paraphernalia stored there. It doesn’t feel prohibitively cumbersome. No worse than the Momentum. In fact, I’d like the case to be a little larger, so I don’t need to detach the cable every time I zip her up. You’d think that might cause trouble down the road.

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Wearing these headphones, they don’t feel very large at all. If you’re accustomed to cans like the HD6XX or the LCD-2, these feel low-profile and light. Maybe not as light as the mostly plastic HD6XX, but close, and smaller.

The pads, even the newer, larger pads, are not genuine leather, which dismays Pinky to some extent. They are high quality synthetic, though, and feel very soft and pliable. I even used leather conditioner on them, and they absorbed the milk nicely. So I don’t have any real complaint in that regard. I just like my materials as organic as possible when pressed against my wanton flesh.

In spite of the fact the 99C uses 3.5mm mono for its earcup connection, only Meze’s plugs will fit. Due to how deep they must go, and the angle of insertion, there are currently no 3rd party plugs that work. To satiate my obsession with building custom cables for my gear, I had to order the Double Helix Cables 3D Printed Meze Mod. This allowed me to build a cable for the Astell&Kern AK120II’s 2.5mm Balanced Output. I enjoyed the sound so greatly from the stock cable that I didn’t want to tinker too much with the signature. Instead of using SPC or pure silver, I went fairly traditional. Norne Audio’s basic OCC copper seemed like the right move. With their transparent black jacket, it gave the cable such a lovely visual and made a handsome pairing with the 99 Classics.

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Clarity is the first trait which jumps at me each and every time I don the Meze 99 Classics. There is a glass-like clarity. Unlike bright headphones, however, this clearness has a liquid quality, instead of a sharp or detail-oriented one. That isn’t to say these aren’t detailed cans. They very much are. Resolution here is quite sophisticated, and the level of transparency is wonderful. Even driven from a mobile device, my music exploded to life with outstanding dynamics. Meze accomplishes all this under the auspices of smooth, silky rendering.

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Soundstage and imaging are above average, and might be wider than the Momentum. I bought the M2 in large part because they had one of the widest stages in the portable closed-back arena. Meze feels wider and much deeper. Imaging and separation are excellent. These headphones make it easy to get lost in the performance when you close your eyes, layering the instruments out with visual accuracy.

There is a wealth of bass that measures north of neutral. It’s not the tightest or most controlled bass, but it sounds very lifelike. It feels good and right. The lows bloom, bleeding a little into the lower mids, but not enough to do harm. It merely gives the 99C its warm characteristic. Her sub frequencies punch with moderate authority. Rather than a high degree of texture, the Meze’s low-end carries the same liquidity found throughout the whole spectrum. They are a delight to bask in.

Her treble has nice extension and casts plenty of light over the presentation. These highs possess a purity and sweetness to them. They remind me most of JHAudio Angie’s treble: delicious honey. Yet there’s more treble than Angie gives you. Meze’s highs add so much air and brightness to the stage, without ever leaving the warm signature. Such sparkly treble is the much-needed counter balance to that serious bass. It keeps things open and airy, never straying into dark territory.

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For me, the true star of the show is the midsection. Describing the lows and highs might seem like we’re dealing with a V-Shape signature. But the vocals are FAR too present for that to be true. They are front and center and so very intimate. Nowhere does the clarity play a bigger role than with the vocals. They are naked. So clean, clear, and transparent. Here, too, is where the resolution and detail get to shine, bringing out every nuance the recording contains. Above all this you get a heavenly timbre and the most natural tonality. It’s an enchanting experience.

What excites me to no end about the Meze 99 Classics is that they don’t need a desktop amp to sound their best. Driven from a medium-powered DAP, like my AK120II, the dynamics are some of the best I’ve heard from any of my bigger and meaner headphones. Between 75-110/150, I can get them loud enough to satisfy anyone, no matter how quiet the track. My Galaxy S6 has no trouble, either. The same is true for the Momentum 2.0. They are, after all, mobile headphones. But unlike the M2, the Meze sounds truly and honestly complete from my Astell&Kern. The Sennheiser sounds a tiny bit underpowered. When I plugged them into a more powerful device, like the FiiO X5, Cayin i5, or Opus#1, they filled out nicely. The 99C is ready to impress at the drop of a hat, on whatever device you have on hand.

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Due to the brilliant balance of frequencies, there is no DAP I would caution against pairing with the Meze. My AK is on the warmer side, while the Opus#1 is an exceptional case of neutral done like a warrior-king. The 99C celebrates the virtues of both devices. I’ve also read great things about the Cayin i5>99C pairing, Cayin being warmer still than my AK. That is Meze’s mastery of tuning at work. This headphone will never sound too dark, nor too bright. It will maintain a balance and sound splendid regardless.

The 99 Classics are of a quality high enough to sit among my desktop phones. The HD6XX, being open-back, has an unfair advantage in some ways, like naturalness. Closed-backs will never sound quite like that. But the 99C matches it in resolution and tonal accuracy. I also hear more sub-bass and greater clarity. Although, the HD6XX has more texture and control over its low-end. The Meze’s treble is not as rolled-off. That lush, smooth, liquid sound is present in both.

All in all, I feel the 99C has more in common with the Audeze LCD-2. Not that it’s closer in performance, but rather closer in character. Quality goes to Audeze by a not insignificant margin. But that transparency and treble puts them closer in nature than the HD6XX, which sounds darker by far.

So what about the only comparison that really matters?

Is there a single area where the Sennheiser Momentum beats the Meze 99 Classics? Well, not really. The M2’s treble is not as sparkly or as organic. The bass is not as memorable or as fulfilling. The vocals lack the clarity and vibrancy of the 99C. Soundstage, width and depth. Imaging. Transparency. Dynamics. On some of these points, the Momentum is only a tad behind the game. On others, like the treble and vocals, Meze exists in a higher realm entirely. The 99 Classics is better in every way.

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Did I mention I am a fan of the Momentum? It may sound like I have an axe to grind. I don’t. I’ve enjoyed these cans for over a year. They have a sound I find exceedingly pleasant. Many people in the Help & Introduction forum have suffered my ceaseless recommendation of the Momentum 2.0 Over-Ear.

I’ve simply found a better headphone. If you need portability, closed-back, easy to drive, and high levels of comfort, direct those creepy peepers right here. At $309 you can have a circumaural experience that matches IEMs that cost $1500 or more. When I put on these cans at work, no longer do I feel as though I’m slumming it. They hold their own in a big bad way. No matter what my ears are in the mood for, I have the equipment to immerse myself in transcendent audio.

I can’t tell you how delirious it makes me the 99C are also so easy on the eyes. I love the retro styling of the Sennheiser Momentum, and the Meze have their own throwback elegance. The modern aesthetic of Oppo failed to get my juices flowing. Meze, on the other hand, does me in all the right ways. I’m a slut for wood.

-~::Pinky_Powers::~-

99CMetalWork01.jpg
antz123
antz123
PP - Awesome review, and fun reading it. I still have to work on cable as directed by you, but I shall get there :)
 
Keep writing
senzen
senzen
Great review, I too have greatly enjoyed my 99s. 
ModMax
ModMax
Nice review.  Very enjoyable read.  Quick question:  How is the isolation compared to the M2 in your opinion?

s_f_g

New Head-Fier
Pros: Immersive natural sound, built to last, portability
Cons: Ear pads can get a little warm
Long-winded background

While far from claiming to be an audiophile, I have always appreciated good quality sound – driving from Devon to Cornwall to buy Heybrook HB1s and later becoming obsessed with Irving M. Fried’s ‘IMF’ transmission lines. After a succession of headphones that broke far too soon I settled on the Soundmagic E10 and the Grado SR60s. After a year the Grado’s cables detached from the cup but welding them back proved a simple fix. After a while, however, it seems I had welded them one time too many and they packed up. The Soundmagics lasted a few days longer than their warranty before their (non-replaceable) cables also packed up, and the electrical shop wouldn’t even look at them – saying earphone cables were too small and fiddly to repair.

I had had enough of headphones that were neither robust nor repairable. But I wanted good sound! I visited Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis in London to try on everything from high end open back to budget headphones – keeping an eye out for that rare thing, great sound and robustness.

In the middle of trying on the much-commended Oppo PM-3 headphones in Selfridges, an employee pointed me towards the Meze 99 Classics, signalling that these were his favourites. I didn’t recognise the brand and had never been a tremendous fan of AKG-like headbands, which these had, but tried them on briefly. I was taken aback by their sound, which stood out from that of the other portables I had been trying. Later, seeing Meze’s claims about build quality with the rare words ‘built to last’, combined with the reviews on this page, I was even more curious about the headphones.

Disclaimer:
I wanted to trial the Mezes more thoroughly outside of the busy store and Meze very kindly provided me this pair for review.

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Sound quality

My interest in these headphones was based largely on accounts of sound quality on this page and many reviews cover this part well. Here is my novice interpretation.

Immersive. When first listening to the Mezes in the store I was absorbed by the particular nature of their sound, unlike my experience with other headphones in the store. This quality held up while trialling them more thoroughly. The 99Cs make you want to listen; I found hours went by immersed in the music.

Portable, adaptable. Another appeal to me was the fact that they were said to be driven well without an amplifier and that they suit many genres of music. To me, this made them both portable and adaptable. Playing through a phone (a Huawei P9 Lite) produces plenty of volume. They sound as good playing folk band Lau’s ‘Lightweights & Gentlemen’ as they do grime artist Kano’s (wonderfully produced) ‘Roadman’s Hymn’. Nitin Sawhney’s ‘The Pilgrim’ sounds as spellbinding as it should, with wonderful soundstage and separation. The detailed midrange means Joss Clapp’s guitar in Kathryn tickell’s ‘Air Moving’ is a joy. The sub bass isn’t conjured out of nowhere but controlled and satisfying where I want it, as in Murlo’s ‘Lava Leaf’ and Joker soundtrack ‘Why So Serious?’. The treble in Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s ‘In the Back of a Taxi’ is crisp. After listening to them briefly with an Arcam Alpha 8 amplifier, I'm sure there is even more to get out of the 99Cs with decent amplification.

Sonically, the 99Cs impressed me more than the B&W P5, P7, PX, B&O Beoplays, Bose QuietComforts, Sennheiser Momentums and Oppo PM-3s. Of course, some of these have dramatically different emphases, but I found that unless you have a particularly strong liking for bass emphasis (Momentums) or accuracy (Oppo PM3 – which I didn’t find nearly as engaging!), the Mezes were an incredibly solid contender. It might be interesting to compare them to the Denon AH-MM400s, which I tried once and feel could be somewhat comparable – although I’m not sure if the Denons are as repairable.

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Comfort, design

I find the look and functionality come together very well. The wooden cups are exquisite, and the whole thing has a very 'quality' feel. The initial prejudice against the metal headband design is long gone, I find it brings the headphone together well.

The ear cups feel good and isolate decently for commuting, although they can occasionally get a bit warm and sweaty. The adjustable headband strap is simple and works as it should. A very minor point I find is that the metal headband can resonate quite loudly when tapped or knocked.


Overall thoughts

It is impressive that a company’s first headphones can tick so many boxes that other manufacturers fail to address.

I would choose these headphones alone for their sound character; soundstage, natural presentation and absorbing qualities alone, but their exquisite build and serviceability in the portable headphone market really sets them apart.

It feels like a rare find, to come across a small company making such fine headphones in this price bracket; I wonder how long it will be before they appear everywhere?

TravAndAlex

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

SOULSIK

Member of the Trade: Audio Excellence
Pros: Wooden cups. Sound. Build. Less clamping force
Cons: Not that different from the neo. debatable if its worth an extra 100.
Video review:

sound demo:


INTRODUCTION


Previously, I reviewed the Meze 99 neo, a great headphone that everyone on my team loved. I even put it as “all in one solution” for both home and portable usage. Now we review its bigger brother, the Meze 99 classic. With minimal differences, I was doubtful that there would be any sound differences. However, to my surprise there were few notable differences aside from the “looks.” Read on to find out more.

ABOUT MEZE

Meze is a Romanian audio company that has their values set right.

Their values:

Meze Headphones had 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.

And where there is values lies passion:

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.

and their wood craftsman ship set above normal standards:

The choice of wood is an inherently difficult one. Obtaining the desired qualities for wooden parts is a long and hard path. The rich colors of walnut require the use of air drying, the longer and more expensive process. Steam or kiln drying are cheaper techniques, but the colors tend to be washed out and there are also structural risks. It takes eighteen months for the wood to dry properly. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient: we know that the result is worth the wait.

Then, 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 don’t sell ice cream. We fight time: this is the pride of the creator.
The craftsmanship of our designs is paramount. It allows us to show the world our products almost exactly as imagined. The wooden components 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.

It is worth mentioning that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from sources with certificate of origin. That is, mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. 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.

DISCLAIMER

This review unit was sent to me by Meze for this review. As usual, all my reviews will stay honest and unbiased

SPECS

  • Transducer size: 40mm
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Rated input power: 30mW
  • Maximum input power: 50mW
  • Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  • Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
  • Ear-cups: walnut wood
THE BUILD QUALITY

The build quality is incredible for the price and I have no complaints. Might as well skip this section if you are looking for anything but praise.

The headphone is asymmetrical, allowing you to plug in the connectors any way you like it. Left & Right is irrelevant. This might seem like a small thing but it is extremely convenient in the long run. – same as the 99 neo

Meze also decided to magically make the headphones more comfortable and fit large types of head sizes be making the headphone adjustments “auto-adjustable,” with it stretching mechanism. There is nothing you need to do to get the perfect fit, Meze says “this is our job.” The headphone fit perfectly with great comfort and isolation. I felt like the headphones were customized for my head. – same as the 99 neo



Unlike its little brother, the classic comes in nice walnut wooden cups, which in my opinion looks incredible and contributed to the sonic characteristics of this unit.

I do not understand how Meze can automatically find a way to make great stock cables when most companies out there cannot. With that being said, they do come with two cables, one longer cable for home use and one shorter one with control buttons for travel. The cables are braided up to the point of the splitters and then splits into a plastic/rubbery material that also do not feel cheap. I prefer this kind of mechanism (as long as it does not feel like cheap plastic/rubber) because it reduces the microphonic. – Same as the neo

The connectors are 3.5mm and terminates in a 3.5mm with a ¼ inch adaptor.

The case that comes with the headphones is very nice and sturdy however, the headphones do not fit unless you unplug the connectors. They do include a separate case just for the cables but this is very inconvenient on the go and I would like to see a case where you do not need to unplug the connectors. – same as the neo

The clamping force is less than the neo, which I believe contributes to the sound differences.

The metal suspension seems sturdy and very solid. Although I felt like it was a little bit thin, I understand that the headphone needed to lose all the weight it can, for transportation use. – same as the neo

The pads are also very soft and surprisingly comfortable despite its small size. I did find that the cups were a little bit too small and may not fit everyone’s ears perfectly “inside the cups” – same as the neo

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You want to talk about style. Let us talk about style. Hands down, my favorite looking headphones. I personally like the wooden design more than the 99 neo.



SOUND QUALITY

Overall, the sound signature is like that of the neo, so go check out that review for more “how it sounds like,” here, I will be talking about the differences.

What I believe changes the sound: different clamping force & wooden cups.

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Overall Thoughts

There is not much sound difference unless you really sit down and go back and forth numerous time on the same track. If you want a great all in one solution at a cheaper value, you go with the neo. If you have a big head or really like wood then you go with the classic.

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dan.gheorghe

1000+ Head-Fier
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.
Joeybgood
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

moedawg140

Grand Master Moe "G"….Don't crossface me, bro!
Ping Pong Champ: SF Meet (2016,2017), CanJams (London 2016, RMAF 2016, NYC 2017, SoCal 2017, RMAF 2017)
Pros: One-of-a-kind build, pride in build and listening experience
Cons: Some listeners may feel that the earpads may get warm over time
Review: Meze Headphones 99 Classics
 
 
I tried to post a review only to the review template, but I was unable to because the system stated I was above the maximum character count, hence the review thread creation.
 
My main review is here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/811551/review-meze-headphones-99-classics.
 
Here is the TL:DR version (my video with comparisons and full review is located in the review thread):
 
 
Is the 99 Classics worth it?

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

 
Specifications
 
  1. Transducer size: 40mm
  2. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
  3. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  4. Impedance: 32Ohm
  5. Rated input power: 30mW
  6. Maximum input power: 50mW
  7. Two Detachable Kevlar OFC cables (Length = 4 ft/ 1.2 m and ~9.84 ft/ 3 m)
  8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  9. Weight: 260 grams (9.2 ounces) without cables
  10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
  11. Earpad inner dimensions: Length = 6 cm/ 2.36 in X Width = 4.5 cm/ 1.77 in

dany111777

New Head-Fier
Pros: Design, overall sound quality, soundstage, value for money, easy to drive
Cons: Nothing of importance, see details
The review you are about to read is very personal and contains details some might find boring or unimportant. You have been warned.
 
My personal search for a great headphone began with a love for music. As my tastes changed over the ears, getting very into jazz and classical, so did the need for a headphone to better express the genres. Though, I remember with great emotion a period from 10-15 years ago, owning a pair of Senns CX95 and a Sony Walkman NW3, strolling through the city, enjoying notes on a fun level. At some point I began to feel the need for a on/over ear headphone, as the earpiece began to feel somewhat uncomfortable.
 
As my budget started growing I bought and then sold a big number of headphones: Koss Porta Pro, Senns PX100, Grado Sr60, Grado Sr225, Senn HD600, Audio Technica AD900 ... and ultimately The HD800. I just loved the soundstage on the HD800 ... yet the headphone sounded a bit tiring. I switched from a SS Burson to the Wooaudio WA2, then bought too many lamps for it...
 
In the meantime I also spent a fortune on a Meridian G08 CD player and a large number of CDs. One day I found myself inside the house with a huge headphone over my had, not being able to enjoy the music elsewhere, having to manually change the CDs and, on top of that, with a sound quality impressive yet fatiguing.
 
Having previously heard a large number of headphones, I decided to sell the combo and buy a pair of fun speakers with an amp, ending up owning the Focal Aria 906... A mature decision.
 
After a while I began craving for music on the go... the previous experience felt like a rock on my heart, so I wanted nothing of importance. One day, as I was on vacation I saw the PX 100 II, for sale in a store in Paris, 40 euros. Paid the price, got the phones, got another inexpensive piece of equipment, the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ and suddenly I could enjoy music again, of very decent quality and more important, with great soundstage. All that for  a little over 100 euros.
 
Two years later, a friend managed to convince me of the bass on the PXs is a bit enhanced. An idea then started to grow in my head. Months later I managed to listen to the new Sennheiser Orpheus along with the LCD4 and other great stuff. I found superb music quality in headphones I would never buy, not solely because of the price (!), but lack of portability.
 
Being so interested in soundstage, I would never thought of trying closed headphones. Yet, a few weeks ago I ended up listening to the Sennheiser Momentum M2, and I couldn't believe my ears. I wanted to buy the pair on the spot, but somehow managed to retain myself, pending further investigation. 
 
So I dwelled into the dark depths of the head-fi forums and other internet pages, seeking for the perfect no-amp headphone at a decent price, because I would never want to spend 1000+ dollars on audio equipment, not when I have the PX 100 II for 40 euros.
 
So did the Meze 99 appear in the picture. I couldn't believe all the good reviews, so I decided to buy a pair. Of course, I was a little afraid that the good marketing of the company would influence those reviews, not to mention the bad experience I previously had with other people's ears (the LCD2? really?). On top of that, the company is romanian, so a state of patriotism began to grow...
 
Having received the phones yesterday, I can only tell you the following: sell the other **** and get a pair. If you happen to own the Stax SR009 and the BHSE, sell it, get a pair, and travel the world for a month or two with the money, and I guarantee you will enjoy your music and you will forget about equipment, bass, treble, soundstage, amps, etc... It's gonna be just you and Mozart (or Ozzie?).
Do the headphone sound as good as the Focal Utopia or the Audeze LCD4? No, they don't. But if you happen to love music, I urge you to forget about all the technical stuff and to find a phone you will be happy for the rest of your life. Instead of discovering new planar magnetic drivers, discover new recordings of Mahler's 5th, or new albums by Miles (or new death metal?).
 
The sound of the Mezes? You have the innerfidelity review on that, it's accurate. The bit about the loose bass too :). I honestly hope everyone will rediscover the love for music with these headphones, as I did. Because, man, it was really a painful journey!
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
Interesting review!

The secret is in the drivers actually, the distortion figures are crazy low and this is why they play music very well. I tested this using my mastering tools actually. The soundstage is also much better than I expected. With some EQ, the soundstage extends way more than it usually does for closed back headphones! 
 
Also, don't worry. I am neutral in my reviews! I try to describe things in detail, not sweeten things out! Taste is subjective, I want to help people get what would make them happy! The fact that 99C after EQ fits right in with my taste is one of the best things to happen to me, but I tried to describe them as neutral as I could! Still rocking them every day and I also own ie800, this should say enough. 
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
By the way, you didn't deliver! You promised a boring review! This was an interesting review! =_=

Keep up the fun! 
vodanhkhack
vodanhkhack
Very interesting review! That 's the way of enjoying music. Thanks

adeypoos

New Head-Fier
Pros: Light, comfortable, musical, dynamic and warm sound
Cons: Earpads can get a bit warm, bass can be over emphasised
My route to headphone bliss!


My story wouldn't have started at all if it wasn't for the crappy headband quality of my previous pair of headphones, the Focal Spirit Professional. After a 2nd pair cracked-up on me, believe me when I say I wasn't! Pity, because the sound was all I wanted in a headphone, or at least I thought that to be the case at the time. Comfort, on the other hand was bearable, certainly not in the same league as my Sennheiser HD558's but noticeably better than my Grado SR80's. I have to start by saying that my headphone requirements have somewhat changed since my early foray into head gear. I used to be of the opinion that closed back headphones were boxy sounding and lacking in "air" and soundstage qualities. That was largely true at the time(early 90's) and I went for the highly-rated and reasonably priced Grado SR-80's, which to my ears were dynamic and free-flowing in sound but also quite harsh sounding as well. About 4 or 5 years ago I picked-up the Sennheiser HD-558's for a bargain price(about £90 if remember correctly). These were so comfortable, very smooth sounding and their soundstage was excellent. Quite the opposite of the Grado's in fact but lacking dynamic expression. However, I was able to listen to them for hours on end in comfort, without my ears getting fatigued as they did with the Grado's.

So coming more up to date, a couple of years ago I decided that in a busy household I needed sealed headphones to keep sound both in and out for everyone's sanity. I had listened to the Bose QC25's, which were amazing for keeping out sound, but made me feel like I was on a train going through a tunnel at times. They also lacked clarity and refinement, so were out of the running. I went into a branch of GAK and checked out the Shure SR840(good value but harsh), Shure 940(very bright and lacking bass - these were on special offer and I could see why based on what I'd heard), Beyer Dynamic DT770(comfy but closed and muffled sounding to me), Audio Technica M50's(boomy bass and harsh treble). I also listened to the Sennheiser HD650's as a reference, just in case there is, in fact, something wrong with my hearing. Fortunately for me, these sounded great, even on an iphone, but being open cans, they were contrary to my headphone objectives. Onwards to Richer Sounds. I listened to the AKG 550's, which are highly rated by many publications. Good open sound for closed cans, but they were harsh in the upper midband and treble. Onto the Shure SR1540's. Incredibly well made and comfortable. Very smooth sounding(too smooth and a bit boring really), but with an elevated upper bass and treble in a "loudness button" fashion. Expensive too! The Oppo PM3's were very neutral and clean but unexciting to my ears. Probably didn't give these enough of a chance, but none of these cans compared to the Focal Spirit Pros! So after 2 years of headphone contentment from a sound point of view, if not comfort and build quality, I found myself in the market for headphones once again. Step forward the Meze 99 Classics! As I had done with the FSP's, I read many reviews to gauge the quality of sound and comfort, especially as there were no dealers within a sensible distance to audition. It would cost me almost as much in travel costs to audition as to buy, so I took a punt based on reviewers I have come to know and trust as having sound preferences similar to my own and ordered a Walnut/Silver pair of 99 Classics.


Comfort

As soon as I put these onto my head I knew the comfort concerns were not going to be a problem. My main concern would be with the earpads getting warm and they do a bit. However providing the ambient temperature isn't too high and you are not doing anything too strenuous they're not too bad. Head clamp force seems fine to me, although after the FSP's I was used to this and the 99C's are much nicer to wear. Not Sennheiser 558 comfort, but close enough. They are nice and light too!


Construction

After the Focal Spirit Pros, I could not bring myself to trust Focal's quality of construction again. So when I was looking into the 99 Classic's, the metal headband(even if it does ring occasionally when you go to scratch your head, it won’t snap in a hurry), wooden ear-cups(look and feel quality), kevlar cables(cable microphony isn’t a big deal to me) et al definitely had an influence on my purchase decision. Opening the box, surveying the walnut and silver finish, quality of fit and finish is first class. They are stunning to behold and every pair is unique to boot!




Sound

Straight out of the box, the bass bloats a bit and the treble is wispy and lacking in detail - all the usual qualities of a brand new set of cans really.

After a few hours things improved noticeably in the areas mentioned and I could clearly hear the potential of these cans.


On the third day with my new Meze 99 Classics. Sound-wise, the changes are more subtle now. I think the bass is a bit more solid but it still has a luscious warmth to it, which I am liking for the most part. My Focal Spirit Pros were more controlled throughout the bass region, but burn-in times are not on a par just yet so it's too early to say, although I think the bass warmth of the 99C's is here to stay. I'm not sure if I prefer it to the FSP's but it is a nice change after having got used to a particular sound signature for a couple of years, one that was punchy and extended, albeit slightly drier and more neutral in presentation. One area where I think the 99C's have improved is in what “Naimee's" would call P.R.A.T. which I guess falls into line with my previous comment about improved solidity in the bass region. I imagine this will be where the 40 hour burn in time comes into play - not there yet, but homing in rapidly. Reckon I'm on 25 hours now. The treble seems a little more incisive at this point, with a more natural decay to cymbals. Now I'm only listening via a Macbook Pro headphone output and I haven't hooked up my Firestone Fubar 4 headphone amp at this point, so it'll be interesting to see if this makes any difference at all(it certainly did with my FSP's but I'm not convinced it'll make such a difference with the 99C's).

I think the stand out sound point for me is the sheer sweetness and musicality of the 99C's, they are a lot more of an easy listen than the FSP's, unsurprising really as they are a studio monitoring headphone. Liquid comes to mind and at the moment I am loving it.


Day 4 - things have settled down across the frequency range now. Far less of the errant bass and treble of day 1, but the lovely, musical warmth the 99C's exhibit still shines through like a beacon. Been listening to some more rock today and another thing has struck me about the sound, the 99C's really shine when there is a distorted guitar sound. I guess the effect is akin to that of tube v solid-state amp and you fellow guitarists will know what I mean by that. There is something about the way distortion is rendered, in that it makes the music much creamier and more listenable. I often find the sound of distorted guitars to be a problem for headphones(and hi-fi equipment generally) in that there is often a glare to the sound that is harsh, making certain genres of music unpleasant to listen to. Now the 99C’s certainly aren’t perfect, but my hearing isn't and I'm not sure that ultra high end headphones would do a "better" job than the 99C's in terms of listenability. I am convinced that the slightly elevated bass warmth and possibly the wooden maple tonality may be the reason for this. Again, I have to stress that I am listening through the bare output of a Macbook Pro, so I'm sure the sound will notch up further when a dedicated headphone amp is used.

Something I haven't mentioned yet is the soundstage. Wow, for closed back headphones the 99C's are very good and that along with fairly good sound isolation means they are very practical for all kinds of situations. The sense of space instruments are given is fine indeed, not in a sterile, analytical way, but retaining the feeling of togetherness at all times and the focus on the emotion and performance of a song. Don’t get me wrong here, they are detailed enough, without being overly analytical.


So here we are just over a week in. I reckon I'm just past the 40 hour burn in point and I can speak more clearly about my impressions of the 99C's. The bass seems to be getting better as time goes on. Listening to "Forgotten places" by Alif Tree there is a pronounced double bass line which sounds wonderfully fluid and tactile without being boomy. This track would highlight bass inadequacies quite clearly and I'm happy that the drivers in the 99C's are subtly changing for the better. The bass has P.R.A.T. whilst remaining warm. The treble seems to have smoothed out and become more detailed as well. These headphones are so easy to listen to and yet they are not "easy listening" in their presentation owing to the vivacity and musical pleasure they convey. My first week has been immensely satisfying and I'm glad I didn't splurge on the B&W P7 wireless I'd auditioned in a shop the week before. These headphones are much better than those, sonically speaking, although the bluetooth convenience would have been nice.


Three weeks in and I'm not sure if my ears are deceiving me but I'm still hearing improvements in the bass. The tubbiness has largely gone, although the warmth is still there. Midrange performance seems to be better as well, although I think this may be because the bleed from bass region has reduced, bringing out the midrange qualities. Listening to James Brown’s classic album “In the Jungle Groove”, snare and drum hits seem to have more dynamic expression and those subtle shuffles that Clyde Stubblefield produces on the “Funky drummer” have more impact and separation than before. Charles Sherrell’s bass line is rich and mellifluous. Some people scoff at burn-in time on equipment - I beg to differ!


I am about 6 weeks into ownership of these cans now. I have been listening with my iPhone 5S, MacBook Pro headphone output and finally, my headphone amp, the Firestone Fubar 4 amp/dac.

The sound definitely steps up in definition and clarity through this amp, but the fundamental musicality of the 99C’s remains the same. What is nice is that I don’t really miss not having playback through a higher end source, which I thought might be the case when I finally got around to using a dedicated headphone amp. Having said that, one can definitely appreciate a better source - it doesn’t go un-noticed when it’s there.

Just sounding out my thoughts(pun intended), I’m amazed by how the 99C’s scale up or down without embarrassing the sound source. The quality of the recording matters, of course, but a lot of headphones are barely listenable on poor, compressed recordings - not the case with these. This is good news because I don’t feel the need to seek out the best recordings any more, which makes a lot of music more accessible now. This would not be the case with my Grado SR80’s, which would literally strip the skin off the inside of my ear drum on poor recordings that I can listen to quite comfortably with the 99C’s. Critics might say this is the transparency superiority of the Grado’s - say what you like, but if I can listen to music comfortably for longer, both physically and aurally, that is good news as far as I’m concerned.


At the 2 month point, I would say the 99 Classics have really settled in now, to the point where they are, to my ears, not going to change noticeably any more. They are not perfect sonically, but musically they are divine. I have continued to hear their sound attributes blossom. Whether this is still burn-in or me getting used to their sonic signature, I don’t know anymore. What I can say is that these are extremely enjoyable and sound exceptional for the money. Highly recommended, whatever your choice of music or means of playback, as a long-term investment in head-fi pleasure. Enjoy!

swnger

New Head-Fier
Pros: Beautiful visual design First class construction materials natural sonics
Cons: Ear cups could be a little bigger for full over the ear effect
I'm not an absolutist.  I think a product should be reviewed from the view point of claims made for the product and the value that in represents to the user.
 
Judging  the Mezze 99 Classics on those factors It's a purely outstanding product offering.  If your the kind of person that likes to read the first two lines of a review then hop over to the Meze site and give them your hard earned cash.  You wont be sorry.
 
Want some more torture?  Please read on.
 
I always get a big charge out of the unboxing Videos on YouTube.  They seem to be a voyeuristic guilty pleasure, kind of shoppers porno.  I wouldn't usually include packaging in a review for a product but I think Meze's packaging for the Classic 99 is well done.  I'm often a "B" stock buyer I think the company has had a second chance at making the product right so as you can see the white "B" box can work for me.
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Box Front   Simple classic
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I think the line at the bottom of the back of the Box tells the story " Perfect natural sound Perfect natural Fit" 
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The nicely done zippered semi-hard head phone storage case that contains the Meze 99 classic's and accessories.  The accessories come in a convenient separate zippered case
 
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The accessories pouch contains both wires standard and one with a microphone and remote control.  Airplane adapter and 1/4 inch head phone adapter.
 
The package with the Meze Classic 99 is first rate.  So is the construction of the headphones.  Made with metal and wood they have a natural and substantial feel to them. 
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All you have to do is grab the ear cups spread the spring steel tension bars and place them on your ears and your ready to listen.  Comfortable, simple, with just the right tension. I have large ears so they touch my ear lobes but I don't find it objectionable.  Would it be better if my lobes fit inside.  Yes but this isn't a deal breaker for me.  I have several hours of listening to them under my belt and I find them comfortable.
 
After all this I'm sure you're asking " Swnger for heavens sake what the heck do these things sound like?" 
 
I don't have a desk full of Amps Headphones DACs but have decided to do the listening with a simple rig that you can put together for under $1000 including the Meze Classic 99.
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The test rig consists of the Meze Classic 99 $309 , The Fiio X5 2nd Gen $349 and The Fiio K5 desk top amp and docking station $110  total $768
 
I've been an audiophile since 1983 and one thing I've learned is that lots of audio gear gives you very little sonic improvement for extreme dollars.  I'm a vinyl guy with over 1000 Eps that I have ported over to Hi Rez in the last 10 years.  I also have an extensive collection on CD and Hi Rez downloads.  That being said I'm all about the music and not a total gear head.
 
To prepare  the Meze Classic 99 for this review a burned in the headphones with over 40 hours of pink noise that I got from the Dr.Chesky  ultimate headphone Demo down load. Those 40 hours were torture.  I wanted to play with my new toy. Finally the moment of truth arrived and I put the Meze Classics over my ears and I started:
 
First selection was Chilly Gonzales  " Chambers"  Piano and strings on tap.  Natural' engaging with clean attack and decay on both the strings and piano.  Satisfying acoustic realism. Showed Chilly's special touch on the piano delicate with an underling sense of power.
 
Ella and Louis were up next.  Ella's voice like cream Louis voice like gravel on "Can't we be Friends" So strong mid range. Louis trumpet sole clean clear. lovely upper mid range.
"Under a blanket of blue"  good drive in the bass line solid.  Mid bass good.
 
How about James Browns " Mans world"  Good separation in the complex back ground so good definition  "Make it Funky" Super reproduction on the funky bass line. Hammond organ shuffling nicely.
 
Daf Punk "Lose yourself to dance"  Solid dance bass line,  Channel  good separation for EDM .  Guitar drive very clean.
 
John Barry "Diamonds are forever"  If your looking to see how things handle horns James Bond is the place to look.  The Meze Classic 99 handle the dynamics of this album very well. The strings and lush full and resolved..  The waltz "Circus Circus "  shows the violin and bells with good treble.
 
Lets go for deep sub bass.  Boys Noize  Octave Mind  electronica deep bass hard for any thing to reproduce.  very well done can feel it in the tip of my toes.
 
In Conclusion
$309 No brainer.  I think the Meze Classic 99 punches well above its weight class in every way.  Like I said in line two it's a buy it.
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice objective review! Too bad you are a "pink noise" type of guy. Personally I enjoy hearing the transformation of the sound during burn-in.
swnger
swnger
I'm not a total Pink noise guy, but last week was busy and I wanted to give the headphones a fair review.  So Pinked them.  Made a nice improvement in the sonics from when I took them out of the box. Yes I would have liked to hear the progression.

Cheaplad

Head-Fier
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.
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  • 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.

B9Scrambler

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Build quality - Design - Comfort - Energetic and reasonably balanced signature
Cons: Cloth cables are a tad noisy
 ​

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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
Bansaku
Bansaku
Great review!
jinxy245
jinxy245
Very nice review...I enjoyed the description of your aural journey.
B9Scrambler
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.

Army-Firedawg

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Amazing warm non fatiguing sound, respectably affordable, user serviceable
Cons: metal frame slightly too tight (but may stretch over time)
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    When first beginning my time with this unit I honestly never thought that it’d give my go to Bowers & Wilkins P7 a run for their money like they did but whew. These beauties really aren’t just good looking let me tell you that.  Before I begin this adventure I need to give a large thanks to @Mezeteam for approving me into this tour. I’ve been wanting to hear this ever since I first seen their design and the wait was most certainly worth it. So again Meze I thank you for my time with these was truly enjoyed and not just me either; many at the Carolina CanFest 5 found tremendous enjoyment out of these as well! But enough pleasantries, let’s dive into this shall we?
 
 I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
    My interests/hobbies are powerlifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
    What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
    My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have great extension and detail reveal but I don't like artificial treble in order to achieve that. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics & Stax SR009.
 
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The Opening Experience
 
For those who don’t know me, I’m a stickler for the unboxing experience. For to me this represents a company extending their hand out to introduce themselves. Perhaps it’s my Kentucky background who knows, but I believe wholeheartedly in delivering a firm handshake and introducing yourself with confidence and pride.
    It’s extremely rare that a consumer has the opportunity to meet with the people behind the brand you’re purchasing. So in my opinion a product that shows pride and is displayed professionally and with confidence (i.e. not bogged down with useless jargon) that’s a huge plus for me and is representative of receiving a firm handshake. I’ve met some fine people in my life that are very successful but have a very limp handshake, and even knowing their background I’m disappointed and bored everytime we initially meet and it takes them a while for me to get interested in what they have to offer.
    In the case of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics, from the outer box they score respectably to me. The front and sides of the box are exactly what I look for, they let my mind wonder into what these really look like, sound like and feel like. The box is well made and feels nice and the sides are equally teasing with only a frequency graph to lure me in a little more. And then there’s the back. I kinda relate these to romance time with your significant other, they’re in their sexiest outfit and building you up and despite knowing what they look like the build up just makes it much better. Then mid way into the build up they just drop everything suddenly. Again you know that what you were going to see is beautiful but there’s no need to rush things.
    That analogy describes the outer box of the 99 Classics perfectly. Everything builds up to you slowly opening the box and unveiling the treasure underneath but then when you check out the back NOPE DENIED. There it is with a whole buncha words, phrases and quotes about the perfection of these and other hype builders of these. Actually on that note,before I dive deeper I HATE that word. For there is NO such thing as perfect and I find that a little a bit arrogant to insignifi such. But I digress
    As I finally open the box I’m now greeted with a very nice presentation of the molded case that shapes to the headphones and gold colored Meze logo. Upon lifting the quite hard case up I’m enjoying the very nice curves of the case that outline the headphones inside beautifully. While unzipping the case, you begin to see the beautifully crafted art work that lies underneath and once the restrictive article is fully opened the artwork underneath truly is stunning.
    Real walnut wood cups and all aluminum framework makes these one of the most visually striking headphones I’ve ever seen. They possess a real nice weight to them that’s not heavy, but enough to feel sturdy in my hands. Also included is two very high quality cables (1 microphones mobile cable and 1 6’ standard cable), an airplane adaptor and a ¼” adaptor.
    So, was I given a memorable opening experience to the Meze Headphones 99 Classics? You better darn believe it!
 
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Construction
 
As I say in most of my reviews, this is an aspect that I feel is often overlooked; even amongst high end headphones. What’s the use of listening to audio nirvana if it only lasts one session? I touched on this in the previous section but the 99 Classics are build beautifully well. Real wood ear cups add an very nice and natural feel without any give. The aluminum (correction: It's actually spring steel) frame is rugged but has enough give as to not snap if accidental pressure is applied. The cords are well braided and very tangle resistant and what's more they’re detachable, so heaven forbid one becomes frayed you can very easily either buy another from their website or even an upgraded aftermarket cable. So I’ve no concern in my mind with regards to the longevity of the Meze 99 Classics. These should easily last you many years and countless hours or musical bliss, treated properly of course.
 
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Comfort
 
    Now onto the thing I look for second most only to audio quality, and that’s how long can I comfortably wear these without having to adjust or worse remove them? Very little is more irritating than finding that great song but being unable to enjoy it because the gear you’re using to too uncomfortable and does nothing but distract from the piece being performed.
    In the case of the 99 Classics I find them to be acceptable but not perfect in this regard. The frame provides a decent amount of clamping force to my head that granted, I believe will stretch to my size over time (correction: due to the nature of spring steel it's highly unlikely the metal will give any contour), but until then it pushes just a little too much that added with the slightly too small ear cups (that also is subjective because my ears are above normal size) reduces my listening time to roughly 2 hours before I have to take a break from using them.
    If you didn’t notice I used the word “little” intentionally more than is necessary to show that it’s not a horrible thing but only a minor adjustment I feel to make these a top contender headphone in every aspect. Because the headband is wonderfully comfortable as is the memory foam ear pads, but just those two things combined was just what was needed to take away from them hitting the bullseye.
 
EDIT: Meze has since sent me new, larger, ear pads that have made these freaking incredible and was exactly what it needed to send it to a top tier product regardless of ones price. Now, as of this moment I'm unsure if the larger pads now come standard with purchase of the 99 Classics or if you have to purchase those separately. if available standard, the rating of this product will be escalated to a 5. If not the scoring will remain the same but with this note.
 
EDIT UPDATE: The larger earpads do in fact come standard with the Meze Headphones 99 Classics now.
    
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Sound
 
    Hey, looky here we finally made it to the important stuff, the sound quality. Arguably the most important aspect of an audio piece is how well does it not just reproduce the audio signal but how does it relay and appeal that to the listener?
    For those who know and share my tastes in audio (check out my about me if you don’t) will, like me, find great enjoyment out of the 99 Classics. The overall sound signature is beautifully warm and hits me in all the right places and REALLY give my BW P7 a run for their money of my favorite consumer priced headphone!
    The sense of depth is incredible especially for these to be closed back! They provide a nice lifelike sound that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price range) and the only thing I can contribute with this is the wooden back. But allow me to diverge this a little better so that you can better understand how I come up with this overview.
 
Treble
 
    The highs on these are pretty darn nice. They extend out but they do peak a little early. They reflect a lot of detail leaving me feeling satisfied and with plenty of energy. It is by no means at all fatiguing and in fact is quite relaxing. The only real downside I’ve found with the treble on the 99 Classics is that there’s a very notable dip in the mid to upper frequency range. It’s very small and doesn’t last long at all but it is very easily heard. Wanna hear it without having to focus on it? Play the song “Colour of the Moon” by Allan Taylor.
 
Mids
 
MIds are my personal favorite aspect of an audio piece for to me they represent the soul a given piece of gear possesses. The mids are where the vocals are and it’s the vocals that hold the artist's emotions and feelings that they’re trying to portray to the audience. I want to hear that, no, I want to feel that. And if a headphone doesn’t reproduce this range well then I’m left feeling empty and very unsatisfied with what I’m hearing.
When it comes to the 99 Classics I couldn’t have less of a complaint to make. The mid range is truly breathtaking throughout the entire range. The vocals have a realism to them that as I said earlier is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price point). I really feel as if the artist is singing to me personally in a comfortable jazz club setting with very nice acoustics. Regardless if it’s male or female vocals I’m listening to I’m provided a great sense of body with a very welcomed touch of warmth that without continuously rambling on, is something that I will truly miss when I send these off.
 
Bass
 
    The bass, the heartbeat of the music. This section is one that I’m most afraid of hearing for all too often a product will be almost spot on in every other category but because bass is what’s in right now they will pump up the thump to appeal that. Well, though bass is nice to have, I AM NOT a bass head and little turns me off quicker than an overly bass heavy thump machine that dilutes everything around it.
    This fortunately is not the case with the 99 Classics. These, though a slight bass emphasis, are very pleasant to listen to and have a very sensual presentation to its impact. The bass is well controlled but does possess an exaggerated decay that really meshes well with the overall signature of the headphone. The upper bass blends beautifully into the mid section and could be easily confused with each other.
 
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Conclusion
 
    So to sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 99 Classics. I really loved pretty much everything about these. They hit home to me in almost every aspect, the sound is exactly what I look for and has become one of my all time favorite headphones. The warmth they consistently provide in non fatiguing and always leave me longing for a repeat performance.
    The build quality is absolutely top notch and the no glue construction makes these very user serviceable and much sturdier. If properly taken care of I can easily see these lasting a user many MANY years.  
 
Also, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review videos. As well as my 2016 Army-Firedawg product of the year video! I really appreciate it and let me know what you think, if the review helped you don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
 
 
Army-Firedawg
Army-Firedawg
@stellablues Please do follow up (in PM preferably comments NEVER give me any notifications so it may be a while before I check) for I'd love to hear your take on them.
 
@Bansaku DUDE!!!!! Appreciate the insight that's very helpful, I'll update where I can with the info. But that's quite unfortunate though, I mean it's not super tight but it bending to the owners size is something I was looking forward too. BUT as I said it's not toooo much but JUST a little. 
Beagle
Beagle
Nice phones but the dodgy fit, overcooked bass and ringing metal headband take it out of the running for me
Army-Firedawg
Army-Firedawg
@Beagle That's unfortunate, I understand about the fit but hey not every headphones is everyone's glass of YooHoo (best strawberry mild ever of a personal side note). What kinda phones have you tried that you've really enjoyed?

Dadracer

100+ Head-Fier
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???????    
barondla
barondla
Meze website says $309. Thought that might be more.
Dadracer
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. 
Murf926
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!

grizzlybeast

My name is grizzlybeast and I'm an audioholic.
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!
grizzlybeast
grizzlybeast
Kinda jonesing for these.
pablodiablo
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.
MezeTeam
MezeTeam

dweaver

Headphoneus Supremus
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...   
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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
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MaxLee
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?
MadMusicJunkie
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!
dweaver
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

Mightygrey

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Build, detachable cables, comfort, bass, balance, value.
Cons: Cable noise, not entirely 'portable'.
Ok, so I was kinda curious to see what the fuss was about with these Romanian wonders after reading a bunch of glowing reviews, but when my GF saw them onscreen she said "WOW...PRE-TTY!"...and so I simply had to pull the trigger on them, and add them to my growing little family of cans. And after a quick run through two of my favourite albums ('Siamese Dream', Smashing Pumkins; Weezer self-titled a.k.a 'Blue album'), I think we're going to be fighting over them. These things are frikkin' awesome.

 

Ok, so they're lookers. In a particularly 'flashy' kinda way. Not really my thing, and I certainly wouldn't wear them in public (especially in the silver/maple colour), but the craftsmanship is A1. My GF thinks they're beautiful AF. The woodgrain on the maple is awesomely smooth, and the leather on the earpads feels like it's made out of a unicorn's ballsack. Big tick on materials and construction.

 

The packaging (nice magnetic box; hardshell case; zip-up bag for the 2 x cables) is bloody premium, and all-in-all it feels a lot more expensive than its $309 price-tag implies. And I haven't even gotten to the SQ yet. Detachable cables! A short one with play/pause button for portable use, and a longer one for home/hifi use (plus included 6.3mm adapter + airline adapter). They're nice threaded fabric-y ones with a cool Y-splitter.

 

The 99's aren't foldable, and kinda big (but LIGHT) so they're not the most portable pair out there, but my GF will be using these mainly in the office so no worries there.

 

So next, putting them onto your melon. I mentioned they're light, but they're LIGHT. Impossibly comfortable, and the leather strap has a neat elastic stretchy thingy that fits itself to your head-size no worries (I have a big noggin). I'd heard complaints that the earcups were on the small-size, but to their credit Meze have upped the size of the cups, and this pair is genuinely over-ear. Snug, and after 1.5 hours not a hot-spot nor sore piece of cartilage. Those awesome cables I mentioned earlier are a bit microphonic. Brushing them does transfer noise immediately into the wooden earcups, but only if you violently thrash about. Those cool (aluminium?) metal bands over the top make a distinct ringing noise when bumped...so I guess don't go hitting things while using them, not too much of a problem.

 

Ok onto the important part. In short, WOW. These things aren't just fashion cans, they are EXCITING. I'll need to give them more time and play with more genres, but my first impression is that they are surprisingly balanced. My immediate comparison is against the Beyer DT770 (80ohm) as I own those too, and I must say the level of bass is almost as big as theirs. But they're detailed, and not V-shaped at all. There's mids. Glorious mids, with fat electric guitar and all that kind of rock-y goodness. Vocals are detailed too, but not in your face. They have soundstage. Kinda in the same way as the DT770s - there's good L/R detail, and good imaging/separation for a closed pair of cans. Not sibilant or piercing at all in the treble, which is intimate and detailed. I could listen to them for hours (which I plan to), there's not the slightest hint of fatigue.

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In short, big surprise. Perhaps the most impressive closed cans I've heard this side of $500, and for a 'portable' they're the best I've heard. I have to say they're incredible value, and Meze have done a knock-out job. I was considering buying the Audeze SINE over these, but having given them a listen in-store I'm glad I chose these. Yes, they're probably more portable, but I found them underwhelming and couldn't get a good seal on-ear. Plus, my GF doesn't really care that they have "Planar Magnetic technology"...
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Sonic Defender
Sonic Defender
Nice review. It is a big bonus when your significant other actually likes the hobby as well. I agree with her, these are very nice looking headphones that apparently sound as good as they look. May have to get me a set one day.
Mightygrey
Mightygrey
Thank you! It's been great sharing my favourite records and getting to enjoy/share what makes them great all over again.
husafreak
husafreak
Sweet. Spot on review. I just ordered a pair for my wife a couple of days ago after listening (and looking) at them at a recent head-fi meet in San Francisco. Very impressive. My wife likes to listen to headphones while watching tv and she has a very old pair of Sennheiser HD280's for that. I was listening to them the other day and they are kind of creaky and beat now. Well, she has definitely noticed my headphone and general audio related purchases in the past couple years (in a good way) so this is a great way to say thank you and keep her understanding my hobby. They will definitely be a big improvement sound wise over the 280's. I might just have an occaisional listen myself!

SoundApprentice

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Warm and immersive sound. Excellent attention to details in build and design.
Cons: Narrow ear pads can cause discomfort

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WOOD IS GOOD



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“Are those new? They look stylish.” “New headphones? They’re spiffy.” “Ooo, I love those.” I can’t make this stuff up folks. There’s been no shortage of compliments since donning the Meze 99 Classics headphone at my office. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes part of my reviewing process includes testing products from the cubicle of my nine-to-five. Music plays a big part in getting me through the workday—drowning out the chatter of my office mates is also an excellent test. But let’s get back to those compliments. When the look of your headphones catches the eyes of non-audiophiles, as in nearly 60-year-old finance guys and Gen X women, you know you’ve done something unique. That uniqueness is what’s helping put Romania’s Meze Headphones on the audiophile map.

Successfully spurred ahead by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in late 2015, Meze Headphones has been running at full speed since launching the Meze 99 Classics, a gorgeous closed-back wooden headphone that, simply put, sounds as unique as it looks.

 

First Look


“Silver and gold, silver and gold. Ev'ryone wishes for silver and gold. How do you measure its worth? Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth.” Burl Ives certainly didn’t have headphones in mind when he wrote these lyrics for the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special (guilty pleasure; it’s a childhood favorite), but that song popped in my head the moment I saw the 99 in its gold and silver variants. Pleasurable indeed. The 99 is a prime example of #audioporn.

Silver and gold. Black and silver. Walnut and maple. With rich, luxurious finishes—and a $309 price tag—there’s nothing subtle about the 99. It’s eye-catching, it’s elegant, and it’s one of the most aesthetically intriguing headphones I’ve used. From the box, to the cast hardware, to the sustainably sourced wood, Meze Headphones founder and designer Antonio Meze clearly aimed to make the 99 a statement piece. The result is a headphone that’s robust and relentlessly refined—and also surprisingly lightweight (260g). Of the wood headphones I’ve owned, including premium Grado and ZMF models, the precision CNC-cut and hand-finished cups of the 99 stand out. Their satin finish and flawless grain is simply lovely. As a former percussionist that once had an affinity for raw maple snare drums, the silver and maple 99 makes my heart skip a beat.

Meze’s attention to detail doesn’t stop at the headphone itself. The 99 comes with a custom hard zippered travel case, gold-plated 6.3mm (1/4”) and airplane jack adapters, and two cables with a zippered felt storage pouch—a 1.2m portable cable with inline mic and remote and a 3m cable for your home listening room. Manufacturers often cut corners on cables, but Meze delivers a color-matched Kevlar-reinforced OFC cable that’s as refined from end to end as the rest of the 99.

All this attention to detail is all well and good, but does the 99 sound good too?

 

First Listen


While the 99’s look is sharp and elegant, its sound is warm and inviting. And did I mention unique?

The 99 positions you as a backstage VIP, center stage, behind the curtain. Behind the curtain? Don’t let that statement be a turn off. What I mean is that the 99 is intimate in its presentation. The closed-back cups make for an up close and personal listening experience that leaves the music floating just a few inches around your head while the 99’s sonic subtleties draw you in, its warmth envelopes your ears, and its dark balance allows for listening well into the night.

The 99 has what I will call “well-rounded sound.” From its deep sub-bass, to its darker than expected treble, the 99 offers a smooth sliding scale of sound that seduces your ears. There’s not a hint of sharpness, sibilance or roughness, well, anywhere. The bass is boastful, perhaps a bit overzealous at times, but not what I would consider boomy. The mid-range is balanced, warm and robust. The healthy highs roll off in a nicely relaxed manner that, somehow, still sounds acoustically realistic. Revealing? Reference? Maybe not so much—the 99 seems too polite for those terms. But when you settle in and start listening to the music instead of listening to the headphone itself, the 99 becomes incredibly immersing.

When I say that the 99 places you behind the curtain, I realize that implies that it sounds veiled. I hesitate to use that term as it’s so often used in a negative or derogatory way in audio reviews. What I mean is that the 99 has a natural softness to it; it has all the instrument details, all the tonality, and all the accuracy that you could ask for, yet it’s all done so… soothingly—the 99 forces nothing on you; it’s never harsh or in your face; it’s well-controlled, almost as if it’s mimicking the recording session in the dampened studio.

For example, I expected the maple cups to give the 99 some bite—maple is usually a brighter sounding and resonant wood—but there’s no aggressiveness in the sonic signature of the 99. Time and time again it’s just smooth, smooth, smooth. The major perk here is that the 99 is a savior of ****ty sound. It easily tames the sizzle of hot recordings and poor playback devices. In fact, it plays well with every music genre I threw at it—Bjork, Lucy Rose, The Cinematic Orchestra, John Butler, Glass Animals, Ambient Jazz Ensemble, etc., etc.—and it plays well with damn near every device, too.

With a rated sensitivity of 103 dB at 1 kHz/1 mW and 32-ohm impedance, the 99’s 40mm dynamic neodymium/Mylar transducers are so easy to drive that even the most basic smartphones, iPods and DAPs will push them to deafening levels. With that said, I found that amping the 99 made minimal differences performance-wise. I’m used to headphones performing vastly different from amp to amp, but that just wasn’t the case this time around, and I think that’ll be a welcomed trait by anyone looking for hi-fi sound without the desire to acquire other hi-fi devices. While there’s simply no denying that better quality amps and DACs produce better sound, the 99 lets you hear the gear for what it is while its own sonic signature stays pretty damn consistent. My only recommendation on gear is to skip pairing it with a high current amp because you will hear some current noise and background hiss.

The most challenging part of reviewing the 99 is comparing it to other headphones. The 99 is so unique to my ears that quick comparisons to other staple headphones simply don’t do it justice. For instance, I commonly switch between headphones multiple times during a single track and replay certain parts with each one to do more critical comparisons. While I tried that with the 99, I found that it really ruined the experience. To really hear what the 99 does you need to spend time with it. But I know that most in this hobby are quick to judge and demand X versus Y comparisons. So here are a few things that I noticed when comparing the 99 to some other popular headphones.

 

The Comparisons


Meze 99 Classics vs. Shure SRH840 and SRH1540: Closed-back. Darkish. Descending highs. I fully expected the 99 to sound very similar to the Shure headphones that I’ve recommended so frequently. I was wrong. The 99 bested my daily drivers in many ways. The 99’s bass extends deeper and hits a bit harder—more oomph if you will. Both the Shure SRH840 (review) and SRH1540 (review), in comparison, seem to be a bit more controlled and punchy, but only at higher frequency ranges. The 99 is clearly fuller sounding when you get into bass-heavy tracks—take Bjork’s “Hyberballad” for instance. The 99’s mids are also smoother and more linear, albeit more relaxed. Mid-range is Shure’s sweet spot, but compared to the 99, both Shure offerings push the mids more aggressively into your ears. This makes vocalists sound more forward and in your face, and while I like this with some tracks, on others I prefer the 99’s subtler approach. While the pushed mids also help with instrument separation and atmospheric space compared to the more intimate and closed-in sounding 99, it introduces some roughness and grain. As for the highs, the 99’s are even more rolled off and relaxed than either of the Shure headphones mentioned. Simply put, the Shures have far more zing in the treble region. I found the SRH840 and SRH1540 to both be more revealing of micro details than the 99, but this comes at the expense of slightly sharper highs, occasional sibilance and increased graininess (mostly with poor recordings). The easiest way to put it is that the 99 sounds far more organic and natural than either Shure. Surprising indeed.

Meze 99 Classics vs. Sennheiser HD650: The HD650 is a staple in the headphone community, so it only makes sense to offer a brief comparison. Much of what I said above about the Shures actually also rings true for the HD650 comparison. Further, the HD650 is simply a very different headphone from the 99; it’s mid-centric, open-back and much more picky with amps. But if you have an amp that’ll drive the HD650 and 99 equally, you’ll find that the HD650 again lacks the smoothness of the 99. The HD650 also can’t touch the 99’s deep bass lines. In fact, the 99 manages to make the “lush” HD650 sound surprisingly thin. What the HD650 offers, however, is more attack, a far wider and more three-dimensional sound stage, and better instrument separation than what the 99’s closed-back design can muster. Overall, the 99 is more versatile; it’s a headphone that anyone can listen to regardless of musical preference whereas the HD650 excels with only certain genres and certain amplifiers. I won’t say that one is better than the other because they’re just too different in all intents and purposes.

Meze 99 Classics vs. ZMF Headphones The Omni: I don’t have The Omni (review) currently on-hand to do a direct comparison anymore, but from recent memory, the 99 sounds more like the ZMF Headphones offering than any of the others mentioned. Both the 99 and The Omni excel at being smooth operators. The Omni most definitely moves more air and has harder hitting and more emphasized bass; it also has slightly more upper-mid presence, sounds a touch more spacious due to the semi-open design, and has a bit more treble pop. But tonally, they both favor what I consider to be a thicker and darker sound, a more intimate sound stage, and both stray far, far away from being harsh or sibilant. If you like the ZMF Headphones house sound, the 99 might be a nice choice for your portable headphone needs.

 

The Caveat


If I could change one thing about the 99, it would be the ear pads—they’re simply too damn shallow. Give my ears some room to breathe, Meze! Seriously though, I have an issue with ear pads that touch the lobe and helix of my ears—especially during long listening sessions. I appreciate the sleek styling of the headphone itself, but the slim medium-density foam ear pads compress to the point that my ears press against the liners covering the driver housings. Their circumference also feels a bit cramped, as if they were stuck somewhere between being a large on-ear and narrow around-the-ear design. Are my ears too big? Do they stick out too far? I don’t think so, but your results may vary. The supple synthetic leather can also get a touch toasty, but perhaps that’s nitpicking.

Nevertheless, I have a theory that the 99 could benefit from a roomier, deeper and angled genuine leather ear pad. First, I think comfort would drastically increase. Second, a deep angled pad (think ZMF or Brainwavz ear pads) would move the driver away from the ear, which should help to open up the sound stage and treble clarity just a touch. If that proves true, the 99 would be supremely comfortable and incredibly balanced sounding. In other words, it would be very hard to best, in my opinion.

Ear pads aside, the 99 is incredibly comfortable. I find the elastic suspension strap to be better fitting than similarly designed AKGs or the Audioquest Nighthawk, and the clamping force and weight is comparable to the Sennheiser HD650, which I have no problem wearing for hours at a time.

 

Final Word


Do a quick Google search for audiophile headphones and the top results will include the likes of Audeze and Sennheiser, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Meze Headphones soon sits among the top ranks. The 99 Classics’ organic and natural sound is truly special. It’s admittedly relaxed at first listen, but as soon as you stop thinking about what you might be missing, you’ll start hearing just how immersive it is. The 99 Classics is without a doubt a hi-fi headphone worth experiencing. Meze’s aim is for perfection, and while I won’t claim that the 99 Classics is the be-all and end-all headphone for everyone, its performance most certainly sets you on the path towards Audio Nirvana.

Here’s to hoping Meze Headphones forgets to ask for my review unit back.

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